Wednesday, 18 May 2016

18th May 1816: John Patteson sends another update about the situation in Norwich

Norwich 18 May 1816

My Lord

By yesterdays mail I had the honor, at the desire of our mayor, to give your Lordship a circumstantial Account of the riotous proceedings in this City on friday & of the measures taken by the magistrates to check them—It was thought adviseable yesterday to be in the same state of preparation, more especially as many rumours were afloat of the intention of people from the country to come into the city, which they might have done less observed, it being market day, but none such appeared — in the morning there was a gathering together of boys &c but the civil & military dispersed them & all was quiet at 10 oClock — I have not heard of any meetings on this day & as the public mind is calmed by the reduction of the price of Wheat in our market yesterday of about 10 [shillings] pr. [quarter] – I am in great hopes that we shall have no more trouble with the peoples – Your Lordship will easily imagine that however the want of employment & the increasing prices of flour & bread may have irritated the minds of the people in general, yet that the evil spirit of the last 20 years, however smothered, is not wholly extinguished & it has shewn itself in the imposing language of not calling in the military until it became certain that the exertions of the civil power was unequal to the task—thoroughly convinced that the civil power was unequal the military were called in at dusk & the rioters dispersed from the contents in the pockets of some of the persons taken into custody & information of similar in those who escaped when they found the magistrates [present] I rejoice that by calling in the military, no injury has been done (of consequence) to any individual & but little to lamps & windows—Your Lordship I hope will pardon me and submitting how much it would please the peace of the city & give confidence to the well disposed, if there could be not less at any time tha a troop of horse in our barracks the very sight of them is imposing & they are known to be decided whenever their duty requires decision there is much & valuable property in this City – on thursday friday a flour mill was broken into; part of the power of which it applied to the working of a [felt] mill, the proprietor of which told me contained at the moment property exceeding [£30 a week] – he applied on friday for a military guard & a question on the propriety of granting it was raised amongst the magistrates but fortunately overruled

I wish I could give your Lordship a better account of this City – it always has & I fear always will contain much inflammable matter & can only be kept under by the strong hand of power In this instance certain persons, not amongst the rioters, knew there were but few dragoons in the barracks & that the [West Norfolk Militia] were here for the purpose of being disbanded.

We are much indebted to the military & many respectable inhabitants who will continue to keep a sharp look out & take timely measures to prevent the renewal of such proceedings

I again beg your Lordship’s pardon for troubling you & perhaps stopping some what beyond my immediate duty — the motive of giving you the best information, will I hope plead my excuse — I have the honor to remain

My Lord

Your Lordships

most obedt hble Servt
John Patterson

This letter can be found at HO 42/150.

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