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deration of the whole matter, and been given, which procession was having maturely deliberated there- evidently designed as an insult to upon, beg leave humbly to submit the president (whom he had susto your majesty their opinion upon pended) and threatened not only the charge of Mr. Sergeant Rough his personal safety, but the public against lieutenant-governor Mur- peace. ray, as exhibited in the proceedings “ Their lordships beg leave furbefore them, which charge was as ther humbly to submit, that in the follows:
transactions which preceded the “ Your lordships' petitioner suspension, and which were accomcomplains of the illegal and un- panied by much irritation between warrantable outrage by which, the parties, they see cause to regret without delinquency or charge, the indiscreet conduct pursued by without a shadow of legal or moral Mr. Sergeant Rough upon some guilt, he was suspended from his occasions, and also the remissness office of president.
of lieutenant-governor Murray in “He complains of every aggra- not sufficiently maintaining the vation by which such a proceeding respect due from the inhabitants of could be accompanied. He com- the colony to the judicial character plains that his secretary was turned and authority of Mr. Sergeant out of his apartments, which were Rough, and the court over which forcibly seized; that hisown library, he presided; and in not endeavourbooks, and papers were violently ing to protect them from a series taken possession of; that his sus- of libellous calumnies to which pension was blazoned forth in an they were exposed. unnecessary proclamation, publish- “ But the lords of the committee ed in the Royal Gazette ; that his are induced to think, that the displace was filled up by an appoint- putes which arose between the ment most illegal and improper; parties in question were owing, in that a mock procession and a vulgar a considerable degree, to the unriot, by which the enemies of your defined nature of their respective petitioner celebrated their triumph authorities as governor and presiover him, the law, and the public dent, in a colony where these offices peace, was encouraged and ap- had been formerly united, and to plauded by the governor, whose the difficulties arising from the lawless violence had thus gratified want of an established table or their wanton malignity.'
standard of fees in the courts of “Upon this charge it is the justice, concerning which there was opinion of the lords of the com- a discordance of opinion and a mittee, that, under all the circum- clashing of authorities. stances of the case, lieutenant-go- “ And the lords of the comvernor Murray was not justified mittee beg leave further humbly by any sufficient necessity in sus- to submit, that they have thought pending Mr. Sergeant Rough from it their duty to take these difficulhis office of president; and that the ties into consideration in forming conduct of the said lieutenant-go- a judgment upon the conduct of vernor was likewise reprehensible each of the parties.” in not having taken any measures His majesty having taken the for preventing a procession, of said report into consideration, was which previous public notice had pleased, by and with the advice of
his privy council, to approve there has often joined me in my little of. JAMES BULLER. rural walks, early in the morn
ing. When first his conversa
tion began to wax tender, I COURT OF KING's BENCH,
scarcely believed my ears; however, JULY
those soft speeches were speedily
succeeded by a proposal of marBlore v. Stockdale.
riage! You know my foolish way This was an action against the of laughing at every thing of this defendant, as publisher of the kind, which is what encouraged “Memoirs of Harriet Wilson," him to argue the point, after I for an alleged scandalous and de- had begged to decline his polite famatory libel concerning the plain- offer. 'Look y' here, my dear lady,' tiff. The damages were laid at said he, “these here officers cut a 5001. Plea, not guilty.
splash! And it's all very fine Mr. Scarlett stated the case. being called Mrs. Parker, and the The plaintiff was a tradesman, like o' that ; but then it's nothing carrying on the business of a stone- compared to a rale husband. Now mason and statuary, in Stratford- I means onorable, remember that.' street, Piccadilly, he had been I was interrupting him, ‘Come, I many years a married man, and dont tax you, my dear, to make up was the father of a large family your mind this morning. Marriage of children. The defendant, Mr. is a serious kind of a thing, and I Stockdale, was a bookseller, and wants no woman for to marry me, the publisher of the work in which till she has determined to make an this libel appeared. The book, industrious good wife. Not as 1 upon the face of it, professed to be, should have any objection to your a history of the life and adventures taking a bit of pleasure of a Sunof a common prostitute, of the day, and wearing the best of every name of Harriet Wilson. The thing; but at the same time we libel was contained in a pretended must stick to the main chance for letter written by Fanny to her a few years longer, if ever we sister Harriet, which was in these wishes for to keep our willa, and be terms; -“Apropos ! Talking of ralely genteel and respectable. Not vulgarity, I have had a proposal of but what I have got now as good marriage since I saw you from a shay and oss as any man need to Mr. Blore the stone-mason, who wish for, and an ouse over my head, keeps a shop in Piccadilly. Parker full of handsoine furniture, and says it is all my fault, for being so plenty of statters (statues), still I very humble and civil to every- looks forwards to better things.' body; but you must recollect this Though it is morally and physically man was our near neighbour, and impossible for a woman, be she when we were all children toge- what or who she may, to attach ther, and I cannot think I had herself to any thing so low and any right to refuse answering vulgar as this poor Mr. Blore, his first civil inquiry after my after she has acquired the taste by health, by which he no doubt the habit of good society, still I thought, as a man of good pro- certainly have a right to feel perty, and better expectations, he obliged to any honest man who yet did me honour. Since then he considers me worthy to become his
partner for life, and I could not Mr. Stockdale, who appeared have said any thing cross or harsh in person, read a long written to him for the world. You have defence, in which he complained no idea what difficulty I found in that a number of persons had commaking him believe that I would bined together to effect his ruin, not marry him. ' There, my dear,' by bringing similar actions against said he, after I had assured him him. Although the “Memoirs over and over again that I must of Harriet Wilson,” had been dereally decline his offer, there, my scribed in harsh terms, he ventured dear! I will leave you now, I to say that it was one of the most don't want you to decide all at important works, from its tendency once ; but remember you must not to improve the morals of society let what I'a been saying about our (excepting such as were of divine minding the main chance frighten origin), that had ever been issued you, because you'll find me a from the press; and he doubted very reasonable good-natured fel- not that its utility and beneficial low; and as for going to the play, consequences would last as long if you are fond of that, I can as time should endure. Neither get orders for the pit venever I learning nor talent was necessary like.'”—The object of this was to to show how little foundation hold him up to ridicule in the first there was for this action. He place, by putting vulgar and illi- complained that he had been terate language into his mouth; threatened by certain noble perand, in the second, to impute to sons, whose conduct had been exhim the bad taste of making a posed in the “ Memoirs,” and that serious offer of marriage to a com- these and other persons were at mon prostitute, independently of the bottom of the conspiracy the
gross violation of morality and against him. He also complained decency of such an offer on the of the manner in which he had part of a married man with a been attacked by the base hireling family of children.
press, and particularly by a Sunday The plaintiff's witnesses proved paper, called the British Lion, the extensive sale of the book.
which was obviously set up for the A Mr. William Smith a linen- express purpose of vilifying his draper in Half-moon-street, said, character, and calling in question he knew the father and mother of the integrity of his motives. After Harriet Wilson, when they lived referring to several numbers of in Queen-street, May-fair. The this paper, he broadly asserted that father's name was De Boucher. the plaintiff was in league with its He had seen him from time to time. Editor, for the purpose of furtherHe kept a small shop for cleaning ing the conspiracy against him. silk stockings. He knew Harriet He referred to a letter in one of and Fanny de Boucher. He knew the copies, supposed to have been Harriet by the name of Wilson ; written by Mr. Blore's attorney to she used to buy goods at his shop the Editor, as evidence of the truth as late as 1808. He had very of his assertion. He then spoke little knowledge of Fanny; she of the general accuracy of the might be a year or two younger “ Memoirs," and mmended their than Harriet.
He knew them, tendency to expose the vices of the when they were all children to- age, particularly in high life, and gether,
their ameliorating effects upon the for they will do you no good. The morals of the country. Adverting defendant submitted to the learned to the supposed libel, he contended, Judge's advice. that there was no evidence what- Mr. Robinson, the plaintiff's ever that the plaintiff was the attorney, was then called by Mr. identical person there mentioned. Jones, and he denied that he had For any thing that appeared to written the letter to the Editor of the contrary, the letter applied to the British Lion, which was read the plaintiff's son, who might have by Mr. Stockdale in his defence. been of an age quite sufficient to The Jury found their Verdict make an overture of marriage to for the plaintiff.—Damages 3001. Fanny de Boucher. But assuming that the plaintiff was the person PIRACY.--St. CHRISTOPHER, meant, still where was the harm in
July 19. all this? There was no attack upon the plaintiff's moral character, Competency of Slave Testimony.
there any injury done In the Court of Admiralty Seshim in his trade. The utmost the sions, John Fletcher and William supposed libel amounted to, was Arrindell, free black men, were an attack on his cockneyism. tried for a felony on the high seas.
The first witness called was the The prosecution was conducted plaintiff's son, to show that the by his Honour the Attorney-Gelibel applied to him and not to his neral, Mr. Skilling, and Mr. father.
Smith; the defence by Mr. WoodRobert Blore, junior, examined cock and Mr. Hanley. by the defendant:-1*did not know Fletcher was first put on his Fanny Parker,otherwise de Boucher. trial; and Mr. Smith opened the I am quite certain of it. I am cer- case, and stated the particulars tain I never saw her, to my recol. namely, that the prisoner, with lection. I never proposed marriage his accomplice Arrindell, had taken to her. I know of no conversation away from Nevis, in a boat, a slave ever having taken place between named Branch Hull, on the night me and my father on the subject of the 10th of October last, and of this action. Cross-examined by had thrown him overboard, deMr Jones! My brother is fourtaining his clothes and other artiyears younger than me.
cles; for which robbery he was The defendant then called the indicted. The attorney-general honourable George Lamb (who rose to examine the evidence ; did not appear), and was proceed- when the prisoner's counsel obing to give the' names of other jected to a witness called, who witnesses, when
was a slave, on the ground of his The Lord Chief Justice inter- condition rendering him incompeposed, and said : If you will take tent to give evidence in any court my advice, you will abstain from in the island, under the existing calling any more witnesses, if the laws. The counsel for the proobject of their evidence is to prove secution replied to this objection; the truth of other parts of this and the court having deliberated publication, because such evidence thereon, his honour the chief jusis inadmissible. If you will take tice delivered the following opimy advice, you will not call them, nion :
“ We know that the courts have being a slave the day before, his long since disregarded the subtle evidence is to be rejected upon the grounds upon which the old cases most trivial question of property, rested, as to the competency of belonging to a free person, and witnesses; that they have endea- arising during the period of his voured, as far as possible, and con- servitude. We have no law, sistently with existing authorities, whereby the evidence of a slave to let the objection go to the credit, is rendered inadmissible in regard rather than to the competency, of to free persons, in our courts of a witness. We adopt this prin- justice ; but it is the usage of these ciple in its fullest extent, and, courts, and therefore there is all convinced that it is both expedient the force of the law to reject it; and salutary, as tending to the and it may thus be accounted for: attainment of the great ends of -When our courts were first esjustice, I shall proceed to consider tablished, our slaves were savages the objection taken to the compe- from the coast of Africa. Their tency of this witness. He is a want of reason and understanding slave, and it is contended, that rendered them, as the same defects being a slave, his testimony, by would have rendered any other the usage of the other courts of individual, incompetent as witjudicature in this island, cannot
That objection arising be received. This opinion was from their barbarism has, by the supported by some positions, for received opinion and the practice which I in vain required that of the court, been attached ever authority should be cited. It was since to the servile condition ; alurged, that by the practice of other though by the progress of chriscourts, such testimony is rejected, tianity, and of consequent civilizaas affecting the remotest interest tion, the force of that objection is of any one who claims to be free; weakened ; and we now see that but this is too broadly laid down. it is safe, and expedient, and just, A mere claim to freedom would that such an impediment to the not be sufficient--the party must investigation of truth and justice be actually free. I well remember should be removed under those the case which has been cíted; for precautions and safeguards which I presided in the court of King's- the peculiar constitution of our bench and Common Pleas, on the society requires. We at once adoccasion when the court rejected mit that the uniform and solemn the evidence of a free man, relating decisions of a court are binding to a fact which occurred whilst he upon the practice of that court; was in a state of slavery ; and I but it may not be contended that had the misfortune to differ from they are binding upon any other my learned associates upon that independent court of judicature. occasion ; for I could not reconcile It so happens that the commisthe principle with any notion of sioners now presiding, are the justice or of reason, that this man judges of the court of King'sbeing free, should be deemed by bench and Common Pleas, where law competent as evidence of a our minds are habituated to the fact which occurred yesterday, rejection of the evidence of a slave, whereby the life of a fellow-crea- as affecting in the remotest degree ture might be taken away, but, the interest of a free person. But