Peter Forsskal: Thoughts on Civil Liberty
In 1759, Peter Forsskål published a pamphlet, printed by Lars Salvius, calling for civil liberties.
The publication, called Thoughts on Civil Liberty, was immediately banned and those who were found to have a copy in their home had to pay a fine.
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 to read the pamphlet in a range of languages.
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.
Second Edition
The second edition of Peter Forsskål's Tankar om borgerliga friheten 1792...
Who published it?
Click here to find out more.
Recent Events:
Event held at the Royal National Library, Stockholm, 24th October 2013, to celebrate Forsskål's life and to initiate a campaign to raise awareness and knowledge about the 1766 Freedom of Writing and the Press Ordinance
24 October 2013
Stockholm event
For further details please click here.
Italian translation of Tankar, Pensieri sulla libertà civile, by Elisa Bianco, published by Liberilibri, launched in Rome
11th October 2013
Rome Event
For further details please click here.
Letters which refer to the banning of Forsskal's Thoughts on Civil Liberty:
Links by kind permission of The Linnaean Correspondence
Sten Hedberg, PhD (Latin); participant in the Linnaean Correspondence project as editor and translator; assistant director (retired) Uppsala University Library
For all Forsskal's letters to Linneaus see here:
The process for accessing the letters is:
Go to
Click on "Letters"
Go to "Written by"
Scroll down for Forsskal Peter
Highlight the name and click on Submit.Search
This brings up the 28 letters
The editorial team at the Linnaean Correspondence at the Centre for the History of Science at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Book launch
18th November 2009

Book launch event on the 250th anniversary of the orginal publication at the Old Parliament in Stockholm on November 18th 2009.

Click here.

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.
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.
Who are we?
Meet the team behind this project.
Finding out more...
1979 Forsskal Stamp
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.
Peter Forsskål: Author of one of the least-known jewels of Enlightenment literature
Celebrating Peter Forsskål's life

SwSwedish Embassy




Hosted by the Ambassador of Sweden H.E. Ms Nicola Clase and the Ambassador of Finland H.E. Mr Pekka Huhtaniemi the discussion and subsequent reception attracted a diverse audience of lawyers, journalists, academics, researchers, botanists, librarians, zoologists and diplomats

Click here.

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