As I described yesterday, the largely very good history Paul Revere’s Ride argues that there’s a strong circumstantial case that Margaret Gage betrayed her husband Thomas, British commander in Boston (shown here), by leaking word of the march to Concord to Dr. Joseph Warren.
Among that evidence, the book says, is “her husband’s decision to send her away from him after the battles, and the failure of their marriage.”
But here’s Gen. Gage’s entry at ThePeerage.com, listing his children with Margaret:
Since Emily Gage was born in late April 1776, Margaret Gage conceived that child around the end of July 1775—months after when Paul Revere’s Ride says her husband “ordered her away from him.”
- Maria Theresa Gage d. 21 Apr 1832
- Charlotte Margaret Gage d. Sep 1814
- Harriet Gage d. 1835
- Maj.-Gen. Henry Gage, 3rd Viscount Gage of Castle Island b. 4 Mar 1761, d. 29 Jan 1808
- Louisa Elizabeth Gage b. c 1766, d. 21 Jan 1832
- John Gage b. 23 Dec 1767, d. 24 Dec 1846
- Emily Gage b. 25 Apr 1776, d. 28 Aug 1838
- Admiral Sir William Hall Gage b. 2 Oct 1777, d. 5 Jan 1864
The Gages probably didn’t realize that Margaret was pregnant when she left Boston in late August. Nevertheless, sending one’s wife out of a besieged town suffering from food shortages and smallpox might actually be a sign of affection. At the very least, I’d want my husband to consider it.
Paul Revere’s Ride errs in saying that “the General remained in America for another long and painful year” after his wife’s departure. Gage received orders to sail back to London on 26 September, and left on 11 October. Some historians suggest he had already sensed those orders were coming, which would have given him another reason to send his family home well before winter.
What about the Gages’ life in England? They retired to Firle Place. (Occasional Boston 1775 guest blogger Charles Bahne sent me that web address, as well as this page with more information.)
I haven’t seen any statement from the Gages’ contemporaries—who loved to gossip—that their marriage failed. In fact, the couple had another child in October 1777, which strongly suggests that they were still acting as husband and wife in every way. They had no more children after that son, but by then Margaret was aged 43.
Thomas Gage died in 1787, having achieved some vindication from how no other generals had been any more victorious in America than he had. Margaret lived to 1824. Of their two children born after the war began, Emily Gage grew up to marry the Earl of Abingdon, and William Hall Gage became an admiral and knight. They’re both thus well documented; he’s even got a Wikipedia page. And they make the evidence for Margaret Gage’s betrayal of her husband look quite thin.