The interactive parts of this resource no longer work, but it has been archived so you can continue using the rest of it.

The National Archives Civil War
Close window Download and print PDF version

What kind of ruler was Oliver Cromwell?

Case study 1: Cromwell in his own words - Source 6


Cromwell’s thoughts about his job, 13 April 1657

(W.C. Abbott (ed.), The writings and speeches of Oliver Cromwell, Vol. III, p. 470. Published by Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1947)

I am a man standing in the place I am in, which place I undertook not so much out of the hope of doing any good, as out of a desire to prevent mischief and evil, which I did see was imminent upon the nation. I saw we were running headlong into confusion and disorder, and would necessarily run into blood, and I was passive to those that desired me to undertake the place that now I have. …

… And therefore I am not contending for one name compared with another, and therefore have nothing to answer to any arguments that were used in giving preference to Kingship or Protectorship. For I should almost think that any name were better than my name, and I should altogether think any person fitter than I am for any such business, and I compliment not, God knows it! …

… as far as I can, I am ready to serve not as a King, but as a constable. For truly I have as before God thought it often, that I could not tell what my business was, nor what I was in the place I stood, save [by] comparing it with a good constable to keep the peace of the parish. And truly this hath been my content and satisfaction in the troubles that I have undergone, that yet you have peace.