Note: According to the author, what are the advantages of freedom of expression?


“Since a long time already, people who love their country and their government have quietly regretted that the rare treasure that we have in our constitution remains so long hidden, for lack of using the liberty of the press, whose purpose is to spread light on all its parts.[…]

This power is so essential to liberty, that the most despotic state where it would be introduced would as a result become a free state; and that, on the contrary, the freest constitution, such as that of England, would suddenly become despotic, solely by the cutting off of this power. […]

All governments must have this goal, and perhaps all would wish to obtain it, but all do not have the means to it. The despot knows the people only through the portrait that his courtiers make of them, and has no other advisers but them. Under the constitution of England, the people have the right to make themselves known by themselves through the means of the liberty of the press, and by the free expression of their feelings, all the nation becomes, so to speak, the private adviser of the government. […]

But, so that the exercise of the liberty of the press may have these good effects, it needs to be general for all sides. If it were controlled by a single party, it would have a very contrary effect, it would only serve to create odious divisions, to maintain on one side unjust prejudices, and to make the other feel deeply the injustice of calumny, without leaving him the means to repel it.

Original Source: Le Canadien, November 13, 1806. Cited in Yvan Lamonde and Claude Corbo, Le rouge et le bleu : Une anthologie de la pensée politique au Québec de la Conquête à la Révolution tranquille, Montréal, PUM, 1999, p. 55-57.

English translation from source at: