Cromwell’s Second Speech to Parilament after Failed Assassination Attempt, 1657

Eric Jon Phelps
By Eric Jon Phelps November 17, 2010 17:04 Updated

Cromwell’s Second Speech to Parilament after Failed Assassination Attempt, 1657

Oliver Cromwell Between “Beauty and Bands:” Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Defender of the Protestant Faith, 1657

This epic speech of his Highness, Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell, is another testimony to his Bible-based purity of purpose revealing a knowledge of God’s blessing to men and nations when they conform to the maxims of His Word, the Reformation Bible—in the vulgar tongue!

Cromwell had survived another assassination attempt while the Three Nations had been delivered from Rome’s conspiracy of overthrowing the Protectorate via a domestic Roman Catholic Royalist Insurrection and a foreign Roman Catholic Spanish Invasion.  Our dear Cromwell’s speech was given to the Second Protectorate Parliament on Friday, the 23rd of January, 1657, all of which is quoted below.  The Parliament, in deep sympathy over Cromwell’s providential escape from death, had, to the man, walked over to the Banqueting House at Whitehall where Oliver was resting.  The Defender would have a mere 20 months to live, until he became another victim of the Black Pope’s “poison cup,” to be murdered by his trusted Dr. George Bate on September 3, 1658—the day of his greatest signal victories over the Scots at Dunbar and Worcester.  May we all learn from the erudite words calmly spoken by the Protector as he, in portions of this extemporaneous message, quoted the greatest of England’s Reformation English Bibles, The King James Authorized Version of 1611:

“Mr. Speaker,

“I confess with much respect, that you have put this trouble on yourselves upon this occasion.—but I perceive there be two things that fill me full of sense.  One is, The mercy on a poor unworthy creature; the second is, This great and, as I said, unexpected kindness of Parliament, in manifesting such a sense thereof as this is which you have now expressed.  I speak not this with compliment!  That which detracts from the thing, in some sense, is the inconsiderableness and unworthiness of the person that hath been the object and subject of this deliverance, to wit, myself.  I confess ingenuously to you, I do lie under the daily sense of my unworthiness and unprofitableness, as I have expressed to you:  and if there be, as I most readily acknowledge there is, a mercy in it to me, I wish I may never reckon it on any other account than this, That the life that is lengthened may be spent and improved to His honour who hath vouchsafed the mercy, and to the service of you, and those you represent.

“I do not know, nor did I think it would be very seasonable for me, to say much to you upon this occasion; being a thing that ariseth from yourselves.  Yet, methinks, the kindness you bear should kindle a little desire in me; even at this present, to make a short return.  And, as you have been disposed hither by the Providence of God, to congratulate my mercy; so give me leave, in a very word or two, to congratulate with you.

“Congratulations are ever conversant about good, bestowed upon men, or possessed by them.  Truly, I shall in a word or two congratualte you with good you are in possession of, and in some respect I also with you.  God hath bestowed upon you, and you are in possession of it,—Three Nations, and all that appertains to them.  Which in either a geographical, or topical consideration, are Nations.  In which also there are places of honour and consideration, not inferior to any in the known world,—without vanity it may be spoken.  Truly God hath not made so much soil, furnished with so many blessings, in vain!  But it is a goodly sight, if a man behold it uno intuitu.  And therefore this is a possession of yours, worthy of congratulation.

“This is furnished,—give me leave to say, for I believe it is true,—with the best People in the world, possessing so much soil.  A People in civil rights,—in respect of their rights and privileges,—very ancient and honourable.  And in this People, in the midst of this People, ‘you have, what is still more precious,’ a People (I know every one will hear ‘and acknowledge’ it) that are to God ‘as the apple of His eye’ [Zechariah 2:8], —and He says so of them, be they many, or be they few!  But they are many.  A People of the blessing of God; a People under His safety and protection.  A People calling upon the Name of the Lord; which the Heathen do not.  A People knowing God; and a People (according to the ordinary expressions) fearing God.  And you have of this no parallel; no, not in all the world!  You have in the midst of you glorious things.

Glorious things: for you have Laws and statutes, and ordinances, which, though not all of them so conformable as were to be wished to the Law of God, yet, on all hands, pretend not to be long rested-in farther than as they are conformable to the just and righteous Laws of God.  Therefore, I am persuaded, there is a heart and spirit in every good man to wish they did all of them answer the Pattern.  I cannot doubt but that which is in the heart will in due time break forth.  That endeavours will be ‘made’ that way, is another of your good things, with which in my heart ‘I think’ you are worthily to be congratulated.  And you have a Magistracy; which, in outward profession, in pretence, in endeavour, doth desire to put life into these Laws.  And I am confident that among you will rest the true desire to promote every desire in others, and very endeavour, that hath tended or shall tend to the putting of these Laws in execution.

“I do ‘also’ for this congratulate you:  You have a Gospel Ministry among you.  That have you!  Such an one as,—without vanity I shall speak it; or without caring at all for any favour or respect from them, save what I have upon an account above flattery, or good words,—such an one as hath excelled itself; and, I am persuaded,—to speak with confidence berfore the Lord,—is the most growing blessing (one of the most growing blessings) on the face of this Nation.

“You have a good Eye ‘to watch over you,’—and in that I will share with your good favours.  A good God; a God that hath watched over you and us.  A God that hath visited these Nations with a stretched-out arm; and borne His witness against the unrighteousness and ungodliness of men, against those that ‘would’ have abused such Nations,—such mercies throughout, as I have reckoned up unto you!  A God that hath not only withstood such to the face; but a God that had abundantly blessed you with the evidence of His goodness and presence.  And He ‘hath done things wonderful amongst us’ [Isaiah 25:1], ‘by terrible things in righteousness’ [Psalm 65:5].  He hath visited us by ‘wonderful things.’ In mercy and compassion hath He given us this day of freedom, and liberty to speak this, one to another; and to speak of His mercies, as He hath been pleased to put into our hearts.

“Truly, this word in conclusion.  If these things be so, give me leave to remember you but one word; which I offered to you with great love and affection the first day of meeting with you, this Parliament.  It pleased God to put into my heart then to mention a Scripture to you, which would be a good conclusion of my Speech now at this time to you.  It was, That we being met to see the good of so great an Interest, as I have mentioned, and the glory of that God who is both yours and mine, how could we better do it than by thinking of such words as these, ‘His salvation is nigh them that fear Him,’ [Psalm 85:9] ‘that glory may dwell in our land’ [Psalm 85:9]!

Protector Oliver Cromwell, Parliament, London, England

“‘Yes,’ if it be so, ‘Mercy and Truth shall meet together, Righteousness and Peace shall kiss each other’ [Cromwell’s paraphrase of Psalm 85:10].  We shall know, you, and I as the father of this family, how to dispose our mercies to God’s glory; and how to dispose our severity.  How to distinguish between obedient and rebellious children;—and not as Eli did, who told his sons ‘he did not hear them well,’ when perhaps he saw ill by them.  And we know the severity of that.  And therefore let me say,—though I will not descant upon the words,—that Mercy must be joined with Truth:  Truth, in that respect, that we think it our duty to exercise a just severity, as well as to apply kindness and mercy.  And truly, Righteousness and Mercy must kiss each other.  If we will have Peace without a worm in it, lay we foundations of Justice and Righteousness.  And if it shall please God so to move you, as that you marry this redoubtable couple together, Mercy and Truth, Righteousness and Peace,—you will, if I may be free to say so, be blessed whether you will or no!  And that you and I may, for the time the Lord shall continue us together, set our hearts upon this, shall be my daily prayer.  And I heartily and humbly acknowledge my thankfulness to you.”  [Emphasis added in bold]

Thomas Carlyle, Oliver Cromwell’s Letters and Speeches: With Elucidations, (London: Chapman & Hall, Ltd., 1894), Vol. IV of V, pp. 233-237.

Eric Jon Phelps
By Eric Jon Phelps November 17, 2010 17:04 Updated
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