Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector Of The Commonwealth Of England, Scottland, And Ireland

2127 words - 9 pages

Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland, was a driven man. Cromwell was driven by his Puritan faith and the desire to see that faith sweep through all of the Commonwealth. Elected to Parliament for the first time in 1628 and then again in 1640 to both the Short and Long Parliaments. A Parliamentarian during the English Civil Wars, he was rapidly promoted to command in the New Model Army. Righteous and at times self-righteous, Cromwell’s letters and speeches show a firm confidence in his belief that Providence’s guiding hand was in his every action and decision; subsequently, any measure taken in the pursuit of Divine Providence’s will, as he viewed it, was fully warranted. His writing also shows a man who has a desire to promote himself and his own cause both politically and religiously, which at the time were one and the same.
One of Cromwell’s earliest known letters was written on 13 October, 1638 to his cousin Elizabeth. This letter shows a man full of zeal for his faith and perhaps a newfound zeal at that. “I was chief, the chief of sinners. This is true: I hated Godliness, yet God had mercy on me. O the riches of his mercy!” The letter continues in the vein of a man who has a recent conversion or revival of faith. It also depicts a man who is unabashed in his conviction when speaking on the subject of that faith despite his financial and personal hardships. John Morrill writes, “His credit-in every meaning of the word- in ruins, he sold up and took on the tenancy of a farm a few miles away. And at or around that time he experienced a profound sense of God’s promise to him of election.” Faith and reformation would be a central theme in many of the letters and speeches of Oliver Cromwell throughout the rest of his life.
By 1642 Cromwell had been a Member of Parliament for two years and had taken an active role in a group whose agenda was reformation. He was not at the use of bullying tactics to insure that perceived threats to his agenda never came to fruition. In a letter to Robert Barnard, esquire, dated 23 January, 1642, Cromwell writes, “It’s true, Sir, I know you have been wary in you carriages: be not to confident thereof. Subtly may deceive you; integrity never will. With my heart I shall desire that your judgment may alter, and your practice. I come only to hinder men from increasing the rent,-from doing hurt; but not to hurt any man: nor shall I you; I hope you will give me no cause. If you do, I must be pardoned what my relation to the Public calls for.” This is plainly a threat levied against Mr. Barnard following a visit to his home by a troop of Cromwell’s soldiers. It shows a high level of aggression and confidence on Cromwell’s part. According to Thomas Carlyle the manner in which Cromwell answered the Barnard complaint was typical of the man, “Robert Barnard, standing on the right of injured innocence, innocent till he be proved guilty, protests: Oliver responds as here, in a...

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