Spies based in England


Hello! And welcome to the forum. Your question peaked my interest, as now more commonly we’re familiar with some US based recruits due to the popular TV show by AMC, TURN, though little do we know about those aborad. I found some information on wikipedia, listed below, which although might not be a thorough and vetted reference, might help as a starting point for those in London and abroad.

Maybe some other folks, with more specific knowledge of the topic, can post and weigh in too.

The first intelligence agent enlisted by the Secret Correspondence Committee was Arthur Lee then living in London. On November 30, 1775, the day after its founding, the Committee appointed Dr. Lee as its agent in England and told him that “it is considered of utmost consequence to the cause of liberty that the Committee be kept informed of developments in Europe.” Following the first Congressional appropriation for the work of the Committee on December 11, 1775, two hundred pounds was forwarded to Lee with the urging that he find out the “disposition of foreign powers towards us, and the admonition that we need not hint that great circumspection and impenetrable security are necessary.”

The next agent recruited abroad by the Committee was Charles W. F. Dumas, a Swiss journalist at The Hague. Dumas was briefed personally by Thomas Story, a courier of the Committee, and instructed on the use of cover names and letter drops to be used for his reports to the Committee and for communication with Dr. Lee in London. He also planted stories in a Dutch newspaper, Gazette de Leide, intended to give the United States a favorable rating in Dutch credit markets.

On March 1, 1776, the Committee appointed Silas Deane, a former delegate to Congress and future ambassador to France, as its agent in there. He was instructed to pose as a Bermudian merchant dealing in Indian goods. He was also charged with making secret purchases and with attempting to gain secret assistance from the French crown. Later, both Deane and Lee would be converted from agents to commissioners to the French Crown, albeit secret ones, until the open and formal alliance of France with the Americans.

Other agents of the Committee included William Bingham, who served first in France and then in Martinique, where he had once been British Consul; Major Jonathan Loring Austin, William Carmichael, and William Hodge.


If you do find anything additional or interesting, please share here as it would be great to learn more about it.