3 January 1847
My dear Sir,
The talk now is of the Barracks and the use to which they are to be applied. It is a prominent feature of the people here to discuss matters not their own but their neighbours; and I drew for them from the satirist Mantell the descriptive appellation of Little Pedlingtonians. You must not however include me in this species as I not only discountenance scandal, but matters not peculiarly my own, or in which I have not some interest however indirect.
Whether true or not for I really have taken no trouble to ascertain, the good folks say you intend to order all the Police married and single into the Barracks; and that disconsolate wives and blubbering urehins will be separated from their natural protectors. A sort of New Poor Law Bill which refuses relief to married papers unless separated.
Without assuming for one moment a foundation for this, in time of profound quiet, I will just give my notion of the use of Barracks without attempting in any way to advise you where my opinion is not asked. To few but yourself in this habitation of one thousand souls would I do it; in this instance as there is a rumour - as I have named it to you - I feel you will excuse me for venturing that opinion.
It appears to me that the house you have selected
for the Force is a mere temporary Barrack on account of its construction and internal arrangement, and the probable removal of the men to the interior at no very distant date. Viewed as such it becomes a sort of Head Quarters for such of the men as may be on duty. In peaceful times it neither appears necessary that the men should be required to board nor reside there apart from their families; for in that case the cost of two establishments would doubtless leave them in debt at the end of the year.
In times of contemplated or actual disturbance the case would be exactly the reverse; then the men should take up their residences in the Barracks for the period however long its duration.
I think the arrangement good which would require the men on duty for the night to sleep in the Barracks whether married or single, thereby avoiding the present mode of calling up the different reliefs at their own houses or lodgings; and the same rule should apply to the Sergeant or Corporal who on the nights of their alternate watches ought also to sleep there - thus giving to non commissioned officers and men when everything is tranquil, permission to take their meals and to sleep in their own homes on the nights they are off duty.
On the other hand there are probably single men i. the Force who would prefer to take up their permanent abode in the Barracks where by subscribing to a Mess, they would live
more economically than at present. This would be desirable as the place would be well-guarded - even without it, I suppose a man would be always there on duty, so that the premises would never be deserted.
Personally I have little interest in the matter. I may however say I should prefer to have my brother continue to live with me while in the settlement. The house has accommodation for each of us - and the yearly expenditure is not increased by his remaining, nor will it be decreased by our separation. It may however turn out that what I have writen may be your own arrangement.
As these lines are strictly private I recommend that they should not be kept after you have perused them.
Believe me to remain,
D. McLean Esq. J. P.
Inward letters - William Halse, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0318 (33 digitised items)
Series 1 Inward letters (English), Reference Number Series 1 Inward letters (English) (14501 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)
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