Skip to main content

Thurloe, John

John Thurloe, 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.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Thurloe, John." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Thurloe, John." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/thurloe-john

"Thurloe, John." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved May 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/thurloe-john

Thurloe, John

Thurloe, John (1616–68). The son of an Essex clergyman, Thurloe was a lawyer under the patronage of Oliver St John. He did not take up arms in the Civil War, but in 1652 was appointed secretary to the Council of State and was soon put in charge of Commonwealth intelligence gathering. He was an MP 1654 and 1656 and a member of Cromwell's second council. Remarkably efficient, devoted to Cromwell, Thurloe presided over an international espionage network. After Cromwell's death he transferred his allegiance to his son Richard, and served in the Parliament of 1659 for the University of Cambridge. After the fall of Richard Cromwell, he was reappointed secretary of State and tried to dissuade Monck from bringing back Charles II. He survived a charge of treason at the Restoration and was allowed to return to his practice at Lincoln's Inn. His vast collection of state papers found their way into the Bodleian Library, but seven bulky volumes were published by Thomas Birch in 1742.

J. A. Cannon

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Thurloe, John." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Thurloe, John." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/thurloe-john

"Thurloe, John." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved May 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/thurloe-john