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   Chapter 14 No.14

The Free Press By Hilaire Belloc Characters: 1802

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:05

Why do I say, then, that in spite of such formidable obstacles, both in its own character and in the resistance it must overcome, the Free Press will probably increase in power, and may, in the long run, transform public opinion?

It is with the argument in favour of this judgment that I will conclude.

My reasons for forming this judgment are based not only upon the observation of others but upon my own experience.

I started the "Eye-Witness" (succeeded by the "New Witness" under the editorship of Mr. Cecil Chesterton, who took it over from me some years ago, and now under the editorship of his brother, Mr. Gilbert Chesterton) with the special object of providing a new organ of free expression.

I knew from intimate personal experience exactly how formidable all these obstacles were.

I knew how my own paper could not but appear particular and personal, and could not but suffe

r from that eccentricity to general opinion of which I have spoken. I had a half-tragic and half-comic experience of the economic difficulty; of the difficulty of obtaining information; of the difficulty in distribution, and all the rest of it. The editor of "The New Age" could provide an exactly similar record. I had experience, and after me Mr. Cecil Chesterton had experience, of the threats levelled by the professional politicians and their modern lawyers against the free expression of truth, and I have no doubt that the editor of "The New Age" could provide similar testimony. As for the Free Press in Ireland, we all know how that is dealt with. It is simply suppressed at the will of the police.

In the face of such experience, and in spite of it, I am yet of the deliberate opinion that the Free Press will succeed.

Now let me give my reasons for this audacious conclusion.

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