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5、The Liberty of the Press 課程簡介
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The Liberty of the Press (Thomas Erskine)

論出版自由 
........
 
The proposition which I mean to maintain as the basis of the liberty of the press, and without which it is an empty sound, is this: that every man, not intending to mislead, but seeking to enlighten others with what his own reason and conscience, however erroneously, have dictated to him as truth, may address himself to the universal reason of a whole nation, either up the subject of government in general, or upon that of our own particular country: that he may analyse the principle of its constitution, point out its errors and defects, examine and publish its corruptions, warn his fellow-citizens against their ruinous consequences, and exert his whole faculties in pointing out the most advantageous changes in establishments which he considers to be radically defective, or sliding from their object by abuse. All this every subject of this country has right to do, if he contemplates only what he thinks would be for its advantage, and but seeks to change the public mind by the conviction which flows from reasonings dictated by conscience.

    我主張出版自由必須有以下基礎,否則只能成為空話。這就是:每一個人,只要不是有意地把別人引入歧途,而是以自己認為正確的理性和良知來啟發他人,不管他的想法是多麼錯誤,他都可以向全國普遍具理性的國民發表自己的見解。他可以普遍性地對一般政府發表意見,也可以對我們這個特定的國家政府發表己見。他可以分析本國憲法的原則,指出國家存在的錯誤和不足之處,審查國家的腐敗現象並公諸於世,警誡國人注意其極嚴重的後果,盡一切努力提出最有利的改革措施,以克服他認為是最根本的缺陷或因政府工作人員濫用職權所產生的偏差。上述一切,我國的每一個公民都有權去做,只要他認為對國家有益便可根據出自良知的理性去說服公眾,改變他們的看法。 
 
If, indeed, he writes what he does not think; if, contemplating the misery of others, he wickedly condemns what his own understanding approves; or, even admitting his real disgust against the government or its corruptions, if he calumniates living magistrates, or holds out to individuals that they have a right to run before the public mind in their conduct; that they may oppose by contumacy or force what private reason only disapproves; that they may disobey the law, because their judgment condemns it; or resist the public will, because they honestly wish to change it---he is then a criminal upon every principle of rational policy, as well as upon the immemorial precedents of English justice; because such a person seeks to disunite individuals from their duty to the whole, and excites to overt acts of misconduct in a part of the community, instead of endeavouring to change, by the impulse of reason, that universal assent which, in this and in every country, constitutes the law for all.
.......

    然而,如果他寫出來的不是他真心所想,如果他看見別人痛苦時,口是心非地譴責他理智所贊同的事物;如果他雖因對政府或其中的腐敗現象真心憎惡而誹謗現職官員;如果他支持某些人,認為他們有權不顧公眾的意願為所欲為,認為他們可以頑抗,甚至以武力反對自己私心不喜的一切;如果他們認為法律欠善,便可以不守法;只要他們真心覺得需要改變民意,便可以隨便反抗民意。如果這樣,那麼,無論從哪一種合理政策原則的角度來衡量,或是從英國法律有史以來的任何判決先例來看,他都是一個罪犯。因為這樣的人有意使個人背棄對整體的責任,煽動社會某些人公然犯不端的行為。他們並非憑理性的推動去努力改變眾人的一致看法。而正是這一致的看法構成英國或其他任何國家的全民法律。 
 
Let me not, therefore, be suspected to be contending that it is lawful to write a book pointing out defects in the English Government, and exciting individuals to destroy its sanctions and to refuse obedience. But, on the other hand, I do contend that it is lawful to address the English nation on these momentous subjects; for had it not been for this inalienable right (thanks be to God and our fathers for establishing it!), how should we have had this constitution which we so loudly boast of? If, in the march of the human mind, no man could have gone before the establishments of the time he lived in, how could our establishment, by reiterated changes, have become what it is? If no man could have awakened the public mind to errors and abuses in our Government, how could it have passed on from stage to stage, through reformation and revolution, so as to have arrived from barbarism to such a pitch of happiness and perfection, that the Attorney-General considers it as profanation to touch it further, or to look for any further amendment?

    因此,我並不主張寫書指摘英國政府的缺點,也不是鼓動人們破壞和違背政府法令,請不要誤會我認為那是合法的行為。但是,另一方面,我確實堅決主張在上述重大問題上,對全英國人民提出自己的見解是合法的。因為,倘若沒有這種不可剝奪的權利(感謝上帝和我們祖先確立了這種權利!),我們又怎麼可能有這部如此值得自豪的憲法呢?如果在人類智力前進的道路上,無能走在他那個時代的各項制度前頭,我們的制度又怎麼可能通過反覆更改,成為今天的面貌?假如無人能使公眾認到我國政府的失誤和弊病,這個政府又怎能經歷一個個階段的革新與改良,從野蠻時代到達目前這個高度幸福完美的狀況,使得我們的總檢察長認為只要再碰一碰它,只要再設法進行一點點改革,就是褻瀆神明,犯了彌天大罪呢?

 

台灣商務印書館 石幼珊 中譯

 

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