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execution of their duty, will be protected by privilege. But this privilege will not extend to a minister who shall so far forget himself

, as from the pulpit to calumniate or bring charges against either his own hearers or others, whether by name, or in such a way as leaves no room to doubt of their intended application. The place and the circumstances, instead of affording protection, will aggravate the offence in the eye of law, and increase the amount of damages. Several

of this kind have occurred; but, as they do not fall particularly within the subject in hand, it is only necessary to mention them below.*

Neither does it fall strictly within the object of these remarks to consider how far private members of the church are protected in the communications they may make to sessions or to individual elders, in reference to the conduct of their fellow-members. But the general principles above stated apply to them whenever duty can be pleaded ; and the case of Greive v. Smith is an instance in point. It may be remarked generally, 1. That when persons are called on to give evidence, or to state what has come under their observation, they are as safe to do so to ecclesiastical officebearers as in civil suits—and 2. That as it is their interest that the membership of the church to which they belong should be kept pure, so it is their right to complain of or bring under the notice of their elders any conduct of their fellow-members by which they have been offended, or which is calculated, in their estimation, to bring discredit on the religious society. In doing this they will be safe from an action of damages, providing they have probable cause for their complaint, and it is not made maliciously. Were

Scotland v. Thomson, 8th Aug., 1776. Morrison, v. Dili. gence, Ap. No. 3. Adain, v. Allan, 23d Feb., 1841, Cases, &c., iij 1059. Smith, v. Gentles, 31st Jan., 1844, Cases, &c., vi., 565

such a case occurring, the right and duty of communication might be denied, and it might be incumbent on the defender to prove its existence ace

according to the usage of the body; but, that right being established, effect would be given to the plea vi privilege.

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