“It was the pump. . . .”
One of the remarkable things about studying history at a science and engineering school was the way in which those sister disciplines routinely and matter-of-factly intruded upon what might otherwise have been a mere pedantic attempt to avoid anachronism.
I recall one of those delicious moments when my Purdue history professor, when asked about the cause of the English Civil War, stated what he hoped was obvious to us all. “It was the pump. . . .”
What followed was a description of the improvements in pumping technology which made draining the Fens marshlands feasible, which prompted King Charles I to commission the Dutchman Cornelius Vermuyden to do exactly that, converting commons marshland into privately-owned farmland which went, not surprisingly, to the King and to the investors. When the marshland went away, so did the fowl, changing forever the local economy, which depended upon shooting said fowl and shipping them to London.
The Fensmen, who had become expert archers due to economic necessity, complained to their young member of Parliament, a fellow by the name of Oliver Cromwell and, well, one thing led to another. . . .
We bring you the story of the enigmatic Oliver, “warts and all,” as he would say, along with vignettes of Samuel Davies, Hannah Van Buren, and a hero of the Dutch Underground, as well as a heresy trial that rocked the church.
The Bible assures us that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. It’s comforting to know that includes wicked kings, flawed saints, and yes, even the lowly pump.
On the Cover
Cromwell before the coffin of Charles I by Hippolyte (Paul) Delaroche, circa 1830. The event is apocryphal, yet remains a strong image in the popular mind due in large part to Delaroche’s representation of the occasion.
The July-September 2009 issue includes these articles:
- Cromwell, “Warts and All”
- The Quiet Man
- Samuel Davies: The Dissenter from Virginia
- The Trial of Phillip Schaff
- Hannah Van Buren