Apl. 25th 1816
I have the Honor to return my best thanks for answer to my letter, on subject of the 22d Instant, I have further to form your Lordship that I have seen one premises on Fire on the 23d at Night and I understand that another took place last night about 9 miles from hence.
The People to the amount of 45 of one Parish (Wallisham) have come down to the next parish Hitcham and are endeavouring to persuade those who are disposed to be peaceable to join with them, this has occurred to two Men who at present have refused to go, and whom I have now in my employment but from what I can collect from them, if speedy measures are not taken they will be obliged to go with the Tide, various written Papers have been dropped, and some posted up with a list of Names, threatening vengeance for higher wages. The greatest part of the Corn in this part of the Country having been carried to market at a low rate, and several Occupiers at this time having none upon their premises, they all appear disposed in a degree to sanction the disposition to riot. One Farmer, has openly said (I am informed) that he is ready to join the mob and that if the Clergy do not lower their tithes or attempt to gather it up, they will burn them in their Beds. There does not appear to be the least motion in the magistracy one of them called at my House in my absence this morning & said they must wait for some act to take the rioters up, my opinion is that 5 fires, and threatening letters besides the gathering together of the people, both night & day in a riotous manner are sufficient cause for them to act, by swearing in constables or otherwise as circumstances require to keep the peace, for with subscription to your Lordships Knowledge of the state of the Country, prevention is better than cure, in my services I happened to be in a ship in the meeting at the Nore – & had the Captains only acted with firmness upon that occasion many ships would have remained with Lord Duncan, on his post of the [vessel] instead of going into [illegible] Roads where they were deserted by their Captains only. In this neighbourhood the magistrates I may say certainly Clergy & I do not hear of one of them stirring in this affair. For my own part I have not been in my bed for the last four nights, nor my servants, but we have been expecting to be attacked and the premises set on fire, I am determined to defend my property with my life, but I assure you Lordship that I think it rather hard after 16 years service to be obliged to watch an enemy who I am in the habit of supporting year after year on my Farm. This way I have done every thing as far as possible to support the poor at a Parish meeting – they are greatly distressed and every thing to make them happy and quiet should be done, although it is impossible for the [hundred] intent to hear, the poor rate, and high tithes
I hope you Lordship will excuse this long detail, & I have written in haste that I might be in time for the post, which is 9 miles off
I have, the honor to be
your Lordships Obedt Servant
—with submission, would not some of the police officers be of Service in finding out this business. I understand there are many persons lately or now in this place who are suspected of these affiliations – and who are strangers in this County—
This letter can be found at HO 42/149.