An account of Pride’s Purge, 6 December 1648
(By permission of Oxford University Press: Firth (ed.), The Memoirs of Edmund Ludlow, Lieutenant-General of the Horse in the Army of the Commonwealth of England, 1625-1672, Vol. 1, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1894, p. 210)
[Extra explanations are in square brackets.]
Officers of the army went into a private room, to consider the best way to get the result we aimed for. We agreed that the army should be brought up the next morning, and guards placed in Westminster Hall, the Court of Requests, and the Lobby. None would be permitted to pass into the House, except those who had been faithful to the public interest. To this end, we went over the names of all the members one by one, giving the truest estimate we could of their viewpoints. I think we were not mistaken about many. The Parliament had fallen into such factions and divisions that anyone who usually attended and watched the business of the House could, after a debate on any question, easily count the votes that would be on each side, before the question was put to the vote. Commissary-General Ireton went to Sir Thomas Fairfax [head of the army], and told him about the need for this extraordinary action. He took care to have the army brought up the next morning by seven o'clock. Colonel Pride commanded the guard that waited at the Parliament doors, with a list of those members who were to be excluded. He prevented them from entering the House, and secured some of the most suspected under a guard provided for that reason.