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The Truth About Oliver Cromwell

The ablest of the generals, John Lambert, had resigned in 1657 in protest at the Petition and Advice, but no one followed him. The generals were not great lords with private armies. In 1660, General George Monck would cashier the dissidents among his troops before marching from Scotland to London to restore Charles II. As he had remarked earlier, there was not an officer in the army who could draw two men after him once he was deprived of his commission. It was only because Richard Cromwell lacked his father’s military authority that the generals were able to overthrow him in 1659.

As it was, Oliver Cromwell died in September 1658 at the age of fifty-nine. His great French contemporary Blaise Pascal noted in his Pensées that Cromwell and his family had looked set to enjoy power indefinitely, when a grain of sand lodged itself in his bladder. It was because of this tiny fragment of gravel that Charles II was restored and the Puritan experiment came to an end.

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