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whole advantage he is entitled to from substantial law and justice, but every benefit from the most critical nicety of form, which any other defendant could claim under the like objection. The only effect I feel from such outrages is an anxiety to be able to explain the grounds upon which we proceed; so as to satisfy all mankind that a flaw of form given way to in this case, could not have been got over in any

other." Lord Mansfield then indicated a fatal blunder in the proceedings, which had passed unnoticed by the counsel for Wilkes, and gave judgment in favour of the reversal of the outlawry. It would be difficult, as Lord Brougham says, to overrate the merit of this famous Concio ad Populum :

“Great elegance of composition, force of diction, just and strong, but natural, expression of personal feelings, a commanding attitude of defiance to lawless threats, but so assumed and so tempered with the dignity which was natural to the man, and which here, as on all other measures, he sustained throughout, all under this, one of the most striking productions on record.”

The struggle was continued for several years. In 1770 Wilkes was returned for Middlesex ; the House expelled him.

He was immediately re-elected, whereupon the House resolved, “That Mr. Wilkes, having been in this session of Parliament expelled the House, was and is incapable of being elected a member to serve in the present Parliament," and the Speaker issued his writ for a new election. This unconstitutional proceeding Middlesex resented by again returning Wilkes; and the House was driven forward to attempt a fresh encroachment on the rights of the electors. It declared that Colonel Luttrell, whom Wilkes bad defeated by an immense majority, ought to have been returned, and was legally the representative of Middlesex; a declaration which, in effect, transferred the right of election from the electors to the House, and placed it in the power of the majority to unseat at any time an obnoxious member. In the Peers' Chamber Chatham stood forward to protest against the usurpation of the House of Commons. The liberty of the subject, he said, was invaded not only in the provinces, but at home. The English people were loud in their complaints, they demanded redress; and it was certain that, one way or other, they would have it. They would never return, nor ought they to return, to a state of tranquillity, until their grievances were redressed. In his judgment, it would be better for them to perish in a glorious contention for their rights, than to purchase a slavish tranquillity at the expense of one iota of the constitution. Lord Mansfield, in reply, contended that the proposed amendment was an attack upon the privileges of the other House of Parliament, a contention which provoked from Chatham one of his finest bursts of vehement and indignant eloquence.

Amid this ever-increasing political excitement appeared the celebrated "Letters of Junius ;” letters which have

“ certainly been overrated, but for combined power and virulence are very remarkable. One addressed to the king was so freely and strongly written,* that the Government very foolishly resolved on prosecuting it. Accordingly the necessary proceedings were taken against Woodfall, the original printer and publisher, and against others who in various forms had republished it. The case of Mr. Almon was brought to trial before Lord Mansfield and a special jury, on the 2nd of June, 1770, when, on behalf of the Crown, proof was adduced that a copy of the libel bad been bought at the defendant's shop, from a person acting there as his servant. The defendant's counsel, Sergeant Glyn, argued that a man could not be made a criminal by the act of his servant; but Lord Mansfield ruled that a sale by a servant was evidence when not contradicted or explained, of a publication by the master, on the principle, whatever a man does by another, he does by himself (qui facit per alium facit per se). The jury then found the defendant guilty.

* Its merits, however, are purely those of style. The argument is feeble, and feebly drawn out ; and the political views are by no means elevated or comprehensive.

In the ensuing term motion was made for a new trial, on the ground that there was no proof whatever of a criminal intention on the defendant's part, nor even that he knew of the sale of the libel. The motion was refused, however, on the ground that the publication at the defendant's shop was prima facie evidence of a guilty publication by him. This judgment met with severe censure both within and without the walls of Parliament; but Lord Campbell considers it was clearly according to law and reason (which do not always run in couples !) For were proof required of the master's personal interference or direct sanction, libels might be published with absolute impunity; while innocence is sufficiently protected by the admission of evidence to rebut the presumption.

On the 13th of June came on the trial of Woodfall, the printer of the Morning Advertiser; and, as the defendant's liability as publisher could not be disputed, his counsel sought to persuade the jury that the matter published was not libellous. Then arose a great dispute, whether this was a question for the jury or exclusively for the Court? Lord Mansfield directed the jury that all they had to consider was whether the defendant had published the letter set out in the information, and whether the inuendoes imputed a particular meaning to particular words, as that “the k” meant His Majesty King George III. ; that it was not for them to decide whether the publication, as alleged by the counsel for the Crown, was false and libellous; for whether it was libellous or innocent was a mere question of law, upon which the opinion of the Court might be taken “by a demurrer, or a motion in arrest of judgment.”

After a prolonged deliberation, the jury returned a verdict of “Guilty of the printing and publishing only.” Thereafter, two applications were made to the Court of King's Bench; the first, by the defendant, to stay judgment; the second, by the Crown, to enter the verdict according to the legal finding of the jury. After listening to elaborate arguments, Lord Mansfield delivered the opinion of the Court in favour of a new trial

“Had the verdict,” he said, “been simply 'guilty of printing and publishing,' we should have thought that it ought to be entered generally for the Crown; but we cannot exclude the word 'only, and this appears to negative something charged in the information which the jury thought was submitted to them. Where there are more charges than one, ‘guilty of some only' is an acquittal as to the rest ; but in this information there is no charge except for printing and publishing ; clearly there can be no judgment of acquittal, because the fact found against the defendant by the jury is the very crime they had to try. That the law is as I stated to the jury has been so often unanimously agreed by the whole Court, upon every report I have made of a trial for a libel, that it would be improper to make it a question now in this place. Among those who have concurred, the bar will recollect the dead and the living not now here. And we all again declare our opinion that the direction was right and according to law. Can any meaning be affixed to the word 'only'

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which may affect the verdict? If they meant to say they did not find it a libel,' or 'did not find the epithets false and malicious,' it would not affect the verdict, because none of these things were to be proved or found either way. It is impossible to say with certainty what the jury really did mean. Probably they had different meanings. It is possible some of them might mean not to find the whole sense put upon part of the words by the inuendoes in the information. If there be a meaning favourable to the defendant which by possibility the words will bear, he ought not to be convicted. Therefore we order the verdict to be set aside, and that there shall be a new trial.”

No new trial took place, the Crown lawyers being perfectly well aware that no jury would find the publisher of Junius guilty—at least, no jury in the city of London.

In the case of Miller, Mansfield's direction to the jury was couched in the same spirit; laying down the erroneous and pernicious doctrine—long since eliminated from English law—that the juries could decide only the fact of publication and the inuendoes. In laying down this doctrine he did nothing morally wrong; he followed the example of his predecessors, and was supported by the unanimous opinion of his fellow-judges; but it is surprising that his enlightened and powerful mind did not see the issues which could not fail to flow from it. As his ruling was favourable to the action of the Government, it was not unnaturally supposed to have been influenced by political motives, and provoked very general

In the public press he was bitterly assailed by Junius.


“Our language,” said the anonymous vituperator, “has no term of reproach, the mind has no idea of detestation, which has not already been happily applied to you, and exhausted. Ample

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