Cooper was again elected for Wiltshire for the parliament of 1656, but Cromwell refused to allow him, with many others of his opponents, to sit.
In the prolonged discussions regarding the Bill of Indemnity he was instrumental in saving the life of Haselrig, and opposed the clause compelling all officers who had served under Cromwell to refund their salaries, he himself never having had any.
In 1653 he returned to London, and having denounced Cromwell for accepting the office of Lord Protector he was imprisoned.
In 1643 Cromwell performed one of his earlier exploits in taking Lowestoft, capturing large supplies and making prisoners of several influential royalists.
As early as the beginning of the 9th century Ameland was a lordship of the influential family of Cammingha who held immediately of the emperor, and in recognition of their independence the Amelanders were in 1369 declared to be neutral in the fighting between Holland and Friesland, while Cromwell made the same declaration in 1654 with respect to the war between England and the United Netherlands.
After a brief embassy to the emperor in the spring of 1538, Bonner superseded Gardiner at Paris, and began his mission by sending Cromwell a long list of accusations against his predecessor (ib.
He seems, however, to have pleased his patron, Cromwell, and perhaps Henry, by his energy in seeing the king's "Great" Bible in English through the press in Paris.
He was already king's chaplain; his appointment at Paris had been accompanied by promotion to the see of Hereford, and before he returned to take possession he was translated to the bishopric of London (October 1539) Hitherto Bonner had been known as a somewhat coarse and unscrupulous tool of Cromwell,a sort of ecclesiastical Wriothesley.
His paternal grandfather was Sir Henry Cromwell of Hinchinbrook, a leading personage in Huntingdonshire, and grandson of Richard Williams, knighted by Henry VIII., nephew of Thomas Cromwell, earl of Essex, Henry VIII.'s minister, whose name he adopted.
Shortly afterwards he joined Essex with sixty horse, and was present at Edgehill, where his troop was one of the few not routed by Rupert's charge, Cromwell himself being mentioned among those officers who "never stirred from their troops but fought till the last minute."
This stroke, which would most probably have given the victory to the king, was prevented by the "Eastern Association," a union of Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire, constituted in December 1642 and augmented in 1643 by Huntingdonshire and Lincolnshire, of which Cromwell was the leading spirit.
In May he defeated a greatly superior royalist force at Grantham, proceeding afterwards to Nottingham in accordance with Essex's plan of penetrating into Yorkshire to relieve the Fairfaxes; where, however, difficulties, arising from jealousies between the officers, and the treachery of John Hotham, whose arrest Cromwell was instrumental in effecting, obliged him to retire again to the association, leaving the Fairfaxes to be defeated at Adwalton Moor.
In July 1643 Cromwell had been appointed governor of the Isle of Ely; on the 22nd of January 1644 he became second in command under the earl of Manchester as lieutenant-general of the Eastern Association, and on the 16th of February 1644 a member of the Committee of Both Kingdoms with greatly increased influence.
"My lord," answered Cromwell, "if this be so, why did we take up arms at first?
On the 25th of November Cromwell charged Manchester with "unwillingness to have the war prosecuted to a full victory"; which Manchester answered by accusing Cromwell of having used expressions against the nobility, the Scots and Presbyterianism; of desiring to fill the army of the Eastern Association with Independents to prevent any accommodation; and of having vowed if he met the king in battle he would as lief fire his pistol at him as at anybody else.
The lords and the Scots vehemently took Manchester's part; but the Commons eventually sided with Cromwell, appointed Sir Thomas Fairfax general of the New Model Army, and passed two self-denying ordinances, the second of which, ordering all members of both houses to lay down their commissions within forty days, was accepted by the lords on the 3rd of April 1645.
Meanwhile Cromwell had been ordered on the 3rd of March by the House to take his regiment to the assistance of Waller, under whom he served as an admirable subordinate.
Cromwell chose his own troops, both officers and privates, from the" religious men,"who fought not for pay or for adventure, but for their faith.
Cromwell was present at the sieges of Bridgwater, Bath, Sherborne and Bristol; and later, in command of four regiments of foot and three of horse, he was employed in clearing Wiltshire and Hampshire of the royalist garrisons.
Cromwell, without naming himself an adherent of any denomination, fought vigorously for Independency as a policy.
Cromwell, though greatly disliking the policy of the Presbyterians, yet gave little support at first to the army in resisting parliament.
The soldiers refused to disband, and on the 3rd of June Cromwell, whom, it was believed, the parliament intended to arrest, joined the army."
On the 31st of May 1647 Cromwell had ordered Cornet Joyce to prevent the king's removal by the parliament or the Scots from Holmby, and Joyce by his own authority and with the king's consent brought him to Newmarket to the headquarters of the army.
Cromwell soon restored order, and the representative council, including privates as well as officers chosen to negotiate with the parliament, was subordinated to the council of war.
The army with Cromwell then advanced towards London.
In a letter to the city, possibly written by Cromwell himself, the officers repudiated any wish to alter the civil government or upset the establishment of Presbyterianism, but demanded religious toleration.
Cromwell used his influence in restraining the more eager who wished to march on London immediately, and in avoiding the use of force by which nothing permanent could be effected, urging that" whatsoever we get by treaty will be firm and durable.
These votes, however, were cancelled later, on the 26th of July, under the pressure of the royalist city mob which invaded the two Houses; but the two speakers, with eight peers and fifty-seven members of the Commons, themselves joined the army, which now advanced to London, overawing all resistance, escorting the fugitive members in triumph to Westminster on the 6th of August, and obliging the parliament on the 10th to cancel the last votes, with the threat of a regiment of cavalry drawn up by Cromwell in Hyde Park.
Cromwell and the army now turned with hopes of a settlement to Charles.
On the 4th of July Cromwell had had an interview with the king at Caversham.
He was not insensible to Charles's good qualities, was touched by the paternal affection he showed for his children, and is said to have declared that Charles" was the uprightest and most conscientious man of his three kingdoms."The Heads of the Proposals, which, on Charles raising objections, had been modified by the influence of Cromwell and Ireton, demanded the control of the militia and the choice of ministers by parliament for ten years, a religious toleration, and a council of state to which much of the royal control over the army and foreign policy would be delegated.
This was strongly opposed by Cromwell, who declared the very consideration of it had dangers, that it would bring upon the country "utter confusion" and "make England like Switzerland."
With Cromwell as with Burke the question was "whether the spirit of the people of this nation is prepared to go along with it."
This alliance, though the exact terms were not known to Cromwell - "the attempt to vassalize us to a foreign nation," to use his own words - convinced him of the uselessness of any plan for maintaining Charles on the throne; though he still appears to have clung to monarchy, proposing in January 1648 the transference of the crown to the prince of Wales.
On the 19th of January 1648 Cromwell was accused of high treason by Lilburne.
Cromwell left London in May to suppress the royalists in Wales, and took Pembroke Castle on the 11th of July.
Immediately on the fall of Pembroke Cromwell set out to relieve Lambert, who was slowly retreating before Hamilton's superior forces; he joined him near Knaresborough on the 12th of August, and started next day in pursuit of Hamilton in Lancashire, placing himself at Stonyhurst near Preston, cutting off Hamilton from the north and his allies, and defeating him in detail on the 17th, 18th and 19th at Preston and at Warrington.
On his return to London he found the parliament again negotiating Cromwell with Charles, and on the eve of making a treaty which Charles himself had no intention of keeping and the regarded merely as a means of regaining his power, and which would have thrown away in one moment all the advantages gained during years of bloodshed and struggle.
Cromwell therefore did not hesitate to join the army in its opposition to the parliament, and supported the Remonstrance of the troops (loth of November 1648), which included the demand for the king's punishment as "the grand author of all our troubles," and justified the use of force by the army if other means failed.
Cromwell was not the originator of this act, but showed his approval of it by taking his seat among the fifty or sixty Independent members who remained.
During the next few weeks Cromwell appears to have made once more attempts to come to terms with Charles; but the king was inflexible in his refusal to part with the essential powers of the monarchy, or with the Church; and at the end of December it was resolved to bring him to trial.
The exact share which Cromwell had in this decision and its sequel is obscure, and the later accounts of the regicides when on their trial at the Restoration, ascribing the whole transaction to his initiation and agency, cannot be altogether accepted.
To Algernon Sidney, who refused to take part in proceedings on the plea that neither the king nor any man could be tried by such a court, Cromwell replied, "I tell you, v e will cut off his head with the crown upon it."
On the other hand, the execution seemed to Cromwell the only alternative to anarchy, or to a return to despotism and the abandonment of all they had fought for.
Cromwell had exhausted every expedient for arriving at an arrangement with the king by which the royal authority might be preserved, and the repeated perfidy and inexhaustible shiftiness of Charles had proved the hopelessness of such attempts.
Accordingly in March 1649 Cromwell was appointed lord-lieutenant and commander-in-chief for its reduction.
Cromwell, who was as a rule especially scrupulous in protecting non-combatants from violence, justified his severity in this case by the cruelties perpetrated by the Irish in the rebellion of 1641, and as being necessary on military and political grounds in that it "would tend to prevent the effusion of blood for the future, which were the satisfactory grounds of such actions which otherwise cannot but work remorse and regret."
After the fall of Drogheda Cromwell sent a few troops to relieve Londonderry, and marched himself to Wexford, which he took on the 11th of October, and where similar scenes of cruelty were repeated; every captured priest, to use Cromwell's own words, being immediately "knocked on the head," though the story of the three hundred women slaughtered in the market-place has no foundation.
The surrender of Trim, Dundalk and Ross followed, but at Waterford Cromwell met with a stubborn resistance and the advent of winter obliged him to raise the siege.
Next year Cromwell penetrated into Munster.