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OLIVER CROMWELL

 
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Nov, 2003 02:13 pm
Granted, and gladly so.

Bon voyage, Setty
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2003 05:43 pm
In the spring of 1650, the Marquis of Montrose attempted to invade Scotland and to defeat the Covenanters in order to pave the way for King Charles II. This is neither a tale of Scots wars nor of Charles II, but this matters in that the victory of the Covenant Army under Leslie and Strachan seems to have lead Charles to negotiate with the Scots Covenanters, who had greatly resented the execution of a Scots King (Charles I) by Parliament. Parliament wanted to forestall any move by the Scot, but Fairfax refused to lead the New Model against the Scots. Cromwell was called home from Ireland, bringing a recently reformed royalist--George Monck--with him. Cromwell was named Lord General in place of Fairfax, and Monck was made Major General and the commander of foot. Cromwell finally got off with an army of about 16,000 veterans (in terms of quality, perhaps the best troops in Europe, excepting only the Swedes), and crossed into Scotland in late July. Leslie danced about all through August, to avoid a direct confrontation. The Covenanting Committee of State had decided to purge the army of all those who were not deemed "religiously correct," which meant that the bulk of veteran troops were gone. Leslie apparently planned to wear down the New Model, gain some time to season his troops, and fall on the English when circumstance obliged them to retreat. He very nearly pulled it off. The New Model was reduced to about 10,000 or 11, 000 men by sickness and the normal "wear and tear" of campaigning, and Leslie could not be forced to give battle. Cromwell fell back toward Dunbar on the coast, so as to supply his army with the aid of the Fleet. Leslie followed closely with more than 20,000 troops; although the quality was still poor, spirit was very high, which can balance a multitude of military sins. Leslie took up a good position overlooking Dunbar, and another force blocked any march south to England. If Cromwell were obliged to embark the troops to escape, the Scottish horse could inflict heavy damage in that day of slow moving, clumsy armies.

This was an age when men believed in "providences" or dispensations by God to a supplicant to show favor for the fervently faithful. This is what both English and Scot believed happened subsequently, as did Cromwell very definitely. More likely, though, Leslie thought that his superiority of numbers and postion would give him the chance to crush the New Model, and, as well, the Covenanter Committee had representatives with the army, and they likely urged that the chosen of God (as they saw themselves) must punish the wicked. Leslie moved his forces from the Lammermuir Hills into the plain before Dunbar. Cromwell's position was bounded on the left by a deep ravine which ran across his front past the center, and the Scots had left their right flank "in the air" on the assumption that if the New Model attempted to get on that flank, they could be slaughtered in the ravine or as they emerged. But Cromwell saw the Scots move as a providence, and on the night of September 2, he moved the most of his foot, and the best of his horse across the ravine, leaving behind only sufficient force to prevent the Scots left from moving across the front to support the right. In the hour just before dawn, the New Model attacked, with the horse in the van, and Monck's foot in support. The Scot fought well, savagely even. With Monck's infantry fully engaged, and the Scot locked in a death struggle, Cromwell then personally lead his reserve of cavalry in a surprise attack on the Scots horse--having no room to manoeuvre, they fell back into their own infantry, breaking a line which the New Model had been unable to budge by conventional means. At about this time, the sun broke through the clouds, and Cromwell is said to have commented that the Scots were "made by the Lord of Hosts as stubble to our swords." About 3000 Scots were killed, and on the order of 10,000 made prisoner. The New Model quickly retraced their steps, took Edinburgh, and then proceeded to lecture the Covenanters on their religious deficiencies. As the Presbyterians believed as much in providences as did the Puritans and Dissenters, they were sunk in gloom at the thought that God had found more justice in the English cause than their own. This is generally considered to be Cromwell's most brilliant victory.

In 1651, Charles II lead yet another Scots invasion of England. The effort lacks any noteworthy military features, and the Scots army dissolved in to a massive band of looters even more quickly than had been the case in previous campaigns. At Worcester, they were trapped between rivers, and rather easily crushed by the Parliamentarians. Charles II fought bravely, and showed good leadership, but to no avail. He managed to escape in story book fashion, which is not our subject. Thus we come to the end of Cromwell's military career.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2003 06:25 pm
The details of what followed are not terribly important, except in so far as they mitigate a charge of ambition for absolute power on the part of Cromwell. The Rump Parliament, after being purged by Col. Pride's troopers, and the flight of those with Presbyterian leanings, was made up of just 50 members. Cromwell and the Council of Officers had become disgusted with the ineptitude of the Rump in supplying the army and enforcing morality in the nation, which had been the intent of purging Parliament in the first place. Finally, in 1653, Cromwell lead troops to Westminster, and the Rump was expelled. Cromwell and the Council of officers now ruled in the place of Parliament. But neither Cromwell nor the Major Generals were comfortable with military rule (not yet, at any rate), and the Nominated Assembly was formed, largely from among Dissenters such as the Baptists and Fifth Monarchists (those who believed that the execution of Charles I had ushered in the era of the fifth monarcy, or age, ostensibly predicted in the bible, and leading to the reign of Christ on earth), and, of course, the Independents. One hundred thirty-nine "saints" were assembled. One member was named Praisegod Barebones (probably corrupted from Barbonne), and the body has often been referred to as the "Barebones" Parliament. The result was even less satisfactory to the Lord-General and the Council of Officers, as about the only thing this august body could agree on was to lecture the officers on morality and religion. They effected none of the looked-for moral and social reforms. They did pass some much needed civil reform, including civil marriage, registration of births and deaths, protection of the estates of minors and lunatics, and relief of debtors. But lawyers became alarmed at the proposed abolition of Chancery, and the codification of common law, and propertied men were alarmed at the thought of economic reform. The more moderate members therefore voted to dissolve the assembly within six months of its foundation, and to offer to Cromwell the powers which had been vested in the Nominated Assembly. General Lambert proposed an Instrument of Government, and Cromwell was, in December 1653, appointed Lord Protector for life. (Guillaume le Marechal, also known as William Marshall, had been the first Lord Protector after the death of King John, and had been regent for the boy Henry III from 1216 to 1219.) The office was not to be hereditary, and the Lord Protector was to call a Parliament at least once in every three years, which would sit for at least five months--the basic provisions of the Triennial Act signed by a reluctant Charles I a dozen years earlier.

The policies of Cromwell were much as the Puritans had once hoped for, in that a civil society was formed without reference to aristocracy, and without any establishment of religion. Catholics and the "licentious" were prohibited from practicing religion (the latter referred to the most extreme of Protestant sects, and was largely used as a stick to belabor those who would participate in no organized congregation), but there was otherwise religious tolerance--which Cromwell enhanced by quietly and personally protecting the Jews of England from exploitation. To the mind of the Puritan, the state had no place in his or her congregation, and therefore, religion had no place in the state, other than to inform the character of statutes designed to promote social order. The egalitarianism hoped for by the Dissenters was abandoned altogether--the franchise was limited to men with property and at least 200 pounds sterling per annum, an income which excluded all of the working class, and many small holders such as Cromwell had once been after he left Lincoln's Inn. Nevertheless, the franchise was broader than it had ever been in England, and broader than it would ever again be until the first Reform Act in 1832. In September, 1654, the first Protectorate Parliament was called, and included membes from Scotland and Ireland. This Parliament, as had all its predecessors right back to 1628, was more interested in debating religious issues; as well, it took up writing a constitution, amending the Instrument of Government and curbing the power of the Major Generals. Cromwell dissolved the body in January, 1655. A feeble royalist uprising in 1655 (the Penruddick rebellion) was quickly and ruthlessly suppressed, and the Council of Officers used the event as an excuse to urge Cromwell to put the country under military rule. This was the era of the Major Generals. England and Wales were divided into eleven districts, each one administered by a Major General. The regime was extremely unpopular. In September, 1656, the second Protectorate Parliament was called, and at the urging of that body, Cromwell abolished the system of rule by the Major Generals in the spring of 1657. He was now urged to take the crown, in a document known as The Humble Petition and Advice. This was a notion very unpalatable to the Army, and Cromwell agonized over the issue, before rejecting the offer. The Parliament then amended the document, and Cromwell as re-instated as Lord Protector (theoretically, the office had been abolished along with the rule of the Major Generals), and now had the right to name his successor. In 1658, he established an upper house, and nominated members, who had the privileges of peers, and this drew down the howls of the Parliament. Cromwell abolished his upper house, and then dissolved the Parliament as well. His health declined rapidly thereafter, as he ruled by fiat, and despaired (rightly as events were to prove) of the capacity of his son Richard to replace him. On September 3, 1658, the anniversary of his victories at Dunbar and Worcester, he died. Richard became known to English history as Tumbledown Dick, and fled not long after. The last organized military body in the country was the Parliamentary Guard at Coldstream in Scotland, and General Monck marched slowly south with that body in the spring of 1660. He played his hand very closely to the cuff, and when the feeble, sefl-appointed Parliament offered to restore the monarchy in the person of Charles II, he consented.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2003 07:21 pm
During Cromwell's power in the Protectorate, his foreign policy had ended the Anglo-Dutch war, and he had then turned his attention to Spain. Many in his own time considered this a backward-looking policy, as it was acknowledged everywhere that the enervated Spanish monarchy no longer posed any threat to other European nations, and the military operations interferred with normal trade by English merchants trading into the Spanish colonies. Parliament did take Jamaica in 1655, but this cloud had a dark lining--John Cromwell, Oliver's most capable offspring, was in Jamaica when his father died, and Tumbledown Dick frittered away his patrimony. As they had since about 1600, Irish military men flooded the armies of the continent, being unable to save their homeland--tens of thousands of the Irish served in French and Austrian armies, and dozens of Irish officers reached high rank in those armies. The Scot was less likely to leave home, but Scots officers were out of employment, and they joined their Keltic cousins in the armies of the continent (most notably Patrick Gordon, who was too young to have faced the New Model, but became a soldier of fortune on the continent, and eventually took employment with Alexei Mikhailovitch Romanov; he, more than any other foreign officer, taught the military sciences to Petr Alexeevitch, Peter the Great). Life for the Scots crofter was little changed by these events--the Laird was still the Laird, and all good men feared God, even if they could not quite make out what the debates of the divines were all about. Life for the Irish got a lot worse, when canny Parliamentarians enforced stringent laws of oppression (that term was blandly used) against Catholics, while removing all the restrictions which had previously made non-Episcopal Protestants the allies of the Catholics against the land laws.

For the peasant and laborer of England, little changed. The establishment of social records keeping, largely simple birth and death registers, was to eventually lead to the development of social statistics as a science and a tool of the state in the 18th century, but had little effect on the day to day lives of the poor and "mechanic" classes. Many Dissenters of these classes had fought for Parliament and Cromwell, and left their bones all over the country, and in Scotland, Wales, Jamaica and the Low Countries. But their faith was not rewarded--the implicit bargain with Parliament of 1642 was not only never realized, Cromwell had the satisfcation of hanging John Lilburne and ending the Leveller movement forever during the mutinies of 1649. The Diggers enjoyed a brief hour in the sun. But after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, the practice of enclosure was resumed with a vengeance. England now accelerated the process by which she was to detroy here own "sturdy Yoeman farmers." The Levellers had proposed The Agreement of the People in 1647, which would have been a constitution not terribly dissimilar to that which would appear in America 140 years later. The document is interesting, in my opinion, and you may read it here[/color]. For all of his lack of religious orthodoxy, and his participation in the rebellious Parliaments of 1628 and 1640, the sum of Cromwell's career seems to have been to preserve the old order, minus the peerage and the King. Merry Old, wrapped already in too many centuries of tradition, stood at the crossroads of change, and recoiled in horror--at least, so it seems to me.

Oliver Cromwell at the least completed the course of study at Lincoln's Inn after attendance at Cambridge--but he did not practice the law, and became a small holder in his home county, as had been his forebears. He sat in two of the most radical Parliaments in his nation's history, but his cousins Hampden and Pym were the thinkers, the movers, the charismatic agitators. His greatest accomplishments in life were military, but arose more from ordinary persevering competence in an age which seemed not to know or care of the competence of the high and mighty Lord or Squire who would be called to lead armies. Cromwell shines forth as a leader because the necessary unrelenting discipline and attention to logistics which make any army efficient seems to have been a natural talent of his. His earliest success came from the devotion of his Dissenting troopers, and the discipline which his cavalry displayed--the wonder of all military men in the British Isles and even among the tried and successful military leaders of the Thirty Years War--did not survive the New Model. He does at least deserve credit for leadership which produced a result which has never been repeated. Even the hussars of Bonapart and the stern troopers of Seydlitz and Blucher were to be disorganized by their charge; in the fame of Cromwell's military career, the excellencies of the ordinary trooper and foot soldier of the New Model are unnoticed. The revolution in military doctrine of St. Germain and de Broglie when combined with the massive drafts of dedicated peasant revolutionaries eventually created la Grande Armée with which Napoleon was to inscribe his name on history. Little known, however, is that one hundred fifty years before and more, the ordinary private soldier of the New Model fought with the self-imposed discipline and the fervor of devotion to a cause which were to make the French invincible for a generation, while creating the doctrines and staff structure which have created modern armies. But Cromwell, no more than John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, nor yet Arthur Wellesley, the "Iron Duke," Wellington, had any notion of staff organization as a military science and discipline, nor a concept of the English foot and horse as bodies of men with a rare courage and devotion whose intelligence could be relied upon. The lash was temporarily banished in the New Model, and was unneeded given the faith the common foot soldier displayed. But Cromwell, as much as Fairfax, Lambert or Monck, simply considered this a result of religion, and a quantity to be exploited, while any sign of insubordination was to be ruthlessly crushed. Just as the French were to respond to la Patie en Danger with both an urge to defend their homeland and a democratic intelligence about the role they played in the line, the Dissenter came with a stake to fight for, and a desire to learn the profession of arms so that they might attain it. Napoleon squandered just such a generation in the slaughter of Wagram in 1809; Cromwell simply hanged the Levellers and Agitators in 1649. Cromwell displayed a military sense, and a capacity for audacity, which placed him on the level of Montecucculi, Condé and Tilly; he never attained to the brilliant strategic sense of Turenne, nor the organizational and tactical genius of Gustavus Adolphus, nor the brute, controlled agression of Wallenstein. As a head of state, he displayed that common sense which allows a man to recognize competence in others, and the energy and intellectual organization to implement the programs of such men. The civil organization of England in the Protectorate was better than it would again be for three centuries. He also displayed little sense of England's stake in international affairs.

All in all, Oliver Cromwell was not in any regard a brilliant man. In so many ways, he was an unfailingly competent man. He remains one of the most fascinating studies which English history offers.
0 Replies
 
mikey
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2003 08:45 pm
bookmarking
0 Replies
 
annifa
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Dec, 2003 07:55 am
Setanta wrote:

"No particular point, just a short bio of someone whom i find interesting, and historically important."

Short? *ahem*
define 'short'....

i realise im writing on an old 'thread' (newbies picking up the lingo!) so tis doubtful tha t'will be read..but what the hey!
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Dec, 2003 11:35 am
O yes, indeed, it was short. I could have really gotten into the religious issues and the numerous sects and theological oddities, not to mention detailed accounts of battles and campaigns, as well as Parliamentary acts and political skullduggery, but decided to keep it brief . . .


heeheeheeheeheeheeheeheeheehee . . .

okbye
0 Replies
 
Acquiunk
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Dec, 2003 02:06 pm
What about the economic and social issues? Britain was in the early stages of the transition from a traditional demand economy to a more modern consumer or supply economy. A transition that was breaking the traditional reciprocal relationship between lord and commoners. At the same time, the expanding economy (and empire) was offering opportunities for energetic commoners to rise, which created anxiety among the insular elite.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Dec, 2003 02:13 pm
Yeah, like i said, it's just a short bio . . .
0 Replies
 
Letty
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Dec, 2003 03:05 pm
WOW!

Well, I do know that is was during this period that the cavaliers came to Virginia, hence the name of the UVA football team. Shocked
0 Replies
 
Acquiunk
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Dec, 2003 04:19 pm
Setanta. I should have mentioned, it is a very well written short Bio.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jan, 2004 04:25 pm
I just noticed this today, please forgive my lack of attention, and the consequent unmannerly appearance.

Thank you for your kind remark.
0 Replies
 
Acquiunk
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jan, 2004 04:57 pm
No problem, big friendly dogs tend to be easily distracted by other, more pertinent, issues.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jan, 2004 06:14 pm
Thank you for all this, Setanta.
0 Replies
 
Letty
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jan, 2004 07:49 pm
Osso, please don't thank the man. He'll give us another biography..

Milton was good...Cardinal Newman was better... Razz
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jan, 2004 08:09 pm
Oh, but I'd like to hear more...
0 Replies
 
 

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