Sunday, 24 July 2016

24th July 1816: Bury & Norwich Post editorial about the recent meeting in Ely

ELY, JULY 22, 1816.

We are much concerned to state, that an occurrence which has recently taken place here has occasioned a very considerable degree of ferment in the public mind in this neighbourhood.—It will be in the recollection of our readers that nine of the rioters who were condemned were considered deserving of the lenity of the Crown, and they were consequently reprieved, and an official notification was made to them that their sentences would be commuted for 12 months’ imprisonment.—They continued in Ely gaol until Thursday last, when, strange to tell, a dispatch arrived from the Secretary of State’s Office announcing their Pardon, upon Condition of being transported for 7 years!!! In the course of the day they were sent off for the Hulks, and in order to prevent any unpleasant consequences, the circumstances attending their removal were with great propriety concealed from the public until the following day.—The wives and families of the unfortunate men, as might be expected, are in a deplorable state of distress, and an universal gloom is spread over the inhabitants of the town.—The rich and poor are equally loud in their murmurings, as these men were deprived of the small consolation of being permitted to take leave of their nearest relatives, who indeed imagined that their place of confinement was only to be changed from Ely gaol to Newgate.

We are well assured that the severe examples recently made have produced the happiest effects. The lower classes seemed to have felt the necessity of them, and to be duly sensible of the lenity shewn to those men whose lives have been spared.—In the town of Littleport, we are told, that a reformation of manners is plainly discernible amongst those who were engaged in the late riots. It is, therefore, a matter of sincere regret, that it should be thought advisable to adopt so impolitic a measure, than which, as it appears to us, nothing could be more calculated to make an indelible impression upon the public mind, fatal to the good order and peaceable government of Ely and its neighbourhood.—The prisoners are principally young men of good character, who, it is supposed, had been induced to join in the late riots from the evil examples which were set them.

A very numerous and respectable meeting of the inhabitants took place on Monday at the Club Inn, (the Magistrates having refused to allow the use of the Shire-hall) when several Resolutions were come to upon the business, for which see advt. next page.

This is from the Bury & Norwich Post of 24th July 1816.

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