FLETCHER OF SALTOUN
CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS
In 1792 the eleventh Earl of Buchan published a volume of Essays on the Life and Writings of Fletcher of Saltoun and the Poet Thomson. It contains our only biography of Fletcher; but, though founded on original sources of information, it is frequently inaccurate, and must, therefore, be used with great caution. The author of the article on Fletcher in the third edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (1797) mentions that the tenth Earl Marischal, when Governor of Neuchâtel, suggested to Rousseau that he should write the life of Fletcher. Rousseau was furnished withmss. for this purpose; but nothing came of it, and most of the materials on which that work was to have been founded seem to have been lost. Some interesting documents, however, are preserved in the University Library at Edinburgh, includingmss. used by Lord Buchan, and a letter to him from Lord Hailes, who had evidently been applied to for information. (Laingmss. 364.)
Mr. F. Espinasse refers to most of the printed authorities for the life of Fletcher, in a succinct but exhaustive article in the Dictionary of National Biography, vol. xix. p. 292; and in the Scottish Review for July 1893 (vol. xxii. p. 61) there is a very interesting paper on ‘Andrew Fletcher, the Scottish Patriot,’ from the pen of Mr. J. R. Donaldson. Many allusions to Fletcher’s conduct as a member of the last Scottish Parliament are to be found in the Godolphin Correspondence in the British Museum. (Add. mss. 28,055.)
I have to thank Mr. Fletcher of Saltoun for allowing me to consult a volume of Recollections respecting the Family of Saltoun, and for an opportunity of examining the library and visiting the scenes of Fletcher’s early life.
Mr. E. Gordon Duff, librarian of the John Rylands Library, Manchester, and Mr. R. A. S. Macfie have for some time been engaged in compiling a Bibliography of Fletcher; and I desire to thank them for their kindness in placing theirms. unreservedly in my hands. There is considerable doubt respecting the authorship of several pamphlets which have been attributed to Fletcher, as well as regarding the places at which his works were printed; and if this Bibliography appears in print, it will be found most valuable by all who take an interest in his writings.
Oxford, March 1897.
|Fletcher’s Birth and Education—Travels Abroad—A Member of the Scottish Parliament—Goes to the Continent
|The Whig Plot—Comes to England with Monmouth—Shoots Dare—Is found guilty of High Treason and attainted—The Estate of Saltoun forfeited
|Adventures in Spain—Serves in Hungary against the Turks—Returns to Scotland at the Revolution—Reforms in the Scottish Parliament—Saltoun Restored—Darien
|Fletcher’s Political Writings—‘A Discourse on Militias’—The Affairs of Scotland—Supports Slavery as a Cure for Mendicancy—Attacks the Partition Treaty
|The First Session of the Union Parliament—Fletcher proposes his Twelve Limitations on the Crown—An Act of Security—The Supplies are refused
|‘A Conversation concerning a Right Regulation of Government for the Common Good of Mankind’
|A New Ministry in Scotland—Scenes in the Parliament House—The Act of Security becomes Law—England retaliates by passing the Alien Act
|A Ministerial Crisis, and a Change of Government in Scotland—The Government is defeated—The Limitations again—Fletcher’s Duel with Roxburghe—The Act for a Treaty of Union passed
|The Union Commission at Westminster—The Act of Union passed—Belhaven’s Speech—Violent Conduct of Fletcher and other Members during the Debates
|Arrest of Fletcher—His Release—The Jacobite Prisoners of 1708—Death of Belhaven—Fletcher retires into Private Life—Conversations with Wodrow—His Death—Views of his Character
Fletcher’s Birth and Education—Travels Abroad—A Member of the Scottish Parliament—Goes to the Continent.
Andrew Fletcher, eldest son of Sir Robert Fletcher of Saltoun, in the county of Haddington, and of Catherine, daughter of Sir Henry Bruce of Clackmannan, was born in the year 1653. He was educated either at home or in the parish school of Saltoun until 1665. On the thirteenth of January in that year his father died, having, on his deathbed, intrusted the charge of educating his son to Burnet, the future Bishop of Salisbury, who had just been presented to the living of Saltoun, of which Sir Robert was the patron. Burnet’s first published work was, A Discourse on the Memory of that rare and truly virtuous person, Sir Robert Fletcher of Saltoun,