The Swallow Mystery

Windows into History

An illustration of a swallow from "Nederlandsche Vogelen", 1770. An illustration of a swallow from “Nederlandsche Vogelen”, 1770.

Snippets 111. William Hone is a name that should be remembered, and part of my remit for this blog is to bring the works of writers such as Hone to a wider audience by selecting some interesting quotes from their work. But the reason I think Hone should be remembered is that he achieved something in 1817 that affects our lives today: he helped to establish the freedom of the press. His writing had attacked the political classes and highlighted corruption, which resulted in a prosecution against him. Despite facing an uphill battle with judges who were biased against him, he battled through illness to speak for hours in front of them and was so persuasive that the charges against him were dropped. He had set an important precedent, that the press had a right to challenge the elite. The…

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