Letter from Sir Everard Fawkener, Secretary to the Duke of Cumberland, to the magistrates of Montrose, Scotland. Fort Augustus, June 19 1746, (SP 54/32/24C).
His Royal Highness the Duke [Cumberland] has received information of a fresh token of Disaffection in your Town, by the gathering together of a Number of Boys, upon the said [date] to make a Bonfire, & their very free Declaration, when the reason of it was enquired of them, that it was the Birth Day of the Pretender, they impudently calling him King James. These pernicious [harmful] principles thus carefully instilled into youth is sewing the seed of so dangerous & destructive a Harvest, that his Royal Highness the Duke thinks it necessary it should, by Punishment, be choaked before it can come to Maturity, & I have his commands to acquaint you that it is His Royal Highness’s positive orders, that if, by the cognizance you may have taken of this affair, you have not already sufficient information who the boys are or who were concerned in this affair that you enquire of Major Chabane, & that you cause those boys, be they who they will, to be whiped through the Town, their Parents or Guardians assisting, & the cryer of the Town proclaiming at proper proper Places, what it is for. And, as to those Parents or Guardians, H.R.H. directs that they shall be kept in Prison till they find proper Bail to be forth coming, when called for, & sufficient Security for their future good Behaviour. H.R.H. has sent orders to Major Chabane to order some officers to see that this correction be given properly , & in a manner suitable to the age of the boys, and likewise to take care to place proper Guards, if he should have Reason to apprehend any sort of ill Behaviour of the People.
Though it is the Act of Boys, yet as we now so fatally feel the Mischiefs of such an Education, H.R.H. is not a little surprised that he has not had the least notice from you about it, or from others, that you have thought fit to shew the least attention to it, which he thinks a neglect of your duty, as well as that you were wanting in necessary care of the publick Tranquility [peace], in not using some of Precaution on that Day to prevent new scandal, when so much has been given already. And to say truth, it is a very just, as well as heavy Reproach on this town of Montrose, that though there is hardly an instance of any Town in these kingdoms that has received within the same space of time, so great improvement & increase, as that has since the accession of His Late Majesty to the Throne of these Kingdoms (all which are the effects of a good and a just Government) yet the inhabitants should be so indifferent about, if not averse [against] to, the Preservation of that Establishment [keeping the present government] to which they owe so much. It will therefore become, and be incumbent [the role of] on the magistrates, & all who wish the Welfare of the Town, to be more than ordinary diligent to wipe off this stain, as well for Wrath as Conscience sake, for after all, the Supreme Magistrate beareth not the Sword in vain, and the Peace & Security of the whole, must be provided for, I am