Friday, 17 June 2016

17th June 1816: The prosecution solicitor, William Bolland, sends his first report from Ely Special Commission

Ely June 17. 1816.

Dear Becket

We got to Cambridge about 4; the Judges arrived at 2. At 7 this Morning we started for this place. The Judges were met about 2 miles from the town, and escorted by a very fair collection of persons on Horseback to the Bishop’s Palace. There are at present in the Cathedral hearing a Sermon from Sir: H. B. Dudley. In a few minutes I expect to be summoned to the Court to hear Mr: [Justice] Abbott charge the Grand Jury, which we are given to understand is composed of some of the most respectable Men of the Isle. The Court is; (as you may suppose it to be, in so confined a Jurisdiction) miserably small and inconvenient, altho great alterations have been made in it to render it, as commodious as possible. I still however doubt whether the Judges will sit in it, The doors, and windows are so situated, as to make it dangerous for Mr: [Justice] Abbott to venture upon a trial if it, as the least draught of Air affects his Eyes so far, as to produce blindness, and he is too cautious I think to run any risk of inducing such a calamity. As however he has not seen it, he has not yet decided. If our place of sitting is changed I presume the Cathedral will be resorted to for accommodation.—I am going into Court, and will finish my letter when I come back.

It is determined to sit in the Court house, a few further improvements being made in it. Mr: [Justice] Abbott gave a most excellent charge to the Grand Jury, the great respectability of which justified all we were led to expect of it. I hear from Mr. [Justice] Borrough that the Judges were met by the Bishop, and every thing has been done to give solemnity to their entrance at the opening of the Commission.

The post is going, so adieu. I have enclosed or, I should rather say, sent you a Calendar in order that when I refer to the different prisoners in my future letters you may have a guide to their offences.

I am Dear Beckett
Very truly yours
W Bolland

[To: John Beckett]

This letter can be found at HO 42/151.

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