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Oliver Cromwell


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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 10:45 PM

Interesting exchange of letters on Oliver Cromwell in the Guardian:

(1) Your correspondent justifies the removal of the statue of Cromwell from Manchester on the grounds that he was "the leader of so many colonial massacres in Ireland" (Letters, January 3). However he fails to state that there were two. In the first, at Drogheda, the victims were mainly English and in the second, at Wexford, there is no good evidence that Cromwell was responsible. Would he advocate the removal of statues of the Duke of Wellington, here and in Spain and Portugal, on the grounds of his "leadership" in the massacre of civilians in Spain? (David Evans, Bristol)

(2) While Cromwell had, on balance, a positive effect on the general development of England; for the populations of Ireland, among other nations, he was the harbinger of doom, casting the Irish Catholic population down the route which led to death, disaster and social disintegration (Letters, January 4). Cromwell is considered by Irish people in the same way as Hitler is viewed by the English. The difference being that Cromwell succeeded in his project. This led to the removal of civil rights from Catholics, and to the eventual plantation of Ulster. For David Evans to suggest that "there is no good evidence" to blame Cromwell for the Wexford massacre is akin to suggesting that Queen Victoria didn't know that British soldiers were everywhere wading knee deep in the blood of their victims. To be fair to Evans, he is asking for a consistent approach. Should we not remove all the statues of mass murderers if we remove one? Answer - yes. (Philip Foxe, London)

(3) Can I recommend Cromwell, an Honourable Enemy by Drogheda-born academic Tom Reilly? Based on contemporary sources rather than Restoration bias, Reilly shows that Cromwell did not massacre the inhabitants of Drogheda, he didn't even kill all the soldiers as was his right under 17th-century rules of warfare. His first action on landing in Dublin was to issue a proclamation offering to buy all the local produce for his army. He also forbade his soldiers to harm country people who weren't under arms. Two men from his forces were executed in the run up to the siege of Drogheda for stealing chickens from a local inhabitant. Hardly the actions of a murdering tyrant. (CJ Kedge, Prescot, Merseyside)

(4) As a native of Drogheda and author of Cromwell - An Honourable Enemy, I publicly challenge any 17th-century expert to make a credible case that plausibly suggests Oliver Cromwell and/or the men under his command engaged in the deliberate killing of even one unarmed civilian in Ireland during his nine-month Irish campaign (Letters, January 6). I am ready, willing and able to debate this issue anywhere with anyone.
Page 87 of Earthlink 5th Class - a history book currently on the school curriculum in Ireland states: "Cromwell's army captured Drogheda and about 3,000 men, women and children were killed." Academics of the period should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this nonsense to be taught to children. Isn't it about time we grew up and recognised the facts? No jury would convict Cromwell of killing innocent civilians in Ireland with the evidence that's available. (Tom Reilly, Drogheda, Co Louth, Ireland)

(5) If the testimony of Irish witnesses is to be ignored, then Cromwell can speak for himself. He described his campaign as "the great work against the barbarous and bloodthirsty Irish". Of Drogheda he wrote to parliament that he "forbade them to spare any that were in arms in the town"; in just one night "they put to the sword about 2,000 men", and "near 1,000" who had fled to a church "for safety" were "put to the sword", including their "friars". When Wexford surrendered, his men "put all to the sword that came in their way": Cromwell counted 2,000, leaving "scarce one in 20" of the town's civilian inhabitants. (Peter McKenna, Manchester)

#2 Patrick McMahon

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 12:37 AM

re. Cromwell ( in Ireland)

I grew up in Ireland: my grandparents spoke of Cromwell as though he and his troops had just, a day or so ago, passed along the nearby road, inflicting on the local populace 'indiscriminate' justice, with, of course 'God on his side'. What is crucial is that the 'received' knowledge has more enduring influence than academic research.

#3 John Dolva

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Posted 04 May 2007 - 08:00 PM

One interesting thing about Cromwell that is not usually portrayed in the following way is:

Cromwell basically led the worlds first capitalist revolution that sought to abolish the trade restrictions and freedom and movement of workers (peasants) that existed under the feudal Monarchy. This system inhibited the rising capitalist trading/manufacturing class.

Because he offered freedom to the peasants, many progressive elements of the country flocked to his banner. Upon the successful abolition of the Monarchy and the setting up of a parliament, many of the soldiery wanted to continue the fight to establish land reforms. In some instances, embryonic communal societies developed.

What Cromwell then did is what so many other similar leaders do once their mission is complete, is to stop further progress. The most effective way is to kill off any possibilities of rebellion. Hence the forces under his command left England to die in Ireland.

Divide and rule. The progress towards freedom for the English peasant was contained in the slums of industry and disarmed in Ireland.

Then with the trade routes opened, an acommodation with the Aristocracy was arrived at with the partial restoration of the Monarchy.

Business as usual.

#4 John Simkin

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Posted 05 May 2007 - 06:52 AM

One interesting thing about Cromwell that is not usually portrayed in the following way is:

Cromwell basically led the worlds first capitalist revolution that sought to abolish the trade restrictions and freedom and movement of workers (peasants) that existed under the feudal Monarchy. This system inhibited the rising capitalist trading/manufacturing class.

Because he offered freedom to the peasants, many progressive elements of the country flocked to his banner. Upon the successful abolition of the Monarchy and the setting up of a parliament, many of the soldiery wanted to continue the fight to establish land reforms. In some instances, embryonic communal societies developed.

What Cromwell then did is what so many other similar leaders do once their mission is complete, is to stop further progress. The most effective way is to kill off any possibilities of rebellion. Hence the forces under his command left England to die in Ireland.

Divide and rule. The progress towards freedom for the English peasant was contained in the slums of industry and disarmed in Ireland.

Then with the trade routes opened, an acommodation with the Aristocracy was arrived at with the partial restoration of the Monarchy.

Business as usual.


Interesting post. One important group to emerge from the English Civil War was the Levellers. In 1637 John Lilburne met John Bastwick, a Puritan preacher who had just had his ears cut off for writing a pamphlet attacking the religious views of the William Laud, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Lilburne was shocked that someone could be so severely punished for expressing their religious beliefs. Lilburne offered to help Bastwick in his struggle with the Anglican Church. Eventually it was agreed that Lilburne should go to Holland to organise the printing of a book that Bastwick had written.

In December 1637 Lilburne was arrested and charged with printing and circulating unlicensed books. On 13th February, 1638, he was found guilty and sentenced to be fined £500, whipped, pilloried and imprisoned. The following month he was whipped from Fleet Prison to Palace Yard. When he was placed in the pillory he tried to make a speech praising John Bastwick and was gagged.

While in prison Lilburne wrote about his punishments, The Work of the Beast (1638) and an attack on the Anglican Church, Come Out of Her, My People (1639).

In November 1640, Charles I was forced to recall Parliament for the first time in eleven years. Oliver Cromwell, a Puritan member of the House of Commons, made a speech about Lilburne's case. After a debate on the issue. Parliament voted to release him from prison.

When the Civil War broke out in 1642, Lilburne immediately joined the Parliamentary army. Lilburne fought at Edgehill but was captured at Brentford on 12th November, 1642. Charged with "bearing arms against the king" he was put on trial at Oxford. Lilburne was in danger of losing his life until Parliament announced on 17th December, 1642, that it would carry out immediate reprisals if he was executed.

In 1643 Lilburne was released during an exchange of prisoners. He now joined the army led by the Edward Montagu and took part in the siege of Lincoln. He was a good soldier and in May 1644 was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. However, in April 1645 he left the army after being told he could not join the New Model Army without taking the covenant.

On 7th January, 1645, Lilburne wrote a letter to William Prynne complaining about the intolerance of the Presbyterians and arguing for freedom of speech for the Independents. Prynne was furious with Lilburne for making this comments and he was reported to the House of Commons. As a result, he was brought before the Committee of Examinations on 17th May, 1645, and warned about his future behaviour.

Lilburne was once again called to appear before the Committee of Examinations on 18th June, 1645. For the second time he was let off with a caution. William Prynne was unhappy with this verdict and arranged for the publication of two pamphlets about Lilburne, A Fresh Discovery of Prodigious Wandering Stars and Firebrands and The Liar Confounded. Lilburne replied with Innocency and Truth Justified.

In July 1645 Lilburne's old friend, John Bastwick, reported Lilburne to the House of Commons, claiming he had made critical comments about the Speaker, William Lenthall. Lilburne was arrested and sent to Newgate Prison. While in captivity wrote a pamphlet where he repeated the charges against Lenthall and other members of Parliament. Lilburne was released without charge on 14th October, 1645.

John Bradshaw now brought Lilburne's case before the Star Chamber. He pointed out that Lilburne was still waiting for most of the pay he should have received while serving in the Parliamentary army. Lilburne was awarded £2,000 in compensation for his sufferings. However, Parliament refused to pay this money and Lilburne was once again arrested. Brought before the House of Lords Lilburne was sentenced to seven years and fined £4,000.

While in prison Lilburne wrote several pamphlets. This included Anatomy of the Lords' Tyranny (1646), Regal Tyranny Discovered (1647), The Oppressed Man's Opinions Declared (1647) and London's Liberty in Chains Discovered (1648). He also wrote A Remonstrance of Many Thousands Citizens with his friend Richard Overton.

On 1st August, 1648, the House of Commons voted for Lilburne's release. The next day the House of Lords agreed and also remitted the fine imposed two years earlier.

On his release Lilburne became involved in writing and distributing pamphlets on soldiers' rights. He pointed out that even though soldiers were fighting for Parliament, very few of them were allowed to vote for it. Lilburne argued that all adult males should have the vote and that these elections should take place every year. Lilburne, who believed that people were corrupted by power, argued that no members of the House of Commons should be allowed to serve for more than one year at a time.

Lilburne and his friends, including John Wildman, Richard Overton and William Walwyn, formed a new political party called the Levellers. The Levellers' political programme included: voting rights for all adult males, annual elections, complete religious freedom, an end to the censorship of books and newspapers, the abolition of the monarchy and the House of Lords, trial by jury, an end to taxation of people earning less than £30 a year and a maximum interest rate of 6%.

The Levellers started publishing their own newspaper, The Moderate. They also organised meetings where they persuaded people to sign a Petition supporting their policies. His wife, Elizabeth Lilburne, was also active in this campaign.

When these reforms were opposed by officers in the New Model Army, the Levellers called for the soldiers to revolt. In March 1649, Lilburne, John Wildman, Richard Overton and William Walwyn were arrested and charged with advocating communism. After being brought before the Council of State they were sent to the Tower of London.

Lilburne was tried first and after a jury refused to convict him Lilburne and the other Levellers were released on 8th November. Lilburne was granted £3,000 in compensation for his sufferings and was granted estates in Durham.

Oliver Cromwell agreed with some of the Leveller's policies, including the abolition of the monarchy and the House of Lords. However, he refused to increase the number of people who could vote in elections. Lilburne now began writing pamphlets attacking Cromwell's government. Cromwell responded by having Lilburne arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London. Over 10,000 people signed a petition calling for Lilburne's release but Cromwell refused to let him go.

Lilburne was eventually charged with treason. It was claimed that the pamphlets that he had written had encouraged people to rebel against Cromwell's government. However, the jury at Lilburne's trial found him not guilty. As soon as he was released Lilburne returned to writing pamphlets. He attacked Cromwell's suppression of Roman Catholics in Ireland, Parliament's persecution of Royalists in England and the decision to execute Charles I.

Once again Lilburne was arrested. This time Oliver Cromwell banished him from England. For four months Lilburne lived in Holland, but in June 1653 he was caught trying to get back into England. Once again Lilburne was imprisoned and charged with treason. This result was also the same; the jury found him not guilty. However, this time Cromwell was unwilling to release him.

On 16th March, 1654, Lilburne was transferred to Elizabeth Castle, Guernsey. Colonel Robert Gibbon, the governor of the island, later complained that Lilburne gave him more trouble than "ten cavaliers". In October, 1655, he was moved to Dover Castle. While he was in prison Lilburne continued writing pamphlets including one that explained why he had joined the Quakers.

In 1656 Oliver Cromwell agreed to release Lilburne. John Lilburne's years of struggle with the government had worn him out and on 29th August, 1657, at the age of 43, he died at his home at Eltham.

http://www.spartacus...STUlilburne.htm

#5 John Simkin

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Posted 05 May 2007 - 06:52 AM

One interesting thing about Cromwell that is not usually portrayed in the following way is:

Cromwell basically led the worlds first capitalist revolution that sought to abolish the trade restrictions and freedom and movement of workers (peasants) that existed under the feudal Monarchy. This system inhibited the rising capitalist trading/manufacturing class.

Because he offered freedom to the peasants, many progressive elements of the country flocked to his banner. Upon the successful abolition of the Monarchy and the setting up of a parliament, many of the soldiery wanted to continue the fight to establish land reforms. In some instances, embryonic communal societies developed.

What Cromwell then did is what so many other similar leaders do once their mission is complete, is to stop further progress. The most effective way is to kill off any possibilities of rebellion. Hence the forces under his command left England to die in Ireland.

Divide and rule. The progress towards freedom for the English peasant was contained in the slums of industry and disarmed in Ireland.

Then with the trade routes opened, an acommodation with the Aristocracy was arrived at with the partial restoration of the Monarchy.

Business as usual.


Interesting post. One important group to emerge from the English Civil War was the Levellers. In 1637 John Lilburne met John Bastwick, a Puritan preacher who had just had his ears cut off for writing a pamphlet attacking the religious views of the William Laud, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Lilburne was shocked that someone could be so severely punished for expressing their religious beliefs. Lilburne offered to help Bastwick in his struggle with the Anglican Church. Eventually it was agreed that Lilburne should go to Holland to organise the printing of a book that Bastwick had written.

In December 1637 Lilburne was arrested and charged with printing and circulating unlicensed books. On 13th February, 1638, he was found guilty and sentenced to be fined £500, whipped, pilloried and imprisoned. The following month he was whipped from Fleet Prison to Palace Yard. When he was placed in the pillory he tried to make a speech praising John Bastwick and was gagged.

While in prison Lilburne wrote about his punishments, The Work of the Beast (1638) and an attack on the Anglican Church, Come Out of Her, My People (1639).

In November 1640, Charles I was forced to recall Parliament for the first time in eleven years. Oliver Cromwell, a Puritan member of the House of Commons, made a speech about Lilburne's case. After a debate on the issue. Parliament voted to release him from prison.

When the Civil War broke out in 1642, Lilburne immediately joined the Parliamentary army. Lilburne fought at Edgehill but was captured at Brentford on 12th November, 1642. Charged with "bearing arms against the king" he was put on trial at Oxford. Lilburne was in danger of losing his life until Parliament announced on 17th December, 1642, that it would carry out immediate reprisals if he was executed.

In 1643 Lilburne was released during an exchange of prisoners. He now joined the army led by the Edward Montagu and took part in the siege of Lincoln. He was a good soldier and in May 1644 was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. However, in April 1645 he left the army after being told he could not join the New Model Army without taking the covenant.

On 7th January, 1645, Lilburne wrote a letter to William Prynne complaining about the intolerance of the Presbyterians and arguing for freedom of speech for the Independents. Prynne was furious with Lilburne for making this comments and he was reported to the House of Commons. As a result, he was brought before the Committee of Examinations on 17th May, 1645, and warned about his future behaviour.

Lilburne was once again called to appear before the Committee of Examinations on 18th June, 1645. For the second time he was let off with a caution. William Prynne was unhappy with this verdict and arranged for the publication of two pamphlets about Lilburne, A Fresh Discovery of Prodigious Wandering Stars and Firebrands and The Liar Confounded. Lilburne replied with Innocency and Truth Justified.

In July 1645 Lilburne's old friend, John Bastwick, reported Lilburne to the House of Commons, claiming he had made critical comments about the Speaker, William Lenthall. Lilburne was arrested and sent to Newgate Prison. While in captivity wrote a pamphlet where he repeated the charges against Lenthall and other members of Parliament. Lilburne was released without charge on 14th October, 1645.

John Bradshaw now brought Lilburne's case before the Star Chamber. He pointed out that Lilburne was still waiting for most of the pay he should have received while serving in the Parliamentary army. Lilburne was awarded £2,000 in compensation for his sufferings. However, Parliament refused to pay this money and Lilburne was once again arrested. Brought before the House of Lords Lilburne was sentenced to seven years and fined £4,000.

While in prison Lilburne wrote several pamphlets. This included Anatomy of the Lords' Tyranny (1646), Regal Tyranny Discovered (1647), The Oppressed Man's Opinions Declared (1647) and London's Liberty in Chains Discovered (1648). He also wrote A Remonstrance of Many Thousands Citizens with his friend Richard Overton.

On 1st August, 1648, the House of Commons voted for Lilburne's release. The next day the House of Lords agreed and also remitted the fine imposed two years earlier.

On his release Lilburne became involved in writing and distributing pamphlets on soldiers' rights. He pointed out that even though soldiers were fighting for Parliament, very few of them were allowed to vote for it. Lilburne argued that all adult males should have the vote and that these elections should take place every year. Lilburne, who believed that people were corrupted by power, argued that no members of the House of Commons should be allowed to serve for more than one year at a time.

Lilburne and his friends, including John Wildman, Richard Overton and William Walwyn, formed a new political party called the Levellers. The Levellers' political programme included: voting rights for all adult males, annual elections, complete religious freedom, an end to the censorship of books and newspapers, the abolition of the monarchy and the House of Lords, trial by jury, an end to taxation of people earning less than £30 a year and a maximum interest rate of 6%.

The Levellers started publishing their own newspaper, The Moderate. They also organised meetings where they persuaded people to sign a Petition supporting their policies. His wife, Elizabeth Lilburne, was also active in this campaign.

When these reforms were opposed by officers in the New Model Army, the Levellers called for the soldiers to revolt. In March 1649, Lilburne, John Wildman, Richard Overton and William Walwyn were arrested and charged with advocating communism. After being brought before the Council of State they were sent to the Tower of London.

Lilburne was tried first and after a jury refused to convict him Lilburne and the other Levellers were released on 8th November. Lilburne was granted £3,000 in compensation for his sufferings and was granted estates in Durham.

Oliver Cromwell agreed with some of the Leveller's policies, including the abolition of the monarchy and the House of Lords. However, he refused to increase the number of people who could vote in elections. Lilburne now began writing pamphlets attacking Cromwell's government. Cromwell responded by having Lilburne arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London. Over 10,000 people signed a petition calling for Lilburne's release but Cromwell refused to let him go.

Lilburne was eventually charged with treason. It was claimed that the pamphlets that he had written had encouraged people to rebel against Cromwell's government. However, the jury at Lilburne's trial found him not guilty. As soon as he was released Lilburne returned to writing pamphlets. He attacked Cromwell's suppression of Roman Catholics in Ireland, Parliament's persecution of Royalists in England and the decision to execute Charles I.

Once again Lilburne was arrested. This time Oliver Cromwell banished him from England. For four months Lilburne lived in Holland, but in June 1653 he was caught trying to get back into England. Once again Lilburne was imprisoned and charged with treason. This result was also the same; the jury found him not guilty. However, this time Cromwell was unwilling to release him.

On 16th March, 1654, Lilburne was transferred to Elizabeth Castle, Guernsey. Colonel Robert Gibbon, the governor of the island, later complained that Lilburne gave him more trouble than "ten cavaliers". In October, 1655, he was moved to Dover Castle. While he was in prison Lilburne continued writing pamphlets including one that explained why he had joined the Quakers.

In 1656 Oliver Cromwell agreed to release Lilburne. John Lilburne's years of struggle with the government had worn him out and on 29th August, 1657, at the age of 43, he died at his home at Eltham.

http://www.spartacus...STUlilburne.htm

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#6 Norman Pratt

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Posted 06 May 2007 - 02:24 AM

I regard Cromwell’s own account of his capture of Drogheda as the most important evidence. Cromwell’s letter to Parliament suggests that whatever he did at the storming of Drogheda was deliberate, and with the purpose of giving a warning to the rest of Ireland - so perhaps the comparison should be made with General Dyer at Amritsar rather than Wellington in Spain. However, the idea that there wasn’t a massacre is intriguing, as is the idea that the moral argument might be transformed by the fact that the victims of Drogheda were mainly English!

The historians of Cromwell are taken to task for getting their facts wrong. I don’t believe that’s the case, or the issue. Their problem has always been that of interpretation. Clarendon, the first great writer on the Civil Wars, and a Royalist, described Cromwell as ‘a brave, bad man’. Many later commentators pointed to the many inconsistencies in Cromwell’s behaviour, and concluded that he was driven by ambition.

A different view is that he was a man of principle who was nevertheless ruthless in the pursuit of his aims. The persistence of our confusion over Cromwell can be seen in our determination to honour him (as a great Parliamentarian?) with a statue outside the Houses Parliament – a Parliament he intimidated, purged and dismissed by use of the Army!

What complicates judgements about Cromwell is that he played his part on a particularly dramatic stage, where ideas such as liberty, religious toleration and democracy were being discussed in an apparently modern way, and where there was a seismic shift in society which (even to a non-marxist) neatly fits a marxist interpretation of events.

Where we perhaps go wrong is to take the 17th Century discussion about a free and open society in 21st Century terms. This is, of course, the problem about discussing any historical period, but it is particularly a problem with the 17th Century because it seems so modern that we tend to miss the medieval undercurrents.

Take John Pym. Often regarded as the Parliamentary leader, he was leader of the House of Commons. But he took his orders (fairly literally) not from the Commons but from lords such as the Earl of Essex who were on the Parliamentary side at the beginning of the Civil Wars. The war on the Parliamentary side was lead by nobles, using their prestige, their feudal following, and their money.

During the early stages of the Civil Wars, as the armies of both sides squared up to each other, they were led by nobles, much as they had been 200 years before in the Wars of the Roses. They even used bows and arrows during the Civil Wars, alongside the more up-to-date weapons.

However, the medieval aspects of the Civil Wars go deeper than that. During the 1630’s in England there was something like a Gothic Revival. The politicians were much influenced by this, drawing from the past for their arguments. So the arguments with the King often took the form of appeals to Magna Carta. But the Opposition in the House of Lords saw themselves as the heirs of the barons who had opposed King John and Henry lll. In the same medieval spirit it was a Scottish baronial army in 1639 which led the revolt against Charles l’s religious policies and began the drift into war.

The English opposition lords revived the medieval idea of lordly ‘office holders’ to balance the power of the King. For example one reason why the Earl of Essex hesitated to use military force against the King was that he had not yet been given the official job of ‘Constable’! Had the Civil War been won by Parliament in the first couple of years, Essex, not Cromwell, would have been the winner. Essex’s great mistake was to be outmanoeuvred and to lose an army. The balance of power began to shift away from the nobles. The noble offices of ‘Constable’ and ‘Steward’ were abolished. Cromwell’s famous ‘slighting’ of castles underlined the changing times.

Where we become particularly unstuck in trying to interpret Cromwell’s actions in modern terms is when we play down the religious dimension of the Civil Wars. Cromwell’s famous comment to his soldiers just before a battle “Trust in God and keep your powder dry” sounds to the modern ear like a pragmatist whose real agenda is far from godly. A more characteristic Cromwellian pre-battle comment was when he appealed to an enemy “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken.” They didn’t, and he proceeded to pound them to pieces.

However, that was the Scots. The Catholic Irish were, to Cromwell, another matter entirely. Sometimes Cromwell the pragmatist prevailed. He certainly tried to get an alliance with Catholic Spain against France. Only when Spain refused to make any worthwhile concessions did he decide to turn on them instead. As he said concerning the expedition he sent to the (Spanish) West Indies ‘God had called them to work his will in the world at large as well as home.’ Much the same mixture of religious conviction and pragmatism apparently motivated his fateful expedition to Ireland.

#7 David Richardson

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Posted 06 May 2007 - 06:29 AM

I read an interesting account of English involvement in one of the Swedish-Danish wars in Peter Engqvist's book about Charles X. Charles had attacked Poland (with no greater motive than plunder, it would seem, although there was a dispute over the succession to the Swedish throne that had sputtered along for over 100 years). The invasion went well at first, but then ran into serious difficulties, so the Swedish Army retreated through northern Germany, ending up in southern Jutland at the end of 1657.

At the beginning of 1658, Charles' troops made their famous (well, up here, at least) attack over the ice, when the whole army made their way over to the island that Copenhagen's on, over rapidly melting ice. They then laid seige to Copenhagen, which was supported by a combined Danish-Dutch fleet. Charles had already appealed for help from Oliver Cromwell to save him from the (Catholic) Poles, and an English fleet turned up off Copenhagen. However, when the English learned that the job they were now being asked to do was to attack the (Protestant) Danes and Dutch, they refused and withdrew.

The Swedish seige of Copenhagen failed (with massive losses on the Swedish side), but the Treaty of Roskilde, which ended the war, gave the Swedes basically all the territory in southern Sweden which is now regarded as mainland Sweden. This, incidentally, more or less crippled Denmark as a potential power, since the territory lost was both very rich and constituted a large amount of the land mass of Denmark. Copenhagen had been more or less in the centre of the country, but now was on the periphery of it.

#8 John Dolva

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Posted 06 May 2007 - 07:22 AM

dbl post.

as the space exists as a result of the dbl post 'pheomena" : A question:

History as segments of facts or as broad strokes free of individuals and dates and particular facts.

What is the source for a wholistic view of the period between the Conquest and Cromwell?

Edited by John Dolva, 06 May 2007 - 07:31 AM.


#9 John Dolva

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Posted 06 May 2007 - 07:23 AM

One could take a step back in time to the Norman Conquest, and even further back to consider where the Normans came from in the first place.

http://www.geocities...estrithsson.htm
"It is always difficult when looking at the Viking involvement in the Norman Conquest to determine exactly where to draw the line, because the Vikings were a part of every single element that was involved in it. ....

One thing that needs to be said is that the Danes within the Danelaw and their corresponding Norwegian and Norse-Irish compatriots in Cumberland complemented rather than replaced the existing populations. .... By the time we get to 1066 almost all of the main characters on the English side are of mixed parentage. Harold Godwinson, who was declared King by the English Witan, was himself half English and half Danish, his mother being a kinswoman of Knute.

It must also be remembered, that the Normans themselves where of Viking origin...." ."


Durng the period when the Normans were consolidating power in England, appeals were made to the Danes to come and help remnants of the pre Norman powers. I understand that they did respond, but only up to a point where they left with plunder. Their prescence did give a possibility for the repulsion of the Normans. Their withdrawal possibly doomed the repulsion.


"1068 saw the first uprising in Northumberland against the new Norman king, but the split leadership ensured it fizzled out before the flames of revolt could catch. ..... However, it was the arrival of the Danish fleet in September 1069 that caused the Normans to suffer their heaviest defeat in the North.

King Swegyn Astrithson of Denmark had a strong claim on the English throne. An appeal to him by the English to pursue that claim, and revenge his cousin, King Harold, had been made during William's absence in Normandy in 1067. Ever cautious, Swegyn did not make a move until two years later. Even then he sent his brother, Asbjorn, to lead the fleet. It was an act that, rather than uniting the English behind one war leader, as they might have behind Swegyn, just added yet another strand to the cloth of confused leadership.

Raiding the East Coast on their way North, the fleet of Danes and other elements met little success until they entered the River Humber. Here Waltheof and those who had fled earlier to Scotland, including Edgar Ætheling and Gospatric met them. The Anglo Danish force moved on York, which by this time now had two castles to keep it subservient to Norman wishes. On the arrival of the allies the Normans fired houses near the castles to clear their view and destroy any material that may have been used to fill the defensive ditches surrounding the castles. This act was done with the normal Norman delicacy, with the result that almost the entire city was burnt down! In the resultant fight the Norman garrisons left their castles to attack and then die at the hands of the allies. Waltheof's exploits of beheading many of the Normans with his long axe as they came through the gates was recorded in sagas and remembered for years after.

William's reaction was immediate and he personally hastened North with a large army. With York having been burnt and unable to provide sustenance, the allied army broke up; the Danes to the Humber where they wintered over and the English to more northern parts of the earldom. This revolt and its tying down of William and so many of his military resources led to an explosion of uprisings elsewhere. William took what was left of York and began pursuing the scattered elements of English and Danes but very quickly he was obliged to turn his attention elsewhere, leaving lieutenants to meanwhile contain the northern revolt. But they were not up to the job.

As a result of his men's failure, William then had to move back North from his base at Nottingham, only to be blocked by the flooded River Aire. Despite this and constant harassment from the locals and the Danes, he continued to move North after one of his knights found a usable ford. York was still a devastation so, given his normal priorities, the first thing William did was rebuilt the castles. He then commenced to teach the Northumbrians what it meant to upset a Norman King by starting the harrowing of the North, killing anything animate and destroying anything not. Those who could fled....Having lost their Northumbrian allies, the Danes allowed themselves to be bought off. Only Waltheof and a small number of followers fought on, holding out near Coatham on the coast. However, even they eventually saw the hopelessness of their situation and submitted to King William."


http://www.geocities...32/1066Euro.htm

"The third source which reflects Danish opinion dates from c. 1122, when the Anglo-Saxon exile Aelnoth of Canterbury, who lived at Odense, wrote his biography of King Cnut IV, son of King Svein Estrithsson, who was killed in 1086. According to Aelnoth, King Cnut planned the abortive invasion of 1085 as revenge for the death of his kinsman, King Harold Godwinson, and for the imposition on the English by William the Conqueror of the imperium of the Romans and the French: `In their despair', so he writes,

'the English, whose dukes, counts, lords, noblemen and other people of high rank had either been killed, or imprisoned, or deprived of their father's honours, wealth, dignity or inheritance or expelled abroad, or left behind and forced Into public slavery, were not able to bear the tyranny of the Romans and the French and declined to seek foreign help.'

King Cnut is pictured as the natural protector of the English people against the aggression of a foreign duke. Even half a century after the Conquest, it seems, there were people who still saw the British Isles as part of a larger Scandinavian kingdom."


And then a snapshot of the period between the conquest and Cromwell. In this account nothing seems to be mentioned of anything but England as England, now a stable feudal society.

"Though the landless and near-landless population did not constitute such a large source of effective demand for grain as the urban populations of Italy, it was large enough to make a significant impact upon how both landed estates and peasant holdings were managed. In fact the demand function for grain was moving outward for much of the later thirteenth century as a result of non-agricultural development and the growth of aggregate expenditure. England does not have urban records comparable to the estimi that document the course of demographic change in parts of northern Italy, and for this reason few numerical statements concerning population increases, even at a local level, can be made with any confidence. There can be little doubt, however, that London's size reached its medieval peak in the reign of King Edward I (1272-1307), after two centuries of considerable development, and it is likely that the population of many provincial towns showed a similar pattern of development.18 Since rural population was also particularly large in the late thirteenth century, it is likely that the numbers of country people dependent on grain purchases was also at its medieval peak around 1300.19 The history of market demand thereafter is a matter for debate, but it is unlikely that either urban or rural populations were increasing in the earlier fourteenth century as they had done a century before. It may be that the severe famines of 1315-17 had a long-term effect on total demand for grain. By the 1340s some village populations had fallen sufficiently below their peak level to suggest that the demand for basic foodstuffs had declined.20 There is also evidence of demographic or commercial contraction in quite a number of urban centres, including London.21

This peak of non-agricultural population coincides with the highest volume of coinage in circulation for the whole medieval period; the first part of the period under discussion saw an increase from about £400,000 in 1247 to about £1,100,000 in 1311. A mild price rise in this period accords with this upward shift of demand. The monetary and price evidence is much stronger than demographic evidence in suggesting that demand contracted after the first two decades of the fourteenth century. There was less money in circulation in the period 1320-50 than there had been earlier, and by the late 1330s prices had fallen to a degree unprecedented in living memory. There was probably only about £500,000 in circulation in 1350.22 This contraction of the money stock and fall in prices corresponds to a significant fall in the market demand for cereals. Not all this contraction of demand can be attributed to declining population, whose extent is very uncertain. A good case can be made for supposing that demand was depressed largely as a result of high taxation and heavy expenditure overseas by the government."


Then other factors to consider are the impact of "The Black Death"

http://www.insecta-i...ath/bdeath.html

"Dead littered the streets everywhere. Cattle and livestock roamed the country unattended. Brother deserted brother.

The Black Death was one of the worst natural disasters in history. In 1347 A.D., a great plague swept over Europe and ravaged cities causing widespread hysteria and death. One third of the population of Europe died."

"The impact upon the future of England was greater than upon any other European country." (Cartwright, 1991)"


Possibly a grain centric English economy is a factor here.

Edited by John Dolva, 06 May 2007 - 07:38 AM.




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