I had yesterday the honor of receiving your Letter in which the early establishment of a Cavalry force at Leicester is considered; and I feel it my duty to communicate to your Lordship that nocturnal meetings held between Leicester & Hinckley by very considerable numbers now out of employment have, since I had the honor of last addressing you, led to an application from Magistrates in that quarter for such assistance as our Yeomanry Corps can afford.
I need not assure your Lordship that no portion of this will be wanting: but it is impossible that such assemblages under the present Circumstances of the Hosiery Trade can long continue without some serious mischief as in the Case at Loughborough, & my firm Conviction is that a regular force will tend much to the prevention of those Outrages which, experience has shewn [are] committed are scarcely open to [discovery] according to the Luddite system—
As yet no actual Outrage has occurred, & I do believe that the probability of even those distressed persons who may have been brought to these nightly meetings are not mischievously disposed but rest assured, my Lord, that the Appearance of a Military force is necessary to support the Publick Tranquillity which at this moment is open & [Interruption] at the very suggestion of any daring individual amongst them—
& I need not point out to your Lordship that it is now more easy to deter these folks from Riot, than it will afterwards be to dissolve their systematick cause or to check their practices once seriously engaged in—
We know from past Proceedings what these people are capable of; & I am confident that not a moment should be lost in the most effectual measures for either prevention or counteracting the prevention of their Plans—
I feel this strongly that I should ill discharge my duty if I did not communicate the State of this district to Your lordship & remain
your Obt Hble Servt
The Visct. Sidmouth
This letter can be found at HO 42/152.