The Lord Protector: Religion and Politics in the Life of Oliver Cromwell

By Robert S. Paul | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE
FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE CIVIL WAR TO THE SPRING OF 1644

I

ALTHOUGH before the outbreak of war Cromwell's ecclesiastical views could not be clearly defined, he was one of the first to sign the Protestation of the Commons which promised "To maintain and defend as far as Lawfully I may, with my life, power and estate, the True Reformed Protestant Religion, expressed in the Doctrine of the Church of England, against all Popery and Popish Innovations".1 The question of religious toleration did not arise, and those who signed the Protestation did so as members of the national Church, reserving to themselves their own interpretation of the "True Reformed Protestant Religion".

Oliver took a far more active part in the preliminary moves leading up to war than has been generally supposed,2 and when hostilities broke out he was one of the first to support the parliamentary cause.3 On July 15, 1642, he moved that an order be made to allow the townsmen of Cambridge to raise two companies of volunteers and to appoint captains for them, and he was reimbursed for the £100 he had spent on helping to arm the county.4 In August of the same year he seized the castle and

____________________
1
May 3, 1641, W.S., I, 127; L-C, III, 225 (Appendix 3), John Vicars, Jehovah-jireh. God in the Mount or Englands Parliamentary Chronicle ( 1644), 34. As a burgess of Cambridge Cromwell commended the Protestation to the Mayor and Aldermen of that town, and Carlyle has pointed out that although his fellow burgess, John Lowry, signed the letter, Oliver appears to have written it; W.S., I, 127 f.; L-C, III, 226 f.
2
W.S., I, 149-97 passim.
3
February 7, 1642/3: "Mr. Cromwell offers to lend Three hundred Pounds for the service of the Commonwealth." Commons Journals, II, 408; cf. John Rushworth , Historical Collections ( 7 vols., 1659, 1680, 1692, 1701), V, 564 (erroneously given in L-C, I, 111 n. as " Rushworth, IV, 564").
4
Cal. State Papers Domestic, Charles I, Vol. 491, No. 71, July 15, 1642, and see Nos. 71(i) and (ii) for related papers. Cf. C.J., II, 674.

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