Patience Wright (died 1777) was an American-born sculptor living in London.Secretly she worked as as spy for the United States in the Revolutionary War.
At St. James Palace, while King George III Patience Wright was sculpting his bust. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, carrying a financial ledger, interrupts the session, and the throne room is cleared.
In an antechamber, Robert Rogers tells the King’s manservant that he has been waiting for days to see the King. He’s interrupted by the Chancellor, who storms out of the throne room as King George screams in his wake. As Patience re-enters the room, King George rants about the cost of ruling the colonies and tears apart the financial ledger. Patience quietly sweeps a page from the ledger underneath her drop cloth.
That night, the Chancellor and his men raid Patience’s studio, and the Chancellor demands to know where she sent the bust of the King, which they suspect contains the missing ledger page. “America?,” he sneers. “No, not America,” she responds defiantly. “It is bound for the "United States.” An officer finds a shipping receipt and informs the Chancellor that the bust is bound for Brooklyn on the ship Margaretta. Patience is shot dead.
The ledger contained proof of that Britain was nearly bankrupt. If the French would have ever received the information, they would have eagerly waged full scale war against the British Empire in an alliance with the United States.
The King ordered Rogers to retrieve the ledger.Rogers agreed to track down the bust with intelligence hidden inside of it, created by Patience Wright, before it fell into the hands of the Continentals or French. Rogers accepted the mission, and was given a badge which officially designated him as a King’s Messenger.
Unfortunately, she had died in vain as the ledger was eventually secured by Rogers and destroyed before the French could receive proof of the massive debt Britain was suffering during the war. Ironically however, despite Rogers recovering the ledger, France became an ally with the United States against England anyway due to Benjamin Franklin's masterful diplomacy.