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Oliver Cromwell

(1599-1658), Lord Protector of England

Early Stuart Portraits Catalogue Entry

Sitter associated with 224 portraits
A country gentleman who became a soldier, statesman and finally Lord Protector of Great Britain. As MP for Huntingdon and then Cambridge, Cromwell was an outspoken critic of King Charles I. His military skills and God-fearing tenacity were decisive factors in the Parliamentarian victory in the Civil Wars, and he was prominent among those who first treated with, and then executed the King in 1649. He achieved military success in Ireland in 1649, where he carried out brutal massacres. He led the New Model Army to victory against the Scots and the future King Charles II in 1651. Emerging as a head of state when the 'Rump' Parliament was dissolved in 1653, he was created Lord Protector. During this time, he pursued an aggressive anti-Spanish foreign policy, failing to take Hispaniola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic) but succeeding in taking Jamaica from Spain. This would become the foremost of Britain’s slave colonies. Cromwell refused the crown in 1657, dying in 1658.

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Laurie Pettitt

15 March 2017, 18:05

The English Civil war, or the Wars of the Three Kingdoms is pretty unique in History.
The 'Losers' got to write the History. The winners were purged from records as far away as Massachusetts. The Guild Book of Berwick Upon Tweed was re-written in 1670 and now there are great chunks missing from it. Letters that you hope you might be able to see in Westminster; gone. The first real investigations into Cromwell were in the 19th Century. Most of the things before that had been written under Patronage and the Patrons had Patrons who would determine what could be written.
I'm adding this because every story you read or hear needs careful investigation. Even now, stories which have been regarded as History are being found to be untrue. So I say to you: "Now go away and proves me wrong (PLEASE)..

Laurie Pettitt

03 March 2017, 20:35

Brutality was the order of the day for all Armies in the World in the 17th Century.
Cromwell was born into the World of the 'Star Chamber' in England (Archbishop Laud ran it and got rather good at extracting truths) and the Inquisition in most parts of Europe. His counterpart and one time Ally in Scotland, Sir David Leslie had been told by the Clergy that 'It was acceptable to offer terms, accept surrender, disarm the enemy and slaughter them' (Buchan's 'Montrose).
What might have happened if Drogheda or Wexford had accepted the original terms.
The Garrison to march away. The Citizen's property saved from Plunder. Priests could march out with the Army but not tolerated in the Towns. Why? They were the cheerleaders, edging people on to further cruelty. Edingurgh Castle succumbed to terms. Garrison and people allowed to walk away. Property within the castle to remain the property of the original owners. (24th December 1650). Cromwell was an honourable man. His first orders to George Monck in Edinburgh were "Restore Order. Get people back into the Churches. Get people trading freely." Governor Simnett of Wexford thought himself a 'wag' when he handed Cromwell a list of demands and it cost him dearly.
So.... What did Cromwell do for us? There was a thing called The Instrument of State, described by Thomas Wentworth as an Arch. There were the Commons, (1 pillar) The lords, Pillar 2 and the King holding the two pillars together. The Rebublicans wanted the arch to be demolished. The Commons of 1653 wanted total power. No balancing 'Lords or Council of State' No king or Ruler. Then, to be the sole judiciary in the Land. Control of the Courts, the Army and Navy and all legislation.
People say that Cromwell's action in throwing those people out was 'Undemocratic.
Cromwell's enemy, Edward Hyde, the Earl of Clarendon said thyat if Cromwell had not done what he did, it would have taken ten times the blood to remove them than it did the King.
A few things that any of 'Their Majesties might consider'.
1: Cromwell kept the constitutional instrument of state together.
2: Cromwell and Ireton dealt honestly with the King until he proved too perfidious.
3: In his power, Cromwell could have reached out and purged the house of Stuart but he didn't.
4: Cromwell's secret weapon, George Monck. When things started to fall apart in England, from an inpenetrable base in Scotland, Monck marched down to London and did what Cromwell ordered. Restore Order.
So much has been written about Cromwell, much of it based on stories told in the two hundred years after his death. If you were writing under Patronage, you wrote what the Patron wanted to hear. Even now, new History is replacing old Stories and how the purveyors of those old Stories, who have based their Careers on the stories, kick up a fuss.

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