Flogging an Unruly Boy


icon Back to all articles

Robert Ross writes from Australia concerned that Tain teachers may be 'prohibited from flogging an unruly boy'.

In a recent issue of the “Journal,” I read an article and a letter on the question of using the cane or the tawse by a teacher in the Board School, and, has it really come to this, in Tain of all places in the Empire, that a teacher is prohibited from flogging an unruly boy. I do wonder if the spirit of William Bain ever hovers over the Tain schools, and, if it does, what will it think of the present condition of things?

What Tain teacher ever turned out better scholars than William Bain, and he certainly did not spare the rod. I remember as if it were yesterday getting 20 cuts on the hand with a cane, and I richly deserved them, but I did not run away with a complaint to the Board demanding reparation for damage and injury. During the year or two, I attended the Tain Royal Academy I saw but one boy whipped by Professor Wilson, and it was indeed such a flogging that all saw it would never forget it. Are Tain boys becoming so soft that they whine and cry out when the tawse is applied to their hands or body? The account is very amusing, and I am sure will create no end of merriment whenever Tain boys of half-a-century-ago assemble.

Do not let Tain people imagine that I am an advocate for severe caning, and wish to hear of that brutal system revived, when boys were compelled to strip and be flogged on the bare back, but I do think it is going too far to withhold the power from the master to use cane or tawse. I so often dream of Tain that I imagine attending school, and how quiet and good they must be when flogging even one of them causes articles and letters to appear in the “Journal,”