Brand in firing line

May 3, 1996

H. J. Eysenck ends his defence of the publication of The g Factor by quoting Voltaire's famous statement on the subject of free speech. This statement was not made by Voltaire but was invented more than a century after his death by S. G. Tallentyre (Evelyn Beatrice Hall) in her book The Friends of Voltaire (1906). In her account of the campaign against Helvetius's book De l'esprit in 1758-59 she said of Voltaire's reaction, "'I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,' was his attitude now" (page 199). In fact he said nothing of the kind, then or at any time, and this was not his attitude, then or at any other time.

Nicolas Walter, Rationalist Press Association

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