Talk:Oliver Cromwell/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

MP for Cambridge

There appear to be two template boxes at the top with conflicting dates. I'm no expert on Cromwell so maybe something weird happened in 1640 and it's correct but it looks a bit weird either way. Could someone who knows more about this than me have a look at it? Martlet1215 (talk) 08:50, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

How embarassing, I've noticed my mistake and it is perfectly correct. This reflects my utter ignorance of English history. Martlet1215 (talk) 08:53, 23 April 2009 (UTC)


Why is the term "usurper" being deliberatly avoided? --Camaeron (talk) 13:26, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Probably because he wasn't one. (talk) 21:01, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

He seized the power of a throne--matches exactly the definition of a usurper that I see in Webster. (talk) 14:57, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Not really... parliament was responsible for the execution of Charles I and the dissolving of the monarchy. Plus, he was offered the position of Lord Protector (rather than seizing it for himself) and refused the crown several times. He's obviously not the greatest dude ever but he's not a usurper. Moximatic (talk) 01:03, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

GA status is on hold

I would pass this article immediately if not for 3 things:

  1. The red links need to be fixed.
  2. A citation is needed on the last paragraph of "Scottish Campaign".
  3. A more citations are needed on the first paragraph of "Debate over Cromwell's actions in Ireland". —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Diez2 (talkcontribs) 23:42, 11 December 2006 (UTC).
I have removed all the red links. --Banana04131 23:55, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
Thanks to Jdorney adding references, I think that means all 3 points have now been picked up. Greycap 07:39, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
...although I've just noticed the latter half of the footnotes are messed up. Is there anyone with more html skills than me who knows how to fix them? Greycap 07:42, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
I fixed it. a / was missing in fn 42 Rjensen 08:02, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

GA passage

After further review of my points above, I passed this article as a good article. Thank you for all of your corrections. Diez2 03:18, 14 December 2006 (UTC)


Can someone explain how these two statements are compatible: "Though there were some atrocities committed, it was not an act of genocide against the Irish." AND "William Petty estimated in his demographic survey of Ireland in the 1650s that the war of 1641–53 had resulted in the death or exile of over 600,000 people, or around one third of Ireland's pre-war population." The first statement seems POV to me - a number of historians have called it genocide, and forcing people to move to Connacht is ethnic cleansing, without a doubt. Supersheep 12:29, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

A few points here. Cromwell was only involved in the 1641-53 war for nine months in 1649-50. The death and exile toll is for the whole war, so he can't be held responsible for all of it. On top of that, most of the deaths in the war were caused by famine and plague rather than direct human action. Perhaps we could do without, "not genocide" the sentence though, since the article does not accuse him of genocide in the first place. Re the transplantation to Connacht, the specific context here is that Cromwell's regime expropriated Irish Catholic landowners, but allowed them to claim eqivilent lands west of the Shannon. This is not exactly the same as forced displacment of an entire populace (although this also occurred in places as a counter-guerrilla measure). In theory, any landowner who was transplanted and did not move could be executed, but in fact, this was never carried out. A lot of people called the Cromwellian's bluff and stayed put until the restoration.

Jdorney 13:16, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

"A few points here. Cromwell was only involved in the 1641-53 war for nine months in 1649-50. The death and exile toll is for the whole war, so he can't be held responsible for all of it." If we were to follow this logic any Jews who died after Hitlers death are not his responsibility is this the argument you are trying to put forward, Jdorney. BigDunc 18:44, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

I am always wary when people try to make broad-brush historical comparisons between unconnected events, and this one is no exception. Here are some points to consider:
  • Cromwell was general in Ireland between 1649-50. He then returned to the mainland to fight in Scotland. Command then passed to Henry Ireton. After his death in 1651 it was Edmund Ludlow and Charles Fleetwood who engaged in much of the guerilla/mopping up campaigns in the last year of the conquest. So if the article is going to have a section about the impact of Cromwell in Ireland, it is fair to point out that his direct impact in terms of orders given, campaigns led etc was limited to 9 months.
  • At no point until right at the end of the period 1649-53 was Cromwell solely in charge of the executive. He was an army commander and MP until nearly the end of 1653. Until April 1653 the executive sat with the Rump Parliament and its Council of State. From April 1653 power sat with the Barebone's Parliament. It was only at the end of the year that Cromwell became Lord Protector and became the seat of executive power. Yes, Cromwell was a member of both the Rump Parliament and the Council (but not of the Barebone's Parliament) but if you look at the political (as opposed to military) decisions being taken on the Irish campaign, he was not really the lead in the early days. He was not the only person to come up with a "blueprint" for the Irish campaign or take decisions on it - eg the decision to abolish the Lord Lieutenancy and replace it with parliamentary commissioners was the Rump's - and in any case I don't think it is a case of a genocidal blueprint in the same way as with the Nazi regime. So comparisons to Hitler in the sense of one person possessing executive power are not very helpful.
  • Finally, the comparison has the effect of insinuating that JDorney holds certain views about the Holocaust just because of what he's argued on Cromwell. As I said at the top, this kind of comparison is rarely useful unless you assume the terms on both sides are very similar. In this case I don't think the terms of comparison are sufficiently similar. Greycap 08:04, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

"He then returned to the mainland." And "the comparison has the effect of insinuating," Oh please, it was used to illustrate a point, These comments explaines so much. --Domer48 08:18, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

Was it not Adolf Eichmann who supervised the campaign of genocide which were laid down in the Wannsee conference, not just one man Hitler so to say the becaues Cromwell was no longer in charge but Henry Ireton does not mean that what was started by Cromwell was not finnished by him. And to assume that I implyed that Jdorney is some kind of Nazi is absolutely ludicrous and from looking at other pages on WP regarding Irish Issues seems to be the response of people who disagree with what they see as "republican bias" edits is to accuse them of silly name calling to muddy the water. BigDunc 12:03, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

Ok, well without getting into my national socialist sympathies or otherwise, I want to clear up some points about Cromwell in Ireland. There seems to be a lot more invective here than historical fact. First of all, we have a question, 'was there a genocide in Ireland at this time?'. Genocide is the deliberate targetting of a whole people for extermination. At no point did Cromwell or any of the Parliamentarian generals envisage this or carry out a policy with this aim in sight.
Was there a massive loss of life in Ireland in this period? Yes. William Petty put the death toll from 1641-53 at about 600,000. Even if this is an overestimate, as is now thought, there was certainly a huge human catastrophe. But remember that the 'Cromwellian conquest' phase of the Irish Confederate Wars, 1649-53, was only one part of a long and bloody conflict. All sides (and there were four warring parties, Irish Confederates, Scottish Covenanters, English Royalists and English Parliamentarians) targeted civilians and killed prisoners. The most serious aspect of this conduct was the devastating of agricultural land with the intention of denying food to enemy forces. This caused famine and disease, which killed far more people than direct human action. To give some examples; In 1643, virtually the entire Irish Catholic population of central Ulster had to flee the area to escape from the depradations of the Scottish Covenanter army. In 1647, Confederate generalOwen Roe O'Neill devestated the land around Dublin with the intention of starving the city which was held by Parliamentarians. In the same year, Parliamentarian general Murrough O'Brien, 1st Earl of Inchiquin, earned himself the nickname, 'Murrough of the burnings' by destroying Catholic held territory in Munster.
So what the Parliamentarians did from 1649-53, in terms of displacing civilians and destrying their food, was not something the other factions in the war had not been doing. We can say that the Parliamentarians were perhaps the most guilty party in this respect, but as for Cromwell himself, he had returned to England by the time Ireton instituted these polices. On the other hand, he certainly never objected to them. Likewise the practice of selling prisoners as slaves to the West Indies. He can be held partly responsible for aspects of what was a human tragedy on a massive scale, but not targetted genocide.
"They were doing it too" is not a legitimate argument. Surely Irish Confederates would not have "devestated[sic] the land around Dublin" had Parliamentarians not seized the city in the first place. The actions of defending forces does not negate the actions of the invading force whatsoever. This type of argument appears too often in these discussions, and is no better or worse than comparing two "unconnected" points in history. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:11, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
So we are then left with Cromwell's massacres as Drogheda and Wexford. They have already been debated at length here. These were horrifying acts, certainly atrocities by modern standards, but they happened in the context of towns which were being attacked by a besieging army. Where towns like Clonmel, Kilkenny and New Ross negotiated their surrender, Cromwell fully respected the terms of surrender and protected the lives and property of the townspeople. So we can see that Cromwell was certainly prepared to use terror tactics, but he did not have a programme of exterminating an Irish Catholics he came across.

There is really no comparison with the holocaust or with modern genocides. The contemporary Thirty Years War caused the disapearance of a about a third of the population of Germany - as in Ireland, mainly through famine and disease, but also due to the targetting of civilians. This and other contemporary events are better comparisons than any 20th century events. Jdorney 08:07, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

What Jdorney said, really. I certainly didn't intend to come across as name-calling and apologies if it did come off that way. What I wanted to bring out was more of a sense that Cromwell is not the only individual who needs to be considered in this debate. It's right that there is discussion on the talk page but I waasn't sure the comparison was the best way in to tackling some of the questions. It did seem perhaps a little unfair that you seemed to be asking "if you believe a, surely you must also believe b?", when b to me isn't really relevant to the debate. But I did assume good faith on your part in making the comparison, hence why I said that it "has the effect" rather than saying that you'd actually intended the comparison as a comment on the original poster's political view. One of the things I think this and related articles still need to do more clearly is pick up the difference between decisions made by Cromwell and those made by a wider group for example under the aegis of the Rump. It's this which really prompted my first response, rather than any divergent political sympathies - I hope it's clear from previous edits on this and other articles that my intention is to add well-referenced detail and context (eg the big additions I made in the run-up to the article getting GA status). And yes, my use of "mainland" isn't particularly accurate or useful, thank you for picking me up on that... Greycap 09:34, 22 July 2007 (UTC)
No problem Greycap, that’s sound. As to Jdorney, would "massive loss of life" be the same as massacre, butchery, slaughter? Please do not spare me the gore! I like my history raw, not sanitised! “The most serious aspect of this conduct was the devastating of agricultural land with the intention of denying food to enemy forces. This caused famine and disease, which killed far more people than direct human action.” This is the most ridiculous contradictory statement? The famine was the result of direct human action!It was a modern day scorch earth policy, which had as its objective one end, an attempted act of mass murder or genocide if you will! --Domer48 12:12, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Well ok, but you're looking at a situation where all sides in a bloody and hateful war were doing this. As I said, the Cromwellians were probably the biggest single culprits but by no means the only ones. As regards 'massacre, butchery and slaughter', these certainly took place, but were not responsible for most of hte deaths. 17th century methods were just not up to the task of exterminating whole populations, even had this been intended, which it was not. That said, it is beyond question that tens of thousands of civilians were massacred by one side or the other in this conflict.

But the biggest single killer in Ireland in this period was the bubonic plague, which was inadvertently brought to Ireland by the Parliamentarian army in 1649 and was spread by the movement of troops and refugees. Before anyone suggests that this was some devilish use of biological warfare, they should remember that Henry Ireton died of disease in the campaign and Cromwell himself contracted some sort of fever from which he never completely recovered. Admittedly, the Parliamentarians' scorched earth tactics and the resultant famine greatly worsened the effects of disease on the population.

But remember that genocide is the planned targetting and extermination of whole people. This did not happen in Ireland in the 1640s or 50s. The object of the scorched earth tactics were to deny food to the Irish Catholic guerrilla fighters or 'tories'. The object of the massacres at Drogheda and Wexford were to terrify other fortified places into surrender. Brutal? yes. War crimes? by modern standards, yes. But genocide? No.

Jdorney 13:35, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Of course I'm sure everybody has read all the references that DO describe the campaign, clearances, etc, as genocidal and/or an early case of ethnic cleansing. There are also refs that describe the plans as entirely deliberate and as being consciously intended to eliminate the Irish Catholic population in as far as practicable. Whether this was also the case (or not) in the Thirty Years War is entirely beside the point. Hughsheehy 08:13, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

There are a lot of ill informed asides by people with no particular knowledge of what actually happened, calling the campaign, 'genocidal'. Hard evidence is another matter though. What happened in Ireland in 1641-53 was a long war, which devestated the country's ability to feed itself and which ultimately led to an enourmous human catatrophe. This is exactly what happened in the Thirty Years War as well, which happened at the same time. It is thus far from beside the point.

The Act of Settlement 1652 was designed to break the power of Irish Catholic landowning class by confiscating their land. Treatment of Irish Catholics in this period, as a religious minority was no different to that meted out to other such minorities in contemporary Europe. In the, also contemporary, Eighty Years War, Protestants in the Spanish Netherlands were given the choice of either converting to Catholicism or leaving for the United Provinces. Likewise both Catholics and Protestants who found themselves in hostile territory during the Thirty Years War. The only religious minority to be even tolerated in Europe at this time were Catholics in the Dutch Republic, or United Provinces, and even they had to practice their religion in private. I have written elsewhere in this talk page that the repression of IRish Catholics at this time was both real and severe, but it was not unusual in contemporary Europe.

It seems to me that people who are talking here about genocide etc have yet to engage with the real history as opposed to the modern day arguments about it. If people want to discuss the conduct of the Parliamentarian campaign in Ireland, Cromwell's role in it or the post war settlement, then good. If people just want to maintain, 'Cromwell committed a genocide in Ireland' as a bald statement, I think it's a waste of everyone's time.

Jdorney 15:41, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

Are you assuring us of this from personal knowledge, or from some eminent academic position? I ask because there are refs to professional historians and academics who characterise it as genocidal or near genocidal. Of course, if you know better..... Hughsheehy 15:57, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
I'm not against citing that POV in the article, but there are other historians who disagree - if we say so and give references, will you delete them as you've done before Hugh? MarkThomas 16:32, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
You´re funny sometimes MarkThomas.... but just sometimes. For someone with your history to be be suggesting someone would delete references. Should I start to produce diffs? As for the section below with the rather histrionic version of Hughsheehy 00:31, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
"England’s oppression of Ireland began with the Anglo-Norman invasion of 1169. There followed centuries of rebellion by the Irish and further genocidal campaigns by English rulers—none more savage than that launched by Oliver Cromwell. The Great Rebellion of 1798, the Fenian uprising after the famine in the 1840s, the Easter rebellion of 1916, and the courage of hunger strikers like Terence MacSwiney in 1920 and Bobby Sands in 1981 have shown the strength of Irish resistance." Quotes are so much better than opinion! Just had it to hand! Carry on. --Domer48 17:00, 23 July 2007 (UTC)Ref "Ireland Unfree, edited by Martin Mulligan, Chapter 1, by Sean Flood, Pathfinder Press, Sydney, 1981, ISBN 0 909196 13 3" should have put in the reference.
Well, that's a pretty opinionated quote with a reasonably obvious POV... and I think it demonstrates the war over references we risk getting bogged down in on this page if we're not careful. I sometimes get the impression that it's thought just because there's a quote that can be referenced, it automatically wins the day. There are less reliable references and there are more reliable references (Wikipedia:Verifiability). We have had big debates on the talk page about references for the article, which although sometimes contentious have been I think a good thing on the whole. It means that we as editors are engaging with the source material. The helpful discussion over the references to those authors who consider it genocide was a case in point. But given the limitations of Wikipedia and its guiding principles (particularly no original research) we are never going to get to a position in the article where it comes down heavily on one side of the argument or another, unless the source material reaches this position - instead we should be looking to reflect the debate and the arguments on each side, and to do that in a manner appropriate to the article (ie parts of the argument that relate to Cromwell's actions, thoughts and beliefs rather than parts that may be more appropriate for wider articles about the English conquest of Ireland or specific parts of the campaign). For what it's worth, my own views (based on academic specialisation in this period and having read a lot of the secondary sources and a fair few of the primary ones) chime with Jdorney's. But given the existence of alternative opinion in some of the academic literature, I entirely accept the article must try to reflect both - both to acknowledge the differences of opinion, and also to try to dig into the verifiable facts beneath that opinion so we can weave them into the article. I am not claiming that I know best or that my view is right in some platonic, ideal-form way. It's still my opinion, ultimately. But that's exactly why we should consider the references carefully and be discriminating in which are used to verify points in the article. Greycap 17:49, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

Greycap the reference was just used in reply to an editor who thinks opinion is more valid than a reference. --Domer48 19:20, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

Hugh, first, I've studied the period at undergraduate, MA and Phd level. Second, I've yet to see you produce any facts in defence of your argument. Until you do, all we have here is your assertions of opinion, which is it not clear are backed up by an evidence. 07:08, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Oh good, you're a student. When you've been published on the topic, let me know. Meantime I'm not arguing, I'm citing references from people who aren't students. I put a bunch of the references into the article so don't argue with me, argue with them. Hughsheehy 08:40, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
Jdorney, you wrote: "Treatment of Irish Catholics in this period, as a religious minority was no different to that meted out to other such minorities in contemporary Europe." A minority? In Ireland (considered a different country), Catholics were by far the majority. In the Britain-Ireland perspective, no-one - Anglician, Presbyterian or Catholic - was in the majority, but each a majority within their respective countries. During the Interregnum, there was religious freedom between Anglician, Presbeterian, and other protestant communions, but not for Catholics. This adds a strange twist to the whole affair, making it difficult to seperate religion from nation and producing strange religious alliances in a common cause. This makes for an interesting comparasion between the War of the Three Kingdoms and the experience in other European countries - but solely because its so different. In Spain, the Dutch Republic, etc. the persecuted religions was a minority one, plain and simple and had nothing to do with trying to build from scratch a uniformity among three diverse nations newly united under a single monarchy and with ancient histories of opposition to such a scheme. --sony-youthpléigh 08:16, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Hugh, when you're ready to engage with some content issues, then we'll talk. I'm not a student by the way.

Sony Youth; That is an entirely fair point. Irish Catholics were possibly the only religious majority to be persecuted in this way. You're quite right also in saying that seperating religion and ethnic identity in Ireland at this time is virtually impossible and there is no doubt at all that anti-catholicism and anti-Irish prejudice in England shaded into each other. I have no problem with these points being made in the article. Although I disagree that the Three Kingdoms were fundamentally different as a whole, becuase the story of European states trying to impose religious conformity is common throughout the continent. Was the Irish experience entirely different from the Spanish treatment of the Moriscos or Louis XV's treatment of the Huguenots? Incidentally, I don't think the Church of England was free to practice during the interregnum either, being seen as the religious wing of royalism. Jdorney 14:34, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

RE: Church of England - from memory, I think it was disestablished but was free to practice. I still cannot agree that it is the same as Spain or France or elsewhere. There are my reasons:
  • In those cases the minority was a genuine one - very very small. In Ireland vs. Scotland/England, it was pretty 50:50 in terms of numbers. (Or at least it was in 1641!)
  • In the case of the wider European experience, we have persectution of a religious minority within the same race (the word was used at the time, with the same meaning, albeit without late 20th century sensetivities). In the case at hand, we have persecution of a religious majority within a differenent race.
  • Spain, France, etc. were individual kingdoms where persecution remained within their borders. England, Scotland and Ireland were seperate kingdoms, where the religious persecution crossed borders.
  • In the wider European experience, it was a unified king that tried to enforce religious conformity upon his subjects. In the Scottish/English/Irish case, it was the parliament of one country among three that did so across all three of them. The king that these kingdoms shared in common was in fact religiously tollerant.
  • In the case of the British-Irish experience, this is also a time of revolution, not just religious turmoil. This wasn't in the mixing pot for the other European countries we could compare to.
  • "Ethnic" tensions had been boiling for long before then, this was independent of religion, predated the reformation. It was only with the religious differences that we could put labels on them that were independent of national ones (though in reality, code for it).
In any case, talking about religion as if it were the real issue is misleading. In all instances (Spain, France, Netherlands, British Isles), it was not religion that was at matter, but enforcing uniform alleigance to a naissant nation state. --sony-youthpléigh 15:15, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

All reasonable points. I would argue for the fundamental similiarity of European experiences at this time (there were revolutions of a sort also in the Netherlands, France (the Fronde) Spain (the Reapers War) Bohemia and elsewhere), but the opposing view, as you've articulated is perfectly legitimate. For the purposes of this article though, what does it mean? Would you like to see changes in a certain direction? Jdorney 16:38, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Re engaging on content. As soon as some of the people I cited, who include professors of history at Oxford (or Cambridge, I can never remember which) can be shown to deserve being described with comments like "ill informed asides by people with no particular knowledge of what actually happened, calling the campaign, 'genocidal'" then it'll be time to engage on content. Meantime we have opinion. Even if it's PhD educated opinion, unless it's published, it's personal opinion. In any case, AFAIK the text I added to the article didn't say that his "campaign" was genocidal, it said that his "measures against Irish Catholics" had been characterised as genocidal or near-genocidal. The refs say pretty much exactly that. Don't blame me, blame all those professional academics and historians. Hughsheehy 17:23, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

I'll just butt in to say that I largely agree with Jdorney on this. It is not particularly useful in general, to put twentieth century spins on seventeenth century events. WRT the Church of England during the Commonwealth, my understanding was that it remained established throughout this period, but that the espicopacy was banned, so rather close to the opposite of sony youth's contentions. john k 20:55, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

@John k. Again, it's fine if you agree with Jdorney on this. It's apparent that many published historians, including (IIRC) both people who study genocide and people who study the 17th century, don't agree and that they have made the characterisation that you and Jdorney and MarkThomas seem to object to so much. Your personal view may or may not have validity. It just doesn't matter. Hughsheehy 07:40, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
Mentioning that some historians have called it genocidal is okay, but it seems to me that a lot of the cited sources aren't very good. Passing references to Cromwell as being "genocidal," especially in context of, for instance, histories of the Easter Rebellion, and so forth, don't strike me as very good. When discussing what "historians" say about a subject, we should try to reflect what historians who have written about the specific subject say, rather than some general attempt at what historians say. In this case, then, what ought to be particularly looked at are biographers of Cromwell and historians of the various Irish Wars of 1641-1653. john k 13:57, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
We have histories of genocide, biographical accounts of Cromwell and histories of Ireland that all say the same thing. Tim-Pat Coogan's book is just one example and even there, to call his comment a "passing reference" is a bit strong. The remark appears in his summary of Irish history up to the point he is covering, a section of the book where he probably chose his words pretty carefully. Also, there are lots of older books (back to the 19th century) that don't use the word genocide but that describe the case pretty clearly. Meantime, Levene is brutal on the topic. And yes, we may have too many references, but there are lots of people coming and essentially saying "naah, it couldn't be true of dear old Cromwell" that many refs is surely better than fewer. Hughsheehy 14:23, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
Ah, yes! - that sounds right ("the espicopacy was banned"). Thank you! RE: Jdorney - I think I just got carried away on a single point that has rather little to do with the article, except that I wouldn't like to see the events of the day simple blurred too far out of their "local" contexts. As for using the words like "genocide" etc. which I think John Kenny is eluding to by "20th century spin", I'd pretty much agree, but since these words are used (not by us) we need to explain why. --sony-youthpléigh 00:15, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

The Oxford Dictionary's definition of genocide reads as follows:" the intentional and systematic destruction of a national, racial,ethnical or religious group."Obviously Oliver Cromwell did just that.Therefore he practised genocide.If the British wish to include him in their article, let them do so by all means, but don't expect Irish people and their descendants to applaud their choice.As a woman of Irish descent and a Royalist to boot, I find Cromwell's inclusion inclusion offensive.My POV but I had to add it.--jeanne (talk) 07:42, 7 April 2008 (UTC)--07:42, 7 April 2008 (UTC)jeanne (talk)

Stupid style point

If I could just raise a stupid style point on genocide - the article's "reference 2" on genocide is really rather long, and seems to include almost copy-vio levels of quoting. If the sources are reliable, would it be possible to cite them without reproducing the text at length? At present almost one full column of the references section is devoted to this single reference (unprecedented in my experience). Cheers, --Plumbago 09:12, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

I don't see what harm is does being that long, and given that so many editors here are shocked to hear that such an opinion of Cromwell would be possible outside of backroom meetings of the IRA, I think its justified. --sony-youthpléigh 09:18, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
I was familiar with the line that Cromwell wanted to destroy the Irish people long before I heard of Wikipedia, but I still think the obsessive lengths Hugh has gone to in an attempt to defeat the reference-destroyers are a little on the extreme side. :-) However, I can live with the genocide accusations from POV historians being repeated, the question is, can we add material that contradicts that without being treated as UDA/UDR sympathisers? Because in fact, Cromwell never declared an intention to destroy the Irish people and genocide requires intention. And once again, nobody denies the British were murderous in Ireland. This debate is about historical scale and the meaning of the word genocide, which is being misused here. MarkThomas 09:36, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
"being treated as UDA/UDR sympathisers" - Mark, talking about "POV historians" is the kind of thing we want to avoid. You are the only editor to bring these type of accusations up. Why don't you point out the authors and publishing houses you have issue with so we can deal with them appropriately (add their names to a list and pass them onto your friends in the UVF?).
In any case the word "genocide" is not mentioned once in the article. The only element that may cause issue for you is the statement that "[Cromwells] measures against Irish Catholics have been characterised as genocidal or near-genocidal" - and that comes with a dozen references of people doing just that (most of which come from Oxford and Cambridge universities publishing houses)!
You said that you heard of this accusation before? So you believe its true? You believe its true that "[Cromwells] measures against Irish Catholics have been characterised as genocidal or near-genocidal"? If that's the case, what's your problem? --sony-youthpléigh 10:05, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
Sorry Plumbago, but there are people here who have a history of deleting references with continuous accusations of POV so despite the fact that the references may seem excessive, they're entirely needed. Also, since the subject is apparently controversial, the text of the references themselves is useful, rather than just a page ref. Finally, the quotes aren't copy vio, they're short. Hughsheehy 10:12, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

[Reduce indent] Oh, OK. I can see that I'm just getting in the way here. I should have spotted the trenches when I arrived.  :-) --Plumbago 12:05, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Don't give up Plumbago, you are helping. It is fine to debate the value of references on WP. When we did add a contrary referenced viewpoint you deleted it Hugh, arguing that it was of insufficient quality. Therefore obviously it isn't enough to just provide a citation. Sony, on your point, I don't disagree that some historians have characterised it as genocide and I already stated that I don't have a problem with that. My problem is that when we tried to introduce other referenced historians viewpoints they were promptly deleted by Hugh (and alerted on the Irish noticeboards as if a dangerous attack was underway!) - so I'm saying that the POV Hugh has is the only once acceptable to him. When I tried patiently to re-introduce this, I was accused of a long list of things by Hugh including harassment, vandalism, etc. All of which were utter nonsense. So there we have it - I note that under pressure from other editors, Hugh has had to partially withdraw. Now I'm asking for a full de-POVing of the article by allowing in other views. And I apologise for my inflammatory UDA remark. MarkThomas 16:06, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
Note to all. I am asking MarkThomas to promptly and thoroughly withdraw these remarks about me. Hughsheehy 16:23, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
Which ones Hugh? They can't all be untrue! MarkThomas 16:27, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
The reference? Are you talking about that Reilley nut? Then at least could you bring along references that don't get mocked on As non-UDA historians have to say about that book: "... rejected by other scholars", "not convincing", "superficial, volatile, tendentious and partisan" etc. I heard his later works were all published on vanity press.
As for it being time for "a full de-POVing of the article" - de-knot your knickers, Mark! Or at least point to something in particular. --sony-youthpléigh 16:21, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
Oh dear. Perhaps I should leave you Irish to discuss Cromwell amongst yourselves - I can see other views are not welcome. :-)
MarkThomas (re unsigned comment), you still don't get it. Your views and my views are not relevant. Views expressed in serious reference are relevant. Meantime, your ad hominem arguments are worthless, but insulting. Hughsheehy 16:31, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
It isn't my views or yours. I am (as you know perfectly well when you aren't busy making false accusations) talking about introducing referenced points into the intro that contradict the view that Cromwell was a genocidalist in Ireland, and I am (quite rightly) asking you and other editors if you are willing to allow them to stand and pointing out (quite correctly) that you didn't last time. You refused to answer this valid question, which leads to the obvious suspicion that in fact it is only your POV that you believe must stand in the article. So it is about your views after all and everything else is just a smokescreen. At the moment, this article does not do credit to Wikipedia as it trumpets a highly minority view (that Cromwell was a genocidalist in Ireland) without giving contrary opinions. I am trying to correct that in the name of an NPOV cyclopedia. You don't want it correcting - fine - but stop throwing nonsense out as a cover. MarkThomas 16:37, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
I've not problem with that, but for the sake of peace start with "blue chip" publishing houses (Routeledge, Cambridge, Oxford, Tauris etc.) or journals, if you can. At least then there would be "counter references" of equal standing that cannot be argued with. --sony-youthpléigh 00:21, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
Hmmm, the first definition I can find of "genocidalist" (Webster doesn't know what it means) is here: I don't think this is quite what the historians were thinking of. Meantime, the edit MarkThomas just made to the article, which I have reverted, said that it was "Irish historians" that made the remarks he so disagrees with. I've listed what their nationalities are - as best I know. Irish, Polish, American, Ukrainian, British (they're mostly British). Hughsheehy 17:14, 24 July 2007 (UTC)


Folkies unite! Two-in-a-bar needs saving:

a folkish couple with a wooden guitar start up Sweet Polly Oliver in a tiny bar on a winter’s evening, or Old Walter incautiously picks up the spoons, the landlord is potentially looking at ruin and prison bars. It is positively Cromwellian. As one campaigner puts it: “The present situation in which widescreen televisions in pubs do not require a licence, while a single acoustic musician or singer does . . . testifies to the extent to which the present Government is the patsy of big business, particularly in the entertainment industries.”

What does "Cromwellian" mean here? Is there some connotation that should be put into the article? -- 17:07, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Cromwellian in this context means "harsh, oppressive and unjust". Probably used by someone with reference to Cromwell's activities in Ireland?

Jdorney 13:19, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Thanks. At first I thought it was a typo for Orwellian. -- 15:06, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
The reference is actually to Cromwell's activities in England. Specifically his banning of theatres and other "frivolous", lewd and ungodly entertainment. It's a slippery slope: they start with the spoons and before you know it, they're running bingo nights, holding barn dances and attending mass (probably black mass at that). So better to keep the singing in church where God intended it to be. -- Derek Ross | Talk 15:43, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Actually having just read through the article I can see no mention of the cultural effects of the Cromwell's rule (such as the closure of theatres, etc.) so there is still a hole to be filled, unless this is all covered in associated articles on Cromwellian rule in Britain and Ireland. -- Derek Ross | Talk

As I understand it, those were implemented and enforced by the Rump Parliament. Cromwell, when he came to power, was actually a liberalising influence; while he did not permit theatre, he turned a blind eye to the celebration of Christmas and positively revelled in chamber music. English opera first appeared during this period, and port was introduced to England. Mon Vier 11:15, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Understood. However the measures were still associated with Cromwell, even though they may well have been implemented by others. There is a parallel in the use of the phrase "Victorian values". That describes values which, while not necessarily held by Victoria herself, were characteristic of society during her reign. The same is true of the adjective "Cromwellian". -- Derek Ross | Talk 06:19, 22 June 2007 (UTC)


Is the use of the word "godly" NPOV in this article? -- 17:08, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

no it describes Cromwell pretty well--it means: PIOUS, RIGHTEOUS, DEVOUT Rjensen 17:41, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
It also means "divine: emanating from God", which is non-neutral. However "Puritan" says:
It was a term of abuse that first surfaced in the 1560s. "Recusants", "Precisemen" and "Precisions" were other early antagonistic terms for Puritans who preferred to call themselves "the godly."
So it could be a trade-term if written between quotes. -- 09:02, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
NO, "godly" applied to a person only means pious. As Macaulay noted. "Soon the world begins to find out that the godly are not better than other men." Rjensen 09:27, 7 February 2007 (UTC)


We need to get ths article protected, as it suffers from a huge amount of petty vandalism. Jdorney 11:46, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

That seems reasonable. However let's try semi-protection first. That should cut out the "drive-by" stuff at any rate. -- Derek Ross | Talk 15:35, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
It's true that it has become something of a ritual for me to restore this page after hit and run vandalism, and it does seem to have increased in recent months. Agree that semi-protection is probably the way forward for now. Greycap 17:13, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Okay, done. The semi-protection will expire at midnight on the 30 June, though. If anyone wants to discuss the semi-protection further, please do so here. -- Derek Ross | Talk 19:56, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Good man Derek.

Jdorney 17:48, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Cromwell and Jews

Oliver Cromwell said that one of the reasons why he decided to allow the Jews to reenter the British Isles after their expulsion from there by King Edward I was that he wished to facilitate their conversion to Christianity by obliging them to attend Christian sermons on a Sunday. He quoted Romans 10:15 in his proposal. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:51, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

I'm not doubting you, but I think we would need a reliable source before we could state this in an article! Kangasaurus (talk) 12:28, 19 April 2009 (UTC)


This parliament only lasted four weeks.

What is meant by this? King Charles dissolved it again, and then called the Long Parliament? If so, this needs to be added in this article. (Sorry for any mistakes!) --Mike F (German Wikipedia) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 17:09, 25 February 2007 (UTC).

I seem to remember this bit of the article being a bit longer in the past, but may have made this up. I've tidied it up in any case. Greycap 17:25, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Much better now. --Mike F

Nobles as soldiers?

It is mentioned here that Manchester didn´like the fact that Cromwell recruited men of "low birth" for the army. In my opinion, this wouldn´t make any sense. I guess that the dispute was about promoting these men to officers, which is also suggested by Cromwell´s quotation. --Mike F —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 18:41, 3 March 2007 (UTC).

Indeed. The dispute was about the selection of officers, and needs to be related to Cromwell's defence of Captain Margery, the Anabaptist. --Train guard 14:00, 14 August 2007 (UTC)


In the "Posthumous reputation" I see nothing of 20th century historians who still view him generally negatively - currently it seems to be a very one-sided account of those who consider him more favourably, ignoring those who don't. This needs to be addressed to get a real sense of the debate about him, before the article can move on. John Smith's 15:12, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

It does need something on Christopher Hill and other "betrayed the revolution" interpreters, as well as something on Abbott and others who compared him to European dictators. I'll have a go at knocking something together tonight.Greycap 15:49, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

(Edit conflict) By all means add some material (and sources) to this effect. It does sound from the article that he's viewed almost exclusively favourably at the present time, and I'm sure that's not quite correct. That said, the balance of opinion might tend that way, and it's important that this is communicated by the article as well. Among other things, Cromwell did finish 10th in the Beeb's 100 Greatest Britons vote!  ;-) Cheers, --Plumbago 15:51, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, Greycap. I think the section needs a general overhaul. It currently seems to be a historical account of how people started to see him as an "ok-sort-of-guy". I think it could do with some criticism earlier on too (if you can find it) - maybe also reduce some of the earlier comments? It just seems a bit strange reading it at the moment. John Smith's 15:56, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
Plumbago, I know what you mean, but the general public can't really make objective comments on historical figures. It's up to the academics - plus I doubt the Irish would agree that's the position. Also it's not possible to say "the balance of opinion might tend that way" - there's no academic body that can speak for historical opinion generally. John Smith's 15:56, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, it's true that in general most historians of Cromwell take his religion much more seriously and are now tending to see more consistency in his views and actions - that's not the same as seeing him as an "ok-sort-of-guy", necessarily. But the article could do more to bring out a bit of the controversy, I will need to dig out some source material but will put this on my list of things to edit. Greycap 16:07, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
I think his religion isn't an issue, though one could ask how any Christian could justify the murder of old men, women and children - I know many people didn't see things that way in the 17th century. I think the section may have implied he was "ok" by lack of the discussion of the controversy. Take as much time as you need - I would prefer to see a great re-write than a rushed one. If you need any help from me on style, content, etc, just ask. John Smith's 16:14, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) Oh, I understand. I was really just joking about the 100 Greatest Britons (not least because "greatest" doesn't by any stretch mean "best liked"; Thatcher, let's not forget, was in the top 20). What I meant about balance was that it could very well be the case that 90 out every 100 academic historians (who expressed a preference ...) were big fans of Cromwell's and that, were this the case, it would be important for the article to convey this as well. However, as you've already noted, quantification of this kind isn't so easy (though sometimes these things are polled; did 100 Greatest Britons try anything serious like this?). Anyway, I reckon making it clear that opinion is divided would be a good start for the time being. Cheers, --Plumbago 16:18, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
P.S. My cheapshot about quantification isn't entirely arm-wavey. Cromwell, like most historical figures, waxes and wanes in approval with time. Noting that, for instance, he's "waxed" at the present time may be interesting for future Wikipedian editors when he may well be "waned" (or vice versa). His approval is the sort of thing historians seem to occasionally use as a barometer for opinion on certain topics (e.g. Royalty). --Plumbago 16:18, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
Lol, ok - it's just that some people take the "viewer-interactive" part of the BBC website too seriously. Also your comment about opinion on topics like the Royal Family is interesting, because royalty remains popular in the UK. So if his supporters are Republicans, that might show they're actually in the minority. Or people think that it was ok for him to take on Charles I - opinion on him is difficult to pin down - or indeed they just disagree with his pre-Commonwealth actions. John Smith's 16:23, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

I have finally got round to making the promised additions - there is now a section on early 20th century views of Cromwell. Both this and the bit on late 20th century views could perhaps do with a little bit more, but I hope this will suffice for the time being to remove the POV tag. I also added something on Clarendon to the beginning of the section. Greycap 07:01, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

"In the wake of the Commonwealth's conquest, the public practice of Catholicism was banned and Catholic priests were murdered when captured. In addition, roughly 12,000 Irish people were sold into slavery under the Commonwealth."
Could we change "murdered" to killed, executed or something similar. "Murder" might lead to confusion since, to me, the word carries the implication of illegality. Were these killings carried out by vigilantes or by the state? If the latter, then, however deservedly the killings raise our ire, murder seems like too loaded a word to use in the context, carrying as it does a moral judgment of the laws that sanctioned the executions.
I'm not entirely sure about this, but is "slavery" really the most accurate term here, or might it be changed to "indentured servitude"? The difference between the latter and slavery might have been very little, but it did exist. Nominally, at least, indentured servants could eventually earn their freedom, whereas African slaves could not. Indentured servitude involved great suffering, I'm sure, but conflating it with slavery seems like a failure to acknowledge the even worse plight of true slaves. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Fellow in the cellarage (talk) 01:02, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

I do think that you are perfectly right! But I have never edited this page, so I don't know, if someone will take exception altering it. But I think you should try, after having so well explained your case! Buchraeumer (talk) 11:14, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

Petty / Down Survey

I deleted this sentence (and again!): "William Petty estimated in his demographic survey of Ireland in the 1650s that the war of 1641–53 had resulted in the death or exile of over 600,000 people, or around one third of Ireland's pre-war population.[1]" The citation referenced says no such thing. I have this book and it builds a case for population loss in Ireland using the Down Survey referred to plus other historic sources to try to guestimate the popn loss figures from the Cromwell war - the Down Survey itself and Petty made no such observation, nor would they have given that they were in Cromwell's employ! Please don't revert back unless you know better and can make the case. I suggest direct reference to the Down Survey for example to support such a wrong allegation. MarkThomas 19:33, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

As a matter of interest what figure do Kenyon and Ohlmeyer come up with for their guestimate ? -- Derek Ross | Talk 21:16, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
Kenyon & Ohlmeyer's book does come up with that figure, I am not disputing that they claim it; just that it was in the Down Survey. In fact, K & O are in excess of the most widely cited figure of about 400,000 - as for example in Levene & Roberts "[The Massacre in History]" which gives a figure of roughly 400,000 deaths estimated over those years. MarkThomas 22:03, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
One more point - figures of deaths in Ireland, as in England and Scotland, during the civil war period, should be approached with caution as to cause - the widespread social, economic and food production dislocation in mainland Britain during this period had very widespread effects on all surrounding countries, and caused famine, lack of supplies and lack of trade, all of which must have contributed to mortality without being directly due to "murder" or "warfare". There is considerable evidence for example of enhanced mortality during this period in the Western Isles and Orkney/Shetland, both unaffected by direct warfare. MarkThomas 22:06, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
Understood. Thanks. -- Derek Ross | Talk 17:03, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Mark following your link above reveals a contradiction to things you have said elsewhere about the death toll in Ireland being comparable to England and Scotland. Also the number of 400,000 is not for the period of the war but for the thirty-year period between 1641-71 and so includes recovery afterwards, not just deaths incurred during the war:
"Further evidience for a massacre-ridden civil war in Ireland appears to come from populations figures. Through military and civilian deaahts from civiil were not light in England or in Scotland, in neither country did war inflict a clear drop in population level. It was otherwise in Ireland. Up to 1641 the population had risen steadily: one million in 1500, 1.4 in 1600, 2.1 in 1641; but then there occurred a sharp fall so that numbers stood at 1.7 million by 1672. After this, renew growth took the population to 2.2 million in 1687, and 2.8 in 1712. By far the greater part of this massive decline - some four hundred thousand people of 19 percent of the 1641 population - took place in the 1640s and 1650, as was the direct or indirect reult of over a decade of warfare. Ireland's civil war death toll is comparable to the devistation suffered during the Second World War by countries such as the Soviet Union, Poland, or Yugoslavia, and suggests that the war-time massaces which so contribted to these horrific modern figues, also occurred in mid-seventeenth-century Ireland." - Mark Levene and Penny Roberts, 1999, The Massacre in History, Berghahn Books: Oxford
The quotations above and below are not contradictory. With a population of 2.2 million in 1641 and a population of 850,000 in 1652, that would mean a 62% drop in population of Ireland over the period of the war followed by a doubling of the population over the twenty years that followed, which continued for the decade after that, and then slowed in comparasino, but continued at a relative, high pace between 1687 and 1712. --sony-youthpléigh 08:26, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

There seems to be a bias here(Im not sure who is moderating this, but I wouldn't be surprised if he/she was British) not to talk about the atrocities commited by Oliver Cromwell onto the Irish Catholic ethnic majority. There seems to be a "hush hush" to it. The man is in the same bracket as Adolf Hitler with his genocide of the Jews.

David Moore

@Mark: a quote with figures of deaths:

"Considered overall, an Irish population collapse from 1.5 or possibly over 2 million in habitants at the onset of the Irish wars in 1641, to no more than 850,000 eleven years later represents and absolutely devastating demographic catastrophe. Undoubted the largest proportion of this massive death toll did not arise from direct massavre but from hunger and then bubonic plagues, especially from the outbreak between 1649 and 1652. Even so, the relationship between the worst years of the fighting is all too apparent." - Mark Levene, 2005, Genocide in the Age of the Nation-State, I.B.Tauris: London

--sony-youthpléigh 08:06, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

As a Scot, I would have to disagree with the OPINION that there was no bitterness toward Cormwell in Scotland. While his campaign there wasn't the work of genocide it was in Ireland and hence not remembered with as much hate, anyone who says that some Scots didn't hate what he did haven't paid attention to Scots. (talk) 15:13, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Cromwell's genocide in Ireland

There seems to be a bias here(Im not sure who is moderating this, but I wouldn't be surprised if he/she was British) not to talk about the atrocities commited by Oliver Cromwell onto the Irish Catholic ethnic majority. There seems to be a "hush hush" to it. The man is in the same bracket as Adolf Hitler with his genocide of the Jews.

||David Moore||

Hugh Sheehy is repeatedly adding references to the introduction which he claims justify the assertion that Cromwell committed "genocide" in Ireland; one of these appears to be to a book that I don't have and does not appear on Google Books, called "Twentieth Century Genocide" so at first sight appears to be irrelevant; does anyone else have that book who can comment please? I would contest (see Down Survey above, another Hugh reference which was discredited as "proof" of genocide) that there was a Cromwell "Genocide" in Ireland. Does anyone else want to contribute to this please? For one very basic point is that Cromwell's excursion into Ireland was motivated both by religious hatred and a political/military desire to stop Ireland serving as a base for Spanish/French invasion of Britain. Genocide can extend to mass-murder based on religion but usually refers to deliberate mass-murder of a racial group, which I don't think objectively applies. Comments? (Hugh, please reply here if you wish to join the discussion rather than on my talk page). MarkThomas 17:46, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

The refs are available to anyone with a library or I never any reference to a "Down Survey" so I can't comment on that. Perhaps MarkThomas is getting confused again. In any case, he continually accuses me of POV edits on this and other pages. I apologise to the regular editors of this page for this sequence of edits.
Also, the use of the Tom Reilly ref in the intro should be looked at by a specialist. The claim that Tom Reilly makes and his own description of himself as an amateur are from the same sentence, which reads "They can't seem to accept that an amateur could discover such a fundamental flaw in Irish history ie that neither Cromwell or his men ever engaged in the killing of any unarmed civilians throughout his entire nine month campaign". This is very different and far more extreme than claiming he wasn't a mass murderer and this rather startling claim has been contradicted by many serious historians. (including one critique from a 17th Century specialist at Cambridge who wrote a comment on who concludes by saying "This is a painfully bad book, and it is tempting to suggest that its main use will be to teach students how not to conduct research, assess evidence or write prose". Hughsheehy 18:44, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

I note that other editors above have contested the depiction of Cromwell's actions in Ireland as "genocide". Please stick to the actual point and describe why the reference to a book on 20th century genocides is significant in this regard. I do believe that the description of it as "genocide" is pure POV and make no apology for that. MarkThomas 18:50, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Other editors may contest the description. Let them provide citation. The Reilly book is not authoritative just because he's from Drogheda and it is important to refer accurately to what he actually said. The Midlarsky book refers to historical genocides, including Cromwell. I also just added another citation from another reputable historian who describes Cromwell's campaign and settlement as "genocidal". Many older refs don't use the word genocide but clearly characterise the campaign and the policies in terms that fit the definition. Your belief that the description of genocide is POV is not relevant. Only verifiable citation is relevant. Hughsheehy 19:04, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I see from Hughsheehy's latest edit that he is reluctant to discuss this any further. I therefore propose to apply for the page to be locked and mediation. If no further comments in the next 24 hours and continued edits, I will do this. MarkThomas 19:03, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I cannot add further citation and be on the talk page at the same time. I have added clearly referenced and easily found sources that make the characterisation that I have added to the article. I had not intended to have so many refs but - as on other pages - it appears to be necessary. Hughsheehy 19:09, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

"Cromwell, in a furious passion, ordered that no quarter was to be granted to the defenders of Drogheda. The Parliamentarian army swept through the town, slaughtering officers and soldiers. The Royalist governor Sir Arthur Aston was bludgeoned to death with his own wooden leg, which the soldiers believed to be filled with gold coins. Catholic priests and friars were treated as combatants and killed on sight. Many civilians died in the carnage." S.R. Gardiner, History of the Commonwealth and Protectorate vol. ii, 1903. Does the killing of priests and friars in Drogheda not point to a suggestion of genocide this was repeated in other counties around the east coast of Ireland. BigDunc 21:26, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

Hughsheehy no additional references are needed. It is for other editors to find references which contradict what is there if that’s possible. BigDunc has illustrated yet another example and it should be incorporated into the article.--Domer48 21:57, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
Does the killing of priests and friars in Drogheda not point to a suggestion of genocide this was repeated in other counties around the east coast of Ireland. No, not necessarily - genocide isn't defined as killing of priests and as the article makes clear, circumstances in Drogheda were different to other battles during the Irish campaign (for instance it is not clear that the slaughter at Wexford took place with Cromwell's consent). I don't think you can make this assumption with 100% confidence. Greycap 06:22, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
Any massacre in Drogheda is not necessarily connected to anything else. Hughsheehy 07:36, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
The point I'm making Hughsheehy is for example Greycap says "for instance it is not clear that the slaughter at Wexford took place with Cromwell's consent." Now would it not be a simple matter to just reference this? As with your "comment" above, that their not "necessarily connected," can be addressed with the use of a sourced quote. --Domer48 08:09, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
This is the talk page, not the article. I don't reference everything I say on a talk page. I suspect others don't either. In any case, I was addressing BigDunc's comment, which seems to me to be an unsupported logical leap from massacre in Dundalk to a general genocide. One isn't the other. If there's support for such a connection, fine. As for Wexford, I dunno. Hughsheehy 08:26, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

I never said it was genocide I was just pointing out Cromwells hatred for the Irish and catholics in particular and if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck.... and as regards massacre in Drogheda not being connected was it not the same leader in charge during these rampages. BigDunc 08:47, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

BigDunc, don't get me wrong. Dear old Cromwell certainly seems to have quacked. The article has lots of refs supporting a characterisation of genocidal plans and behaviour in Ireland. I was just saying that making a hard link from Drogheda to genocide isn't necessarily justified of itself. It may well be correct and true, but not necessarily so. Other massacres at other places at other times were not followed up with the kind of thing that happened in Ireland under Cromwell and his buddies. One could quite easily have happened without the other. They didn't, but they could have. Hughsheehy 11:16, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
Cromwell was the greatest British bastard that ever set foot in Ireland, and that's saying something. And where I come from "British bastard" is not merely tautologous it is NPOV and causes absolutely no offence to refer to this personification of British evil in such terms. To not tell it as it is is the offence. And you're wasting your time saying English and British are not the same: when it comes to what was done to Ireland, and the continuing occupation of our country in 2007, you are all the one. Look at you now with your empire gone but for this tiny part of Ireland. You pathetic misery-inflicting utterly conceited self-perceived masterrace in a perpetual state of abnegation about what you have been doing in Ireland for centuries. Kill this post, but you sorry excuses for humanity will never kill our dreams. Tiocfaidh lá éigin nuair a bheidh an fonn saoirse seo le taispeáint ag daoine go léir na hÉireann ansin tchífidh muid éirí na gealaí. (talk) 18:24, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
One wonders if the person above (i.e. is going to embrace the spirit of Christmas. Hmmm. Hughsheehy (talk) 12:21, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
And this is why we have irish jokes. (talk) 21:06, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

To Hell or Barbados, by Sean O'Callaghan puts the Slavery numbers at 50,000, including women and children, many as sex toys, sent to Barbados, Jamaica as well as Virginia. Supporting the sending of innocent civilians is Henry Cromwell's reply to John Thurloe's request in according to Oliver's instructions to send 1000 Irish Girls under the age of 14 to Jamaica "Concerninge the younge women, although we must use force in takinge them up, yet it beinge so much for their owne goode, and likely to be of some great advantage to the publique, it is not in the least doubted, that you may have such any number of them as you see fit..." (James Ruddy) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:43, 10 April 2008 (UTC)


By changing the quote from Reilly, we now have a disconnected para ending in the introduction, where on the one hand we have the (over!) referenced statement that Cromwell is traditionally hated in Ireland, a fact that cannot be doubted, and on the other a disconnected reference to Reilly's view that there was no killing of civilians in Drogheda, whereas of course Cromwell is hated for much more than just Drogheda. I propose we separate these. If nobody else is involved in editing this other than Hughsheehy and myself, rather than edit-warring, I propose we seek mediation on it, since it is clearly highly politically and emotionally charged for one of the editors involved. Thanks. MarkThomas 19:00, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Oh, interesting that you were recently deleting the refs to how Cromwell was hated, calling them POV, whereas now it "cannot be doubted". Hughsheehy 20:11, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I have quoted from Reilly accurately. Reilly did not say that Cromwell was not a mass murderer, he said that neither he nor his men ever killed unarmed civilians - which is very different. I am not edit warring. I am adding verifiable citations and referring to them accurately and neutrally. Hughsheehy 19:06, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
No, that's not the point and anyway can you quote the page number from Reilly that's on - I think you are getting it from here are you? If so, it's a throwaway comment by the author, but I am willing to accept that it's his view. You changed to this quote from the one saying that the belief in Cromwell's genocide was a "fundamental flaw in Irish history" which was more relevant to the "genocide and hate" debate. I believe you did this to try to demean Reilly and confirm your POV that Cromwell was a genocidalist in Ireland, something that it is contested. Snowjobbing references all over it doesn't help. Will you please stop editing and discuss properly? If not, when the page is locked it will need to be reverted back to before your recent edits. MarkThomas 19:11, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Note also the much more measured and objective tone of the historical debate about these atrocities at Cromwellian conquest of Ireland - we need to look at what that article says and incorporate some of it's tone into the introduction of this one. Cromwell was not a genocidalist. MarkThomas 19:29, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I accurately quoted what Reilly said. I did nothing more than that. The previous version presented something that he had NOT said. In any case, his "throwaway comment" was apparently the source of your ref as the text that you quote is not (AFAIK) in the actual book, but only in the author's comment. I am not "snowjobbing" references. If the text was not contested there would be no need for multiple references. The text is being contested and I will put in appropriate references, which are from multiple authors and from serious publishing houses. As for the other page, it refers to how the activities of Cromwell and co in Ireland could be described as war crimes. The other page also has one reference to Reilly as the only counterpoint. As for me "discussing properly", I am doing so. Finally, as for "measured and objective", I have said that Cromwell's campaign has been characterised as genocidal or near genocidal and provided reputable refs which say exactly that. Hughsheehy 20:11, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
What's actually going on now with the refs is that you've thrown loads of references at the part of the sentence about Cromwell being hated in Ireland, a point nobody contests, but we still have 3 difficult-to-check-for-context-and-accuracy references about genocide. One of those three, as I've mentioned before, appears to be from a book about 20th Century genocide. Can you help us out Hughsheehy by repeating the actual sentences from those two where you have not provided them please? Thanks. In the meantime, I am researching alternative views of the alleged genocide, which do not (I have already discovered) just depend on Reilly. I also object to the use of the term "amateur" in that context because he used that as a point against his critics "eg, even an amateur like me has proved you all wrong" and it is being used here in the opposite sense. MarkThomas 17:59, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
The refs on the campaign are not difficult to check and I already said that the Midlarsky book refers to several historical genocides. As for Reilly, it is his own description of himself. His book has been heavily criticised and that is how he described himself in response to that. If you can find reputable references that say that Cromwell and co's campaign and settlement was not genocidal, fine. I didn't find any.
Again, if the point about Cromwell being hated is one "nobody contests" then why did you delete reference to it from a century old Cromwell biography as being "extremely POV and unencyclopedic" and another from the UK National Archive website with the comment "deliberate and extremely POVist attempt to gain from a spurious "governmental authority" association." Strange that it's suddenly something "nobody contests". YOU contested it and YOU deleted references about it. Now that there are "loads of references" it's suddenly uncontested. I find that strange.
Meantime, I'm putting the text of the references re genocide into the references. It'll take a few minutes. Hughsheehy 08:51, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
The text of the references are in, plus another reference from a University of Southampton historian that describes the Cromwell campaign for several pages and is pretty unambiguous in the characterisation as genocidal. Of course, I'm sure that somehow it's entirely my fault that he wrote this book. In volume 1 (which I didn't cite) he suggests that Ireland in the 17th century may be one of the first genocides associated with a nation state, although the Canaries in the 15th and Prussia in the 13th offer other examples. Hughsheehy 09:21, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Early years: 1599–1640

Reference to St Ives in the 4th (final) para should presumably to the town in Cambridgeshire. Can this be fixed please? 12:45, 2 April 2007 (UTC) Done - thanks for spotting this. Greycap 07:04, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

Reilly as a reference?

Although I'm no expert on 17th century history, it seems that there is a lot of evidence to suggest that the Reilly version of Cromwell is not reliable. He has been criticised by several historians as unsound, e.g. "A major attempt at rehabilitation was attempted by Tom Reilly, Cromwell: An Honourable Enemy (London, 1999) but this has been largely rejected by other scholars", which is a comment from John Morrill (a well known historian also quoted on this WP page) in the Canadian Journal of History. The critique on the page, written by a 17th century specialist in Cambridge is even more damning, with "To be blunt, Cromwell: An Honourable Enemy owes more to Reilly's often expressed desire to "rehabilitate the memory of Cromwell in Ireland" than it does to any generally accepted rules of historical practice" and "This is a painfully bad book, and it is tempting to suggest that its main use will be to teach students how not to conduct research, assess evidence or write prose" as just a few example from that critique.

There are others too but they're offline right now and I can't get to them. Should this ref be used? Again, I'm not an expert but it seems that concerns about the book should at least somehow be expressed where it is used as a reference. Hughsheehy 11:10, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Reilly is an amateur historian with no academic qualifications whatever. And it shows in every respect. The man holds no weight in the academic community. There is a reason for that. 23:46, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Which page in Reilly's book does the quote you included come from Hughsheehy? I refer to your sentence "neither Cromwell or his men ever engaged in the killing of any unarmed civilians throughout his entire nine month campaign" I can't locate this sentence on Google Books. MarkThomas 17:05, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
MarkThomas - you know very well where it came from. You referred to it already yourself [1]in a discussion a few days ago and you indicated that you were happy that it reflected the author's views. It seems to come from exactly the same place as your previous quote about the "fundamental flaw in Irish history". It's the Author's review of his own book on and probably many of their affiliates. AFAIK, neither text that you quoted or I quoted is in the book itself, rather in the Author's Note and I believe I already said so. I just quoted it accurately. I'd be perfectly happy to delete the reference entirely if you'd like. As for Google Books, it only has a limited preview of the text, not the whole book. BTW, I didn't use the quote from Reilly about Clonmel where he says (paraphrased) "Cromwell's leniency towards the most obstinate Clonmel garrison" is not (now move to direct quote) "something that would have been expected from the systematic killer of vast amounts of defenceless Irish civilians". (Page 242) because some might read is and say that there's at least a chance that Reilly is being ironic. Reilly isn't my ref. He's yours, but we need to quote from him accurately and fairly, if at all. Hughsheehy 10:27, 5 April 2007 (UTC)


Maybe we could mention how terrible of a person he was? ESPECIALLY TO THE IRSIH PEOPLE?!! This IS NOT vandalism, it is purely an expression of my free speech and rights on the discussion page!Sbfenian1916 19:48, 8 May 2007 (UTC) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Sbfenian1916 (talkcontribs) 23:08, 7 May 2007 UTC.

-- Could not agree more, there seems to be a bias here(Im not sure who is moderating this, but I wouldn't be surprised if he/she was British) not to talk about the atrocities commited by Oliver Cromwell onto the Irish Catholic ethnic majority. There seems to be a "hush hush" to it. The man is in the same bracket as Adolf Hitler with his genocide of the Jews.

||David Moore||

Nobody "moderates" articles on Wikipedia as such David, anyone can attempt to edit a page that is not locked for editing. On the specific point you make, I think you are expressing a view from Republican history rather than the actual historical events. Cromwell did carry out killings in Ireland and nobody, or at least, nobody mainstream, disputes that. But many historians would argue that the great majority of the deaths in Ireland at that time arose, as they did throughout the British Isles during the wars of the three kingdoms, from famine and disease. This does not make Cromwell a genocidalist and to compare him with the holocaust is a travesty and absurd. It may play well as part of the particular view of Irish history favoured in Republican writings, but there is no historical fact to support it. MarkThomas 16:31, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
If you look at the talk page and its archive, plus the article itself, I don't think there's a reluctance to talk about the issue of Cromwell's actions in Ireland. There is debate, yes - but that's what's being worked through with the addition of references and the discussion on the talk pages. And on your point about moderation, there is no moderation as such. Content is user-generated but must be verifiable [2] and be written from a neutral point of view [3] - these are two out of three of the key principles behind Wikipedia. If you can prove your statements above or have content to add within these guidelines, please do enter the fray as an editor of the article. Greycap 16:18, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps it should also be worth noting that Puritanism was pretty much a Talibanesque Christian movement. This article steers well clear of this very important aspect: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:07, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Overdoing the controversy in the intro

Isn't the intro over the top? Whilst some historians (many of them long dead) may have heated opinions about him, the strange fact is that in most modern English people Cromwell, and indeed the Civil War as a whole, arouses few passions. The general feeling is that neither side was anything like us, and it was all a very long time ago, so there is no need to express a preference for either side. The intro is not consistent with this. Cromwell's place in the national consciousness is actually about as uncontroversial as that of a revolutionary military dictator could conceivably be. Alex Middleton 11:09, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

"in most modern English people Cromwell, and indeed the Civil War as a whole, arouses few passions" (my emphasis) - yes, but the same is probably not true of some Irish people, and in fact of some people everywhere. I don't have sufficient evidence to prove this, but anecdotally there are lots of instances of recent, high-level controversy. For instance I remember when John Morrill (one of the leading Cromwellian historians) caused a fair amount of upset by delivering the address on OC's 400th anniversary, by virtue of the fact that he's Catholic. That made the UK national press. Tom Reilly's book of around the same time also caused a bit of a brouhouha. Maybe the impression of controversy is inflated by commentators and the media - but I think it's slightly over-glossing to suggest that the man doesn't cause any controversy at all any more. The volume of hit and run vandalism on this page until it got protected, most of it related to the Irish campaign, suggests that there are still some people who do find the generally-accepted academic viewpoint controversial. Still, I'll be interested to see what others say so haven't reverted or made any changes. Greycap 12:11, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
Also, I think it was about a decade ago, Newt Gingrich's press secretary (Gingrich was Speaker of the House at the time) had to publicly apologise for saying something positive about Cromwell <corrected mistake>. The Irish lobby in the US was quite offended by his remarks and he was eventually forced into retracting them. 15:41, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
I can't see how you can say Cromwell and the revolution arouse no interest today. Look at this discussion! There is deep interest today but it often is indirect. For example, the British are quite proud of their independent parliament and justly so. Everyone cognizant of its unique position knows quite well that it became that in the English revolution. In my country (the US) everyone knows perfectly well that all these various brands of Protestantism came mainly out of the English revolution. In the 1960's we even had a revival of the diggers and levellers. Cromwell is a household word. Scarcely anyone does not know who he was. The very state in which I live was a puritan stronghold in that revolution. I wear my hair short and the United States military cuts its soldiers' hair short because Cromwell's "roundheads" cut theirs, which is why they were termed roundheads. In New England today, "cavalier" is not a nice word to call people.
Now, I think the intro to this article is just exactly right! Cromwell was born into a time of great social paradox when it was not easy at all to see which way to go. There were no clear-cut answers and he could not formulate a consistent platform. If his views and actions seem paradoxical it is because the times were paradoxical. I don't see how the intro could have expressed it better. As for his Irish solution, the people of Ireland gave him no choices at all any more than they do for us today. The Catholics were going to kill or expel every single protestant in Ireland and that was that, no argument, no compromise, no negotiation. The Protestants were equally determined that not only was that not going to happen, but they were going to spread Protestantism in Ireland. Cromwell stepped in and imposed a military solution creating two Irelands, a Protestant and a Catholic. I don't know what else he could have done. Quit bashing Cromwell for doing his job. And finally, Cromwell himself often had doubts about what he was doing. Have you even read what Churchill had to say about him? Churchill says that he died in a clap of thunder (symbolic of a thunderstorm in society). He appeared almost out of nowhere in a total malestrom and talked the waters into calm. Some of his means aren't what we would want today but whether he could have solved the problem without them is questionable. I think the article does well on this. Leave it locked. Don't even give the Catholic and Protestant partisans a chance at it or there will never be anything here but hate and controversy.Dave 21:11, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
"Cromwell stepped in and imposed a military solution creating two Irelands, a Protestant and a Catholic." In what parallel universe did this happen?
"As for his Irish solution, the people of Ireland gave him no choices at all any more than they do for us today. The Catholics were going to kill or expel every single protestant in Ireland and that was that, no argument, no compromise, no negotiation." The 1641 Rebellion was in direct response to the Plantation of Ulster with its associated land-seizures and the associated sectarian legislation imposed from England. Your comment, "... any more than they do for us today ...", betrays a very limited understanding of the politics or history of Ireland on your behalf. --sony-youthpléigh 10:02, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
Yes, these bits of Republican folklore need drastic revision. I also find the whole intro rambling and undefinitive at the moment. I am considering a total rewrite giving a more objective summary of his role, achievements, negatives, etc. MarkThomas 10:06, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
Which "bits"? Nothing in particular has been mentioned in this discussion. --sony-youthpléigh 10:15, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
Ah Sony, now we can see which bits. MarkThomas is back asserting that all the references on Cromwell being an unpleasant chap are "false", "POV", and probably Republican folklore. Well, more references are on the way. Hughsheehy 08:19, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Ok. I've added even more references on Cromwell in Ireland. It's apparent that John Morrill's conclusion is correct - that views on Cromwell in Britain and Ireland are irreconcilable. However, the references on genocide/near genocide and ethnic cleansing remain solid, from solid sources and from serious authors. Again, a bit sad that SO MANY refs have to be added, but it's still clear that there are people who would try to use the absence of lots of references as an argument that there is a lack of evidence. (Note, there are many many many more refs available.) Hughsheehy 10:19, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
I added more as inline quote. Maybe take some of yours and add them and form a narrative. Its not even a debate. The view is so widely held among social scientics (among historians less so, since genocide wasn't used in the day) that quote are rich picking. --sony-youthpléigh 11:01, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
I do think it's right that there is some sort of discussion of the Cromwellian period in Ireland in this article. However, there are two points I'd make. First, the section the ethnic cleansing paragraph has been added to comes in a section about the campaigns of 1649-50, and yet focuses on the entire extent of the Commonwealth and Protectorate's actions going beyond 1650. So it may be better situated elsewhere in the article. (And this section says very little on genocide despite having this in the title). Secondly, can we not be more sophisticated in distinguishing between Cromwell personally and the Commonwealth then Protectorate as governments? While Cromwell was a major figure in the Commonwealth it's the Rump Parliament then Barebone's Parliament that had executive power and were actually taking decisions beyond actions in the 1649-50 campaign. And in the Protectorate, while Cromwell obviously held executive power there are other subtleties to be considered, not least that Fleetwood then Henry Cromwell were Lords Deputy of Ireland during that period and had a considerable degree of autonomy in the execution of policies. I say all this not to delve into either side of the debate on ethnic cleansing and genocide, but to ask that it we see the debate itself less crudely and not just as a question of what Cromwell did/didn't do, but of what he and others in the Commonwealth and Protectorate did/didn't do. Greycap 13:04, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
The citations added refer directly to Oliver Cromwell, the subject of this article. They explain his role in history and why he has such a bad reputation in Ireland. As regards the section being about the 49-50 campaign, where else would you put it? Do they not relate directly to the 1649–50 campaign, being the result thereof, and, as the section they are actually is called, "Cromwell's actions in Ireland"? If the dates unnerve you, maybe change the top section title. I would not be infavour of moving it to somewhere else, but of course it would be worth a mention once again in the section "Posthumous reputation" which I think should be broken-up into positive and negative sections for clarity. --sony-youthpléigh 13:37, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
It's an interesting point, and worth looking at (I mean the subtleties, not the dates). However, from what I know of the time Cromwell was CEO or Commander in Chief for the duration. Finessing the issue by - for instance - saying that Ireton was uniquely responsible and therefore that maybe Cromwell wasn't responsible, would be an evasion. In essence it would be like Stalin denying responsibility for the Gulag by saying that it was all the responsibility of the Minister of Prisons. Even Greycap's own quite reasonable statement is that Ireton had "considerable autonomy in the execution of policies". That doesn't lessen the responsibility for the policies. The Levene reference is really emphatic on this point and is worth reading...that the policy was intended to be a clearance of the population. He calls is something like "the nearest thing, on paper, to a program for the systematic ethnic cleansing of another people". He's clear that it was policy...not just the exigencies of war. This kind of detail needs to be covered in the text, not in the introductory paragraph. The fact is also widely covered, in many of the serious histories, that the policies on Ireland didn't work as well as hoped - something worth sitting down and thinking about. Hughsheehy 14:52, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
On where to put it, to fit with the chronological approach the article takes I think we could do with both a section on the Irish campaign and then something later on under the bit dealing with the Protectorate about later policy in Ireland. I may have a go at adding something on this - the Protectorate as a whole gets slightly short shrift in this article at present and I have been meaning to look at it for a while. And on the citations, yes they do say OC did various things but my point is that perhaps the citations too make the mistake of sometimes conflating decisions made by him with decisions made by the wider regime. I don't want to take away from Cromwell's authority during the period and I absolutely don't want to do this simply to "get him off the hook", as it were, but it's important to understand he was not "CEO" politically (although militarily, yes he was) until 1653. Greycap 15:35, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

<reduce indent> Not suggesting that's your intention. I have a horrid feeling that there are plenty of "hooks" to go around. Reading the material I keep wondering "what if Cromwell and co had done the same thing to Scotland as they did to Ireland...would there be a UK today?" Also, I keep wondering "what it Cromwell and co had NOT done to Ireland what they did..would there be a UK containing Ireland today?". I know that it's not JUST Cromwell, but I hope you see what I mean. Hughsheehy 09:20, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

English Revolution?

Sorry to be naive, but why doesn't the phrase "English Revolution" appear in the entry? It's abundantly represented in the bibliography. Perhaps there's good reason for this? ----Dylanfly 01:30, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

This perticular war is always known is the "English Civil War" but never as the "English Revolution". The Civil war page gives a pretty good explination. ZLiang 15:33, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the speedy reply, ZLiang! Still I have to wonder, given the bibliography... Seems like there's a certain scholarly tradition about an "English Revolution." --Dylanfly 17:12, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

It varies according to historical interpretation. S.R. Gardiner called it a Puritan revolution back in the late nineteenth century. You could debate whether its causes and agency were entirely Puritan-based. John Morrill - whose edited edition of essays on Cromwell is I suspect what you've noticed in the bibliography - called it (in 1990 when it was published) the English revolution. (Part of me wonders whether he still would). Others still would argue over whether it should be the British revolution, or whether there was a revolution at all. The English Civil War still tends to be the main phrase by which conflict south of the border is known, with the wider series of conflicts being known as the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. Greycap 17:36, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Mmm. Thanks for the replies. A very good discussion as it turns out, is already up on English Civil War, which, yes, redirects from English Revolution. See the section on Terminology and the section Theories relating to the English Civil War. Turns out that English Revolution is preferred by marxist scholars, who see the conflict's origins in class-based conflict. It's a compelling point of view. That mainstream historians would prefer to leave the political economy out of it is hardly surprising. --Dylanfly 21:46, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

"Banned Fun"

Is there any truth to the fact that Oliver Cromwell banned Sport, Christmas and anything else considered too 'fun'?

  • Cromwell effectively banned – or at least attempt to suppress – "fun". He was a Puritan and Presbyterian (fiercely anti-Roman Catholic) and considered Winter festivities, such as Christmas, traditional Catholic ceremonies. Christmas was banned; drunkenness was despised, as well as infidelity. The frivolous immorality that was so common in the former Stuart period was quickly reversed. Needless to say, these measures were extremely unpopular, and all "fun" was promptly restored at the Restoration of Charles II in 1660. Peter symonds 18:42, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
He wasn't Presbyterian. And it wasn't just him - he wasn't Lord Protector until 1653 and there was a move towards a reformation of manners by Parliament long before then. See here. Greycap 19:47, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for this information. Zhuge Liang• [Chat] 15:40, 17 June 2007 (UTC) (I forgot to sign the question.)

See discussion of the adjective "Cromwellian" above for more on this topic. --Derek Ross | Talk 06:22, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

No not presbyterian .. he was an independent i.e. believed ones relationship with god was a matter of conscience rather than dictated by a church establishment. His major-generals were in charge of the 'moral clampdown' during his protectorship .... I believe he withdrew them when he realised the unpopularity of their actions.Doctorpete 08:18, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

Three points. Firstly, as has been already implied, the killjoy methods were the work of a Parliament that was in the hands of the Presbyterian party, the Parliament that the army refused to obey, the Parliament that was later got rid of. Secondly, Cromwell himself did not object to fun. Musicians played into the late hours for dancing at his daughter's wedding, and he amused himself by putting sticky sweets on the chairs so that guests would sit on them. (Truly!) Lastly, some of the actions of the Major Generals can be misunderstood. The supression of a variety of festive gatherings (including foxhunts) was the result of a suspicion that they might be used as cover for seditious meetings. (That's Hill's interpretation.) It amazes me that people still think that all puritans were the same....... --Train guard (talk) 18:04, 18 January 2008 (UTC)


Any chance they can be condensed a little for the Genocide thing? I mean, seriously, 15 references in thespace of 5 words? A single condensed reference of quotes would suffice if that's what's "required", but I think 2 or 3 of the key ones would sufficiently define whatever point is being made - whereas at the moment it looks somewhat desperate and rabid. Understand someone is trying to make a point - but it's bloody untidy.--Koncorde 22:54, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

As mentioned above, it's a bit annoying to have to supply so many references but as long as the content is being disputed, the references stay. It's fundamental to have citations. I agree, it's not pretty, but for the moment they stay. Hughsheehy 08:36, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Agree. "2 or 3 of the key ones" get thrown out as the fantasy of 'republician folklore' or 'nationalist-minded historians', to quote one editor. It is unfortunate that so many citations have to be provided from the entire breadth of the social sciences to evidience the weight of Cromwells destruction on Ireland, but the enthuasism for certain editors to muffle this evidience necessitates it. --sony-youthpléigh 08:45, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Can we not just have one reference number that then leads to a number of different citations? There is nothing I can find in the citation style policy on this (am happy to be corrected)but any academic work when quoting multiple references to a single sentence would just have a number of things in the footnote, even if that makes the footnote extensive. It just looks really unwieldy at the front-end otherwise. (Also a small moan which is if you're adding references, can the format be consistent with what's there already, which is based on the style manual.). Greycap 19:50, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Sure. No time today, but will look at it. Hughsheehy 07:39, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

Would just like to say that the "Ethnic Cleansing and genocide" section a little later on is a case of "Leading a horse to water" (in some cases providing enough information on a single subject as to qualify as a Start on a new wikipage [The Act of Settlement of Ireland] part for instance is unwieldy). I'm also concerned at the quality of some of them and their usage (namely the fact that section appears to be taking several quotes from different texts and creating 1 piece of prose - I don't think intentionally, but it could be read that way).

Anyway - concerns:

  • 59 in fact disagrees with the whole topic and states; "Relocation rather than extermination was the goal"? Either the topic should be re-headed as "Ethnic Relocation, Cleansing, and Genocide in Ireland", or better quotes found because currently they're substandard. If 're-headed' then I think it should be fleshed out with more than simply a chunk of quotes from a multitude of sources. You don't find that in Hitlers bio despite the masses of sources for his "genocide".
  • 60 seems to tag along with 59 to the extent of being (possibly) read as part of the same text, and again repeats the above relocation line "choice between genocide and forced mass population transfer". The name, page, and reference either needs to be included as a template:cquote or template:rquote in order to clarify.
  • 61 contains a wealth of information telling the world and its dog all about ethnic relocation (again disagreeing with the title of the topic). Same issues as above. Also needs to either be trimmed down or otherwise explained more concisely.

The ref 62, and 63 repeat themselves on the facts and figures of the Irish population - but cite wildly different figures.

  • 12 = "600,000 deaths out of a total Irish population of 1,400,000."
  • 62 = "1.5 or possibly over 2 million inhabitants at the onset of the Irish wars in 1641, to no more than 850,000"
  • 63 = "2.1m in 1641; but then there occurred a sharp fall so that numbers stood at 1.7 million by 1672. After this, renewed growth took the population to 2.2 million in 1687, and 2.8 in 1712. By far the greater part of this massive decline - some four hundred thousand people or 19 percent of the 1641 population - took place in the 1640s and 1650"

That's a difference over over nearly 1 million between two cited references in terms of initial population, then a total slaughter total of varying totals, two of these scarily done (apparently) by the same bloke (Mark Levene).

  • 62 also seems to have been altered, or originally written poorly (and requires a "leap of faith");
Considered overall, an Irish population collapse from 1.5 or possibly over 2 million inhabitants at the onset of the Irish wars in 1641, to no more than 850,000 eleven years later represents an absolutely devastating demographic catastrophe. Undoubted the largest proportion of this massive death toll did not arise from direct massacre but from hunger and then bubonic plagues, especially from the outbreak between 1649 and 1652. Even so, the relationship between the worst years of the fighting is all too apparent.

Is it all too apparent? "The relationship between the worst years of fighting" and what?

  • 63 also contains leaps of faith:
Further evidence for a massacre-ridden civil war in Ireland appears to come from population figures. Though military and civilian deaths from civil war were not light in England or in Scotland, in neither country did war inflict a clear drop in population level. It was otherwise in Ireland. Up to 1641 the population had risen steadily: one million in 1500, 1.4 in 1600, 2.1 in 1641; but then there occurred a sharp fall so that numbers stood at 1.7 million by 1672. After this, renewed growth took the population to 2.2 million in 1687, and 2.8 in 1712. By far the greater part of this massive decline - some four hundred thousand people or 19 percent of the 1641 population - took place in the 1640s and 1650, and was the direct or indirect result of over a decade of warfare. Ireland's civil war death toll is comparable to the devastation suffered during the Second World War by countries such as the Soviet Union, Poland, or Yugoslavia, and suggests that the war-time massacres which so contributed to these horrific modern figues, also occurred in mid-seventeenth-century Ireland.

"Appears" is weasel. The effects of 'war' on population level he puts down in 63 to hunger and bubonic plagues, but in this one makes somewhat wild and bold claims about massacres akin to those seen in Poland and Soviet Union during WW2? The entire section is poor to misleading.--Koncorde 11:31, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

This is a really useful look at the references. I have related if less serious concerns about the provenance of some of the references quoted in the lead paragraph. For example David Norbrook (note 9) is an English literature scholar and the work quoted is a book about the politics of literature during this period. The reference to genocide is an aside rather than an argument of the book. Similarly Alan Axelrod (note 6) is a writer on leadership who talks about Cromwell in this context rather than as a seventeenth century historian or historian of genocide. It doesn't matter so much with these since the point they are supporting is that many have characterised the Cromwellian regime's actions as genocide. Fair enough - and for this reason I think they should probably stay. But I agree absolutely with Koncorde that the later section is becoming a dumping ground for quotes about the more general actions of the Protectorate in Ireland. Obviously there needs to be coverage of this but so much of this could be tidied up and/or put into citations - and some could also be moved to related articles like that on the Cromwellian conquest, since a lot of it is more general than biographical. We need to be particularly careful about looking at the sources, too, as Koncorde has done. The most recent addition on the 1660 pamphlet is a case in point: who wrote it? why did they write it? do we have any evidence to verify its claims? Just inserting it into the text with the appropriate note on where it was sourced from isn't enough for an article with GA status and which hopefully could be got to FA in the future. Greycap 07:43, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
Yep..that section further down the page does "appear" to be a collection of quotes with no narrative. It's not the right way to write a section in an article.
Meantime, the Norbrook quote is indeed - as Greycap says - a modern description of views expressed in poetry of the time. Cromwell is certainly not the subject of the Norbrook book, but the reference (which is quite explicit that is is an interpretation of the original poet's views) is an indication that the characterisation of genocide or ethnic-cleansing isn't something new or revisionist. Again, so far I'm avoiding use of references from the more passionate authors and historians, who might (often unjustly) be accused of excessive anti-Cromwell zeal. On the Axelrod reference, it seems unfair to criticise him as not being a scholar of the 17th century or of genocide. Those are fairly specialised fields, and in any case his views don't contradict views of specialists in those fields. In addition, apart from books on leadership, Axelrod has also written a number of books on history, military history, and biographies of historical figures and one would expect that a historian writing leadership profiles of great historical figures would take some trouble to learn about the characters he is profiling - especially when the book is published by a major house like Prentice Hall. Hughsheehy 10:45, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
I reduced the unattractive proliferation of the note tags in the lead by combining references. This is a perfectly acceptable practice: The Chicago Manual of Style (one of the style guides our MoS specifically recommends) says: "The use of more than one note reference (such as 5,6) at a single text location should be rigorously avoided. Instead, the notes referred to should be combined into a single note." This is not mandatory on Wikipedia, obviously, but it seems to me sensible. An exemplary noting system, in my opinion, is employed at Battle of Ceresole, which is worth glancing at now and then as a guide. It was edited by user:Kirill Lokshin, a citation guru, as far as I'm concerned (not that he would think of himself that way).
On the wider point, it is obvious that the noting is too heavy at the moment in places. I fully understand that this is an emotive issue; but matters like this should not be referenced by accumulation. Most of those notes should have been placed for discussion on the talk page, as part of a negotiation towards definitive edits. Wikipedia policy advises that the best sources should be used, which is not always the case here. The solution is to reference the point required to a reputable historian or two and leave it at that. Where views of reputable historians conflict, then that should be stated in the article and in that case more than one should be referenced; but there's no need to reference the same information to a series of different sources.qp10qp 11:01, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
Would like to thank everyone for not taking my comments the wrong way as could have happened (I realised later). Whilst I personally, somewhat, dislike the use of the term genocidal (as I believe it's an easy tarring by a bunch of "historians" [and I mean that in the loosest possible sense] with whose books I wouldn't wipe my arse). I think it's perhaps too glibly applied whenever something nasty happens, particularly by revisionists influenced by the historical "assassination by documentation" of various heads of state since 1945 (particularly when looking back at how campaigns used to be 'conducted' in more "barbaric" times). I don't dispute that people have no doubt phrased his actions as such, and so people have a right to let wikipedia show that. However - in their desire to throw mud on a topic - I think they run the risk of cheapening the whole thing. As User:Qp10qp said "best sources" should be applied, anything else is just flogging a dead donkey.
Cromwell himself would have said "Warts'n'all"... but the hunch, slurred speech, Pied de mouton and chronic syphillis are a little too eager, and can appear ingenuine.--Koncorde 20:46, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
I've got no problem with reducing the references to the long as there's no tendency to gradually eliminate the references in general. (read back in this discussion page to see why) Also, again I wonder which of the references deserve to be categorised in the way that is apparently being done not good enough to wipe Koncorde's arse. As far as I can see the historians quoted are pretty serious and published by pretty serious houses. As for "tarring" with the term genocide, that's only an issue if you believe that someone's reputation will be unfairly damaged. That doesn't seem to be the case here. The term is a modern term but fits well with what seems to have gone on. Hughsheehy 10:04, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
The fact they take themselves seriously whilst exhibiting such limited scopes is what worries me. Don't get me wrong though, most of the quotes are bob on, valid and well structured. It's just the rent-a-quote types that do my box in. And it's not so much a concern of "damage" as it is a case of completely overpowering the article. When there's 50 quotes and refs about Genocide, and only the one for every other topic it gets to being a little over zealous.--Koncorde 18:39, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

<reduce indent> Now that there's only one - albeit extended - footnote swamping the article isn't an issue. Meantime, since first trying to put any content on this page in relation to Cromwell and Ireland I've been reverted as a vandal, accused of POV, had references deleted as being POV (including ones from century old biographies and from British govt sites), etc.,etc.,etc. Excuse me if I'm a little sensitive to feedback that there are TOO MANY references. Hughsheehy 19:19, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

I would be against reducing the number of citations, although reducing them to one footnotes is welcome. I suspect that it would gradually lead accusations that the remaining references are extremist and unrepresentative. In reply to Koncorde's criticism of the citations:
  • First there is little disagreement between the citations and populations figures, the varying numbers refer to different dates. That the population of Ireland was ~1.5-2 million in 1641 is a broad but estimation, but who are we to choose which figure is more accurate. The figure of ~800,000 in 1652 is agreed by both Stewart and Levene (Levene & Roberts don't comment on that year):
    • 1641: 1.4 million (Stewart), 1.5-2 million (Levene) 2.1m (Levene & Roberts)
    • 1652: 800,000 (Stewart), 850,000 (Levene)
    • 1672: 1.7 million (Levene & Roberts)
    • 1687: 2.2 million (Levene & Roberts)
    • 1712: 2.8 million (Levene & Roberts)
  • Regarding your comment that Levene:2005 "seems to have been altered, or originally written poorly" misses the by far more mundane explanation: a typo. I've fixed the error.
  • Regarding Levene & Roberts:1999, accusing a scholarly publication of containing "leaps of faith", using weasel words and of making "wild and bold claims" is a little presumptuous, no? (See the authors employee page at the University of Southampton.)
  • The "wealth of information telling the world and its dog all about ethnic relocation" in Leary et al:2001 is necessary to keep as with out it the sentence "Examples of the former include ... the Irish Catholics moved by Oliver Cromwell to Connaught during 1649-50 and after" make no sense unless we know that the example we are talking about is an example of "Ethnic expulsion" which is mentioned only at the beginning of the passage. --sony-youthpléigh 21:07, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
Except they put the initial population at anything from 1.4m to 2.1m in 1641 down to 850,000 - that's either a death toll of 600,000 - or 1.2m? Bit of a discrepancy that undermines the piece. The most reliable should be used, preferably with a cite for the actual population figure if there's perhaps an official assumed population count rather than 3 seperate guesses (if the original population is a guess, then the subsequent population decline is also a guess - which doesn't bode well for any other claims).
    • That was the third option on the quote. But I couldn't see what had been ommitted so it read like an alteration. Possibly a paraphrasing.
    • No, not particularly presumptious. When the quote itself introduces assumed arguments from other topics in history, then introduces them into another topic whilst suggesting that it's "obvious" then that's begging the question. It's circular logic. People died in ethnic cleansing during WW2, therefore the same actions must have taken place under Cromwell...? See where I'm coming from?
    • It could have been paraphrased or otherwise condensed into the article. As it is, the article was about ethnic cleansing and genocide - not ethnic relocation - and was positioned in such a way that the entire piece could have been read as one long citation from a single source - effectively creating an entirely new amalgam from piecemeal sources.
And Hugh, I never said the quotes were POV or asked for them to be deleted, I'm all for verification by a vaste swathe of quotes if it adds to the topic.--Koncorde 01:12, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
For you bullet points, that's fine, no problems. For the population figures, as far as I know nothing "official" exist, so its all guesswork. Just after the war it was guesses at between the two figues given. Eighteenth century publications went the lower number (see Ireland Before and After the Union with Great Britain page 165). Today its thought the higher one is more correct:
"The most authoritative modern assessment concludes that Ireland's population rose considerably after 1602 and that, by 1641, it suported 2.1 million people. This estimate is obtained by working backwards from fairly reliable eighteenth-century demographic data, though such a technique faces the formidable problem of estimating from very little evidience the effects on population of the decade of upheaval that followed the outbreak of the rebellion. The duke of Ormond, looking back after the Restoration and using Sir William Petty's figures, reached the more conservative conclusion of a population of between 1.2 and 2 million." - Perceval-Maxwell, M., 1994, The Outbreak of the Irish Rebellion of 1641, McGill - Queen's University Press: Belfast
--sony-youthpléigh 10:54, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Good quote. It should be used as a reference when dealing with any population reference regarding the Genocide in order to explain any descrepancy. It would at least then validate Levene's ability to quote two very different figures.--Koncorde 16:21, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Deleted section

I figure some of this can be rescued and incorporated into other sections, but at the moment is extremely poor and lowers the tone of the whole Irish section (distracting from what is otherwise a solid start).--Koncorde 20:52, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

Ethnic cleansing and genocide

The Cromwellian confiscations in Ireland are universally held to be examples of early ethnic cleansing by scholars of ethnicity and ethnic conflict. Examples include:

The draconian laws applied by Oliver Cromwell in Ireland were an early version of ethnic cleansing. The Catholic Irish were to be expelled to the northwestern areas of the island. Relocation rather than extermination was the goal.[2]
Oliver Cromwell offered the Irish Catholics a choice between genocide and forced mass population transfer. They could go 'To Hell or to Connaught!'[3]
Ethnic expulsion is a right-peopling stategy, the intended, direct or indirect, forcible movement by state officials, or sanctioned paramilitaries, of the whole or part of a community from its current homeland, usually beyond the sovereign borders of the state. A population can also be forcibly 'repatriated', or pushed back towards its alleged 'homeland', as happened to blacks during the high tide of apartheid in South Africa. We may distinguish two paradigm forms: creating 'Serbian exiles', that is coerced transfers within a state or empire, and 'creating refugees', that is, the expulsion of populations beyond the sovereign border. Examples of the former include the treatment of indigenous peoples throughout the world; the Irish Catholics moved by Oliver Cromwell to Connaught during 1649-50 and after; and national minorities within the Soviet Union.[4]
Considered overall, an Irish population collapse from 1.5 or possibly over 2 million inhabitants at the onset of the Irish wars in 1641, to no more than 850,000 eleven years later represents an absolutely devastating demographic catastrophe. Undoubted the largest proportion of this massive death toll did not arise from direct massacre but from hunger and then bubonic plagues, especially from the outbreak between 1649 and 1652. Even so, the relationship between the worst years of the fighting is all too apparent.
[The Act of Settlement of Ireland], and the parliamentary legislation which succeeded it the following year, is the nearest thing on paper in the English, and more broadly British, domestic record, to a programme of state-sanctioned and systematic ethnic cleansing of another people. The fact that it did not include 'total' genocide in its remit, or that it failed to put into practice the vast majority of its proposed expulsions, ultimately, however, says less about the lethal determination of its makers and more about the political, structural and financial weakness of the early modern English state. For instance, though the Act begins rather ominously by claiming that it was not its intention to extirpate the whole Irish nation, it then goes on to list five categories of people who, as participators in or alleged supporters of the 1641 rebellion and its aftermath, would automatically be forfeit of their lives. It has been suggested that as many as 100,000 people would have been liable under these headings. A further five categories - by implication an even larger body of 'passive' supporters of the rebellion - were to be spared their lives but not their property.[5]
Further evidence for a massacre-ridden civil war in Ireland appears to come from population figures. Though military and civilian deaths from civil war were not light in England or in Scotland, in neither country did war inflict a clear drop in population level. It was otherwise in Ireland. Up to 1641 the population had risen steadily: one million in 1500, 1.4 in 1600, 2.1 in 1641; but then there occurred a sharp fall so that numbers stood at 1.7 million by 1672. After this, renewed growth took the population to 2.2 million in 1687, and 2.8 in 1712. By far the greater part of this massive decline - some four hundred thousand people or 19 percent of the 1641 population - took place in the 1640s and 1650, and was the direct or indirect result of over a decade of warfare. Ireland's civil war death toll is comparable to the devastation suffered during the Second World War by countries such as the Soviet Union, Poland, or Yugoslavia, and suggests that the war-time massacres which so contributed to these horrific modern figues, also occurred in mid-seventeenth-century Ireland.[6]
Reply from original editor

Fair enough - it was a quote dump. --sony-youthpléigh 20:00, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

Use of Irish Mercenaries by Royalists during Civil War

Irish mercenaries served in Scotland (just as Scots-Irish served in Ireland on behalf of the Parliamentarians) and in England as part of Royalist forces throughout the Civil War (Charles Irish bolstered force took part for instance in the 2nd Bishop's War of 1640 that saw them beaten by the Scots). Mark Stoyle. Soldiers and Strangers: An Ethnic History of the English Civil War. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2005. x + 297 pp. ISBN 978-0-300-10700-5 is one source for further Irish involvement - though he also spends time covering the Welsh, Cornish and Scots. The Confederate army you refer to is fine, and if anything should be referenced as another point of threat - though nonetheless it remained (especially once banished to Spain) a mercenary force funded by Royalists.--Koncorde 06:21, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

No, we have a misunderstanding here. The Irish troops in Scotland were not mercenaries. They were troops raised and financed by the Catholic Confederates and sent to Scotland as part of ceasefire deal with the English royalists in 1644. Neither were the Scots in Ireland mercenaries -they were Scottish regulars. This is important, because Ireland and Scotland were not recruiting grounds for the English Civil war but protagonists in their own right in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. One by one;

  • In 1640, Charles' deputy Wentworth raised an army of Irish Catholics to be used against the Scots in the Bishops Wars. But the parliaments of England and Scotland kicked up such a storm of protest that Charles had to disband the army. It had been stationed in Ulster, waiting to cross to Scotland but was disbanded before it ever got to Scotland. Wentworth was ultimately used as a scapegoat and executed for his role in the affair, amongst other things.
  • In early 1642 the Scottish Covenanter regime sent an army to Ireland to try to put down the 1641 rebellion. They were not acting on behalf of the English Parliament, though they had their support initially. Their main purpose in Ireland was to protect the Scottish settlers in Ulster.
  • At the same time, Charles landed English reinforcments in Dublin to put down the rebellion. Many of these troops were withdrawn on the outbreak of the English civil war. It is to these soldiers that the PArliamentarians referred to when they talked about 'Irish' troops in the royalist ranks. However, they were in fact mostly English. Fear of Irish Catholics, who were associate with the massacres of 1641, was all prevasive during the English civil war. After Marston Moor, the Parliamentarians massacred a bunch of Welsh royalist camp followers who they thought were Irish. However, there was actually no significant presence of Irish soldiers in England.
  • The reason for this was that they were employed at home by the Confederate Catholic's government, which controlled about two thirds of the country. The confederates signed a ceasefire with the Royalists in 1643 and opened negotiations about sending troops to England. In 1644, they sent a contingent of 1,500 or so men under Alasdair MacColla to Scotalnd to help the Royalists there. In 1646, they actually signed a treaty, the Ormonde Peace which committe them to sending their forces to England. However, because of internal disagreements and because the English civil was already over, they never did this.
  • For the purposes of this article, the most important fact is that the Confederates concluded another treaty with the Royalists in 1648, the Second Ormonde Peace, which committed them to uniting with the remaining Royalist forces in Ireland. So the point is that Cromwell was not in Ireland trying to stop a flow of mercenaries, he was in Ireland to confront a political alliance between English Royalists and Irish Confeerate Catholics, which was committed to a restoration of the monarchy.

Hope that clears things up,

Jdorney 14:01, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Section on Irish campaign

I have had a go at tidying this up. After successive changes and additions by various editors I feel it has got a little over-written and slightly disordered. In particular, there is a fair amount of material in there which I think is perhaps better suited to the articles on the Confederate wars, the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland, and the Act of Settlement of 1652. Also, some of the material is more about general actions by the Rump or specific actions by other individuals than Cromwell. For example:

  • the quote about Irish Catholics is about Henry Cromwell, not Oliver;
  • the 1660 pamphlet quote is about the Governor of Galway.

I have tried to slim down some of the repetition - for example Cromwell's own views on the Irish were previously brought out in similar ways in a number of places. Similarly, I have corrected some minor details. For instance, Cromwell did not write the quote about Cavalierish, Scotch and Irish interests. It is from a record of a speech he made to the general council of the army on 23 March 1653. Similarly, I have removed the reference to the Irish curse about Cromwell still occasionally being heard in lieu of a reference for this. I have also removed the extended paragraph on Tom Reilly - it should be enough that this is referenced, I think, or perhaps included in the section on Cromwell's legacy (which does lack coverage of what historians have made of the Irish campaign).

As a result it now resembles more closely the section on Scotland, which has more detail on Cromwell's attitudes and actions in Scotland, and slightly less (but still coverage) of subsequent developments in politics/economics/society in the country. I have edited boldly and I am sure others will edit further. But my motivation in doing so has been to trim down what is perhaps starting to turn into quite an unwieldy section. Greycap 20:00, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Agreed, good work Greycap. This article should have a fairly brief section on cromwell in Ireland, not a lengthy debate about his actions there. That should be elsewhere. Jdorney 22:25, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Ancestry and status as Lord Protector

Crowmell and his goons were not old families of influence. They came to the fore as a result of the Reformation. Thus, Cromwell is just another "new man" of government from the Tudor era. It's funny though, the attempts to make him both a Tudor and Stuart. I'm pretty sure monarchs from each dynasty would laugh at best, or be completely offended at the suggestion. 03:59, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

I don't know; the article seems to be pretty clear on his exact ancestry and his class as gentry. The connections are described as distant; but surely Thomas Cromwell was a man of very considerable influence? MarkThomas 16:37, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
This can all be checked pretty quickly online: Cromwell Association website. --sony-youthpléigh 19:16, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

Cromwell's signature

I am concerned about including Cromwell's signature on the article. This could be used to forge death warrants of monarchs for example. MarkThomas 17:43, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

It is my understand that the signature can only be used on Wikipedia if the information it is already public knowledge. I am sure that any self respecting member of the forging community would find the task of unearthing the signature a doddle if an ordinary subscriber to the Wikipedia service can.Quick Reference 17:57, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
OK, glad it's within policy. I am just worried about the ID theft aspects of stealing Oliver Cromwell. I don't want somebody to go around invading Catholic countries just by pretending to be him, or striking down leftists. MarkThomas 18:05, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure it is within Wikipedias policy, I'm just making an assumption. It stands to reason that if it is in the public domain already then doesnt pose a risk to it's security.

Christopher Hill condemns Cromwell as a regicidal dictator?

This seems an odd thing to say. Hill was a Marxist. He didn't give a damn about regicide. He disliked Cromwell for practically the opposite reason to Hume - his suppression of the Levellers and Diggers, and so forth. We should be careful not to imply that all dislike of Cromwell on the part of English historians is the same. john k 13:59, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Yes, the intro does subsume quite a range of opinion into one set of views. I suppose Hill's views would be classically expressed as Cromwell betraying the revolution he originally fought for - ie a king-killer who didn't follow through with implementing a proper republic and who turned against those he'd once defended (Lilburne being an obvious example). I haven't added anything because I know there is a wider debate about the length, but could this be dealt with by having a reduced paragraph on reputation more generally, that managed to summarise both debate over actions in Ireland and wider reputation? Eg something along the lines of: "Cromwell has been a very controversial figure in English history. To some historians he is seen as a regicidal dictator (name or two), to others the creator of a republic he then betrated (name or two), and to others a hero of liberty (name or two). Most recently historians such as x, y have argued for the sincerity and importance of Cromwell's religious beliefs. [then into remaining material on Ireland]".
While we're mentioning Hill, he's conspicuous in his absence from the section on Cromwell's reputation. We should probably add something in given how seminal a book God's Englishman was. I will try to fix this at some point. Greycap 21:13, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Churchill quote

Sony, I actually really like the Churchill quote you added and would want to see that in the intro, but would you agree that the intro is now getting too long overall? How can we shorten it? MarkThomas 14:58, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Yeh, quite long. I cut it down. --sony-youthpléigh 15:12, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
Was the apparent typo in "and they for thier part" in the original source? Good shortening but I still think the overall intro is too long. Maybe we should write a top intro and then have the whole of the current intro slab as the foreword? MarkThomas 15:15, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
I disagree. Leave the intro - its good as it stands and we'll only end up fighting over it. (Typo is mine.) --sony-youthpléigh 15:18, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
It's really very long now - wouldn't have to be a fight if it briefly summarised the various povs in the main paras. MarkThomas 15:32, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
Intro's are not for summarising the "various povs". They're for summarising the most important facts or aspects in an article or about a subject.
The Churchill quote is typical of the man's eloquence. Wow. Mind you, just imagine if someone Irish had said that - how many accusations of "Republican POV" would be flying around by now. "By an uncompleted process of terror, by an iniquitous land settlement, by the virtual proscription of the Catholic religion...". Strangely, I'm reminded of De Valera's speech after the end of WWII. I wonder if that speech (which apparently impressed Churchill immensely) had any influence on Churchill's views on Irish history. Hughsheehy 16:55, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
Yes, it's probably pure contrariness on my part, but despite the sentiment, because WSC said it, I'm very relaxed with it. However, all accusations aside, I don't actually believe Hugh as I've said before that Cromwell was a great chap and a thoroughly good man-about-Ireland; he was a cynical, manipulative, dictatorial, murderous individual, although he was also an awesome commander and political manipulator, but I echo the views of another editor above that we have to place him in the context of his times and not get carried away with modern interpretations, like the "genocide" one, even though I accept that there are historians that do. And I didn't mean when I said "various povs" our POVs as editors, but the views and facts of the intro. It surely is too long now. MarkThomas 17:32, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
Does the Churchill quote really need to be directly quoted, and in the introduction as well? It doesn't make the introduction read very well. Is a better place for it either the section on Cromwell's part in the Irish campaign, or the bit on his posthumous reputation? (sans quote, eg by putting it into the reference). Greycap 18:13, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
Probably would be better there actually, the intro really is much too bulky now. We should have the WSC quote though, it's amazing. MarkThomas 18:23, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
The reaction to the Churchill quote by MarkThomas is illuminating. Churchill, of all people, could NEVER be accused of "Republican POV" so suddenly we have the fantastic wriggling of "despite the sentiment, because WSC said it, I'm very relaxed with it". This is amazing. So, if someone that MarkThomas could attack had said it (e.g. Polish historians), he might be busy describing that speaker as regurgitating "republican folklore", having a "Republican POV" or being an Irish nationalist historian and then quite possibly deleting the reference. This is sad sad sad. Meantime, the quote is perhaps a bit long to have in the intro - at least in its current format, although we could probably cut the 3rd paragraph instead, since Churchill on Cromwell surely trumps the fairly anodyne discussion of admirers and critics in that paragraph. However, in any case, the statement is by such an important historical figure, about such an important historical figure, that the reference deserves to be prominent in the intro. Hughsheehy 19:05, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
I suppose one could argue that it's entertaining to see those of a nationalist bent citing Churchill, but I won't. :-) Actually, it was Sony-youth who added the WSC quote and as far as I can tell he is a very precise editor, although we often don't agree with each other. I probably am contrary but not sad. I also agree that the overall intro is too long - how about we make a determined effort at synopsising each of the main paras plus the WSC quote - I promise not to turn this into a fight if others won't. It would make the article look better. It would be fun to have a snippet of the WSC quote in it, if only to show that all "sides" are capable of broad appreciation of historical views! MarkThomas 08:33, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

Genocide, but at the bottom of the talk page rather than the top

Interestingly, I looked up "Genocide" on The first synonym is "ethnic cleansing", which is pretty clearly the minimum intention of the Cromwellian settlement. Also, the Encyclopedia entry from Columbia states "genocide, in international law, the intentional and systematic destruction, wholly or in part (my emphasis), by a government of a national, racial, religious, or ethnic group. Although the term genocide was first coined in 1944, the crime itself has been committed often in history." So, they wouldn't have any principle objection to Cromwell being accused of genocidal activities. Also, from the WP entry that also comes up is the statement "Article 2 of the CPPCG defines genocide as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."" The plan behind the Act of Settlement pretty clearly meets this definition, as also stated by Levene. Hughsheehy 17:31, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Again, don't disagree with any of the above Hugh. Could we refer to it in the same terms as the article Genocides in history, eg, as for example in the intro of that article "determining what historical events constitute a genocide and which are merely criminal or inhuman behavior is not a clearcut matter"? That article incidentally does not cite the Cromwell campaigns as genocide, it discusses the Great Irish Famine, at the risk of bringing that particular battleground into focus here! MarkThomas 17:37, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
I'm not aware of any serious references that describe the Irish Potato Famine as genocide, although they may exist and maybe it was. I don't know. As for discussing subtleties of definitions of genocide, that's probably best for the genocide page. Here, the fact remains that serious historians of genocide and of the 17th century, published by reputable or even eminent publishers, have described the Cromwellian activities in Ireland as genocidal or near-genocidal and have also widely used the term ethnic-cleansing. Older historians from before either of those terms were coined have used descriptions that fit the definitions pretty exactly. Until those who - for whatever reasons - are opposed to this description produce some serious references then all we have is personal opinion of WP editors, which doesn't count for much. BTW MarkThomas, since you persist in your accusations of POV editing and vandalism against me, we're not on first name terms. I'm Hughsheehy to you. Hughsheehy 18:57, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
OK, sorry Sheehy. I will however reserve the right to call our subject "Oliver" or just "Ollie", or plain ol' "Oliver, mass murderer and genocidalist of the poor innocent Catholics who were in no way plotting at the time to take over Europe and Get Things Back Like They Were With the Pope in Charge. Hope that's clear. MarkThomas 19:01, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
"Oliver, mass murderer and genocidalist of the poor innocent Catholics who were in no way plotting at the time to take over Europe and Get Things Back Like They Were With the Pope in Charge." - Mark, in your version of history, does time travel backwards (see here for the 'end game')? --sony-youthpléigh 18:05, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

New Article Proposal

I'm thinking of a new article to be linked off this one called Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler and Genghis Khan: similar people to Oliver Cromwell. It can serve as a repository for Irish nationalist historians' quotations. Sorry, have to go now - busy with plots to install the vile British conspiracy in hidden Wikipedia entries where they can't ever be gotten at. MarkThomas 19:07, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Come on Mark.. This does no good. This is the kind of comment that starts edit wars, not end them. SirFozzie 19:25, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

My apologies, it's difficult to make a case on rational grounds given the impervious nature of some editors to reality, so one cannot help but resort to sarcasm. I take it all back, and apologise to everyone everywhere on Wikipedia, especially Hugh and M'Lud Fozz, who is now my hero having blocked Domer48. MarkThomas 19:37, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Still with the pety comments would you not rather this page was edited fairly with all sides taken in to consideration instead of childish point scoring an absurd comments.BigDunc 21:08, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

RFC on User MarkThomas

With great regret (because it's a pain in the a** to prepare) I've created an RFC on user MarkThomas. Since part of the history has been here, it seems reasonable to notify it here. [4] Hughsheehy 14:29, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

Genocide &tc

Hi, I hope you don't mind me putting by two-pennyworth in. This article is not on my watchlist and I'm not going to get into any arguments here. However, for what it's worth, here are my fairly neutral observations. First, like many controversial articles, the article is pretty good and the talk page not.

Second, from my reading the actual military campaign was efficient, but followed the standards of the times. Until after the Napoleonic Wars a town that shut its gates to an army was sacked if it fell. The scandal was if the city surrendered and then was sacked, as in the Dutch Revolt. It is also worth remembering that the context of the time was the Thirty Years War, not the Second World War, and I think it is difficult to sustain that the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland was significantly worse than, say, the conquest of Bohemia. As far as I can see, all the wars of religion in the 16th and 17th century involved the mass killings of different confessions, and I think it might be arguable that Cromwell was less rigorous than some. What was significant and has had a lasting effect was the plantation afterwards (though again, it would be interesting to compare it with what happened in Bohemia- don't know the answer to this that). Again, what was different from continental Europe: the extent, the rigour, the lack of accommodation from either side, or both? (I don't know). In addition, to what extent was this down to Cromwell?

I think it is fairly straightforward to call the plantation ethnic cleansing. I'm less sure about calling it 'genocide': as pointed out above, this is a 20th century term, and I doubt whether it is applicable to the 17th century. It is worth saying that some people describe it as such (the current situation), but otherwise, I think it is a too loaded term to use apart from as a direct quotation. It's a bad word to use anyway because its loading means it loses preciseness: was Cromwell anti-Irish or anti Catholic? Did he want their annihilation, conversion, or impoverishment? What was his attitude to the inhabitants of The Pale? These are perhaps the questions to concentrate on.

By the way, it is not the best of references, but on the question of 'fun', Mark Steel insists that Cromwell was a great practical joker, even, if I remember rightly, getting into an ink fight when Signing Charles I's death warrant. MAG1 22:16, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

The term "genocide" is being far too widely used in Wikipedia generally, although when you go to the actual genocide article you see there is considerable disagreement about what actually constitutes a genocide. Cromwell did not set out to, nor did he, commit genocide in Ireland, despite what some historians out of the nationalist tradition say. There were huge losses of life in Ireland during that general period, most after the Cromwell invasion, primarily caused by the usual horsemen of the apocalypse; famine & disease. Cromwell no more "caused" those with intent than did anyone else fighting a war in those days; they were inevitable. More than 1/3 of the population of England died during the English Civil War, mostly from the same causes. In the article itself we need context; I don't dispute the references being there, but the term "genocide" needs explaining in this context. I suggest that this has more to do with nationalist and Republican views of history and the history of resentment against Britain within Ireland than it does to do with the historicity of the alleged "genocide". Using the word in this way to whip up hatred of the Brits does a disservice to genuine historical understanding and also makes Wikipedia articles a tool of propaganda. MarkThomas 07:37, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
Mark, as has been pointed out before, most of the references given are from blue-chip British publishing houses. Are you suggesting that Cambridge, Oxford and Routledge have all been infiltrated by agents of Sinn Fein? Please, less of the blasting about "historians out of the nationalist tradition."
Now, you say you have no problem with mentioning that the view exists. Good. Where else in the article does the word "Genocide" occur that you have trouble with it - because I don't see it mentioned anywhere else?
Why don't you start by sourcing refereneces that "defend" Cromwell against the genocide/ethnic-clensing claim? Otherwise it just looks like you making a bluster for no good reason - what exact part of the article are you unhappy with? --sony-youthpléigh 08:02, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
@MarkThomas. Please provide a ref for 1/3 of the population of England dying in the Civil War. (I seem to remember figures that were MUCH lower). Please provide a ref that Cromwell & co didn't set out to commit genocide. Please provide a ref that the Polish, British and Ukrainian (just to give a sample) historians are "historians out of the nationalist tradition". Please provide a ref that using the word "genocide" in any way is intended to "whip up hatred of the Brits".
@MAG1. Genocide is a "loaded" term in what way exactly? It's one that historians have used to describe what went on. "Ethnic-Cleansing" is an even newer word than genocide, so if it's ok to use ethnic cleansing, why not genocide? As for getting into a detailed description of what went on, that's next, but it takes a little time to gather references/citations. Hughsheehy 08:09, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
I think we could make a start by discussing the existing references. Firstly, the "The Killing Trap: Genocide in the Twentieth Century" reference. This appears to be a throwaway remark out of context in a book about 20th century genocides by Manus Midlarksy, whose specialism is the Holocaust and works out of Rutgers. I don't recall him ever writing about anything outside the 20th C, although I could be wrong. We should delete this "reference", it's out of context. We should also by the way be simultaneously looking at the article Cromwellian conquest of Ireland where the same ref block has been repeated wholesale. MarkThomas 08:55, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
The Killing Trap reference certainly looks like an aside, but taking it out wouldn't make much difference though either way. If you want it out, then I've no problem with losing it. It does support the statment that its references, but as it stands it is by far the weakest of it all. But, back to your comment on Nationalist historians etc. Is Midlarsky one of these? From the Amazon review of the book: "Manus Midlarsky, a leading scholar of war, has written a book of monumental significance. He emerges here as the pioneering thinker who has produced the first truly rigorous and comparative theory of genocide." Sounds like the kind of man who would know a genocide when he see one.
Perhaps, you would be happier to replace the quote with this more extensive passage from the same book:
"It is noteworthy that, of all English leaders of the recent past, the genocidal impulse is perhaps strongest in Cromwell, expressed not only in words against papist Spain, but in the vicious massacres at Drogheda and Wexford in 1649, as well as in the institution of the 'plantation policy' in which Scottish Presbyterians were to replace Irish Catholics in northern Ireland. By 1703, the proportion of land held by Catholics in all of Ireland declined to 14 percent from a high of 59 percent in 1641. The later response (or absense of it) by Westminster during the Irish potato famine of the middle of the nineteenth century, leading to an estimated 1 million Irish Catholic deaths, complemented the earlir Cromwellian policies of massacre and land exproriation.
"The existential nature of such conflict is emphasized by Schmitt: 'There exists no rational purpose, no norm no matter how true, no program no matter how exemplary, no social ideal no matter how beautiful, no legitimacy nor legality which could justify men in killing each other for this reason. If such physical destruction of human life is not motivated by an existential threat to one's own way of life, then it cannot be justified.'"
Does that resolve the Midlarsky issue? --sony-youthpléigh 09:35, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps MarkThomas is labouring under the misapprehension that the citations already in the article are the only ones that could be found, or are somehow the fruits of extensive searching and laborious selection of statements to support the case. They're not. Half an hour in a library will give you dozens more. As for the specific quotes, why not have both? Perhaps then we'll have some peace and quiet. Meantime, I await with bated breath MarkThomas' citation to support the death of 1/3 of the English population during the Civil War. Note, I don't promise to hold my breath, just bate it. Hughsheehy 10:57, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
The 1/3 was my understanding and it's not cited in the article (yet) so I don't need to find a ref for it. Sony, I do like your second ref better, it's a more convincing one, however, I just doubt that Midlarksky really knows the first thing about it - I suspect he's repeating "established wisdom" in the US about this. Education about Irish/British history generally in the US educational system takes an extremely anti-British slant. I would sooner we take the Midlarsky bit out altogether, he is an authority on the Holocaust, not Irish history - it also repeatedly cheapens and demeans the Holocaust-as-genocide to compare it to Cromwell in Ireland. MarkThomas 16:39, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

<reduce indent>So, let's see a ref that says Midlarsky doesn't know anything about it, or that he's repeating "established wisdom" (and one wonders why it might have become "established wisdom"), or a ref that the US education system is "extremely anti-British". As for demeaning the Holocaust, I'm pretty sure that a Polish historian of 20th century genocide, working in New Jersey (MarkThomas says he's from Rutgers, that's where Rutgers is) might be expected to be sensitive to accusations that he was cheapening and demeaning the Holocaust....which nobody has done. Of course, by now we can produce a series of circumstantial evidence that a certain editor here doesn't care about references that disagree with his personal store of knowledge. Meantime, since (again) the whole section is disputed, the ref stays. Finally, as for MarkThomas' assertion that 1/3 of the population of England died in the Civil War and his sudden lack of knowledge when challenged...he deleted a reference in March that talked about the population losses in Ireland, England and Scotland with apparently knowledgable comments about the reference. [5]. That ref estimates that 40,000 civilians died in England in the Civil War. Hmmmm... 1/3...I think not. Also, why would someone who knew enough to delete that reference suddenly not remember anything at all about the Civil War in England. I leave others to draw their own conclusions. I know I've drawn mine. Hughsheehy 17:31, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

So we've moved from accusing disagreeable authors "Irish Republician bias" to the novel claim that they "demean the holocaust"? Will we be adding anti-semitic to this list soon? Hell, let's just expose the lost as communists! And all this against an American academic, of Polish extraction, Cambridge-published, and a foremost authority on genocide. Jesus weeps. --sony-youthpléigh 19:32, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
Sony, your assertion that I am anti-semitic is bizarre and offensive and I deeply resent it - if you go and take a look at my edits on articles like Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler you would come to a different conclusion. I am not! It's a deliberate conflation of issues by you. My point is that Midlarsky is an expert on the Holocaust. He isn't an expert on Cromwell or the Civil War or that period. Now I am happy to accept he's an expert on genocide although I am sceptical he gives more than a passing nod to the widely-held misperception that Cromwell was a genocidalist. He just picks that up from other writers. Most of it wasn't even Cromwell even if we accept it as a genocide - it was multiple causes and I can even accept that it was inspired by anti-Irish racism, although I think that's likely modern revisionism. The key inspiration as we know was anti-Catholicism, and there was no intended genocide. The many modern interpreters of this are basically wrong, and yes, I do think it cheapens the use of the word genocide to apply it to Irish history. There was no genocide. MarkThomas 14:23, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
BTW - the reference that MarkThomas deleted with such confidence comes from The Civil Wars: A Military History of England, Scotland, and Ireland 1638-1660 (Oxford Illustrated History) by by John Morrill (Author), John Kenyon (Editor), Jane Ohlmeyer (Editor). Hughsheehy 17:33, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
No, that's not what the bit I deleted said - I deleted it because it said the Down Survey made that claim - it did not. MarkThomas 17:35, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
OK, I was wrong about the 1/3rd estimate, not that it's mentioned in the article.
Charles Carlton, Going to the Wars: the experience of the British Civil Wars, 1638-1651 (1992)
England & Wales: 190,000
Total k. in recorded fights: 84,830
Parliament: 34,130
Royalist: 50,700
War-related diseases, soldiers & civilians: 100,000
Bishop's Wars: 1,000
Accidents: ca. 500
That's 190,000 people dying in England in a recent academic reference - can't recall what the total popn of England was in say 1640, they are all guestimates anyway, but I believe one common estimate is 4m, whereas others put it much lower at around 2.5m. So that's roughly a 5% - 10% deathrate. Still a lot! Was that an attempted genocide of the English? No, it was the inevitable concommitant of war. Similarly, the US is not trying to commit genocide in Iraq but many millions have perished there anyway if you believe the doctors reports. MarkThomas 17:42, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
Right ... and the current accepted figure for Ireland is approx. 70% dead (see above). Hmmm ... --sony-youthpléigh 19:16, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
I'm glad I'm finding more time to edit right now! So Hughsheehy, to summarise, are you saying that Midlarsky is an expert on the Wars of the Three Kingdoms and can therefore be cited? MarkThomas 17:44, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
Midlarsky is an expert on genocide. He cites Cromwell's campaign in Ireland as an example of genocide. Who are we to disagree? --sony-youthpléigh 19:38, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
Also note that one of the accusations Hughsheehy recently levelled against me was "owning the page". Compare with his statement above that "the ref stays" - a clear claim on ownership. Do any other editors find the Midlarsky reference odd, given that he has no expertise whatever in the 17th Century and is in fact a Holocaust expert? MarkThomas 18:31, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
@MarkThomas, please provide a diff when I said that, or is this another one of your examples of misdirection? Meantime, it´s apparent that you don´t know anything about the Wars of the Three Kingdoms and that you delete references without reading the text of the references. As for me saying that the refs stay, let me quote from WP guidelines..."In general, the most reliable sources are books, journals, magazines, and mainstream newspapers; published by university presses or known publishing houses." Midlarsky´s a good 'un. So, for now I´m no longer going to pay any attention to the random thrashing of MarkThomas, who apparently knows so little about the topic that he can "mistake" that 1/3 of the population of England died in the Civil War while still arguing with good refs from solid sources that support exactly what´s in the article. Hughsheehy 09:59, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
Yet in this parallel Wikipedia article English_Civil_War#Ireland it says that "it has been estimated that up to 30% of Ireland's population either died or were exiled by the end of the wars" - clearly I'm not the only one who has different views on the facts! MarkThomas 14:17, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Should we not merely represent that facts provided rather than attempt to interpret them ourselves. I say let the facts do the talking about individuals can then come to their own conclusions.Quick Reference 12:32, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

In theory yes, Quick Reference, but these are not facts like A+B=C as the actual historical evidence is very sketchy. A good example is the claim about the death rate during and following the Cromwell invasion in Ireland above. This is actually a highly contentious area and if you read the literature you find wildly varying estimates. Sony-youth's figures of 600,000+ or 70% of the entire population is at the extreme upper end of these guestimates and is not widely accepted. I just checked in the Historical Atlas of Ireland and it gives much lower figures. Contentions like this run right through history generally and the history of Ireland in particular. The repeated claims above that it's all tidy and definitive and the references are absolute is frankly, bunkum. MarkThomas 14:12, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

The "repeated claims" from the references that are "frankly bunkum" are merely the published works of experts in their fields, published by the leading publishing houses of the UK. If you would like your theories and musings on the history of Britain and Ireland included in the article, I suggest you write them down and submit them to equally prestigious publishing houses for publication. Until that day, I'm afraid that you will repeatedly and unfortunately fall foul of WP:OR. --sony-youthpléigh 14:23, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

No, I was challenging an existing reference. I am allowed to! I was not trying to write my own OR into the article, nor have I ever done so. Nor was I saying I should. Please stick to what's happening Sony and not to what Hughsheehy says is happening to prove a point. I am challenging the tone of the article that made it (before my recent adaptation) sound as if it's a proven fact that it was a genocide, which it is not. It is the opinion of some historians. Your Churchill quote does not say Cromwell was a genocidalist! On this point, it's also lazy and un-Wikipedian to argue that historians who said things that sound a bit like genocide mean they all back up the entirely modernist argument that it was a genocide. Just on another point! MarkThomas 14:26, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

The Churchill quotes is not used to back up the claim that Cromwell has been characterised as genocial or near-genocidal - a dozen or so other references that explicitly say so are doing that! Unless you can come up with something more than generalized accusation of some dark Republican bent infiltrating the works of anyone and everyone that says something you don't like to hear, regardless of where they come from or what authority they speak with, then this conversation is over. --sony-youthpléigh 14:44, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Which about says it all really - you're not interested in a Wikipedian article Sony, otherwise if you were you would want it to give an undistorted view. At the moment, you very clearly want it to give only the view of some historians that it was a genocide. Fine. At least everyone reading this can see where you stand. And stop throwing the "Mark Thomas believes in some dark Republican conspiracy" smear at me please - the Republican view is pretty obvious in Wikipedia to all but the darkest doormouse! MarkThomas 14:50, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Yes, Mark ... and in the publishing houses of Cambridge. As for "otherwise if you were you would want it to give an undistorted view" - begging the question there slightly, don't you think Mark? --sony-youthpléigh 15:16, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
I am tidying the references as discussed further up this page by other editors; if you have already refused to discuss the refs further, please don't do reverts. MarkThomas 15:17, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
OK, pretty much done with simplifying and getting rid of unrelated pieces in the genocide ref section; just leaves the long one which contains some elements that do refer to genocide and some that don't and should really be shortened; but at least I've tidied up as per all the discussions and views of other editors above who pointed out the errors in these refs. MarkThomas 16:25, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

I do not see any way out of this situation then, why not present both theories and outline the two points of view, or am I being naive?Quick Reference 08:20, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

No, you're not. That would be the sensible way of doing things. --sony-youthpléigh 08:54, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
Also, the problem with presenting the "two points of view" is that we have MarkThomas´ point of view and the point of view of published experts. Hughsheehy 23:13, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
That's slightly unfair, Hugh - there are historians who present other views than the published experts quoted (and I'm not just talking about Tom Reilly). John Morrill, for example, accepts that policies under the Act of Settlement 1652 amounted to ethnic cleansing, but thinks that the evidence for whether Cromwell had a central role in this is far from clear: see this quote from Cromwell's entry in the new Dictionary of National Biography, written by Morrill, in which he brings out the point I have made a few times on this talk page - that whether there was genocide or ethnic cleansing in Ireland, and what Cromwell's role in any such programme was, are two related but separate questions:
It would be good if we could bring some of this debate about Cromwell's own sincerity and role in the Act of Settlement out in the article. As with many of the questions behind Cromwell's sincerity - how much did he know about Joyce's seizure of Charles I, did he deliberately tarry on the way to London at the time of Pride's Purge, etc - it's very difficult to find a definitive answer. But we should definitely bring out some some of the uncertainty, if that makes sense. When I have some time this weekend I will have a look at doing so if others are content. Greycap 07:11, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
Would love to see such references. The only ones I've seen are pretty uniform in calling it "Cromwell's Act of Settlement" or "his Act of Settlement". Here's one (not a really good ref, but it's typical and one I have to hand), from the BBC NI. [6] Cromwell was the most powerful man in the country (England), was assiduous in managing the Army, expelled the parliament the following year for not toeing his line, etc. Hard to see how such an Act could have passed without his approval. Hughsheehy 10:26, 4 September 2007 (UTC)
Forgot to mention..Churchill's quote in the article pretty clearly ascribes the Settlement to Cromwell too. Not sure how eminent a historian Churchill really was, but still. Hughsheehy 10:29, 4 September 2007 (UTC)
The tail-end of the reference I quote above from Morrill's DNB entry on Cromwell says this:
Although of course Cromwell was powerful at this time it's worth bearing in mind that the expulsion of the Rump took place precisely because the Rump was not going about the tasks he desired. There was plenty of legislation passed he was unhappy with - the act of indemnity was far harsher than he wanted, similarly legislation on propagation of the gospel didn't go far enough for him. The Rump was made up of a number of factions, not all of them firmly set, and it wasn't a Parliament in the sense it has today, of being a legislature. It, together with the Council of State, made up the executive. It's not a case of Cromwell guiding the Rump down a certain path - if anything, the reason Cromwell finally snapped after the Rump went back on its word to debate his own bill for a new representative body (and went back to debating their own bill) was precisely because he couldn't influence them sufficiently to achieve what he wanted. Greycap 14:58, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

Quote from one of Cromwell's deputy commanders on Drogheda

well hellooo i think this should be better writen and more simple i do not understand

== == youuu lovee==-- (talk) 15:01, 29 March 2009 (UTC)-- (talk) 15:01, 29 March 2009 (UTC)-- (talk) 15:01, 29 March 2009 (UTC)-- (talk) 15:01, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

The source of the quote about "extraordinary severity" isn't named in the article, but it's from Edmund Ludlow's Memoirs [7], if anyone wants to add the reference. However, one has to be very careful quoting from these. The Memoirs have been used since C.H. Firth's edition in 1895, and even before, as a major source for the civil wars, but the extent to which they are genuine is doubtful. In the 1970s a manuscript copy of part of Ludlow's original text, called A Voyce from the Watchtower, was found at Warwick Castle. The portion that survives only covers 1660 onwards, but it differs markedly from the published version of the Memoirs. Amongst other things, Ludlow's very visceral puritanism is almost completely removed from the published edition, to repaint Ludlow as a secular patriot who loves civil government but abhors military government. Cromwell in particular becomes the villain of the piece, for betraying the civilian Rump Parliament with a lurch towards military rule in 1653. And the Warwick Castle manuscript is also more than 5 times the length of the relevant part of its published counterpart - very little of the original survives when the two are compared. Blair Worden has reconstructed the publication of the Memoirs in the 1690s and has concluded that they were rewritten by John Toland, a journalist with strong connections to the Whigs, as a weapon in the Whig/Tory debates of that time. All of the secular political themes put forward by the Ludlow of the Memoirs are strongly Whiggish. For more on this and Toland as the likely author, see Blair Worden, either chapters 1-4 of his Roundhead Reputations [8], or a recent article in Historical Research [9].

So to cut a long story short, it is a quote that we need to think carefully about using in the article. Historians are now very wary about using Ludlow as a source. Although we don't have the relevant section of Ludlow's original manuscript for 1649 to compare this with, given the extent of alterations that are visible in the sections covering post-1660, it's highly possible that Ludlow didn't actually say what the Memoirs say about the actions at Drogheda.Greycap 21:33, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

Well it's a pretty widely quoted piece, in lots of histories, and I haven't seen it quoted with such reservations. Meantime, I wonder if we should really speculate that Ludlow's Memoir's editor's possible political motivation in the 1690s (an at least occasionally anti-Catholic and pro-republican editor, hence no reason to be kind to Catholic Royalist defenders of Drogheda) on the post 1660 sections of a book where the published version and a manuscript version don't line up and where the published version is shorter (hardly unusual, and often an editor's job), mean that a quote about an event in the 1640s should be regarded as unreliable? It seems an extreme speculation, unless there's reference directly addressing that quote, which is very widely used in histories. Is there? Hughsheehy 07:47, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
A lot of sources on the civil war period need to be read with caution and not just taken at face value, propaganda was everything at that time, as with modern wars. This goes to the heart of how this article is written; it should give different views about each issue and refer to the debates about what is known rather than just make statements backed up by references with differing levels of credibility or doubt. Greycap raises a good point and I'm not saying we should remove the reference, just deal with it in the article text in an objective way. MarkThomas 08:23, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
Yes, there was a lot of propaganda. However, the question remains whether this, specifically, is propaganda, and if so who says so? It's very widely quoted in histories. Further, AFAIK (unlike in the Thirty Years War in Germany), massacres like Drogheda were NOT a feature of the Civil War in England, so there's no reason for Ludlow not to regard the events at Drogheda as "extraordinarily severe". IIRC Ormonde (the Confederate general in Ireland) is on record as regarding them that way. Hughsheehy 09:24, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
One other's apparent that Cromwell himself regarded Drogheda as something akin to "extraordinarily severe", since he wrote justifications or apologies for the events. Why would he do that if it was perfectly normal to kill everyone in a captured city? Answer: He wouldn't, and it wasn't. Hughsheehy 09:29, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
The Memoirs are even more problematic than most sources from the time, specifically because they were demonstrably rewritten in the 1690s. Yes, it's very widely quoted in histories but they mostly pre-date Worden's work on analysing the printed source agains the original manuscript. "Who says so" is not just Worden but the fact that the original manuscript differs hugely from the printed one. If you read either of the two sources I quote you'll see how overwhelming the case is that the printed memoirs bear little comparison - Worden compares extracts from the 1660-onwards manuscript line by line and shows how much they've been bowdlerised in the printed edition. I don't have Worden's book to hand but later today I will add a couple of examples that show the extent to which the manuscript wasn't just trimmed down, but completely re-written.
In any case, the point the Ludlow reference is being used to make in the article is that, although there is a wider European context in which the massacre was not exceptional, in the context of Parliament's battles during the wars of the three kingdoms it was extreme. The only siege or battle in the English campaigns, for example, that bears any comparison is the razing to the ground of Basing House in Hampshire (and it's significant I think that this was a Catholic garrison). So I think you can make the same point by drawing on this or Cromwell's own words rather than using Ludlow - given the problems with the source, this might be preferable and would still maintain the shape and stress of that section of the article. Greycap 11:09, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
Having got home and now being able to dig Worden's book out, here's an example of the reshaping by Toland, taken from a passage about Miles Corbet, one of the regicides:
Ludlow's original:
The same passage in Toland's version:
These are both from pp.52-53 of Roundhead Reputations. The odd phrase survives but it's been almost completely rewritten - particularly to erase any trace of Ludlow's robust puritanism. Of course unless the other parts of the manuscript turn up, it's impossible to tell what Ludlow wrote about Drogheda. (My hunch is that he would have probably agreed with Cromwell's view, that it was a "righteous judgement" on what he considered to be a papist garrison, but that's just my hunch). But I hope the passage above demonstrates the difficulties of quoting Ludlow, and that other editors agree we can make a similar point to what's in the article now without using Ludlow.
Hugh's point on finding out more about contemporary rules is well made, it would be good to clarify this in the article. The Woolrych reference in full is: "by the rules of war, which Wellington was still justifying in 1820, a garrison that rejected a summons to surrender after a breach had been made, as Drogheda's governor Sir Arthur Aston did, was not entitled to quarter". Unhelpfully, he doesn't himself reference this, but it seems to agree with your other research Hugh. So I guess we need to establish whether terms were offered at the point of breach. I don't know the answer to this off the top of my head. I'll do some digging on this. Greycap 16:45, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
One other thing related to this..reading various articles on the subject of siege. The reading that I've done on "siege etiquette" (for lack of a better term) is that garrisons were offered the chance to surrender once a breach had been made. Then, if that opportunity was refused, the garrison could not expect mercy if the town was taken by assault - largely because storming a breach was so dangerous. On the Gaunt reference it says just that "once beseiged", a garrison was offered a choice to surrender. I haven't read the other reference on this page, but the Gaunt ref seems to ignore the distinction about "once a breach was made" that is described elsewhere. For instance - in the WP article on the siege of Drogheda, the article says that Cromwell offered terms on Sept 10th, which were refused, but that the breach was made on the 11th. Would an assault without again offering terms have been normal? Were terms offered at that time? Also, in Clonmel, a breach had been made and an assault repulsed and the town made terms after the breach and assault - so these "laws" of war obviously had some flexibility. Just one ref to siege etiquette, [10], which says " etiquette for siege warfare in which it became customary for the besieger, having breached the rampart, to summon the commander of the fortification to surrender; such surrender was considered no disgrace when further resistance would lead only to needless loss of life.". Now that ref about someone contemporary (Vauban), but it and others are clear on "once the walls were breached". Anyone know any more? Hughsheehy 11:23, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

<reduce indent> Hugo Grotius commented on it too. "And in modern times it is the usual practice, before shells are thrown, or mines sprung, to summon places to surrender, which are thought unable to hold out-and where places are stronger, such summons is generally sent, before the storming is made.". A different translation of Grotius says, possibly more clearly "The custom even now obtains in the case of unfortified places, before cannon fire is opened; and in the case of more strongly fortified places, before an assault is made upon the walls". This would mean that surrender was offered once a breach was made and before an assault was made. Of course, Grotius also says that women, children, merchants, priests, etc., should be spared, which didn't always happen. Hughsheehy 11:56, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

Just done some digging in volume II of Abbott's collected writings and speeches of Cromwell. Cromwell issued a summons to surrender to Aston on 10 Sept, having finished putting in place his artillery the day before. 10 Sept was the day chosen for the bombardment to start, and the summons was issued at 8am directly before it commenced. Two breaches in the wall had been made by nightfall that day, although it wasn't until the day after that it was considered assaultable. Since breaching the walls was a pretty much a foregone conclusion - Drogheda didn't have any artillery to fight back - I suppose in effect this is Cromwell saying that he is about to breach the walls, and this is Aston's last chance to negotiate terms before an assault. What the summons said was "having brought the army belonging to the Parliament of England before this place, to reduce it to obedience, to the end the effusion of blood may be prevented, I thought fit to summon you to deliver the same into my hands to their use. If this be refused you have no cause to blame me. I expect your answer and rest, your servant, O. Cromwell." (This is all taken from p.118 of Abbott). What I don't know is whether it would have been customary to then offer terms again - I suppose in some senses there's not much difference between offering terms immediately before or immediately after breach, since even if offered before the breach the garrison would know what was in store for them if they didn't succeed in repelling the assault. Greycap 17:21, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
And Aston was mightily gung-ho in his reponse to Cromwell, saying (to paraphrase) something like the defenders of Bastogne said in WWII. Still, if the breach was comparatively easy and the assault was not too murderous, the actions inside the town could still well have been seen as excessive even by the senior officers with Cromwell.....seen as more in line with Thirty Years War behaviour than "normal" English behaviour. Again, interestingly, it's possible that Drogheda and Wexford are notable because the defenders were largely English rather than Irish. IIRC it was reasonably common to kill Irish (mostly Catholic) prisoners after battles, but not common to kill English prisoners, even if Catholic. Hughsheehy 19:51, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
Separately, on the Toland/Ludlow topic, it seems that Toland translated incomprehensible and deeply biblically referenced text by Ludlow into something more likely to be understandable by non-Puritan readers. Puritans (and their modern descendants in the USA) were prone to quoting scripture a lot. From reading the section Greycap quotes, it doesn't seem that Toland was set on changing basic meaning and I can see no reason to assume that the quotation of Ludlow about Drogheda in the version of 1698 is not accurate, in sense if not in phrasing. Since the manuscript of the earlier pages doesn't exist, but the printed version does, that's what we have. Hughsheehy 19:58, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
I don't want to push the point too far, but it is far more than "translation". Toland wasn't an editor in the modern sense. He rewrote the Memoirs. There are two phrases in the example I quote that remain the same. The rest is made up by Toland. Similarly from Worden, p.43: "Not merely was Ludlow's manuscript heavily abbreviated. It was no less heavily rewritten. There are profound differences of emphasis and tone and style. There is also fabrication. In the third volume of the Memoirs, the one for which we have the corresponding portion of the manuscript, Ludlow is made to say things that have in some cases little basis in the manuscript, in others none". Similarly p.44 of Worden about passages covering the 1640s and before: "the publishers inserted passages which we can see to have been stitched together from narratives and documentary compendia of the civil wars published earlier, especially the Memorials of Bulstrode Whitelocke, which had appeared in 1681-2". I accept we don't have the original manuscript of the 1650s, and I do appreciate I must seem pedantic here, but given the evidence that Toland doctored the text to such an extent we just cannot know whether or not the section on Drogheda is original. As a good article that could easily get to featured with a little more work, we should be alive to issues like this. It would be great if Wikipedia is more alive to issues like this than some published histories! Given all this, and the fact that we can make the same point without the Ludlow quote, I am keen to lose it. If I have a go at redrafting and post it here for comment, will that suit? Greycap 21:22, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

Any thoughts on changing current sentence being debated in this section:


Ref 1 - J.C. Davis, Oliver Cromwell, pp.108-110. Ref 2 - Abbott, Writings and Speeches, vol II, p.124.

Greycap 16:12, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

I've added this bit in. Greycap 06:54, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

Hi. An admittedly quick read on the Siege of Basing House indicates that comparing it to Drogheda is a huge stretch. Also, none of the refs I've seen so far talk about quarter being refused nor a massacre, but talk of people dying fighting. If this is the nearest that the Civil War in Britain can come to Drogheda then the characterisation of Drogheda as "extraordinarily severe" is surely unarguable. Hughsheehy 08:26, 18 September 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Is there are reference for "One possible comparison is Cromwell's siege of Basing House ..." or is this just us making this comparison? If it is, then it OR. I have underlined relevent sections from a quote from Woolrych below:
"At Drogheda he was strictly within the rules of war, be he did not apply their full rigour in any other of his campaigns, or during the rest of this one. Coote and Inchiquin and other commanders in Ireland sometimes acted with comparable severity, and brutality towards both armed enemies and hapless civilians was not confirmed [sic] to one side. But the fact that the carnage at Drogheda and Wexford was by no means unparalleled is not enough to condone it. Nor does it help much to invoke parllels from the German wars of the time, or the slaughter of civilians by Rupert's men in Leicester in 1645, for Cromwell would not have wished to be judged by such models. He was never guilty of the slaughter of women and children that legend attributed to him, and he consistently tried to spare unarmed civilians from the ravages of war. But he gave hints that his conscience was not entirely at ease about Drogheda or Wexford, and there was nothing remotely comparable with them in the subsequent actions that he fought in Ireland. His uncharacteristic conduct at Drogheda (Wexford being a less clear-cut case) is a reminder of the corrosive effect that assumptions about the inherent inferiority of race or creed, especially when stoked by persistent lying progaganda, can have even upon hearts and minds that are otherwise capable of nobility." - Austin Woolrych, 2002, Britain in Revolution, 1625-1660, Oxford University Press: Oxford
--sony-youthpléigh 08:38, 18 September 2007 (UTC)
It's J.C.Davis (whose recent biography of Cromwell is referenced) who makes this comparison, not me - the reason Davis makes it is that it was another siege with civilian casualties against a partly Catholic garrison, so is probably the closest comparison in terms of type of battle (I know Drogheda was actually a royalist garrison but I think the perception was that it had become associated with the Confederates). And in making the comparison Davis concludes that it is still a big stretch to compare it with Drogheda, which was the point I was trying to bring out. (It links to the sentence "there are few comparable incidents during Parliament's campaigns in England or Scotland".) Looking at it afresh maybe this point doesn't quite emerge from my text so do have a play with it - the point I was trying to make was that even Basing House, an action against the seat of a Catholic magnate where civilians were killed, and where the house was razed to the ground, was by no means as severe as the massacres at Drogheda. So I'm in absolute agreement with what you say about the characterisation as extraordinarily severe. Do add something in to bring this out, my reasons for avoiding the wording relate to its provenance as a quote rather than whether it is a suitable description in general. Greycap 09:01, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

Copy edit

I've just gone through and done a bit of a tidy up to trim down some of the longer sentences and sections. The only big chunk of text that's gone is the lengthy family tree which I think is a dull start to the article, besides which its point (that OC was linked to Thomas Cromwell) can be achieved in a much shorter way. But feel free to disagree! The only big chunk I've added is some material on the dissolution of the Rump, in particular to bring out why he dismissed it (frustration at their reverting to discussing their own bill for a new representative rather than his own suggestion) and to put in some references to quotes. On the section on debate about Ireland, I haven't changed any text or references, but reading through I was struck by the fact that the material that's there could be ordered a bit more consistently. So I've tried to do so to bring out first Cromwell's own views as he expressed them, then a discussion on Drogheda in particular with coverage of Tom Reilly's arguments, then how Cromwell's campaign has featured in literature, history and popular culture up to the present day, then finally a section on the difference between his views as stated in 1650 and the Act of Settlement in 1652. I hope I haven't changed the meaning or emphasis of anything in here since I know there has been some good editing and compromises that has gone into what's now a very good section, my aim is just to tidy it up a bit. Do revert or protest if you feel I've inadvertently messed anything around. Thanks! Greycap 18:04, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

Greycap, do you think the word "brutal" in the intro where it says "he was best known for his... (etc) ... and brutal conquest of Ireland" is accurate and Wikipedian? This sounds to me a little on the judgemental side, as whilst Ireland was bloody, was it really worse than many another campaign during the Protestant / Catholic wars of the period? Interested to know your opinion as you are obviously a very knowledgeable editor. (Paul Hughes-Scott, teacher in Glasgow). 16:54, 19 September 2007 (UTC)
A few refs from the article. # ^ Christopher Hill, 1972, God's Englishman: Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution, Penguin Books: London, p.108: "The brutality of the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland is not one of the pleasanter aspects of our hero's career ..." # ^ Barry Coward, 1991, Oliver Cromwell, Pearson Education: Rugby, p.74: "Revenge was not Cromwell's only motive for the brutality he condoned at Wexford and Drogheda, but it was the dominant one ...". There are many more where those came from. As for the other wars of the period, perhaps some of those were brutal too. Hughsheehy 19:42, 19 September 2007 (UTC)
What hughsheehy said, really. At Drogheda, for instance, captured soldiers were clubbed to death to save ammunition. Cromwell himself tells of soldiers fleeing into a church steeple - his troops packed wooden furniture into the church and set light to it so the whole lot came down. Cromwell's letter about this tells of the soldiers crying out "God damn me, God confound me, I burn, I burn". The governor, Sir Arthur Aston, was beaten to death with his own wooden leg (possibly because the troops thought money was hidden it). What happened at Drogheda and Wexford was pretty horrific. Greycap 07:44, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

Oliver SIPPY Cromwell?

A cursory Google search reveals nothing about Cromwell being nicknamed 'Sippy,' and this nickname is mentioned nowhere in the article other than above the picture. What's all this about, and if it really was his nickname, could we get a source?

Until there's a citation, I've removed 'Sippy'. (talk) 05:19, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Good, clearly a case of vandalism. Well spotted. Thanks, SqueakBox 05:21, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Deleted plaque pic

Please, no "George Washington Slept Here" photos. If you want to show where Cromwell went to school, show the school (if it's not standing, then an illustration), not a faint, uninteresting plaque. — J M Rice (talk) 17:34, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

Age at death?

Born 25 April 1599; Died 3 September 1658. That makes him 59 by my feeble arithmetic, not 58. Are the dates wrong, or is it the age? AuntFlo (talk) 16:01, 1 March 2008 (UTC)


Why does this article use the British royalty infobox? Was Cromwell of royal origin? I'm sure that he was not a monarch, but this infobox indicates that. Surtsicna (talk) 17:16, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

As it notes at the bottom of the article, he was Lord Protectorate of England, Scotland and Ireland between December 16, 1653-September 3, 1658 during the English Commonwealth. He was head of state - appointed by parliament and also monarch in all but name - being addressed your majesty and your highness. While not a unique position, he was succeeded by his son, the only analogous position in British history is that of monarch, and he has always had his place in the succession of heads of state. (maybe there should be a dictator box, or the royalty box renamed to head of state - but the information would be the same). cheers Kbthompson (talk) 18:13, 5 March 2008 (UTC)


It says that he rose to command of the entire army. I thought he ended up as a Lieutenant-General commanding the Cavalry while Fairfax was the Commander-in-Chief. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kai Su? (talkcontribs) 17:44, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

After Fairfax stepped down in 1650, Cromwell became commander in chief of the New Model. Greycap (talk) 18:36, 14 March 2008 (UTC)


We should use a consistent calendar in an article except where the calendar changed during the person's lifetime, which wasn't the case with Cromwell. Britain used the Julian calendar throughout Cromwell's time, so the default assumption is that all the dates in the article are in Julian. I have no problem with that, but we don't actually state this anywhere. We should do so, so that everyone (editors as well as readers) are on the same page.

He died on 3 September 1658 (assumed Julian). That equates to 13 September Gregorian. But here’s a site that suggests the Julian date of his death was 24 August, and 3 September is the Gregorian date. If that’s true, then we’re using 2 different calendars for his birth and death.

Can this be clarified? -- JackofOz (talk) 03:49, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Death and posthumous execution - which fellow Parliamentarians?

The article on Westminster Abbey states:

"The following were buried in the Abbey but later removed on the orders of Charles II:

So which article is correct? Martinevans123 (talk) 18:58, 17 August 2008 (UTC)


According to an article by Paul Hurkey in the Roman Catholic magazine, "The Word", "his body is believed to have been buried in......Newburgh Priory, Yorkshire".Millbanks (talk) 18:31, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Given the bizarre history of the head, anything seems possible, although that does sound like a particularly inlikely and ironic location. "Cast into a common rubbish pit..." seems to be the generally accepted version of events. But if you have the magazine article details why not add a footnote, or even a sentence, as I'm sure "The Word" is WP:RS. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:22, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Micheál Ó Siochrú's God's Executioner

I was just reading this quite good interview with Ó Siochrú in The Irish Times this week and he was clear that even in the context of the time, Cromwell had been exceptionally brutal in Ireland. I haven't read the book or seen the documentary yet. Any views on either of them? (talk) 23:19, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

I agree that Cromwell's conduct in Ireland was excessively brutal. Not only did he massacre the people of Wexford and Drogheda, but, far worse, sent thousands to Barbadoes as slaves. The repressive measures that were part of his legacy in Ireland do not need to be repeated here by me. The fact that he was vindictive can be attested by his relentless pursuit of the Prince of Wales who later reigned as King Charles II. It was Cromwell's aim to kill the Prince as he had murdered his father Charles I. The fact that religious zeal motivated the man only added fuel to the fire. alas, I have not read the book nor seen the documentary.--jeanne (talk) 05:36, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Familiar spirit?

Montague Summers's book Witchcraft and Black Magic says that Oliver Cromwell had a familiar spirit, a "tall dark man with a sour frowning face", named Grimoald. (pg47) Can this be inserted in the article anywhere? --Auric (talk) 14:35, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

We only have Montague Summer's word for it and he wasn't exactly a reliable source, so I think not. -- Derek Ross | Talk 14:48, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
There were all sorts of stories and legends about that, mainly Irish, so I don't think it really needs a place. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:03, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

Was he ever in...Cavan?

Just back from a hotel in County Cavan. There up on the wall was a massive-about 3 metres high by 2 metres wide- portrait of a certain Oliver Cromwell. I'm stunned. I asked the girls at the reception was that really the black bastard. They giggle and tell me that the Englishman visited Cavan and stayed in that particular castle. I smiled back, and remarked about how very interesting (that load of shite was). If I remember my history this English charmer arrived in Dublin, went to Drogheda on the immortal date of 11 September 1649 and then went on to Gowran, Clonmel and some other places in the south. He did not, as far as I remember, go more north than Drogheda. Now, could somebody confirm that Cromwell never, ever, ever set foot in Cavan? Why any hotel would want to claim this genocidal individual as a former guest is beyond me: (talk) 04:03, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

Don't know, despite claims, that Cromwell was ever in Cavan. I think the reason behind the portrait is more to do with the Pratts (former owners of Cabra Castle)who arrived in Ireland in 1650, and the extensive grant of confiscated lands they received from OC. RashersTierney (talk) 12:01, 19 November 2008 (UTC)
As far as I'm aware, he never went north of Drogheda. He landed in Dublin, took Drogheda, back to Dublin, down to Wexford, wintered in the south-east, taking Carlow and New Ross and besieging Waterford but failing to take it. Next Spring he took a few more towns in the south-east and then besieged Kilkenny and then Clonmel. Then he returned to England, via one of the Cork towns. However, Cavan was one of the quartering ground for the Confederate Catholics' Ulster Army and there was hard guerrilla campaigning by done there by Parliamentarians like Charles Coote. In fact, the last major Catholic forces surrendered at Cloughoughter in Cavan in 1653.Jdorney (talk) 14:24, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Irish sent to Barbados

I've queried the assertion that the Irish were sent to the Indies as "indentured" labour. Surely, as stated earlier here, they were simply enslaved.--Straw Cat (talk) 03:07, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

It was a legalistic hypocrisy even then, but I wouldn't get over semantic about it. You'll have editors trying to convince you they were there on a state subsidised holiday. RashersTierney (talk) 10:05, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
This book may be of interest. The English Atlantic in an Age of Revolution, 1640-1661 RashersTierney (talk) 18:48, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
Yes, the book seems to make it clear that anyone agitating against the government would be sent to the Indies, not just Irishmen. -- Derek Ross | Talk 00:06, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Battle of Edgehill

The article mentions Cromwell's participation in the Battle of Edgehill. However, the article about that battle indicates that Cromwell arrived too late in the day to participate in the battle. Who's right? Kakashi64 (talk) 15:49, 11 March 2009 (UTC)


A book with a very long title suggests he was descended Blethin ap Kynnvyn (Prince of Powis) [sic] via Madoc ap Blethin, Meredith ap Madoc, Griffith Maylor, Kadwgan ap Griffith, Owen ap Kadwgan (Lord of Kibion (?)), Alan ap Owen Madoc ap Alan, Howell ap Madoc, Morgan ap Howell, John ap Morgan, Morgan ap John, William Morgan, Sir Richard William(s), Sir Henry Cromwell, and Sir Oliver Cromwell. Is there any otherevidence for this claim, and is it worth a mention in the article? - Jarry1250 (t, c) 16:01, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Correction needed for image caption

{{editsemiprotected}} The image shows Cromwell dissolving the Long Parliament. But the caption in the article beneath the image reads: "Cromwell dissolving the Rump Parliament."

Done fahadsadah (talk,contribs) 08:25, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Rump Parliament and Long Parliament are both correct. The Long Parliament sat from 1640 to 1653, but was purged of some members in 1648: the remainder were called the Rump. Greycap (talk) 13:12, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

Images in Article

The third image seems to be a 19th cent. print from a book of 1885. As there are so much better images on WPCommons, I wonder, if anyone would object, if I would change it for the Robert Walker portrait of 1549, for example. Also, two miniature-style pictures are a little monotonous. What dou you think? Buchraeumer (talk) 23:12, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Couldn't resist exchanging the print for Robert Walker.
Buchraeumer (talk) 10:54, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree it's a definite improvement. Martinevans123 (talk) 11:09, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
What do the other editors think about putting his wife Elizabeth Bourchier's image in this article?--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 11:41, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
I would also see that as an improvement, although I suspect that some other editors might not agree. Martinevans123 (talk) 12:24, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
It would probably fit in, as there is plenty of room. Perhaps you should try. I am not quite convinced, though, that it is really Elizabeth Bourchier: Cooper must have painted her retrospectively, as she was in a younger age. I compared with another miniature "after Cooper" and a painting "attr. to" Peter Lely, both from the 1650's. The one by Cooper is in Antonia Fraser's Cromwell: hardback ed. (Weidenf. & Nic.). Buchraeumer (talk) 14:43, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
    • ^ Kenyon & Ohlmeyer, p.278.
    • ^ James M Lutz, Brenda J Lutz, 2004, Global Terrorism, Routledge:London, p.193
    • ^ Albert Breton, 1995, Nationalism and Rationality, Cambridge University Press, p 248
    • ^ Brendan O'Leary, Thomas M. Callaghy, Ian S. Lustick, 2001, Right-Sizing the State: The Politics of Moving Borders, Oxford University Press
    • ^ Mark Levene, 2005, Genocide in the Age of the Nation-State, I.B.Tauris: London
    • ^ Mark Levene and Penny Roberts, 1999, The Massacre in History, Berghahn Books: Oxford