put her over the works to shift for herself; but a soldier, perceiving his intentions, he ran his sword up her belly . . . whereupon Mr. Wood, seeing her gasping, took away her money, jewels, &c., and flung her down over the works, &c.

Such a letter immediately strikes the trained investigator as suspicious, and when he asks a few questions he sees its worthlessness. Is it usual for mothers to allow their children in time of danger to remain in the church while they were in the vaults? Is it usual for a handsome virgin to wear jewels when the town where she lives is being assaulted by soldiers? Is it probable that Thomas Wood climbed a wall twenty feet high in order to drop a corpse over it? Moved by these considerations, Gardiner refuses to place any credence in this letter, but Mr. Williams says 'Thomas à Wood's account is too well known, and indeed too horrible to quote.' There is not a hint that the letter was a fable invented by Thomas to make his brother Anthony's flesh.


Mr. Williams tries many means of showing that the capture did not take place on the 11th, but the eye-witnesses are unanimous that it did. The date of the 11th is corroborated by the authoritative account given in 'A History or Brief Chronicle of the Chief Matters of the Irish Wars. With a Perfect Table or List of all the Victories obtained by the Lord General Cromwell, Governor General of Ireland, and the Parliament's Forces under his Command there. From Wednesday, the 1st of August, 1649, to the 26th of this present July, 1650. London, 1650.. Hen: Scobel. Cleric: Parliamenti':

On September 11 Drogheda was taken by storm.

On the 12th of September his Excellency reduced the garrison of Trim. He also took Dundalk.

In the interim Colonel Venables took Carlingford, in the North of Ireland.

The Lord Lieutenant in this month of September took Killingbericke. Took Arklow Passage, Esmond House, Castle of Ferns, Fort at Slane Passage, Castle of Enniscorthy.

32October 1 marched to Wexford.

October 11 his Excellency took Wexford.

October 18 he reduced Ross.

This business-like list does not suggest that five days were spent in massacring the soldiers and inhabitants of the ill-fated town. Perhaps we may add that there is no good evidence that there was any slaughter of persons not in arms; but there is no doubt that some of the inhabitants had taken arms and were killed with the garrison. The priests probably fought-it was the most sensible thing for them to do-and were taken in arms or killed fighting.

32 A letter of October 2 records that Cromwell marched last week from this toward Wexford. Cromwelliana, p. 65.

According to Mr. Williams the term 'Drogheda quarter' became proverbial in Ireland, and here again there is no evidence furnished. The only occasion we ever heard of this phrase is at the siege of Carrick-on-Suir in November 1649. It is with sincere regret we find that no quarter was given to so gallant a soldier, for example, as Sir Edmund Verney. He and his companions were slain twenty-four hours after the cessation of the general massacre-a dastardly deed. James Buck thus describes poor Verney's death:

Your brother and my dear friend Sir Edmund Verney-who behaved himself with the greatest gallantry that could be he was slain three days after quarter was given him as he was walking with Cromwell by way of protection. One Ropier, who is brother to Lord Ropier, called him aside in a pretence to speak with him, being formerly of acquaintance, and instead of some friendly office which Sir Edmund might expect from him, he barbarously ran him through with a tuck; but I am confident to see this act once highly revenged."



According to Mr. Williams this letter has never been transcribed by any historian, yet it appears in Lady Verney's Memoirs, to which Gardiner himself contributed an Introduction.3 In the case of Verney's death there was no excuse for Cromwell, but this lamentable incident was entirely exceptional. Cromwell did not revenge' it, and his attitude contrasts strongly with Major-General Ireton's at the siege of Limerick during July 1651. There about a dozen Irish soldiers were put to the sword, after quarter had been promised them. Ireton was justly angry, and as a partial reparation released a certain number of Irish prisoners. The commander, Colonel Tothill, was tried by a court of war, but in view of the evidence, no more could be done than to cashier him and his ensign. Tothill, we are glad to say, was never employed again.

Our investigation confirms the accuracy of Cromwell's despatch of the 17th of September 1649. When he did not conceal the fact that a general massacre had taken place we do not think it probable that he would alter the date when he stormed the town or when the two towers surrendered. We should be sorry to call the bulletins of Napoleon trustworthy, but we have no hesitation in thus describing Cromwell's. Mrs. Lomas edits with conspicuous ability his despatches contained in Thomas Carlyle's well-known book, and her footnotes reveal the fact that she is dealing with an accurate authority. If Cromwell concealed the truth so much as Mr. Williams supposes Mrs. Lomas is unaware of the fact.

One other point calls for attention.

Gardiner is criticised on

the ground that he ignores the petition of the men of Wexford,

33 Lady Verney, Memoirs, vol. i. pp. 413-4.

but his footnotes, as even Mr. Williams admits, show that he had read it and taken its worth into account. The letter of the Governor of Wexford, Colonel David Synott, to Ormonde, the 30th of September, shows the effects of the capture of Drogheda :

I find [he writes] no resolution in the townsmen to defend the town, but, to speak truth nakedly, I find and perceive them rather inclined to capitulate and take conditions of the enemy.

PS. Their inclination to deliver it to Cromwell, apprehensive of the same usage that the town of Drogheda had. 34

If the people surrendered Wexford, Cromwell offered to protect the lives and property of the inhabitants and give quarter to the officers, and to allow the private soldiers to return to their homes on engaging never again to take arms against Parliament. The people and the garrison resisted and the town was stormed. Another massacre took place. We agree with Mr. Williams that 'to kill unarmed men, women, and children brands Cromwell as a savage, outside the pale of decent human beings.' But did he? Townsmen were killed, but they had fought against the Puritans, and their fate was the fortune of war. In the rush for boats we have no doubt that men and women were drowned, but this was accidental, not deliberate.35 Mr. Williams surely does not intend us to believe the story that three hundred women were slaughtered round the cross. It first appears in 1763-that is, 114 years after the event. No contemporary writer gives a hint of it. Above all, if women and children were deliberately killed, why does Ormonde never mention the fact? He wrote thousands of letters, and in them he gives many details of the doings of Cromwell, yet never once does he refer to the deliberate massacre of women at Wexford. Bruodinus is only a rhetorician, and he mixes up the losses by drowning with those due to the Puritan soldiery. Mr. Williams has not given a particle of evidence proving that the death of the unarmed men, women, and children was other than accidental.

Cromwell's opposition to Roman Catholicism was far more political than theological. In Dublin he associated with Father Nicholas Netterville, a Jesuit. The latter often dined at the Protector's table and played chess with him. Captain Foulkes accused him of saying Mass, and he replied, 'I am a priest, and the Lord General knows it. And tell all the town of it, and that I will say Mass here every day.' 36 To the Roman Catholic peasants Cromwell gave protection. Thus on his way to Drogheda he ordered two of his private soldiers to be put to death in the face of the whole army for stealing two hens from a poor Irish

34 Carte Papers, vol. xxv. p. 393 (Record Office, Dublin).

35 Cromwell's despatch to the Speaker, October 11.


Gilbert, History of the City of Dublin, vol. i. p. 56.


woman." Three more were condemned to die for plundering. The farmers hastened to supply his army with plentiful provision, and in fact they contributed more abundantly to the Puritan army than to that of their fellow-countrymen. A private letter discloses the feelings of ordinary people. On the 22nd of September 1649 Nicholas Loftus wrote to Pierce Laffan :

They [i.e. the people of Wexford] need not fear any violence of the English soldiers unless it be those which they find in arms against them, for all other must not be hurt nor touched in their bodies nor their goods, and to this end there is now a proclamation put out here [i.e. in Dublin] that on pain of death no soldier shall take from any man whatsoever to the value of one penny."


The Earl of Castlehaven wrote to Ormonde on the 30th of September:

You may perceive by the enclosure 40 how Cromwell permits his friends to tamper with the people of the country; he is most kind unto them. Last night he gave 5l. in the house where he lay.41

Another Royalist supporter, Sir Lewis Dyves, wrote to the Marquis of Newcastle that he

Observed how fast (notwithstanding the admonition declared of all the [Roman Catholic] Bishops from Clonmacnoise to the contrary) the people being alienated with ravaging, and disorder of their own armies, and allured with the successes, and smooth invitations of Cromwell, ran headlong into him for protection, and under contribution; as also, how great numbers of the Irish soldiers, some frightened with the plague, which now began to spread into the other provinces of the kingdom, and others from want of livelihood, as having neither meat, nor pay, flocked in unto the enemy.

Letters like these show the impression the Protector undoubtedly made, and compel genuine regret that the massacres of Drogheda and of Wexford have dimmed the memory of his kindly actions. From a military point of view their effects were transient, while from a political point of view they were absolutely deplorable. They widened most sensibly the two races in the country, and the evils of this policy remain to the present moment. Still he could justly say 'Give us an instance of one man, since my coming into Ireland, not in arms, massacred, destroyed, or banished, concerning the massacre or the destruction of whom justice has not been done or endeavoured to be done.' This challenge was addressed to the Roman Catholic clergy in 1649, and they did. not attempt to meet it.

Curry, Review of the Civil Wars in Ireland, vol. ii. p. 14.

38 Carte, Life of Ormond, vol. ii. p. 90.

39 Carte Papers, vol. xxv. p. 358 (Record Office, Dublin).

40 There is no enclosure.

41 Carte Papers, vol. xxv. p. 395 (Record Office, Dublin). Cf. Perfect Occurrences, October 5 to 12. Cromwelliana, p. 65.

'The great puritan, Baxter's, words in praise of Cromwell,' runs the last sentence in Mr. Williams's article, 'have often been quoted in modern times, but no one has ever cited the phrase with which Baxter qualified all that he said of Cromwell : "He thought secrecy a virtue and dissimulation no vice, and simulation, that is, in plain English, a lie, or perfidiousness to be a tolerable fault in case of necessity."

It is an easy matter to supply more quotations of this character. To Clarendon Cromwell was a brave, bad man,' though the staunch Royalist cannot help adding he was 'not a man of blood.' 42 'In all his changes,' concluded the Republican Ludlow, he designed nothing but to advance himself.' To the Anabaptists he was a 'grand impostor,' a 'loathsome hypocrite,' and a sink of sin.' Writers of the eighteenth century condemned him. According to Pope he was damned to everlasting fame.' According to Voltaire he was half knave, half fanatic, and Hume deemed him a hypocritical fanatic. To Landor he lived a hypocrite and died a traitor. It never seemed to occur to these people that they had taken an inadequate view of his character. Could a mere hypocrite and liar influence England as he did? In 1845 Carlyle's collection of Cromwell's letters and speeches demonstrated the historian's conclusion to the world that he was not a man of falsehoods, but a man of truths.' He is not quite a hero and he is not almost a saint. Carlyle, says Professor Firth, 'effectually dispelled the theory of Cromwell's hypocrisy.' Is not the estimate, the result of the lifelong labours of the Regius Professor of History, with which we conclude, far more in accordance with the truth of the case than that of Mr. Williams?

Either as soldier or as statesman Cromwell was far greater than any Englishman of his time; and he was both soldier and statesman in one. We must look to Cæsar or Napoleon to find a parallel for this union of high political and military ability in one man. Cromwell was not as great a man as Cæsar or Napoleon, and he played his part on a smaller stage; but he 'bestrode the narrow world of Puritan England like a Colossus.' As a soldier he not only won great victories, but created the instrument with which he won them. Out of the military chaos which existed when the war began he organised the force which made Puritanism victorious. 43


"Voltaire said that we could confidently believe only the evil which a party writer tells of his own side and the good which he recognises in his opponents. Firth, Oliver Cromwell, p. 467.

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