Aldrovandus, distinguished naturalist, 1522, Bologna;
Henri, Vicomte de Turenne, great French commander,
1611, Sedan Castle on the Meuse; William Lowth, divine
and commentator, 1661; James Thomson, poet, 1700,
Cressingham, slain at battle of Stirling, 1297; James
Harrington, author of Oceana, 1677, London; John
Augustus Ernesti, classical editor, 1781, Leipsic;
David Ricardo, political economist, 1823, Gatcombe
Park, Gloucestershire; Captain Basil Hall, author of
books of voyages and travels, 1844, Portsmouth.
Feast Day: Saints
Protus and Hyacinthus, martyrs. St. Paphnutius, bishop
and confessor, 4th century. St. Patiens, arch-bishop
of Lyon, confessor, about 480.
THE TAKING OF
SEPTEMBER 11, 1619
In the summer following on the
death of Charles I, Cromwell was sent into Ireland to
bring it under obedience to the English parliament.
The country was composed of factions—Catholics,
Episcopalians, Presbyterians, &c. — agreeing in hardly
anything but their opposition to the new Commonwealth.
It was the policy of Cromwell to strike terror into
these various parties by one thunderbolt of vigorous
action and his assault upon the town of Drogheda
afforded him the opportunity.
There were here about
3000 royalists assembled under Sir Arthur Ashton. The
town had some tolerably strong defences. Cromwell, on
the 10th of September, summoned the town, but was
answered only with a defiance. He set his cannon
a-playing on the walls, and, having made some
breaches, sent in a large armed force next day, who,
however, were for that time repulsed. Renewing the
assault, they drove the garrison into confined places,
where the whole were that evening put to the sword,
with merely a trifling exception. Cromwell, in his
dispatch to Lenthall, describes this affair as a
'righteous judgment' and a 'great mercy,' and with
equal coolness relates how any that he spared from
death were immediately shipped off for Barbadoes—that
is, deported as slaves. The policy of the English
Attila was successful. It cut through the heart of the
national resistance, and laid Ireland at the feet of
the English parliament.
the many crazy sectaries produced from the yeasty
froth of the fermenting caldron of the great civil
war, there was not one more oddly crazy than Roger
Crab. This man had served for seven years in the
Parliamentary army, and though he had his 'skull
cloven' by a royalist trooper, yet, for some breach of
discipline, Cromwell sentenced him to death, a
punishment subsequently commuted to two years'
After his release from jail, Crab set up in business
as 'a haberdasher of hats' at Chesham, in
Buckinghamshire. His wandering mind, probably not
improved by the skull-cleaving operation, then imbibed
the idea, that it was sinful to eat any kind of animal
food, or to drink anything stronger than water.
Determined to follow, literally, the injunctions given
to the young man in the gospel, he sold off his stock
in trade, distributing the proceeds among the poor,
and took up his residence in a hut, situated on a rood
of ground near Ickenham, where for some time he lived
on the small sum of three-farthings a week.
His food consisted of bran,
dock-leaves, mallows, and grass; and how it agreed
with him we learn from a rare pamphlet, principally
written by himself, entitled The English Hermit, or
the Wonder of the Age. 'Instead of strong drinks and
wines,' says the eccentric Roger, I give the old man a
cup of water; and instead of roast mutton and rabbit,
and other dainty dishes, I give him broth thickened
with bran, and pudding made with bran and
turnip-leaves chopped together, at which the old man
(meaning my body) being moved, would know what he had
done, that I used him so hardly. Then I shewed him his
transgressions, and so the wars began. The law of the
old man in my fleshly members rebelled against the law
of my mind, and had a shrewd skirmish; but the mind,
being well enlightened, held it so that the old man
grew sick and weak with the flux, like to fall to the
dust. But the wonderful love of God, well pleased with
the battle, raised him up again, and filled him full
of love, peace, and content of mind, and he is now
become more humble, for now he will eat dock-leaves,
mallows, or grass.'
The persecutions the poor man
inflicted on himself, caused him to be persecuted by
others. Though he states that he was neither a Quaker,
a Shaker, nor a Ranter, he was cudgelled and put in
the stocks; the wretched sackcloth frock he wore was
torn from his back, and he was mercilessly whipped. He
was four times arrested on suspicion of being a
wizard, and he was sent from prison to prison; yet
still he would persist in his course of life, not
hesitating to term all those whose opinion differed
from his by the most opprobrious names. He published
another pamphlet, entitled Dagon's Downfall; or the
great Idol digged up Root and Branch; The English
Hermit's Spade at the Ground and Root of Idolatry.
This work shews that the man was simply insane. We
last hear of him residing in Bethnal Green. He died on
the 11th of September 1680, and was buried in Stepney
Churchyard, where his tombstone exhibits the following
'Tread gently, reader,
near the dust
Committed to this tomb-stone's trust:
For while 'twas flesh, it held a guest
With universal love possest:
A soul that stemmed opinion's tide,
Did over sects in triumph ride;
Yet separate from the giddy crowd,
And paths tradition had allowed.
Through good and ill reports he past,
Oft censured, yet approved at last.
Wouldst thou his religion know?
In brief 'twas this: to all to do
Just as he would be done unto.
So in kind Nature's law he stood,
A temple, undefiled with blood,
A friend to everything that 's good.
The rest angels alone can fitly tell;
Haste then to them and him; and so farewell!'