Friday, 27 May 2016

27th May 1816: Ely magistrates inform the Home Office of the situation in the City & about suspects

My Lord

In the absence of Sir H.B. Dudley, & at the request of my Brother Magistrates, I beg leave to inform you, that all immediate apprehension of danger is over, though from the information, we have received, we understand, that this night it was intended by the Rioters again to attack this town. We have many Prisoners, among whom there are several willing to turn Kings Evidence. It appears, that for the last six weeks Delegates have been sent, to various Towns & villages in this district, & that a Combination had taken place, though at present we are unable to stay, to what extent.

We have thought it our duty to appoint as many respectable Persons, as will come forward, Special Constables, & the Town of Ely, have much to their credit, mounted a regular watch. The Ringleader by name Dennis, a Publican of Littleport is in custody.

We understand that a man by name Stephen Saunderson, by trade a Labourer, & born at Land Beach in Cambridgeshire, lately working at Ely, & one of the most active Rioters here, & the Extortioner of the money from the Bank of this place, is now in London. He is a tall Stout man, in a Fustian Jacket, about 30 years age, good looking.

The Bench of Magistrates is at present so weak, that we are in great want of assistance. It therefore would be a very great Kindness in the part of Government to send without delay some efficient Member of the Police to aid us in taking examinations, & making commitments. It is with concern, I mention, that from the strongest evidence it appears before us this day that the plan of the Rioters was levelled at the subversion of the Government itself!! Contributions have been levied, & though the complaint on thursday was "a want of food" no money whatever of the sums levied & extorted, has been expended in provision or food.

I rely on your Lordships kindness to excuse inaccuracies, for I write in a most crowded room [illegible] [illegible]

I am, yr Lordships humble servant
H Law
Acting magistrate for
the Isle of Ely
Wm Metcalfe
F Dawbery

Ely Jail Monday
Ten oclock

Saunderson has a relative of the same name, by trade a [Whitesmith], and & [working] in the neighbourhood of [Piccadilly].

I have just heard that Saunderson the Whitesmith lodges at 91 Berwick Street, Soho & works with Mr Jibholt, Bell Hanger, Wardour Street, [Soho]

Henry Law —

This letter can be found at HO 42/150.

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