Tuesday, 26 April 2016

26th April 1816: Major Marrie sends news of Bildeston to the Home Office

Brettenham Park 26th Apl 1816

My Lord

I am sorry to have the unpleasant task of again addressing your Lordship on the melancholy picture before me, I am now writing this letter in view of a Farm house, where the stacks Barns and building have been set on Fire (as supposed) at 8 this morning, the land adjoins mine about a mile from hence. I have sent all my people from the different occupations they were employed in to lend their aide, one servant has returned, and says that there are some hundred [illegible] of Corn in the flames and no chance of saving a single grain really my Lord, under these circumstances it is dangerous to remain in the Country, but I do not like to desert it unless from circumstances I am forced to quit it. There are so many reports and so many agitators, and I hear deep schemes laid, that if something is not done, immediately the consequences may be dreadful, and we may experience by our own hand what Bonaparte long wish for (our destruction) from some propositions made to some of the Farmers by the mob assembled yesterday. I judge there is more intended, than simply the employment of the poor, they (the mob) said if you will join us we will lower the Tithe, and their Corn will be cheaper, and we shall get Work — I fully believe that my night watch may be of little avail as from compositions (which now appears, all the Country people are aware of). They can do any damage they please even in the daylight by laying the [train] at every opportunity – I have not understood that any plan has been spoken of nor do I see any disposition in those who have property to protect it. lights are seen in Cottages all the night tho’ which cannot be kept up without great expence if it is not paid for by secret agents as I am sure the poor cannot find sufficient food to eat, nor half of them gain employment—

Whatever your Lordship  and His Majesty’s Government mean to do, with submission, should be promptly and instantly done, for if a few examples were made, it would no doubt check the ardour that seems to subsist amongst all the Labouring classes, a very considerable occupier and owner of Land called upon me this morning for Taxes and he informed me that he had a paper in his possession which was taken up in the Church, and which he would send me, but it not having arrived I am obliged as the Post will so go out from the neighbouring Town to send my letter without it, but I shall take the liberty of sending it tomorrow on Sunday should I receive it for your Lordships inspection — I beg to intreat an early attention to my communications, as I am convinced that nothing but my own personal attendance with all those whom I can trust, has prevented some of my extensive premises of being destroyed. I have all armed and set spring guns in every direction to intimidate intruders. I again beg your Lordships attention to some measure to put a stop to the present appearances of disorder, and distruction.

I have the Honor to be
your Lordships most obt Hbl Servant

[Illegible] Marrie

½ past 3–

The inclosed is the paper mentioned and I understand there are many more of the same handwriting, but to different purposes – all threatening lives &c—

This letter can be found at HO 42/149.

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