The Role Of Spies In England

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During the Renaissance, England had created a network of spies to protect the queen and her throne. England’s spies were located in many parts of the world, operating under the leadership of Sir Francis Walsingham. Queen Elizabeth had decided to engage this network of spies reasoning that spies brought more and accurate information than ambassadors. Espionage’s role during the Renaissance made a significant historical mark in England.
Sir Francis Walsingham had been appointed to create and lead the network of spies. “The queen’s secretary of state William Cecil soon discovered that Walsingham possessed great political talent. There were high tensions between England, France, and Spain and if there were any plots against England, he would want
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William Cecil had become worried that Mary would inspire Catholic uprisings to overthrow Queen Elizabeth and place her on the throne instead. “Cecil soon realized that he needed a whole organization of spies to keep him adequately informed about possible conspiracies. He knew just the man to create and run such a network: Walsingham” (“Walsingham, Francis” 4). Walsingham would hire many spies to increase the number to fifty. “Walsingham established a spy school to give agents the professional training they needed.” This school would give these agents professional training to enact in espionage (“Walsingham, Francis” 4).
Naturally, Queen Elizabeth and all of England had benefited from the organization of spies that Walsingham created to protect England. In the Ridolfi plot, Roberto Ridolfi had come to London in 1555, earning the trust of Elizabeth’s government to distract from a rebellion known as the Northern Rising who were going to overthrow Queen Elizabeth. However, this plot was found out and the rebellion fell through. Soon
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“Queen Elizabeth preferred spies to...ambassadors. Spies were less expensive and usually provided more accurate information” (“Espionage” 2). If spies had not developed in England due to William Cecil’s suspicion of Mary, Queen Elizabeth would have only ambassadors to send to other countries, who may have not have been able to obtain the information they would need to protect the queen. If the Babington Conspiracy and the plans of the Spanish Armada were not uncovered, England would have fallen to their enemies. To start, in the Babington conspiracy “[Gifford] obtained what Walsingham needed: a letter from Mary to Babington that confirmed her support to assassinate the queen.” Later, during the plans of the armada, “Walsingham received extensive reports about Spanish preparations to launch an invasion of England...this intelligence helped England plan a strong defense” (“Walsingham, Francis” 5 & 6). In the same way, if Roberto Ridolfi was able to successfully assist the Northern Uprising or succeeding in getting help from the Spanish to put Mary on the throne, England’s form of rule would have differed greatly as “...[Ridolfi] was a devoted Catholic and sympathized with Catholics in England who hoped to restore the country to Catholic rule” (“Cecil, William” 6). As for Queen Elizabeth, relations between her and other countries would have occurred differently if
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