This week in 1776

September 17th, 2013 by admin

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

— Nathan Hale, convicted of espionage, hanging, colonial New York.
Executed September 22, 1776

An American spy during the Revolutionary War, Hale pretended to be a British loyalist but was captured after his true identity was revealed. The standards of the time dictated that spies be hanged as illegal combatants. While these are reported to be Hale’s last words, they bear significant resemblance to a line from Cato, a play by George Addison that was popular at the time: “What a pity it is / That we can die but once to serve our country.”

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