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There, before the astonished eyes of the visitor, were thousands of Germans waiting to sail for America.
"Are these all Friends?" queried the amazed visitor. This was the term applied to those who followed Quakerism.
"No," answered Penn, "they are Mennonites, Moravians; even some Catholics."
"But is it wise to mix men of such different views?" asked the astonished friend.
"We must be true to our principles," insisted Penn. "We would have none to suffer for dissent on any hand. We must give the liberty we ask.”—RELIGIOUS LIBERTY, Williams, p. 48.
Guns Cannot Kill a Faith
Joseph Smith, leader of the Mormons, had been taken into protective custody at Nauvoo, Mo., because a hostile mob threatened his life. As the throng around the jail grew bigger and fiercer, Governor Ford stated firmly that he had promised Smith protection and he meant to stand by his word.
"But the mob is armed," pleaded the captain in charge of the militia around the jail. "There will be bloodshed."
"Yes, send the soldiers away," urged Joseph Smith. He was reluctant to see men killed over an issue that concerned none of them. "Without the soldiers your lives aren't worth a continental," argued the Governor. "The mob will kill you."
"Perhaps it will," replied Joseph Smith, "but those people can't kill what we stand for."
Joseph Smith was killed by the mob. But, as he prophesied, his religion did not die. It went on growing under the leadership of another man, Brigham Young.-LET FREEDOM RING!, Calhoun, p. 129.
Refutation, Not Suppression
One of the earliest exponents of freedom of the press was Louis XII of France. In 1513 he issued an edict stating that printers should be free from all restrictions. In it he spoke with great appreciation and admiration of the printing art, the discovery of which he considered "rather divine than human." He congratulated his kingdom on their leadership in the development of printing, saying that in this "France takes precedence of all other realms."
When the Council of Pisa condemned a book as heretical, Louis said: "Take no measures of severity against the author, but let the learned professors go over the book chapter by chapter and write a refutation of any part which seems contrary to truth."-BOOKS AND THEIR MAKERS, Putnam, p. 6.
assert itself and will begin anew that familiar course of discussion and debate which in the long run will lead back to democracy.-Nicholas Murray Butler (1936).
It is necessary that every vehicle of communication, every instrument, and every faculty by which Mind can correspond with Mind, should remain entirely free from influence. The Press, as the most important and powerful vehicle of sentiment, should remain independent of Government, and only be subjected to the censorial jurisdiction of society. The establishment of a Licensor is, of all expedients, the most dangerous.-Tunis Wortman (1800).
The printers can never leave us in a state of perfect rest and union of opinion. They would be no longer useful and would have to go to the plow.— Thomas Jefferson (1801).
The printer is a faithful servant. Without him tyrants and humbugs in all countries would have everything their own way.-Charles Dickens (1864).
Public opinion has a more direct, a more comprehensive, a more efficient organ for its utterance, than a body of men sectionally chosen. The printingpress is a political element unknown to classic or feudal times. It absorbs in a great degree the duties of the sovereign, the priest, the parliament; it controls, it educates, it discusses.-Benjamin Disraeli (1873).
Let it be impressed upon your minds, let it be instilled into your children, that the Liberty of the Press is the Palladium of all civil, political and religious Rights of Freemen.—Junius (1769).
No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free, no one ever will.-Thomas Jefferson (1792).
The Liberty of the Press-it is as the air we breathe; if we have it not, we die.-Old Political Toast.
The enlargement of freedom has always been due to heretics who have been unrequited during their day and defamed when dead. No (other) publisher in any country ever incurred so much peril to free the press as Richard Carlile. Every British bookseller has profited by his intrepidity and endurance. Speculations of philosophy and science, which are now part of the common intelligence, power and profit, would have been stifled to this day but for him.-George Jacob Holyoake (1880).
Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.-Thomas Jefferson (1786).
I should feel myself called upon to protect an infidel or Mohammedan paper, if assailed; or to re-establish it, if destroyed; as much as a paper designed to advocate the truths of Christianity.-Edward Beecher (1876).
Give me but the liberty of the press and I will give to the minister a venal house of peers. I will give him a corrupt and servile house of commons. I will give him the full swing of the patronage of office. I will give him the whole host of ministerial influence. I will give him all the power that place can confer upon him, to purchase up submission and overawe resistance; and yet, armed with the liberty of the press, I will go forth to meet him undismayed. I will attack the mighty fabric of that mightier engine. I will shake
down from its height corruption and bury it beneath the ruins of the abuses it was meant to shelter.-Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1810).
The most essential problem in the making of a durable peace is in the dissolution of any partnership that may exist in any country between government and the press.-David Lawrence (1925).
I am for freedom of the press, and against all violations of the constitution to silence by force, and not by reason the complaints or criticisms, just or unjust, of our citizens against the conduct of their agents.-Thomas Jefferson (1799).
Democracy believes in freedom of the press. No news should be suppressed, but neither should the agencies of information fall into the hands of undemocratic groups. The press and radio are among the most powerful of all the weapons of democracy. An enlightened press can educate farmers, workers and industrialists as to their common interests in genuinely productive capital.— Henry A. Wallace (1938).
Conscious that there was not a truth on earth which I feared should be known, I have lent myself willingly as the subject of a great experiment, which was to prove that an administration, conducting itself with integrity and common understanding, cannot be battered down, even by the falsehoods of a licentious press, and consequently still less by the press as restrained within the legal and wholesome limits of truth. This experiment was wanting for the world to demonstrate the falsehood of the pretext that freedom of the press is incompatible with orderly government. I have never, therefore, even contradicted the thousands of calumnies so industriously propagated against myself. But the fact being once established, that the press is impotent when it abandon itself to falsehood, I leave to others to restore it to its strength, by recalling it within the pale of truth. Within that, it is a noble institution, equally the friend of science and of civil liberty.—Thomas Jefferson (1807).
Men are never so likely to settle a question rightly, as when they discuss it freely. A government can interfere in discussion only by making it less free than it would otherwise be. Men are most likely to form just opinions when they have no other wish than to know the truth and are exempt from all influence either of hopes and fears to support its doctrines. It carries on controversy not with reasons, but with threats and bribes. If it employs reasons, it does so not in virtue of any powers which belong to it as a government. Thus, instead of a contest between argument and argument, we have a contest between argument and force. Instead of a contest in which truth, from the natural Constitution of the human mind, has a decided advantage over falsehood, we have a contest in which truth can be victorious only by accident. Thomas B. Macaulay (1830).
If the Waters of Truth flow not in a continual progression, they sicken into a muddy pool of conformity and tradition; and although all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injury by licensing and prohibiting to doubt her strength.-John Milton (1659).
Let us all seek truth as if none of us had possession of it.-Constantin F. Volney (1810).
The truth is perilous never to the true,
-Philip James Bailey (1875).
Every new truth which has ever been propounded has, for a time, caused mischief; it has produced discomfort, and often unhappiness; sometimes by disturbing social or religious arrangements, and sometimes merely by the disruption of old and cherished association of thoughts. It is only after a certain interval, and when the framework of affairs has adjusted itself to the new truth, that its good effects preponderate; and the preponderance continues to increase, until, at length, the truth causes nothing but good. But, at the outset there is always harm. And if the truth is very great as well as very new the harm is serious. Men are made uneasy; they flinch; they cannot bear the sudden light; a general restlessness supervenes; the face of society is disturbed, or perhaps convulsed; old interests and old beliefs have been destroyed before new ones have been created. These symptoms are the precursors of revolution; they have preceded all the great changes through which the world has passed.-Henry T. Buckle (1860).
The boys of the rising generation are to be the men of the next, and the sole guardians of the principles we deliver over to them. Truth and reason are eternal. They have prevailed. And they will eternally prevail, however in times and places they may be overbourne for a while by violence, military, civil, or ecclesiastical. The preservation of the holy fire is confided to us by the world, and the sparks which emanate from it will ever serve to kindle it in other quarters of the globe.―Thomas Jefferson (1812).
To the pure all things are pure. Knowledge cannot defile, nor consequently books if the will and conscience be not defiled. All opinions, yea, errors known, read and collated, are of main service and assistance toward speedy attainment of what is truest. To prevent men thinking and acting for themselves, by restraints on the press, is like to the exploits of that gallant man who thought to pound up crows by shutting his park gate . . . A forbidden writing is thought to be a certain spark of truth that flies up in the face of they that seek to tread it out. Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience above all other liberties.-John Milton (1665).
All truth is safe, and nothing else is safe; and he who keeps back the truth or withholds it from men, from motives of expediency, is either a coward, or a criminal, or both.-Max Müller (1889).
As a vessel is known by the sound, whether it be cracked or not; so men are proved, by their speeches, whether they be wise or foolish.-Demosthenes.
The firmness with which the people have withstood the late abuses of the press, the discernment they have manifested between truth and falsehood, show that they may safely be trusted to hear everything true and false, and to form a correct judgment between them.-Thomas Jefferson (1804).
Truth is something that comes from the conflict of differing opinions. When two dark clouds clash, lightning leaps forth; and when there is the clash between conflicting opinions, it is from that clash that truth leaps forth.-Joseph Proskauer
For the great enemy of knowledge is not error, but inertness. All that we want is discussion, and then we are sure to do well, no matter what our blunders may be. One error conflicts with another; each destroys its opponent, and truth is evolved.-Henry T. Buckle (1857).
Bad meats will scarce breed good nourishment in the healthiest concoction; but herein the difference is of bad books, that they to a discreet and judicious reader serve in many respects to discover, to confute, forewarn, and to illustrate . . All opinions, yea, errors, known, read and collated, are of main service and assistance toward the speedy attainment of what is truest.-John Milton (1644).
He is the freeman whom the truth makes free,
-William Cowper (1785).
True opinions can prevail only if the facts to which they refer are known; if they are not known, false ideas are just as effective as true ones, if not a little more effective.-Walter Lippmann (1929).
Indeed, no opinion or doctrine, of whatever nature it be, or whatever be its tendency, ought to be suppressed. For it is either manifestly true, or it is manifestly false, or its truth or falsehood is dubious. Its tendency is manifestly good, or manifestly bad, or it is dubious and concealed. There are no other assignable conditions, no other functions of the problem.
In the case of its being manifestly true, and of good tendency, there can be no dispute. Nor in the case of its being manifestly otherwise; for by the terms it can mislead nobody. If its truth or its tendency be dubious, it is clear that nothing can bring the good to light, or expose the evil, but full and free discussion. Until this takes place, a plausible fallacy may do harm; but discussion is sure to elicit the truth, and fix public opinion on a proper basis; and nothing else can do it. Thomas Cooper (1800).
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.-John 8: 32.
Thinking as We Please
In a free country, every man thinks he has a concern in all public matters; that he has a right to form and a right to deliver an opinion upon them. They sift, examine, and discuss them. They are curious, eager, attentive, and jealous; and by making such matters the daily subjects of their thoughts and discoveries, vast numbers contract a very tolerable knowledge of them, and some a very considerable one. And this it is that fills free countries with men of ability in all stations. Whereas in other countries, none but men whose office calls them to it having not much care or thought about public affairs, and not daring to try the force of their opinions with one another, ability of this sort is extremely rare in any station in life.-Edmund Burke (1777).
Freedom of men under government is to have a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society, and made by the legislative power vested in it; a liberty to follow my own will in all things, where that rule prescribes not, and not to be subject to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary will of another man.-John Locke (1690).