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AR E O PAG IT ICA;
S P E E CH
OF M. JOHN MILTON For the Liberty of VNLICENC'D
PRINTING, To the PARLIAMENT OF ENGLAND.
Τουλεύθερον δ' εκείνο ε' τις θέλει πόλει
This is true Liberty when free born men
THERE is no need of a Preface to
recommend this admirable defence of the best of human rights, to any one who has ever heard of the DIVINE MILTON: and it is impoffible to produce better arguments, or to set them in a more convincing, awakening light,
Is it possible that any Free-born Briton, who is capable of thinking, can ever Jose all fenfe of religion and virtue, and of the dignity of human nature to fuch a degree, as to wish for that universal Ignorance, Darkness," , and Barbarity,
against which the absolute Freedom of the Press is the only Preservative ? For what else spreads light, or diffuses knowledge through the world? But it seems, as a sense of the value of health is sometimes lost in the midst of its full enjoyment; so men, through a habit of liberty, may become insensible of its inestimable worth: otherwise would not every one awake, rouse himself, and say, when the most dear and valuable of all the privileges, that government is designed to protect, is menaced, “ That he will “ sooner part with life itself than with "s that liberty without which life is not " worth the having : that he will sooner “ suffer his eyes to be put out, than his “ understanding to be extinguished.”
We are told in history of a * people that, after they had been inured to flavery, were in a panick fear, when their . liberty was offered to them. And this terrible effect of slavery ought to make every lover of mankind tremble at the thoughts of any steps or approaches towards the diminution of liberty. “For
without it, as Homer has told us, “ men foon cease to be men : they soon “ cease to be rational creatures."
Now without the absolute unbounded freedom of writing and publishing, there is no liberty ; no shadow of it: it is an empty found. For what can Liberty mean, if it does not mean, the Liberty of exercising, improving, and informing
* The Cappadocians,