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What kind of ruler was Oliver Cromwell?

Case study 2: Cromwell in the eyes of others – Source 4

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The memoirs of a senior army commander, first published around 1670

(By permission of Taylor & Francis: Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson, by his widow Lucy, published by George Routledge, 1906, pp. 297, 300)

Memoirs of the life of Colonel Hutchinson c. 1670
Memoirs of the life of Colonel Hutchinson c. 1670
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Memoirs of the life of Colonel Hutchinson c. 1670
 

What is this source?

Here are two extracts from the Memoirs of the life of Colonel Hutchison, written by his wife. Her account was written in the 1660s. It describes his life and career.

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What's the background to this source?

By the end of Cromwell’s rule Colonel Hutchinson was a bitter critic of Cromwell.

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It's worth knowing that...

Working out the viewpoint of this source is an interesting challenge for an historian. Hutchinson was not a supporter of Cromwell by the time this was written. However, the Hutchinsons were no friends of the monarchy. Hutchinson was one of the men who signed Charles I’s death warrant.

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Your turn: What can we learn from this source?

  1. What does source 4a accuse Cromwell of doing?
  2. What positive things does source 4b say about Cromwell?
  3. Does this seem strange in a source that is written by a critic of Cromwell?
  4. What overall impression does this source give of Cromwell?
  5. According to this source, did Cromwell face much opposition to his rule?
  6. Why should historians be careful when using memoirs as sources?