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In her self-penned defence on charges of blasphemy, Nottingham born lace worker and freethinker Susannah Wright used a diamond as a metaphor for truth, and the irrationality of attempting to conceal or destroy it. In a powerful statement of the right to freely question and discuss, during a period of intense suppression by government, Wright firmly defends the principles of freedom of speech and belief. Of her right to question the Christian religion she said:

If it be founded in truth I wish to get at it, to know it, and to have a firm faith and belief in it, to have it exposed to all the attacks and scrutinies of free discussion that there may be no longer doubt remaining about it, as is now the case throughout what is called Christendom itself: but whilst I see those who are well paid for it, interested only in supporting it by the strong arm of power and brute force, I am reluctantly compelled to doubt its truth, I am an infidel to it from a disagreeable necessity which I wish to see removed. It is a moral impossibility that truth can be brought into contempt by ever so strict a scrutiny, or by sarcasm or ridicule, however poignant. The more you examine it, the more brilliant it appears. It has all the properties of the diamond, and one more, fire cannot destroy it, nor the lapse of time make it decay. It may be buried in falsehood, sophistry, and ignorance but it is indestructible and will be continually rising to human view. It cannot be subverted by logic or rhetoric, nor defaced by declamation and abuse. It is persecution by brute force alone that can impede its progress upon the human mind: to that my persecutors resort to shelter their religion from examination and free discussion, and that strengthens my infidelity towards it.

Report of the Trial of Mrs. Susannah Wright: For Publishing, in His Shop, the Writings and Correspondences of R. Carlile, Before Chief Justice Abbott, and a Special Jury, in the Court of King’s Bench, Guildhall, London, on Monday, July 8, 1822
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