Tuesday, 7 June 2016

7th June 1816: General Byng sends an update to the Home Secretary from Colchester

Head Quarters. Eastern district
Colchester June 7th 1816—

My Lord—

Since I reported to you my return to this place on the 2d Inst nothing of importance has occurred, I therefore did not consider it necessary to take up your Lordships time with my correspondence—but as General Elwes informs me, He shall report to you, my having withdrawn the Troops from Clare in Suffolk, where He acts as a Magistrate, I feel myself called on to explain to you what I have done—

A Squadron of the 13th Dragoons is to be this day quartered in Clare, & Sudbury, on their march to Bury—as the former place is not capable of containing many Troops, and as the 20th Dragoons are to march from hence for Hounslow on Monday—I considered it adviseable to withdraw the Detachment of that Regiment from Clare, at the same time reporting my motive for so doing to General Elwes (a compliment I considered due to Him as the Magistrate who applied for Military assistance) and expected a hope that from the present appearance of quietness, He would be able to go on without any further Military aid—informing Him also that Troops would be stationed at Bury, and that this place—from whence he should receive immediate assistance if required—the Party was only to be withdrawn this morning previous to the arrival of the 13th, and I should have been happy to have attached to any representation from Him as to the necessity of replacing the Detachment—and I do not see that my conduct called for any representation being made to you. or to be to the Duke of Grafton, which The General informs me it is His intention to do—

From the report made to me by the Officer of the 20th Dragoons who has been there ten days, as well as from the Officers who preceded him on that duty—I do not believe there is the least necessity for the continuance of the military there—but as a representation is to be made to The Lord Lieutenant of the County—it is my intention to write by this Post to the Duke of Grafton, explaining to His face, as I have done to Your Lordship, my reluctance to have so many small Detachments, without an absolute necessity, at the same time leaving entirely to His decision whether it is necessary to order any other Detachment to Clare and neighbourhood,

I trust this explanation to any report General Elwes may transmit you will be considered satisfactory, and can assure you, that I am not actuated by the slightest idea of any personal opposition to General Elwes, with who I cannot look am not acquainted—but solely from what I consider most advantageous for the general good—

I have [etc]
John Byng
Major General

I beg leave to forward with this a Copy of the report which I have just received from the Officer who is returned with the Detachment from Clare—

J Byng

[To] Rt Honble
The Secretary of State
Home Department

This letter can be found at HO 42/151.

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