Today in London’s radical history: army mutinies in London, 1660.

A mutiny among army units stationed in London began on February 1st 1660, at St James’s, who refused to leave London until their arrears of pay were settled.

As Samuel Pepys reported: “James the porter, a soldier, to my Lord’s lodgings… told me how they were drawn into the field to-day, and that they were ordered to march away to-morrow to make room for General Monk; but they did shut their Colonel Fitch, and the rest of the officers out of the field, and swore they would not go without their money, and if they would not give it them, they would go where they might have it, and that was the City. So the Colonel went to the Parliament, and commanded what money could be got, to be got against to-morrow for them, and all the rest of the soldiers in town, who in all places made a mutiny this day, and do agree together.”

On February 2nd, further mutinies broke out among soldiers stationed at Somerset House and Salisbury Court. Pepys again:
“Drank at Harper’s with Doling, and so to my office, where I found all the officers of the regiments in town, waiting to receive money that their soldiers might go out of town, and what was in the Exchequer they had… we went homewards, but over against Somerset House, hearing the noise of guns, we landed and found the Strand full of soldiers… Doling and I went up stairs to a window, and looked out and see the foot face the horse and beat them back, and stood bawling and calling in the street for a free Parliament and money. By and by a drum was heard to beat a march coming towards them, and they got all ready again and faced them, and they proved to be of the same mind with them; and so they made a great deal of joy to see one another…
James the soldier came, who told us how they had been all day and night upon their guard at St. James’s, and that through the whole town they did resolve to stand to what they had began, and that to-morrow he did believe they would go into the City, and be received there.”

Parliament ordered the payment of one month’s arrears, after which the soldiers obeyed orders and left London.

However two ringleaders of the mutiny among the troops in London in early February were hanged at Charing Cross on the 18th on that month; seven others were flogged.

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