Newmarket April 30
The Revd Mr Smyth, an acting Magistrate in Suffolk, & in the Hundred in which the riotous disposition, of which your Ldship has heard the full extent, has shewn itself, being on his way to Town, I have desired he would wait upon your Lordship, at the Secretary of States Office, tomorrow, at about one oclock, in order that you may have an opportunity of making such enquiries of him with regard to the disposition of the people, the nature of the disturbance which has taken place, the extent of the mischief done, & the causes of the prevailing discontent, as your Lordships may judge the circumstances to require.
Mr Smyth has informed me of a riotous assemblage of people (Men Women & Children) having taken place yesterday at Rattlesden, about ten Miles from Bury St. Edmunds, in this County, for the purpose of destroying a ground, or mole plough, used to save labour in draining; the farmer, occupier of the land where they had assembled, used every means to disperse them, but, in spite of his endeavours, they first executed their purpose of destroying his plough, & afterwards, without committing any other violence, left this premises, & dispersed. An information of these proceedings being laid before the magistrates at Bury, warrants were issued for the apprehension of certain of the rioters 21 in number whose activity had been particularly remembered by the farmer.
Painful as it is to me to relate these circumstances to your Lordships, it is far more so to reflect upon the causes* of the discontent which prevails in parts of this County, to which it appears very difficult to apply a remedy, but to which I am persuaded H.M. Government will feel it incumbent upon them to give, without loss of time, their almost attention:
I have the honor to be
& humble Svt
*chiefly: want of employment;
[To] Viscount Sidmouth
& &c &c
This letter can be found at HO 42/149.