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INTELLIGENCERS:

Persons who supply intelligence or secret information; Stuart English for "spies." A number of crypto-Jews in London supplied Cromwell with "intelligence" in connection with foreign and colonial affairs. In 1655, during the discussion of Manasseh ben Israel's plea for the readmission of the Jews, a writer to the "Mercurius Politicus" living in Amsterdam suggested that the government could make good use of the Jews for obtaining political information, and that for this reason they should be propitiated. The suggestion was seized upon by Thurloe, the secretary of state, and by Dr. Dorislaus, a secret agent of the foreign office. This is seen from a remark in Gilbert Burnet's "History of His Own Times." and in the Parliamentary Diary of Thomas Burton (1658), who speaks of the Protector's having used the Jews," those able and general intelligencers" (see Carvajal).

Chief among these intelligencers were agents of Antonio Fernandez Carvajal, fourteen of whose despatches (now in the Clarendon Collection) are supposed by Wolf to have been obtained for Thur loe. They are said to have enabled Cromwell "to take measures for the defeat of the projected invasion of England concerted at Brussels early in 1656 between Charles II. and the Spanish government." Of a similar kind were the services of Manuel Martinez Dormido (i.e., David Abravanel), who submitted to Thurloe extracts of letters from his Marano correspondents in Amsterdam. These services are supposed to have been rewarded by Cromwell in 1656 by his giving permission for the resettlement of Jews in England.

Bibliography:
  • Lucien Wolf, Cromwell's Jewish Intelligencers, in Jewish Chronicle, May 15, 1891 et seq.;
  • reprinted in pamphlet form, London, 1891;
  • idem, American Elements in the Re-Settlement, Documents vi.-ix. in Transactions Jew. Hist. Soc. Eng. 1899, pp. 95 et seq.;
  • idem, Menasseh ben Israel's Mission to Oliver Cromwell, pp. xxxvi., lii., London 1901;
  • Max J. Kohler, Manasseh ben Israel and Some Unpublished Pages of American History, p. 9, New York, 1901.
J. G.
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