Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. III. Seventeenth Century
Love of Country
By Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun (16551716)
From First Discourse on the Affairs of Scotland
NO inclination is so honourable, nor has anything been so much esteemed in all nations and ages, as the love of that country and society in which every man is born. And those who have placed their greatest satisfaction in doing good, have accounted themselves happy, or unfortunate, according to the success of their endeavours to serve the interest of their country. For nothing can be more powerful in the minds of men, than a natural inclination and duty concurring in the same disposition.
Nature in most men prevails over reason; reason in some prevails over nature: but when these two are joined, and a violent natural inclination finds itself owned by reason, required by duty, encouraged by the highest praises, and excited by the most illustrious examples, sure that force must be irresistible. Constrained by so great a force, and the circumstances of my affairs not allowing me to be otherwise serviceable to my country, I have in the following discourse given my opinion concerning divers matters of importance, which probably may be debated in the approaching session of parliament. I shall be very well satisfied if anything I say do afford a hint that may be improved by men of better judgment to the public good. I hope I shall not be blamed for giving my opinion in matters of public concernment, since tis the right and duty of every man to write or speak his mind freely in all things that may come before the parliament, to the end that they who represent the nation in that assembly may be truly informed of the sentiments of those they represent. Besides, we are now no more under those tyrannical reigns in which it was a crime to speak of public affairs, or to say that the king had received bad counsel in any thing.