Saturday, 28 May 2016

28th May 1816: General Byng updates the Home Secretary from Mildenhall, Suffolk

Milden Hall May 28th 1816—

My Lord—

I was this morning honored with your Lordships Letter of yesterdays date, I am most happy that I have it in my power to state, that although an alarm still prevails in some places, I have not heard of any fresh disturbance, the ample means placed at my disposal, have enabled me to send Troops wherever they were actually required – and in this neighbourhood I shall tomorrow have some dispersable, to move upon any point wanting their assistant, the movement of these Troops in different directions has circulated a report of a large force being under my orders, which I have taken care should reach the parts most dissatisfied, and as I think my appearance at such places will corroborate, I shall make it my duty to ride over to them all, as I should be very happy if by a little personal exertion, I could prevent the necessity of moving, or the employment of the Troops—

I have been to Brandon this morning, and arrived opportunely at the time some of the principal persons concerned in the late riots there, were apprehended, which the Duke of Grafton yesterday directed to be done, not any attempt was made to rescue them—[tension] seeming to prevail, much more than any inclination to riot—

I am in hope that so large a Force in this District will not much longer be necessary, but on that subject I propose writing more fully to your Lordship by tomorrows Post, after I have received the reports I have directed to be sent to me—but I now beg leave to submit to you, whether it might not be advisable to withdraw the Troops from Downham and Brandon some short distance, to ascertain if they are really inclined to remain quiet—before any of the Force is withdrawn to any distance—and if they do not remain quiet, the terms ceded to them by the Magistrates will be at an end—

I am so well situated at this place for communicating with the Troops which tomorrow will be stationed at Cambridge Newmarket, Bury, Brandon and Downham, and for going over to them, and for the information I get from Sir Henry Bunbury, that I have applied to the Commander-in-Chief for His Royal Highness’s permission to make this place my Headquarters—which I hope will also meet with your Lordships approval—

I have had an application for some assistance at Peterborough, and have ordered there a Troop of the 1st Dragoon Guards which will arrive there on the 30th or 31st—

The troops at Downham are ordered to move to Wisbech upon leaving hearing of any disturbance at that place, I thought it too distant to send any Force to remain there—

I returned so late from Bury yesterday, and as Sir Henry Bunbury was writing to your Lordship, I trust you will not think me remiss that I did not.

I have [etc]
John Byng—
Major General

[To] The
Rt Honble
The Secretary of State
Home Department

This letter can be found at HO 42/150.

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