Monday, 27 June 2016

27th June 1816: Thomas Gooch MP informs the Home Office of arson at his property

Milford House
nr. Godalming
June 27th 1816.

My Lord.

Understanding that my Brother “MP for Suffolk” has communicated to your Lordship's Office, the unfortunate fire that happened on my premises last Saturday; I think it right to inform you what steps have been taken in the business—In the first place, it is the opinion of all who were present at the fire, that it was done on purpose, L Taunton from Bow Street is of the same opinion—a reward of £500 is offered for the apprehension of the person or persons who committed the act—

a Person is this day committed by Lord Midleton, to jail from on suspicion of setting fire to the Wharf at Godalming last November, which he confessed to have done to a man at Godalming, but which he denied this [morning] before Lord Midleton;—

This same person having asked respecting the fire at my Barn said positively he never heard of it, & afterwards that he believed he had—Taunton who was present strongly suspects him, as he could give no account of himself last Saturday, the day my premises were [burnt]

I should have mentioned to your Lordship, that it is generally supposed, that the cause of the fire, was my having a Thrashing machine, & I have myself in no doubt of it.—If Government should think proper to offer a pardon to any accomplice I think it might have a very good effect, as the reward of £500 might then have more effect weight—

I have [etc]
Thomas Gooch

Sunday, 26 June 2016

26th June 1816: Former Bolton spies appeal to the Home Secretary for financial aid

Bolton-le-Moors 26 June 1816

My Lord

It is with extreme reluctance that the following lines are offered to your Lordship’s notice, unaided as they are by any recommendations of persons of wealth or fulfilling the Offices of civil authority; the peculiarity of our situations however we trust will insure to us your Lordship’s pardon for the intrusion and obtain for us a due consideration of the contents of this letter—

We are three of those, we may say unfortunate persons, though very fortunate for this part of the country that some such men were to be found in it, who are the great hazard of our lives and to the detriment of our bodily health were mainly instrumental by the assistance of some others, in discovering and disclosing to the Magistracy of this Division all the horrible plots and designs of a set of disaffected men, calling themselves Luddites and illegally assembling at various hours in the nights and at various places in the vicinity of his town in the early part of the year 1812, with a view to promote in the end, nothing less than anarchy and confusion in the country and if possible, by their ill advice and example to excite in this kingdom open rebellion and overthrow of His Majesty's Government; we say such were their designs, however inefficient might be their means—With the sole view of obtaining information we attended numerous of the said meetings and disclosed immediately the proceedings thereof to the civil authorities as above stated and by means of an active magistracy and our exertions in the manner described, much rioting and disturbance in this neighbourhood, to say the least, was surely prevented—We afterwards attended at the Special and August assizes for this county in the said year 1812 to give evidence against several of ringleaders and abettors of the horrible plans we had used our endeavours to check most of whom were found guilty and sentenced to such punishments as the offended laws of their country warranted or prescribed—

We were fairly remunerated for the time we spent in these services by the Civil Authorities and we should never have appealed to your Lordship for any farther remuneration if all had ended with the destruction of the Ludding system; but as we from attending at the assizes necessarily became known pretty generally, as well as the services we are performed in the spirit of disaffection at that time running very high in this neighbourhood, popular opinion and prejudice became very strong against us and the losses we have since sustained in consequence had been very great and we are reduced to extreme necessity—

Your Lordship will easily conceive that we must have suffered grievously on being assured that owing to public prejudice, we sometimes have been unable to obtain any employment at all, and that at other periods we have been obliged to turn to such employment as has not suited our abilities or capacities, because it was not of that kind which we had been accustomed to or brought up in—One of us (Wm Orrell) through his wife became possessed of a moderate sum of money early in the year 1813, and at that time with the money he was possessed of, entered into the business of Public Victualler or Innkeeper, with a view as he thought of obtaining frizz numerous offspring a comfortable subsistence, but public prejudice was so strong against him, that with all proper exertion on his part, he has been obliged to retire from this situation, with his little capital lost and in great distress—Besides these disabilities which we have laboured under the insults offered us and the dangers to which we have been exposed have been serious and alarming, nay our lives have been plotted against and by chance alone have been prevented proving fatal to us.

We have often seen advertised in the public prints His Majesty's governments offering rewards to persons who should discover the authors or abettors of various felonious acts &c as was lately the case with respect to Norfolk, Suffolk &c & though we do not conceive that such voluntary offers of Govt. entitle us any more to claims beyond the just merits of our services and the awful predicament in which those services have thrown us, yet here we may remark that in consequence of our information and the evidence we bore against them at Lancaster, several were found guilty of felonious acts, and were accordingly transported, imprisoned &c—

Under all these circumstances we have determined to make an humble appeal through your Lordship as Secretary of State to the liberality of His Majesty's Government for some compensation for the losses we have sustained in consequence of, we trust meritorious, services in the cause of our country in the year 1812—We have long ago, finding ourselves so much injured meditated a memorial to your Lordship, whom we believe Julie appreciate our services and have a considerable time since applied to the magistracy to support it for us, but it never got done, they not seeming willing to encourage it Col Fletcher however one of the most active magistrates at the critical period alluded to best knows our services & circumstances and we have no doubt he would give every information in his power which your Lordship might wish & if your Lordship could wish any further particulars of our individual cases we should very willingly furnish them—

Humbly begging your Lordship will excuse the liberty we have taken and the favor of a reply addressed to Wm. Orrell on behalf of us all we beg to subscribe ourselves

My Lord

Your Lordships very
humble & Obed. Servants

Wm. Orrell
Ellis Schofield
William Hardman

[To] The Rt. Honble Viscount Sidmouth
Secretary of State for the
Home Department

Direct Willm. Orrell
Late Inn Keeper Greate Bolton..le..Moors—

26th June 1816: General Byng informs the Home Secretary of military preparations for the executions at Ely

Colchester June 26th 1816

My Lord.

I am Honoured with Your Lordships Letter of Yesterdays date, and have also received my orders from the Horse Guards to proceed to Ely tomorrow—It is my intention to be there by four o'clock, at which hour I have wrote to the Commanding Officer of the Troops to meet me—I have also considered it my duty to write to the Bishop, and to Sir Henry Dudley to inform them of what I propose.

I had always intended that the Troops stationed at Ely and Littleport should be under Arms on Friday morning, and to station them near, though not actually at the place of execution, in addition to the security they may thus afford, it is desirable they should be employed at that moment.

I will consult with Sir Henry Dudley as to the place most adviseable to station them, and can assure Your Lordship nothing like any disagreement will occur between as.—

I have sent my letters by Orderly Dragoons, they will therefore reach Ely this morning—The Troops, from Newmarket, Cambridge, Brandon, and Downham, will be in motion on Friday morning, as I proposed Your Lordship when in Town—

I shall do myself the Honor to write to You from Ely on Friday

I have [etc]
John Byng
Major General.

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

Saturday, 25 June 2016

25th June 1816: John Lloyd writes to the Home Office about distressed weavers in Stockport

Stockport 25 June 1816


In my last letter relating to the situation of the people in Stockport, I think I informed you that I had recommended to the Gentleman of the Town to make enquiry after Cases of distress thro’ want of employment, and to report them for relief—I have now the honor to inform you that a certain number of the Weavers delegates by the Body first made a return of the number and names of the Weavers with the number of Looms employed & unemployed, the total of which they made out to be — For Stockport

Looms employed 775 unemployed 1117 – no. of Families [illegible]         3410
For Edgeley [adg.] 208 unemployed 475 – [ditto]                 1070
For Heaton Norris 254 unemployed 241 – [ditto]                 913
also adjoining
[Total] 1237 unemployed 1833 – [ditto]                      5393

A Committee of [Gentlemen] were approved to go round the districts after them & yesterday [illegible] to report—The result was a very general distress amongst the Weavers but exaggeration had been practised—Indeed this I know for I attended the Committee & took a District myself & found the first statement extremely incorrect—The Committee have recommended to the magistrates about [110] objects for Relief—which it is intended to grant from the Poor rates, as no adequate Subscription can be raised to the purpose—but this is not all the busy & meddling part of them (few in number) want. They suggested that radical relief cou’d proceed only from the Government, & they urged the Committee to address a memorial to the Prince Regent; but of course that was not countenanced—I reminded them of the Letter answer they had received from Mr [illegible]—I expect to see a publication from the pen of a Gentleman formally in the Silk Trade who has got the cacoethes loquendi et scribendi—because I will not suffer him to harangue upon their favorite Topic of Exportation of Cotton Twist & a minimum price for wages—He addressed the note yesterday to the [meeting] of which the following is a Copy—"Preparing for Publication a Letter to John Lloyd Esqr. Detailing the Author’s Plan for the Relief of the Poor of Stockport &c and opposing the fallacy of Mr. Lloyd's representations or rather misrepresentations at the Public meeting on Thursday the 20 instant. By W. Dawson He who offers a plan for public adoption should observe it at once useful seasonable & practicable” L’Esprit de Loix—

“To prevent the idea of Collusion the Outlines of this plan are already sealed up & dated & deposited in the hands of respectable Neighbour" addressed

"To the magistrates on the Committee"

We paid the Weavers for making out the return and those who attended at the Inn where the meeting was held, appeared well pleased with the attention & solicitude of the Committee & magistrates—& they were paid for all the trouble they had taken but acquainted that they must not expect any more money whatever they took upon themselves to do—

My clerks are now extracting the names of those reported to be in extreme Distress, & the next difficulty I shall experience will be with the Overseers of the Poor, who cannot collect the rates sufficiently to answer the extra demands thus brought upon them—And I anticipate the greatest vexation from their Conduct, for their humanity is not natural and when they are not in any office they are very untoward, and aggravate the distress of the Poor.

I have [etc]

J Lloyd

P.S. We have had considerable vexation owing to a resolution amongst the Shopkeepers not to receive the plain silver Coinage – and your Letter was particularly seasonable—Things are now going on better—

25th June 1816: A Suffolk magistrate forwards a threatening letter to the Home Secretary

My Lord: I beg to hand to your Lordship a paper I received this morning from Mr. Booty Farmer at Worlington in Lackford hundred in the County of Suffolk. The paper was found nailed to his barn on Sunday last. A part of the threshing mill had been destroyed by some person or persons unknown who had set fire to it on Wednesday night in an enclosure belonging to Mr. Booty.

I have [etc]
J Barker

25th June 1816

[To: Lord Sidmouth]

25th June 1816: The Chief Bailiff of Ely complains about the overcrowded Gaol

Ely June 25th 1816


You will excuse my troubling you with this Letter, merely to say, how necessary it is, that an application should be made to Government to request they will favour us with an early Order for the removal of the Transports from our Gaol. (nine in number) more particularly, as we are much over burthoned for the size of our Prisons, as we shall then be left with Fourteen Prisoners, with great probability of more coming in. independent of these Riots, we rarely have had so many at one time as eight.

Government having so readily relieved us in all this Business, I doubt not they would be equally so in giving an Order for their removal, upon application being made, that with the Interest and influence you have with them, we don't know any one so likely as yourself, and being upon the spot, to get it done for us. If you will have the goodness—

I have [etc]
F Bagge Chief Bailiff


everything is properly arranged & ready for The Execution on Friday—

Thursday, 23 June 2016

23rd June 1816: Threatening letter sent to a farmer at Worlington, Suffolk

A Caushen for Worlington farmer that youse the threshen Meshien for whe are determined to seet fier to every one that comes to worlington and if the required part are not made away with we will fier the Bilding whare whare it is in

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

22nd June 1816: The Ely Chief Justice, Edward Christian, delivers a monologue at the end of the Special Commission

The Bury and Norwich Post of 3rd July 1816 carried the full text of the Ely Chief Justice, Edward Christian's long, self-aggrandizing monologue that he delivered at the end of the Special Commission on Saturday 22nd June 1816:


After Mr. Justice Abbott and Mr. Justice Burrough had finished all the business in the Special Commission at Ely connected with the Riots, they took leave, in a very gracious manner, of Mr. Christian, the Chief Justice, who proceeded to try a poor boy of 13 years of age. He had taken a handkerchief with some money in it, from the basket of a little girl, who was sent upon an errand by her mother. He was found guilty by the Jury, and the Chief Justice then addressed the Court to the following effect:—

"Before I pronounce judgment upon this poor boy, found guilty of a trifling theft, I cannot but take this opportunity of observing to the Court, that he would have been the only prisoner we should have had for trial, if our calendar had not been filled with the recent commitments for crimes of enormous magnitude. I trust they have arisen from a transient and temporary cause, which has made a short progress into the heart of the isle: it includes a space nearly 40 miles square, containing a very numerous population. At several of my assizes I have not had a single prisoner to try, and have had the pleasure and triumph to come into the Court to charge, and at the same time to discharge the Grand Jury in white gloves, presented to me as the emblem of the innocence and purity of the Isle. Most of the unfortunate criminals, till the commission of these brutal outrages, have had the best characters, as peaceable and honest men.

“This induced one of the Learned Judges justly to observe, upon the evidence of character, ‘that former good characters ought to have less weight upon the present occasion, because the crimes we are called here to repress, have originated from some great impetus or impulse, bursting forth in a manner inconsistent with the general habits and characters of the people.’

“In my enquiries into the original cause or motive of these extraordinary crimes, I find certainly that they cannot be attributed to a spirit of disaffection to the Government prevailing in this Isle. Since I have had a knowledge of it, I have never heard that a seditious meeting, publication, or expression, has existed within that time, or ever did exist before my connection with it: all hitherto have coccurred in one sentiment of loyalty and reverence to the constitution of their country.

“The conduct of the rioters cannot be attributed to want or poverty; the prisoners were all robust men, in full health, strength, and vigour, who were receiving great wages; and any change in the price of provisions could only lessen that superfluity, which, I fear, they too frequently wasted in drunkenness.

“The great sums these deluded men levied by their shocking robberies, were not intended to afford assistance to their families; but were to be spent in liquor, and thus to be applied as fresh fuel to the flames of their fury.

“I have now had the honour of presiding here as the Chief Justice of the Isle for 16 years, and in the course of that long period, I have been called upon to pronounce judgment of death upon 16 prisoners only; four suffered the execution of their sentence, 10 were recommended to mercy by myself, and the other two, from the notoriety of their crime, would have suffered death, but by the recommendation and interference of others, they obtained from the Royal Clemency that lenity which was refused to them by myself.

“I trust I have convinced the inhabitants of this Isle, that upon my no occasion have I shrunk from a faithful discharge of my duty: they have frequently heard from this bench, that ill-timed and misplaced lenity is cruelty, and that just severity is mercy and tenderness.—All punishment of the guilty is intended for the security and protection of the innocent; and a well-measured degree of it, upon a just occasion, precludes the necessity of the infliction of it to a much greater extent in future, which the indiscreet indulgence to criminals would inevitably be found to demand.

“I most sincerely congratulate the Isle upon the great decorum, propriety, and dignity, with which every part of the solemn business of these Assizes has been conducted. Every one has been inspired with an ardent emulation to discharge his duty with fidelity upon this awful occasion. It was particularly pleasing to me to see the Judges every day escorted to and from the Court by a numerous body of independent gentleman, as civil officers, with white wands; among whom I recognized a gentleman of great property, who last year filled the office of High Sheriff for the counties of Cambridge and Huntingdon. Many of them I had not the pleasure of knowing, but all equally have deserved the thanks of Isle and of their country. Before I left London I thought it my duty to assure men high in office, that for the 16 years I had presided in this Isle, I had never met with a single finding of a Grand Jury, verdict of a Petit Jury, or a commitment by a Magistrate, which had not met with my perfect approbation. To these men of high rank, and to the Learned Judges with whom I had the honour to be associated in this commission, I pledged my confident belief that each of the Judges, upon their return to London, would be able to make the same declaration.

“I have not been disappointed—all ranks, the Chief Bailiff, the Deputy Bailiff, the Magistrates, the Grand Jury, the Petit Juries, the Constables, the Officers, and I may add, the Counsel of the Court, have not only deserved my applause, but have commanded the respect and admiration of the Learned Judges with whom I have the honour to sit upon this Bench.

“It was suggested to me in London (I trust from the best of motives, though the author of the suggestion has industriously concealed his name) that it would be more conducive to the great object of the commission, and would be more respectful in me, if I declined my rotation of duty, and left the trial of all the prisoners to them. I was of a far different opinion, and no power on earth would have compelled my compliance with a wish or suggestion which I conceived so degrading to myself, and so injurious to the administration of justice in this place. It would have amounted to a confession by myself, that the present misrule was owing to the incapacity of your Chief Justice, and that he was insufficient to try such offenders in future. The senior Judge in the commission, according to the established rule, began every morning, and I have followed the other Learned Judge every day, I trust with no impediment or detriment to the public interests. By this line of conduct I have convinced the people of this Isle, and his Majesty’s Judges, that if instances of such atrocious wickedness should ever again occur, I alone am prepared, and armed with sufficient power to inflict a punishment commensurate with the enormity of the guilt.—Here I think it my duty to declare, that the Learned Judges have treated me in particular, and every one with whom they have had communications, with a courtesy and kindness equalled only by the learning and abilities, and the dignity of their characters.

“But a great responsibility now rests upon myself the Magistrates of the Isle. Every Magistrate who had an opportunity of approaching this furious mob, has shown all the discretion, firmness, I may say heroism, that men could possibly possess, in endeavouring to restrain such violent outrages.

“The melancholy and lamentable scene just now exhibited in the Court—the solemn and impressive judgement pronounced upon 24 miserable and deluded men—the awful examples which must soon be made, will, I hope, for ever extinguish all attempts to excite insurrection and rebellion within this Isle.

“I am trusted with the high, transcendent, and extraordinary powers of holding an Assize whenever and as often as I please. If, therefore, gentleman, Magistrates of the Isle, you ever apprehend and commit to your gaols, prisoners for those crimes which are most likely to be repressed by a prompt execution of the laws, upon a few days notice I shall attend you here or at Wisbech; and with the co-operation of the intelligent and discriminating Juries, and the firm and steady Civil Officers of the Isle, I am confident we shall soon restore security and tranquillity to its inhabitants.

“The Gentleman of the Isle, who with so great honour to themselves, and benefit to the country, unite in their own persons the characters of the Magistrate and the Divine, I am sure will never fail to instil into the minds of all who hear them, that the great principles of all law, equity, and good government, are to be found in the sacred code of our religion.

“A Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, in the reign of Henry VI advanced from the Bench this great and incontrovertible truth, ‘that the Scriptures are the common law, upon which all other laws are founded.’ Let it then be the duty of all us, in our respective stations, to recommend, upon all occasions, the study of that law, where we find the duty of every good subject comprised in a few words, viz. ‘to fear God and to honour the King.’

“Prisoner at the bar,

“Your commitment and imprisonment, I hope, will have taught you this useful lesson—that honesty is the best policy, and dishonesty the worst: you will pay a fine of one shilling to the King, and then be discharged.”

The Magistrates then present, thanked the Chief Justice for his Address to the Court, and requested that he would permit it to be printed.

22nd June 1816: Prisoners receive their sentences at the final day of the Ely Special Commission

The Bury & Norwich Post's concluded their coverage of the Ely Special Commission (from the 26th June edition of the newspaper):

SATURDAY, June 22.

This morning, at nine o'clock, the Court re-assembled, when judgments of death was passed on the 24 prisoners capitally convicted.—Mr. Justice Abbott addressed them to the following effect:—"Prisoners at the bar, You stand here, 24 persons in number, a melancholy example to all who are here present, and to all your country, of the sad effects of indulging in those brutal and violent passions by which you all appear to have been actuated in the commission of the crimes of which you have been convicted. You seem to have thought, that by your own strength and your own threats, you should not only be able to oppress and intimidate your peaceable neighbours, but even to resist the strong arm of the law itself.—How vain that thought, your present situation shows. It was suggested abroad, that you had been induced to perpetrate these violent outrages by hard necessity and want; but after attending closely and strictly to the whole tenor of the evidence, which has occupied the attention of the Court for several days, there has not appeared in the condition, circumstances, or behaviour of any one of you, any reason to suppose that you were instigated by distress. By what motive, or under what mistaken advice or disposition, you began to act in the way that you did, is best and perhaps only known to God and your own consciences. The preservation not only of the good order and peace of society, the preservation of life itself, imperiously calls upon the Court to declare, that many of you must expect to undergo the full sentence of law. It is some consolation to the Court to be able to say, that in attending to and distinguishing the cases of each particular individual, we are found in many of them circumstances which will warrants us in giving to many of you a hope that your lives will be saved. The gentlemen of the jury have pointed out some of you to our attention, and in doing so they have acted with that merciful disposition and accurate discrimination which they have shown throughout the whole of your trials.—Such of you whose lives may, perhaps, be saved by the Crown (that power alone on earth who can save them) must not expect that you shall be dismissed from your offences without undergoing some severe punishment. Many of you must expect to be sent away for a greater or less portion of time, and a few even for the whole period of their lives, from that country whose peace they have thus disturbed, and which they have thus disgraced. Human justice, however it may be administered, as it always is in this country with mercy, requires that some of you should undergo the full sentence, in order that others may be deterred from following the example of your crimes. You William Beamiss, the elder, you George Crow, you John Dennis, you Isaac Harley, you Thomas South, the younger; that me exhort you to prepare for that sentence: let me entreat you to apply yourselves, during the short remainder of the time which can be allowed to you in this world, by prayer and penitence, to appease that Almighty power whom you have offended: address yourselves seriously and fervently to that Throne of Grace from which hereafter you may expect to find that mercy which cannot be extended to you here.—You William Beamiss, the elder, are a person whose condition in life ought to have taught you to restrain any unruly and turbulent disposition in your less enlightened neighbours, instead of becoming one of the most forward in the perpetration of those offences which placed your town for several days in a state of trepidation and alarm. You boasted, however, of your situation, and took with you your own son to be the partner of your crimes. Considering his youth, and the influence which your evil example may be supposed to have had upon him, he is placed among those who are recommended to the mercy of the Throne.—You George Crow were one of the number who, at a late hour of the night, broke into the dwelling-house of two peaceable individuals against whom you had no cause of offence. One of them, whose age and infirmities were entitled to protection and respect, was subjected to your violence and plunder: the other had the good fortune to escape fully by flying from you. Your offence, therefore, is not merely that of which you had been convicted; you came there, not with that intention alone, but to destroy the life of one person.—You John Dennis are also a person whose condition life might have taught you to restrain the wicked passions of others. You endeavoured, on your first appearance in this place, to represent to the Court, that you had been compelled by force to leave the place of your dwelling, and give your assistance in plundering the inhabitants of this city. The jury to whom this misrepresentation was referred, did even, on that occasion, repudiate the evidence: two other trials followed, and you were found standing forward as the leader of that lawless band which entered this city for the purpose of plunder and violence, and armed with a more dangerous weapon than the rest of your associates.—You Isaac Harley were the first person who assaulted the Reverend Minister of your parish at his own door: you stood first of that wicked assembly and demanded money of him; and having refused that moderate sum he offered, you enforced from him the delivery of his money by your own bodily strength, forced your way into his dwelling, and compelled him and his family to fly at that late hour for their lives.—You Thos. South, the younger, appear to have been one of the most active in those wicked transactions which took place in your town: you took from one of your neighbours the savings, perhaps, of many years; and then proceeded to another, and forced him to part with such sums as you and your lawless companions demanded. With a deadly weapon in your hand, you afterwards went to the house of an aged woman, and shook it over her head. In addition to these outrages, there are no less than four other cases in which the grand jury of your country have found bills of indictment against you.—You, then, the five whom I have addressed, let me again exhort you to apply yourselves by penitence and prayer, to obtain from Heaven the pardon of your crimes.—It now remains for me to pronounce on each and every one of you the awful sentence of death: and that sentence is, that you and each of you be taken from hence that the place from whence you came, and from thence to some place of execution, where you are to be hanged by the neck until you are dead. And as to you William Beamiss the elder, George Crow, John Dennis, Isaac Harley, and Thomas South the younger, apply to the God of mercy that he would have mercy on you."

During the whole of this awful sentence, the prisoners were deeply affected, and were taken from the bar in an agony of grief.

Joseph Lavender, who had been convicted of stealing some silver spoons, the property of the Rev. John Vachell, was then brought up, and prayed the benefit of Clergy, according to the statue.

Mr. Justice Abbott addressed the prisoner. He told him that he had been found guilty of stealing a part, altho’ a very small part, of the property of the Rev. John Vachell, which was carried away by a most violent and outrageous assembly. It had not appeared, however, that he was one of those who first broke into the house. Had that fact, or any thing leading to that conclusion, been proved against him, the Court would have been called upon to pronounce a sentence as severe as the case required. Considering, therefore, all that had been brought against him, and drawing a favourable conclusion, they sentenced him to be imprisoned in the gaol of Ely for 12 calendar months.

The prisoners who were allowed on Friday to enter into recognizances for their good behaviour, were then brought up and discharged.

The remainder of the prisoners being put to the bar, Mr. Gurney stated, that he was instructed on the part of the Crown not to prefer any prosecution against them. They were, therefore, immediately discharged by Proclamation. The Court then rose, and the Special Commission concluded.

Of the 24 prisoners capitally convicted, 5 were left for execution, viz.—Thomas South, jun. for stealing in the dwelling-houses of J. Dewey and R. Speechly; John Dennis, for stealing from the persons of Wm. Cooper, R. Edwards, and G. Stephens; Isaac Harley, jun. for stealing from the person of the Rev. John Vachell; Wm. Beamiss, sen. for stealing from the persons of H. Tansley and R. Cheeswright; and George Crow, for stealing in the dwelling-house of Rebecca Waddelow and Henry Martin.—They are to suffer at Littleport on Friday next, the 28th inst.

19 Reprieved; sentences mitigated as follow:

5 to be transported for life, viz.—Joseph Easy, for stealing in the dwelling-house of J. Dewey; A. Chevell, for the same offence, and also stealing from the person of Henry Tansley; Richard Jessop, for stealing in the dwelling-house of J. Dewey, and also from the person of W. Cooper; John Jefferson, for stealing from the persons of Wm. Cooper and Robt. Edwards; and James Newell, for stealing from the person of the Rev. John Vachell.

1 to be transported for 14 years, viz.—Richard Rutter, for stealing from the person of R. Edwards.

3 to be transported for 7 years, viz.—Mark Benton, for stealing in the dwelling-house of J. Dewey; John Easy and John Walker, for stealing from the dwelling-house of Rebecca Waddelow and H. Martin.

10 to be imprisoned 12 months in Ely Gaol, viz.—Wm. Dann and Robert Crabb, for stealing in the dwelling-house of R. Speechly; Aaron Layton, W. Atkins, Sarah Hobbs, John Pricke, John Cooper, Wm. Beamiss, jun. and Jas. Cammell, for stealing from the persons of H. R. Evans, Esq. W.Cooper, G. Stevens, and R. Cheesewright; and R. Butcher, for stealing from the dwelling-house of Rebecca Waddelow and Henry Martin.

The under- mentioned abstract is taken from the Calendar signed by the Judges, and left in the hands of the Chief Bailiff of the Isle of Ely:

24 Condemned, 5 of whom left for Execution, and the sentences of 19 mitigated, as above stated.
1 Convicted of Larceny. 
5 Acquitted.
10 Discharged by Proclamation.
36 On Bail for good behaviour.

Total 76.

It is a remarkable circumstance, that every bill sent to the Grand Jury was returned true.

Fifty of the principal inhabitants of Ely regularly attended the Judges as an escort during their stay there, and accompanied them a short distance out of town on Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

21st June 1816: Henry Hobhouse writes his final letter from Ely Special Commission

Shire Hall
June 21.1816.

Dear Beckett

We have brought the Session to a most satisfactory Conclusion.

Being of opinion that Justice had been satisfied, we determined to adopt the same course as at York. Gurney addressed the Court in an extremely neat appropriate & touching Speech, explaining the Grounds on which the Crown was acting, & Mr Justice Abbott exhorted the Prisoners to improve the Lenity, which had been shewn to them, to their own Advantage & the public Peace.

The Court is now about to adjourn till tomorrow for the purpose of taking Bail of the Prisoners, who are discharged, for their appearance when required, & for their good Behaviour in the Interim.

There are 24 capital Convictions, & one for Grand Larceny. If there is time before the Post goes out, I  will send you a Calendar with the general Result.

We this morning convicted 4 of the Felony at Rob. Waddelow’s, on which our Failure took place at the outset of the Session.

I write in great Haste—
Bolland is also writing—

Yrs truly
H. Hobhouse

21st June 1816: William Bolland writes his final letter from Ely Special Commission

Dear Beckett.

Since I wrote yesterday James Camell & Wm: Beamiss the Elder have been convicted of Robbery, & John Easy, Robert Butcher, George Crow, & John Walker of Stealing above 40 [shillings] in a dwelling House (Waddelow’s) making in all 24 capital convictions and one for Larceny. We have here thought right to pause and all the other prisoners 39 in number are at this moment at the Bar and Gurney is in the Act of rising to state our intentions to the Court of writ at [present] putting them on their Trials; but of holding by recognizance each of them bound to appear at any future Assizes if called upon by the Crown.

Gurney has just finished I may truly say a most excellent address. Abbott is now speaking to the Prisoners.

Abbott has ended, and his address was well calculated to produce upon the minds of the Prisoners the best effects.—

The form of our recognizance is the form as was useful in York.

Sentence will be passed tomorrow.—

Thus is our duty as Counsel for the Crown finished and I hope we have performed it in a manner that will meet the approbation of those, who considered us worthy of so important, and confidential a trust.

I have just requested Mr. Gurney to write out his brother’s Speech and if he can finish it in time I will enclose it.

We mean to reach London tomorrow night. I will call upon you on Saturday morning – as I find by Hobhouse's letter of this morning that his account & mine differ I have given you below an accurate list

[List of prisoners and results]

Altho I have classed the offences under the general head of Robbery they are to be divided into Robberies on the Highway and in the dwelling House. The list certainly comprehends all the worst offenders, and there are some in it who may be entitled to favourable Consideration.—

I have procured the Speech.

In haste
Very Sincerely
W. Bolland
Ely June 21. 1816.—

[Gurney's speech:]

My Lords My learned Friend and myself have had informed upon us a very painful but a very important duty that of presenting to the consideration of your Lordship and the Jury those lamentable Cases of outrage and of plunder which have occupied this Court for several days last past

My Lord there now stand at the Bar nineteen prisoners charged with capital offences—four who are charged with Larcenies and two who are charged with assaults with intent to rob—In the transactions which have been the Subject of your Lordship’s consideration there were I fear not fewer than three hundred persons engaged—of those about eighty were committed for trial and we have preferred Indictments against about seventy and in every instance the commitment of the Magistrate has been justified by the finding of the Grand Jury

It is been the anxious wish of His Majesty's Government not to call for justice in more instances than there was absolutely versus necessity and my very learned Friends and myself have been invested with a discretion to pause whenever we thought a sufficient number of instances of the various kinds of cases had been brought under the [consideration] of the Court and the Verdict of a Jury pronounced upon my them

My Lords we have been anxiously looking for the limit to our very painful labors and to those of your Lordship and the Jury and we trust that in pausing here we have not been inattentive to the interests of the public on the one hand or on the other to the claims of humanity—With your Lordships permission we shall consent that as to the Prisoners who now stand at the Bar they shall not be put upon their Trial—that they shall be enlarged upon such small security as they may be able to give for the their appearance at a future time if they [should] be called upon by the Crown to appear understanding that if they make the proper return to the lenity of the Crown by their future good conduct they will not be called upon to answer with their lives as their associates have been for the crimes with which they stand charged—we trust my Lords that enough has been done in this case to reach the Inhabitants of the Isle the necessity as well as the propriety of obedience to the laws and respect for the peace of the Country and for the property of Individuals—We trust that if such excesses as these should again occur well disposed infinitely the larger part of the Inhabitants will see that it is as much their interest as it is their duty instantly to associate and to put down any riotous assemblages as they now find that they acquire encouragement and strength from compliance and submission and that they are then led on to greater excesses and to greater crimes—My Lord I hope too enough has been done to teach those who are not to be taught but by such awful lessons as have been read here of the danger of mixing in such transactions as they find that mixing with a mob at first perhaps intending only a violation of the peace they are led on to the commission of the blackest crimes and that those crimes inevitably lead to destruction

My Lords I have thought it necessary to say these few words in the present stage of this business and I trust that we shall never have occasion to repeat the having shewn clemency to the unhappy misguided men who now stand at the Bar—

21st June: Day 5 of the Ely Special Commission

The Bury & Norwich Post's coverage of the Ely Special Commission continued (from the 26th June edition of the newspaper):

FRIDAY, June 21.

John Easy, John Walker, George Crowe, Richard Nicholson, William Jefferson, Wyburn Wilson, and Robert Butcher, were placed at the bar, and arraigned for having on the night of 22d of May last in the parish of Littleport, feloniously stolen various articles of grocery and drapery, together with three promissory notes of the value of one pound each, from the dwelling-house Rebecca Waddelow and others.

Mr. Gurney, as leading counsel for the prosecution, addressed the jury for the purpose of reminding them that the prisoners were the same persons who had just been put upon their trial, as charged with having committed the crime of burglary, and in whose favour a verdict of acquittal had been necessarily given, in consequence of an error in the frame of the indictment, which described the house in question to be the property of Rebecca Waddelow, whereas it appeared by Mr. Martin's evidence, that it was the joint property of her and of Mr. Martin.—It was the same case to which he had now to direct their attention, but presented in a new form; and to prevent any possibility of mistake, three different counts were introduced, charging it to be the property of Mr. Martin and of Mrs. Waddelow, and the joint property of both. In the charges, as originally framed, other persons were included; but as they have been convicted of other capital crimes, it has been deemed advisable to dissembarrass the present prosecution as far as they were concerned.

The witnesses were then examined, and the cause occupied a great portion of the day; but as the evidence very little from what was given on the former trial, it is unnecessary to enter into a more minute detail.

The jury, after five minutes’ consideration, found a verdict of guilty against Easy, Walker, Butcher, and Crowe, and acquitted Nicholson, Wilson, & Jefferson.

Henry Benson, a considerable farmer, who was out on bail, was then put to the bar, and indicted for exciting and instigating divers person to commit riot in the town of Ely. The court ordered him to find surety for himself in 400l. and two others in 200l. each, to appear for trial at the assizes.

Richard Cooper, the elder, and Richard Cooper, the younger, were also bound in recognizances to appear at the next assizes, in order to take their trial for riotous conduct in the town of Ely.

William Beamiss, the elder, William Beamiss, the younger, were then put to the bar, and indicted for having, on Wednesday the 22d day of May last, felonious assaulted Robert Cheesewright, the younger of Littleport, in the Isle of Ely, and put him in bodily fear, and with having taken from his person a bankers cash note of the value of 1l. The indictment contained two other counts, charging the prisoners with an assault on Robert Cheesewright, the elder, and with having feloniously taken the said note from him.

Mr. Gurney addressed the jury.—It had been impossible to consider the several cases which had come under their consideration without very melancholy [emotions]; but none could be more afflicting than to see father and son standing indicted together for a robbery. They had both engaged in the riot in the town of Little port, which produced so many excesses. The note in question was demanded by Beamiss the son, and taken by his father.

The prisoner Beamiss, the elder, in his defence said, that he did not recollect taking any money from Mr. Cheesewright.—The other prisoner made no defence.

Several witnesses gave them a good character, and when Mr. Justice Burrough shortly addressed the jury who immediately returned a verdict of guilty against both.

After this, 24 prisoners were several put before the bar, 19 of them charged with capital felonies, and five others with larcenies, when Mr. Gurney interposed on behalf of the Crown, and said he should consent to [the] discharge of all other prisoners upon slight securities, with an understanding that they should not be called upon in future, if their good behaviour entitled them to such indulgence; and he trusted they would be found worthy of the clemency of the Government.—Enough, he hoped, had been done to teach the inhabitants of this isle the necessity of obedience to the laws, and of respect for the peace and property of their neighbours. They will find, that if unlawful assemblies should ever again spring up, it will be so much their interest as it is their duty to associate and put them down, since patience and indulgence only encourage greater crimes.

Several other prisoners entered into recognizances in Court, and they were about to retire, when Mr. Justice Abbott desired to make one other observation to them. He exhorted them, on their return to their houses, to avoid all excess of liquor, and not to drink and tipple at public-houses. Such practices were most pernicious to themselves, and injurious to their families [illegible] appeared that these transactions had arisen from [illegible] issuing out of a public-house: this was the origin of the present mischiefs, and others of the like nature. He cautioned them, therefore, to avoid such meetings [illegible] such conduct for the future.—

Monday, 20 June 2016

20th June 1816: Henry Hobhouse summarises day 4 of the Ely Special Commission

Shire Hall
June 20. 1816.

Dear Sir,

After I dispatched my Letter yesterday, we convicted of a Robbery the Prisoner, who has been previously acquitted (as I stated to you) by the Kindness of his Dulcinea of a transportable offence.

Today we have tried an Indictment against 9 Prisoners for Robbery of a Shopkeeper in this Town, & the Jury convicted 8 of the 9.

This makes the present Catalogue of Prisoners finally disposed of as follows. There have been other Acquittals of Prisoners, against whom there are other Charges yet untried.

Atkins, Wm.}
Beamiss, Wm Junr.}
Benton, Mark} capitally convicted
Butcher, Christn. Acquitted—

Chevll, Aaron.}
Cooper, John}
Crabb, Robt.}
Dann, Wm.} capitally convicted—

Dennis, John — [capitally convicted] twice.

Easy, Joseph — capitally convicted.

Freeman, John}
Gaultrip, John} Acquitted—

Hardy, Isaac}
Hobbs, Sarah} capitally convicted—

Jefferson, John}
Jessop, Richd.} [capitally convicted] twice

Lavender, Joseph — convicted of G. Larceny.
Layton, Aaron capitally convicted.

Newell, Jas.}
Prieke, John}
Rutter, Richd.} [capitally convicted]
South, Thos. [capitalIy convicted] twice
Stubbard, Joseph—Acquitted—

We are now trying an Indictment for Stevens’s Robbery [against] four Prisoners, already convicted, & two others. This will probably occupy the rest of the day. If it should not, we must select for the [Professor] a case of small dimensions, free (as far as human Foresight can reach) of Difficulty of an Alibi.

I think it is hardly likely that the Business will be finished by Saturday Night.

We were let down so easily on the first Indictment, that you may be assured we incurred no Disgrace. A new Indictment has been found against all the Prisoners included in the first, except those who have been since convicted of other Crimes, and will probably be tried tomorrow morning.

I have not been inattentive to Ld. Sidmouth’s Wish to inform himself of the origin of the Disturbances, & I will continue to collect as much Information as possible on that Point.

I am sorry to hear that a Threshing Machine was burnt yesterday near Mildenhall.

I am Yrs. truly
H. Hobhouse

20th June 1816: William Bolland writes from the trials at Ely Special Commission

William Atkin}
Aaron Layton}
a second time John Dennis}
Sarah Hobbs}
John Prieke}
John Cooper}
a second time Richard Jessop}
a second time John Jefferson} Robbery at Ely on William Cooper.

Dear Beckett.

I write in Court, it is now ½ p 2. We have just convicted the above 8 men, William Beamiss was found guilty of Robbery yesterday after I had closed my letter.—We have 6 others under Trial for the Robbery of Stevens, 4 of them. Viz. Dennis, Layton Atkin and Jefferson, are already convicted. I will report the result to you provided the Verdict is brought in before 5 o'clock. The total of Capital convicts is now 18. We have some few Littleport capital offences still to try. I think we shall finish them tomorrow we shall then take a Larceny or two of bad description, and one or two Indictments for Riot.—Burrough is now summing up.

It appears to me that we shall finish on Saturday time enough perhaps to reach Cambridge.—Littleport is panic struck & the events of today will strike terror into the bad part of the Inhabitants of this place A threshingmachine was burnt at Worlington on Tuesday night, It is in Suffolk about 12 miles from hence. The crime was committed by some incendiary, who was probably alone at the time, as there was no ferment in the place. It appears from the Evidence in the different Cases that so far from distress being the cause of the riots & demands of money, the leaders of the Mob have been [purport] above want & the Money obtained instead of being divided or given to the families of the poorer sort of the persons composing the Mob, has been [distributed] at public houses very soon after it was obtained from the persons, who had been robbed of it, at least that portion of it which the Leaders did not put into their own pockets.

The Jury are out and not likely to return their Verdict on time,

In haste
Very truly
W. Bolland

Ely June 20th. 1816.

20th June 1816: The Mayor of Leeds request troops from the Home Secretary

To the Rt Honble the Lord Visc Sidmouth
His Majesty's principal Secretary of State
for the Home Department

My Lord

I had the honour to Address Your Lordship some time since from a Meeting of the Magistrates of this Borough, requesting some Military aid in Support of the Civil power, which Your Lordship was so good as to send us, and which we found to be adequate for the purpose of protecting the Inhabitants against the mischievous disposition which then prevailed,. But that force was soon withdrawn, and some Acts of Violence having been lately attempted, and the delinquents taken into Custody, but afterwards rescued, for want of sufficient power to retain them, there is reason to fear that the spirit which prevails may produce some sudden ebulition & serious mischief without the presence of some Military to support the Civil Authorities.

I am requested by a Meeting of the Magistrates here this day, to entreat your Lordship, to send us a Small force of Military Cavalry, to be Station’d at Leeds as soon as may be, to prevent any disorder or danger to the peaceable inhabitants, by exhibiting adequate support to the Civil power in case of need.

I have no doubt but the wise Caution given to us by Your Lordship of the former Occasion, will be Strictly obeyed by the Civil Magistracy here

And I have [etc]
W. York

Leeds 20 June 1816

20th June: Day 4 of the Ely Special Commission

The Bury & Norwich Post's coverage of the Ely Special Commission continued (from the 26th June edition of the newspaper):

THURSDAY, June 20.

William Beamiss the younger, and Joseph Lavender, stood indicted for having, on Wednesday the 22d May last, feloniously stolen and carried away from the dwelling-house of the Rev. J. Vachell, at Littleport, in the Isle of Ely, several silver spoons, of the value of 40s. his property; and Christopher Butcher having received the same, knowing them to be stolen.

Elizabeth Carter was called; she was the servant of Mr. Waddelow, of Littleport, who sent her about 11 on the night of the 22d May to Mr. Vachell’s, to preserve what she could and carry it to him. When she got to the house, she found the people rioting; many were in the store-room. She saw Beamiss and Lavender there. Beamiss took five table spoons, which she supposed to be silver, off the shelf. Lavender was putting two gravy spoons into his pocket; and had a basket in his hand.

The Rev. Mr. Vaschell said he had no spoons in his house which were not silver. He had two silver gravy spoons, but could not tell the value of them.

Christopher Crabb said his master had four silver gravy spoons, a pair of them were lost that night.

Mr. Justice Burrough having summed up the evidence, the Jury returned the following verdict: Beamiss, Not Guilty; Lavender, guilty of stealing only, by which the capital offence was done away; Butcher, Not Guilty.

John Gaultrip was arrainged for having feloniously stolen and carried away from the house of the Rev. John Vaschell, two large silver spoons, his property.—The jury acquitted the prisoner, he having proved an alibi.

William Bemiss, the younger, was next indicted for highway robbery on Hugh Robert Evans, Esq. of Ely, on the 22d May last, at Littleport, and for having taken 14s. in silver from him.

Mr. Evans said he was coming through Littleport with Mr. Martin about 10 o'clock; when the mob came up to both doors of the chaise, opened them, and demanded a 1l. note. There were 20 persons on the sides, and just behind the chaise: some of them had sticks. He gave them about 14s.; one half to the persons on one side and the other half of those on the other side, being that was all he had. He parted with the money under an apprehension of violence.

Mr. Hunt called three witnesses to the character of the prisoner: they all stated they had known him from a child, and that he had been always peaceable, [illegible] and industrious; and he was by trade a shoemaker.—The prisoner, being called upon for his defence, said he opened the chaise door, but did not take any money.

Mr. Justice Abbott addressed the jury. On the evidence of Mr. Evans, it had been clearly proved that a robbery was committed by some person; the only question was, whether Beamiss was one of them come. The prisoner himself had acknowledged that he opened the door, but did not take the money. This however, was perfectly immaterial, as he was one of those who stopped the chaise.—The Jury returned a verdict of Guilty.

John Dennis, Richard Jessop, William Atkin, Aaron Layton, Sarah Hobbs, John Pricke, John Cooper, John Freeman, John Jefferson, were indicted for [rioting] on Thursday the 23d May last, put W. Cooper, in Ely, shopkeeper, in bodily fear, and feloniously stolen from him several books and canisters, and 10l. in notes.

Mr. Gurney addressed the Jury.—He said every one of the prisoners took an active part, but Dennis was the ringleader. He struck at the window [obscure] with a gun which he had in his hand, and received part of the money for the Littleport rioters; Atkins and Layton took the other part for the Ely men. When the [object] was effected, Dennis held up his gun as a signal, which the mob obeyed. The Learned Counsel mentioned that because Dennis had stated yesterday that he was forced to join the mob: but it must appear that he was afterwards very active. This was the only case in which a woman was indicted: but it was not the only case in which women have been guilty of great violence, and they must not understand, that they could engage in things of this kind without being responsible for the consequences. She was the wife of a soldier, and had been very active in persuading the mob to go to Mr. Cooper's, saying, he was a bigger rogue than Rickwood; and she assisted in breaking the windows of the house.

Wm. Cooper examined—Kept a shop at Ely and dealt in flour and grocery; hearing that a mob was coming to his house, he withdrew from fear of violence, leaving a Mr. Watts in it to do as well as a he could with them. He was absent about ten minutes and could not see what was passing. On the return, he saw a large assemblage of people before his house; they were near 500—.He went in by the back room; they were then very [illegible] but all the windows were broken. When they saw him, some called out, "five pounds, five pounds!" he had [illegible] 1l. notes, which he gave to the Rev. Mr. Metcalfe, who was outside of the house against the window. Mr Watts had sent him a message, that they would have ten pounds or pull the house down. He gave the money to Mr. Metcalfe to hand to the mob, for fear of his house being pulled down. He had no other fear at that time; they did not seem to have any design against his person. When Mr. Metcalfe had given the money, Layton and Atkin said, the Littleport people had got that, and the Ely people had a right to have as much. He then got 5l. more [in] notes, and handed them to Mr. Metcalfe, to give to the Ely people. The men then gave three huzzas, and went away.

The Rev. Mr. Metcalfe and the Rev. Mr. Law, (magistrates who exerted themselves to appease the mob) with Messrs. Spooner, Hutlock, Apsey, and several other witnesses, corroborated Mr. Cooper's evidence.

Mr. Justice Abbott charged the Jury at great length upon the evidence, as it applied to each of the prisoners, and the Jury, after retiring about a quarter of an hour, brought in a verdict of Guilty, against the prisoners, with the exception of Freeman whom they acquitted.

Dennis, Jefferson, Atkin and Layton, with James Camel and John Walker, were then tried upon another indictment, charging them with a robbery and stealing 10l. from the person of Geo. Stevens, Miller, [illegible]

The Jury pronounced a verdict of Guilty against four of the prisoners, viz. Dennis, Layton, Atkin and Cammel.—Jefferson and Walker, Not Guilty.

Aaron Chevill and William Beamiss were also capitally convicted of stealing from the person of Henry Tansley, by putting him in fear, two 1l. notes.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

19th June 1816: Threshing Machine set alight at Worlington, Suffolk

In the evening of Wednesday 19th June 1816, a Threshing Machine belonging to a farmer called Mr. Booty was set alight at Worlington, near Mildenhall in Suffolk.

19th June 1816: Henry Hobhouse summarises Day 3 of the Ely Special Commission

Shire Hall
June 19. 1816.

Dear Sir,

After I wrote yesterday, four Prisoners were tried for a Robbery on Mr. Vachell, all four were clearly proved Guilty, but the circumstances of Aggravation were greater against two than against the other two, and the Jury in their Discretion thought fit to acquit the two former.

Upon the whole of yesterday there were nine capital Convictions.

This day we began with an Indictment for robbing Robt. Edwards of this place of £50, which was clearly proved against five Prisoners, but the Jury only convicted three.

We intended to proceed with the Trial of the other Offences at Ely, but the last mentioned Indictment not having concluded until near three o'Clock, it was thought best to take some shorter Cases.

Mr. Justice Burrough tried an Indictment against two Principals and one Accessory for stealing Spoons at Mr. Vachell’s. One of the Principals was convicted, but the two others were acquitted by the Evidence of a Girl, whom we called as a Witness, and who proved to be a Sweet heart of the Prisoner.

The next case was not unfortunately tried before the Chief Justice. The Indictment was for Larceny at Mr. Vachell’s, & the Prisoner set up an Alibi, with which the Judge did not in the least know how to deal, and the summing up was such, that no one could be surprized at the Verdict of Acquittal.

I am
Dr Sir
Yr obed Servt
H. Hobhouse

19th June 1816: WIlliam Bolland sends an update from the Ely Special Commission

John Jefferson}
John Dennis}
Richard Rutter} Robbery on Edwards of the Ely Bank.—

Dear Beckett.

The Case of the above named Prisoners has lasted till this hour, 3 O'clock. The Jury acquitted Flanders Hopkins & James Cammell, who were indicted with them. All goes well; our Judges are excellent; all around is tranquil, and it is evident already that the Commission has produced the best effects—I will leave open the letter as long as I can to inform you of this the results of the other trials of today.—

Nothing more has taken place worth notice. The post is going

Very truly

W. Bolland

Ely June 19. 1816.—

19th June 1816: The Earl of Derby appeals to the Home Secretary about the distress of weavers in Bolton

[19th June 1816]

My Lord

A Deputation of the very respectable Gentleman whose names are affixed to the inclosed Memorial has waited upon me this morning, with their earnest Request that I [should] immediately lay before his Majesties Ministers their representation of the very distressing & alarming state not only of that particular part of the County over which their Superintendence as Deputy [Lieutenants] extends, but also generally over all parts of this County in which weaving constitutes nearly the whole means of support of the Inhabitants I think it my Duty to lose no time in transmitting this Statement to your Lordship in the terms in which it has been made to me, but I likewise consider myself as bound to add, that I am fully persuaded neither the distress of the People, nor the dreadful Excesses to which (if not some alleviated) it may compel them to have recourse, have they in the smallest Degree exaggerated: I am desired further to state that the People are at present quiet, & no hopes have been held out to them of any specific Remedy, nor do I feel myself qualified or entitled to show to your Lordship any Plan for that purpose, I am however confident that the Business calls for the speediest & most earnest attention of his Majestys Ministers & as such I beg him earnestly to recommend it, (thro’ your Lordship) to their Notice

I have [etc]


[To: Lord Sidmouth]

[Bolton magisrates memorial follows]

Bolton June 17th 1816—

My Lord

From an attentive observation of the circumstances, in which the weavers, resident in Bolton & the neighbourhood are at this moment plac’d, we, the Deputy Lieutenants of the division, in which that Town is situated, have assembled for the purpose of investigating to the utmost of our power, the cause & extent of their present distresses, & the probable effect which their urgent wants may have on the peace of the County—

We feel it to be a difficult & most delicate task, to trace the suppos’d causes to their first origin, that we beg to state to you, for the information of his Majesty's Government this simple fact—that, while every other branch of the manufacture of piece goods is declining with a rapidity unexamp’ld—the unlimited exportation of Cotton Twist, is energising the spinning trade to an unparalleled degree—With respect to the extent of the distresses of the Weavers, we have a most painful duty to perform in recommending them to your notice—The Master Manufacturers are lessening the number of those employ’d—the wages are reduc’d to a sum totally inadequate to the support of individual want  & even at this low average—the work to be performed by them is generally limited—The season of the year & the moderate price of provisions have tended to redress the cry of discontent, but such is the general stagnation of the trade that unless His Majesty's Government can afford immediate relief to their wants, & permanent support to their manufacture, we feel ourselves bound to declare, that no influence nor exertion of ours can long maintain the peace of this neighbourhood—Under these impressions, we have thought it our duty to lay before your Lordship this statement, trusting that it will meet with your Lordships forceful aid in a recommendation of it, to the attention of His Majesty's Government—We remain

My Lord
Yr Lordship’s
Most obt Hble Servants

Wm Hulton—
Benjn Rawson
John Pilkington
Richard Ainsworth