Benedict Arnold, throughout his career, demonstrated an utter lack of political acumen. He was not an intellectual and had no feel for human interplay, the ambitions of men, and the cut throat nature of politics. Alexander Hamilton, who knew Arnold from Hamilton's days as Washington's aide, remarked of him that "the fighter did not combine...any intellectual qualities with his physical prowess. Instead of engaging in interesting argument, he shouted and pounded the table." A description of Arnold from his days in Philadelphia perhaps describes him best:
He was by nature impetuous, aggressive, alert and eager for battle under any circumstances but he had never been a good politician. He was tactless, impatient, extremely outspoken and had made numerous enemies unnecessarily.One of the things that Arnold's biographers gloss over during Arnold's actions during April and May of 1775, is the utterly callous way in which he abandoned his Connecticut Company in favor of a commission from a colony in which he had no friends and no political base. Colonelcies were highly sought after in every colony and there were more candidates for colonelcies than there were colonelcies. Arnold had nurtured this company but abandoned them without a moment's hesitation to take a colonelcy in a colony in which he was not known. This was a rash act of a man with no political acumen.
In closing, it should be noted that in September 1775, Arnold turned over his financial records to Silas Deane and asked whether he might get satisfaction from the Continental Congress. Deane, who was a friend of Arnold's and sympathized with Arnold over his treatment by Massachusetts, pursued the claim. In late January 1776, the Continental Congress awarded Arnold and additional L245,14, 1. This was probably in reaction to Arnold's recent surge in stature as a wounded hero in the Patriots attempt to conquer Canada.
|Major John Andre's self-sketch drawn the night before he was hung.|