Saturday, 29 September 2012

It Haunts Men Like An Evil Genius ...

“Next in importance to personal freedom is immunity from suspicions and jealous observation.

Men may be without restraints upon their liberty; they may pass to and fro at pleasure; but if their steps are tracked by spies and informers, their words noted down for crimination, their associates watched as conspirators – who shall say that they are free?

Nothing is more revolting to Englishmen than the espionage which forms part of the administrative system of continental despotisms.

It haunts men like an evil genius, chills their gaiety, restrains their wit, casts a shadow over their friendships, and blights their domestic hearth. The freedom of this country may be measured by its immunity from this baleful agency.

Thomas Erskine May, Constitutional History of England (1863)


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