Controlling Scotland after Culloden

Letter from the Earl of Ancram, William Kerr, a Scottish nobleman, to Sir Everard Fawkener, Secretary to the Duke of Cumberland (SP 54/32/24E).


Aberdeen June 25th 1746

Sir Everard Fawkner

Yesterday I received yours with the Passports inclosed which I gave to the several people as directed and shall be sure to obey punctually the orders relating to myself and to see others do the same as far as it is in my power. I must own to you that it gives me no sort of pleasure to see good natured things done to the People of this Country, nothing will make them do their duty but starving them or in some other shape forcing them to it, I have quite lost the little humanity I had for ‘em, I mean even for those who pretend to be well affected, none of them give us the smallest assistance on the contrary I am persuaded that there is hardly one of them that would not rather conceal a Rebel than inform us of them, some examples that I have made of the houses that harbour rebels has made ’em cautious of receiving them, I must tell you what happened yesterday to a man that had been represented to me as one of the best affected man here is Burnet of Kemny  [Kemnay, Aberdeenshire] I overheard him tell a gentleman That a nonjuring clergyman [clergyman who refused to take the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy to William and Mary and their successors after the Glorious Revolution of 1688] in his house had said that he would not administer the Sacrament to any man who would hear King George prayed for, you may believe that I immediately insisted to know his name, Mr. Burnet said that he could not betray any man that had been under his roof, I treated it I hope properly at the time, and as soon as he was gone out of the house writ him a Billet-doux [French for a sweet note, that is a love letter] which brought him to me in two hours trembling not able hardly to speak more than to beg ten thousand pardons & to tell me the rascals name & place of abode. I shall endeavour to administer a bitter cup to him the clergyman.

The officer of London’s Regiment who commands the small Garrison at Shellater had sent two soldiers with a copy of the certificates ordered by his Royal Highness to be given to rebels that surrendered to be shown to a Minister, five or six Rebel Gentleman who were lurking in that country attacked the men, fired upon them, but both made their escape, one of them was wounded. I ordered immediately the ministers to point out the houses of such as had surrendered that they might be safe, but at the same time ordered the country there about to be burnt & lay’d waste, and on Sunday the Ministers to acquaint their congregations that where ever a man belonging to His Majesty was attacked that the country should be treated in the same way. I hope that I did right. I have at this time four different Partys of Londons Regiment in request of Glenbachs, the night before last one of the partys took his own saddle horse, furniture & pistols he got off very narrowly, but we imagine that we know where he is and have surrounded the Glen, I hope that he cannot escape now. Two gentlemen, a father and son, their names Gordon of Clunie wore white cockades [rosette or knot of ribbon, usually worn on the hat as a show support for the Jacobite cause] when the rebels were here, forced their tenants to take up arms with the Rebels or to pay the levie mony, spoke treason openly etc have lived at home quietly no Gentleman of the country ever gave any information against them, at last a minister has & I hope that by this time they and their papers are in the hands of a party sent to apprehend them. Near to Angus,  the Dragoons [soldiers fighting on horseback, cavalry] have seized a Mr. Mercer said to have near to three hundred pounds a year his mother where he was taken slipt ten guineas [each coin worth twenty-one shillings] into the Serjeant’s hand to let him escape, but the Serjeant had more honesty than to do it, I am told that his own confession is sufficient proof against him, I have sent to have his papers seized.

Grant the worthy sherriff of this county came to town the other day, among other things I asked him if he knew of any meeting houses, he said no, however there is one belonging to himself close to his house, I should say there was, for it is now no more. I for the first time knew by your letter of the insolent villainous behaviour of the People at Montrose, Major Chablane did not think proper to make any report to me about it. If he had I could have had patience to have delayed punishing them till now, we kept this town in very good order on the 10th and on the 11th, I made ‘em illuminate every window in great & small streets, the Troops in town, at the Fort & the Militia fired, we had bonfires and half the town Drunk.

Tomorrow the General Court Martial sits to try three mutineers of Lord Londons Regiment and two deserters from the King’s Army who listed afterwards with the Rebels, the Proceedings shall be sent to His Royal Highness. I have promised a reward of money to four young fellows who have undertaken to secure Roy Stewart, they pretend to know where he is, the Troops cannot take him the country are so watchfull in giving intelligence when we move. I am with the greatest
Regard & Esteem,

Sir, your most obedient & most humble servant,

I shall strictly obey His Royal Highness commands & loose no time to have the recruit Horses for P.M Kerrs Regiment, I believe it will be necessary to send an officer, I beg to have orders for it, mean time the People we deal with will be doing what they can. The reinforcement that you mention come to me from London does not come farther north than Edinburgh, far enough North in all conscience.

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