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Draft of Autograph Letter Signed by Rev. Willoughby Bertie, with emendations [by his solicitor?], contemptuously rejecting an appeal from the residents of Milton-next-Sittingborne regarding oyster fishing on his property and the local poor.

Rev. Willoughby Bertie (c.1759-1820), Fellow of All Souls College and Rector of Buckland, Surrey [the free fishermen of Milton; Milton-next-Sittingborne; Earls of Abingdon]

Editorial: Buckland Surrey. 20 April, 1818
Librería: Richard M. Ford Ltd (London, Reino Unido)

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4pp., 4to. Bifolium. Good, on lightly-aged paper. An extraordinarily callous letter, which would furnish a text for a paper on religious hypocrisy and the evils of capitalism. The context is explained in Samuel Lewis's 'Topgraphical Dictionary of England', published twenty-two years after this letter, in which the entry on 'Milton-next-Sittingborne (Holy Trinity)' contains the following: 'The commercial business consists chiefly in shipping for the London market the agricultural produce of the neighbourhood, and in bringing goods in return. The oyster fishery affords employment to a great number of the inhabitants. Lady Wenman, of Thame Park, in Oxfordshire, is the owner of the extensive fisheries uausally called the East and West Grounds and Lapwell. For a century past the predecessors of this lady, lords and ladies of the manor and hundred of Milton, had granted leases to a company or body of fishermen, calling themselves "the free fishermen of the hundred of Milton:" the last lease, however, expiring in 1816, the fisheries were ultimately let to private individuals at advanced rents'. Willoughby's draft letter ends on the third page, and is followed by thirty-lines of emendations, presumably in the hand of his solicitor Green, rewriting the latter part of Bertie's draft, which reads: 'Dear Sir | On my return here from Oxfordshire I found an application from the land holders & inhabitants of Milton respecting the Fishery subscribed by many respectable names. - Not knowing to whom I am directly to reply I shall esteem it a favor if you will communicate to them generally that after the rejection of my former proposals (submitted through you) I had declined any further interference - and had left the business in the hands of my Solicitor (Mr. Green) of Messrs. Drivers to negotiate & conclude for a sale of the Property - and I understand offers have been made nearly adequate to my demand. | I cannot but remark on the very extraordinary representation "that the Poor rate (since the Fishery has been unoccupied) has increased from seven to sixteen shillings & sixpence in the pound, that the evil is weekly increasing, and that upwards of one hundred poor families (who received their support from the Water) are now in the poor house & are maintained entirely at the expense of the Parish" - If this statement be correct (and I cannot doubt the veracity of so many respectable names) it appears that I am calld [sic] upon to sacrifice my Property not for the mere support of the poor but for the relief of the opulent. - For they admit that they are annually paying an increase of poor rate of £2333 . 14 . 6 (the interest above £40,600) because they have no employment for the poor - when they might have had a perpetual & beneficial resource, by purchasing the East Grounds at £10,000, or renting at a fair & equitable rate. | So far from being intimidated by any combination to injure my property I am fully sensible of its magnitude & value | The price affixed to the East Grounds is £12000 - or £20,000 for the whole - And as a matter of speculation it is worth thrice as much to a stranger. - If the Milton men wish to purchase, and it is not disposed of, I will accept from them £10500 for the East Ground, or £18000 for the Entire Fishery | But as I am advised to prosecute my claims for the non performance of Covenants I certainly shall not cancel those claims by a fresh agreement with those who were concerned in the Company. | I trust you will excuse my giving you this trouble - Mrs. Bertie desires her Compliments and I remain | Dear Sir | Very truly yrs. | [signed] Willoughby Bertie'. N° de ref. de la librería 12356

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Título: Draft of Autograph Letter Signed by Rev. ...

Editorial: Buckland Surrey. 20 April

Año de publicación: 1818

Descripción de la librería

Private premises. Autographs, manuscripts and archives on any subject. Particular interest in publishing and bookselling history. Occasional catalogues. Company number: 03785276

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