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the same, one is very willing to believe Tradition. The essential trade of Robert Cromwell was that of managing those lands of his in the vicinity of Huntingdon the grain of them would have to be duly harvested, thrashed, brought to market; whether it was as corn or as malt it came to market, can remain indifferent
For the rest, as documents still testify, this Robert Cromwell did Burgh and Quarter-Session duties; was not slack but moderately active as a country-gentleman; sat once in Parliament in his younger years;* is found with his elder or other Brothers on various Public Commissions for Draining the Fens of that region, or more properly for inquiring into the possibility of such an operation; a thing much noised of then; which Robert Cromwell, among others, reported to be very feasible, very promising, but did not live to see accomplished, or even attempted. His social rank is sufficiently indicated;-and much flunkeyism, falsity, and other carrion ought to be buried! Better than all social rank, he is understood to have been a wise, devout, steadfast and worthy man, and to have lived a modest and manful life in his
Besides the Knight of Hinchinbrook, he had other Brothers settled prosperously in the Fen regions, where this Cromwell Family had extensive possessions. One Brother Henry was seated at Upwood,' a fenny district near Ramsey Mere; one of his daughters came to be the wife, second wife, of Oliver St. John, the Shipmoney Lawyer, the political dark-lantern,' as men used to name him; of whom we shall hear farther. Another Brother 'was seated' at Biggin House between Ramsey and Upwood; a moated mansion, with ditch and painted paling round it. A third Brother was seated at-my informant knows not where! In fact I had better, as before, subjoin the little smelled Note which has already done its duty, and let the reader make of that what he can. Of our Oliver's Aunts one was Mrs. Hampden of Great
*35to Eliz.: Feb.-April, 1593 (Noble, i., 83; from Willis).
† OLIVER'S UNCLES.
1. Sir Oliver of Hinchinbrook: his eldest son John, born in 1589 (ten years older than our Oliver), went into the army, regiment in the Dutch service: this is the Colonel
Colonel of an English
Hampden, Bucks: an opulent, zealous person, not without ambitions; already a widow and mother of two Boys, one of whom proved very celebrated as JOHN HAMPDEN ;-she was Robert
or fabled to have sought a midnight interview with Oliver, in the end of 1648, for the purpose of buying off Charles I.; to have laid his hand on his sword,' &c., &c. The story is in Noble, i, 51; with no authority but that of Carrion Heath. Other sons of his were soldiers, royalists these: there are various Cousin Cromwells that confusedly turn up on both sides of the quarrel.-Robert Cromwell, our Oliver's Father, was the next Brother of the Hinchinbrook Knight. The Third Brother, second uncle, was
2. Henry Cromwell, of Upwood near Ramsey Mere: adventurer in the Virginia Company; sat in Parliament 1603-1611; one of his daughters Mrs. St. John. Died 1630 (Noble, i., 28).
3. Richard: buys in 1607' a bit of ground in Huntingdon; died at Ramsey,' 1628; was Member for Huntingdon in Queen Elizabeth's time:Lived in Ramsey? Is buried at Upwood.
4. Sir Philip: Biggin House; knighted at Whitehall, 1604 (Noble, i., 31). His second son, Philip, was in Colonel Ingoldsby's regiment;wounded at the storm of Bristol, in 1645. Third son, Thomas, was in Ireland with Strafford (signs Montnorris's death-warrant there, in 1630); lived afterwards in London; became Major, and then Colonel, in the King's Army. Fourth son, Oliver, was in the Parliamentary Army; had watched the King in the Isle of Wight,-went with his cousin, our Oliver, to Ireland in 1849, and died or was killed there. Fifth son, Robert, 'poisoned his Master, an Attorney, and was hanged at London,'-if there be truth in Heath's Flagellum' (Noble, i., 35) and some Pedigrees;'-year not given ; say about 1635, when the lad, born 1617,' was in his 18th year? I have found no hint of this affair in any other quarter, not in the wildest RoyalistBirkenhead or Walker's-Independency lampoon; and consider it very possible that a Robert Cromwell having suffered for poisoning an Attorney,' he may have been called the cousin of Cromwell by Heath and some Pedigrees.' But of course anybody can poison an Attorney,' and be hanged
Oliver's Aunt Elizabeth was married to William Hampden of Great Hampden, Bucks (year not given, Noble, i., 36, nor at p. 68 of vol. ii.; nor in Lord Nugent's Memorials of Hampden): he died in 1597; she survived him 67 years, continuing a widow (Noble, ii., 69). Buried in Great Hampden Church, 1664, aged 90. She had two sons, John and Richard: John, born 1594,-Richard, an Oliverian too, died in 1659 (Noble, ii., 70).
Aunt Joan (elder than Elizabeth) was Lady Barrington;' Aunt Frances (younger) was Mrs. Whalley. Richard Whalley of Kerton, Notts; a man of mark; sheriff, &c.; three wives, children only by this second, ‘Aunt
Another Cromwell Aunt of Oliver's was married to Whalley, heir of the Whalley family in Notts;' another to the heir of the Dunches of Pusey, in Berkshire;' another to -In short the stories of Oliver's 'poverty,' if they were otherwise of any moment, are all false; and should be mentioned here, if still here, for the last time. The family was of the rank of substantial gentry, and duly connected with such in the counties round, for three generations back. Of the numerous and now mostly forgetable cousinry we specify farther only the Mashams of Otes in Essex, as like to be of some cursory interest to us by and by.
There is no doubt at all but Oliver the Protector's family was related to that of Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, the Putney 'Blacksmith's' or Iron-master's son, transiently mentioned above; the Malleus Monachorum, or as old Fuller renders it, Mauler of Monasteries,' in Henry Eight's time. The same old Fuller, a perfectly veracious and most intelligent person, does indeed report as of his own knowledge,' that Oliver Protector, once upon a time when Bishop Goodman came dedicating to him some unreadable semi-popish jargon about the mystery of the Holy Trinity,' and some adulation about his Lordship's relationship to the former great purifier of the Church,' and Mauler of Monasteries,— answered impatiently, "My family has no relation to his!" This old Fuller reports, as of his own knowledge. I have consulted the unreadable semi-popish jargon, for the sake of that Dedication ; I find that Oliver's relationship to Thomas Cromwell is in any case stated wrong there, not right: I reflect farther that Bishop Goodman, oftener called 'Bishop Badman' in those times, went over to Popery; had become a miserable impoverished old piece of confusion, and at this time could appear only in the character
Fanny.' Thomas Whalley (no years given, Noble, ii., 141) died in his father's lifetime; left a son who was a kind of royalist, but yet had a certain acceptance with Oliver too. Edward Whalley, the famed 'Colonel,' and Henry Whalley, the Judge-Advocate' (wretched biographies of these two, Noble, pp. 141, 143-56). Colonel Whalley and Colonel Goff, after the Restoration, fled to New England, lived in 'caves' there, and had had a sore time of it.
Enough of the Cousinry!—
of begging bore,—when, at any rate, for it was in the year 1653, Oliver himself, having just turned out the Long Parliament,* was busy enough! I infer therefore that Oliver said to him impatiently, without untruth, "You are quite wrong as to all that: good morning!"-and that old Fuller, likewise without untruth, reports it as above.
But at any rate there is other very simple evidence entirely conclusive. Richard or Sir Richard Cromwell, great-grandfather of Oliver Protector, was a man well known in his day; had been very active in the work of suppressing monasteries; a right-hand man to Thomas the Mauler: and indeed it was on Monastic Property, chiefly or wholly, that he had made for himself a sumptuous estate in those Fen regions. Now, of this Richard Cromwell there are two Letters to Thomas Cromwell, 'Vicar-General,' Earl of Essex, which remain yet visible among the Manuscripts of the British Museum; in both of which he signs himself with his own hand, 'your most bounden Nephew,'-an evidence sufficient to set the point at rest. Copies of the Letters are in my possession; but I grudge to inflict them on the reader. One of them, the longer of the two, stands printed, with all or more than all its original mis-spelling and confused obscurity, in Noble :† it is dated 'Stamford,' without day or year; but the context farther dates it as contemporary with the Lincolnshire Rebellion, or Anti-Reformation riot, which was directly followed by the more
*The date of Goodman's Book is 25th June, 1653; here is the correct title of it (King's Pamphlets, small 4to., no. 73, §1): The two great Mysteries of Christian Religion; the Ineffable Trinity and Wonderful Incarnation by G. G. G.' (meaning Godfrey Goodman, Glocestrensis). Unfortunate persons who have read Laud's writings are acquainted with this Bishop Goodman, or Badman; he died a declared Papist. Poor man, his speculations, now become jargon to us, were once very serious and eloquent to him! Such is the fate that soon overtakes all men who, quitting the 'Eternal Melodies,' take up their abode in the outer Temporary Discords, and seek their subsistence there! This is the part of the Dedication that
'To his Excellency my Lord Oliver Cromwell, Lord General. My Lord,Fifty years since the name of Socinus, &c.- Knowing that the Lord Cromwell (your Lordship's great uncle) was then in great favor,' &c.-' GodFREE GOODMAN.'
formidable Pilgrimage of Grace' in Yorkshire to the like effect, in the autumn of 1536.* Richard, in company with other higher official persons, represents himself as straining every nerve to beat down and extinguish this traitorous fanatic flame, kindled against the King's Majesty and his Reform of the Church; has an eye in particular to a certain Sir John Thymbleby in Lincolnshire, whom he would fain capture as a ringleader; suggests that the use of arms should be prohibited to these treasonous popula tions, except under conditions; and seems hastening on, with almost furious speed; towards Yorkshire and the Pilgrimage of Grace, we may conjecture. The second Letter, also without date except 'Saturday,' shadows to us an official man, again on business of hot haste; journeying from Monastery to Monastery; finding this Superior disposed to comply with the King's Majesty, and that other not disposed, but capable of being made so; intimates farther that he will be at his own House (presumably Hinchinbrook), and then straightway home,' and will report progress to my Lord in person. On the whole, as this is the earliest articulate utterance of the Oliver Family; and casts a faint glimmer of light, as from a single flint-spark, into the dead darkness of the foregone century; and touches withal on an acquaintance of ours the Prior of Ely,'-Robert Steward, last Popish Prior, first Protestant Dean of Ely, and brother of Mrs. Robert Cromwell's ancestor, which is curious to think of,—we will give the Letter, more especially as it is very short:
"To my Lord Cromwell.
"I have me most humbly commended unto your Lordship. I rode on Sunday to Cambridge to my bed ;† and the next morning, was up betimes, purposing to have found at Ely Mr. Pollard and Mr. Williams. But they were departed before my coming : and so, 'they' being at dinner at Somersham, with the Bishop of Ely, I overtook them there.' At which time, I opened your
* Herbert (in Kennet, ii. 204-5). † From London, we suppose.
The words within single commas,
C they' and 'there,' are added, for bringing out the sense; a plan we shall follow in all the Original Letters of this Collection.