Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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HENRY, John, adventurer, born in Ireland. He came to Philadelphia about 1793, edited "Brown's Philadelphia Gazette," and afterward entered the army at the time of the troubles with France, commanded an artillery corps under General Ebenezer Stevens, and was for over a year superior officer at Fort Jay, on Governor's island. He quitted the army while he was in command at Newport, Rhode Island, settled on a farm in northern Vermont, and also studied law. Here he remained five years, occasionally writing articles for the press against the republican form of government. These attracted the attention of Sir James Craig, then governor-general of Canada, who employed him in 1809 to find out the extent of the reported disaffection to the National government in New England. Henry spent three months in Boston in this employment, reporting constantly to Craig by letter, and at one time thought that in the event of war between England and the United States, Massachusetts would take the lead in establishing a northern confederacy, which might, in the end, ally itself with Great Britain. Craig promised Henry office in Canada, but died soon afterward, and the spy's efforts to obtain his reward in London meeting with no success, he returned to this country and divulged the whole matter, on 2 February, 1812, to President Madison, who paid him $50,000 for his information. His disclosures were made the subject of a special message to congress, and created much excitement throughout the country, especially among the opponents of the administration, some of whom alleged that it was all a political trick that had been devised by the president to cause war. Henry used all of his reward but $1,000 to purchase an estate in Languedoc from Count de Crillon, and sailed from New York for France on 9 March, 1812. De Crillon proved to be an impostor, and it is probable that Henry lost his money.
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