[Milton-L] Cromwell, Samson, and miracles

Burbery, Timothy burbery at marshall.edu
Tue Aug 2 11:03:00 EDT 2005

Hi Carol, thanks for the detailed contrast of Samson and Cromwell.  I
agree with you that in general OC seems to have been disinclined to
claim divine inspiration for his deeds.  However, in *Shifting
Contexts,* Joe Wittreich quotes contemporary accounts of the Protector's
eyes sparkling before the Battle of Dunbar, as if possessed by "a Divine
Impulse," and roaring with laughter just prior to the Battle of Naseby
for the same reason (270).  If these accounts are true, it would seem
that OC *was* claiming a kind of divine right.   



Hi, Tim--

According to Judges 13:1-25, Samson was decreed a Nazarite before his
birth, set apart and dedicated to God's service--so his right to claim
that he was divinely inspired was "congenital." Not so Oliver Cromwell,
a commoner and a man elevated by perfectly mortal deeds rather than
heavenly consecration; and one, it seems to me, far too politically
intelligent to have made a claim that would have alienated many of his
followers. (Charles had centuries of royal precedent for claiming
"divine right," and even so, courted blasphemy with the assertion that
he was "the martyr of the people"--especially as "interpreted" by
Marshall and Gauden.) Cromwell had no such legacy, either royal or
divine, and was (until he moved into Whitehall) a rather humble,
unassuming man, by most accounts. The idea that God had favored, not him
personally, but the English people with him as their champion, was one
thing; to have claimed anything more would likely have been political

Hope the leads from H-Albion help. For those of you who may be
unfamiliar with that list, it's a wonderful place to obtain sensible
responses to questions like Tim's.

Best to all,

Carol Barton

>From the desk of

Dr. Carol Barton

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