Country, without the Liberty of this Press, is a contradiction in terms; it is free slavery, or inchained Liberty. "Light and Darkness are not more opposite than Liberty and the Deprivation of the means of being rational..

Who, that loves mankind, is not forry that any thing is ever publifhed. tending to confound men's understanding, mislead their judgments, or deprave their morals? But is there any more likely method for sense to prevail against absurdities, than leaving her at full liberty to paint them in their native colours ? Can truth be better armed against error than with the mighty blade of uncontrouled Reason? Or virtue more surely triumph over immorality, than by


the 'vigorous execution of the truly wholesome laws purposely framed for her -Support? ***s e - I hate all calumny and defamation, as

I hate the corruption of heart, from which alone it can proceed ; and do with the utmoft zeal detest those prophaners of Liberty, who pretending to be friends to it, have recourse to such black dia. bolical methods. But I take the laws already in force amongst us to be a more than fufficient preservative (at least as far as human prudence is able to pro-vide) against all the abufive overt-acts I Pam - now expreffing my abhorrence of :: and as such we have reason to esteem

them very valuable securities of our Li- berties and reputations. But becaufe


[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

wicked things are publish'd must there be no publishing ? I know it is objected that there is a medium between an abfolute Liberty of the Press, and an absolute Suppression of it. Which I admit; but yet aver the medium (by which either Licensing or nothing at all is meant) is far worse on all accounts than either extreme. For though we are in deed told, that Licensers would ferve us with wholesome goods, feed us with food : convenient for us, and only prevent the

distribution of poison ; sure such cant was never meant to impose on any, but : those who are asleep, and cannot see one : inch before them. Let no True Briton · therefore be deceived by such fallacious speeches, but confider the necessary con


was 1

sequences which must follow, and he will soon find that it is as the flattering language of the strange woman in the book of Proverbs] who with her fair fmooth tongue, beguileth the simple, and leadeth them as an ox to the slaughter. That plaufible and deceitful language leadeth indeed into the chambers of darkness and death. But this subject

is fully handled in the excellent Treatise : subjoin'd. I will only propose to the

confideration of all lovers of Religion, Virtue, Science, and Mankind, the few

following queries; and every one ought :. methinks to propose them to himself

every day of his life, as making a fundamental Catechism. For if the truths, which these contain, are not fundamental, man is not a-man, but a beaft; re. ligion and virtue are empty names.


1. What is our most valuable part, or what is it that maketh us capable of Religion, "Virtue, and rational Happi. nefs? Is it not our Reason or Underftanding?

2. What then is the noblest privilege that belongs to man? Is it not the free Exercise of his Understanding, the full “use of all the means of-advancing in «Virtue and Knowledge ? vino, *. 3. What is it then that is, and must be, the chief end of government to en- courage and promote? Is it not know* Iedge, Virtue, and Religion ? 1 4. And can *Knowledge, Virtue, or "Religion; be promoted, if the only means


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »