Oliver Cromwell


English Puritan Leader, Lord Protector of the Realm, Statesman and General

Author Quotes

So restless Cromwell could not cease in the inglorious Arts of Peace, but through adventurous war, urged his active star... To ruin the great work of time, and cast the kingdom old into another Mold.

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.

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.

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.

Leave off your fooling and come down, sir.

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.

He lived a hypocrite and died a traitor.

I have not the particular shining bauble or feather in my cap for crowds to gaze at or kneel to, but I have power and resolution for foes to tremble at.

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.

A man never rises so high as when he knows not whither he is going.

He thought secrecy a virtue, and dissimulation no vice, and simulation, that is in plain English, a lie, or perfidiousness to be a tolerable fault in case of necessity.

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

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 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.

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

My design is to make what haste I can to be gone. [last words]

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.

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.

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 endeavor 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.

Not what they want but what is good for them.

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 honor, 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 honor and triumph inferior to none.

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.

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.

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 honor 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.

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English Puritan Leader, Lord Protector of the Realm, Statesman and General