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Tribute: Andrew Fletcher

 
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alan stewart



Joined: 24 Mar 2010
Posts: 1005


Location: Born Glasgow/living in West Yorkshire

PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2016 2:49 pm    Post subject: Tribute: Andrew Fletcher  Reply with quote

This year sees the 300th anniversary of the death of a truly great and principled Scot -Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun.
Fletcher was elected member for Haddington (East Lothian) in 1678 and his political career was marked by withering attacks on those in power -and attacks in particular on the English government.
He wrote since the Union of the Crowns all of Scottish affairs had been "managed by the advice of English ministers."  Scotland had "appeared to the world" more like a "conquered province than a free independent people."
Fletcher however was above all a stoical campaigner for far reaching, fundamental democratic reforms.  He believed that these could only come about if Scotland won greater freedom from its' over bearing neighbour.
As such in the protracted debates around the proposed Treaty he was implacably opposed to any incorporating union.  Plus he also argued for limitations on royal authority, an executive chosen by Parliament and responsible to the legislature together with a "diminution of the powers and privileges of the nobility" (Donnachie 2001).
After 1707 -a massive setback- he retired from politics to concentrate on farming and on agricultural improvements.  Three centuries on however he deserves to be remembered as a "remarkable political thinker" and as a "figure of enduring importance" (Massie 1987).

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