Friday, September 03, 2010

Pop History Moment: The Death of Oliver Cromwell

A poll conducted in the UK in 2002 named Oliver Cromwell among the Top Ten Greatest Britons of all time...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketReally? A crusader for liberty of conscience who viciously suppressed all religions but his own. A so-called Republican who killed a King only to have His Late Majesty's titles and privileges (and power and income, let's not forget) showered upon himself (and who later passed his rule on to his son, despite an earlier disavowal of the hereditary principle.) A devoted Parliamentarian who once in power acted towards that body as 'cavalierly' as had his predecessor. A man who talked a big game when it came to liberty but who nevertheless ruthlessly conquered Ireland. Besides which savagely suppressing the arts by closing London's theatres, single-handedly not just ending the English Renaissance but setting it back.

Really? This is a great man? This murdering thug and hypocrite, who cloaked his greed in religion, and couldn't even be bothered to obey the First Commandment?

His death - on this day in 1658 - could easily be considered his greatest act. The Irish may take some solace in knowing it was they who may have indirectly caused it; he died of malaria, which he likely contracted while campaigning in Ireland. He also received terrible medical attention, since during his Protectorate many of the better doctors fled London and indeed England for some reason.

It turns out the best thing that can be said about Oliver Cromwell was spoken by the Earl of Clarendon as long ago as 1667 - according to Clarendon, he was 'a brave bad man'. May we never see his like again.
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Seumas Gagne said...

"I realise that the intellectual lockstep demanded of those on the left insists on celebrating the loathsome and their bigotries as a matter of course"

You've been smoking to much. WTF?

michael sean morris said...

Ha! I knew that'd getcha!

i got a comment i got a comment

I don't know what I was thinking... Do you think I should take it out?

Seumas Gagne said...

I don't know - my experience of the left is that there are so many opinions that the right can just steamroll over us with their stepford wife Xtian brigades. In my mind it downgrades the credibility of the whole (justified) rant to have that bit of non-reality inserted.

Rich said...

I'm staggered by this poll. My whole life, Oliver Cromwell has been synonymous with evil, craven, regressive repression.
At first, I thought I was misreading. How is it possible?This world is going mad before my eyes.