Ye are a factious crew and enemies of 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 now a single virtue now remaining amongst you?
Is there one vice which you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse! Gold is your God: Which of you have not bartered your conscience for bribes?
Is there a man amongst you which has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?
Ye sordid prostitutes! have you not defiled this sacred place, and turned the Lord`s Temple into a den of thieves by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye have grown intolerably odious to the whole nation.
Your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse the Augean Stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House, and which by God`s help, and the strength He has given me, I now come to do.
The above address, was made by Lord Protector Cromwell to the Rump Parliament, in 1653. They had sat too long, twiddling their thumbs, contemplating their navels, and generally enacting laws to suit their own purpose, and not those of the people for whom Cromwell had fought, and removed a King`s head for. King Charles`s death warrant (seen here at the top of this page) was signed on Monday, January 29th 1649, just hours before his execution in Whitehall, London, the next day. It has been said, though never proved, that Cromwell had held the shaking hands of some of the signatories, and “helped” them sign their names. The warrant, like all important matters of state, was made from calf skin and has been known from time immemorial as vellum: after the ink has been applied, it is left to dry for three days before the vellum can be handled with impunity and vigor, after which it can be rolled into a tube and stored. The government of the United Kingdom still uses vellum on which to ceremoniously store Acts of Parliament and the Queen`s Speech before Parliament; it`s a welcome indiosyncrasy in a modern age which often times appears to relish placing tradition into a waste bin.
The country had held high hopes for the future with the removal of a King who answered only to God; Cromwell was a Godly person, but knowing he was only a man, he answered to the people. Even so, he was also pragmatic about the ebb and flow of popular whim………….
“Do not trust the cheering, for those persons would shout as much if you or I were going to be hanged.”
And he was right. Two years after he died, the monarchy was allowed to return in much reduced circumstances and dearth of real power; Cromwell`s corpse was dug up; his head removed, and placed on a pike on London Bridge, all to the tumultuous joy of a mob which had cheered Cromwell`s victories in battle, fighting for their freedoms against monarchical tyranny, and brayed for King Charles`s death. Of course, upon the restoration of Charles II in 1660, the political intentions of his first Parliament were inscribed on vellum…………..Long may it continue so.