Front Page Titles (by Subject) V - Selected Discourses and Speeches
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V - Andrew Fletcher, Selected Discourses and Speeches 
Selected Discourses and Speeches: A Discourse of Government with Relation to Militias (Edinburgh, 1698); Two Discourses concerning the Affairs of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1698); Speeches by a Member of the Parlaiment (Edinburgh, 1703); A Conversation concerning a Right Regulation of Government (Edinburgh, 1704).
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My Lord Chancellor
I am sorry to hear what has been just now spoken from the throne. I know the duty I owe to her Majesty, and the respect that is due to her Commissioner; and therefore shall speak with a just regard to both. But the duty I owe to my country obliges me to Say, that what we have now heard from the throne, must of necessity proceed from English councils. If we had demanded that these limitations should take place during the life of her Majesty, or of the heirs of her body, perhaps we might have no great reason to complain, though they should be refused. But that her Majesty should prefer the prerogative of she knows not who, to the happiness of the whole people of Scotland; that she should deny her assent to such conditions of government as are not limitations upon the crown of Scotland, but only such as are absolutely necessary to relieve us from a subjection to the court of England, must proceed from English councils; as well because there is no Scots minister now at London, as because I have had an account, which I believe to be too well grounded, that a letter to this effect has been sent down hither by the lord Treasurer of England, not may days ago. Besides, all men who have lately been at London, well know, that nothing has been more common, than to see Scotsmen of the several parties addressing themselves of English ministers about Scots affairs; and even to some ladies of that court, whom for the respect I bear to their relations I shall not name. Now, whether we shall continue under the influence and subjection of the English court; or whether it be not high time to lay before her Majesty, by a vote of this house, the conditions of government upon which we will receive a successor, I leave to the wisdom of the parliament. This I must say, that to tell us anything of her Majesty’s intentions in this affair, before we have presented any act to that purpose for the royal assent, is to prejudge the cause, and altogether unparliamentary. I will add, that nothing has ever shown the power and force of English councils upon our affairs in a more eminent manner at any time, since the union of the crowns. No man in this house is more convinced of the great advantage of that peace which both nations enjoy by living under one prince. But as on the one hand, some men for private ends, and in order to get into offices, have either neglected or betrayed the interest of this nation, by a mean compliance with the English court; so on the other side it cannot be denied, that we have been but indifferently used by the English nation. I shall not insist upon the affair of Darien, in which by their means and influence chiefly, we suffered so great a loss both in men and money, as to put us almost beyond hope of ever having any considerable trade; and this contrary to their own true interest, which now appears but too visibly. I shall not go about to enumerate instances of a provoking nature in other matters, but keep myself precisely to the thing we are upon. The English nation did, some time past, take into consideration the nomination of a successor to that crown; an affair of the highest importance, and one would think of common concernment to both kingdoms. Did they ever require our concurrence? Did they ever desire the late King to cause the parliament of Scotland to meet, in order to take our advice and consent? Was not this to tell us plainly, that we ought to be concluded by their determinations, and were not worthy to be consulted in the matter? Indeed, my lord Chancellor, considering their whole carriage in this affair, and the broad insinuations we have now heard, that we are not to expect her Majesty’s assent to any limitations on a successor (which must proceed from English council) and considering we cannot propose to ourselves any other relief from that servitude we lie under by the influence of that court; it is my opinion that the house come to a resolution, that after the decease of her Majesty, heirs of her body failing, we will separate our crown from that of England.