Chester Arthur, The First 007 British Secret Agent???

Royal Navy Commander Chester Arthur Meets His Contact Aboard The H.M.S. Stalwart

“I need to use your telegraph… She’ll wire you back.”
“Who are you?”
“Arthur,  Chester Arthur.”

Well, if you believe the Citizenium entry on Chester Arthur (Hat Tip to David Farrar!), Chester Arthur was definitely a British subject:

During Chester Arthur’s Vice-Presidential campaign alongside James A. Garfield,  Arthur P. Hinman, an attorney who had apparently been hired by the members of the Democratic party, explored the “rumors that Arthur had been born in a foreign country, was not a natural-born citizen of the United States, and was thus, by the Constitution, ineligible for the vice-presidency.” When Hinman’s initial claim of a birth in Ireland failed to gain traction, he maintained instead that Arthur was born in Canada and lobbied the press for support while searching for Arthur’s birth records, eventually in vain. After Arthur had become President due to Garfield’s assassination, Hinman published a pamphlet aimed to cast doubt on Arthur’s presidential eligibility.

However, due to the focus on Hinman’s unfounded allegations regarding Chester Arthur’s foreign place of birth, it remained unknown during the Garfield campaign that Arthur was nevertheless a natural-born subject of the British crown, because his British-Irish father William Arthur had not naturalized as a U.S. citizen until August 1843, fourteen years after Chester Arthur’s birth, and was at best a denizen of the State of Vermont.

Arthur himself continuously gave false information on his family’s history, thereby obscuring the circumstances and chronology of his own birth. Arthur knew of Hinman and his allegations and defended himself against the original claim that he was not a native-born citizen by stating that his father “came to this country when he was eighteen years of age, and resided here several years before he was married”, whereas in reality his father William emigrated from Ireland to Canada at the age of 22 or 23. Arthur further claimed that “his mother was a New Englander who had never left her native country—a statement every member of the Arthur family knew was untrue.”In a second interview he repeated some of the historical revisions and further stated that his father had been forty years of age at the time of his birth, which was revealed by Hinman to be a lie. Somewhere between 1870 and 1880 Chester Arthur had caused additional confusion by creating 1830 as a false year of his birth, which was quoted in several publications and was also engraved on his tombstone. Shortly before his death Arthur caused several Presidential materials, which had been in his private possession, to be destroyed, while other historical documents pertaining to Arthur’s life and presidency were lost for unknown reasons.

Here is the link to the Citizenium Internet Article, which also notes “Due to newly found sources on the issue this paragraph will be substantially rewritten soon.” Sooo, enjoy this while you can:

Although the British Secret Service was not formally created until 1909, there was a long history of espionage work dating back at least to the days of Queen Elizabeth I.  Wiki says about Sir Francis Walsingham:

Sir Francis Walsingham (c. 1532– 6 April 1590) was Principal Secretary to Elizabeth I of England from 1573 until 1590, and is popularly remembered as her spymaster. Walsingham is frequently cited as one of the earliest practitioners of modern intelligence methods both for espionage and for domestic security. He oversaw operations which penetrated the heart of Spanish military preparation, gathered intelligence from across Europe, and disrupted a range of plots against the queen, securing the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots.

In foreign intelligence, the full range of Walsingham’s network of “intelligencers” (of news as well as secrets) may never be known, but it was substantial. While foreign intelligence was part of the principal secretary’s duties, Walsingham brought to it flair and ambition, and large sums of his own money. He also cast his net more widely than others had done hitherto, exploiting the insight into Spanish policy offered at the Italian courts; cultivating contacts in Constantinople and Aleppo, building complex connections with the Catholic exiles. Recent detective work by author John Bossy has suggested that he recruited Giordano Bruno, although this remains controversial. Among his minor spies may have been the playwright CHristopher Marlowe, who seems to have been one of a stream of false converts whom Walsingham planted in foreign seminaries for gathering intelligence and insinuating counter-intelligence A more central figure was the cryptographer Thomas Phelippes, expert in deciphering letters, creating false handwriting and breaking and repairing seals without detection.

The doctoring of documents and history is a well known trick-of-the-espionage trade. Further, Chester Arthur directed American military forces to salute the British flag. From

Shortly after his accession to the presidency he participated in the dedication of the monument erected at Yorktown, Virginia, to commemorate the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at that place, 19 Oct., 1781. Representatives of our French allies and of the German participants were present. At the close of the celebration the president felicitously directed a salute to be fired in honor of the British flag, in recognition of the friendly relations so long and so happily subsisting between Great Britain and the United States, in the trust and confidence of peace and goodwill between the two countries for all the centuries to come, and especially as a mark of the profound respect entertained by the American people for the illustrious sovereign and gracious lady who sits upon the British throne.”

Sooo, I am waiting for the movie to come out, Chester Arthur, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.  I bet Jerome Corsi will play the Arthur P. Hinman role. They have a lot in common. Corsi also forgot to mention the two citizen parent requirement in his book, Obama Nation.

Oh, this alternative history stuff is FUN!!! I can see why the two-citizen parent Birthers do it so much!

Squeeky Fromm
Girl Reporter

Note 1:  Here is a fun place I found to learn stuff about James Bond, like the quote I mangled to start this about the telegraph, above.:

Note 2: The name of the ship in the image, H.M.S. Stalwart, is a reference to the Stalwarts, which wiki says is:

The “Stalwarts” were a faction of the United States Republican Party toward the end of the 19th century.

During the Republican national convention in 1880, the Half-Breeds advocated the candidacy of James Blaine of Maine for President. A stalemate ensued between Half-breeds and Stalwarts, and a compromise was struck to nominate a decent, unabrasive man: James Garfield. Additionally, Chester Arthur, former collector for the port of New York, was chosen to be his running mate to satisfy the Stalwarts.

Chester A. Arthur, sympathetic to the Stalwart cause, became president upon Garfield’s death on September 19, 1881, due to being shot by the self-proclaimed “Stalwart of the Stalwarts,” Charles J. Guiteau on July 2, 1881. Arthur helped to create civil service reforms in his term in part because he felt that he had to follow up Garfield’s work.

About Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter

I am a Girl Reporter on the Internet. I am 36 Plus I am a INTP. I have a Major in Human Kinetics, and a Minor in English. Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter View all posts by Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter

5 responses to “Chester Arthur, The First 007 British Secret Agent???

  • bob

    I think Farrar skipped that part at the top of the article:

    “This is a draft article, under development and not meant to be cited; you can help to improve it. These unapproved articles are subject to a disclaimer.”

    The disclaimer:

    “All unapproved Citizendium articles may contain errors of fact, bias, grammar etc. An article is unapproved unless it is marked as approved with a dedicated green template at the top of the page, as in the Biology article. Approved articles are intended to have next to no errors. The participants in the Citizendium project make no representations about the reliability of Citizendium articles or, generally, their suitability for any purpose.”

    But if film composer in Germany wrote it, the article must be true!

  • Wings

    Interesting story of fiction. Not enough information for a made short movie though.

  • bob

    Here’s but one example of the sloppy writing by the film composer in Germany. He wrote in the citizendium article:

    “However, due to the focus on Hinman’s unfounded allegations regarding Chester Arthur’s foreign place of birth,[3] it remained unknown during the Garfield campaign that Arthur was nevertheless a natural-born subject of the British crown,[4] because his British-Irish father William Arthur had not naturalized as a U.S. citizen until August 1843, fourteen years after Chester Arthur’s birth,[5] and was at best a denizen of the State of Vermont.[6]”

    It was well-known at the time that President Arthur’s father was a British subject — Hinman’s book discusses it. Footnote 4 in the citizendium article references Blackstone’s Commentaries, which doesn’t discuss President Arthur’s father’s birth.

    The film composer gets the basics correct (some controversy over President Arthur’s place of birth; President Arthur’s father didn’t naturalize until after President Arthur was born). But the critical “truth” upon which Farrar relies — that the status of President Arthur’s father as a British subject was unknown at the time — is speculation that is not only unsupported by cited references, but plainly contradicted.

    • Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter

      I agree. This was Vattle Birthers trying to slip in some history re-writing to explain why there is an inconsistency between the importance they attach to Minor v. Happersett for allegedly defining natural born citizenship, and the lack of anybody using it 5 years later during the Chester Arthur campaign.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

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