Letter sent to the English Churchman defending criticism of the Cromwell ‘Get Rich Quickly’ Merciless Slaughter in Ireland.


Sir:

     Mr Spanner would replace my facts with his opinions. If Cromwell believed in religious liberty why did he outlaw the Church of England, rid Parliament of almost half of its reformed members (Presbyterians) and persecute Baptists, Quakers and other Christian denominations? Why did Love, Adams, Featley, Hall, Ward, Balcanqual, Manton, Charnock etc., etc, protest and suffer? Why did Baxter call Cromwell “a vile and detestable creature” and state after Love’s murder, ordered by the Protector, that “most of the ministers and good people of the land, did look upon the new Commonwealth as tyranny”?

     Concerning the Irish massacres, one cannot prove Cromwell’s innocence by his unwarranted revenge. Writers such as Reilly have the facts on their side when they claim that those who were massacred at Drogheda by Cromwell had not taken part in the riots. Furthermore, Mr Spanner argues as if he believed that some wicked foreign nation “attacked English shipping and commerce” so the English were right in slaughtering the Irish. The 3,000 soldiers who died at Cromwell’s hand in Drogheda represented the Protestant England which Cromwell hated and rebelled against and were composed of Anglican Protestants and Scots Puritans. Many had fought bravely under Gustav II Adolf against the papists, only to be sent to Heaven by an intolerant Erastian Protestant! Most of the civilians killed were also loyal to the King and union with England. Drogheda proves that vengeance is blind.

     True, all the nations of Europe condemned the murder of Charles I, but Cromwell cannot be exonerated from carrying the major blame for that death. To claim that Cromwell in Ireland was milder than Louis XIV in France does not mitigate Cromwell’s crimes in the least and the comparison is most inapt, indeed, in very bad taste. Why does Mr Spanner think England gave a national sigh of relief when the Cromwell regime ended and flocked to welcome King and Church back? I believe we should stick to facts and form our opinions on them. Who will deny that Roman Catholic Eire’s antagonism against the gospel today has roots in Cromwell’s atrocities and the failure of the subsequent English settlement to evangelise the country peacefully? As Gribben says in his excellent book on the subject, the evangelization of Ireland failed because the English were always tripping over their own flag. Cromwell’s surrogate church was certainly not as reformed as Usher’s Church of Ireland.