[Milton-L] Cromwell and miracles

Carol Barton cbartonphd at earthlink.net
Sun Jul 31 14:10:29 EDT 2005

On the contrary, Matthew (depending on which Charles you mean), Charles I
was nicknamed "Stroker" by his guards at Carisbrooke, for the throngs of
people who flocked to him even in prison for the Touch.

Because of its connection with "supernatural" (i.e. divinely-conferred)
powers, the Touch was a powerful political weapon for divine right kings
(and "evidence" of their divinity), before and after James I  (Hooker is
credited with having first coined the term for the monarchy's direct
connection with God, though the principle existed in medieval times).

I've consulted a number of historians of Cromwell, and not found any mention
of an attempt on his part to emulate his royal predecessors as regards the
King's Evil--but then, it was common knowledge that OC was not a king by
bloodline, no matter what airs he later elected to put on, so it is not
likely that people would have been as credulous in his case, even if he had
made bold to assert such abilities.

As one of the links John Geraghty provided earlier would demonstrate,
though, expatriate Cromwellians were said to have performed what amounts to
miracles in the Colonies (Hadleytown). Charles I was of course credited with
many--posthumously, worked through bloodstained handkerchiefs, etc. obtained
at his execution--and was the only English king to be canonized.

Cromwell (and many others, including Charles) believed wholeheartedly that
God was working through them, and it was fairly common to speak
metaphorically of such figures in biblical terms (James had equated kingly
coronation with Jesus' assumption of the Crown of Thorns, and his son became
synonymous with the Suffering Christ in many eyes at his "martyrdom"), so I
doubt that we can say for certain that no one ever ascribed some form of
divine prominence to Cromwell without examining all of the publications
written in England and abroad during the Interregnum.

There does not, however, seem to be much evidence that Cromwell himself made
such claims.

Best to all,

Carol Barton

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