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Letters etc. relating to the Drainage of the Fens of Cambridgeshire, and the Navigation of the River Cam, 1775 - 1794

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Mm.06.39

Scope and Contents

In the handwriting of the Rev. James Bentham, Canon of Ely and Historian of the Cathedral, who died in 1794.
1. f. 1 b. Copy of a Letter from the clerk of 'the Committee against Tunnage,' to the Conservators of the Cam, asking them to appoint their surveyor to attend a Committee of the H. of Commons to answer questions concerning the navigation from Clay Hithe to Cambridge. Dated 15 Feb. 1777.
2. f. 1 b. Copy of 'an Advertisement printed in the Cambridge Journal of Saturday, Feb. 15, 1777' relating to a Bill proposed to be offered to Parliament for laying a tonnage on coals and other goods from Lynn to Cambridge.
3. f. 3. Orders of the Board of the Bedford Level Corporation in relation to an intended Bill for the more effectual draining the Middle and South Levels. Dated respectively, 20 April, and 2 Dec, 1775.
4. f. 4. Advertisements of the 'Committee against Tunnage' inserted in the Cambridge Chronicle, 1776.
5. f. 5. Resolutions of the Board of the Bedford Level Corporation in reference to the aforesaid Bill, 2 Feb., 1776.
6. f. 7. 'Loose and unconnected observations and reflections' upon Gruntifen, and the fens generally. Much of this has been cancelled with a pen. It appears to be the original rough draught of Bentham's pamphlet, entitled ' Considerations and Reflections on the present state of the fens near Ely,' etc, printed in 1778, and re-printed in 1857. The original publication of this pamphlet raised the most tumultuous opposition on the part of the commoners against the proposed inclosure, which displayed itself in acts of personal violence against Bentham. After the lapse of 80 years Gruntifen was inclosed without disturbance, in pursuance of 'The Second Annual Inclosure Act, 1857,' 20 and 21 Victoria, c. 20.
7. f. 20. (An insertion.) 'Copy' of a Letter 'to the Rev. Mr Bentham, Ely,' from Chas. Wedge, dated Gazely, 7 Oct. 1788, upon the subject of the intended Navigation from Bishop's Stortford to Cambridge.


  • Creation: 1775 - 1794


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1 volume(s) (69 leaves, 52 of them blank)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

In the library by the mid 1750s.

Physical Description


Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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