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General and Concise Biographical Dictionary (Cromwell the Great)

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A General and Concise Biographical Dictionary containing an historical and critical account of the lives and writings of the most eminent persons in the Commonwealth, from the English Revolution to the present time.



Algernon Sidney (1623 – 1691) was an English politician, republican political theorist, soldier and diplomat. Sidney directly opposed the Divine Right of Kings political theory by suggesting ideas such as limited government, voluntary consent of the people and the right of citizens to alter or abolish a corrupt government. His main works are Court Maxims (1666), An Account of the Trial of Charles I (1668), and Discourses Concerning Government (1680). Sidney served in the Army becoming Colonel of the regiment. Elected MP in 1645-1653.
Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury (1621 – 1695), known as Anthony Ashley Cooper from 1621 to 1630, as Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, 2nd Baronet from 1630 to 1661, and as The Lord Ashley from 1661 to 1672, was a prominent English politician.


Richard Baxter (1615 –1691) was an English Puritan church leader, poet, hymn-writer, theologian, and controversialist. Considered by many to be the last bridger between Independent Congregationalist and the Church of England. Though regarded as a Presbyterian, he was not exclusively tied to Presbyterianism, and often seemed prepared to accept a modified Episcopalianism. This explains his proposal of what became the Triers and Ejectors and his warm acceptance of the Religious Establishment and the conjoined polity. Several times he advocated for a comprehensive national church. Although a member of the post settlement Church of England he enjoyed much prestige among Independent Congregationalist being frequently invited to preach in their parishes and the usage of his reformed liturgy. Promoted and helped in establishing the Congregational Fellowship of England.
Richard Bennett (England, 1609 – Virginia, 1675) was Governor of the Colony of Virginia (1663-...). Ousted Governor Sir William Berkeley (1642–1652 and 1660–1663) in the Freeholders rebellion of September 1663.
Roger Boyle, 1st Earl of Orrery (1621 – 1679) was a soldier, dramatist and politician. More commonly called Lord Broghill. Fought in the Irish Confederate Wars (1641-1653) for the Commonwealth. Lord president of the council in Scotland (Sept 1655- Aug 1656), enjoying much popularity. Member of the State Council in 1657. Elected to the House of Commons between 1654 and 1657. Named to the Other House in 1657 and elected senator for Ireland in 1663. Was the chief promoter and lobbyist of Scottish and Irish interests and one of the main leaders and organizers of the Court Party of the Cromwellians. He was a noted playwright and writer on 17th century warfare.
Samuel Butler (1613 – 1680) was a poet and satirist. He is remembered now chiefly for a long satirical poem entitled Hudibras, published in three parts in 1663, 1664 and 1678. The poem was directed against religious sectarianism. The satire is upon Roundheads, Puritans, Presbyterians and many of the other factions involved in the English Civil War. The poem was very popular in its time with pirate copies and a spurious second part being issued before Butler could produce his genuine second part in 1664. It was also involved in a series of legal challenges against the author and copyright litigations by the author. Butler also wrote many short biographies, epigrams and verses the earliest surviving from 1644.


Henry Cromwell (1628–1696) see entry
Oliver Cromwell 1599 – 1658) was an English military and political leader and later Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland. Father of Richard and Henry Cromwell.
Richard Cromwell (1626–1712) see entry


John Desborough (also spelled John Disbrowe and John Desborow) (1608–1680) was an English soldier and politician. One of the leaders of the Soldiers Party of the Cromwellians. Several times member of the Council of State and appointed Major-General of the western counties (1655-1656). Member of the Parliament, named in 1653-1654 and elected 1654-1657. Introduced the Militia Bill which was voted down. Elevated to seat in the Other House in 1657 and elected senator for England in 1663.



Thomas Fairfax (1612 – 1671) see entry
Josias Fendall (England c. 1628 – Maryland 1687) was Proprietary Governor (July 1656- March 1660) and Governor (1600-...) of Maryland. Commander of the Maryland militia of the Commonwealth in the Battle of the Severn (25 March 1655) against forces aligned with Lord Baltimore. This was the only battle in American soil of the Civil War. Overthrow the proprietary government in the bloodless Fendall's Rebellion (March 1660) and established a commonwealth government.
Charles Fleetwood (c. 1618 – 1692) see entry.



James Harrington (1611 – 1684) was an English political theorist of classical republicanism. His most known publications The Commonwealth of Oceana (1656), The Prerogative of Popular Government (1658), The Use and Manner of the Ballot (1660), A System of Politics (1672) and The English Liberties and the Commonwealth (1680). Founder of the Rota Club (1659) a debate society, open to all, ranging from bohemians, aristocrats, officers, soldiers, merchants and other parts of society, that debated republican ideology in London. Editor of the Minutes of The Rota.
Samuel Hartlib (ca. 1600 – 1662) was a German-British polymath and intelligencer. An active promoter and expert writer in many fields, he was interested in science, medicine, agriculture, politics, and education. Advocated educational reform and embraced Bacon's New Science and methods. Promoter and founding member of the Society for Promoting and Improving Knowledge (SPIK). For his various labours, Hartlib received a pension of £100 from Oliver Cromwell, afterwards increased to £300, as he had spent all his fortune on his experiments and died in poverty. A college of the University of Durham is named after him. Hartlib's correspondence and notes, over 25,000 pages, were donated to the Durham University Central Library.
Arthur Haselrig, 2nd Baronet (1601 – 1670) was an English politician. He was one of the Five Members of Parliament whom King Charles I tried to arrest in 1642, an event which led to the start of the English Civil War. He fought for the Parliamentarian cause in the Civil War, During the latter part of 1642, Hesilrige served as second-in-command to Sir William Waller on his campaign in southern England and Welsh border. Hesilrige resigned his commission in the army in 1644. Appointed governor of the city of Newcastle in 1647. Later has member of the Commonwealthmen, campaigned to uphold the republic against the Cromwellians and the Constitutional Framework. He tried to keep a republican Parliamentary administration, "to keep the sword subservient to the civil magistrate". Member of the Parliament from 1640-1653 and excluded to take his seat in 1654-1658, elected and allowed to sat as MP in 1659-...
Philip Hunton (c.1600-1682) was an English clergyman, academic and political writer, known for his anti-absolutist work A Treatise of Monarchy (1643). Provost of New College of Durham (1656-1665) and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Durham (1665-...).





John Lambert (1619 - 1685) see entry
Henry Lawrence (1600–1668) was an English Puritan statesman. Served as member of the State Council in July 1653 and later its Lord President (December 1653 - November 1658). Elected MP in 1646-1648, named MP in 1653 and elected MP between 1654-1657 and elevated to the Other House in December 1657 and Senator in 1663 until his death. He also published three pamphlets between 1646 and 1649 on the doctrine of baptism.
Robert Lilburne (1613–1665) English soldier and politician. Was the older brother of John Lilburne, the well known Leveller. Joined the New Model Army and was promoted to Colonel of a regiment. Like his brother John, his sympathies lay with the Levellers and religious toleration. He rebuilt the network of correspondences of the Leveller and supported the publication of tracts and of several short lived newsbooks. Elected MP in 1654, remaining a member of the House of Commons until his death. Being sometimes the sole representative of the Levellers
Edmund Ludlow (c. 1617–1692) English soldier and politician. Best known for his involvement in the execution of Charles I, and for his Memoirs, which were published posthumously in a rewritten form in and which have become a major source for historians of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. One of the leaders of the republican Commonwealthmen faction. Elected MP in 1646–1653, 1659-1676 and Senator for England 1676-1688. Member of the Council of State and Commander-in-Chief of Ireland 1659-1660. Ludlow was a Baptist and Calvinist predestinarian, and his political views were inextricably interlinked with providentialist and apocalyptic religious views.


Andrew Marvell (1621 – 1678) was an English metaphysical poet, satirist and politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times. Colleague and friend of John Milton.
John Milton (1608-1674) was an English poet, polemicist, and man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth. He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), written in blank verse. Phampleter and eloquent defencer of free speech and freedom of the press.
George Monck (1608 – 1670) was an English soldier and politician. Key figure in the administration of Scotland as Governor, Lord President of the Council and Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in Scotland. General at Sea in the Anglo-Dutch War of 1652–54 a Nominated to Parliament in 1653-1654. Named to the Other House in 1657 and later senator for Scotland in 1663.
Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich (1625 – 1687) was an English soldier and politician. Lord President of the Council of State (July 1672 - March 1678). Leader of the Court Party of the Cromwellians. Member of the State Council. Elected MP in 1645-1653, named in 1653-1654 and elected again in 1654-1657. Elevated of the Other House in 1657 and elected senator for England in 1663.


Marchamont Nedham, also Marchmont and Needham (1620 – 1678) was a journalist, publisher and pamphleteer. During the English Civil War wrote official news and propaganda for both sides of the conflict. Principal author and editor of the weekly Parliamentarian newsbook Mercurius Britanicus (1643-May 1646), editor of the Royalist newsbook, Mercurius Pragmaticus (Sept. 1647 to May 1649). However his main enterprise was the state newsbook Mercurius Politicus (Sept. 1650-...), he also edited The Publick Intelligencer (Oct. 1655-...), a partner journal to Politicus.



William Petty (1623 – 1687) was an English economist, scientist, philosopher and creator of political arithmetic. Developed efficient methods to survey the land in Ireland that was to be confiscated and given to Cromwell's soldiers. Founding member of the Society for Promoting and Improving Knowledge (SPIK). Committed to new science as inspired by Francis Bacon becoming patron and lecturer of Durham University. It is for his theories on economics and his methods of political arithmetic (Treatise of Taxes and Contributions 1662, Verbum Sapienti 1665, and Quantulumcunque concerning money 1682) that he is best remembered, however, and to him is attributed the philosophy of 'laissez-faire' in relation to government activity. He was also one of the first users of statistical techniques to demographics. Helped in founding the Dublin Philosophical Society as correspondence body to the SPIK. Elected MP in 1659. Advisor several times non permanent member of the Trade and Plantations councils of the State Council.



Prince Rupert of the Rhine (1619-1682), see entry.



John Thurloe (1616 – 1668) was an English lawyer, politician, Secretary of State and director of the spying and intelligence networks of the Commonwealth. Member and secretary of the Council of State. In 1652 he was named a secretary for state (of foreign affairs). In 1653 he succeed Thomas Scot as director of the Commonwealth's spying and intelligence network. In 1655 he was named Postmaster-General, with authority to intercept the correspondence of suspected conspirators. Thurloe was efficient and thorough in carrying out his duties uncovering several conspiracies against the Commonwealth. His major historical action was arranging the return and amnesty of Prince Rupert. Elected MP in 1654 until his death. Was one of the few members not named or elected to the Other House or Senate, was an effective leader of the Court Party in the House of Commons.



Sir Henry Vane (1613 – 1674), son of Henry Vane the Elder (often referred to as Harry Vane to distinguish him from his father), was an English politician, statesman, and colonial governor of Massachusetts (1636 – 1637). A gifted administrator and a forceful orator. One of the leaders of the Commonwealthmen party and adversary of the Cromwellians. Vane was a leading Parliamentarian during the English Civil War and worked closely with Oliver Cromwell. He played no part in the execution of King Charles I, and refused to take oaths that expressed approval of the act. Vane served on the Council of State that functioned as the government executive during the Interregnum, but split with Cromwell over issues of governance and removed himself from power when Cromwell dissolved Parliament in 1653. Member of Parliament in 1640-1653 and 1659-...


Bulstrode Whitelocke (1605 – 1675) was an English lawyer, writer, parliamentarian and diplomat. Elected to parliament in 1640-1653 and 1654-1663. In December 1657 he was named member of the Other House and Senator in 1663. Several times named member of the Council of State and one of the commissioners of the Great Seal. Adviser on foreign affairs, negotiated the treaty with Sweden of 1656.




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