Tuesday, 28 June 2016

28th June 1816: General Byng reports his plans for the military in East Anglia

Ely June 28th 1816—

My Lord,

As I did not attend, and as Sir Henry Dudley has fully informed your Lordship of the particulars of the awful ceremony which took place this day, it is unnecessary for me to occupy your time by any further by any further statement of it—It will I am sure be satisfactory to you, that the Military were not present, nor required, those quartered here, were under Arms and at Exercise, near, but out of sight, and the Cavalry was in its march from Littleport, to reoccupy their Quarters here—Those at Newmarket, Brandon, Cambridge, and Downham, were out in marching order on the road, to whom, when the multitude had quietly dispersed, I sent orders to return—

I propose to direct the Troops quartered at Brandon, and Downham to join their squadrons next Tuesday the 2d July at Newmarket and this place, the Two Companies of Infantry also to join their Regiment at Colchester—and would recommend that no further movement should take place before the 6th or 8th when the 13th Dragoons could be moved on to Grantham, Stamford, Huntingdon & Peterborough occupying these Quarters a few days, they could if all remains quiet in this district, move on to their destination in the North of England, and when they move from hence, a Troop of the Royal Dragoons can replace them at Bury and at Ely—

I have taken the liberty to submit this for your Lordships consideration—it is not that I anticipate any fresh disturbances in these parts, but it is evident to me, that much alarm prevails among the gentry, and much dissatisfaction among the poorer class—it is on that account I recommend to gradually withdraw the Troops—and for the same reason, it may perhaps be advisable, I should continue ten days or a fortnight longer to superintend these movements, and observe upon the effect they produce—I am however entirely at your Lordships disposal, you are so much better able to judge where the presence of the Troops, as well as my own, is most requisite, that I must trust to your goodness to pardon, what perhaps may have an appearance of presumption—but which I am far from meaning in communicating my opinion—I have wrote to Sir Willoughby Gordon by this Post respecting these movements—and as I do not see that my stay here is that all requisite, I propose returning to Colchester tomorrow—

I have [etc]
John Byng—
Major General

[To] The
Lord Viscount Sidmouth—
&c &c &c


This letter can be found at HO 42/151.

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