Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Speech from Which Free Speech Began in the West

A speech by Peter Wentworth, 1576

Mr Speaker, I find written in a little volume these words in effect: Sweet is the name of liberty, but the thing itself a value beyond all inestimable treasure. So much the more it behoveth us to take care lest we, contenting ourselves with the sweetness of the name, lose and forego the thing, being of the greatest value that can come unto this noble realm. The inestimable treasure is the use of it in this House....(…) It is a dangerous thing in a prince unkindly to abuse his or her nobility and people, and it is a dangerous thing in a prince to oppose or bend herself against her nobility and people.... And how could any prince more unkindly intreat, abuse, oppose herself against her nobility and people than her Majesty did the last Parliament? ... 

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