Fact of the day: 20th April

On this day in 1653 Oliver Cromwell dissolved the Rump Parliament.

The Rump Parliament is the English Parliament after Colonel Pride purged the Long Parliament on 6 December 1648 of those members hostile to the Grandees’ intention to try King Charles I for high treason.

“Rump” normally means the hind end of an animal; its use meaning “remnant” was first recorded in the above context. Since 1649, the term “rump parliament” has been used to refer to any parliament left over from the actual legitimate parliament.

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In 1653, after learning that Parliament was attempting to stay in session despite an agreement to dissolve, and having failed to come up with a working constitution, Cromwell’s patience ran out. On 20 April he attended a sitting of Parliament and listened to one or two speeches. Then he stood up and harangued the members of the Rump.

Within a month of the Rump’s dismissal, Oliver Cromwell on the advice of Harrison and with the support of other officers in the Army sent a request to Congregational churches in every county to nominate those they considered fit to take part in the new government. On 4 July a Nominated Assembly, nicknamed the “Assembly of Saints” or Barebone’s Parliament (named after one of its members), took on the role of more traditional English Parliaments.

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