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To the Author of the New-England Courant.

["[No VIII" appears along right side of column. This number signifies this is the eighth Silence Dogood letter.]

SIR,

I PREFER the following
Abstract from the Lon-
don Journal to any
Thing of my own, and
therefore shall present
it to your Readers
this week without any
further Preface.

" WITHOUT Free-
" dom of Thought, there
" can be no such Thing
" as Wisdom; and no
" such Thing as publick
" Liberty, without Freedom of Speech; which is
" the Right of every Man, as far as by it, he does
" not hurt or controul the Right of another: And
" this is the only Check it ought to suffer, and the
" only Bounds it ought to know.

" This sacred Privilege is so essential to free Govern-
" ments, that the Security of Property, and the Free-
" dom of Speech always go together; and in those
" wretched Countries where a Man cannot call his
" Tongue his own, he can scarce call any Thing else
" his own. Whoever would overthrow the Liberty
" of a Nation, must begin by subduing the Freeness of
" Speech; a Thing terrible to Publick Traytors.

" This Secret was so well known to the Court of
" King Charles the First, that his wicked Ministry
" procured a Proclamation, to forbid the People to talk
" of Parliaments, which those Traytors had laid aside.
" To assert the undoubted Right of the Subject, and
" defend his Majesty's legal Prerogative, was called
" Disaffection, and punished as Sedition. Nay, Peo-
" ple were forbid to talk of Religion in their Families:
" For the Priests had combined with the Ministers to
" cook up Tyranny, and suppress Truth and the Law,
" while the late King James, when Duke of York, went
" avowedly to Mass, Men were fined, imprisoned and
" undone, for saying he was a Papist: And that King
" Charles the Second
might live more securely a Papist,
" there was an Act of Parliament made, declaring it
" Treason to say that he was one.

" That Men ought to speak well of their Governours
" is true, while their Governours deserve to be well
" spoken of; but to do publick Mischief, without
" hearing of it, is only the Prerogative and Felicity of
" Tyranny: A free People will be shewing that they
" are so, by their Freedom of Speech.

" The Administration of Government, is nothing
" else but the Attendance of the Trustees of the People
" upon the Interest and Affairs of the People: And as
" it is the Part and Business of the People, for whose
" Sake alone all publick Matters are, or ought to be
" transacted, to see whether they be well or ill trans-
" acted; so it is the Interest, and ought to be the Am-
" bition, of all honest Magistrates, to have their Deeds
" openly examined, and publickly scann'd: Only the
" wicked Governours of Men dread what is said of them;
" Audivit Tiberius probra queis lacerabitur, atque per-
" culsus est. The publick Censure was true, else he
" had not felt it bitter.

" Freedom of Speech is ever the Symptom, as well

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" as the Effect of a good Government. In old Rome,
" all was left to the Judgment and Pleasure of the
" People, who examined the publick Proceedings with
" such Discretion, & censured those who administred
" them with such Equity and Mildness, that in the
" space of Three Hundred Years, not five publick Mi-
" nisters suffered unjustly. Indeed whenever the
" Commons proceeded to Violence, the great Ones had
" been the Agressors.

" GUILT only dreads Liberty of Speech, which
" drags it out of its lurking Holes, and exposes its
" Deformity and Horrour to Day-light. Horatius, Va-
" lerius, Cincinnatus
, and other vertuous and undesign-
" ing Magistrates of the Roman Commonwealth, had
" nothing to fear from Liberty of Speech. Their vir-
" tuous Administration, the more it was examin'd, the
" more it brightned and gain'd by Enquiry. When
" Valerius in particular, was accused upon some slight
" grounds of affecting the Diadem; he, who was the
" first Minister of Rome, does not accuse the People
" for examining his Conduct, but approved his Inno-
" cence in a Speech to them; and gave such Satisfac-
" tion to them, and gained such Popularity to himself,
" that they gave him a new Name; inde cognomen fac-
" tum Publicolae est
; to denote that he was their Fa-
" vourite and their Friend -- Latae deinde leges --
" Ante omnes de provocatione ADVERSUS MAGI-
" STRATUS AD POPULUM
, Livii, lib. 2.
" Cap. 8.

" But Things afterwards took another Turn. Rome,
" with the Loss of its Liberty, lost also its Freedom of
" Speech; then Mens Words began to be feared and
" watched; and then first began the poysonous Race of
" Informers
, banished indeed under the righteous Ad-
" ministration of Titus, Narva, Trajan, Aurelius, &c.
" but encouraged and enriched under the vile Ministry
" of Sejanus, Tigillinus, Pallas, and Cleander: Queri
" libet, quod in secreta nostra non inquirant principes,
" nisi quos Odimus, says Pliny to Trajan.

" The best Princes have ever encouraged and pro-
" moted Freedom of Speech; they know that upright
" Measures would defend themselves, and that all up-
" right Men would defend them. Tacitus, speaking
" of the Reign of some of the Princes abovemention'd,
" says with Extasy, Rara Temporum felicitate, ubi sen-
" tire quae velis, & quae sentias dicere licet
: A blessed
" Time when you might think what you would, and
" speak what you thought.

" I doubt not but old Spencer and his Son, who
" were the Chief Ministers and Betrayers of Edward the
" Second
, would have been very glad to have stopped
" the Mouths of all the honest Men in England. They
" dreaded to be called Traytors, because they were
" Traytors. And I dare say, Queen Elizabeth's Wal-
" singham
, who deserved no Reproaches, feared none.
" Misrepresentation of publick Measures is easily o-
" verthrown, by representing publick Measures truly;
" when they are honest, they ought to be publickly
" known, that they may be publickly commended;
" but if they are knavish or pernicious, they ought
" to be publickly exposed, in order to be publickly
" detested..

Yours, &c.,

SILENCE DOGOOD.

The New-England Courant, July 9, 1722

Article from page 1 of The New-England Courant, Number 49, 2-9 July 1722. This essay was written by Benjamin Franklin under the pseudonym Silence Dogood.