In response to the British Government's attempt to re-establish censorship through the Licensing Order passed in 1643, in 1644 English poet, polemicist, civil servant and man of letters John Milton issued Areopagitica: A Speech for the Liberty of Unlicense'd Printing, to the Parliament of England, arguing against the order for licensing books, and defending the freedom of the press.
"I deny not, but that it is of greatest concernment in the Church and Commonwealth, to have a vigilant eye how Bookes demean themselves, as well as men, and thereafter to confine, imprison, and do sharpest justice on them as malefactors: For Books are not absolutely dead things, but doe contain a potencie of life in them to be as active as that soule was whole progeny they are; nay they do preserve as in a violl the purest efficacie and extraction of that living intellect that bred them. I know they are as lively, and as vigorously productive, as those fabulous Dragons teeth; and being sown up and down, may chance to spring up armed men. Yet on the other hand, unlesse warinesse be us'd, as good almost kill a Man as kill a good Book; who kills a Man kills a reasonable creature, Gods Image; but hee who destroyes a good Booke, kills reason it selfe, kills the Image of God, as it were in the eye. Many a man lives a burden to the Earth, but a good Book is the pretious life-blood of a master spirit, imbalm'd and treasur'd up on purpose to a life beyond life" (Milton, Areopagitica).