Lord Justice Clerk Fletcher reporting to the Duke of Newcastle, 5 November 1744 (SP 54/26/73A).
My Lord Duke Berwick 5th Nov ‘44
One part of the Army of the Rebells said to be about 3000 men arrived at Peebles on Saturday commanded by Lord Perth, where they halted on Sunday, the Cannon and heavy Baggage was sent that way.
The other part of their army commanded by the Pretender’s son was at Lauder. Sunday night and yesterday after it was dark arrived at Kelso, This party is said to be about 4000 and among them are the best of their men, the Camerons McDonalds, and have no Cannon and little baggage, more [in] what 30 carts and 12 Horses lightly loaded carry, & one covered wagon [with the] pretenders son’s baggage in which is a fine guilt French strong box.
I send inclosed a copy of a letter I red from The Clerk of Kelso with a copy of the order sent by the Rebells for Quartering & provisions. All the informations I get, I communicate to General Handyside, and send them forward to Marshal Wade.
As the Event of the Rebells evacuatering Scotland, may now soon happen, give me leave to put your Grace in remembrance, of what, in obedience to your Graces Commands, I sometime agoe suggested as the best way to make the Kings friends about Edenburgh, and towards the Borders usefull, to restore and secure the peace of the country which I beg leave only shortly to mention, & to refer to what I formerly wrote at great length. That commissions of Lieutenancy be sent down for the Shire of Berwick to the Earl of Home, for the Shire of East Lothian to Lord Belhaven, for the Shire of Midlothian to Lord Sommerville for the Shire of West Lothian to the Earl of Hopeton, for the Shire of Stirling to Thomas… [last line of document damaged ]
For order of Dunliean who I know in a few… [document damaged] could get 500 good men to join General Blackney [in] Stirling. These are the commissions I propose should be sent down without loss of time. And afterwards if thought proper a Commission of Lieutenancy for the Shire of Roxbrurgh may be sent to some fit person recommended by the Dukes of Baraclough & Roxbourgh, Marquis of Lothian & Mr. Douglas of Cavers and for the shire of Dumfries to one recommended by the Duke of Queensbury. Which would include all the shires about Edenburgh and on the Borders. By which means the retreat of the rebels on their being rooted in England would be cut off. Your Grace will remember yet I did not propose that the full number of militia should be raised, but only the Best of the men. and that I admitted we were no to trust to these, fighting in a regular Battle, But that the great use of them would be to scour the Country, restrain stragleing parties, secure and strengthen our posts, get intelligence, bring in Forrage and provisions, and upon occasion act as pioneers, and conduct the army and Baggage through their Shires, in short to save the army, in honesty different shapes every day, from being harassed and fatigued, before their proper Business, the day of Action. I proposed also that an Officer of Family Distinction & rank, esteemed and beloved in the Countrey, with some inferior officers under him, skilled in the common routine, would be of great use, to take upon him the Command or Direction of these Militia from County to County as the Army progresses, and to settle some general rules and orders for [making] them most usefull, This I think would make the Lord Lieutenants very happy, whose skill may not be Equall to their zeal *
*None occurs to me so proper for this employment as the Earl of Home.