Final Day! Independence Week Sale!

In honor of Nathan Hale, one third off on gift subscriptions til July 9

Get 33% off for 1 year

Nathan Hale was a reluctant warrior, by some accounts. But he not only signed up for the revolution in the summer of 1776, he volunteered—knowing it could result in his quick execution—to spy on British troops. Alas, he was soon betrayed and caught near Flushing Bay in Queens. He was then transported to mid-Manhattan (still quite rural at the time), where he was interrogated by none other than British General William Howe himself and sentenced to death.

On the morning of September 22, 1776, Hale was permitted to write two letters. One went to his mother, the other to a brother officer. And then he was marched to the gallows, erected in the Park of Artillery, at the present-day intersection of 66th Street and Third Avenue on the Upper East side, where a rope was slung around his neck.

By all accounts, the 21-year-old faced his death with calm stoicism. Now, it’s far from certain that he actually uttered the famous last words, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” But according to the February 13, 1777 edition of the Essex Journal in Connecticut, dug up by historian George D. Seymour, “he made a sensible and spirited speech; among other things, told them they were shedding the blood of the innocent, and that if he had ten thousand lives, he would lay them all down, if called to it, in defence of his injured, bleeding Country.”

Close enough.

So how about going out a far more modest limb yourself and giving a friend, relative, school or library a year-long gift subscription to SpyTalk—especially when it’s one third off all week? You’ll learn a lot more here about spies, past and present, in fiction and real life, and the events that surround them. Click here for more on who we are and what we do.

See you ‘round!

Jeff Stein is the editor and founder of SpyTalk.

Give a gift subscription