In early September 1658 a letter crossed the North Sea. Its destination was Hochstrade, a town on the northern frontier of the Spanish Netherlands, with some fine houses plundered bare by the king of Spain's cavalry. Lodged in one of these was the recipient, Sir Edward Hyde, whose main duty was to gather information for and present advice to his master, Charles II, England's uncrowned and exiled King. This particular letter carried one of the most significant pieces of information Hyde had ever received. Oliver Cromwell, the effective ruler of his country and mortal enemy of his cause, was dead. This chapter discusses life, religion, and politics in England under Cromwell's regime.
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