chapter  10
Triumph and tragedy: the first Dutch War and the death of the English Republic
Pages 12

Cromwell characterized his victory at Worcester, on 3 September 1651, as ‘a crowning mercy.’1 It was indeed the culmination of the war effort against the Scots. The Commonwealth’s army had saved England from invasion, and through its victories in Ireland and Scotland had removed the threat of outside interference in English affairs. During the year following Worcester, English armies destroyed organized resistance to English rule in Ireland and Scotland so thoroughly that by the summer of 1652 the Council of State felt it safe to demobilize a significant portion of the army. Peace, however, proved elusive for the republic. By May 1652, it was waging a naval war against the United Provinces-the leading maritime power in Europe (see map 28, p. 252)—that would require two years of effort and unprecedented financial sacrifices to win. In the process, hopes that the Rump would reform the English political and legal systems were dashed.