Pass Signed by Benedict Arnold

Pass Signed by Benedict Arnold

This travel pass - signed by Benedict Arnold on September 21st, 1780 - authorized Joshua Smith to carry private letters.  It states:

Permission is granted to Joshua Smith, Esq., to go to Dobbs’s Ferry with three Men and a Boy with a Flag to carry some Letters of a private Nature for Gentlemen in New York, and to Return immediately.

B. ARNOLD, M. Gen’l.

N.B. – He has permission to go at such hours and times as the tide and his business suits.

Two days after Benedict Arnold wrote this pass, John Andrè was captured and charged as a spy.  He was executed (by hanging) on October 2, 1780.  Smith was also tried, but a court-martial found him not-guilty.  

The original document is among the John Andrè papers maintained at the New York State Archives. 

Click on the image for a better view.

Media Credits

Image of Pass for Joshua Smith, 1780, side 1 of 2, online courtesy New York State Archives:


New York State Archives. New York (State). Governor (1777-1795 : Clinton). Papers found on British spy Major Andre ("Andre Papers"), 1780. Series A4681-99, Smith Pass 1.

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