Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined. (Patrick Henry)
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The Sunday Times review by John Carey
Paying a courtesy call on the British foreign secretary Robin Cook in 1997, the Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern noticed a painting of Oliver Cromwell in the room. He instantly walked out and refused to return until the portrait of “that murdering bastard” had been removed. You might think that the long and tragic history of Anglo-Irish relations was so full of murdering bastards on both sides that the selection of any particular one was rather arbitrary. But Micheal OSiochru puts the Aherne anecdote at the start of his book to illustrate the continuing demonisation of Cromwell by the Irish, and he strives to discover how far it is justified.
The story begins in 1641, years before Cromwell set foot in Ireland, with the rebellion of the Catholic Irish against the Protestant settler community. Continue reading
American history cannot be understood without an understanding of British history. And one of the most maligned of British characters has been Oliver Cromwell. His descendant, Oliver Cromwell, Esq., has this to say:
It has been the singular ill fortune of Oliver Cromwell, and of his family, that his character hath been left exclusively in the hands of his enemies. The short interval between his death and the Restoration, and the unsettled state of the nation in the intermediate time, left no opportunity for a faithful and impartial history of that extraordinary man. From that time to the present, his memory hath been abused and vilified without any allowance for the peculiar circumstances in which he was placed : his name alone is to this day deemed by many a sufficient description of every thing that is ambitious, hypocritical, and tyrannical. He has been held forth as a composition of every bad quality, without one virtue to counterbalance them. Continue reading
Was Thomas Jefferson a Christian or Deist?
Consider the following from a letter to William Short, Oct. 31, 1819:
“But the greatest of all reformers of the depraved religion of his own country, was Jesus of Nazareth. Abstracting what is really his from the rubbish in which it is buried, easily distinguished by its luster from the dross of his biographers, and as separable from that as the diamond from the dunghill, we have outlines of a system of the most sublime morality which has ever fallen from the lips of man. The establishment of the innocent and genuine character of this benevolent morality, and the rescuing it from the imputation of imposture, which has resulted from artificial systems, invented by ultra-Christian sects (The immaculate conception of Jesus, his deification, the creation of the world by him, his miraculous powers, his resurection and visibkle accession, his coproreal presence in the Eucharist, the Trinity, original sin, atonement, regeneration, election, orders of the hierarchy, etc.) is a most desirable object.”
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