CROMWELL, Oliver, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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Cromwell sends his son Henry to govern Ireland

CROMWELL, Oliver (1599-1658). Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland.
Document Signed, ('Oliver P.' at the head), 1 page folio (oblong, a little soiled, but in good condition) on vellum with wafer seal, Whitehall, 4 August 1655. Appointing his son, Henry (1628-1674) colonel and captain of a regiment of foot in Ireland.
'Oliver Lord Protector of the Com'on Wealth of England Scotland and Ireland and the Dominions thereunto belonging To the Right Hono[ra]ble the Lord Henry Cromwell Major Generall of the army and Forces in Ireland Greeting. We reposing speciall trust and confidence in you[u]r discretion fidelity and courage, Doe hereby constitute and appoint you Colonell of that Regiment of Foote raised and to be raised under Our Com'and for the service of the Com'on Wealth in Ireland now imediately related unto us as Colonell, and also Captaine of a Company in the same Regiment; You are therefore to make yo[ur] p[re]sent repaire unto the same Charges respectivly, and duely to exercise the inferio'r officers and souldiers of the said Company and Regiment in armes, and to use yo[ur] best care and edndeavou[urs] to keep them in good order and discipline Com'anding them respectively to obey you as their Captaine and Colonell: And you are likewise to observe and follow such orders and directions as you shall from tyme to tyme receive from Our Self or the Com'ander in Cheife of the army and Forces in Ireland for the tyme being. Given att White Hall the Fourth day of August 1655.'
Ostensibly a simple military commission to a family member this document conceals a much more important story. It had been mooted in 1654 that Henry should take over his father's role as the commander of the army in Ireland. Although Cromwell was at first reluctant to seem to be advancing a member of his family Henry had been appointed major-general of the forces and a member of the Irish council in December 1654. He had landed with his family near Dublin in July 1655 and was to remain in Ireland until the spring of 1659, residing largely in Dublin but also undertaking annual tours of inspection of the whole country. In September of this year (1655), following the departure of his brother-in-law Charles, Lord Fleetwood (ca 1618-1692), Henry became in effect the governor of Ireland.
[No: 24076]

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