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Реферат: Oliver Cromwell


1. Youth

2. Formative influences. 3. Early public career 4. Cromwell in Parliament. 5. The First civil War and Cromwell’s military career 6. The Second Civil War 7. First chairman of the Council.

8. Cromwell as Lord Protector

a. Foreign policy. b. Economic policy c. Relations with Parliament. 9. Death and burial 10. General Characteristic and Assessment. a. Private life and religious beliefs b. Political views 11. A calendar of key events in Cromwell's life


Oliver Cromwell, an English soldier and statesman of outstanding gifts and a forceful character shaped by a devout Calvinist faith, was lord protector of the republican Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1653 to 1658. One of the leading generals on the parliamentary side in the English Civil War against King Charles I, he helped to bring about the overthrow of the Stuart monarchy, and, as lord protector, he raised his country’s status once more to that of a leading Euro­pean power from the decline it had gone through since the death of Queen Elizabeth I. Cromwell was one of the most remarkable rulers in modern European history: for although a convinced Calvinist, he believed deeply in the value of religious toleration. At the same time his victories at home and abroad helped to enlarge and sustain a Puri­tan attitude of mind, both in Great Britain and in North America, that continued to influence political and social life until recent times. Cromwell was born at Huntingdon in eastern England on April 25, 1599, the only son of Robert Cromwell and Elizabeth Steward. His father had been a member of one of Queen Elizabeth’s parliaments and, as a landlord and, justice of the peace, was active in local affairs. Oliver Cromwell was a minor East Anglian landowner. He made a living by farming and collecting rents, first in his native Huntingdon, then from 1631 in St Ives and from 1636 in Ely. Cromwell's inheritances from his father, who died in 1617, and later from a maternal uncle were not great, his income was modest and he had to support an expanding family - widowed mother, wife and eight children. He ranked near the bottom of the landed elite, the landowning class often labeled 'the gentry' which dominated the social and political life of the county. Robert Cromwell died when his son was 18, but his widow lived to the age of 89. Oliver went to the local grammar school and then for a year attended Sidney Sussex College. Cam­bridge. After his father’s death he left Cambridge to look after his widowed mother and sisters but is believed to have studied for a time at Lincoln’s Inn in London, where country gentlemen were accustomed to acquire a smatter­ing of law. In August 1620 he married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir James Bourhier, a merchant in the City of London. By her he was to have five sons and four daughters. Formative influences. Both his father and mother came from Protestant families who had profiled from the de­struction of the monasteries during the reign of King Henry VIII, and it is probable that they influenced their son in his religious upbringing. Both his schoolmaster in Huntingdon and the Master of Sidney Sussex College were enthusiastic Calvinists and strongly anti-Catholic. In his youth Cromwell was not notably studious, being fond of outdoor sports, such as hunting: hut he was an avid reader of the Bible, and he admired Sir Walter Raleigh’s The History of the World. From his teachers and from his reading Cromwell learned that the sins of man were pun­ishable on earth but that God, through His Holy Spirit, could guide the elect into the paths of righteousness. During his early married life Cromwell, like his father, was profoundly conscious of his responsibilities to his fel­low men and concerned himself with affairs in his native fenlands, but he was also the victim of a spiritual and psychological struggle that perplexed his mind and dam­aged his health. He does not appear to have experienced conversion until he was nearly 30: later he described to a cousin how he had emerged from darkness into light. Yet he had been unable to receive the grace of God without feeling a sense of “self, vanity and badness.” He was con­vinced that he had been “the chief of sinners” before he learned that he was one of God’s Chosen. He was a country squire, a bronze-faced, callous-handed man of property. He worked on his farm, prayed and fasted often and occasionally exhorted the local congregation during church meetings. A quiet, simple, serious-minded man, he spoke little. But when he broke his silence, it was with great authority as he commanded obedience without question or dispute. As a justice of the peace, he attracted attention to himself by collaring loafers at a tavern and forcing them to join in singing a hymn. Thus Cromwell earned the respect of the Parliament locals. Early public career. When in the spring of 1640 Cromwell was elected member of Parliament for the borough of Cambridge, partly because of the important social position he held in Ely and partly because of his fame as “Lord of the Fens.” he found himself among a host of friends at Westminster who, led by John Pym. a veteran politician from Somerset, were highly critical of the monarchy. Little was achieved by the Short Parliament (dissolved after three weeks), but, when in November 1640 Cromwell was again returned by Cam­bridge to what was to be known as the Long Parliament, which sat until 1653, his public career began. Cromwell in Parliament. Cromwell had already become known in the Parliament of 1628—29 as a fiery and somewhat uncouth Puritan, who had launched an attack on Charles l’s bishops. He believed that the individual Christian could establish direct contact with God through prayer and that the principal duty of the clergy was to in­spire the laity by preaching. Cromwell, in fact, distrusted the whole hierarchy of the Church of England, though he was never opposed to a state church. He there­fore advocated abolishing the institution of the episcopate and the banning of a set ritual as prescribed in The Book of Common Prayer. He believed that Christian congrega­tions ought to be allowed to choose their own ministers, who should serve them by preaching and extemporaneous prayer. Though he shared the grievances of his fellow members over taxes, monopolies, and other burdens im­posed on the people, it was his religion that first brought him into opposition to the King’s government. When in November 1641 John Pym and his friends presented to King Charles I a “Grand Remonstrance.” consisting of over 200 clauses, among which was one censuring the bishops “and the corrupt part of the clergy, who cherish formality and superstition” in support of their own “ec­clesiastical tyranny and usurpation.” Cromwell declared that had it not been passed by the House of Commons he would have sold all he had “the next morning, and never have seen England more.” The Remonstrance was not accepted by the King, and the gulf between him and his leading critics in the House of Commons widened. A month later Charles vainly at­tempted to arrest five of them for treason: Cromwell was not yet sufficiently prominent to be among these. But when in 1642 the King left London to raise an army, and events drifted toward civil war, Cromwell began to distin­guish himself not merely as an outspoken Puritan but also as a practical man capable of organization and leadership. In July he obtained permission from the House of Com­mons to allow his constituency of Cambridge to form and arm companies for its defense, in August he himself rode to Cambridge to prevent the colleges from sending their plate to be melted down for the benefit of the King, and as soon as the war began he enlisted a troop of cavalry in his birthplace of Huntingdon. As a captain he made his first appearance with his troop in the closing stages of the Battle of Edgehill (October 23. 1642) where Robert Devereux, 3rd earl of Essex, was commander in chief for Parliament in the first major contest of the war.

The First civil War and Cromwell’s military career

During 1643 Cromwell acquired a reputation both as a military organizer and a fighting man. The Civil Wars, however, which broke out in 1642, when Cromwell was forty-three, made it clear that he possessed unexpected talents and abilities. Though totally lacking in previous military experience, he created and led a superb force of cavalry, the Ironsides, and rose from the rank of captain to that of lieutenant-general in three years, displaying, at the same time, a paradoxical mixture of religious sincerity and astute political opportunism. From the very beginning he had insisted that the men who served on the parliamentarian side should be carefully chosen and properly trained, and he made it a point to find loyal and well-behaved men regardless of their religious beliefs or social status. Appointed a colonel in February, he began to recruit a first-class cavalry regiment. While he demanded good treatment and regular payment for his troopers, he exercised strict discipline. If they swore, they were fined; if drunk, put in the stocks; if they called each other Roundheads—thus endorsing the contemptuous ep­ithet the Royalists applied to them because of their close-cropped hair—they were cashiered; and if they deserted, they were whipped. So successfully did he train his own cavalrymen that he was able to check and re-form them after they charged in battle. That was one of Cromwell’s outstanding gifts as a fighting commander. From the outbreak of war in summer 1642, Cromwell was an active and committed officer in the parliamentary army. Initially a captain in charge of a small body of mounted troops, in 1643 he was promoted to colonel and given command of his own cavalry regiment. He was successful in a series of sieges and small battles which helped to secure East Anglia and the East Midlands against the royalists. At the end of the year he was appointed second in command of the Eastern Association army, parliament's largest and most effective regional army, with the rank of lieutenant-general. During 1644 he contributed to the victory at Marston Moor, which helped secure the north for parliament, and also campaigned with mixed results in the south Midlands and Home Counties. In 1645-6, as second in command of the newly formed main parliamentary army, the New Model Army, Cromwell played a major role in parliament's victory in the Midlands, sealed by the battle of Naseby in June 1645, and in the south and south-west. But once the war was over the House of Commons wanted to disband the army as cheaply and quickly as possible. Disappointed, Cromwell told Fairfax in March 1647 that “never were the spirits of men more embittered than now.” He devoted himself to trying to reconcile the Parliament with the army and was appointed a parlia­mentary commissioner to offer terms on which the army could be disbanded except for those willing to take part in a campaign in Ireland. As late as May he thought that the soldiers might agree to disband but that they would refuse to serve in Ireland and that they were “under a deep sense of some sufferings.” When the civilian leaders in the House of Commons decided that they could not trust the army and ordered it disbanded, while they hired a Scottish army to protect them, Cromwell, who never liked the Scots and thought that the English soldiers were being disgracefully treated, left London and on June 4. 1647, threw in his lot with his fellow soldiers. The Second Civil War For the remain­der of this critical year he attempted to find a peaceful settlement of the kingdom’s problems, hut his task seemed insoluble; and soon his good faith was freely called into question. The army was growing more and more restive, and on the day Cromwell left London. a party of soldiers seized Charles I. Cromwell and his son-in-law. Henry Ireton interviewed the King twice, trying to persuade him to agree to a constitutional settlement that they then in­tended to submit to Parliament. At that time Cromwell, no enemy of the King, was touched by his devotion to his children. His main task, however, was to overcome the general feeling in the arms’ that neither the King nor Parliament could be trusted. When, under pressure from the rank and file, General Fairfax led the army toward the houses of Parliament in London, Cromwell still in­sisted that the authority of Parliament must be upheld; and in September he also resisted a proposal in the House of Commons that no further addresses should be made to the King. Just over a month later he took the chair at meetings of the General Council of the Army (which included representatives of the private soldiers known as Agitators) and assured them that he was not committed to any particular form of government and had not had any underhand dealings with the King. On the other hand, fearing anarchy, he opposed extremist measures such as the abolition of the monarchy and the House of Lords and the introduction of a more democratic constitution. But all Cromwell’s efforts to act as a mediator between army, Parliament, and King came to nothing when Charles I escaped from Hampton Court Palace, where he had been kept in honorable captivity, and fled to the Isle of Wight to open negotiations with Scottish commissioners offering to restore him to the throne on their terms. On January 3, 1648, Cromwell abandoned his previous position and, telling the House of Commons that the King was “an obstinate man, whose heart God had hardened,” agreed to a vote of no addresses, which was carried. The Royalists, encouraged by the King’s agreement with the Scots and the failure of Cromwell to unite Parliament and the army. took up arms again and the Second Civil War began. Cromwell commanded a large part of the New Model Army which first crushed rebellion in South Wales and then at Preston defeated a Scottish-royalist army of invasion. The correspondence he conducted during the siege with the governor of the Isle of Wight, whose duty it was to keep watch on the King, reveals that he was increasingly turning against Charles. Parliamentary commissioners had been sent to the island in order to make one final effort to reach an agreement with the King. But Cromwell told the governor that the King was not to be trusted, that concessions over religion must not be granted, and that the army might be considered a lawful power capable of ensuring the safety of the people and the liberty of all Christians. While Cromwell, still not entirely decided on his course, lingered in the north, his son-in-law Ireton and other officers in the southern army took decisive action. They drew up a remonstrance to Parliament complaining about the negotiations in the Isle of Wight and demanding the trial of the King as a Man of Blood. Hesitating up to the last moment, Cromwell, pushed on by Ireton, by Christmas Day finally accepted Charles’s trial as an act of justice. He was one of the 135 commissioners in the High Court of Justice and, when the King refused to plead, he signed the death warrant. First chairman of the Council. After the British Isles were declared a republic and named the Commonwealth, Oliver Cromwell served as the first chairman of the Council of State, the executive body of a one-chamber Parliament. During the first three years following Charles l’s execution, however, he was chiefly absorbed in cam­paigns against the Royalists in Ireland and Scotland. After the trial and execution of the King, Cromwell led major military campaigns to establish English control over Ireland (1649-50) and then Scotland (1650-51), culminating in the defeat of another Scottish-royalist army of invasion at Worcester in September 1651. In summer 1650, before embarking for Scotland, Cromwell had been appointed lord general - that is, commander in chief - of all the parliamentary forces. It was a remarkable achievement for a man who probably had no military experience before 1642. Cromwell consistently attributed his military success to God's will. Historians point to his personal courage and skill, to his care in training and equipping his men and to the tight discipline he imposed both on and off the battlefield. Cromwell now hoped for pacification, a political settlement, and social reform. He pressed through an “act of oblivion” (amnesty). but the army became more and more discontented with Parlia­ment. It believed that the members were corrupt and that a new Parliament should be called. Once again Cromwell tried to mediate between the two antagonists, but his sympathies were with his soldiers. When he finally came to the conclusion that Parliament must be dissolved and replaced, he called in his musketeers and on April 20, 1653, expelled the members from the House. He asserted that they’ were “corrupt and unjust men and scandalous to the profession of the Gospel”; two months later he set up a nominated assembly’ to take their place. In a speech on July’ 4 he told the new members that they must be just, and. “ruling in the fear of God.” resolve the affairs of the nation. Cromwell seems to have regarded this “Little Parliament” as a constituent body capable of establishing a Puritan republic. But just as he had considered the previous Par­liament to be slow and self-seeking, he came to think that the Assembly of Saints, as it was called, was too hasty and too radical. He also resented the fact that it did not con­sult him. Later he described this experiment of choosing Saints to govern as an example of his own “weakness and folly.” He sought moderate courses and also wanted to end the naval war begun against the Dutch in 1652. When in December 1653, after a coup d’etat planned by Major General John Lambert and other officers, the majority of the Assembly of Saints surrendered power into Cromwell’s hands, he decided reluctantly that Providence had chosen him to rule. As commander in chief appointed by Parlia­ment, he believed that he was the only legally constituted authority left. He therefore accepted an “Instrument of Government” drawn up by Lambert and his fellow officers by which he became lord protector, ruling the three nations of England. Scotland, and Ireland with the advice and help of a council of state and a Parliament, which had to he called every three years.

Cromwell as Lord Protector

Before Cromwell summoned his first Protectorate Parlia­ment on September 3. 1654, he and his Council of State passed more than 80 ordinances embodying a constructive domestic policy. His aim was to reform the law, to set up a Puritan Church, to permit toleration outside it to promote education, and to decentralize administration. The resistance of the lawyers somewhat dampened his enthusiasm for law reform, but he was able to appoint good judges both in England and Ireland. He was strongly opposed to severe punishments for minor crimes, saving: “to see men lose their lives for petty matters ... is a thing that God will reckon for.” For him murder, treason, and rebellion alone were subject to capital punishment. During his Protectorate, committees known as Triers and Ejectors were set up to ensure that a high standard of conduct was maintained by clergy and schoolmasters. In spite of resistance from some members of his council Cromwell readmitted Jews into the country. He concerned himself with education, was an excellent chancellor of Oxford University, founded a college at Durham, and saw to it that grammar schools flourished as they had never done before. Foreign policy. In 1654 Cromwell brought about a satisfactory conclusion to the Anglo-Dutch War, which, as a contest between fellow Puritans, he had always disliked. The question then arose of how best to employ his army and navy. His Council of State was divided, but eventually he resolved to conclude an alliance with France against Spain. He sent an amphibious expedition to the Spanish West Indies, and in May 1655 Jamaica was conquered. As the price for sending an expe­ditionary force to Spanish Flanders to fight alongside the French he obtained possession of the port of Dunkirk. He also interested himself in Scandinavian affairs: although he admired King Charles X of Sweden, his first consid­eration in attempting to mediate in the Baltic was the advantages that would result for his own country. In spite of the emphasis Cromwell laid on the Protestant interest in some of his speeches, the guiding motive in his foreign policy was national and not religious benefit. Economic policy Economic policy and industrial policy followed mainly tra­ditional lines. But he opposed monopolies, which were disliked by the country and had only benefited the court gentry under Queen Elizabeth and the first two Stuarts. For this reason the East Indian trade was thrown open for three years, but in the end Cromwell granted the com­pany a new charter (October 1657) in return for financial aid. Satisfactory methods of borrowing had not yet been discovered; hence—like those of practically all European governments of his time—Cromwell’s public finances were by no means free from difficulties. Relations with Parliament. When Cromwell’s first Par­liament met he justified the establishment of the Protec­torate as providing for “healing and settling” the nation after the civil wars. A radical in some directions, such as in seeking the reform of the laws. Cromwell now adopted a conservative attitude because he feared that the overthrow of the monarchy might lead to political collapse. But vociferous republicans, who became leaders of this newly elected Parliament. were unwilling to concentrate on legislation, questioning instead the whole basis of Cromwell’s government. Cromwell insisted that they must accept the “four fundamentals” of the new constitution that, he argued, had been approved both by “God and the people of these nations.” The four fundamentals were government by a single person and Parliament: the regular summoning of parliaments, which must not he allowed to perpetuate themselves: the maintenance of liberty of conscience”: and the division of the control of the armed forces between the protector and Parliament. Oliver said that he would sooner be “rolled into my grave and buried with infamy, than I can give my consent” to the ‘willful throwing away of this Government,. so owned by God, so approved by men.” He therefore required all members of Parliament, if they wished to keep their seats, to sign an engagement to be faithful to a protector and Parliament and to promise not to alter its basic character. Except for 100 convinced republicans, the members agreed to do so but were still more concerned with rewriting the constitution than reforming the laws as desired by the protector. As soon as he could legitimately do so (January 22, 1655), Cromwell dissolved Parliament. But with his second Parliament. which he convened in 1656, he encountered exactly the came difficulty in the end, for the republican leaders, when they were allowed to resume their seats, tried to destroy the Protectorate on the ground that they were being forced to return to “an Egyp­tian bondage.” Once again Cromwell emphasized that he had been “called” to power and that anarchy or an inva­sion from abroad would follow if his authority were not upheld. Thus in February 1658 he felt himself driven again to dissolve Parliament even though, as a former member, he understood only too well the gravity of his action. Death and burial. Ever since the campaign in Ireland. Cromwell’s health Death and had been poor. In August 1658, after his favorite daughter, Elizabeth, died of cancer, he was taken ill with malaria and taken to London with the intention of living in St. James’s Palace. But he died in Whitehall at three o’clock on September 3, the anniversary of two of his greatest victories. His body was secretly interred in Westminster Abbey on November 10. 13 days before his state funeral. In 1661, after the restoration of King Charles II, Cromwell’s embalmed remains were dug Out of the Westminster tomb and hung up at Tyburn where criminals were executed. His body was then buried beneath the gallows. But his head was stuck on a pole on top of Westminster Hall, where it is known to have remained until the end of Charles II’s reign. General characteristic and Assessment. Private life and Religious. Oliver Cromwell was by no means an extreme Puritan. By nature he was neither cruel nor in­tolerant. He cared for his soldiers, and when he differed from his generals he did not punish them severely. .) He was devoted to his old mother, his wife, and family. (The stories spread by Royalists that he was an admirer of a number of ladies have little substance to them.) While he concerned himself with the spiritual welfare of his children because he believed that “often the children of great men have not the fear of God before their eves.” he committed the mistake of not Private preparing for the practical tasks of government his eldest life and son. Richard. whom in the last days of his life he nom- religious mated to succeed him as protector. Music and hunting beliefs were among his recreations. He delighted in listening to the organ and was an excellent judge of horses. He was known to smoke, to drink sherry and small beer, and to prefer English food; he permitted dancing at the marriage of his youngest daughter. In his younger days he indulged in horseplay with his soldiers, but he was a dignified ruler. Sir Peter Lely. the famous Dutch painter, pictured him as he was in his prime (although the portrait was apparently not painted from life); the numerous paintings from life by Robert Walker dating from the beginning of the Civil War show him looking more of a fanatic. As lord protector, Cromwell was much more tolerant than in his fiery Puritan youth. Once bishops were abol­ished and congregations allowed to choose their own min­isters, he was satisfied. Outside the church he permitted all Christians to practice their own religion so long as they did not create disorder and unrest. He allowed the use of The Book of Common Prayer in private houses and even the English Roman Catholics were better off under the protectorate than they had been before. Political views. In politics Cromwell held no fixed views except that he views was opposed to what he called arbitrary government. Be­fore the execution of Charles I he contemplated the idea of placing one of Charles’s sons upon the throne. Cromwell also resisted the abolition of the House of Lords. In 1647 he said that he was not “wedded and glued” to any par­ticular form of government. After the Assembly of Saints failed, he summoned two elected parliaments (1654—55 and 1656—58), but he was never able to control them. His failure to do so has been attributed to “lack of that parliamentary management by the executive which, in correct dosage, is the essential nourishment of any sound parliamentary life” (HR. Trevor-Roper). In between these two parliaments (1655—56) he sanctioned the government of the country by major generals of the Horse Militia who were made responsible for law and order in groups of counties. But he soon abandoned this experiment when it met with protests and reverted to more normal methods of government. In the spring of 1657 he was tempted by an offer of the crown by a majority in Parliament on the ground that it fitted in better with existing institutions and the English common law. In the end he refused to become king because he knew that it would offend his old republi­can officers. Nevertheless, in the last year and a half of his life he ruled according to a form of government known as “the Petition and Advice.” This in effect made him a constitutional monarch with a House of Lords whose members he was allowed to nominate as well as an elected House of Commons. But he found it equally difficult to govern either with or without parliaments. A calendar of key events in Cromwell's life 1599 Born Huntingdon, 25th April 1616 Enters Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge 1628 MP for Huntingdon 1640 MP for Cambridge 1642 Raises troops for Parliament 1643 Colonel in the Eastern Association 1644 Lieutenant-General of the Eastern Association Army Battle of Marston Moor, 2nd July Battle of Newbury, 27th October 1645 Lieutenant-General of the New Model Army Battle of Naseby, 14th June 1647 Supports Parliamentary army in clashes with Parliament 1648 Crushes royalist rising in South Wales Battle of Preston, 18th August 1649 Supports trial and execution of the King, January Commands army sent to crush Ireland, August 1650 Commands army sent to crush Scotland, July 1650 Battle of Dunbar, 3rd September 1651 Battle of Worcester, 3rd September 1653 Dissolves Parliament, 20th April Becomes Lord Protector, 16th December 1654 Meets first Protectorate Parliament, September 1655 System of the Major- Generals established, October 1656 Meets second Protectorate Parliament, September 1657 Rejects Parliament's offer of the crown and remains Lord Protector, March - June 1658 Dies at Whitehall, 3rd September 1661 Exhumed and posthumously 'executed', 30th January The final resting place of Cromwell's physical remains is a matter of dispute. However, it is likely that his body lies near Tyburn in London, now the Marble Arch area. The head believed to be Cromwell's became a rather undignified collector's piece until bequeathed to his old Cambridge College in 1960 and buried near Sidney Sussex chapel. Literature: 1. Internet 2. Britannica pp. 822 – 826 3. Fraser, Antonia “Cromwell. Our Chief of men.” London, Ranther, 1976 th~