Areopagitica: A Defense of Free Speech - Includes by John Milton

Political Freedom

By John Milton

One of many unique, and maximum defenses of unfastened speech, initially released as a written 'speech.' Please visiti for extra works by way of this and different nice authors.

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Extra resources for Areopagitica: A Defense of Free Speech - Includes Reproduction of the First Page of the Original 1644 Edition

Sample text

There must be licensing dancers, that no gesture, motion, or deportment be taught our youth but what by their allowance shall be thought honest; for such Plato was provided of. It wili ask mo re than the work of twenty licensers to examine all the lutes, the violins, and the guitars in every house; they must not be suffered to prattle as they do, but must be licensed what they may say. And who shall silence all the airs and madrigals that whisper softness in chambers? The windows also, and the balconies must be thought on; there are shrewd books, with dangerous frontispieces, set to sale; who shall prohibit them, shall twenty licensers?

Christ urged it as wherewith to justify himself, that he preached in public; yet writing is more public than preaching; and mo re easy to refutation, if need be, there being so many whose business and profession merely it is to be the champions of truth; which if they neglect, what can be imputed but their sloth, or unability? Thus much we are hindered and disinured by this course of licensi ng, toward the tr ue knowledge of what we seem to know. For how much it hurts and binders the licensers themselves in the calling of their ministry, more than any secular employment, if they will discharge that office as they ought, so that of necessity they must neglect either the one duty or the other, I insist not, because it is a particular, but leave it to their own conscience, how they will decide it there.

How goodly and how to be wished were such an obedient unanimity as this, what a fine conformity would it starch us all into! Doubtless a staunch and solid piece of fram ework, as any January could freeze together. Nor much better will be the consequence even among the clergy themselves. It is no new thing never heard of before, for a parochial minister, who has his reward and is at his Hercules' pillars in a warm benefice, to 44 AREOPAGITICA be easily inclinable, if he have nothing else that may rouse up his studies, to finish his circuit in an English Concordance anda topic folio, the gatherings and savings of a sober graduatesh ip, a Harmony anda Catena; treading the constant round of certain common doctrinal heads, attended with their uses, motives, marks, and means, out of which, as out of an alphabet, or solfa, by forming and transforming,joining and disjoining variously, a little bookcraft, and two hours' meditation, might furnish him unspeakably to the performance of more than a weekly charge of sermoning: not to reckon up the infinite helps of interlinearies, breviaries, synopses, and other loitering gear.

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