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What kind of ruler was Oliver Cromwell?

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


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)

Source 4a

In the interim Cromwell and his army grew wanton with their power, and invented a thousand tricks of government, which, when nobody opposed, they themselves fell to dislike and vary every day. First he calls a parliament out of his own pocket, himself naming a sort of godly men for every county, who meeting and not agreeing, a part of them, in the name of the people, gave up the sovereignty to him. Shortly after he makes up several sorts of mock parliaments, but not finding one of them absolutely for his turn, turned them off again. ……

Source 4b

... [The Royalists] were every day forming designs, and plotting for the murder of Cromwell, and other insurrections, which being contrived in drink, and managed by false and cowardly fellows, were still revealed to Cromwell, who had most excellent intelligence of all things that passed, even in the king's closet; and by these unsuccessful plots they were only the obstructors of what they sought to advance, while to speak truth, Cromwell's personal courage and magnanimity upheld him against all enemies and malcontents. His own army disliked him, and once when sevenscore officers had combined to cross him in something he was pursuing, and engaged one to another, Lambert being the chief, with solemn promises and invocations to God, the protector hearing of it, overawed them all, and told them, it was not they who upheld him, but he them, and rated them, and made them understand what pitiful fellows they were; whereupon, they all, like rated dogs, clapped their tails between their legs, and begged his pardon, and left Lambert to fall alone, none daring to own him publicly, though many in their hearts wished him the sovereignty.