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CHARGE TO THE JURY. .

Lord Kenyon then summed up as follows:

GENTLEMEN OF THE JURY: I do not feel that I am called upon to discuss the nature of this libel, or to state to you what the merit of the composition is, or what the merit of the argument is, but merely to state what the questions are, to which you are to apply your judgment, and the evidence given in support of this information. It is impossible, when one reads the preface to it, which states that the libel was written to asperse the House of Commons, not to feel that it is a matter of considerable importance; for I do not know how far a fixed general opinion that the House of Commons deserves to have crimes imputed to it, may go; for men that are governed will be thereby much influenced by the confidence which should be reposed in government. Mankind will never forget that governors are not made for the sake of themselves, but are placed in their respective stations, to discharge the function of their office for the benefit of the public; and if they should ever conceive that their governors are so inattentive to their duty, as to exercise their functions only to keep themselves in power, and for their own emolument, without attending to the interests of the public, government must be relaxed, and at last crumble into dust; and, therefore if the case be made out, which is imputed to the defendant, it is no doubt a most momentous case indeed; but

l though it is so, it does not follow that the defendant is guilty; and juries have been frequently told, and I am bound, in the situation in which I stand, to tell you, that, in forming your judgment upon this case, there are two points for you to attend to, namely :

Whether the defendant, who is charged with having published this, did publish it; and whether the sense which the Attorney-General, by his innuendoes in this information, has affixed to the different passages, is fairly affixed to them.

From any consideration as to the first of these points you are delivered, because it is admitted that the book was published by the defendant; but the other is the material point to which you are to apply your judgment. It has been entered into with wonderful abilities, and much in the detail; but it is not enough for a man to say, I am innocent; it belongs alone to the Great Searcher of hearts to know whether men are innocent or not; we are to judge of the guilt or innocence of men, because we have no other rule to go by, by their overt acts, i. e., from what they have done.

In applying the innuendoes, I accede entirely to what was laid down by the counsel for the defendant, and what was admitted yesterday by the Attorney-General, as counsel for the Crown, that you must, upon this information, make up your minds that this was meant as an aspersion upon the House of Commons; and I admit also that in forming your opinion you are not bound to confine your inquiry to those detached passages which the Attorney-General has selected as offensive matter, and the subject of prosecution. But let me on the other side warn you, that though there may be much good writing, good argument, morality, and humanity, in many parts of it, yet if there are offensive passages, the good part will not sanctify the bad part.

Having stated that, I ought also to tell you, that in order to see what is the sense to be fairly imputed to those parts which are culled out as the offensive passages, you have a right to look at all the context; you have a right to look at the whole book; and if

and if you find it has been garbled, and that the passages selected by the Attorney-General do not bear the sense imputed to them, the man has a right to be acquitted ; and God forbid he should be convicted. It is for you, upon reading the information, which, if you go out of court, you will undoubtedly take with you, and by comparing it with this pamphlet, to see whether the sense the Attorney-General has affixed, is fairly affixed; always being guided by this, that where it is truly ambiguous and doubtful, the inclination of your judgment should be on the side of innocence; but if you find

you cannot acquit him without distorting sentences, you are to meet this case, and all other cases, as I stated yesterday, with the fortitude of men feeling that they have a duty upon them superior to all leaning to parties; namely, the administration of justice in the particular cause.

It would be in vain for me to go through this pamphlet which has been just put into my hand, and to say whether the sense affixed is the fair sense or not. As far as disclosed by the information, these passages afford a strong bias that the sense affixed to them is the fair sense ; but of that you will judge, not from the passages themselves merely, but by reading the context, or the whole book; so much at least as is necessary to enable you to ascertain the true meaning of the author.

If I were prepared to comment upon the pamphlet, in my situation it would be improper for me to do it. My duty is fulfilled when I point out to you what the questions are that are proposed to your judgment, and what the evidence is upon the questions; the result is yours, and yours only.

The jury retired, and after an absence of two hours, returned with a verdict of “not guilty.” Lord Campbell mentions the length of their deliberations as a somewhat remarkable fact in view of the powerful argument of Mr. Erskine, and its wonderful effect upon all who heard it. He alludes, however, as explanatory of the doubts of the jury, and as adding to the triumph of the advocate, to the fact that this trial took place before the passage of Mr. Fox's libel act, and during a period when judges did not hesitate to instruct juries that their only province, in case of libel, was to determine the bare fact of whether the alleged libel had been published by the defendant.

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