The speeches of the hon. Thomas Erskine ... when at the Bar, on subjects connected with the liberty of the press, and against constructive treasons collected by J. Ridgway, Volume 1

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Page 344 - If people should not be called to account for possessing the people with an ill opinion of the government, no government can subsist. For it is very necessary for all governments that the people should have a good opinion of it, and nothing can be worse to any government, than to endeavour to procure animosities, as to the management of it : this has always been looked upon as a crime, and no government can be safe without it be punished.
Page 198 - Every man sees that the Jury Is but a troublesome delay, great charge, and of no use In determining right and wrong, and therefore the trials by them may be better abolished than continued; which were a strange new-found conclusion, after a trial so celebrated for many hundreds of years.
Page 377 - Matter put in issue upon such indictment or information ; and shall not be required or directed, by the court or judge before whom such indictment or information shall be tried, to find the defendant or defendants guilty merely on the proof of the publication by such defendant or defendants of the paper charged to be a libel, and of the sense ascribed to the same in such indictment or information.
Page 344 - Now, you are to consider whether these words I have read to you do not tend to beget an ill opinion of the administration of the Government ; to tell us that those that are employed know nothing of the matter, and those that do know are not employed ; men are not adapted to offices, but offices to men, out of a particular regard to their interest, and not to their fitness for the places. This is the purport of these papers.
Page 133 - Minister, took the lead in bringing the subject before Parliament. To render this great national object intelligible to the ordinary ranks of the people, Sir William Jones, then an eminent barrister in London, and afterwards, one of the Judges of the Supreme Court of Judicature at Bengal...
Page 377 - An act to remove doubts respecting the functions of juries in cases of libel;" and its principal provisions are : " Whereas doubts have arisen whether on the trial of an indictment or information for the making or publishing any libel where an issue or issues are joined between the king and the defendant or defendants on the plea of not guilty pleaded, it be competent to the jury impannelled to try the same to give their verdict upon the whole matter in issue...
Page 369 - ... not an idea of assuming that the Jury had a right to determine upon a question of law, but they put it upon another and much better ground. The stanza I allude to is this : — For Sir Philip* well knows That his innuendos Will serve him no longer In verse or in prose ; For twelve honest men have decided the cause, Who are judges of fact, though not judges of laws.
Page 239 - I begin, therefore, by saying again, in my own original words, that when a bill of indictment is found, or an information filed, charging any crime or misdemeanor known to the law of England, and the party accused puts himself upon the country by pleading the general issue, — "not guilty," — the jury are generally charged with his deliverance from that crime, and not specially from the fact or facts in the commission of which the indictment or information charges the crime to consist ; much less...
Page 249 - That in all cases where the mischievous intention, which is agreed to be the essence of the crime, cannot be collected by simple inference from the fact charged, because the defendant goes into evidence to rebut such inference, the intention becomes...
Page 90 - George had never been there, advised him to recollect himself, he desired to consult his notes. First, he is positively sure, from his memory, that he had seen him there; then he says he cannot trust his memory without referring to his papers ; on looking at them, they contradict him ; and he then confesses, that he never saw Lord George Gordon at Greenwood's room in January, when his note was taken, nor at any other time. But why did he take notes? He said it was because he foresaw what would happen....

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