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the Litany. He was now brought publication; the defendant might up, on the motion of the Attorney- have printed comparatively few general, to receive judgment. The copies, but the Attorney-general officer of the Court was about to feared that the poison had been read the information and the libel, widely disseminated among those when the defendant interposed, whose education and habits enaand said, that he did not wish the bled them but ill to resist its baneCourt to be troubled by the repe- ful effects. The defendant united tition of the offensive matter. He in himself the double capacity of then put in two affidavits by him- printer and distributer and what self, in which he deposed, that he number of copies he had reserved had been fifteen years in business, for himself, after delivering the and had not, until now, been ac. 250 to his itinerant employer, he cused of the slightest infringe- had not ventured to state. The ment of the law : that he was en information justly charged it to be tirely unconnected with and un- a scandalous, infamous, and imknown to the original publisher pious libel, tending to bring into of the libel in question, which he contempt and disgrace one of the had reprinted at the request of a noblest, most beautiful, and most travelling dealer, without being at affecting parts of the administra. all aware of their dangerous ten- tion of divine service in this coundency; for him he had struck off try. It was generally known that 250 copies, besides some that he the ceremony, according to the had reserved for himself, the sale church of England, usually termof which he stopped immediately ed the Liturgy, had been settled when he learnt their profane and by the legislature in the reign of illegal nature, at the same time or Charles II.: from Parliament it dering the types to be dispersed. derived its legal character, but for He had a wife and five children de its sacred character it was indebtpending upon him for support..ed to a higher source, the princi
Other affidavits from persons re- ples of Christianity, which insident at Portsea were put in ; deed might be said to be the very they gave the defendant an excel foundation of the law of the land. lent character for general loyalty How important, then, was it that and propriety of demeanour. it should be protected from pro
The Attorney-general then ad- fanation by the punishinent of dressed their Lordships for the those who were hardy enough to prosecution. He was willing to lay unhallowed hands upon it? give the defendant credit for that The defendavi had stated, that he feeling of regret which induced was ignorant of the tendency of him to save the Court the pain of the libel, and of its injurious conhearing once more a libel which sequences ; but the law presumed had too often already fallen under that a man who was guilty of the its observation : every man who publication was guilty also of the professed the slightest regard for purpose: that the libel was meant the religion established in this by him to produce that effect: it country, must be shocked bothat was impossible to imagine any the form and tendency of the thing more calculated to diminish, if not to destroy, that reverential theless, most important to the inawe with which the less-informed dividual on the floor, for the first ranks ought to approach their blow always fell with the greatest Creator than this blasphemous pa- weight. In the administration of rody of the general supplication : penal justice, the first object was to comment upon it further was the effect of a sentence upon the wholly unnecessary; the mere public; the next, the justice and perusal of the libel sufficiently mercy due to the offender-for stamped its character, and dis- mercy and justice in the latter closed its consequences. He hoped case were convertible terins. The that the defendant had not been principal offenders were always aware of its dangerous tendency, earliest made the subjects of proyet it was scarcely possible to con secution : they were first sought ceive that any man should be so out, and upon their heads the blind and thoughtless. He admit vengeance of the law first fell : ted, that circumstances were men when they were duly punished, tioned in the affidavits which de the mild and genial feeling, so served attention, but the libel grateful to the Court, succeeded, spoke for itself, and the printer and sentences were sometimes and publisher being before the passed even more merciful than Court, their Lordships would a. the degree of delinquency, most ward a punishment adequate to severely considered, might appear the high offence
to warrant. An honourable and Mr. Robinson, on behalf of the a memorable instance of the kind defendant, trusted, that their Lord. had but recently occurred. If then ships would discover that there it should be obvious, that there were not here aggravations be- were behind, other offenders more yond what the offence itself sup- deserving the indignant infliction plied. There was one circumstance of the law (though the defendant connected with the libel, though should unhappily, even by the foreign to the particular case, that effect of his own contrition, apespecially forced itself upon his pear earlier before the Court), attention, and which he hoped it would not think it necessary to would establish for the defendant nake his punishment the precise some claim to merciful consider standard to what was due to such ation : it was, that the defendant crimes : he had admitted judgwas not the first offender, either ment to go by default ; he had in the order of time or in the or- done his utmost to acknowledge der of criminality, though unfor- his offence, and to show his contunately the first to receive the trition, and his situation might punishment of the law. He did well be contrasted with those who not urge this circumstance in the had added to their guilt by a darway of complaint. He was cer- ing and contumacious resistance tain that it was undesigned on the to the forms of the law. He had part of the Attorney-general, and not bid an audacious defiance to owing to circuinstances over which the Attorney-general, or thrown he had no control, It was, never. the gauntlet in the face of the
Court. A topic of mitigation learned counsel concluded by a might also be derived from the fact, few brief observations upon the tħat the defendant was merely a contents of the affidavits. country printer. Those of that The Attorney-general informed trade in London knew well that the Court, that there was a seit was their duty to watch most cond information againg the decarefully all the productions of fendapt for a blasphemous parody their press ; it was a part of the upon the Creed of St. Athanasius. economy of their establishments; The officer was about to read it, but country printers, whose types when the defendant again interwere engaged in catalogues, iņ posed, observing that it was uncheap re-publications of popular necessary, works; or at most in a provincial The Attorney-general described newspaper, were not sufficiently this publication as quite as inupon their guard in this respect; jurious as the preceding: aland designing individuals might though a fair and discreet dis. take advantage of their iguorance, cussion of the mysterious parts of and employ them to give to the the Liturgy might be warranted, world the most baneful libels: it irreverence and blasphemous rie was admitted that the parody in dicule of them could not be en. question had first appeared from dured. a London press, and a man like Mr. Topping, on the same side, the defendant might deem that felt called upon by what had circumstance alone some warrant fallen from Mr. Robinson, to say for his conduct. It was sworn that it was impossible the defendalso that the defendant had not ant should not have known the the remotest connexion with any wickedl nature of these publicaof those who in the metropolis tions; he could not have derived had spread these baneful produc- his first information of it from the tions. It was true that, in the newspapers. eye of the law, a man who was Mr. Robinson regretted that any guilty of the publication was pre- thing that had fallen from him sumed to be guilty of the know. should have raised any feeling of ledge of its effects; but although asperity : it was far from his in: this might warrant a judge in tention to excite it: he only felt, directing a verdict, it was a legal in common with his client, sincere construction which would not be regret that he had been made the observed in all its strictness when instrument of the wider circulathe defendant was upon the floor tion of these productions. He alto receive judgment : if, too, on lowed that to parody the Creed of the face of the libel, another ob- St. Athanasius was an offence me ject and purpose were more pro- riting punishment, but he hoped minent than that charged, their the Court would not attribute to lordships, in a case like the pre- the defendant a criminality not sent, wonld be inclined to put the cbarged, although it should a most lenient construction on the pear on the face of the libel. All conduct of the defendant. The persons acquainted with the his
tor: tory of the Christian Church knew punishment in the case earliest that some illustrious members of brought before it, because it is the the Church of England, and some first, nor diminishing it in the high ornaments of the Bench, latest, because it is the last. The had expressed their wish that the sentence was that the defendant, Creed of St. Athanasius had been for the first libel, should be imcouched in a form less peculiar. prisoned in Winchester gaol for
Mr. Justice Bayley, in passing eight calendar months, pay a fine sentence, observed, that the libels of 100l. and give security for five in question well merited the epic years, himself in 300l. and two tbets bestowed upon them in the sureties in 1501. each. For the information : they were calculat. second libel it was ordered, that ed to undermine the foundation he should be imprisoned four caof all moral and religious duties, lendar months. and to bring into ridicule and Sittings after Term, before Mr. Juscontempt the sacred ordinances of lice Abbot and a Special Jury. the Church; to fill the minds,
December 18. more especially of the lower or The King v. William Hune. ders, with light and trivial mat. After Mr. Shepherd had stated, ters, at a time when they ought that this was an information filed to be devoted to the service and by the Attorney-General against adoration of God. The case be- the defendant for printing and fore the Court was certainly not publishing a seditious and profane one of the most aggravated de- libel on those parts of our church scription; but if the defendant service called the Catechism, the had unpremeditatedly been the Apostles" Creed, and the Lord's means of circulating these blas- Prayer, to which the defendant had phemous productions, the evil pleaded Not Guilty; the Attorneywith respect to others was the General rose,' and spoke to the same : a slight perusal of them following effect. was sufficient to convince any man A fter having remarked, from who reverenced the sacred insti- Sir Matthew Hale, that " Christutions of his country, that they tianity is part and parcel of the were profane and scandalous. It common law of England," he said, was said, that the Creed of St. that if it were not an offence to Athanasius had been objected to revile the soleinn service of our by some of the holiest and ablest church, and to bring it into ridimen : it might be so ; but their cule, Christianity was no longer calm and learned discussion could parcel of the common law of the be no warrant for an intemperate land. He then entered more parand impious attack like the pre- ticularly into the object of the sent. With regard to others who prosecution standing for the prehad first been guilty of this of- sent day, which was that of a profence, they might or might not be tection to the Church Catechism, more deserving of punishment, with its appendages, the Apostles' the Court always measured its Creed, and the Lord's Prayer. He sentences by the circumstances dwelt with becoming gravity upon before it, not aggravating the these articles; and pointed out the 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 inodern 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 inprisoned, 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 compar. 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 renark 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 libel. parodies. There were, he said, lous; but if the jury were of a two kinds of parodies ; une in different opinion, their verdict which a man might convey ladi- would of course be an acquittal. crous or ridiculous ideas relative The jury then withdrew, and