Tag Archives: Oliver Cromwell

The Indian Advocate, Nov. 1, 1905, Critiques Puritan Treatment of Native Americans


…thirty-two exterminated native tribes…

I’ve been trying to understand the possibility that someone could be “spiritually enlightened” and radically unethical, at the same time.

Or, how someone could be wise enough to send down through the ages spiritual insight yet foolish enough to kill those who got in the way of worldly progress.

Here’s a perspective from The Indian Advocate newspaper, published Nov. 1, 1905:

“When the government committed itself to the Anglo-Saxon policy of civilization, reflected and enacted by the Puritans; it turned out to be, as might have been anticipated, not only of problematical advantage and uncertain success from an ethical standpoint, but disastrous to the fair repute of the nation and fatal to the life of the Indian. The melancholy humor of the somewhat timeworn witticism that ‘when landing upon Plymouth Rock, the Puritans first fell upon their knees and then upon the aborigines,’ is so unassailably in accord with historic facts borne out by the bloody roster of thirty-two exterminated native tribes, that the droll comment ‘it was a pity that the Puritans landed on Plymouth Rock instead of Plymouth Rock landing on the Puritans,’ has more than a semblance of retributive justification. ‘The Puritans,’ says an historical writer in a volume fresh from the press, ‘adopted the Cromwellian method in which they had been bred and trained. They extinguished the Indian title (to lands) by the simple, sure and irrevocable expedient of extinguishing the Indian.’”

Footnote digressions: Anglican John Locke versus Puritan Oliver Cromwell


One of my favorite literature profs at N.C. State used to announce, “Footnote digression,” before heading into background info tangentially related to his lecture.

The following is meant to provide some background and context to previous posts about the relationship between Anglicanism and Puritanism. The facts and interpretations are presented for your evaluation, without my added opinion. Except I boldfaced some lines.

According to evangelical and scholar Greg Forster, writing for First Things in 2012:

“Cromwell ruled 1653-1658; Locke’s first known writings on government, the aforementioned Two Tracts, were written after Cromwell’s death, and weren’t circulated outside Oxford that we know of until their rediscovery in the 20th century. Moreover, Locke was a strong royalist partisan during his time at Oxford in large part due to his detestation of Cromwell and the republicans, whom he viewed as turbulent religious fanatics. I think it would be difficult to find a ruler whose ‘policy’ was more hostile to Locke’s ‘principles’ than Cromwell; it’s not much of a stretch to say Locke supported the rebellion against James II largely because he saw James as a Catholic version of Cromwell – a man willing to tear apart the fabric of society out of loyalty to a narrow-minded religious enthusiasm….

“Locke advocated religious toleration but not a separation of the state from the church. He supported the state-run, tax-funded Anglican church; he argued that those who dissented should be free to practice their own religions in their own churches, but not that the state should not run a church.”

The late Richard John Neuhaus, (also) writing in his journal, First Things:

“While one can agree about the element of nobility in the grandly flawed experiments of Calvin in Geneva, Cromwell in England, and the Puritans in this country, the particular nature of their common failure needs careful attention. (The mixed success of Kuyperianism in the Netherlands, it might be noted, was due in large part to Kuyper’s respect for the place of “common grace” and reason in the ordering of society, precisely the element of Kuyper that strict theonomists repudiate.) The question is whether the flaw in these earlier experiments was in the intention or in the execution. Theonomists urge us to work harder and think more clearly so that we can do it right the next time. Other Christians insist it should not be done at all.

Boldface and hyperlinks within the quotations were added.

Other posts about Anglicans and Puritans:

Richard Hooker versus the Puritans and the Separatists

Anglicanism and ‘Biblical Anglicans’ as the one-third Anglicans

Anglicanism, Thomas Cranmer and Richard Hooker in the context of Scripture, Reason, and Tradition