Finmere at the Huntington: 1830-1839
I beg to return your Grace my most sincere thanks for […] your kind expressions of condolence through Capt Fellows. The enclose letter from Mr Palmer was brought to me by Barrett this morning and the Finmere Farmers would be glad to know your Grace’s sentiments thereon. I advised their answer should be that they had so little knowledge of the matter at present that they could not give any answer.
Mixbury May 19 1835
Lest we should appear inattentive to your Lordship’s advice I think it my duty to inform you that without further ceremony the Commissioners have made us part of the union of thirty parishes of which the centre is Brackley. On the 24th of April the assistt Commissr Mr Richard Earle called upon me and requested me to inform you of the feeling that might prevail in my parishes of Mixbury & Finmere in regard to there forming part of a proposed union either in Brackley Buckingham or Bicester. This was the first I heard of any such proposition. He said he should call upon the overseers &c at a public meeting to explain to them the great advantages of the measure.
On the 28th the day he fixed, I informed him by letter that my parishioners were alarmed at the amount of salaries proposed to be given to the officers of such Unions which they had read in the newspapers & thought they could manage their own business more economically & more satisfactorily for themselves; but that before they expressed an opinion they requested the liberty to consult their Landlords, the reasons of which I trusted the Commissioners would see and give us time accordingly. This was the ground of Mr Parrott’s letter to your Grace I presume on the 27. That week I was in London; & the following week and extract from your Grace’s letter in reply was read at a vestry at Finmere at which one only of your tenants were present. We agreed therefore to call another vestry for the purpose and I wrote to Mr Earle the only Commissr with whom I had previous communication to acquaint him with your Grace’s opinion, and the next day we received the Act of Union signed by two other Commissioners whose names I cannot read. I must acknowledge that I never liked the Measure, and do not look for much good from it either to Rich or Poor. But only the diversion of a base into a great channel. One thing seems pretty clear that by means of the salaried offices for which the Candidates are so numerous & so respectable, but who if I mistake not are dismissable at pleasure the Poor Laws Commissioners are likely to become forces of a very considerable political influence.
I do not think that we have an individual in either of the two parishes who will undertake the office of a Guardian and attend meetings at Brackley.
I have the honor to be
Your Grace’s most Obedt servt
W. J. Palmer
1835/09/15 (or earlier)
Your last Letter of course decides my plans & I hope (please God) to be with you soon but cannot fix the exact time as I have much to do in arranging the Emigrants who all assemble here tomorrow to hear the Agreement read. This has been delayed on account of Mr Baker’s absence in search of handsome Husbands for our South Down Ladies in which he has succeeded famous but this has retarded my operations for I did not know how many to provide for. The Ship will sail on the 20th of October or perhaps sooner. Many more fine Young Men have offered to go as Ploughmen &c from the Worthy Villages but I have not at present accepted them saying those of our Own Parishes must have the preference. Our numbers now amount to 12 but perhaps when they find they are to serve for seven Years they may change their minds. Pray let me have Lights Letter back that I may get the few things they want. Of course you would wish him to remain the Head Man of the English Party as Mr Bassatt [or Barratt] has always spoken well of him & the Party now going are all young excepting two. Pray let me have your full directions that there may be no mistake or loss of time. It is a great pity that you cannot send a good Overseer with the Party as waiting for Bassatts decision respecting the Allowance will delay that arrangement at least Six Months & these people ought to be under good management as soon as they arrive. Have you warned Bassat that they are going out that he may be prepared for the poor Fellows arrival. I could get fifty in a week were they required. What are you doing about the Finmere people? I am afraid that you are a little bit lazy & now thank God that the Gout is gone you should be upon the alert. I am sorry that you do not get a few of your friends around you […]
Ledbrooke has started for Stowe in his Gig & calculates being with you in good time on Friday. He begged me to ask you to send a Man to meet him at Finmere about 12 O’clock as he is alone & unable to open the Gates being so lame.