J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

“He was formerly employed…”

Recently Don Hagist of British Soldiers, American Revolution quoted what might be the Most Awesome Deserter Ad Ever, from the Edinburgh Advertiser dated 7 Mar 1780:

Deserted from his Majesty’s South Fencible Regiment, quartered at Dumfries, on Friday Feb. 25, 1780, Hector M’Lean, private soldier, born in Glasgow, 25 years of age, 5 feet 4 inches high, fair complexion, fair hair, grey eyes, and a little long chin’d, stout made, and walks very upright, by trade a comb maker; had on when he deserted the regimentals of the light company of the above regiment.

He was formerly employed as a tumbler to a company of Stirling players, and is well known about Edinburgh and Kendal in Westmoreland: and it is supposed when he left the regiment he took the English road.

Whoever can secure the said deserter in any jail shall be entitled to Two Guineas reward, over and above what is allowed by act of parliament for apprehending deserters, and that immediately on giving notice to the commanding officer at Dumfries.
So anyone who sees a former “tumbler” walking “very upright” along the road to England, he’s worth two guineas!

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