ePub 版

manner in which, by the effect of to some other subject; the other, parody, ridicule was attempted to where it was meant to ridicule be thrown upon each of them. A the thing parodied. The latter burst of laughter now issued from was not the case in that which he the crowd below the bar ; upon employed, and therefore he had which Mr. Justice Abbot, address. not brought religion into coning the Under-Sheriff, desired tempt. that he would place persons who He then introduced a number would bring before the Court of quotations from different works, those who should insult the feel- which exemplified the different ings of the more grave and sober kinds of parodies; but in this part of the auditors.

sketch it would be superfluous to The Attorney-General proceeded enter into particulars, especially to say, that if there were any thing where it cannot be doubted that in what he had read, which could all modern examples of prosecuraise a smile in any man's face, tions on this ground have been it was evidence enough that the entirely founded on political reapublication was a libel.

After sons. some further remarks, witnesses The Attorney-General in his were called in to prove the pur- reply thought it necessary to menchase of a copy of the work in tion, that Mr. Hone having been question from Hone's shop, and formerly arrested and imprisoned, to identify his place of residence. he (the Attorney-General) knowThis was the whole of the prose. ing that the trial could not come cution,

on till the present time, had Mr. Hone, who acted as his caused him to be discharged on own counsel, then rose to speak; his own recognizance, to appear and though unpractsied in the art on a future day. He then made of addressing a public audience, some severe remarks upon Hone, the impression which he made was and addressing the jury, entreated very considerable. He began with them to consider the libel coolly some observations on an arrest and dispassionately, and compare which had been made upon him ing it with what it was designed in the month of May, and in to ridicule, determine whether which he found canse of complaint it were not a wicked, impious, against Lord Ellenborough for and profane publication. excess of rigour. He then pro- Mr.Justice Abbot, in his charge, ceeded to reinark upon the man- said, that the question here was ner in which special juries were not what had been done in former struck by the crown officers : and times, but what the defendant in fine he came to the particular had done in the present. He was object of his trial, which was the fully convinced that the produccharge made against him by the tion was highly scandalous and Attorney-General for publishing irreligious, and therefore libelparodies. There were, he said, lous; but if the jury were of a two kinds of parodies ; une in different opinion, their verdict which a nan might convey ludi- would of course be an acquittal. crous or ridiculous ideas relative The jury then withdrew, and

returned returned to the box in less than a of a part of the auditory. Rccoquarter of an hour; when it be- vering from this unexpected ating asked by the Clerk of the tack, he spoke with niuch seveCourt whether they found the de- rity of such interruptions of the fendant guilty or not guilty, their courts of justice; and he conforeman replied in a firm voice, duded with saying, that if the Not Guilty.

defendant's panıphlet were deterLoud acclamations were in- mined not to be a profane libel, stantly heard in all parts of the there was no insult of the kind Court, which continued for seve- that might not be offered to the ral minutes.

established religion, and to the

sacred writings, with impunity. The next cause between the The libel was next read by the King and William Hone was tried at Clerk of nisi prius. It was enthe Court of King's-bench, before titled “ The Political Litany;" Lord Ellenborough and a special and its direct purpose was to conjury, on December 19. Of the vert to a political meaning, the special jury only six making their several articles of religious faith, appearance, the rest consisted of in the order laid down in the ori. talesmen made up in Court. ginal composition.

The Attorney-General, address- The case on the part of the ing the jury, said that they were Crown being closed, Mr. Hone assembled to try a cause of the rose with the intention of comutmost importance to the consti- mencing his defence. Before he tution of society. It was that of had proceeded to any length, Lord a libel which was a parody of that Ellenborough thought it proper to part of the divine service called apprize him, that if he wished to the Litany, or General Supplica- show that similar applications or

The information charged misapplications of texts of Scripthe defendant with having, for ture, or what is usually revered the purpose of exciting impiety by the subjects of the realm, have and irreligion, and to bring into been made by others as well as contempt in the minds of his Ma. himself, he should not receive it. jesty's subjects that part of the I have stated (said his lordship) public service called the Litany, my decided purpose ; and you may and to apply the style and form of now use your own discretion wheexpression there used, to scanda- ther you will dilate further upon lous purposes, had published the a point which I declare is not libel in question. He then gave judicially admissible! the jury a taste of the mode in Mr. Hone. I ask your lordwhich this conversion of the true ship whether you mean to send sense of the Litany was effected; me from this place to a prison ? but while he was with due gravity If you do not hear me, you do applying to the Prince Regent, that. If you will not allow me to and the Houses of Lords and Com- make my defence to the jury, how mons, the expressions of a solemn can I avoid it? form of devotion, he was discon- After some further discussion, certed by the in•lecorous laughter his lordship said, Go on, exercise your own discretion. I have stated seven special jurymen, and five the rule in intelligent and intelli- talesmen. gible terms.


The Attorney-General, in adFrom this time to the termina- dressing them, said that it was tion of the trial alınost the only his duty to charge the defendant speakers were Lord Ellenborough with the publication of a profane and Mr. Hone; and although it libel on that part of the service of cannot be supposed that much ci- the Church of England, which vility passed between them, yet was called the Creed of St. Athait does not appear that his lord- nasius. The work in which it was ship's decision respecting what was contained was entitled the Sineor what was not judicially admis- curist's Creed ; and he read sevesible, prevented the defendant ral passages of the work to prove from bringing into Court tive that it was a parody of that of greater part of the parodies which St. Athanasius. The whole was was selected for their hearing. afterwards read by Mr. Law; and

Lord Ellenborough, in his whatever be thought of the adopcharge to the jury, declared, that tion of the latter creed by the of all the parodies which the de- English church, it will scarcely fendant had read, he could not be disputed that the ridicule atfind any that bore any proportion tempted to be thrown upon it by to the enormity of the present; the Sinecurist's Creed was of the and in conclusion he said, that lowest class of productions of that he would deliver there his solemn nature. opinion, as he was required by Mr. Hone then commenced his Act of Parliament to do; and un- defence, which he continued durder the authority of that Act, and ing seven hours and a half with still more in obedience to his coif- extraordinary spirit, passing in science and his God, he pronounced review the whole tribe of parothis to be a most impious and pro- dists, ancient and modern. In the fane libel.

reply of the Attorney-General, The jury retired at a quarter and the charge by Lord Ellenbopast six, and returned at eight; rough to the jury, there was eviwhen the foreman, in a steady dently a falling off, compared to voice, pronounced a verdict of the decision with which the deNot Guilty.

fendant had been pronounced upon The third day of Mr. Hone's in the former days of the trial; as trial followed on December 20th. there was on his part a confident Lord Ellenborough sat a second appeal to the sentiments of the time ; and the Attorney-General, jury. At 20 minutes after eight observing that the defendant was the jury retired to consider their obviously much wearied by the verdict, and returning into Court exertions of the two preceding at 12 minutes before nine, their days, offered, as a matter of fa- foreman pronounced a verdict of vour, to postpone the day. Mr. Not Guilty. Hone, however, declined the in- The moment the words were dulgence, and wished the trial to pronounced, a spontaneous burst proceed. The jury consisted of of applause issued from the crowd


[ocr errors]

in the Court, which soon extended of the wound given to his proto the crowd on the outside ; and fessional reputation by Mr. Searfor some minutes the ball and ad- lett's language at this bar. The joining avenues rang with shouts freedom of speech at the bar is of and acclamations.

the utmost importance. During Some days afterwards a liberal the present assize I heard, with subscription was entered into for much pleasure, Mr. Scarlett desMr. Hone and his family.

cant upon this topic. I could not help believing that he spoke then

in anticipation of this action. This FREEDOM OF SPEECH AT THE BAR.

freedom of speech is of the greatLancaster, Sept. 10.

est importance, not only to the Ilodgson v. Scarlett. Mr. Rich- dignity of the bar, but to the inardson stated the action to be terests of the public, whose high brought by Peter Hodyson, gen- and delicate interests are intrusted tleman, for damages on account to the bar. Of this freedom mone of words spoken by James Scarlett, can be a more strenuous and tenaEsq. at the last spring assizes in cious friend than 1. In importthis court.

ance and utility, I hold it to be of Mr. Raine...May it please your the same rank as freedoin of dislordship, gentlemen of the jury, eussion in the Commons' House It often happens to all of us, ow- of Parliament. I have thus made ing to professional aceident, to be the highest admission in favour of engaged in actions painful to our Mr. Scarlett; but bounds must be feelings. Painful, I can with set to this freedom of speech truth assure you, the present action otherwise, from the greatest blessis to my feelings. Having tra- ing, it becomes the bitterest curse velled in our professional walk, that can infest and annoy society. with a gentleman of Mr. Scarlett's These bounds were overleaped in character, for more than 20 years, this case. Mr. Scarlett, while adhaving known him in private life dressing the jury for the defendant for a still lunger period, I cannot in an aetion in this court, went be supposed capuble, by any out of his way to traduce and who know me, of harbouring an vilify the character of the attorney unkind sentinyent towards him, for the plaintiff, and to wound and still less of giving utterance his reputation. I shall not go into to such a sentiment, if I could en- the particulars of that action: they tertain it: but what I owe to niy are not upon the record, and his client; what I owe to the pro- Lordship will tell you that it was fession to which I belong; what not necessary they should. The I owe, I may say it without arro- words charged, and which we gance, to myself, oblige me to lay shall prove to have been spoken, before you the ground of the pre- are these Some actions are sent action. Peter Hodgson is, founded in folly, some in knavery,” and has long been, an eminent (Mr. Baron Wood. That is surely attorney in Whitehaven, in the true. Mr. Raine. Yes, my Lord, county of Cumberland, and ap- these are certainly truisins, but plies now to you in consequence they are thus, eonnected), “ some



in both; soinc actions in the folly uttered that are not warranted; and knavery of attornies, and but a serious impression to the insome in the folly and knavery of jury of character and professional the parties.” My friend is not career could never be allowed to apt to deal in metaphysical ab- be made with impunity. What straction; you know very

well was Mr. Hodgson to do? He called that he does not use words with- upon Mr. Scarlett to justify or to out application.

We shall not at- deny these words : he would do tempt to prove his whole speech. neither. Mr. Hodgson, therefore, You know with how little credit a found he must appeal to a jury. long story is received from wit- The words will be indisputably nesses; but we shall prove the proved. Mr. Hodgson was diswords here entered upon the re- tinctly predicated to be a frauducord : “Mr. Peter Hodgson was lent and wicked attorney. The the attorney for the plaintiff'; he only question then was, whether drew the promissory note; he he was thus to be traduced with fraudulently got Beaumont to pay impunity. I mentioned that the 150l. to the plaintiff. This was plaintiff lives in a different county. the most profligate thing I ever It is generally a suspicious cirknew done by a professional man.” cumstance for a plaintiff to come Then follows the particular ex- to a jury of a different county, as pression which we have charged if he could not trust a jury who in the second count on the record : knew his character. But in this it concludes the remarks already case the action was brought here stated to you. The sting is always because the words charged had in the tail. “ Mr. Hodgson is a been uttered here, and it is rather fraudulent and wicked attorney." advantageous to my learned friend, Now, gentlemen, I ask you, if for if there is one place on this you were wrong in any action circuit in which he is better known brought into this court, how than in another place, it is the would you like such abuse of the county palatine of Lancaster. As freedom of speech by a gentleman I believe this will be the last time holding a high reputation at the I can address you on the subject, bar? A humbler individual, if he I must say a word of damages. I had not the spirit and the honour distinctly disclaim for my client to vindicate his fame from such an that damages are his object. He attack, would be ruined. My only wants the vindication of his client has the spirit and honour to injured character. You will take repel it. The defendant has join- care that he sustain no loss by this ed the general issue; that is, the vindication. I do not ask for words are denied. I have a right angry and vindictive damages. I to presume, indeed I have more ask no more than justice to my than a presumption, that his in- client. Less than justice you will structions did not warrant the not give. words, and Mr. Hodgson has taken Mr. Baron Wood.-Can you care to ascertain the fact. In the mention any action of the same hurry, agitation, and irritation of kind, or upon what principle it the bar, words may certainly be can be inaintained ?


« 上一頁繼續 »