The Cromwell Way

Oliver Cromwell

History provides a lesson in how to deal with a Parliament seen as corrupt and finished.
In 1653, Oliver Cromwell lost patience the House after learning that it was attempting
to stay in session despite an agreement to dissolve.

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‘It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonoured 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? ls there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of à 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 ìntolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress’d, are yourselves become the greatest grievance.

Your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse this Augean stable, by putting a ñnal period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House; and which by God’s help, and the strength he has given me, I am now come to do; l command ye therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place; go, get you out!

Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors. In the name of God, go!