Friday, 27 May 2016

27th May 1816: Sir Henry Bunbury updates the Home Office on the Suffolk County magistrates' meeting

Mildenhall. May 27th 1816

My Lord,

I am just returned from a meeting of Suffolk Magistrates at Bury. Though the waning had been short, a considerable number of Gentlemen were present. There was much discussion of different Plans for the employment of the Poor, & for regulating Parish Allowances:—there was also discussion on the best means of [giving] extraordinary aid, where necessary, to the Civil Power; – and necessity of giving some Arms to Special Constables;— on the means of augmenting the Yeomanry;— & other points connected with the present state of the County. Equal zeal, goodwill, &, unanimity was manifested. It was deemed inexpedient to publish any matters of Regulation or detail;— and we ended with a short Declaration of our Concern at the late Occurrences;—Our opinion that the most careful attention should be given to trace the causes of the Tumults, and also to relieve as far as circumstances may permit the several distresses of the Labourers;— but that we [illegible] would treat with or make any concession whatever to any tumultuous Assemblage, and that we would spare no exertion to suppress such Proceedings & to bring Rioters to Justice.

These Resolutions are to be published & dispersed throughout the County.

Permit me to press upon your Lordship’s consideration how desirable it is that our Special Constables should be properly armed. At present they feel themselves inferior to the Rioters on account of the weapon with which the latter takes care to provide himself:—the latter is consequently audacious & the Constables proportionally backward.

Sir John Byng is at my House. He desires me to say that as I write, He does not trouble your Lordship with a Letter. Suffolk is quite quiet at present:—but we keep an eye upon Brandon, where some Stir may be expected when the Fortnight night shall be Expired during which the Flour was to be issued at [two shillings sixpence] the Stone.

From Cambridgeshire the accounts are very satisfactory:—but as there had been some unfortunate Symptoms at Wisbeach, Sir J Byng has pushed some of the Troops nearer to that Town.—Three of the Ringleaders who fled from Littleport were taken near this place (Mildenhall) late last night.

Is your Lordships answer that besides a great quantity of Communication, there are eight or ten thousand stand of Arms in no very secure situation at Bury?

I write in a great hurry, & must offer many Apologies for the inaccuracies with which my letter may abound.

I have the Honour to be
Your Lordship’s
Very faithful Servant

H E Bunbury

This letter can be found at HO 42/150.

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