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John Harrison: his majesty's agent in Morocco, 1610-1632

Faggetter, Ann Rosalind (2023) John Harrison: his majesty's agent in Morocco, 1610-1632. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.104639) (KAR id:104639)


John Harrison, a one time member of the court of Henry, Prince of Wales, was England's agent in Morocco on eight occasions between 1610 and 1632. The author of six books and of many reports on Morocco written for the secretaries of state, he was a committed Protestant and millenarian. He was an unusual choice of agent, becoming best known to posterity for ransoming English captives from slavery. His peers went to the Levant, India and the Far east; their experiences are well known, while Harrison's are not. His considerable relations, written for Charles I and his secretaries of state, are a valuable resource for students of Moroccan history. In my consideration of Harrison's commissions, my thesis will demonstrate that Morocco was a significant area of interest to England, her statesmen and merchants, in the early seventeenth century. An understanding of Anglo-Moroccan relations and Harrison's experiences in Morocco at this crucial time should contribute to our understanding of the evolving nature of the expansionist English engaged in diplomacy, trade, settlement and conversion.

My thesis will analyse Harrison's missions with the intention of understanding how his personal beliefs, very deeply held, aligned with national aspirations and the results therefrom. To do this I will consider the political landscape of Europe and Britain's place in it, the expectations attached to his commissions, his successes and failures, and compare his experiences with other English agents, both in Europe and further afield. My chapters will paint a comprehensive picture of Harrison, Anglo-Moroccan relations and site them in the western Mediterranean of the early seventeenth century. I start, in chapter one, with the political, social and religious environment in England in 1610. Chapter two discusses Harrison's publications and their relevance to his personal development and to his missions. Chapters three and four cover Harrison's missions: the first four (1610-1618) in chapter three, during which he identifies the diplomatic boundaries to achieving success in Morocco; the second four (1625-1632) in chapter four during which Harrison has to confront the issues surrounding the situation in Morocco, his lack of support from England and his religious convictions. I conclude that looking at Harrison's work in Morocco contributes to our understanding of how agents abroad worked to extend English influence outside early seventeenth century Europe.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Loop, Jan
Thesis advisor: Fincham, Kenneth
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.104639
Uncontrolled keywords: Morocco British diplomacy captivity millenarianism British overseas expansion
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Funders: University of Kent (
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2024 09:10 UTC
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2024 12:13 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Faggetter, Ann Rosalind.

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