Thursday, November 28, 2013

Dominican Turned Informant

In 1642 Thomas Gage returned to England, publicly disavowed the Catholic faith and began to persecute the Catholic clergy who had educated him.  He later testified against Thomas Holland, a Jesuit from the school where he studied in Spain. Father Thomas Holland was sentence to be hanged, drawn and quartered in December of 1642.  Gage also testified against Franciscan Francis Bell (1643), Jesuit Ralph Corby (1644) and Jesuit Peter Wright (1651).  All three were executed based on his testimony. In 1651 Gage published A Duel between a Jesuit and a Dominican: begun at Paris, gallantly fought at Madrid, and victoriously ended at London.  In this treatise he promoted the idea that the Catholic Spanish missionaries were corrupt and convinced Cromwell that an attack on their holdings was the religious duty of the English. “The thesis was that it would be possible to attack and loot Spanish possessions in the Americas, without embarking upon a costly war in Europe. The book made special mention whatever might assist an invading army -- roads, fortifications, populations, layouts of towns. It is hard to set aside the suspicion that the details in the book were the fruit of the observations of a professional spy.”