Charles Bahne just alerted me to a discussion of Margaret and Thomas Gage’s marriage in John Singleton Copley in America, published after (and thus influenced by) Paul Revere’s Ride and its argument that on 18 Apr 1775 Margaret probably gave away Thomas’s secret plans to Dr. Joseph Warren.
That extraordinarily handsome and thorough art book says of Mrs. Gage:
Copley's dark and romantic portrait, in contrast, offers some indication of the despair and loneliness that seems to have defined her married life. Thomas Hutchinson, who stayed at Firle in 1774, proposed that her divided loyalties and yearning to live full-time in New York had become a source of tension between the Gages; he maintained as well that he had seen a letter that the commander had written to her “in which he says he is ready to wish he had never known her.”But context is everything. Here’s what former governor Hutchinson actually wrote in his diary for 10 Aug 1774 (which of course was well before any possible betrayal to Dr. Warren):
Lady Gage gave me to read a letter to her from General Gage, dated the 26th June, from Salem, in which he says he is ready to wish he had never known her; laments his hard fate in being torn away from his friends, after the difficulty of crossing the Atlantick in the short time of 9 months, and put upon a service in so disagreeable a place, which, though he had been used to difficult service, he seemed to consider as peculiarly disagreeable; wishes Mrs Gage had staid in England, as he advised her; for though it was natural she should desire to see her friends at New York, &c., yet, she could have no sort of satisfaction in New England, amidst riots, disorders, &c.: and the whole letter discovers greater anxiety and distress of mind than what appears from all the accounts we have recd concerning him.So that wasn’t a “I don’t love you” message. It was a “I love you so much I hate being away from you, and wish I wasn’t thinking of you all the time in this miserable situation, which I hope you won’t suffer with me.” After receiving this latter, Margaret left the family seat at Firle and joined her husband in Boston.
I think we’ve reached a point of circularity, where assumptions about the Gages’ troubled marriage affect authors’ interpretation of the evidence, producing more “evidence” for the assumptions.
ADDENDUM: See the comments for a persuasive reinterpretation of Hutchinson’s diary entry. The main point that this passage doesn’t support the idea of a rift in Thomas and Margaret Gage’s marriage still stands.