I am currently reading the book called The Real Benjamin Franklin (American Classic Series) In the first couple of chapters, it mentions that Ben wrote some letters to the New-England Courant as a Widow called Silence Dogood. In No. 8 of the Dogood letters, he writes about Freedom of Speech. You can find the full text of the Silence Dogood letters at http://www.franklinpapers.org/.
Freedom of Speech
Without Freedom 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 Goverments, that the Security of Property, and the Freedom 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….
…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.
Well said. I am planning on reading all of the Silence Dogood letters, and will put points up from them on this BLOG from time to time.