Background of the American Revolution
No one can understand the foundations of the American nation without understanding the English Civil War from a century earlier.
Gold is your God. Which of you have not bartered away your consciences for bribes? Is there a man among you, that hath the least care for the good of the Commonwealth? Ye sordid prostitutes!
Oliver Cromwell’s Address on the Dissolution of the Rump Parliament, 1653.
A curious “broadside,” apparently about 1740, and ” printed by H. Reynell, No. 21, Piccadilly, near the Haymarket,” has portraits of Cromwell and his generals on the one side, and the chief leaders of the Restoration on the other. Beneath is the following:—
In searching among some old papers which had been in Cromwell’s family, I found a writing which appears to me to be a copy of the very words which Oliver spoke to the members of the Long Parliament when he turned them out of the House; and as it is a great curiosity I have sent it to you exactly as it is written, for publication.
(Signed) T. IRETON.
Spoken by O. C. when he put an end to the Long Parliament
IT is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place; which ye 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 among you? Is there one vice ye do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse. Gold is your God. Which of you have not bartered away your consciences for bribes? Is there a man among you, that hath the least care for the good of the Commonwealth? Ye sordid prostitutes! Have ye not defiled this sacred place, and turned 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, who are deputed here by the people to get their grievances redressed, are yourselves become their greatest grievance.
Your country, therefore, calls upon me to cleanse this Augean stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this house; and which, by God’s help and the strength he hath given me, I am now come to do. I command you, therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place. Go! Get ye out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves, begone!—Soho!—Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.
—Edward Walford, The Antiquarian Magazine & Bibliographer.
- ☞ Cromwell—Honest Men.
- ☞ Cromwell—Think It Possible You May Be Mistaken.
- ☞ To The Lord General Cromwell.