Cromwells "spymaster"? John Thurloe and rethinking early modern intelligence

Peacock, T. N. (2020) Cromwells "spymaster"? John Thurloe and rethinking early modern intelligence. Seventeenth Century, 35(1), pp. 3-30. (doi: 10.1080/0268117X.2018.1524786)

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As intelligence co-ordinator for the Cromwellian Protectorate, John Thurloe was responsible for securing the new regime against a number of different threats, including Royalist plots and potential uprisings. Through a scholarly rereading of the Thurloe State Papers, this article provides new insights into Thurloe’s intelligence work, and reflects critically on the impact of modern intelligence studies on early modern history. Investigation of the constraints on early modern intelligence, in terms of money, manpower, relationship to the legal system, and legitimacy, reveals how Thurloe actively sought to circumvent limitations, or to turn some of these to his advantage. Analysis of Thurloe’s defence of the ports against the passage of Royalist agents and invasion, an area where he has traditionally attracted criticism, shows a far more sophisticated strategy at work, including his exploitation of security weaknesses to gather more intelligence and disrupting actively a significant number of potential invasion plans.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Peacock, Dr Timothy
Authors: Peacock, T. N.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > History
Journal Name:Seventeenth Century
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):2050-4616
Published Online:13 November 2018

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