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ter very inconsistent with these principles, you are then to consider whether, in a case like this, humble language ought to ransom strong faults. If you shall be clearly of opinion that the paper has a different tendency from that which is professed in the outset and conclusion, and that the Defendants themselves were aware of this tendency, you are then bound by your oath, and by the law of the country, to find the Defendants guilty. Once more, as to the contents of this paper ; you will find that the taxes are loudly complained of, but that not a word is said of the general wealth and prosperity of the kingdom. But let a deduction be made of the national taxes from the amount of the national wealth, and I am confident that this country will appear in a higher state of opulence and prosperity than it ever was at any former period. What purpose then can such partial and unfair statements answer, except to inflame the discontented and encourage the seditious ? Whatever I have said of the tendency of this paper, I have stated only as my own opinion'; it does not follow that the Society at Derby might not view the subject in a very different light. All that my duty demando is, solemnly to declare that I considered this prosecution, though not originating with myself, as a proper case to be submitted to the consideration of a Jury. You have now heard from me almost all that I intended to say at present, or thought necessary to submit to you, except what may fall from
my Learned Friend shall require me to add some farther observa
tions in reply. You will hear from the evidence all the facts which the Defendants have to urge in their own justification, and from his Lordship all that shall appear to him to be the law on this subject. I now leave the matter to your decision. If you think the Defendants ought to be acquitted, I shall retire from the Court with a full conviction, not inconsistent however with that. respect which I owe to your decision, that, in bringing this matter before you, I have acted according to the best of my judgment.
Mr. Wood, the junior Counsel on the part of the prosecution, was then proceeding to call witnesses, and Mr. Berry was called, when the Counsel for the Defendants said he was instructed to save the Court all this trouble, as the Defendants were anxious to try the question on its own merits. As Counsel for the Defendants, he therefore adınitted that John Lambert, charged in the Information as printer of the Morning Chronicle, was in fact, printer of that paper; that the paper was purchased at the printinghouse; and that the Defendants, James Perry and James Gray, charged in the Information as proprie. tors of the same paper, were in fact so. If these were the facts meant to be ascertained by witnesses, they would spare the Court unnecessary time and trouble, by admitting them fully and unequivocally.
The Attorney General said these were all the facts they meant to establish by proof; he thanked his Learned Friend for the admission.
The Honourable THOMAS ERSKINE then rose for the
With the two gentlemen charged in the Information, as proprietors of the Morning Chronicle, I have been long and weil acquainted. Of Mr. John Lambert, who conducts the mechanical part of the printing business, I have no personal knowledge ; but from my intimate acquaintance with the other two, I have no difficulty in saying, that if I had in my
soul the slightest idea that they were guilty, as charged in the Information, of malicious and wicked designs against the state, I should leave the task of defending them to others.--Not that I conceive I have a right to refuse my professional assistance to any man who demands it ; but I have for a day or two past been so extremely indisposed, that I feel myself scarcely equal to the common exertion of addressing the Court ; and it is only from the fullest confidence in the innocence of the Defendants that I come forward - for a very short space to solicit the attention of the Jury. You, Gentlemen, indeed, are the sole arbitrators in this cause, and to you it belongs to decide on the whole merits of the question. Mr. Attorney General has already given a history of the prosecution, which was originally taken up by his predecessor, now called to a high situation in his profession. I do not mean by any thing I shall say to impute unbecoming conduct to either of those respectable gentlemen for the part which they
have taken in this business: they no doubt brought it forward, because they considered it as a proper matter for the discussion of a Jury. I take it for granted that they would not have acted so, but from a sense of duty: be this however as it may, the weight of their characters ought to have no influence - upon your minds against the Defendants. It would be dangerous to justice indeed, if, because a charge was brought by a respectable Attorney General, it were to be received as an evidence of guilt which ought at all to bias the judgment or affect the decision of the Jury. It is the privilege of
British subject to have his conduct tried by his peers,
and his guilt or innocence determined by them. In this case Mr. Attorney General has given no judgment; - he has taken up the business merely in the course of his professional duty.-The whole of the matter comes before you, Gentlemen of the Jury, who of course will reject every thing that can have a tendency to influence your decision independently of the merits of the cause ; you will suffer no observation that may fall from my Learned Friend, or from myself, to interfere with your own honest and unbiassed judg
You are to take every thing that relates to the case into your own consideration ;-you are to consult only your own judgments ;--you are to decide, as you are bound by your duty, according to your own consciences; and your right to decide fully, on every point, is clearly ascertained by the law of libels. To the act lately passed you are to look as the only rule of your conduct in the exercise of your functions.
With respect to the interpretation of that act, I must confess that my Learned Friend and I materially differ. In one principle, however, we entirely agree, that a case of libel is to be tried exactly as any other criminal case : this point indeed he has most correctly stated. When a man accused of a libel is brought before a Jury, they are to consider only the mind and intention with which the matter was written, and accordingly as they shall find that, they are to form their decision of guilt or innocence. They are to dismiss every other consideration, and allow themselves to be biassed by no motive of párty or political convenience. There is this essential difference between criminal and civil cases : in criminal cases, the Jury have the subject 'entirely in their own hands ; they are to form their judgment upon the whole of it, not only upon the act alleged to be criminal, but the motive by which it was influenced ; the intention with which it was committed; and according to their natural sense of the transaction, they ought to find a man innocent or guilty: and their verdict is conclusive. Not 'so in civil cases :-In these the Jury are bound to abide in their decision by the law as explained by the Judge; they are not at liberty to follow their own opinions. For instance, if I am deprived of any part of my property, the loss of my property lays a foundation for an action, and the fact being found, the Jury are bound to find a