The History of England from the Accession of James the Second  

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"In truth the censorship had scarcely put any restraint on licentiousness or profaneness. The Paradise Lost had narrowly escaped mutilation; for the Paradise Lost was the work of a man whose politics were hateful to the ruling powers. But Etherege's She Would If She Could, Wycherley's Country Wife, Dryden's Translations from the Fourth Book of Lucretius, obtained the Imprimatur without difficulty; for Dryden, Etherege and Wycherley were courtiers. From the day on which the emancipation of our literature was accomplished, the purification of our literature began. That purification was effected, not by the intervention of senates or magistrates, but by the opinion of the great body of educated Englishmen, before whom good and evil were set, and who were left free to make their choice. During a hundred and sixty years the liberty of our press has been constantly becoming more and more entire; and during those hundred and sixty years the restraint imposed on writers by the general feeling of readers has been constantly becoming more and more strict. At length even that class of works in which it was formerly thought that a voluptuous imagination was privileged to disport itself, love songs, comedies, novels, have become more decorous than the sermons of the seventeenth century. At this day foreigners, who dare not print a word reflecting on the government under which they live, are at a loss to understand how it happens that the freest press in Europe is the most prudish."--The History of England from the Accession of James the Second (1848) by Thomas Babington Macaulay

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The History of England from the Accession of James the Second (1848) is the full title of the five volume work by Lord Macaulay (1800–1859) more generally known as The History of England. It covers the period from 1685 to 1702, encompassing the reign of James II, the Glorious Revolution, the coregency of William and Mary, and up to William III's death.

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