Friday, 20 May 2016

20th May 1816: Magistrates formally agree to the demands of Brandon labourers

On Monday 20th May, the magistrates at Brandon formally agreed to the demands the labourers had asserted by force over the past 3 days. Peacock (1965, p.81) commented:
According to the newspaper reports, the magistrates met again on Monday and confirmed the agreement they had made with the rioters. The Courier said they had "guaranteed the price of flour at 2s. 6d. per stone, with an advance of wages to 2s. per head for a fortnight, and unless the millers reduce their prices by that time, the officers of the parish will purchase their grain at the cheapest rate, and furnish the poor with provisions at prime cost".
The magistrate, J.R. Burch, wrote to the Home Secretary on the same day to confirm the arrangement, couching it as a success for the local authority:
Brandon May 20—16 
My Lord 
In compliance with your wishes I write to inform You with feelings of the greatest satisfaction that order & lasting quiet (I hope) are restored in the town of Brandon & the two adjoining parishes of Weeting & Sandon Downham & without the necessity of being compelled to resort either to the Civil, or Military powers to effect them but by a return to reason on the Rioters who this morning peaceably submitted their grievances to the principal Inhabitants convened at a Town Meeting & who finding nothing on them unreasonable but founded on the low price of Labor compared with the relative price of Corn & other articles of Subsistance & Cloathing met their requests with a ready compliance & on ground it is I found my hopes that no recurrence to Riot can or will take place 
As it has been reported that the Brandon Rioters have been the chief Movers of the disorders in the adjacent towns I trust as they are the first to return to order — it will not only rescue them from the imputation but that their example will be immediately followed— 
I shall address myself without delay to the Magistrates at Bury with the feelings I have expressed Your Lordship & informing them of the happy result of this day 
I parted with Mr Mosley early this morning who went to Feltwell in consequence of Riot there — I fervently hope the issue of his errand will have as favourable a conclusion—& that we may be allowed to put ourselves again in correspondence with Your Lordship & to communicate I trust more favorable information 
I beg of You to excuse haste
I am
My Lord
Yr Lordships
most obedient humble Servt 
JR Burch

Burch's letter can be found at HO 42/150.

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