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What kind of ruler was Oliver Cromwell?

Case study 2: Cromwell in the eyes of others - Source 5


A summary of Cromwell’s character by a royalist

(Earl of Clarendon, Edward Hyde: The History of the Great Rebellion, Vol. III, part 1, p.432, p.509. Published at Clarendon Printing House, 1767-1786)

Source 5a

There cannot be a greater Manifestation of the universal prejudice and aversion in the whole Kingdom towards Cromwell, -and his Government, than that there could be so many designs and conspiracies against him, which were communicated to so many Men, and that such signal and notable Persons could resort to London, and remain there, without any such information or discovery, as might enable him to cause them to be apprehended; …

Source 5b

To conclude his Character, Cromwell was not so far a Man of blood, as to follow Machiavel's method; which prescribes, upon a total alteration of Government, as a thing absolutely necessary, to cut off all the heads of those and extirpate their Families, who are Friends to the old one. It was confidently reported, that, in the Council Officers, it was more than once proposed, “that there might be a general Massacre of all the Royal Party", as the only Expedient to secure the Government, but that Cromwell would never consent to it; it may be, out of too great a contempt of his Enemies. In a word, as he was guilty of many Crimes against which Damnation is denounced, and for which Hell-fire is prepared, so he had some good Qualities which have caused the Memory of some Men in all Ages to be celebrated; and he will be looked upon by Posterity as a brave wicked Man.