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Henry Ireton

(1611-1651), Parliamentary general

Sitter associated with 17 portraits
A leading Parliamentarian and an austere Puritan, Ireton was one of Cromwell's ablest supporters, noted for his powers of leadership and for his political integrity. He married Bridget, Cromwell's daughter, in 1646. Noted for his strong leadership and political integrity, he strove to formulate an acceptable constitution which would restore Charles I with reduced power until, tired of the King's apparent duplicity, he became one of the leading advocates for his execution. As Lord Deputy in Ireland from 1650, he followed up Cromwell's ruthless campaign there with a brutal policy of deliberate mass starvation.

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Laurie Pettitt

4 April 2017, 10:32

The above wasn't well written, even though I say so myself. Cromwell called Ireton 'My other Self' and would write to his Daughter Bridgett, Ireton's wife, rather than to Ireton because, as Cromwell said, 'One word from me begets three from him'. Henry Ireton was a 'workaholic'. There are a number of accounts of Cromwell and another person throwing cushions at each other; in an obscure little book written by Milner ( a Plagiarist who found old books, and re-wrote them, a bit like modern Historians)
it states that it was Ireton who was the other combatant. At Brigett and Henry Ireton's wedding, it was Cromwell who started a food fight! You may recall the silly scandal about John Prescott's Jaguars. Both Ireton and Cromwell had a love of fast carriages which puts Prescott in the best Company.
Why read the Putney Debates? They show Henry Ireton as the politician and Oliver Cromwell as the, slightly bemused, Country Gentleman whose priorities were the restoration of Order and the retention of Property.
Ireton and Cromwell started to become unpopular with the Radicals from that time onwards. Ireton believed that only people with land of a certain value or wealth of a certain income should have the Vote. Rainsborough then asked "What have we been fighting for?". Ireton replied that at no time was it intimated that the Civil War was fought for universal male suffrage. Had Ireton lived, Cromwell may have had an easier time of it. There would then have been a natural successor to Cromwell or maybe, even Ireton would have turned against Cromwell when Cromwell refused to dismantle the 'Arch of State'. In order to secure the rights of Many, Cromwell had to deny the demands of the Few.

Laurie Pettitt

3 March 2017, 17:59

Care should always be taken when reading 'stories' from Ireland. There was plague in Limerick and Ireton prevented the Plague ridden residents of Limerick from leaving. If Ireton had withdrawn and allowed the Citizens of Limerick free movement, the plage would have taken, in lives what Ireton and Cromwell were often accused of.
The 'stories' from Ireland include the fact that up to 8,000,000 people died in the Potato Famine (leaving just 600,000 in the whole country). Irish stories claim that Ireton died shouting for 'Blood! more Blood!
Both Cromwell and Ireton believed that the Irish were 'ridden by the Roman Catholic clergy'. Ireton was diligent but careless of his own health, as mentioned by Cromwell writing from Scotland. In relation to the King, both Cromwell and Ireton came to the conclusion that the King was not capable of honesty and that the country would be at war as long as the King lived. Charles Stuart earned himself the same label as James IV of Scotland 'Perfidious'. If you want to 'know' Ireton, read the Putney Debates.

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