I first heard about it a few years ago in #16 of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series. Here's the paragraph from an introductory part of the story:He was indeed opposed to oppression in all its forms, and in his youth he had supported the United Irishmen (his father was a Catholic Irish officer in the Spanish service) in everything but the violence of 1798: but above all, far above all, he abhorred that of Buonaparte, and he was perfectly willing to offer his services to the British government to help put an end to it, to offer them gratis pro Deo, thus doing away with any hint of the odious name of spy, a vile wretch hired by the Ministry to inform upon his friends, a name associated in his Irish childhood with that of Judas, Spy-Wednesday coming just before the Passion.
Sounds like it may be a generational thing. Have to ask my Dad if he'd ever heard of it.
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