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

By Robert S. Paul | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOURTEEN
THE SCOTTISH CAMPAIGN: WORCESTER (January--September 1651)

I
The Lord General's Illness

THE English Commonwealth was now in a much stronger position than it had been a year before. Prince Rupert's squadron had been almost eliminated by Blake, and with the eclipse of the house of Orange in Holland,1 and the outbreak of the Fronde in France, the two foreign powers most likely to take arms against the republic were temporarily silenced. Spain had taken the step of recognizing the Commonwealth in the hope of enlisting its services against France, Henry Ireton's clearingup operations in Ireland, if not spectacular, were effective, and the Stuarts' only hope of recovery lay in Scotland; but with Cromwell in control of the south, Charles could not allow the situation there to remain static indefinitely.

For the first few months of 1651 the weather caused the suspension of military operations in Scotland, except for the clearance of the southern part of the country from moss troopers and the reduction of a few castles.2 But Cromwell's responsibilities within the State were increasing, and he was now being kept fully informed by the Council of State of England's position both at home and abroad.3 His personal prestige increased with his responsibilities. Parliament sent an engraver to prepare a cast of his features for a medal to celebrate Dunbar,4 and he was elected

____________________
1
William II of Orange had died in November 1650, and De Witt had come to power.
2
Dumfries, Kirkcudbright, Kenmure Castle and Hume Castle taken. Monk took Tantallon Castle on February 23, and Fast Castle was taken a few days later.
3
W.S., II, 386. The Council had voted that Cromwell should be kept fully informed of all important matters affecting the safety of the Commonwealth (January 24).
4
Not with Cromwell's consent. Cf. "letter to the Committee of the Army, February 4, 1650/51". W.S., II, 391; L-C, II, 175 f. (CLXV).

-234-

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