Excerpt from "Southey's Colloquies on Society" by Macaulay. Reprinted in Literary Essays Contributed to the Edinburgh Review. Oxford University Press, 1913.
 Detail, Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay
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Thomas Babington Macaulay portrait courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-47812

Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay
Macaulay on free discussion
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Macaulay's critique of Poet Laureate Southey's economic analysis contains this quote: "Men are never so likely to settle a question rightly as when they discuss it freely. A government can interfere in discussion only by making it less free than it would otherwise be. Men are most likely to form just opinions when they have no other wish than to know the truth, and are exempt from all influence, either of hope or fear."