Skip to comments.General who lost his wife to the American Revolution
Posted on 01/20/2006 3:40:15 AM PST by Pharmboy
Behind the sale of an 18th-century gold box in New York today lies one of the saddest love stories of the American Revolution.
When the box, embossed with the arms of New York, was presented with the freedom of the city in 1773 to Thomas Gage he was the commander-in-chief of the British Army in North America and was deeply in love with his American-born wife.
Gen Thomas Gage, Margaret Gage and the 18th-century gold box
Two years later, the general was a broken man, his career was in tatters and he was estranged from Margaret Gage for ever after she put the land of her birth before her husband and handed his military secrets to Paul Revere, the most famous of all the revolutionaries.
Gage and Margaret Kemble, from Brunswick, New Jersey, had been devoted, with 11 children and large estates in America and England.
Their marriage fell apart on April 18, 1775, the day Gage sent 800 men to Concord, Massachussetts, to destroy arms caches and to seize the leading revolutionaries Samuel Adams and John Hancock.
But Revere rode through Lexington, Massachusetts, warning of Gage's plans to attack, with the cry, "The British are coming, the British are coming".
Gage was convinced his wife had leaked the details to Revere. "My confidence has been betrayed," he wrote to a fellow officer, Lord Percy, "for I had communicated my design to one person only [apart from you]."
Humiliated, Gage turned over his command to Gen William Howe and banished his wife to England. He followed six months later, but the couple, who were once painted by John Singleton Copley, a leading artist of the period, never spoke again.
The box, valued at £285,000 by Sotheby's, is being sold by the family of the Earl of Rosebery. A previous Lord Rosebery, prime minister from 1894-95, bought the box for £50 from an antique dealer who got it from Gage's descendant, Viscount Gage.
The document from the mayor of New York granting the freedom of the city, originally kept in the box, is at Firle Place, East Sussex, the seat of the present Viscount Gage.
"The box has been kept in a safe for 100 years," said Lord Rosebery's heir, Lord Dalmeny. "I hope it will end up in a New York museum, or bought and given back to the Gages and reunited with the original document."
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Incredible is right. If that happened today, the MSM would rip Margaret Gage to pieces.
Juts noticed a funny thing: it is interesting that the Daily Telegraph uses the term "American Revolution" rather than "the Americsn War of Independence" that is traditionally used for the event on its side of the pond.
She was an American and banished to England?
Evidently Gage sent her packing...but remember, at that time Americans were all still subjects of the Crown.
That was back in the days when a woman not only took on her husband's name but his citizenship as well.
Thank You Mrs Gage.
PS: Want to bet there was more to her decision than "patriotism"?
You have to remember, we were all Englishmen back then...
I'll take that ping.
No, that is not quite true. We were not a nation until July 4, 1776 united for Independence. Up till then we were still British Colonies paying British taxes and following British parlamentary law. Though, the colonies were not getting the representation in Parlament as they should have with the taxes and had a lazy King who was supposed to represent them.
I forgot we weren't Americans yet.
Today she could jet to mexico and walk right back in.
LOL... Today, she would be a liberal hero..
huh..? I'm no liberal and I consider her a hero. Unless I read this wrong, she sided with and defended her Country. You will be hard pressed to find any liberals who respect that quality.
Thanks for posting this. I plan to share it with my DAR chapter at our Feb meeting.
And to their husbands.
If the story is true, then Gage was a fool who destroyed his marriage for nothing.