Freedom of the Press and Liberty


We are, heart and soul, friends to the freedom of the press. It is however, the prostituted companion of liberty, and somehow or other, we know not how, its efficient auxiliary. It follows the substance like its shade; but while a man walks erect, he may observe, that his shadow is almost always in the dirt. It corrupts, it deceives, it inflames. It strips virtue of her honours, and lends to faction its wildfire and its poisoned arms, and in the end is its own enemy and the usurper’s ally. It would be easy to enlarge on its evils. They are in England, they are here, they are everywhere. It is a precious pest and a necessary mischief, and there would be no liberty without it.

——Fisher Ames, Review of the Present State of the British Constitution.

The Distribution of Rewards

Some one has observed, that mankind respect most and reward best, first those who murder and destroy them; secondly those who blind their understandings and cheat them; thirdly those who amuse them; last and least, those who endeavour to instruct and benefit them. In this class must be included authors and projectors; appellations that associate in their common acceptation, a portion of pity mixed with contempt.

——The Analectic Magazine, in a review of a Life of Robert Fulton, September, 1817.