Posts Tagged ‘freedom of the press’

December 6

William Shakespeare built his King Henry VI trilogy upon the life of that most unfortunate of English Kings, who was born upon this day in 1421. During Henry’s lifetime, the art of printing was established, but he was murdered in the Tower of London before it was brought to English soil. Shakespeare, however, in the [...]

November 24

Published on this day in 1644, the tract entitled, Areopagitica: A Speech of Mr. John Milton for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing, to the Parliament of England, is one of the noblest statements ever written concerning freedom of the press. This pamphlet, the finest prose work of one of the great poets of the language, [...]

November 5

Upon this day in 1733 appeared the first number of The New York Weekly Journal, published by a printer of the town named John Peter Zenger, who had been petitioned by a group of citizens opposed to the policies of Colonel William Cosby, Governor of the Colony. Zenger, a German immigrant, had been apprenticed to [...]

November 3

The revenge of a reigning Queen of England, Elizabeth I, was requited this day in the year 1579 upon William Page, publisher, and John Stubbs. Their crime was to write and print what the good Queen considered to be traitorous propaganda. In August the pair had combined with Hugh Singleton, a printer, in producing a [...]

October 7

Daniel Fowle, a printer from Boston, printed the New Hampshire Gazette at Portsmouth on this day in 1756—the first newspaper to appear in that state. Just two years previously Printer Fowle had been jailed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in an early case of freedom of the press. From his Anne Street shop in Boston [...]

May 4

At the tenth session of the Lateran Council, Pope Leo X issued a bull on this day in 1515, entitled Inter solicitudines, which became a part of the long struggle by ecclesiastical authorities to control printing. All books were to be submitted to the Cardinal Vicar and the “Magister Sacri Palatii” if printed in Rome, [...]

February 21

“I thank God,” wrote Sir William Berkeley, royal governor of Virginia, in 1671, “there are no free schools, nor printing an I hope we shall not have, these hundred years; for learning has brought disobedience, and heresy and sects into the world, and printing has divulged them. . . . God keep us from both!” [...]

February 19

In the Old Bailey, on this day in 1663, one John Twynn, printer, was condemned to death for high treason for the printing of a “seditious, poisonous, and scandalous book, entitled A Treatise on the execution of Justice is as well the people’s as the magistrate’s duty, and if the magistrates prevent judgment, then the [...]