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SUMMARY OF POLITICS,

CRIM. Con. It is not of the sin and some of the acts of adultery, which are new daily coming before the world through the courts of justice, that I mean to speak on this occasion. They are the natural *u-sequence of the manners of the times, ind those manners as naturally proceed from the size and luxury of the metrópolis, which ows together, through the means of taxaico, all the wealth and as the vices of the ontry. . It is not, therefore, from any ling of compassion towards the cuckolds t I am led to offer a few observations on the subject; for, nine hundred and ety nine times out of every thousand, the who is known for a cuckold ought to one. The law gives him so much power the poor feeble framed creature whom has married ; he is so completely the oter of her and of all she has ; he has, * be worthy of a wife, so decided an ince over her mind, that his cuckoldom

his own fault. It is a man's own busito take care of his wife. Judges and ies are not, and never were, intended, the guardians of any woman's chastiand, it is the modern fashion of makto m moral censors, which I am desirous Lating out for public disapprobation. A cuckold conies into court and asks damages. There are, then, two dry tons of fact before the jury: 1st, whethe act of adultery have been cominat; and, 2d, what is the amount of the damage, which the complainant ias zined from that act. As to tie first, -mstantial evidence may certainly be ent ; but, then, it ought to be as as is required in cases of treason, or or. No loose tales about dishevciled and rumpled clothes and the like, ought oty any juror. Appearances are so to deceitful, that the very strongest ld be viewed with distrust Appear3 may satisfy me, that the parties were og and intended to commit the act; but, * I am fully satisfied that the act has committed, I am guilty of faiseswearing _1 give my assent to a verdict of guilty. > ing to the new doctrine, however, this

ar, to the to be almost impossible, unless

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fact of actual commission of the act would seem to be of little consequence; for, the great burden of the pleading against the defendant, is, that he has “ seduced the “ affections " of the plaintiff's wife, which may be no crime at all, either legal or moral, no man being able to prevent a woman from liking him better than she likes her husband. Only tell a man that he is not bound by his oath ; tell him that he is to decide upon opinion and not upon evidence; and you have no longer any hold upon him ; all is left to fashion and to chance; or, rather, the plaintiffs in such cases, have for their jurors, a set of men who, from a reason founded in human nature, are decidedly in their favour. It was the old practice, to stick to fact ; and, it was necessary to bring good substantial proof of the act being committed, before there was the smallest chance of obtaining a verdict of guilty. Without insisting upon this, what woman's reputation or fortune can be safe 2 Suppose a scoundrel wishes to get rid of his wife. He may, with the assistance of a brother scoundrel, easily obtain very specious circumstantial proof, that his wife has been guilty of adultery. Nothing is easier either to conceive or to execute. The parties accused of the crime are incapable of being examined in evidence ; the woman is no party in the cause ; and, in the case supposed, she maybe branded as an adulteress and sent to starve, being all the while conscious of perfect innocence. Then, as to the amount of the damages. The word dameges seems, of late years, and especially as applicable to this sort of charge, to have quite lost its original legal meaning. The compensation for dairage is pecunia, V, and, therefore, the pecuniary dainage should be made appear; for, is it not a most shameful abuse of words to talk of paying a man for his inental sufferings 2 And, I should be good to be informed, by any of the experienced cuckoids of the day, what great difference there is between receiving payment for the chastity of a wife, and selling that chastity. When the poisonous transatlantic quack brought an action of damages against me for taking away lis reputation, though the perjured jury did not require proof of G

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the falsehood of what I had pubăsoot, they did ask for proof of the damage sustained by the plaintiff; or, at least, such proof w is given by producing witnesses to show that his patients had isst him. This was a very good thing; it was doing right to withdraw his patients from hion ; and Dr. Rowley, who wrote upon the subject of the quack's practice, says, I merited a statue of gold for ity atchievement. But, the damage to the quack, the pecuniary damage, was shown ; as, in such cases, it certainly ought to be. Now, what damage is sustained by the cuckold It is possible that there may be some damage sustained, in certain peculiar cases; but, it is the fashion now-a-days, not even to ask for any proof, or to produce any evidence to show, that damage has been sustained, though damages, in cas', of guilt, always make part of the verdict. If a man, being blind and being assisted by his wife in managing his business, were to lose her through the means of a seducer, it would be easy for him to make his damages appear. But, what damages can be made out by the far greater part of those who apply to the law They have been robbel of their wives' society and conversation. These they may still enjoy, if they please; for, I'll warrant a wife of this sort talks none the worse for her adventure. Aye, but then comes that indefinite thing called comfort, which, if one can, in any case, affix any meaning to it, means, in this case, the pleasure of being deceived. Still we come back again to the point whence we started : the award is for compensation; for something to make up for what has been lost ; and, the cuckold having lost the “comfort " he dorived from his wife's society, receives from a court of law the “ comfort " which is to be derived from a sum of money. But, the fact is, that the award has, in general, according to the present practice, nothing at all to do with real damages. It is a sort of fine inflicted ; and, in some cases, a late iudge openly directed the awarding of exemplary damages; that is to say, the punishing of a man by way of fine, under the form of making compensation to another man for a pretended loss that he has sustained; and the language of the fraternity of learned friends" has been, that the jury are the “guardians of the public morals.” If a man were indicted for the crime of adultery, then, indeed, the jury would be invested with a character somewhat of this sort : but, no man is, and no man can be, indicted for the crime of adultery. It is a crime of which the courts of law cannot ta!.e. cognizance ; but, the truth is, that we

are a people completely lawyer-ridden; every thiog is drawn to their shop ; the press and the pulpit, which were formerly looked to as sufficient for the checking of numerous vices, are now, it seems, bardiy worth notice ; and, the fornier of the two bas, by the lawyers, been so shackled, that it is, indeed, not to be trusted to for any useful purpose. Though you know a man to be a rogue, you are not to call him so, yori are not to caution your neighbours against hia ; because, say the lawyers, “ you should “ bring such a man to justice." That is to say, “ you should bring him to our shep." But, to bing a rogue to their shop is an expensive affair ; and, if the rogue be rich, it is odds but the real punishment fall upon yourself into the places where justice is administered, scarcely any but lawyers are permitted to enter. The great Halls of Winchester and Westminster, for instance, which were evidently constructed for the purpose of receiving a large number of persons, that, according to the maxim of our constitution, justice might be administered in public, are now parcelled off. The places where the trials are held are boxed up with mean-looking boards to the very summit of the roof; little passages, or rathe holes, are left for people to creep in and out. at ; a man stands at each entrance to sele the persons who wish to enter ; and the in side is filled with lawyers, or retainers the law.

From the public the hearing of the trials is as completely kept as if the

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were held in a room locked up. Over th several passage doors, at Winchester, at written, in order to prevent confusion Court;" over another, “ Counsellors; over another, “Attorneys;" over another IFitnesses;" over another, “Jury.” But, no where do you find a door for the public to enter. is this administering justice in pub lic 2 Can this be called an open court 2 Eve the information, which, at last, the publi get in print, respecting trials, they a compelled to purchase from lawyers; for i is generally some briefiess “learned friend" that supplies the news-papers with the reports of trials. It is the accursed funding and taxing system, which has given rise to such immense volumes of acts of parliament. that has caused so fearful a predominance of this wily and yet daring profession, and thi:; has brought so many persons to pine awar their lives in hunger, under a bob-tailed wig and a black gown. Parents, tempted, by the brilliant success of comparatively 1. few, and by the riches which many more acquire, through the means of the law, seri up their sons in swarms to be “bred to to

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tar;" but, could they see the hungry thread-bare troops that cling about Westminster Hall and the Houses of Parliament, łke half-perished flies, in the month of Oc. tober, about the windows of a seller of sweets, those parents would rather send their children to be bred to the making of shoes. Poor souls . I know of no sight more painful than to see forty or fifty dozen of them squeezed into a half-circle, with visages clearly indicating want of necessary food, each anxiously looking forward to coch the eye of more fortunate brethren, and having his lungs upon the cock, ready to let off in a laugh the moment a pretence is sered, however miserable that pretence Inly be. Poor souls to see them bustling along, in the morning, breakfastless to Court, as if anxious thousands waited their arrival, and the fate of whole femilies and cosses depended upon their tongues; when, at the same time, both their backs and bellies can witness, that a gypsey fortune-teller

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if he had been knocked down by any of the ants' hill of knights about London ; and, I should be glad to know, from some toorough-paced cuckold, whether his foot on is not as able at the work of depriving him of “ comfort,” as hiny of the young lords, whom his wife retains or withdraws fool the stews. If the footman deprives Sir Baalam of his comfort, why should not the footman have as heavy damagos to pay, as if he had been a lord : 1/hy should he not 2 I should like to have an answer to this question. If a footman maliciously kill your horse, worth a thousand pounds, is not an award of a thousand pounds made against him : If, in like manner, a lood kill your horse, is not the award the some 2 Damage is a word always bearing the same meaning ; and, upon what principle of our law is it, then, that the award in cases of crim, con., is made according to the tank, or peculiary means, of the defendant Were I upon a jury, in a case of crim con, I would eat my boots, soles and all, before I would award to a cuckold one single penny more than I believed him to have lost by the act of the defendant.--Ry a contrary practice what a fie!! is opened for the vilest of all robbery! For may part, I can see nothing easier, if a rogue and a landsome and cunning woman are agreed, than to make a very pretty fortune by a crim. con. speculation, and that, too with such evidence as is now received, without the help of the sin of adultery. The jilt has nothing to do but entice a rich man into her trammels ; and, without communicating the plot to any one, the husband will soon obtain evidence suficient for the purpose of obtaining damages to the amount of thousands of pounds. The pair may then live together upon the fruit of their plunder ; or, if they like it better, they may separate, and each take a share. The law of this land, which had foreseen every thing else, had fores en this also ; therefore, in speaking of damages, it means real damage, damage that can be proved to have been sustained ; and not imaginary damage, damage that exists in the fancy ; daimage purely mental, and which, therefore, it is impossible to ascertain ; because, though the fact be proved, one plantiff will be steeply afflicted at what | will be with another a subject of joy. A law, or a practice, therefore, which tolerates these awards of damages for the loss of “ comfort,” must necessarily be the most uncertain and capricious of all things. The doctrines we have heard, upon this subject, and the verdicts we have witnessed, cannot fail to have a tendency to render

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wavering the conduct of jurors in general ; to wear away those notions relative to evidence and law, which ought ever to remain indelibly imprinted on the mind of the juror; to put men of small capacity and little knowledge up with the idea, that they are judges in equity; to make a jury a mere instrument, the sport, the play-thing, of hired advocates; to expose property, character, and life, to the effect of circumstances not at all under the controul of the possessor; and, to convert the whole society into dependents, into very slaves, of the professors of the law. LIBEL LAws. Before I proceed to make some further remarks upon this subject, in continuation of what was said last week, I think it proper to quote, from the Courier news paper, an article relating to the way in which libellers are handled in Ireland. It is as follows: “ In the Dublin “ paper,which we received a day or two ago, we found an article to which we think it necessary to direct the attention of the public, premising that we know nothing ourselves of the circumstances there stated. We take the account as it has been published in the Dublin papers; —“The “ editor of a paper printed in Kerry, cal“ led the Kerry Dispatch, asserts that ‘while inoffensively walking the street, “ he was called off by a common serjeant, and, after being assailed with most opprobrious language, and the most criminal imputations, was made a prisoner, and paraded under a military escort through a crowd of at least one thousand people ! He was proclaimed through that crowd as a public disturber of the peace, as a fomentor of Whiteboyism, and a leader of Whiteboys!" This conduct towards him the editor attributes to a paragraph in his paper of the 5th inst. under the head of Anniversary Display of Orange Colours."—The paragraph to which it alludes, we neversaw, nor do we recollect ever to have seen the paper in which he was published. But it is not necessary either to have seen the paper or the paragraph to be able to pronounce a most decisive opinion with respect to the transaction in question. It requires the most serious investigation. What when Kerry is not a proclaimed district, and martial law consequently does not operate in it, is the subject to be seized and made prisoner by a military escort 2 Supposing even the Kerry editor to have been guilty of the greatest offence in his paper, still there were civil laws by which he might have been punished, and civil officers by whom he night have been

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“ taken up, and carried before a magistrate. “But here, (supposing the account published to be correct) we never once see the civil laws, or the magistrate or the civil officers --we see nothing but the military. If an editor of a paper, or the author or publisher of any work, may be laid hold of by the military, the freedom of the press would be merely nominal—stat nominis umbra—the parent and the child of liberty would be destroyed, and that great weapon, which has assisted so materially in establishing the freedom of Great Britain, and which is assisting so powerfully in the rescue of Spain and Portugal, would be no longer formidable. Let us take care to prevent any encroachment upon the lilerty of the press. The first step against it that is taken with impunity is the first step towards slavery.” So, this gentleman of the Courier is for more law The poor printer was seized hold of, abused, and paraded through the streets. The Courier would have preferred an indictment, or information, it seems. Every one to his taste “Let us take care to prevent any en“croachment upon the liberty of the press!" These are bold, or rather, big, words; but, how will you take care of it 2 and what have "ou ever done to assert that liberty I never remember any thing, in this way, done by you ; but, I well remember your taking infinite pains to furnish a before-hand justification for an infernal act of oppression which you strongly recommended to the attorneygeneral; namely, the prosecution ofthe author who wrote an essay, published in the Morning Herald, upon the Potsdam oath of famous memory. This I remember, and I do assure you, that I think your conduct towards that author was much worse than that of the soldiers towards our Irish brother of the press. A correspondent, whose letter will be found below, has given me an explanation of the principles, upon which the charges, in case of libel, proceed. I was quite aware, that, in a civil action, the truth of the assertions published might be proved, and that a justification might be set up on that ground. I thank him for his information respecting Sir Fletcher Norton; but, I believe, that he will find, that the example, contrary to his wish, has been followed. This is, however, of little importance, as long as the jury aretold, that, though the charge (the truth of which they are sworn to decide upon) alledges the words called a libel to be false, they are, nevertheless, in certain cases, to find the charge true, even if the words called a libel are not proved to be false, and even

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case, it matters little, indeed it matters not at all, whether the indictment charges the supposed libeller with falsehood or not. This I knew very well ; but, I referred to the language of indictments to shew, that, f,

merly, falsehood was essential, as the ground work of a charge of libel ; and that, of cow, se, the charge fell to the ground, if the de/endant proved the truth of what he had said or published. Had not this been the law, and the 2xual practice, at the time when indictments for libel, in the present form, were first preferred, the word false would not have been inserted in them. If the law had been content with scandalous and malicious, it would have said nothing about falsehood. But, the fact is, I believe, that, until of late years (within fifty), no one ever dreamt of maintaining a charge of libel, but upon the ground of falsehood. To promulgate truth never was, formerly, held, by the law, to be a crime. Tyrants frequently punished men for speaking or writing the truth, and they had the ready aid of their courts and juries. But, then, these were, at the time, regarded as acts of tyranny as such, they excited hatred, and in the end, brought, in one way of another, their proper punishment. Since the time of Lord Mansfield, inclusive, to promulgate truth is coolly and gravely laid down to be criminal. It is become a settled maxim, that falsehood is not an essential quality in the crime of libel; that every word of a publication may be true; that all its sentiments may be in strict unison with morality and religion; and yet, that it may be a libel, punishable by fine, imprisonment, pillory, and, if Lord Grenville's act be not repealed, by transportation, for the second offence. Where, then, is the standard 2 Who is to know how far to go; for how can he tell what a jury will think scandalous and malicious, and what they will think not to possess those qualities In what way is that freedom (of which the Courier talks so gibly as owing its birth to the press) to be assisted by the press : Let us try it a little: suppose there to be a king upon the throne, who is bent upon establishing despotic sway, and that, aided by ministers who are of the same disposition with himself, he sets about the work without any disguise. A writer calls upon his countrymen to be upon their guard, and gives a true description of the several despotic acts which the supposed king and his abettors have been guilty of. The witer is indicted for the offence; he is not allowed to prove his innocence by proving the truth of what he has written; and, if the matters published be thought by the jury '9 be scandalous and malicious, slap goes the writer to jail, where he has plenty of

time to ruminate on the 'lessings of that

freedom, which comes from 'e use of the ! press. To drag in libels amo. st breaches of the peace is an ingenious devi, of lawyers. “They tend to a breach of the eace, and are, therefore, criminai,” whether . ." contain truth or falsehood. But, how could Mr. Peltier's libel upon Buonaparté possibly produce a breach of the peace in England 2 Yet was Mr. Peltier convicted by a jury, in the court of King's-Bench. Well, but how will this square with the notions of the Courier, in the case above supposed ? The writer, whom we have supposed to exist at a moment when an absolute despotism is about to be begun, publishes his sentiments respecting the minister who is at the bottom of the scheme. This must necessarily highly provoke such minister, and, according to the maxims now received, must as necessariky tend to a breach of the peace. Consequently, the writer goes to jail, and there end the powers of the press in protecting freedom. This doctrine of libels is, to be sure, the most whimsical thing that ever was heard of in the whole world. The reason for punishing libels criminally, is, that they tend to a breach of the peace; so, the prosecutor comes and puts you in jail, lest he himself should be provoked to break the peace by beating you, or shooting at you ! If your libel be upon the ministers, supposing you to speak the truth; that is to say, if you find just fault with the servants of the public, you are liable, according to this doctrine, to be put in jail, or to have your ears cropped off, for having, by truly stating their faults to thcse whom you help to pay, provoked them to commit a breach of the peace upon your body' Good lord 1 is this the sort of liberty of the press, which Ju Nius, whom every body but me reads, calls the “Palladium of free-men " ? ls this the thing, which the Courier relies upon for the maintenance of freedom Is it this, to “ prevent any encroachment” upon which he so earnestly calls upon us? The plain truth is, that, except in matters of little public importance, we dare not plainly state in print, any truth that is unpaiatable. There is ONE SUBJECT, which, at this moment, engages the attention of every man, who is conversant in public affairs, or, in the slightest degree, accustomed to turn his thoughts that way. Amongst all men of all parties there is but one opinion upon this subject. The nation has an unanimous wish; and feels the greatest alarm, lest that wish should be set at nought. Almost every public print in the country has, after the Eastern manner, hinted its feelings and supplications, by way

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