Alan Marshall
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The secretary of state
in Intelligence and espionage in the English Republic c. 1600–60
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Chapter 2 considers the important developments within the office of the secretary of state up until the outbreak of the Civil Wars. It is in this office that we find the first signs of the development of the state management of secret intelligence gathering and espionage. This was also to be bound up with the history of administrative changes in government in the era. This chapter will explore the affairs of the office and the office management and practices of various secretaries of state from Lord Burghley, Francis Walsingham and Robert Cecil through to the secretaries of state of King Charles I. It looks at the fluid concepts of espionage in this period and the establishment of a ‘working tradition’. It also examines the ideas of espionage in Ireland and Scotland in the era, as well as the significance of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot. It ends with an examination of the world of espionage and informers in the reign of King Charles I, including the use of the Post Office as a hub for such matters.

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