Postcard (from the editor of the text to his godmother)
found in a copy of ‘Urne Buriall’
and ‘The Garden of Cyrus’
… according to the notion I have of reason, neither the written treatises of the learned nor the set discourses of the eloquent are able of themselves to teach the use of it. It is the habit alone of reasoning which can make a reasoner. And men can never be better invited to the habit than when they find pleasure in it. A freedom of raillery, a liberty of decent language to question everything, and an allowance of unraveling or refuting any argument without offence to the arguer, are the only terms which can render such speculative conversations any way agreeable. For to say truth, they have been rendered burdensome to mankind by the strictness of the laws prescribed to them and by the prevailing pedantry and bigotry of those who reign in them and assume to themselves to be dictators in these provinces.
– A. A. Cooper, Third Earl of Shaftesbury
Senus Communis, an Essay on the
Freedom of Wit and Humour, I.4