From Tolkien Gateway
This article describes a concept which is mentioned in J.R.R. Tolkien's works, but was never given a definite name.

A Conspiracy Unmasked by Abe Papakhian.

The conspirators were the friends of Frodo Baggins who consisted of Meriadoc Brandybuck, Peregrin Took, and Fredegar Bolger. Samwise Gamgee was their "chief investigator" who had been feeding them all the information that they needed. They all discovered that Frodo was making plans to leave the Shire in order to escape some danger related to the One Ring and conspired to assist him without his knowledge - this often meant spying and eavesdropping on Frodo's daily activities and conversations, until finally revealing themselves to Frodo just before he set out to leave, much to his surprise.


It all began around T.A. 3000 when a young Merry witnessed Bilbo Baggins becoming invisible to evade a meeting with the Sackville-Bagginses, noticing him holding a golden trinket. This made him curious, and he even peeked at Bilbo's diary. Merry kept this knowledge private, but was always suspicious and thought that after Bilbo's Farewell Party, Frodo would soon follow. He shared this secret information with his friends. Especially after April T.A. 3018 they noticed how Frodo was saying "farewell" to all of his favorite places, selling Bag End to the Sackville-Bagginses, and secretive talks with Gandalf. Samwise Gamgee had heard Gandalf's instructions to Frodo for his departure,[1] and warned his friends.

At Crickhollow, Frodo was ready to reveal them that he didn't buy the house to stay but that he is heading for Bree. The conspirators then told him that they knew that he was leaving all along, and that they are going with him, as Fredegar had prepared everything, provisions and ponies, for their departure.

They also told him that they know the existence of the Ring and that his flight was related to it. Fredegar was to stay behind to deal with any "inquisitive folk" and to keep up the pretense that Frodo was still living there by wearing Frodo's clothes and keeping about the place.[2]

Without their preparations, Frodo would likely have been captured by the Black Riders before he even escaped the Shire.