Front Page Titles (by Subject) VII - Selected Discourses and Speeches
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VII - 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 hope I need not inform this honourable house, that all acts which can be proposed for the security of this kingdom, are vain and empty propositions, unless they are supported by arms; and that to rely upon any law without such a security is to lean upon a shadow. We had better never pass this act: for then we shall not imagine we have done anything for our security; and if we think we can do anything effectual Without that provision, we deceive ourselves, and are in a most dangerous condition. Such an act cannot be said to be an act for the security of anything, in which the most necessary clause is wanting, and without which all the rest is of no force: neither can any kingdom be really secured but by arming the people. Let no man pretend that we have standing forces to support this law; and that if their numbers be not sufficient, we may raise more. It is very well known this nation cannot maintain so many standing forces as would be necessary for our defence, though we could entirely rely upon their fidelity. The possession of arms is the distinction of a freeman from a slave. He who has nothing, and belongs to another, must be defended by him, and needs no arms: but he who thinks he is his own master, and has anything he may call his own, ought to have arms to defend himself and what he possesses, or else he lives precariously and at discretion. And though for a while those who have the sword in their power abstain from doing him injuries; yet by degrees he will be awed into a submission to every arbitrary command. Our ancestors by being always armed, and frequently in action, defended themselves against the Romans, Danes, and English; and maintained their liberty against the encroachments of their own princes. If we are not rich enough to pay a sufficient number of standing forces, we have a least this advantage, that arms in our own hands serve no less to maintain our liberty at home than to defend us from enemies abroad. Other nations, if they think they can trust standing forces, may by their means defend themselves against foreign enemies. But we, who have not wealth sufficient to pay such forces, should not, of all nations under heaven, be unarmed. For us then to continue without arms, is to be directly in the condition of slaves: to be found unarmed in the event of her Majesty’s death, would be to have no manner of security for our liberty, property, or the independence of this kingdom. By being unarmed, we every day run the risk of our all, since we know not how soon that event may overtake us: to continue still unarmed, when by this very act now under deliberation, we have put a case, which happening may spearate us from England, would be the grossest of all follies. And if we do not provide for arming the kingdom in such an exigency, we shall become a jest and a proverb to the world.