Front Page Titles (by Subject) VIII - Selected Discourses and Speeches
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VIII - 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
If in the sad event of her Majesty’s decease without heirs of her body, any considerable military force should be in the hands of one or more men, who might have an understanding together, we are not very sure what use they would make of them in so nice and critical a conjuncture. We know that as the most just and honourable enterprises, when they fail, are accounted in the number of rebellions; so all attempts, however unjust, if they succeed, always purge themselves of all guilt and imputation. If a man presume he shall have success, and obtain the utmost of his hopes, he will not too nicely examine the point of right, nor balance too scrupulously the injury he does to his country. I would not have any man take this for a reflection upon those honourable persons, who have at present the command of our troops. For besides that we are not certain who shall be in those commands at the time of such an event, we are to know that all men are frail, and the Wicked and mean-spirited world has paid too much honour to many, who have subverted the liberties of their country. We see a great disposition at this time in some men, not to consent to any limitations on a successor, though we should name the same with England. And therefore since this is probably the last opportunity we shall ever have of freeing ourselves from our dependence on the English court, we ought to manage it with the utmost jealousy and diffidence of such men. For though we have ordered the nation to be armed and exercised, which will be a sufficient defence when done: yet we know not but the event, which God avert, may happen before this can be effected. And we may easily imagine, what a few bold men, at the head of a small number of regular troops, might do, when all things are in confusion and suspense. So that we ought to make effectual provision with the utmost circumspection, that all such forces may be subservient to the government and interest of this nation, and not to the private ambition of their commanders. I therefore move, that immediately upon the decease of her Majesty, all military commissions above that of a captain be null and void.