Cromwell, Oliver

Cromwell, Oliver, Lord-Protector of the commonwealth of England, born at Huntingdon, the son of Robert Cromwell, the younger son of Sir Henry Cromwell, and of Elizabeth Steward, descended from the royal family of Scotland, their third child and second boy; educated at Huntingdon and afterwards at Cambridge; left college at his father's death, and occupied himself in the management of his paternal property; entered Parliament in 1629, and represented Cambridge in 1640, where to oppose the king he, by commission in 1642 from Essex, raised a troop of horse, famous afterwards as his “Ironsides”; with these he distinguished himself, first at Marston Moor in 1644, and next year at Naseby; crushed the Scots at Preston in 1648, who had invaded the country in favour of the king, now in the hands of the Parliament, and took Berwick; sat at trial of the king and signed his death-warrant, 1649; sent that same year to subdue rebellion in Ireland, he sternly yet humanely stamped it out; recalled from Ireland, he set out for Scotland, which had risen up in favour of Charles II., and totally defeated the Scots at Dunbar, Sept. 3, 1650, after which Charles invaded England and the Royalists were finally beaten at Worcester, Sept. 3, 1651, upon which his attention was drawn to affairs of government; taking up his residence at Hampton Court, his first step was to dissolve the Rump, which he did by military authority in 1653; a new Parliament was summoned, which also he was obliged to dismiss, after being declared Lord-Protector; from this time he ruled mainly alone, and wherever his power was exercised, beyond seas even, it was respected; at last his cares and anxieties proved too much for him and wore him out, he fell ill and died, Sept. 3, 1658, the anniversary of his two great victories at Dunbar and Worcester; they buried him in Westminster, but his body was dug up at the Restoration, hanged at Tyburn, and buried under the gallows; such treatment his body was subjected to after he was gone, and for long after he was no less ignobly treated by several succeeding generations as a hypocrite, a fanatic, or a tyrant; but now, thanks to Carlyle, he is come to be regarded as one of the best and wisest rulers that ever sat on the English throne (1599-1658). See “Cromwell's Letters and Speeches,” edited by Carlyle.

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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