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John Thurloe

Thurloe, John, 1616–68, English politician. A lawyer, he became (1652) secretary to the council of state of the Commonwealth. He was given charge of the intelligence department (1653), which included foreign and domestic espionage, and the post office (1655). Through the post office Thurloe was able to intercept information of plots against the government. He entered Parliament in 1654, and supported the succession of Richard Cromwell (1658). He was deprived of office (1659) after the fall of the Protectorate, and was arrested for high treason after the Restoration (1660). He was not tried, and was released on the condition that his services be available to the Restoration government. Thurloe then retired from public life, but remained a valuable authority on foreign affairs and was often consulted by the king's ministers and diplomats. His vast correspondence, an important authority for the history of the Protectorate, is preserved in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, and in the British Museum. Part of it was published in 1742 by Thomas Birch.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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