Fragments on the Freedom of the Press, Paris (1776)

Source: Cambridge University Library : Condorcet, 'Fragments sur la liberté de la presse' (1776), in Oeuvres (Firmin Didot 1847) tome II, p. 253

Fragments on the Freedom of the Press, Paris (1776), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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country; Rousseau placing an order in Paris and Geneva for
a book to be printed in Holland; Montesquieu feeling obliged
to have the "Spirit of the Laws" printed outside of his country;
Voltaire hardly enjoying any security in his final years, when he
was at the apogee of his glory, and only with great difficulty
finding a shelter in the outskirts of France; the marquis of
Mirabeau being deprived of his freedom for having spoken with
too little respect about the indirect taxation [gabelle], about
the tax on those who have drunk too much; a citizen exiled
for having dared to express a heretic opinion on the freedom of
the cattle trade; the author of the "Philosophy of Nature"
enduring a criminal trial for having preached about God
and morality in a style unknown in the attics of the Jansenists
[convulsionnaires]; the author of the "Philosophical History of
Trade" sentenced without even making sure that he was actually
guilty. In a word, if one excludes some poets who were nothing
else but poets, one would not be able to find in the countries
where there is no freedom of press a single famous man who hadn't
undergone some form of persecution.


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