Quotes by Oliver Cromwell 1599-1658


“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 endevour 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.”

Speech to the first Parliament of the Protectorate, Sept, 1654.


“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.”

Oliver Cromwell on Parliament’s passing of the revolutionary grand remonstrance, quoted in the Earl of Clarendon, a history of the rebellion. The English Civil wWr.


“I had rather have a plain russet-coated captain that knows what he fights for, and loves what he knows, than that which you call a gentleman and is nothing else.”

Letter from Cromwell to Sir William Spring. Sept. 1643.


“Truly England and the church of God hath had a great favour from the lord, in this great victory given us.”

Oliver Cromwell on the Battle of Marston Moor 1644.


“We study the glory of god, and the honour and liberty of Parliament, for which we unaminously 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.”

Oliver Cromwell to Colonal Valentine Walton. 5 or 6 September 1644.


“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”.


Cromwell before the battle of Naseby. 1645.

“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.”

Cromwell’s speech in the commons during the debate which preceeded the “vote of no addresses”, recorded in the diary of John Boys, MM for Kent.


“Since providence and necessity has cast them upon it, he should pray god to bless their councels.”

Cromwell on the trial of King Charles I. Dec. 1648.

“I tell you we will cut off his head with the crown upon it .”

Cromwell to one of the judges at the trial of King Charles I.1648.


“Cruel necessity”.

Cromwell on the execution of King Charles I. Jan 1649. Oxford dictionary of quotations.


“This is a righteous judgement of god upon these barbarous wretches, who have imbrued their hands in so much innocent blood....”

Oliver Cromwell after the storming of Drogheda. 1649.


“I need pity. I know what I feel. Great place and business in the world is not worth looking after.”

On himself, letter to Richard Mayor, July 1650.


“I beseech you in the bowels of Christ think it possible you may be mistaken.”

In a letter to the general assembly of the Church of Scotland. 1650.


“I am neither heir nor executor to Charles Stuart.”

On himself, repudiating a royal debt, August 1651.


“The dimensions of this mercy are above my thoughts. It is for aught I know, a crowning mercy.”

Letter. 1651.


“Take away that fool’s bauble, the mace”

Oliver Cromwell speech dismissing the rump Parliament. April 1653.


“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.”

On himself, on his forcible dissolution of Parliament in April 1653, in James Heath, flagellum.


“No one rises so high as he who knows not whither he is going.”

Cromwell on personal fortunes.


You are as like the forming of god as ever people were...you are at the edge of promises and prophecies.”

Cromwell addressing the barebones Parliament. July 1653


“You have been sat to long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!.”

Addressing the rump Parliament. April 1653.


“The people would be just as noisy if they were going to see me hanged.”

Cromwell referring to a cheering crowd.1654.


“Weeds and nettles, briars and thorns, have thriven under your shadow, dissettlement and division, discontentment and dissatisfaction, together with real dangers to the whole.”

Cromwell’s speech dissolving the first protectoral Parliament.


“God has brought us where we are, to consider the work we may do in the world, as well as at home.”

Cromwell to the army council. 1654.


“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 therin..”

Cromwell to the first Protectorate Parliament, 12 September 1654.


“Necessity hath no law.”

Speech to Parliament, Sept. 1654.


“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.”

Cromwell in a speech to the first Protectorate Parliament, 12 September 1654.


“I desire not to keep my place in this government an hour longer than I may preserve England in it’s just rights, and may protect the people of god in such a just liberty of their consciences....”

Cromwell to the first Protectorate Parliament, 22 January 1655.


“(Kingship) is not so interwoven in in the laws...truly though the kingship be not a mere title but a name of office that runs through the whole of the law....as such a title hath been fixed, so it may be unfixed...”

Cromwell to the representatives of the second Protectorate Parliament, 13 April 1657.


“You drew me here to accept the place I now stand in. There is ne’er a man within these walls that can say, sir, you sought it, nay, not a man nor woman treading upon English ground.”

Cromwell’s speech to Parliament, 4 February 1658.


“You have accounted yourselves happy on being environed with a great ditch from all the world beside.”

In a letter, 1658.


“Not what they want but what is good for them.”

Remark by Oliver Cromwell. Ibid.


“Mr Lely, I desire you would use all your skill to paint your picture truly like me, and not flatter me at all; but remark all these roughness, pimples, warts, and everything as you see me; otherwise I will never pay a farthing for it.”

Cromwell on having his portrait painted, in Horace Walpole, anecdotes of painting. The Oxford dictionary of quotations.


“My design is to make what haste I can to be gone.”

Cromwell’s last words; in Cromwell, by John Morely.