Front Page Titles (by Subject) XV - Selected Discourses and Speeches
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XV - 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
This is an act for repealing a law made in the year 1700, which prohibits the importation of French wines. We were then in peace with France, and are now in a declared war against them. The prohibition was made in time of peace, because the French laid greater impositions upon our trade than they did upon other nations: and yet it is desired that French wines may be imported in time of war; though not only the same, but new burdens are laid upon our merchandise in France. It is pretended that we shall not trade to France directly, but may buy French wines from certain nations who trade to that country with our goods. I will allow all this, though it be false; but where is the necessity we should take French wines from those nations for our commodities? Have they not copper, iron, pitch, tar, hemp, flax, and timber for building of ships and other uses, which we need? or if our consumption of these things will not answer the value of those goods they take of us, may we not export the overplus to other parts? Since therefore the same or Greater impositions continue still upon our merchandise in France, so as we cannot get of those neutral nations so high a price for our goods, as if the impositions in France were taken off, the reason of the law made in 1700 still remains. And if we had sufficient cause to prohibit the importation of French wines by our own ships in time of peace, shall we purchase French wines from other nations in time of war? The French would not receive our goods in time of peace, upon equal terms with those of other nations, which obliged us to forbid their wines: shall we now take them at a double value in time of war? or are we become greater friends to France now in a time of open war, than we were before in time of peace? Something might be said, if no wines were to be found in Portugal or Italy. But it seems no wine will please us, but that of a country, against which we are in actual war, and which uses us ill both in peace and war. One would have thought that the past services of a nation, which has more than once saved that base people from ruin, might have obliged them to a more favourable usage of us. But the world will say, we are yet a baser people than they, if whilst they continue to suppress our trade, we repeal a law, for which we have now more and better reasons than when we made it. To repeal such a law in time of war will found admirably well in England and Holland: since it is no less than a direct breach of our alliance with those nations; a formal renunciation of any advantages we may pretend in a treaty of peace, and exactly calculated to inform the world of the inclinations of our ministers. If we would trade to Portugal and Italy, we should have the benefit of English and Dutch convoys. We might trade in our own ships, not in Swedes, Danes, and Hamburghers, to the ruin of our navigation. For if they drive our trade for us, we may indeed burn our ships and plough our towns, as has been told us. And therefore I move that this act, as prejudicial to our trade and navigation, and highly injurious to the honour of the nation, may be thrown out.