Shall Cromwell Have an Oration (Classic Reprint)

Shall Cromwell Have an Oration (Classic Reprint)

by Charles Francis Adams, Jr.

Hardback Publication Date: 21/09/2018

Excerpt from Shall Cromwell Have an Oration At about 3 o'clock of the afternoon of September 3rd. 1658, the day of Worcester and of Dunbar, and as a great tempest was wearing itself to rest, Oliver Cromwell died. He died in London, in the palace of Whitehall 'that palace of the great banqueting hall, through whose central window Charles 1. Had walked forth to the scaf fold a little less than ten years before. A few weeks later, with a more than regal solemnity, the body of the great Lord Protector was carried to Westminster Abbey, and there buried amongst Kings. Two years then elapsed; and, on the twelfth anniversary of King Charles's execution, the remains of the usurper, having been disinterred by a unanimous vote of the Convention Parliament, were hung at Tyburn. The trunk was then buried under the gallows, while Cromwell's head was set on a pole over the roof of Westminster Hall. Nearly two centuries of execration ensued, until, in the sixth generation, the earlier verdict was challenged, and the question at last asked: Shall Cromwell have a statue 9 Cromwell, the traitor, the usurper, the execrable murderer of the martyred Charles! I At first, and for long, the suggestion was looked upon almost as an impiety, and. As such, scornfully repelled. Not only did the old loval King-worship of England recoil from the thought, but. Indignantly appealing to the church, it declared that no such distinction could be granted so long as there re mained in the prayer-book a form of supplication for King Charles, the Martyr, and of praise and thanks giving for the wonderful deliverance of these kingdoms from the great rebellion, and all the other miseries and oppressions consequent thereon, under which they had so long groaned. None the less, the demand was insistent and at last, but only after two full centuries had elapsedand a third was well advanced, was the verdict of 1661 reversed. Today the bronze effigy of Oliver Cromwell, massive in size, rugged in feature, characteristic in atti tude, - stands defiantly in the yard of that Westminster Hall, from a pole on the top of which, twelve score years ago, the flesh crumbled from his skull.

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