A sect of heretics in Holland, led by Quinton a factor, and Copin. They maintained that nothing is sinful but to those who think it sinful, and that perfect innocence is to live without doubt.
By a “libertine” is now generally meant a profligate, or one who puts no restraint on his personal indulgence.
“A libertine, in earlier use, was a speculative free-thinker in matters of religion and in the theory of morals ... but [it has come] to signify a profligate.” —Trench: On the Study of Words, lecture iii. p. 90.
Liberty means “to do what one likes.” (Latin, liber, free.)
The liberty of a subject to conduct his own affairs as he thinks proper, provided he neither infringes on the equal liberty of others, nor offends against the good morals or laws under which he is living.
Such freedom as is essential to render a person responsible for what he does, or what he omits to do.
The liberty of a nation to make its own laws, and elect its own executive. Natural Liberty.
Unrestricted freedom to exercise all natural functions in their proper places. Personal Liberty.
Liberty to go out of one's house, or nation, and to return again without restraint, except deprived thereof by way of punishment.
The right to participate in political elections and civil offices; and to have a voice in the administration of the laws under which you live as a citizen and subject.
Freedom in religious opinions, and in both private and public worship, provided such freedom in no wise interferes with the equal liberty of others.
Cap of Liberty.
The Goddess of Liberty, in the Aventine Mount, was represented as holding in her hand a cap, the symbol of freedom. In France, the Jacobins wore a red
cap. In England, a blue
cap with a white border is the symbol of liberty, and Britannia is sometimes represented as holding such a cap on the point of her spear. (See
Cap Of Liberty.)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894