Peter Forsskal: Thoughts on Civil Liberty
In 1759, Peter Forsskål published a pamphlet, printed by Lars Salvius, calling for civil liberties.
The publication was recalled on the day of its publication and soon after was banned; those who were found to have a copy were liable to a very signficant fine, equivalent to two years salary for a ship's captain.
Nevertheless, the text did circulate and contributed to access to information and the abolition of prior censorship which was established in 1766 by law in Sweden.
Forsskål’s pamphlet is now published for the very first time in an English translation (as well as other languages), together with the original version of the Swedish text, without the censor’s changes.
Click here for translations of the pamphlet..
To read about Salvius click here.
First Edition
A list of the location of surviving copies of the first edition of Thoughts on Civil Liberty (Tankar om borgerliga friheten) and a list of modern editions and translations has been compiled by David Shaw. The list can be found here.
Gunilla Jonsson has produced a list of printed editions of the 1759 pamphlet which can be found here.
Second Edition
The second edition of Peter Forsskål's Tankar om borgerliga friheten 1792...
Who published it?
Click here to find out more.
25 September 2017
The prestigious Litteraturbanken is the website for reliable digital versions of Swedish classics, see
On 25th September 2017, it published a range of texts by and about Peter Forsskal in Swedish and English, see:
Please note that Project Forsskal took this opportunity to slightly revise and improve some of the texts as they had appeared on this website.
Forsskålsymposium 2019: The future of Democracy
Sal IX, Universitetshuset, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala
28 November 2019
Click here for details.
Civic reception in the Glasgow City Chambers on 7th June 2019
Click here for details
The Gedenktafel for Peter Forsskal - 06 November 2015
Click here for details
Peter Forsskål 1732 - 1763
250th Anniversary of Peter Forsskål's Death
An article marking the anniversary in the Swedish publication Svenska Dagbladet can be found here.
Who are we?
Meet the team behind this project.
Finding out more...
Family background of Peter Forsskål
Differences between the original manuscript of Forsskål's Tankar om borgerliga friheten and the printed editions of 1759 and 1792
For resources and links to further reading, click here.
Forsskål at Georg-August-Universitat, Göttingen
Peter Forsskål spent from October 1753 to June 1756 at the University and in June 1756 was made a a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences, Göttingen.
Click here for more details.
For a Census of Copies of Forsskål's 'Dubia De Principiis Philosophiae Recentioris' compiled by David Shaw please click here.
Forsskål's Defence
For the first-ever translation of this text into English by Marie Isabel Matthews-Schlinzig click here.
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