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Cromwell Destroys a Village in Order to Save It... for Himself *

The British Civil War has not been very civil. King Charles the 1st has been put on trial for treason, found guilty and beheaded three days later... and it is only January. His son, Charles the 2nd declares himself King, but England is not listening. England is now a commonwealth led by the English Parliament. Scotland and Ireland are very nervous. Many of them had sided with (the previously alive) King Charles. Oliver Cromwell is in charge of the New Model Army. The Parliament has made him Commander-in-Chief and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He heads to Ireland to take the port cities before winter. The port town of Drogheda refuses to surrender and after a week of bombardment by cannon fire, Cromwell's army breeches the fortifications. There will be no quarter given. 2,000 townsmen are put to the sword and Governor Aston is beaten to death with his own wooden leg. "Good Queen Bess" (Queen Elizabeth the 1st) is looking better and better all the time. [1] [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
If this is what republican government looks like then the people are looking longingly at the monarchy. The Irish royalists wanted stability and the rights to their own land which is why they had sided with King Charles the 1st. From the commonwealth point of view, the royalists looked like a rebellion waiting to happen (and had happened recently). Cromwell needed to take the port cities quickly because it was September and he required ports to land his supply ships before winter set in, so Cromwell bet on a quick assault. It doesn't explain the massacre, though. It was probably revenge for the previous rumored massacre of the Ulster Protestants during the Irish Rebellion of 1641. Wild rumors about the huge numbers of dead could not be substantiated but were believed, nevertheless, by the English. Cromwell needed the port town and he didn't need the people so at least half of them went bye-bye. In those days you were given one chance to surrender. After that, all bets were off. [4] [5]

Maryland Declares Death to the Infidels!

The Maryland General Assembly passes the Law of Toleration. Oddly, it does not tolerate blaspheming of the Lord and it declares its belief in the Holy Trinity. (That is, God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit all as part of the One God.) By "toleration" no doubt they mean both Protestant and Catholic beliefs are acceptable. Blasphemy against God or denying Jesus as Lord and Savior is now a capital crime in Maryland. Have a nice day. [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
I can't help but sigh when I hear Christians express the fear that Muslims will make defamation of Mohammed a capital crime. The United States was founded upon Christian principles. It was also founded upon a few Jewish principles. I'm OK with that. What frightens me (and what should scare the snot out of anyone who studies history) is when the state law is used to enforce religious law. Generally accepted standards like "thou shalt not steal" and "thou shalt not murder" are reasonable. Most people can see the logic of those laws whether they are religious or not. Enforcing belief in the Trinity or putting people to death for defaming a major religious figure... even God... is over the line. You can say, "We would NEVER do THAT!" but in fact WE HAVE DONE THAT in the past. Modern day people want to discount their ancestors as knuckleheads, but they were every bit as smart as you are. They just had a different standard of tolerance. Imagine how it felt to be a Jew in Maryland in 1649. Christians are feeling that feeling right now. That is not payback. That is a warning. Make room in the law for the religious and the irreligious. If you want God's kingdom on Earth, wait for God to establish it and let HIM run it. The works of man are imperfect. [8]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1649, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Northern Ireland - A Short History. BBC (June 4, 2011). Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved on 11 September 2015. “Cromwell’s own estimate was that some 2,000 were put to the sword. Governor Aston was clubbed to death with his own wooden leg. Only 64 parliamentary troops had fallen in the fighting. The killing didn’t stop there. A hundred took refuge in the tower of St Peter’s: Cromwell ordered the church to be set on fire and all inside were burned to death. All priests and friars found in the town were killed – or as Cromwell put it, their 'heads were knocked promiscuously together’. With Cromwell at Drogheda was Lieutenant-General Edmund Ludlow: he observed: 'The slaughter was continued all that day and the next, which extraordinary severity, I presume, was used to discourage others from making opposition. And truly I believe this bitterness will save much effusion of blood.'”
  2. Commonwealth - definition of commonwealth (2015). Retrieved on 21 September 2015. “The English state and government from the death of Charles I in 1649 to the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, including the Protectorate of 1653 to 1659.”
  3. Siege of Drogheda - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 21 September 2015. “The Siege of Drogheda took place on 3–11 September 1649 at the outset of the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. The town of Drogheda in eastern Ireland was held by the Irish Catholic Confederation and English Royalists when it was besieged and stormed by English Parliamentarian forces under Oliver Cromwell. In the aftermath of the assault, much of the garrison and an unknown but 'significant number' of civilians were killed by the Parliamentarian troops.[1] Historians debate the legality of Cromwell's killing of the garrison of Drogheda and the extent to which civilians were targeted during the massacre.”
  4. Irish Rebellion of 1641 - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 21 September 2015. “During the early part of 1641, some Scots and Parliamentarians even proposed invading Ireland and subduing organised Catholicism there, to ensure that no royalist Irish Catholic army would land in England or Scotland. Frightened by this, and wanting to seize the opportunity, a small group of Irish Catholic landowners conceived a plan to take Dublin Castle and to control other important towns around the country in a quick coup in the name of the King, both to forestall a possible invasion and to force him to concede the Catholics' demands.”
  5. Antonia Fraser. Cromwell (Ebook), Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.. ISBN 9780802195821. “This is a righteous judgement of God upon these barbarous wretches, who have imbrued their hands in so much innocent blood... it will tend to prevent the effusion of blood for the future, which are satisfactory grounds to such actions, which otherwise cannot but work remorse and regret. -- OLIVER CROMWELL AFTER THE STORMING OF DROGHEDA.” 
  6. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster. “Maryland Assembly passes act of toleration, professing belief in the Holy Trinity” 
  7. McSherry, James. A History of Maryland. The Baltimore Book Company. “Until the year 1649 there were no restrictions, no penalties upon any Christian belief. When religious dissensions began to creep into Maryland the act of 1649 was passed, reflecting the intolerant spirit of the times. While the men of that day, Protestants and Catholics, were desirous of assuring to all "professing to believe in Jesus Christ" full and equal rights; they did not dream of extending them to those who denied the articles which all denominations agreed in considering the requisites and the common ground of Christianity. "Blasphemy against God, denying our Savior Jesus Christ to be the son of God, or denying the Holy Trinity, or the godhead of any of the three persons" thereof, they considered great crimes, for which they prescribed "the punishment of death and the confiscation of lands and goods to the lord Proprietary."” 
  8. Irreligious - definition of irreligious (2015). Retrieved on 21 September 2015. “Hostile or indifferent to religion; ungodly.”

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