Regency Era Spies

Regency Era Spies

Hello, readers. I am back, upright, and breathing relatively well. My lungs hopefully do not have permanent damage but they are definitely not what they once were. I’ve got a steroid inhaler, try not to do too much, and am slowly editing the book I was working on before the plague hit.

This topic is one that I found quite interesting. When you think of the Regency Era you don’t necessarily think of James Bond or spies, do you? But there were intelligent, sneaky and brave men and women spies in that time period.

D’Eon as a woman

A French spy that fought in the Seven Years War was Charles-Geneviève-Louis-Auguste-André-Timothée d’Éon de Beaumont better known as Chevalier d’Éon. He was born into nobility in Burgundy in 1728 and in 1756 he joined the secret spy network of King Louis XV.

Did you know that Bram Stoker wrote an essay about Chevalier?

He was sent on a mission to Russia, and then to London often passing as a woman. But his wonderful time was at an end when the new French ambassador demoted him. He refused to return to France claiming the new ambassador tried to drug him and his money from the French government was cut off.

Chevalier as a man.

That was when he did something incredibly scandalous, publishing much of the secret diplomatic correspondence he had received. He received sympathy from the English public for this and lived in exiled in London.

A betting pool was on the London Stock Exchange regarding whether D’Eon was a man or woman.

The next spy is said to have caused the first shots to be fired in the American Revolution.

Margaret Kemble Gage, 1734-1824, was the wife of a General in the British Army during the American Revolutionary War. General Gage had planned a nighttime snatch of Samuel Adams and John Hancock. His wife informed the Sons of Liberty who sent Paul Revere and William Dawes to alert the colonists. The British Army was faced with thousands of armed colonists.

After the British Army’s defeat at Lexington and Concord, thanks to his secret plans not being a secret to the enemy, General Gage sent his wife away back to England.

Do you have any spies in your ancestry? My only attempts at spying were trying to figure out where the Christmas presents were hidden each year.

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8 Responses to Regency Era Spies

  1. Best wishes to you as you heal, Bella. I’m impressed you’re right back to work.

    I have a relation through marriage. We don’t know what he did for the NSA, but he was career. He says he was an interpreter, but he doesn’t speak any other languages.

    On the other hand, my super aristocratic best friend from high school is related to Sir Stewart Menzies, head of M16/SIS during WWII. 6 degrees and all…

    Get well soon!

  2. That is so interesting, Bella! What an amazing character d’Éon would make. No spying here. It’s definitely not my forte. Of course, that’s exactly what a spy would say…

  3. The Christmas gifts were my spy experience too! I was pretty good at it if I do say so!lol

    • I could never find the gifts. But, my mother couldn’t find them either! She’d buy them, hide them and then forget where she hid them. My horrible spy skills are genetic.

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