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Bibles and Scythes


I've been reading To Hell or Barbados: The ethnic cleansing of Ireland by Sean O'Callaghan since I got it for Christmas. The book details Oliver Cromwell's campaign against the Irish during the English Civil War. It also explores the fate of the Irish who were shipped to the Americas, often to live out their lives as little more than slaves. Having learned a bit about Oliver Cromwell it was easy to see why upon the restoration of the monarchy Cromwell's body was dug up, having died and been succeeded as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth (a position which sounds suspiciously like a king from the descriptions I've read) by his son before then, to be hanged in chains and then beheaded with his head displayed on a pole outside Westminster Hall.

But back to O'Callaghan's book. One of the first passages that really stuck out for me in the book was the following:
"In all the parliamentary army numbered 20,000 men. They were all trained soldiers, well equipped with an abundant supply of military stores, and more important still, with four big siege guns which could batter the walls of the most heavily fortified towns. He also brought with him an immense store of Bibles and, lastly, a quantity of scythes to cut down the crops which would provide sustenance to the Irish."
Emphasis added.
That last made me wonder if Cromwell had intended for his army to beat to death with those Bibles any who survived the sieges, the battles, and the famine.

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