'In the name of God, go!'
It's 370 years to the day since Oliver Cromwell dismissed the Rump Parliament with this famous speech. The titular phrase has been used through history, most recently against Boris Johnson.
I can always tell when there are ructions in UK politics (eg. Boris Johnson has had a lockdown bash at number 10) because there is a Speakola stats spike for Oliver Cromwell’s ‘In the name of God, go!’ speech from 20th April, 1653.
The speech was delivered as Cromwell, flanked by soldiers, dismissed the Rump parliament. The parliament sat post English civil war, in the period parliament had triumphed over monarchy. Charles I was executed in 1649, his final words are another popular speech on Speakola, and Cromwell was dissatisfied at the pace at which the parliament was building his new society. Although he’d already purged the Long parliament to create the Rump, he still regarded the members as corrupt, dithering and self serving.
The history of that time, and the speech, is well described here in The Conversation. As the article explains, the words of the speech are famous, and so they have been used against other ineffectual leaders and governments throughout history.
When the Nazis invaded Norway on 7 May 1940, Sir Leopold Avery whipped Prime Minister Neville Chamberlin for his ineffective military manoevering with Cromwell’s words.
Then on 20th January 2022, David Davis borrowed ‘In the name of God, go!’ to use against Boris Johnson:
The words of the original speech don’t survive in a truly verifiable form, and have been reconstructed in various different ways, but this I took my transcript from this site, and it’s colourful and compelling delivery.
Speakola newsletter is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Oliver Cromwell: 'In the name of God, go!' speech dismissing Rump Parliament - 1653
20 April 1653, London, England
It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place,
which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice.
Ye are a factious crew, and enemies to 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 a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice 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 that 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 are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation. You were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves become the greatest grievance.
Your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse this 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 am now come to do.
I command ye therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place.
Go, get you out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.
In the name of God, go!
There’s a movie recreation here:
If you love speeches, you might enjoy the Speakola podcast. This episode about the suffrage movement is a gem.
Thanks to recent ⭐ paid subscriber R,J Phillips. I need listener and reader support to keep this thing going. If you don’t want to pay through here, you can do a Paypal donation or go through Patreon.