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oliver cromwell Quotes

Oliver Cromwell Quotes

Birth Date: 1599-04-25 (Sunday, April 25th, 1599)
Date of Death: 1658-09-03 (Tuesday, September 3rd, 1658)


oliver cromwell life timeline

Siege of Drogheda ends: Oliver Cromwell s English Parliamentarian troops take the town and execute its garrison.Saturday, September 11th, 1649
New Ross town, Co. Wexford, Ireland, surrenders to Oliver Cromwell.Tuesday, October 19th, 1649
Oliver Cromwell dissolves the Rump Parliament.Sunday, April 20th, 1653
English Interregnum: The ProtectorateOliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.Tuesday, December 16th, 1653
Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England is ritually executed after having been dead for two years.Sunday, January 30th, 1661


    • If the remonstrance had been rejected I would have sold all I had the next morning and never have seen England more, and I know there are many other modest men of the same resolution.
    • I had rather have a plain, russet-coated Captain, that knows what he fights for, and loves what he knows, than that you call a Gentleman and is nothing else.
    • A few honest men are better than numbers.
    • The State, in choosing men to serve it, takes no notice of their opinions. If they be willing faithfully to serve it, that satisfies.
    • God made them as stubble to our swords.
    • Truly England and the church of God hath had a great favour from the Lord, in this great victory given us.
    • We study the glory of God, and the honour and liberty of parliament, for which we unanimously fight, without seeking our own interests... I profess I could never satisfy myself on the justness of this war, but from the authority of the parliament to maintain itself in its rights; and in this cause I hope to prove myself an honest man and single-hearted.
    • I could not riding out alone about my business, but smile out to God in praises, in assurance of victory because God would, by things that are not, bring to naught things that are.
    • It's a blessed thing to die daily. For what is there in this world to be accounted of! The best men according to the flesh, and things, are lighter than vanity. I find this only good, to love the Lord and his poor despised people, to do for them and to be ready to suffer with them....and he that is found worthy of this hath obtained great favour from the Lord; and he that is established in this shall ( being conformed to Christ and the rest of the Body) participate in the glory of a resurrection which will answer all.
    • This is our comfort, God is in heaven, and He doth what pleaseth Him; His, and only His counsel shall stand, whatsoever the designs of men, and the fury of the people be.
    • We declared our intentions to preserve monarchy, and they still are so, unless necessity enforce an alteration. It's granted the king has broken his trust, yet you are fearful to declare you will make no further addresses... look on the people you represent, and break not your trust, and expose not the honest party of your kingdom, who have bled for you, and suffer not misery to fall upon them for want of courage and resolution in you, else the honest people may take such courses as nature dictates to them.
    • Since providence and necessity has cast them upon it, he should pray God to bless their counsels.
    • I tell you we will cut off his head with the crown upon it.
    • Cruel necessity.
    • If we do not depart from God, and disunite by that departure, and fall into disunion among ourselves, I am confident, we doing our duty and waiting upon the Lord, we shall find He will be as a wall of brass round about us till we have finished that work which he has for us to do.
    • This is a righteous judgement of God upon these barbarous wretches, who have imbrued their hands in so much innocent blood.
    • These persons would shout as much if you and I were going to be hanged.
    • I need pity. I know what I feel. Great place and business in the world is not worth looking after.
    • I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.
    • Your pretended fear lest error should step in, is like the man that would keep all the wine out of the country lest men should be drunk. It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy, to deny a man the liberty he hath by nature upon a supposition that he may abuse it.
    • No one rises so high as he who knows not whither he is going.
    • I am neither heir nor executor to Charles Stuart.
    • The dimensions of this mercy are above my thoughts. It is for aught I know, a crowning mercy.
    • Shall we seek for the root of our comforts within us; what God hath done, what he is to us in Christ, is the root of our comfort. In this is stability; in us is weakness. Acts of obedience are not perfect, and therefore yield not perfect peace. Faith, as an act, yields it not, but as it carries us into him, who is our perfect rest and peace; in whom we are accounted of, and received by, the Father, even as Christ himself. This is our high calling. Rest we here, and here only.
    • Take away that fool's bauble, the mace.
    • You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately... Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!
    • When I went there, I did not think to have done this. But perceiving the spirit of God so strong upon me, I would not consult flesh and blood.
    • You are as like the forming of God as ever people were... you are at the edge of promises and prophecies.
    • God has brought us where we are, to consider the work we may do in the world, as well as at home.
    • Though peace be made, yet it's interest that keep peace.
    • There are some things in this establishment that are fundamental... about which I shall deal plainly with you... the government by a single person and a parliament is a fundamental... and... though I may seem to plead for myself, yet I do not: no, nor can any reasonable man say it... I plead for this nation, and all the honest men therein.
    • In every government there must be somewhat fundamental, somewhat like a Magna Charta, that should be standing and unalterable... that parliaments should not make themselves perpetual is a fundamental.
    • Necessity hath no law. Feigned necessities, imagined necessities... are the greatest cozenage that men can put upon the Providence of God, and make pretenses to break known rules by.
    • I was by birth a gentleman, living neither in any considerable height, nor yet in obscurity. I have been called to several employments in the nation - to serve in parliaments, - and ( because I would not be over tedious ) I did endeavour to discharge the duty of an honest man in those services, to God, and his people's interest, and of the commonwealth; having, when time was, a competent acceptation in the hearts of men, and some evidence thereof.
    • I desire not to keep my place in this government an hour longer than I may preserve England in its just rights, and may protect the people of God in such a just liberty of their consciences...
    • Weeds and nettles, briars and thorns, have thriven under your shadow, dissettlement and division, discontentment and dissatisfaction, together with real dangers to the whole.
    • We are Englishmen; that is one good fact.
    • Truly, though kingship be not a title but a name of office that runs through the law, yet it is not so ratione nominis, but from what is signified. It is a name of office, plainly implying a Supreme Authority. Is it more, or can it be stretched to more? I say, it is a name of office, plainly implying the Supreme Authority, and if it be so, why then I would suppose, (I am not peremptory in any thing that is matter of deduction or inference of my own,) why then I should suppose that whatsoever name hath been or shall be the name, in which the Supreme Authority shall act; why, (I say) if it had been those four or five letters, or whatsoever else it had been, that signification goes to the thing. Certainly it does, and not to the name. Why then, there can be no more said, but this, why this hath been fixt, so it may have been unfixt.
    • Men have been led in dark paths, through the providence and dispensation of God. Why, surely it is not to be objected to a man, for who can love to walk in the dark? But providence doth often so dispose.
    • You have accounted yourselves happy on being environed with a great ditch from all the world beside.
    • That which brought me into the capacity I now stand in, was the Petition and Advice given me by you, who, in reference to the ancient Constitution, did draw me here to accept the place of Protector. There is not a man living can say I sought it, no not a man, nor woman, treading upon English ground.
    • I would have been glad to have lived under my wood side, to have kept a flock of sheep, rather than undertook such a Government as this is.
    • I would be willing to live and be farther serviceable to God and his people; but my work is done. Yet God will be with his people.
    • It is not my design to drink or to sleep, but my design is to make what haste I can to be gone.
    • 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 never pay a farthing for it.
    • A man of war is the best ambassador.
    • He who stops being better stops being good.
    • Let us restore the king to his throne, and let the king in future agree to govern with the consent of Parliament. Let us restore the old church, with its bishops, since that is what most of the people want; but since the Puritans and Separatists and Baptists have served us well in the war, let us not persecute them anymore but let them worship as they like, outside of the established church. And so let us have peace and liberty.
    • Not only strike while the iron is hot, but make it hot by striking.
    • Not what they want but what is good for them.
    • On becoming soldiers we have not ceased to be citizens.
    • To Hell or to Connaught.
    • What is all our histories, but God showing himself, shaking and trampling on everything that he has not planted.
    • You Physicians think I shall die, I tell you that I shall not die this hour.
    • Put your trust in God, but keep your powder dry.
    • During a great part of the eighteenth century most Tories hated him because he overthrew the monarchy, most Whigs because he overthrew Parliament. Since Carlyle wrote, all liberals have seen in him their champion, and all revolutionists have apotheosized the first great representatives of their school; while, on the other side, their opponents have hailed the dictator who put down anarchy. Unless the socialists or the anarchists finally prevail - and perhaps even then - his fame seems as secure as human reputation is likely to be in a changing world.
    • The commonest charge against Cromwell is hypocrisy - and the commonest basis for that is defective chronology.
    • Oliver Cromwell had certainly this afflatus. One that I knew was at the battle of Dunbar, told me that Oliver was carried on with a Divine impulse; he did laugh so excessively as if he had been drunk; his eyes sparkled with spirits. He obtain'd a great victory; but the action was said to be contrary to human prudence. The same fit of laughter seized Oliver Cromwell just before the battle of Naseby; as a kinsman of mine, and a great favourite of his, Colonel J. P. then present, testified. Cardinal Mazerine said, that he was a lucky fool.
    • A perfect master of all the arts of dissimulation: who, turning up the whites of his eyes, and seeking the Lord with pious gestures, will weep and pray, and cant most devoutly, till an opportunity offers of dealing his dupe a knock-down blow under the short ribs.
    • To give the devil his due, he restored justice, as well distributive as commutative, almost to it's ancient dignity and splendour; the judges without covetousness discharging their duties according to law and equity... His own court also was regulated according to a severe discipline; here no drunkard, nor whoremonger, nor any guilty of bribery, was to be found, without severe punishment. Trade began again to prosper; and in a word, gentle peace to flourish all over England.
    • He thought secrecy a virtue, and dissimulation no vice, and simulation, that is in plain English, a lie, or perfideousness to be a tolerable fault in case of necessity.
    • He was of a sanguine complexion, naturally of such a vivacity, hilarity and alacrity as another man is when he hath drunken a cup too much.
    • The next morning I sent Colonel Cook to Cromwell, to let him know that I had letters and instructions to him from the King. He sent me word by the same messenger, that he dared not see me, it being very dangerous to us both, and bid me be assured that he would serve his Majesty as long as he could do it without his own ruin; but desired that I should not expect that he should perish for his sake.
    • When he quitted the Parliament, his chief dependence was on the Army, which he endeavoured by all means to keep in unity, and if he could not bring it to his sense, he, rather than suffer any division in it, went over himself and carried his friends with him into that way which the army did choose, and that faster than any other person in it.
    • A devotee of law, he was forced to be often lawless; a civilian to the core, he had to maintain himself by the sword; with a passion to construct, his task was chiefly to destroy; the most scrupulous of men, he had to ride roughshod over his own scruples and those of others; the tenderest, he had continually to harden his heart; the most English of our greater figures, he spent his life in opposition to the majority of Englishmen; a realist, he was condemned to build that which could not last.
    • Cromwell was a man in whom ambition had not wholly suppressed, but only suspended, the sentiments of religion.
    • Sylla was the first of victors; but our own The sagest of usurpers, Cromwell; he Too swept off the senates while he hewed the throne Down to a block - immortal rebel! See What crimes it costs to be a moment free And famous through all ages.
    • I confess I have an interest in this Mr. Cromwell; and indeed, if truth must be said, in him alone. The rest are historical, dead to me; but he is epic, still living. Hail to thee, thou strong one; hail across the longdrawn funeral-aisle and night of time!...
    • His grandeur he deriv'd from heaven alone, For he was great e'er fortune made him so And wars like mists that rise against the sun Made him but greater seem, not greater grow. No borrow'd bays his temple did adorn, But to our Crown he did fresh jewels bring; Nor was his virtue poison'd soon as born, With the too early thoughts of being King.
    • Things will shortly happen which have been unheard of, and above all would open the eyes of those who live under Kings and other Sovereigns, and lead to great changes. Cromwell alone holds the direction of political and military affairs in his hands. He is one who is worth all the others put together, and, in effect, King.
    • Saw the superb funeral of the Protector:...but it was the joyfullest funeral that I ever saw, for there were none that cried, but dogs, which the souldiers hooted away with a barbarous noise; drinking and taking tobacco in the streets as they went.
    • This day (to the stupendous and inscrutable Judgements of God) were the Carcasses of that arch-rebell Cromwell and Bradshaw the judge who condemned his Majestie & Ireton, son-in-law to the Usurper, dragged out of their superbe tombs (in Westminster among the Kings), to Tyburn & hanged on the Gallows there from 9 in the morning til 6 at night, and then buried under that fatal and ignominious monument, in a deepe pitt: Thousands of people who (who had seen them in all their pride and pompous insults) being spectators: look back at November 22, 1658, & be astonish'd - And fear God & honour the King, but meddle not with those who are given to change.
    • He lived a hypocrite and died a traitor.
    • That slovenly fellow which you see before us, who hath no ornament in his speech; I say that sloven, if we should ever come to have a breech with the King (which God forbid) in such case will be one of the greatest men of England.
    • Generally he respected, or at least pretended a love to, all ingenious persons in any arts, whom he arranged to be sent or brought to him. But the niggardliness and incompetence of his reward shewed that this man was a personated act of greatness, and that Private Cromwell yet governed Prince Oliver.
    • His character does not appear more extraordinary and unusual by the mixture of so much absurdity with so much penetration, than by his tempering such violent ambition, and such enraged fanaticism with so much regard to justice and humanity.
    • In a word, as he was guilty of many crimes against which Damnation is denounced, and for which hell-fire is prepared, so he had some good qualities which have caused the memory of some men in all Ages to be celebrated; and he will be look'd upon by posterity as a brave bad man.
    • A complex character such as that of Cromwell, is incapable of creation, except in times of great civil and religious excitement, and one cannot judge of the man without at the same time considering the contending elements by which he was surrounded. It is possible to take his character to pieces, and, selecting one or other of his qualities as a corner-stone, to build around it a monument which will show him as a patriot or a plotter, a Christian man or a hypocrite, a demon or a demi-god as the sculptor may choose.
    • 'I am,' said he, 'as much for a government by consent as any man; but where shall we find that consent? Amongst the Prelatical, Presbyterian, Independent, Anabaptist, or Leveling Parties?'... then he fell into the commendation of his own government, boasting of the protection and quiet which the people enjoyed under it, saying, that he was resolved to keep the nation from being imbrued in blood. I said that I was of the opinion too much blood had already been shed, unless there were a better account of it. 'You do well,' said he, 'to charge us with the guilt of blood; but we think there is a good return for what hath been shed.'
    • His body was wel compact and strong, his stature under 6 foote ( I beleeve about two inches) his head so shaped, as you might see it a storehouse and shop both of vast tresury of natural parts. His temper exceeding fyery as I have known, but the flame of it kept downe, for the most part, or soon allayed with those moral endowments he had. He was naturally compassionate towards objects in distresse, even to an effeminate measure; though God had made him a heart, wherein was left little roume for any feare, but what was due to himselfe, of which there was a large proportion, yet did he exceed in tenderness towards suffrerers. A larger soule, I thinke, hath seldom dwelt in a house of clay than his was.
    • Of late I have not given so free and full a power unto (Cromwell) as formerly I did, because I heard that he used his power so as in honour I could not avow him in it....for his expressions were sometimes against the nobility, that he hoped to live to see never a nobleman in England, and he loved such (and such) better than others because they did not love Lords. And he further expressed himself with contempt of the Assemberly of Divines...these he termed persecutors, and that they persecuted honester men than themselves.
    • So restless Cromwell could not cease In the inglorious Arts of Peace, But through adventrous war, Urged his active star... To ruine the great work of time, And cast the kingdom old Into another Mold...
    • Cromwell, our chief of men, who through a cloud, Not of war only, but detractions rude, Guided by faith and matchless fortitude, To peace and truth thy glorious way has ploughed And on the neck of crowned fortune proud Has reared God's trophies, and his work pursued, While Darwen stream with blood of Scots imbrued, And Dunbar field resounds thy praises loud, And Worcester's laureate wreath. Yet much remains To conquer still; peace hath her victories No less renowned than war: new foes arise, Threatening to bind our souls with secular chains: Help us to save free conscience from the paw Of hireling wolves whose gospel is their maw.
    • I've been dreaming of a time when the English are sick to death of Labour and Tories and spit upon the name Oliver Cromwell and denounce this royal line that still salutes him and will salute him forever.
    • He has arrogated to himself despotic authority and the actual sovereignty of these realms under the mask of humility and the public service....Obedience and submission were never so manifest in England as at present,...their spirits are so crushed..yet...they dare not rebel and only murmur under their breath, though all live in hope of the fulfilment one day of the prophecies foretelling a change of rule ere long.
    • At dinner we talked much of Cromwell, all saying he was a brave fellow and did owe his crown he got to himself, as much as any man that ever got one.
    • He was a practical mystic, the most formidable and terrible of all combinations, uniting an aspiration derived from the celestial and supernatural with the energy of a mighty man of action; a great captain, but off the field seeming, like a thunderbolt, the agent of greater forces than himself ; no hypocrite, but a defender of the faith; the raiser and maintainer of the Empire of England.
    • The Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland and of the Dominions thereunto belonging, shall be and reside in one person, and the people assembled in parliament; the style of which person shall be 'The Lord Protector of the Commonwealth'... That Oliver Cromwell, Captain General of the forces of England, Scotland and Ireland, shall be, and is hereby declared to be, Lord Protector...for his life.
    • Lieutenant-General Cromwell...a member of the House of Commons, long famous for godliness and zeal to his country, of great note for his service in the House, accepted of a commission at the very beginning of this war, wherein he served his country faithfully, and it was observed God was with him, and he began to be renowned.
    • Whilst he was curious of his own words, (not putting forth too many lest they should betray his thoughts) he made others talk until he had, as it were, sifted them, and known their most intimate designs.
    • As for that famous and magnanimous commander, Lieutenant-General Cromwell, whose prowess and prudence, as they have rendered him most renowned for many former successful deeds of chivalry, so in this fight they have crowned him with the never withering laurels of fame and honour, who with so lion-like courage and impregnable animosity, charged his proudest adversaries again and again, like a Roman Marcellus indeed....and at last came off, as with some wounds, so with honour and triumph inferior to none.
    • I... had occasion to converse with Mr Cromwell's physician, Dr Simcott, who assured me that for many years his patient was a most splenetick man and had phansies about the cross in that town; and that he had been called up to him at midnight, and such unseasonable hours very many times, upon a strong phansy, which made him belive he was then dying; and there went a story of him, that in the day-time, lying melancholy in his bed, he belived the spirit appeared to him, and told him he should be the greatest man, (not mentioning the word King) in this Kingdom. Which his uncle, Sir Thomas Steward, who left him all the little estate Cromwell had, told him was traiterous to relate.
    • As to your own person the title of King would be of no advantage, because you have the full Kingly power in you already... I apprehend indeed, less envy and danger, and pomp, but not less power, and real opportunities of doing good in your being General than would be if you had assumed the title of King.
    • He would sometimes be very cheerful with us, and laying aside his greatness he would be exceeding familiar with us, and by way of diversion would make verses with us, and everyone must try his fancy. He commonly called for tobacco, pipes, and a candle, and would now and then take tobacco himself; then he would fall again to his serious and great business.
    • In short, every beast hath some evil properties; but Cromwell hath the properties of all evil beasts.
    • The English monster, the center of mischief, a shame to the British Chronicle, a pattern for tyranny, murder and hypocrisie, whose bloody Caligula, Domitian, having at last attained the height of his ambition, for five years space, he wallowed in the blood of many gallant and heroick persons....
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