July 1. 1815.
Mr. Burbridge, our Town Clerk, having received a letter on Thursday evening last from a confidential friend at Nottingham, who wishes name to be kept secret; but upon whose discretion and Judgement your Lordship may entirely rely, I beg to inclose a copy of that Letter, marked "A." On the day to which the writer alludes (26th June) a Meeting was held at Leicester, and an open pasture ground, upon the subject of Parliamentary Reform. It was called by an Anonymous Advertisement, & attended by about two or three hundreds only of the rabble of the Town. There were some Strangers amongst them who took the lead.
Yesterday evening I received a letter from an anonymous correspondent of which I inclose a copy marked "B." I am sorry to add that some other little facts which had previously come to my knowledge lead me to believe that, to a certain extent at least, the information thus communicated is true. In any event it is clear that secret Societies are forming in Leicester & that the members of them are sworn. With the view to detect these practices my Brother Magistrates and myself have taken such precautions as appeared to us to be necessary. Amongst other things we have thought it expedient to request that two confidential and discreet officers from Bow Street may be sent to as to reside at Leicester, in disguise, for some months, if necessary, & to associate with some of the members of these Societies, &, if possible, to get admitted themselves. No other plan appears to us to promise so speedy a development of the objects in view; nor could any persons known in this Town or neighbourhood be so likely to accomplish it.—With respect to the Militia arms we would mention that we have requested Adjutant of the Militia to place a Guard night and day over those which are deposited in the building called the Magazine which we consider to be tolerably secure;—but the Local militia arms are in another building in a different part of the Town, & we do not consider them safe. For this reason we have requested the Officer of the Local Militia to order the Locks & Bayonets of his pieces to be taken off & deposited in the Magazine, & they will thus be rendered harmless if an attack should be made. The party of regular Militia resident at Leicester does not, we believe, exceed 20 or 30 men, & we have no other military here but recruiting parties.—
Your Lordship is aware that it is only the arms of the Leicester Regiment of Local Militia which are deposited at Leicester, the others being kept, I can not say whether securely or not, in other Towns in the County. Your Lordship will consider whether it might not be well worth the expenditure to have some capacious & secure building erected which should hold all the Militia arms of the County, & be at all times under a sufficient military Guard. I feel persuaded that your Lordship will pardon the liberty of this suggestion, & I need scarcely add that in any point upon which your Lordship will favor us with directions we shall be very happy to obey them.
I have [etc]
M Miles Mayor
[To] The Right Honble
Lord Visct. Sidmouth
&c &c &c
This letter can be found at HO 42/145.