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Monday, April 25, 2016

It's Oliver Cromwell's birthday - here's his speech throwing out the corrupt Parliament, with bonus Monty Python

Cromwell's "warts and all" portrait*
Today is the anniversary of the birth of Oliver Cromwell (wiki) (1599-1658), Lord Protector of England during the era of the Commonwealth that followed the overthrow and execution of King Charles I in 1649. Cromwell attended Cambridge but never finished his degree. A fervent Puritan, he entered Parliament in 1628 and strongly opposed the king. 

When the English Civil War (wiki) broke out in 1642, Cromwell's evident military genius propelled him into leadership positions with the Parliamentary army, and he defeated the royalist forces at Marston Moor (1644) and Naseby (1645). After the king's capture, Cromwell was a leading advocate for his condemnation, and upon Charles's death and the ensuing dismissal of Parliament, he ruled England until his own death in 1658. 

His son, Richard Cromwell (1626-1712), succeeded him, but within a few years, the Commonwealth lost popular support, and the monarchy was restored in Charles II in 1660. 

His address dismissing the Rump Parliament is one of the best speeches ever. Here's the online version of Chambers' Book of Days setting the scene:
Cromwell, having ordered a company of musketeers to follow him, entered the House 'in plain black clothes and grey worsted stockings,' and, sitting down, listened for a while to their proceedings. Hearing at length the question put, that the bill do pass, he rose, put off his hat, and began to speak. In the course of his address, he told them of their self-seeking and delays of justice, till at length Sir Peter Wentworth interrupted him with a remonstrance against such language. Then blazing up, he said, 'We have had enough of this—I will put an end to your prating.' Stepping into the floor of the House, and clapping on his hat, he commenced a violent harangue, which he occasionally emphasized by stamping with his feet, and which came mainly to this,
And the text of the speech itself:
It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.
Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter'd your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?
Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil'd this sacred place, and turn'd the Lord's temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress'd, are yourselves gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors. 
In the name of God, go!
Here's Monty Python's brief history of Cromwell (lyrics below video):

Lyrics - for an explanation of the allusions, see this Wikipedia article:

The most interesting thing about King Charles, the first
Is that he was 5 foot 6 inches tall at the start of his reign
But only 4 foot 8 inches tall at the end of it because of
Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England Puritan
Born in 1599 and died in 1658 September

Was at first only MP for Hunting Don, but then he led the Ironside Cavalry
At Marston Moor in 1644 and won then he founded the New Model Army
And praise be, beat the Cavaliers at Naisby and the King fled up North
Like a bat to the Scots

But under the terms of John Pimm's Solemn League and Covenant
The Scots handed King Charles the first, over to
Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England and his warts
Born in 1599 and died in 1658 September

But alas, oy vay! The disagreement then broke out between
The Presbyterian Parliament and the Military who meant
To have an independent bent and so the 2nd Civil War broke out
And the Roundhead ranks faced the Cavaliers at Preston Banks
And the King lost again, silly thing, stupid Git

And Cromwell sent Colonel Pride to purge the House of Commons
Of the Presbyterian Royalists leaving behind only the rump Parliament
Which appointed a High Court at Westminster Hall to indict
Charles, the first for tyranny, ooh! Charles was sentenced to death
Even though he refused to accept that the court had jurisdiction
Say goodbye to his head

Poor King Charles laid his head on the block
January 1649, down came the axe and in the silence that followed
The only sound that could be heard was a solitary giggle from
Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, ole
Born in 1599 and died in 1658 September

Then he smashed Ireland, set up the Commonwealth and more
He crushed the Scots at Worcester and beat the Dutch at sea in 1653
And then he dissolved the rump Parliament
And with Lambert's consent wrote the instrument of Government
Under which Oliver was Protector at last

The end

When Cromwell died, the confusions that followed produced the restoration of monarchy, and some time was employed in repairing the ruins of our constitution, and restoring the nation to a state of peace. In every change there will be many that suffer real or imaginary grievances, and therefore many will be disillusioned.

This was, perhaps, the reason why several colonies had their beginning in the reign of Charles the Second. The Quakers willingly sought refuge in Pennsylvania; and it is not unlikely that Carolina owed its inhabitants to the remains of that restless disposition, which had given so much disturbance to our country, and had now no opportunity of acting at home.

~Samuel Johnson (wiki), (An Introduction To The Political State Of Great Britain, 1756) 

My favorite Cromwell quotation:

I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken. 

~Cromwell (letter to the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland, August 1650)

After the Restoration, a vengeful Parliament ordered the exhumation and posthumous execution of Cromwell's corpse, along with those of the prominent regicides, Ireton and Bradshaw. Their bodies were removed from their tombs and dragged to Tyburn gallows, where they were publicly hanged and beheaded on 30 January 1661, the twelfth anniversary of the execution of Charles I.

The headless corpses were thrown into an unmarked pit, but the heads were displayed on spiked poles above Westminster Hall, where they remained for several decades.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, Cromwell's head became a collector's curiosity and was sometimes put on public exhibition. After scientific analysis confirmed that the head was probably genuine, it was finally interred in 1960 in the chapel of Cromwell's old college Sidney Sussex, Cambridge, its precise location undisclosed.

Read more: The incredible journey of Oliver Cromwell's head.

Here's a brief (8 minutes) history by the BBC:

*To the famous English portrait painter, Sir Peter Lely (1618-1680), Cromwell supposedly remarked,
"Mr. Lely, I desire you would use all your skill to paint my picture truly like me, and not flatter me at all; but remark all these roughnesses, pimples, warts, and everything as you see me, otherwise I will not pay a farthing for it." 
Based on Ed's Quotation of the Day, only available via email.  If you'd like to be added to his list, leave your email address in the comments.


  1. This exact same speech could be given to congress today!

    1. The exact same speech could be fed to Parliament today... Britain is a Monty Python episode from Héll...

  2. I've frequently though that. It could also be given to most of the bureaucratic/regulatory class.

    1. "When the fairies are displeased with anybody, they are said to send their elves to pinch them. The ecclesiastics, when they are displeased with any civil state, make also their elves, that is, superstitious, enchanted subjects, to pinch their princes, by preaching sedition; or one prince, enchanted with promises, to pinch another."

      "The fairies, in what nation soever they converse, have but one universal king, which some poets of ours call King Oberon; but the Scripture calls Beelzebub, prince of demons. The ecclesiastics likewise, in whose dominions soever they be found, acknowledge but one universal king, the Pope."

      (Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan: with selected variants from the Latin edition of 1668. Ed. Edwin Curley. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1994.)

  3. The U.S. State Dept. has been infested with communists since WW1 and Woodrow Wilson, they tried to steal the Russian elections for their comrades in the Russian Communist Party through non-profit n.g.o.s… just like at home in America…

    But Vladimir Putin beat them, so they launched a fággot jihad against the Russian Orthodox church over the punk rock band and the Olympics (something Bítch Romney stupidly piled onto)… Miss neo-kabbalah lesbian Madonna, now rumored to be a Muslim convert, was flown in to agitate while Hillary was on a world-wide gay pride tour.

    When the Iron Curtain came down the Bolsheviks all fled to the other side because they knew what the Russians would do to them after 100 years of communism. The best thing about Russia getting Crimea back… Catherine the Great took it from the Turks… What happened right after Russia retook Crimea? The Russian FSB searched all the Turks living there… Why? Because NATO sponsors Islamist terrorism when it suits them to.

    The EUSSR needed Libya’s oil, but Muammar Gadaffi decided he wanted gold instead of worthless fiat currency from the EU… What was the first thing NATO did when Gaddafi was deposed besides stealing all of Libya’s gold? Form a new government? NOPE, they formed a new Libyan national bank. Now, why would they do that? Because even if Muammar was deposed, he and his heirs would still be the sole proprietors!

    While Leon Puñettas was so busy with gay pride celebrations at the Pentagon, three Navy Seals and a U.S. ambassador were murdered, all because everyone was being so fúcking gay.

    Like with the nonsense in Syria, the U.S. State Department armed terrorist rebels to get rid of Gadaffi, the same ones that killed Ambassador Stevens and stole weapons from that secret armory in the basement… It was easy to dispose of the hated Muammar Gaddafi, but Bashar al Assad has friends… Syria and Ukraine are the same scenario as Serbia… NATO bombed Serbia so the IMF could make loans for rebuilding and get control of Serbian iridium assets.

    Albanian Muslims operate human slaughterhouses in Kosovo where they rip out the organs of Christians to sell to Turkey and Saudi Arabia… How is Hillary Clinton’s “reset button” working out for America, comrades?