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Full text of "Report of the trial of Mr. John Murray : in the Court of King's Bench, at Westminster-Hall, the 19th December, 1829, on an indictment for a libel of Messrs. Lecesne and Escoffery, of Jamaica"

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19th DECEMBFR, 1829, 

Jhttrtrtmettt for a Uibel 










4 ' 



Messrs. Lecesne and Escoffery feel that it is ex- 
pected by their friends that the following Report of this 
Trial should be given to the public ; for, however humble their 
situation in life may have become since their banishment, their 
case has been attended by many circumstances which give to 
it an interest of no ordinary kind among the numerous class 
connected with the island of Jamaica. 

This is not a proper occasion for the prosecutors to enter 
into the detail of the sufferings which they have endured in 
consequence of their unjust deportation from Jamaica ; but 
one of their severest sufferings has been to be reproached 
with crimes as revolting to their own feelings, as they are at 
variance with the decency of every well-regulated society. 

The observations of their counsel, the Attorney- General, 
will shew that even this bitter injury has not provoked them 
to betray a single vindictive feeling; or to forget for one 
moment that it was their duty to resort to the protection of 
an English Court of law, without allowing themselves there to 
seek the gratification of personal feelings. 

Perhaps it never occurred before to any Court of Justice to 
examine libels upon the characters of private individuals so 
unmeasured in their malignity, and so utterly unfounded in 
truth ; and had not Mr. Murray, with honourable frankness, 
expressed his regret for their publication, and shewn his sin- 
cerity by exerting himself to recall every copy of the work 
which he could trace among the trade, it would have been the 
painful duty of the prosecutors to have insisted on the full 
measure of punishment which such a publication deserves; 
they rejoice that they have been spared this necessity, and 
have yet been able to act consistently with the duty they owed 
to themselves and their families. 

It will probably be inquired by some of the friends of the 
prosecutors, as it has been sarcastically asked by their oppo - 

neuts, what was their reason for resorting to an indictment, 
instead of bringing an action at law, when the avowed object 
was vindication of character. 

To this the answer is simple ; the prosecutors placed them- 
selves entirely in the hands of one of the King's Counsel 
afterwards employed in the prosecution, and by his advice, 
proceeded by indictment ; in giving this advice, he was in- 
fluenced by the probability that those persons whom Mr. 
Murray virtually represented on this occasion, would resort to 
the stale artifice of a commission to examine witnesses at Ja- 
maica ; and he saw that there was little prospect of obtaining 
fair evidence under such a commission, against the tide of 
colonial feeling which had already borne away the prosecu- 
tors by its impetuosity ; while the delay consequent upon it 
would prevent the cause being heard before their return to that 
country. On the other hand, it would then have been observed 
with equal liberality, that the prosecutors were afraid of sub- 
jecting themselves to the fire of a cross-examination in the 
witness box, or to the risk of an indictment for perjury on filing 
an affidavit of their innocence. Nor is it improbable that the 
wish would have been imputed to them, of adding to the com- 
pensation which Government has promised, by levying contri- 
butions from the purse of Mr. Murray ; rather than a desire 
of rescuing their characters from unmerited calumny. 

This reasoning had its full weight with the prosecutors, and 
determined them on their mode of proceeding : they have 
boldly challenged examination upon oath : they have recorded 
in the only manner open to them, their solemn and sworn 
denial of every offence, directly or indirectly alleged against 
them : they have embraced the first opportunity of doing this 
that has presented itself from the moment of their arrest; and 
they have done it at an expense so serious, as must prove to 
every impartial and reasonable mind that their reputation is 
far dearer to them than their property. They trust that the 
perusal of these pages will satisfy even the men whom they 
have been compelled to regard as their enemies, that they have 
wholly mistaken the character, the intentions, and the dispo- 
sitions of those whom their hostility has exiled from their 
homes and their families for more than six years. 


* OF AN 


In the Court of King's Bench at Westminster Hall, 
On the 19th of December, 1829. 

Counsel for the Prosecution — Mr. Attorney General. 

Mr. Gurnet. 
Mr. Brougham. 
Mr. Pollock. 
Mr. T. B. Macaulay. 
Solicitor for the Prosecution — Mr. George Stephen. 
Counsel for the Defendant — Mr. Coleridge. 
Solicitors for the Defendant — 
Messrs. Fynmore, Clarke, and Fynmore. 

The following special jurymen appeared: — 




The Attorney General prayed a tales. 
The following common jurymen were called : — 



The jury were sworn. 

The indictment was opened by Mr. Macaulay. 
Mr. Attorney General. — May it please your Lord- 
ship. — Gentlemen of the jury, — 

This is a prosecution for a libel against a very eminent 
bookseller, Mr. Murray. Mr. Murray, the defendant in this 


cause, stands, in effect, in the situation of the publisher of the 
book which contains the libels upon the prosecutors. I am 
sure that I shall say nothing individually of Mr. Murray that 
is not respectful, because he certainly stands very high as a 
tradesman : but he stands subject to the same fate as those 
who pursue this occupation, being liable for the works lit' 
publishes ; more especially when they purport to be published 
by authors not resident in this country, and who therefore, if 
they should think fit to publish libels on individuals in Eng- 
land, can do it only through the medium of booksellers. ^ ou 
may suppose that the individuals who commence this prose- 
cution, feel no personal ill will towards Mr. Murray ; but 
they are most anxious that they should partake (humble and 
obscure as they are) of that protection which the law of Eng- 
land has extended to the rest of His Majesty's subjects, and 
from the control of which law the greatest ought not to be 
exempted. They complain of a libel published against them 
in a most insidious form, because it is introduced in what 
purports to be an historical work, which ought to be a work 
of candour and impartiality. At the same time, it was pub- 
lished at a moment exceedingly critical and important to their 
interests, and probably designed to have a very malignant 
effect upon their just claims. 

You will find, Gentlemen, by the very short history I pro- 
pose to give, to make this case intelligible, that the individuals 
who complain before you to-day of the attack made upon 
their reputation and their character, were, at the time when 
that attack was published, placed in a situation of very con- 
siderable difficulty and anxiety. They were petitioners to the 
equity of His Majesty's Government, for redress against the 
wrongs they had sustained ; and, while that petition was 
under consideration, and they were the objects of the consi- 
deration of those persons whose feelings are always influenced 
by humanity and compassion, though to some they were objects 
of animosity, this publication took place in order to inflame 
the public mind, and, as far as possible, to affect the minds of 
those who had at the time their destinies in their hands. 

Gentlemen, though the prosecution is stated to be at the 

suit of one individual, 1 may as well refer at the same time 
to the history of both the persons, at whose instance the two 
prosecutions have been instituted — the one, John Escoffery ; 
the other, Lewis Celeste Lecesne. They are the sons of indi- 
viduals, who were the subjects of the French Government, 
previous to the revolution in St. Domingo. Their fathers and 
their mothers became attached to the British Government, 
which had a partial possession of St. Domingo during the 
early period of the revolutionary war, and, receiving protection 
from the British arms from the excesses and violences that 
ruined the unhappy country in which their mothers were born, 
and their fathers were domiciled, the fathers and the mothers 
transferred themselves to the island of Jamaica, and, under 
the protection of the British Government in that island, these 
two persons assert that they were born. They were educated 
respectably and decently, and were put forward in life; and, 
by the success of their industry, they had acquired the means 
of a competent livelihood. They were merchants, in the city 
of Kingston, in the island of Jamaica; they had acquired 
much respectability, and, I am informed, were esteemed by 
the class to which they belonged. They were people of 
colour ; that is, though their fathers were white, they were 
descended from mothers who originally were descendants of 
Africans. They formed individuals of a class of persons, that 
have always been of considerable importance in His Majesty's 
colonies, and whose importance continues to increase by the 
rapid accretion of numbers, as well as of intelligence. There 
is no person who has ever read a history of those colonial pos- 
sessions of Great Britain, in which has been introduced that 
unhappy element of slavery, who has not felt the necessity of 
acknowledging their vast importance in the system of colonial 
policy, and that their numbers and their intelligence, as they 
are destined to increase, and must increase from the very 
nature of things, make them objects of very peculiar care and 
attention to those who are desirous of preventing violent revo- 
lutions in the colonies, and turning them \iltimately to the best 
purposes of colonial government, by a more humane policy. 
That their numbers must increase, is obvious from the nature 

b 2 

of things; their intelligence must increase with their numbers, 
and with the acquisition of property ; and as long as they are 
looked upon with jealousy, and kept from the just rights of 
British subjects, (I mean those who are free by birth, or who, 
from circumstances, have become exempted from the badge 
of slavery,) it follows, that instead of cultivating those good 
dispositions, which a wise and politic government would do in 
the numerous classes of its subjects, if you keep them at arm's 
length, — if you alienate them, by a false policy, from the 
government, you go far to destroy the affection and allegiance 
they would otherwise justly give. 

Gentlemen, in various colonies various measures have been 
taken at different times, for the purpose of extending the civil 
rights of subjects to this class, who from, shall I call it policy 
in the colonies? do partake of that original odium, which the 
class of white persons deal out to all those that are derived 
from African or Tndian blood. I do not myself mean to state 
that prejudice or that feeling as one that is unnatural, or one 
that ought to be treated as a subject of unqualified condem- 
nation in those who entertain it ; it must exist, to a certain 
degree, whilst the government of the colony is in the hands 
of white men ; it is the law of human nature, and human 
nature has imposed that law on all men alike, that there is a 
natural jealousy of their peculiar privileges, and they look, at 
first, with considerable suspicion on those who seek to possess 
themselves of the same rights. I do not at all use this obser- 
vation by way of throwing out or insinuating, (for I am the 
farthest from wishing to do so,) the slightest degree of odium 
on those persons who have been in the habit, from their very 
cradles, of entertaining the feeling to which I allude. That 
feeling requires to be managed with great delicacy and with 
great policy ; to treat it with rudeness and to treat it with 
contempt, is a very unwise way of treating it, in my opinion. 
I do believe, whatever difference may exist between me and 
other people upon that subject, we shall all agree, that on the 
other hand it is equally certain, that so long as that feeling 
exists, the numerous and increasing class of persons to whom 
I allude, will occasionally, and must necessarily, from the 

same law of human nature by which each man struggles for 
equal rights, be found consulting together upon' the mode of 
acquiring those privileges which the law has exclusively con- 
ferred upon white persons in the island of Jamaica. Thev 
have acquired some privileges; but, nevertheless, thev do not 
feel that they are upon that footing which true policy requires. 
In the opinion of many, it is natural that those who form this 
class, and who think that they are unjustly the subjects of 
exclusion, should take the fair means of petitioning the legis- 
lature, for the purpose of acquiring an extension of rights. 

It seems that at the period which gave rise to the history 
of these unfortunate individuals, they were conceived to have 
joined, or to have taken part in some petition to the legisla- 
ture of Jamaica, upon this subject. I mention that histori- 
cally only, and it is not absolutely material, except for the 
understanding of the further proceedings. The result was, 
that they were taken up suddenly, at the suggestion of a 
magistrate in the colony, as aliens, under a law passed in the 
early part of the French revolution, and renewed from time 
to time in that colony, for the deportation of aliens. That 
law was confined to aliens, and it gave the Governor the 
power of transporting them beyond the seas, if they were 
deemed dangerous and suspicious, and unfit to reside in the 
colony. These men contended that they were born in the 
colony of Jamaica, and were therefore entitled to all the rights 
of British subjects ; and when they were cast into prison on 
the mere opinion of a magistrate as to their alienage, with a 
view to being so deported, they applied, by their friends, for 
a writ of Habeas Corpus, to the Supreme Court of Justice in 
that island ; and upon that writ of Habeas Corpus, affidavits 
were laid before the Judges by both sides, for the purpose of 
informing the Judges whether they were aliens or not. The 
affidavits were examined, and the Court, consisting of three 
Judges, was unanimously of opinion that, upon the affidavits 
laid before them, the proof was in favour of their being Bri- 
tish-born subjects, and therefore they v*ere discharged. 

Shortly after their discharge they were taken up again, and 
deported, without an opportunity for any further inquiry, and 


without a hearing in their defence. That was done under 
the legal advice which the then Governor, his Grace the Duke 
of Manchester, received. He could take no private part, he 
could have no personal feeling on the subject ; but in this 
way they were deported, on the assurance that they were 
dangerous persons to remain in the colony. At least, I pre- 
sume that the persons who advised his Grace, thought so. 
They were to be conveyed to St. Domingo ; ruined in their 
property, and leaving their wives and their families without 
protection, were thus sent into banishment, although a petition 
had been signed in their behalf by many persons, some of 
them the most respectable merchants, and men of all classes 
in the city of Kingston. They were landed on the shores of 
St. Domingo, where they were utter strangers, and entirely 
destitute. By the humanity of the master of an English ves- 
sel, and the assistance of British residents in St. Domingo, 
they were brought to England. When they arrived in Eng- 
land, they presented a petition to the House of Commons, the 
refuge and protection of all persons who are the subjects of 
the King, and respecting which it must be admitted, even by 
those who tind fault with the constitution of that body, that 
there never was any assembly in any country more open to 
receive petitions of grievances and of wrongs. They found an 
eminent and an able advocate in my learned friend, Dr. Lush- 
ington, who presented their petition. On that petition being 
presented, complaining of the grievances I have stated, the 
House of Commons directed that the proceedings of the Court 
of Justice in Jamaica should be laid before it ; and those 
proceedings being transmitted to England, consisting of the 
affidavits on both sides, were submitted to the House of Com- 
mons, and afterwards printed. On a very full investigation 
of these affidavits, I believe it was the unanimous opinion of 
those who paid any attention to the subject, that the decision 
of the Court which had granted the Habeas Corpus had been, 
not only right, but essential to justice, as the case stood 
before them ; and upon that conviction it was that an inquiry 
was granted by His Majesty's Government, and an under- 
taking given that the subject should receive further investiga- 

tion. 1 do not (rouble you with the further inquiries which 
were made. The result has been, that on a very full investi- 
gation, justice has been done to these individuals. They are 
to receive compensation, and to be transmitted back to the 
island from which they have been so long absent. I shall 
not then, enlarge on this part of the case, but shall just ob- 
serve, that whilst their petition was depending, — whilst their 
claim was under the consideration of His Majesty's Govern- 
ment, after having been submitted, I may say, to three several 
Governments, and the conclusions of all being alike favour- 
able, this publication took place. It purports to be a history, 
published by a clergyman of the name of Bridges, and is 
called " The Annals of Jamaica." One would think that by 
the title, the Annals were intended to be something of an his- 
torical accouut, free from prejudice and free from passion ; 
but you will hear in what manner this gentleman, in these 
Annals, chooses to violate the impartiality of history, and to 
represent my clients and their transactions. 

Gentlemen, I pass by those parts of it which contain re- 
flections upon other persons. He is pleased to say that, 
" a case of unparalleled atrocity drew the public attention to 
" a subject much at variance with that which had lately 
" occupied it, and whose investigation has been the fertile 
''subject of bitter calumny," (so it has,) " promoted by one 
" distant and prejudiced individual, who has blindly espoused 
" the cause of murder and rebellion" (that clearly means Dr. 
Lushington,) " against the great body of colonial eye wit- 
" nesses, who were themselves the objects of destruction. I 
" will not repeat, because I do not firmly believe, that the 
" Chief Justice of Jamaica was influenced by those corrupt 
" motives which have been attributed to him, to release, in the 
"plenitude of his official power, two French prisoners, who 
" had been confined for an attempt to revolutionize the island, 
11 and who were impatient to sheath their daggers in the 
" breasts of its white inhabit a?its." — (Now, Gentlemen, I feel 
peculiar delicacy in speaking upon this subject, because the 
individual alluded to, the Chief Justice of Jamaica, is a near 
connexion of mv own. It does not become me. then, to pro- 


nounce any opinion upon this; but I believe that the assertion 
that corrupt motives were attributed to him, is as false as any 
part of this book : his worst enemy has never ventured to at- 
tribute corruption to him.) — " Yet, when a Judge descends to 
" the narrow arid peevish character of a factious disputant ," 
(which is equally untrue,) "he is easily provoked to supply 
" the defect of argument, or even the integrity of reputation, 
" by the plenitude of that authority with which his gown hath 
"clothed him. And though the voice of fame may not be 
" trusted, unless our assent be extorted by the internal evi- 
" dence of facts, the faith of history cannot conceal that, 
"before a committee of the legislature, the conduct of the 
" Chief Justice ivas investigated, and the question seriously 
" agitated, whether it should not be made the subject of a 
"formal impeachment." (The Chief Justice does not com- 
plain of that, Gentlemen, as utterly false ; I therefore pass it 
by. Whatever the subject of investigation was, I believe, if 
the matter were inquired into, it would be found that the 
Chief Justice would come out with purity, and without the 
least imputation upon him.) " The forbearance which ever 
" marked the character and government of the Duke of Man- 
" chester, was satisfied with the removal of the two alien 
" offenders, and the colonial alien laiv gave the necessary 
"power. A multitude of witnesses pressed forward to prove, 
" not only that they were natives of Hayti, and persons of 
" the most infamous character, but that the conspiracy, in 
" which they were deeply engaged, if not its original projec- 
" tors, was of such a nature that the most speedy removal of 
" them could alone preserve the island. Instead, therefore, 
" of instituting a legal, probably a tedious, process, but one 
" Ivhich would ultimately have consigned them to the gallows, 
" the humane Governor adopted the urgent recommendation 
" of the Legislature, and, by timely exercise of the power 
" with which lie was vested, he once more saved the colony." 

Now, Gentlemen, the charge in this indictment is not for 
a libel on any individuals here mentioned, except these 
two unhappy men ; who, while their case was depending, 
were treated as disaffected persons. I put out of view the 


statement that they were French prisoners, as of do import- 
ance; but whether French or English, such aspersions as 
inciting to " murder' and " rebellion" and as " ready to 
sheath their daggers in the breasts of the white inhabitants" 
of Jamaica, are equally criminal. He goes on to say : " The 
" extravagant assertion of the tiro convicted conspirators, 
11 that they were not aliens, may be dismissed with silent 
" contempt." Now, it is a very remarkable fact, manifesting 
with how little of the fidelity of an historian this gentleman 
wrote, and how entirely he was influenced bv prejudice, that 
if he had taken the pains to look at those affidavits which 
were alone the foundation of any judgment upon the subject, 
and in which alone was contained the evidence on the part of 
these individuals, he never would have recorded a doubt as to 
their birth, or called in question the integrity of the Chief 
Justice in his decision in their case. My clients were no 
parties to any other subject of inquiry than that before the 
Supreme Court of Jamaica; no evidence on their part being 
heard in any investigation preceding their banishment. The 
only occasion on which they had to offer evidence in the island 
of Jamaica was on the affidavits which were laid before the 
Court; if then, I say, he had looked at those affidavits, 1 will 
venture to assert, that though he were the most ignorant, the 
most illiterate, and the most unlearned of men, and gifted 
only with ordinary common sense, he could not have decided 
otherwise than as those judges did. I believe that no person 
who heard the affidavits, or saw them, could doubt upon that 
subject. And yet this writer is pleased to say that a multi- 
tude of persons were ready to prove that they were born in 
Hayti, and had not the privileges of British subjects, and so 


i I 

" Volumes were written," the writer proceeds to say, " and, 
perhaps, never read, containing every information which 
the Governor could offer to the Colonial Office. But after 
brushing away all highly-coloured and doubtful circum- 
stances, it appears that the French miscreants were prin- 
cipally encouraged in their subsequent conduct by the dif- 
ference of opinion which their case had given rise to be- 


" tiveen the magistracy of the island and its chief judge." I 
rather think that here he means to refer to Dr. Lushington ; 
but the passage is obscure. In speaking of this decision as 
to their British birth, he writes as if the judgment had been 
given by one individual only ! Setting the Chief Justice 
against the magistrates of the island ; whereas the magistrates 
were with him, if we except one magistrate, who is alluded to 
in another part of the libel, an alderman of the city of King- 
ston, who came to this country. Whether he gave any infor- 
mation to the Colonial Office, I do not know ; but if he did, 
I dare say they knew how to appreciate it. I must do all 
those who discuss this subject in public, as well as in 
private, the justice to say, that no person made any ques- 
tion respecting the magistracy of the island ; no imputa- 
tion was made on the character of any individual ; the sole 
question under discussion was, whether they were British 
subjects or not, without reference to the parties to whom the 
case was submitted ; and on that alone the case depended. 
But to proceed with the libel. " Aware that the voracious 
" appetite of the anti-colonists would eagerly swallow any 
** bait, they icent to London, pregnant with mischief to J a- 
" maica. With what facility evidence to any effect may be 
" procured ," (that is in London), " is disgracefully notorious 
"to all who have visited the Courts of Westminster-hall;" 
(that is a compliment to his Lordship on the bench, who stands 
charged amongst the rest.) " Yet it ivas on the bare asser- 
fi tion of these convicted felons that they were natives of the 
" British dominions, that a petition to the House of Com- 
" mons was founded, and the dignity of that august body 
" insulted by a complaint of treatment which was the only 
' alternative to their being hanged." (Here again they 
are called, " convicted felons") 

Now in respect to any charge of conspiracy and sedition 
against them, I should tell you, Gentlemen, there is no coun- 
try in the world which has more severe laws to repress sedi- 
tion and rebellion than the country from which they were 
banished ; for I do say, that the law which exists in that 
island of Jamaica, is not tanquam lenis el nuinsueta ; but it 


is, indeed, vehemens et severa. It is not shaped in a manner 
consistent with the general law. That prohibits the admission 
of slave testimony ; but you would hardly believe, that in a 
case where persons of colour are supposed to have come from 
another country, and to have taken a part in exciting sedition 
or rebellion, a law is passed to allow of slave testimony against 
them. Upon that testimony it is that they must, or must not, 
be found to be persons who deserve suspicion, or must, or 
must not, be deemed likely to be dangerous ! ! ! Now nothing 
could have been more easy than, if these men had been guilty 
of the crime of being born in St. Domingo, whatever might 
have been their guilt or their crime in regard to conspiracy, 
I say that in this case nothing could have been more simple 
than to have them tried by this law of excessive severity. 
There was no danger at all that the tribunal before whom they 
were to be amenable, would have been too partial to them, 
for they would have been tried by a jury of gentlemen in the 
island of Jamaica ; who, however honourable they may be, 
cannot be suspected of carrying to any excessive degree their 
favour towards persons suspected of exciting rebellion amongst 
their slaves ! ! 

Then, Gentlemen, follows this passage : (plainly alluding to 
Dr. Lushington), " One, however, there was, who eagerly em- 
" braced the disgraceful office of their advocate ; and on such 
" faith as could be placed on the assersions of detected rebels 
" or foreign conspirators, (one they must be), attempted to 
" affix a foul stigma on the entire magistracy of Jamaica. 
" When it was discovered that his claim to credit could no 
" longer be supported on such hollow grounds, an expedient 
" presented itself, which might have answered his purpose, 
" by obtaining from the assembly of the nation ( can such a 
" proposition be credited?) a sum of money to purchase the 
" future absence of the culprits from Jamaica ; or, perhaps, 
" to pay the expences of their unsuccessful suit ; a mode of 
" proceeding not less subversive of the true ends of justice, 
" than of the dignity of the British Parliament. At the dis- 
" tance of four years, will it be believed, that these wretch $ are 
" still cherished as food for the acrimony of Jamaica's and oj 


" England s enemies ; and that when a change of ministers had 
" frustrated their dark intrigues, an attempt was made by 
44 their advocate to corrupt the source of justice by the partial 
44 surreptitious publication of a despicable libel, baited with 
44 popular falsehoods, and assuming the attractive appear- 
" ranee of ' The Yellow Book.'" (Gentlemen, that is 
no part of the libel I now complain of.) " This, too, after a 
" formal and expensive commission had been sent to Jamaica 
44 to inquire into the facts upon the spot, and which had dis- 
44 tinctly borne testimony to the correct procedure of the 
44 Duke of Manchester in the consideration of three, separate 
14 heads: 1st. The Question of the Frenchmen s Birth ; 2nd, 
44 The Charge of Sedition ; 3rd. The Conduct of the Chief 
44 Justice." 

Now here the writer refers to transactions, of whose cha- 
racter he was either utterly ignorant, or which he perversely 
misrepresents. He speaks of a commission sent to Jamaica, 
as one which had formed its conclusions upon a fair and im- 
partial investigation of the case of my clients. If he had been 
acquainted with the facts of this commission, and of the pro- 
ceedings which have followed it, he must have known that the 
manner in which the inquiry was conducted, was so much in 
the nature of an ex parte investigation, as to possess neither 
the character of impartiality nor justice, and to have been 
made the subject of a subsequent review. But in so far as the 
inquiry related to the Duke of Manchester, it could never 
criminate him or acquit him; because no one either charged 
or suspected him of any improper motive. He was necessarily 
as free from the imputation of an improper motive, as the 
Chief Justice and the magistrates were, who decided that 
they were not aliens; though on his part he acted on the pre- 
sumption that they were aliens ; for he did but listen to those 
to whom he thought he was bound to attend on the charge of 
sedition. In regard to the Chief Justice, there was, I be- 
lieve, no inquiry directed. The Commissioners were not then 
authorized to make his conduct the subject of their review. 
They did not separately deal with him in their report ; for no 
charge was made against him. The allusion to him there- 


fore, in reference to this Commission, is a gratuitous invention 
of the writer of this book. 

Then he says : " That no information might he wanting at 
" the Colonial Office, an active and intelligent magistrate of 
" Kingston endured the fatigue and expence of a voyage, to 
" impart the intimate knowledge which he had acquired of 
** the whole transaction. The exertions of Mr. Mitchel de- 
" serve the gratitude of his fellow-colonists ; hut they proved 
" only that the incurable madness of a political faction dis- 
" dains alike to balance the weight of evidence, or to measure 
" the degrees of guilt." I suppose this charges the Colonial 
Office with not placing implicit confidence in the testimony of 
this gentleman, Mr. Mitchel ! ! 

After this passage, I need not occupy your time with an 
intermediate narrative of the occurrences to which it relates, 
but proceed to the remaining paragraph, in which my clients 
are particularly alluded to. " The negroes," says Mr. Bridges, 
" though excited to the highest pitch of expectation and 
" revolt, were surprised by the celerity, and subdued by the 
" appearance of the indefatigable General.* The ignorant 
" savages, whose minds are peculiarly susceptible of any 
" impressions which have a tendency to shed human blood, 
" had been influenced by the arts of an infamous crew of 
" incendiaries, of which, the transported aliens were the 
" head, to believe that the British Parliament had actually 
" decreed their liberty, and that their masters alone stood 
** between them and that state of freedom ivhich, had it been 
" calmly offered them, many would have positively refused." 

I may observe in passing, that I am sorry to see a clergy- 
man entertaining this feeling of prejudice. By one general 
sweep he designates a whole class of persons, consisting of 
some hundred thousands of slave population, as " ignorant 
" savages, whose minds are peculiarly susceptible of any im- 
" pressions which have a tendency to shed human blood." It 
is a horrible opinion to form of human nature in so numerous 
a body of his fellow-colonists. We have generally under- 

* Sir John Keano. 


stood that the Africans are ignorant, but of a mild disposition. 
All slaves may be driven to resistance through arbitrary con- 
duct, the same as others of the human race ; but he says, that 
" They had been influenced by the arts of an infamous crew 
" of incendiaries ; of which the transported aliens were the 
" head," so that here my clients are distinctly charged with 
being the head of a faction ! ! 

Gentlemen, it seems that this person thought fit to issue a 
publication through the respectable channel of Mr. Murray, 
in which these individuals are charged with intending to in- 
cite to murder and to rebellion, seeking to put to death the 
white inhabitants, they being incendiaries. In this publication 
he heaps upon them every form of execration, which one could 
scarcely suppose could enter into the mind of any man, much 
less of a minister of religion, for the purpose of exciting against 
them public hatred and indignation ! Now, before persons 
write historical accounts relating to their own times, it is de- 
sirable, that if they would wish to obtain credit for impartiality 
and fidelity, they should wait till they are a little cool. This 
person may be a respectable man. I do not mean to speak 
generally of his character, or further than as it relates to the 
publication immediately in question. I have no wish to libel 
him in any manner ; but the temper in which this is written, 
shews that he was too much engaged as a partizan in the con- 
troversy to make himself a just annalist. A man who shews 
those feelings, being conscious of his liability to public cen- 
sure, has every motive inducing hitn to wait till his personal 
feelings subside into moderation and coolness, before he puts 
pen to paper, to write what he calls a history. If he had 
called this a controversial pamphlet, intended to attack all who 
favoured a particular opinion, as distinguished from his own, 
one would then suppose he felt nothing but that sort of acri- 
monious disposition which such controversy leads to ; one 
would then know how to appreciate the censorious language 
of a writer towards all who oppose his views, when he is in- 
duced to call one an assassin, and others guilty of every crime, 
and so on ; that being the language which controversialists are 
urged on to use towards each other ; but such a man is not 

fit to write a history. Yet you find this language in " The 
Annals of Jamaica!" A very attractive title and exclusively 
historical. Unhappily the colonial interests at present excite 
considerable acrimony, and men are very apt to write books 
of this sort under this very excitement. Thus it is then that 
in the midst of these annals you find a dissertation attacking 
right and left, every person who differed from this individual ; 
but most particularly these unhappy men, who had to contend 
against prejudice in bringing before the public their just 
claims. And be assured that though the dispositions of fair- 
ness and candour and equity may exist in the members of any 
government, and no doubt they exist more or less in the mem- 
bers of every government, to take into their consideration the 
cases of poor unfortunate men, who have received, unde- 
servedly, a sentence of exclusion and banishment ; there must, 
as you will feel, be a difficulty cast upon those who suffer in 
arriving at justice. There naturally possesses the human mind 
a bias against those upon whom a punishment has been al- 
ready inflicted, making it more difficult to decide, as justice 
requires, afterwards. Surely then there was labour sufficient 
cast upon these men who had been exiled from their families, 
ruined in their fortunes, and almost driven to desperation, to 
find individuals to make their voice heard in Parliament, and 
to enforce that inquiry which, when begun, should be con- 
ducted with fairness, good temper, and moderation. Was it 
not sufficiently difficult to accomplish all these things, but 
this man should think fit, in the midst of these arduous strug- 
gles in a case already prejudged, to throw upon them these 
aspersions, and to publish this work ? Going back to the colony 
from which they came, they were to be met upon their return 
(for return they will), with the aggravated account of all that 
had passed, and with this inflated statement of transactions in 
which they are called murderers and assassins, incendiaries, 
and persons ready to shed blood ! Returning to their families 
and those persons from whom they have been banished, they 
will go back to a society perhaps excited by this, if not against 
receiving them, at least against receiving them with confi- 
dence and credit ! ! 


Gentlemen, I wish to state nothing in exaggeration ; no- 
thing to provoke any mans feelings, or to enter into contro- 
versy with individuals. I desire to take no part, one way of 
the other, in local disputes. My duty is to demand the repa- 
ration of a public wrong, inflicted by a libel on my clients. I 
say that to publish of individuals in this country, however 
obscure, these charges, must be a libel, and that libel is pu- 
nishable. The more humble, the more destitute, the more in 
want of aid and support, the individual is, the more efficacious 
and the more conclusive against him is an attack of this sort ; 
and therefore, when there is an opportunity of appealing to 
a jury, I state without hesitation, that as the law of England 
extends its care to the least of His Majesty's subjects, the 
respectable Mr. Murray ought not to be exempted from its 
power, if he violates that law in the persons of humble and 
persecuted men. 

GEORGE STEPHEN, ESQ. Sworn, and examined 
by Mr. Gurney. 

Q. Do you know the shop of Mr. Murray, the Defendant I 

A. Yes, I do. 

Q. Where is it situate '. 

A. In Albemarle street. 

Q. Do you know Mr. Murray personally ? 

A. I did not before this publication. 

Q. Did you see him at his shop ? 

A. I did. 

Q. Did you on the 16th of February last purchase at his 
shop a book called " The Annals of Jamaica? " 

A. Yes. 

Lord Tenterden — Did you see him at the same time? 

A. I did. He was pointed out to me by a shopman in the 

Mr. Gurney — At the time you purchased the book in 
question, he was pointed out to you in the shop '. 

A. Yes, he was. 


Mr. GuRNEY — Hand the hook in. 

Lord Tenterden — The lGtb of last February .' 

A. Yes. 

Cross-examined by Mr. Coleridge. 

Q. That book is one volume : the work is in two volumes I 

A. Yes. 

Q. Did you purchase both I 

A. I purchased only the second volume, the. first was pub- 
lished nearly a year previously. 

Lord Tenterden— The first had been published a year 
before ? 

A. I understand that the first had been published several 
months previously, nearly a year. 

Mr. Coleridge — You have seen the first volume? 

A. I have. 

Q. Have you that here '. 

A. It will be here in a few minutes I expect. I have sent 
for it. 

Q. Who introduced the Prosecutor, Lecesne, to you I 

A. I really cannot state with accuracy. I knew him pre 
viously to this transaction. 

Q. On what occasion was it you became acquainted with 

A. I think my acquaintance with him originated in my 
being requested to solicit their claim before the Treasury. 

Q. By whom ? 

A. Whether it was by Mr. Macaulay or Dr. Lushington, 1 
cannot tell. 

Q. By one or the other ? 

A. Yes. 

Q. They are members of the Anti-Slavery Society, are 
they not f . 

A. I know nothing of the Anti-Slavery Society. I know 
nothing of the constituent parts of it. 

Q. Do you mean that you cannot answer my question '. 
That is no answer to my question. 

A. It is the fact, that I cannot answer, except by report, 



with respect to Dr. Lushington: I can say certainly that 
Mr. Macaulay belongs to it. 

Q. "Who employed you to conduct this prosecution ? 

A. Mr. Lecesue and Mr. Escoftery. 

Q. Do you mean to say that you look to them for payment J 

A. I do. 

Q. And to nobody else. 

A. Certainly, to a certain extent. If they recover the 
compensation they are to receive from Government, I should 
look to them for costs. If they do not receive their money, 
some of their friends and mine would indemnify me for money 
out of my pocket, and I should look no further. 

Q. You look to them in one event, and to others in another ? 

Lord Tenterden — No, not just so; he looks to others 
for costs out of pocket in case of their not succeeding in ob- 
taining their compensation from Government. 

Mr. GURNEY — You spoke of your having been employed 
to solicit compensation due to them from the Treasury J 

A. Yes. 

Q. Is that compensation awarded to them ? 

Mr. Coleridge — Are these solicitations in writing? 

Mr. GURNEY — I am proceeding on your answer. 

Lord Tenterden — You asked him how he became ac- 
quainted with them ; he said, " I was employed to solicit their 
claims before the Treasury, either by Mr. Macaulay or Dr. 
Lushington, I cannot tell which." On that Mr. Gnrney asks 
whether their claim is still pending ? 

Mr. Gurney — I ask whether the amount of that compen- 
sation is now under consideration I 

A. Yes. 

Lord Tenterden -I doubt whether he can answer that. 
How does he know that I 

Mr. Gurney — Have you received any communication 
whether they are to have compensation ? 

A. I have attended several meetings before Mr. Selwyn for 
Mr. Lecesne and Mr. EscofFery, Mr. Maule attending on be- 
half of the Treasury ; and in consequence of the absence of 
certain books and papers, which are considered essential to the 


further consideration of the case, the matter is adjourned 
sine die, but the principle is admitted. 

Lord Tenterden — By whom? 

Mr. Gurney — It has been communicated to you verbal 1} 
by the gentlemen to whom the Treasury has confided the 

Lord Tenterden — How does it appear that the Trea- 
sury have confided it I 

Mr. Brougham — He has instanced Mr. Maule, my Lord. 

Mr. Gurney — To whom did the Lords of the Treasury 
refer the compensation f 

Lord Tenterden — How does he know that.' 

Mr. Gurney — It may have been a verbal communication 
probably, my Lord. I do not know how that is. 

Lord Tenterden. — I know you are generally very 
regular, but I think I must see more before 1 can permit 
that question. 

Mr. Gurney — Have you known that the Lords of the 
Treasury have referred the subject of compensation to those 
individuals ? 

A. I conceive that they have, by the Solicitor for the Trea- 
sury having attended on behalf of the Crown. I conceive 
that he attended there officially. 

Lord Tenterden — You have understood that he attended 
officially ? 

A. I have. 

Mr. Gurney — Is it now a mere question of amount? 

A. It is. 

Lord Tenterden — What decision has there been? has 
there been any decision in writing ? 

Mr. Gurney — Has there been any decision verbally com- 
municated to you that they were to receive compensation, 
though the amount is not yet fixed '. 

A. Yes, it has been so stated on repeated occasions by the 
Solicitor of the Treasury ; and pending this arbitration, as I 
may call it, he has said even more than once that he must re- 
ceive on several points, further instructions from Government. 

Lord Tenterden— What has Mr. Maule said I 

< 2 


Mr. Gurney— About there being compensation to be 
made I 

Lord Tentf.rden — What has he said? 

A. We have had so many meetings that I cannot recollect 
the whole. 

Mr. Gurney — Has he or not communicated to you that 
they are to receive compensation, the amount to be fixed 
hereafter I 

A. Undoubtedly. 

Lord Tenterden — Now do relate what Mr. Maule has 
said upon that subject. 

A. Mr. Maule has said that the loss that they have sustained 
by their deportation, the pecuniary loss, they are to receive the 
amount of, when ascertained, and subject to some considera- 
tions as to deductions : that they are to receive that from the 

Lord Tenterden — W r hen was this? 

A. I cannot recall the day. 

Lord Tenterden — You can tell within a twelvemonth, 
I dare say. 

A. Within these two months. Some time in the month of 

Mr. Coleridge — Will your Lordship be so kind as to 
ask — I 

Mr. Gurney — I do not object to your asking-, if his 
Lordship will permit it. 

Lord Tenterden. — You may ask it. 

Mr. Coleridge — You stated that the consideration of 
something; had been adjourned sine die. Will you state what 
you meant by that I 

A. There are certain books containing details of Mr. Le- 
cesne's commercial proceedings, which books are not in this 
country, and Mr. Maule considered that it was right not to 
confine his examination to Mr. Lecesne personally, that is to 
his own examination ; but to see his books. Those books have 
been written for, and the further proceedings are adjourned, 
as I understand it, till they arrive. 

Mr. Gurney— It is adjourned till those books arrive? 

2 J 

A. Yes. 

Mr. Gurnev — Will you have the goodness to read the 
title and then the passages .' 

Mr. Stephen — Mr. Gurney, Will you allow me U, 
observe — 

Lord Tenterden — You are not asked any question. 

Mr. Stephen — 1 feel it necessary to explain, to prevent 
my evidence being misconceived, that 1 am not quite sure 
whether the introduction respecting the amount of the claims 
before Government, or respecting this libel, was the first in- 
troduction of Mr. Lecesne. They were very nearly simul- 
taneous, and I am not quite sure which was first. 

The title and the paragraph containing the libellous pas- 
sages were read. 

Mr. Coleridge then pointed out a variance in the first 
count of the indictment ; but subsequently abandoned the ob- 

Mr. Lewis Celeste Lecesne, sworn. 
Examined by Mr. Brougham. 

Q. Where did you live before you came to this country? 

A. In Jamaica. 

Lord Tenterden — Are we going through the whole? 

Mr. Brougham — No, my Lord, only to render it intel 
ligible. Have you been here while Mr. Bellamy read a pas 
sage from that book ? 

A. Yes, I have. 

Q. You have read that before, I suppose? 

A. I have. 

Foreman of the Jury— What religion are you of? 

A. Of the Established Church. 

Mr. Brougham — What was your occupation in Jamaica '. 

A. A liquor merchant and distiller. 

Q. Do you know John Escoffery ? 

A. I do. 

Q. Is he a Jamaica man too ? 

A. He is. 

Q. I believe he is your brother-in-law '. 


A. He is my brother-in-law. 

Q. In the passage of the book which has been read to-day, 
and which yon have read yourself before, to whom do you 
believe that the reference is made I 

A. To Escotfery and myself, undoubtedly. 

Q. In the year 1823, had you been taken before the Chief 
J ustice in Jamaica '. 

A. We were taken before him to be discharged, under a 
writ of Habeas Corpus. We had then been confined eighteen 
days in Kingston Jail. 

Q. You were taken to the Court ? 

A. We were taken to the Chief Justice's chambers in 
Kingston. The Grand Court is held in Spanish Town, thir- 
teen miles from Kingston. 

L-'R»> Ten rERDEN — You were taken before him and dis- 
charged I 

A. Yes, My Lord. 

Foreman of the Jury — On what grounds .' 

Lord Tenterden checked this question. 

Mr. Brougham — Did a discussion take place before the 
Chief Justice after the matter had been tried in the Court I 

A. Yes ; and after the question of birth was tried before 
the Chief Justice in Spanish Town, we were discharged by 
him in Kingston. 

Lord TENTERDEN — Were you present in Spanish Town 
when any trial took place I 

A. No, my Lord. 

Mr. Brougham — Did you employ counsel t 

A. We did. 

Lord Tenterdrn — Then we cannot go into that. 

Mr. Brougham — Were you afterwards sent out of the 
island ? 

A. We were taken up about six weeks afterwards, and 
sent out of Jamaica, without being heard in our defence. 

Q. Are you about to return to Jamaica '. 

Lord Tenterden — Are you going to inquire into that 
which is not the subject here } . 

Mr. Brougham — No. Are vou going back to Jamaica ; 


A. Yes ; as soon as we have finished with His Majesty's 

Q. Have you left your families there ? 

A. We have left our families there ? 

Mr. Brougham observed, that the witness was there to 
answer any questions Mr. Coleridge chose to put to him. 

Mr. Coleridge — I have no questions to ask. 

Mr. John Escoffery, sworn. 

Examined by Mr. Pollock. 

Q. Do you know the publication called " The Annals of 
Jamaica ?" 

A. Yes. 

Q. Are you one of the persons intended by the part which 
has been read of that book ? 

A. 1 am. 

Q. Is Lecesne the other ? 

A. Yes. 

Mr. Pollock — that is all I have to ask you. 

Mr. Coleridge — I wish to ask Lecesne a question, if 
your Lordship pleases. 

Mr. Lewis Celeste Lecesne, called again. 

Mr. Coleridge — When did you institute the prosecu- 
tion I 

A. I cannot say the time exactly ; about twelve months 
ago, I should think. 

Q. Try if you can give me a more correct recollection. 

A. I think about the month of February. 

Q. In what year I 

A. February in this year. 

Mr. Attorney General — That is my case. 

Mr. Coleridge — May it please your Lordship, — Gentle- 
men of the Jury, — I am to appear before you to-day as the 
advocate of Mr. Murray, the defendant to this indictment ; to 
whom my learned friend, the Attorney- General, has done no 
more than justice, when he states that he is a very respectable 
tradesman ; and as every body who opens almost any book in 
this country must know, is the publisher of the greater part, 


I may say I think the greater part of the most splendid and 
the most excellent and entertaining publications which proceed 
from the British press. Gentlemen, every body almost knows 
Mr. Murray by name. I cannot flatter myself that I have 
the honour of being personally known to you to-day ; but I 
believe those who know me, and have known my character at 
all, are aware that I am not disposed to take up the time 
either of the Court or the Jury uunecessarily. But I think 
that I have nothing to offer to which they ought not to listen 
with some attention ; and gentlemen, if I thought that to-day 
Mr. Murray's case was so confounded with the subject of this 
libel, this publication, I ought rather to say, for according to 
your opinion upon that, your verdict must be the one way or 
other, I should have reserved all those topics which in this 
case, I think, more than any other I ever knew abound in the 
way of mitigation or extenuation. I should reserve all those 
topics for another time and another tribunal ; if, indeed, in 
the discretion of my learned friend, this case should in any 
event, ever be carried there. But gentlemen, it is because 
I do feel that I have something to offer to your attention, 
upon which Mr. Murray may lav a fair claim to receive a 
verdict of acquittal at your hands, that I take the liberty as 
it were, to state his case shortly to you, and to call your at- 
tention to a very few remarks. 

(Mr. Coleridge then made some observations upon his ina- 
bility to enter into a discussion of the truth of the libellous 
passages, and proceeded as follows:) 

Gentlemen, I have stated to you that I have grounds to 
offer, on which I believe that I am entitled to vour verdict. 
My learned friend has attempted to influence you by a state- 
ment which he has not proved ; my statement shall be an 
address to your reason and your common sense. I shall not 
appeal to your compassion ; and unless your common sense 
goes along with the remarks that I am about to make, T 
admit that a verdict must pass against me. Mr. Murray, 
gentlemen, is charged as the publisher of this work ; he is 
charged as a malicious publisher — as a publisher, intending to 
injure Mr. Lecesno and Mr. Esooftery. Vow gentlemen, 

the first ground on which I mean to put the case; and 1 beg 
to state, in the presence of his Lordship, that I believe 1 shall 
say nothing which is not in direct accordance with every 
decision laid down with regard to the law of libel, 1 do not 
feel that I have the difficulty of conflicting with any decided 
case on the law of libel, the first position that I lay down is 
this, that to find Mr. Murray guilty, you must be satisfied 
that he has been the malicious publisher of this libel. Do 
not let me be misunderstood, when I say that malice is an 
essential ingredient in publishing a libel. I do not mean to 
contend that you will be bound to find that Mr. Murray had 
a mischievous intention at the time this was published, to in- 
jure this particular individual in the manner charged ; but I 
do say that you must find that there was in his mind a mali- 
cious intention to publish an unlawful libel ; I say, in the 
words of one of the highest authorities in our law books, not 
his Lordship's immediate predecessor in that high situation, 
but one to wbonfevery lawyer bows with the greatest respect, 
I refer to Lord Kenyon, that the mind must be in fault, that 
if the publication be inadvertent, the defendant is entitled to 
an acquittal ; that you must believe that here was a mischiev- 
ous intention in the mind. I repeat the words again, the 
mind must be in fault — an inadvertent publication will not 

Gentlemen, there have been so many prosecutions, and in 
a free country, there always must be so many prosecutions for 
libel, that no advocate can hope to address topics on behalf 
of defendants, that have not been urged again and again. 
But, Gentlemen, though those topics are hacknied ; and 
though I cannot, expect to entertain you to-day with any thing 
like novelty, yet in a free country, every thing which regards 
the press of this country must always have a certain degree of 
interest, however humble the advocate may be, who expresses 
those arguments. Gentlemen, taking it for granted (and that 
is the cardinal point of this case), that malice, in the guarded 
way in which I have put it, must be an essential fact for you, 
upon your oath, to find before you can come to the conclusion 
of guilty, upon whom docs the proof of that malice lie ?- 


Undoubtedly it never catj be contended but that it lies on the 
prosecutor who lays the charge. It is he who must satisfy 
you of that fact. Take with you that it is the fact of malice 
which you must find, and how is it to be proved ? There can 
be but two ways of proving it you know. It may be proved, 
in some iustances, by extrinsic evidence. It might have been 
shown that Mr. Murray expressed a great hatred of this Pro- 
secutor — that he had expressed an intention to do him harm, 
that would have been evidence that you would have been 
satisfied with. There is no doubt that it may be proved by 
the fact of publication. Shew me that a man has previously 
published a fact, and that will be evidence that he intended 
to do that which must be the necessary consequence of the 
publication. To illustrate that, you know that parties may be 
indicted for the circulation, for the printing, or for the pub- 
lishing, of a libel. Shew that a man in his senses, delibe- 
rately composes that which is libellous upon the reputation of 
another, he must be taken to have intended that which that 
libel is calculated to produce. But it may be that a publica- 
tion, taking it as a case of publication only, may, in a variety 
of cases, fall very far short of that. Suppose the case of a 
man publishing a newspaper. He knows that its contents 
relate to the persons and events of the day- It is in its 
nature calculated to contain that which may reflect on cha- 
racter, and thus passing out into the world, it details the cir- 
cumstances of public interest, and discusses religious and pub- 
lic questions. In a case of that sort, no doubt a man who 
publishes is bound. The law imposes upon him the necessity 
of first seeing what he is doing ; and the Jury will, from the 
negligence of his so doing, say that the negligence to inves- 
tigate the matter, is so strong, that they ought to infer that 
the publication was malicious on the part of that man. 

Gentlemen, I admit I have put to you cases, in which 
publication alone woidd be pregnant evidence of malice. I 
will put you one where that must be the weakest in the world. 
Suppose that a man brought a history of Greece and a his- 
tory of Rome to a publisher, what is there in the nature of 
that to attract his attention '. How is the publisher led to sup- 


pose that in a work upon Greece or Rome, relating to events 
which have passed for more than eighteen hundred years, 
there should be any thing to wound the feelings of any indi- 
vidual living? Surely 1 have put a case in which, though 
the publication might in the absence of all other circum- 
stances, be just evidence enough to go to a jury, as evidence 
of malice in the mind of the publisher, it would be the weakest 
of all possible evidence which could be offered. Now, what 
has been offered to you to-day, as evidence of malice agaiust 
Mr. Murray? It is not shown that Mr. Murray ever knew 
or heard of these individuals. He is a very large publisher, 
in very extensive business ; he publishes a work professing to 
be written by a clergyman, a Master of Arts of two univer- 
sities, a rector of a parish, upon an historical subject, "The 
Annals of Jamaica," professing to begin, (as you will see when 
you take the whole work with you,) professing to begin from 
the earliest times, and deducing the history of that island from 
its first discovery to the present time. The work is proved 
to have been published at intervals of a year, or more, by 
Mr. Murray. One single sale is proved to the attorney for 
the prosecution. There is no proof of sale after the proceed- 
ings had been instituted — nothing of the kind ; nothing but 
one single and bare sale of this book, so published and so 
entitled. That is the whole amount of the proof of malice in 
Mr. Murray. Now, Gentlemen, you will remember that the 
charge to-day is upon you ; the burden is laid upon your con- 
sciences ; you are to take upon yourselves to say, upon your 
oaths, that Mr. Murray is the guilty, malicious publisher of 
this book. I have admitted, and 1 do not mean to recede 
from the admission, that there is some evidence to go to you 
upon the subject of this publication. Bare and naked as the 
proof is, it does offer to your minds some evidence of the 
necessary ingredient of malice. If it were not so, it would 
have been my duty, of course, to have addressed his Lordship, 
rather than you ; but, there having been evidence as to that, 
it is become now a question for you to consider; and, that 
being so, I cannot refuse the next and consequent admission, 
that it lies upon me to rebut that inference of malice. It lies 


upon me to shew that malice does not exist ; at least, it lies 
upon me to give you so much evidence upon that subject, that 
when vou come to view the two together, you shall be satis- 
fied that the fact of the single sale does not, when weighed in 
the balance, establish the fact you are asked to find. Now, 
how am I to do that ? Again, in common cases, you know, I 
might offer extrinsic evidence to negative the fact ; or I may 
find it in the facts themselves, as they already appear. For 
instance, I might shew, in some cases, (I put it as a bare cir- 
cumstance of possibility,) I might shew that Lecesne himself 
had come and requested that this book might be published. 
[ am putting only a possible and extreme case. No one can 
doubt that if I so offered, that it would perfectly outweigh the 
evidence of malice that arises out of the publication. But, 
Gentlemen, you know very well that that sort of evidence, — 
that kind of extrinsic evidence can never be a necessary re- 
quisite in all cases, because in far the greater number it is 
utterly impossible it should exist. 

Then, looking at my learned friend's evidence of guilt and 
malice from a bare publication, I will call your attention to 
the circumstances of this case, and ask you whether there is 
not abundant evidence to rebut the inference which arises 
from the publication. 1 have fust adverted to Mr. Murray's 
situation. 1 have adverted to the negative evidence; to the 
total absence of any thing like proof that Mr. Murray kiirvv, 
(indeed every body who hears me, I am satisfied, believes) that 
Mr. Murray neither knew he was doing, nor intended to do, 
the slightest injury to these individuals. No man would be- 
lieve that Mr. Murray would knowingly have published this 
passage; for I admit that it is no part of inv case to deny 
that the passage in the author is a libellous passage ; 1 admit 
that the tendency of the passage is to do injury to these indi- 
viduals ; but no man believes that for one moment Mr. Murray 
ever dreamt or knew of this passage in the work. 

Gentlemen, a work was brought to Mr. Murray, entitled 
"The Annals of Jamaica,"' more than a year before the publi- 
cation of the second volume. It was brought, as you see, 
authenticated b\ (he title of a clergyman, a person who, in 

two universities, bad arrived at the distinction of Master of 
Arts, who had been thought worthy to fill the situation of 
rector of a parish in the island of Jamaica. Now, it would be 
so exceedingly improbable that any work, purporting to be 
something so far from personal interest as this, should contain 
any matter which was offensive, that Mr. Murray would 
hardly feel himself called upon to look particularly into it. 
He would probably look at the preface, and read a few pas 
sages, and he would then sec that the work was not of a 
temporary nature ; that it was historical, and that fact would 
disarm all his apprehensions, Under these circumstances he 
publishes a volume: no complaint is made: he has every 
reason to suppose it is satisfactory: it writes of distant times 
and periods : in due course the second volume arrives, au- 
thenticated by the innocence of the first. Of course Mr. 
Murray could scarcely be called upon to examine that parti- 
cularly ; for what reason had he to suspect that the same calm 
course of historical research had not been carried on in that as 
in the first. My learned friend has helped me in this ; for it 
has struck his mind as it struck mine : he says, the libel is 
in a very insidious form: it is introduced in a work purporting 
to be historical. Gentlemen, that is the very thing: it was 
the insidious form, — it was its introduction in a work of this 
sort, that was calculated to dismiss Mr. Murray's suspicion. 
In that way, Gentlemen, through inadvertency, this libel ap- 
pears to have been published. 

Now, Gentlemen, I have stated to you that I rely upon the 
circumstances that attend this publication ; the absence of 
proof on the part of the prosecution ; all the circumstances 
that you yourselves perceive on it, upon taking the work into 
your hands : I rely upon these circumstances, to rebut the 
charge of this publication being any thing more than inad- 
vertent; and Lord Kenyon has said, that if a publication be 
proved to be inadvertent, — if the jury believe that fact, tin 
defendant is entitled to an acquittal. 

Lord Tenterden. — Not in a case of this kind, of the 
defendant's being the publisher of the work. I am sure no 


person can consider that an inadvertent publication. The 
work is proved to be published by the defendant. 

Mr. Coleridge. — The case I allude to was one in which 
Lord Kenyon spoke with great caution. He was trying the 
case of a noble Peer, who appeared without the benefit of 
counsel, and I give Lord Kenyon's own words when I say 
that, and in that case the author and publisher were the same. 
It was the case of Lord Abingdon ; and in that case, according 
to the printed report, I give the very words which Lord Ken- 
yon used; and Lord Kenyon himself determined there must be 
a malicious intention proved ; for that if the publication was 
inadvertent only, the Defendant was entitled to an acquittal. 

Lord Tenterden — That was the case of a publication 
by a lord, of a speech he himself had made in Parliament. 

Mr. Coleridge — That was the case of the King v. 

Mr. Brougham — That was the case of a speech made in 
Parliament, affecting the attorney of the noble lord. 

Lord Tenterden — And published by himself. 

Mr. Coleridge — Yes, my Lord. The facts were there 
stronger than in the present case. There Lord Abingdon had 
quarrelled with his steward ; he chose to make an attack 
upon his steward in the House of Peers, and he then pub- 
lished that speech. It was upon such facts, that my Lord 
Kenyon laid down the law in the way I have stated, and that 
I submit is in perfect uniformity with all the decisions upon 
the subject, that malice must be found by the Jury to exist ; 
that, however strong the expressions in the libel, the Jury 
must find the malice ; and if they find the publication to be inad- 
vertent, in that case the Defendant is entitled to an acquittal. 

(Mr. Coleridge then compared the offence of libel with 
other cases, in which the law inferred intention from circum- 
stances, and proceeded) — My defence to day is, that this was 
not a malicious publication. I say I am sorry for the publi- 
cation. I did it inadvertently. If the Jury believe that, 
there is an end of the malus animus; there is an end of the 
charge as it appears in this indictment. 


Gentlemen, excuse me if I further trespass upon you in my 
anxiety for this case ; for I really conceive it to be a case of 
very gTeat importance. You have already learnt, for my 
learned friend the Attorney-General has told you, that tlii^ is 
not the only charge. For this same identical passage (and he 
has been pleased himself to introduce this to your notice), Mr. 
Murray stands charged with two criminal prosecutions ; be is 
liable to be twice called up for this passage. T)o not let it 
be supposed that it is for other passages, but for the same 
passage two indictments have been preferred; and Mr. Mur- 
ray is liable to be brought up twice to suffer. Two sentences of 
imprisonment, and two fines may be imposed upon him for 
this same publication. This is the case I have to present to 
you. I will not appeal to your feelings ; 1 do not mean to 
descend to that; if I chose to address you in that strain, 
there never was a case more calling for it : this is not an 
anonymous publication respecting this individual : he has 
told you that he is going back to Jamaica. If it be said, as 
it has been indeed, by my learned friend the Attorney-Ge- 
neral, the author was not residing in this country, Mr. Lecesne 
has told you himself, and so has Mr. Escofifery, that they are 
both going back to Jamaica. There they will find the au- 
thor ; there they will have the means of proceeding, and 
ample means to enforce them. 

Now, gentlemen, my pledge to you was, that I would not 
be unnecessarily long in this case, and I hope I have not ex- 
ceeded the just limits. My position is a very simple one. I 
submit to you that it is a position recognised by the whole law 
of this country, that malice is essential to the crime. I repeat 
that the mind must have been in fault, that the proof of that 
malice lies upon the Prosecutor, that the only proof, just 
proof, I admit, sufficient to present this case to you, is the 
bare publication. I submit, that that inference may be re- 
butted by the other circumstances of the case, and I submit to 
you that the circumstances of this case, which you will not fail 
to take into your candid consideration, more than counter- 
balance that inference arising from the bare publication. 

Lord Tenterden — If they had offered evidence of a 


copy sold after the indictment, I must have rejected the evi 
dence. On another occasion, it might have been receivable ; 
but unless it had been previous to the indictment, I must bave 
rejected it. 

Mr. Coleridge — His Lordship has been kind enough to 
shew that I have stated my proposition too largely. Certainly 
the party might have shewn, in another course of proceeding, 
an active determination to persevere in the publication ; and 
this is the position I wish to leave in your minds that, let the 
words and expressions be as inflammatory and vehement as 
you please, the other circumstances of the case do not lead 
you to the conclusion, that the publication was, or rather they 
lead vou to the conclusion, that the publication was not mali- 
cious. Then I say, the Defendant is entitled to your verdict. 
I humbly submit to you, that Mr. Murray stands in that case 
to-day, that you will not find him guilty upon this evidence 
of the malicious publication which is charged by the Prose- 
cutor in this case. 

Lord Tenterden — Gentlemen of the Jury— This is an 
indictment against Mr. Murray ; and the indictment charges 
that he, unlawfully intending to injure the good name, credit, 
and reputation of one Lewis Celeste Lecesne, and to bring 
him into great contempt and hatred, did, on the day therein 
mentioned, " print and publish, and cause and procure to be 
" printed and published ; " and it is no matter whether he 
printed or not, " a certain false, scandalous, malicious, and 
" defamatory libel of and concerning the said Lewis Celeste 
" Lecesne, in a certain book or publication entitled, ' The 
" ' Annals of Jamaica, by the Rev. Geo. Wilson Bridges, 
" ' A.M. Member of the Universities of Oxford and Utrecht, 
" ' and Rector of the Parish of St. Ann, Jamaica,' and pur- 
" porting to have been written and composed by the said 
" George Wilson Bridges, in one part of which is contained 
" the matter following," which it sets out. The Defendant 

has pleaded that he is not guilty. The first question, there- 
fore, is whether he published this. Now to prove this, if you 
look at the matter itself which is printed and published, it 
appears, by the title page, that his name is at the bottom ; the 
words are, " London, John Murray, Albemarle-street, 1828," 
which is put distinctly and clearly in conformity to the act of 
Parliament, requiring the name ; and you have a witness 
called before you, who tells you that he bought this of a shop- 
man, Mr. Murray being present. But it is said this is not 
proof of publication. So it is contended by the counsel for 
the Defendant. In the course of my experience, either at 
the bar or on the Bench, I have hardly ever known any other 
proof of publication ; nor do I see any reason why the time of 
the Court should be occupied by calling fifty different persons 
to prove they purchased the book under circumstances like 
this. This is the proof which has been ordinarily given. 1 
think I never knew it carried further in the course of my 
experience in the two situations; and I am not sure that I 
ever heard that argument used ; at all events, I am sure I 
never saw attention paid to it. 

Taking then, Mr. Murray to be the publisher of this work, 
another question arises, which has been very properly sug- 
gested to your attention by the learned Counsel for Mr. Mur- 
ray ; and with reference to that question, it may be proper 
that I should state to you, and call again to your attention 
what the language of this libel is. Mr. Attorney- General in 
his opening, gave to you what he was pleased to consider as 
a history and narrative of the facts, which have led to this 
publication. It was said, on behalf of the Defendant, that 
you cannot take that narrative, however respectable the au- 
thority from which it comes, as a true narrative of facts. But 
you may take from the book itself, the facts to which the 
publication relates, and fairly taking these from the work on 
reading the work itself, we may learn that the person 
who is now the prosecutor, together with another, had been 
at one time, taken up upon some suspicion in the island of 
Jamaica ; that they had been discharged by the Chief 
Justice of that island ; that afterwards, under the authority 



of the Governor of that island, and of his Council, they had 
been sent from that island as aliens, under the authority of the 
Alien Act ; that they had afterwards come to this country ; 
that a member of the House of Commons had presented to 
that House a petition regarding them, and that some pro- 
ceedings were afterwards going on, with a view to the con- 
sideration of their claim to compensation. All these facts we 
may learn from the work itself. Then, taking this to be the 
state of facts, you will see what the author of this publication 
has thought fit to state of these persons. T do not propose to 
read the whole of it to you, but some particular passages. It 
is clear from the publication itself, that there was a great deal 
of heat, if I may so say, existing at the time between many 
different persons, some of them adverse to slavery, and the 
others the inhabitants of the colony, in whose minds consider- 
able animosity was perhaps excited, whether justly or unjustly 
we have nothing to do with. 

The libel complains first of all, of the Chief Justice, as 
having, in the exercise of his judicial power, released two 
French prisoners, who had been confined for an attempt to 
revolutionize the island ; and this is what he takes upon him- 
self to say of these persons, — that these two persons who had 
been released by the Chief Justice, "were impatient to sheath 
" their daggers in the breasts of its white inhabitants." He 
tnen goes on to speak of the Chief Justice, and some proceed- 
ing which took place in a committee of the legislature of the 
island. Then he goes on to say, "The forbearance which 
" ever marked the character and government of the Duke of 
" Manchester, was satisfied with the removal of the two alien 
" offenders," (speaking of them again as offenders,) " and the 
" colonial alien law gave the necessary power. A multitude 
" of witnesses pressed forward to prove, not only that they 
" were natives of Hayti, and persons of the most infamous 
" character, but that the conspiracy in which they were deeply 
" engaged," (asserting all this — assuming all this,) " if not its 
" original projectors, was of such a nature, that the most 
" speedy removal of them could alone preserve the island. 
" Instead therefore, of instituting a legal, probably a tedious 


" process, but one which ultimately would have consigned them 
" to the gallows," (that is, that if there had been an enquiry, 
they would have been consigned to the gallows,) "the humane 
" Governor adopted the urgent recommendation of the legis- 
" lature, and, by the timely exercise of the power with which 
" he was vested, he once more saved the colony. The extra- 
" vagant assertion of the two convicted conspirators, that they 
" were not aliens, may be dismissed with silent contempt." 

It goes on in another passage: ''It appears that the French 
" miscreants were principally encouraged in their subsequent 
" conduct, by the difference of opinion which their case had 
" given rise to, between the Magistracy of the island and its 
" chief Judge," (calling them French miscreants, and in 
another place convicted felons,) "yet it was on the bare asser- 
** tion of these convicted felons that they were natives of the 
" British dominions, that a petition to the House of Commons 
" was founded, and the dignity of that august body insulted 
" by a complaint of treatment, which was the only alternative 
" to their being hanged." Taking upon himself to say, that 
if they had not been sent out of the country, they must have 
been hanged. 

In another passage there is introduced the assertions of 
" detected rebels, and foreign conspirators, for that one or 
" other they must be." In another, " these wretches are still 
" cherished, as food for the acrimony of Jamaica's and of 
" England's enemies." In another, " these cherished criminals 
" were the objects of compassion." In another, " the ripen- 
14 ing fruits of their dark conspiracy were breaking forth in 
" every quarter." In another, " for many months the scene 
" of their machinations had been enlivened by frequent and 
" nocturnal meetings of the corrupted slaves, and Jean Bap- 
** tiste Corberand, a worthy disciple of their revolutionary doc- 
" trines." In short, Gentlemen, it is not easy to conceive any 
thing more injurious to the character and reputation of any 
person, than the matter here set forth. 

But it is said, that unless you are satisfied that this was 
published with a design to injure this individual, the defen- 
dant is to be acquitted. Now, you observe what this charge 

d 2 


is, — that this was published by Mr. Murray, with a view to 
injure Mr. Lecesne in his reputation. Was it or not with a 
view to injure Mr. Lecesne ? We have no means of judging 
of the intentions of men upon any subject, but by the acts 
which we find them doing. If we find a man doing an act 
which is necessarily calculated to injure another, we must 
attribute to him that he meant to bring about that injury 
which is effected. If we were to lay down any other rule, it 
is impossible to foresee to what extent it might go, or with 
what facility offenders might escape justice. It is said that a 
person might even go to the length of saying, that a man who 
aims a blow at the life of another, does not mean to injure 
him. What proof have you of his intention but his aiming 
the blow '. Is it not sufficient proof that the man intends to 
injure the reputation of another, when you find him publishing 
a work which must have that effect ? 

But then you have it said, that Mr. Murray is a very great 
publisher; that it is not to be supposed that he makes himself 
acquainted with the nature of every work ; and the Learned 
Counsel has put it to you, that he was not to be expected to 
look for any thing injurious to another in this publication. 
On looking at the preface, I f\nd it begins thus : " In the 
" lung career of vice, and vigour of error and oppression, I 
*' have at length reached the term of my labours, and have 
" completed my design of bringing down the Annals of 
" Jamaica from the first blush of that morning which dawned 
" upon the long night of transatlantic oblivion, to the present 
" evening of its decayed and feeble existence." This proves, 
therefore, that this publication comes down to the very period 
in question, — down to that period, at which it has been always 
considered that the heat and animosity which I have stated 
prevail among the people. That was not calculated to put 
any extinguisher upon the care which he should have exer- 
cised in respect of that he sent forth into the world. It is 
said he is a great publisher; that he publishes a great many 
works. That is very true, and many of them are most excellent 
and respectable works ; but there is no reason why you should 
lav down a rule, distinguishing between the case of one man 

and another : that a man who publishes two or three hooks in a 
year, is to be made answerable for them, as knowing what 
they contain ; and that a man who publishes thirty, or forty, 
or a hundred in a year is not to be made answerable. (Gen- 
tlemen, it is the duty of every person to take care that he dots 
not publish any thing- injurious to the reputation of another. 
That is a duty which the law casts upon him. If the law did 
not cast upon him that duty, what would he the consequence 
to the reputation of man' The reputation of man would be 
injured and destroyed, and yet they would have no remedv. 

In this case it is said, the parties may go to Jamaica and 
prosecute the author. Gentlemen, we do not know who the 
author is. The author is said to be a person residing in Ja- 
maica; but whether he is so or not, we do not know. Whether 
he be or not, I do not know how a person going to Jamaica 
should be able to show that this publication had issued from 
him. You will therefore, Gentlemen, have to take this case 
into your consideration. You will shew to these individuals 
the same justice as you shew to all others. You are to say 
whether you find in the work that ingredient which is charged 
in the indictment, of its being calculated to injure in a high 
degree, the character and reputation of this individual. If 
you think otherwise, you will by your verdict pronounce that 
this is not a work for which the person who published it ought 
to be made answerable, as libellous. If you think that its 
character is that which I have pointed out, — that it is a pub- 
lication for which a man ought to be answerable, in that case 
you will find the defendant guilty. 

The jury pronounced the defendant guilty. 

Lord Tenterden. — I suppose, Mr. Attorney General, 
you will not try the other. 

Mr. Attorney General. — The other may stand over, 
my Lord. 

Lord Tenterden. — I think both might have been in- 
cluded in one indictment. 

Mr. Attorney General. — Yes, my Lord, I think so; 
it was merely a matter of precaution. That may stand as it 




Mr. Attorney General. — I am to move your Lord- 
ships for the judgment of the Court against John Murray. 
Lord Tenterden. — Have you a copy of the publication I 
Mr. Attorney General. — Yes, my Lord. 

It teas handed to his Lordship. 
Lord Tenterden read his report of the trial. 
The following affidavit of the defendant was theo read : — 


TAe King on the prosecution of Lewis Celeste Lecesne 
versus John Murray. 
John Murray, of Albemarle Street, in the county of 
Middlesex, bookseller, the above-named defendant, maketh 
oath and saith, that in the year one thousand eight hundred 
and twenty-eight he was applied to to publish, and did 
publish, the first volume of a work, entitled, "Annals of 
Jamaica," written, as deponent has been informed and be- 
lieves, by the Reverend George Wilson Bridges, A. M., rector 
of the parish of St. Ann, Jamaica, and which volume ap- 
peared to contain an historical account of the said island, 
from the earliest period down to the year one thousand seven 
hundred and twenty-seven. And that this deponent also, in 
the month of November, one thousand eight hundred and 
twenty-eight, published the second volume of the said book, 
also, as this deponent was informed and still believes, written 
by the said Reverend George Wilson Bridges, and continuing 
the said historical account from the said year, one thousand 
seven hundred and twenty-seven, to the year one thousand 
eight hundred and twenty-eight. And this deponent further 
saith, that he published the said two volumes on the recom- 
mendation of a gentleman of high character and station in 


society, who made a very favourable re|>ort of t\w same to 
him ; that he was entirely ignorant that the said volumes, or 
either of them, contained any libellous matter; and that from 
the nature of the work, and the respectability of the recom- 
mendation under which he received it, he was not led himself 
to examine the same with the attention he should have done, 
if it had come to him without such authority, or had not been 
the avowed work of a person of education, in so respectable a 
station of life, or if he had conceived that the same was likely 
to contain any libellous statement, prejudicial to any persons 
in the said island, or elsewhere. And this deponent further 
saith, that after the publication thereof, no complaint was at 
any time made to him on the part of the said prosecutor, or 
any other persons, that the work contained any libellous or 
injurious matter, nor was he at any time requested or required 
to withdraw the same from circulation, or to make public any 
disavowal of any matter therein contained ; and that this 
deponent's first apprehension that he had been guilty of pub- 
lishing a libel, was from a chance report, communicated by a 
friend, that an indictment had been preferred against him ; 
that up to that time he was wholly ignorant of the existence 
of any such person as the prosecutor, as well as of all the facts 
stated or referred to in the passage set out in this indictment. 
And this deponent further saith, that immediately on receiving 
the information that such indictment had been preferred, and 
before he had received any legal notice of the prosecution, he 
directed that all copies of the volume containing the alleged 
libel, in his possession, or under his controul, amounting to 
about six hundred and seventy-one volumes, as the deponent 
believes, should be withdrawn from circulation ; and that, to 
prevent the possibility of any accidental or inadvertent sale 
thereof, after the said intimation of this prosecution, he, this 
deponent caused all the copies of both the volumes remaining 
in his hands, to be removed from his premises in Albemarle 
Street, where books are sold, to his warehouse. And this 
deponent further saith, that he wishes to add his regret and 
concern that he should have been the means, though uncon- 


sciously, of publishing; any work containing matter inconsistent 
with the truth, or intended or calculated to wound the feeling;, 
or reflect upon the character, of anv person whatever. 


Sworn in Court, this eighth day of 
February, 1830. 

By the Court. 

The affidavit was handed to the Attorney General. 

Mr. Attorney General. — "Unconsciously," I see, is 
the word. My Lords, I am anxious to save trouble, and your 
Lordships' time, which I know is precious. I have a very 
long affidavit, made by both the prosecutors, confined to mat- 
ters of fact, and containing an entire and succinct contradic- 
tion of all the matters that affect their character in the libel 
that has been read. I request to leave it upon your Lord- 
ship's file, as their object in bringing forward this prose- 
cution was not from any pre-conceived resentment against 
Mr. Murray, but from a desire, as they are about returning to 
their own country, from which they were unjustly expelled, 
that they might not return with the odium of this publication 
written by this gentleman. Mr. Murray has made an affidavit 
that becomes his character ; and I am very free to say, on the 
part of the prosecutor, that I think Mr. Murray has made all 
the reparation that, under the circumstances, he can be ex- 
pected to make. It is with pleasure I bear testimony to the 
great respectability of his conduct, and I was instructed by 
the prosecutor, in case Mr. Murray should make an affidavit 
of this sort, expressing the sentiments there described, which 
I thought very likely he would feel and express, to ask vour 
Lordships to impose the slightest punishment, and the most 
nominal. They by no means desire after that reparation, to 
make any application of a vindictive nature against Mr. 
Murray. His respectability they acknowledge, and I ac- 
knowledge also. 

The affidavit of the prosecutors was then put in : — 


The King against John Murray. 

Lewis Celeste Lecesnk, late of Kingston, in the island 
of Jamaica, and now of Canton Place, in the Parish of Pop 
lar, in the County of Middlesex, Merchant; and John Es- 
COFFERv, also late of Kingston, aforesaid, Merchant, and 
now residing at Canton Place aforesaid, make oath and say : 

And first this deponent, Lewis Celeste Lecesne, for him- 
self saith, that as he hath been informed, and verily believes, 
he was born in the said island of Jamaica, in the month of 
August, in the year 1798, and hath resided in Jamaica from 
that time, until the 29th November, 1823, with the exception 
of a few weeks in the year 1818. 

And the said John Escoffery saith, that he the said John 
Escoffery was also born in Kingston, in the said island of 
Jamaica, on the 28th day of November, 1795, as he this 
deponent, has been informed, and verily believes ; and that 
he the said John Escoffery, has lived in Jamaica from his 
earliest recollection to the time of his said deportation, with 
the exception only of six months, or thereabouts ; during 
which he this deponent, was carried by his father to America, 
with the other members of this deponent's family. 

And these deponents say, that on the said 29th day of No- 
vember, 1823, both these deponents were arrested upon a 
warrant signed by the Duke of Manchester, the then Go- 
vernor of Jamaica, and were put on board a guard-ship; and 
the next morning were transferred to his Majesty's ship the 
Helicon, which immediately sailed with these deponents to 
the island of Hayti. 

And these deponents say, that on their arrival at Hayti, 
they were left in a most destitute condition, the authorities of 
that island objecting in the first instance, to their being 
landed ; nnd the public lodging-houses refusing to receive 

And these deponents say, that during the time that they 


remained at Hayti aforesaid, they were principally indebted 
for their subsistence and support to the charity of indivi- 
duals ; and received no assistance whatever, either pecuniary 
or otherwise from the Government of Hayti, or any person 
connected therewith. 

And these deponents say, that it has been imputed to them 
that they were parties to a treasonable or seditious corre- 
spondence with the Government, or with some inhabitant or 
inhabitants of Hayti. 

And these deponents say, that to their several knowledge 
and belief, there never has existed any seditious, treasonable, 
or other correspondence, tending in any manner to the pre- 
judice, or injury of the said colony of Jamaica, or of Great 
Britain, or of any of the public establishments of either 
country, with the said island of Hayti, or with any person or 
persons residing in the said island of Hayti, or connected 
therewith, or with any other person or persons whatever. 

And each of these deponents saith, that if at any time such 
correspondence has existed, or been carried on, he, this depo- 
nent, was not party or privy thereto, directly or indirectly, 
nor had he any direct or indirect kuowledge thereof. 

And these deponents say, that before they were arrested in 
manner hereinbefore stated, namely, on the 7th day of Oc- 
tober, 1823, they these deponents, were taken into custody, 
but were discharged out of custody on being brought up on 
Habeas Corpus, on the 25th day of October, 1823. 

And these deponents say, that treason, sedition, and con- 
spiracy, are lawfully cognizable by the courts of the said 
colony of Jamaica ; and that the evidence of slaves would, 
by the law of the said colony, have been admissible against 
them the said deponents, as aliens, on a charge of treason, 
sedition, or conspiracy; but that they have not, nor has either 
of them, been brought to trial on any such charge ; nor has 
any offence or crime, or criminal purpose, been imputed or 
attributed to them, or to either of them, in any specific form, 
from their earliest infancy, to the period of their deportation 
on the said 29th November, 1823. 

And these deponents say, that it is true that these depo- 


nents have been described in general terms as persons of a 
most dangerous character, to remain in the said colony ; bnt 
each of these deponents on his oath declares that he never 
hath done any act, deed, or thing whatsoever, or been party 
or privy to the doing of any act, deed, or thing whereby, or 
by means whereof the government, or any of the authorities 
of the said colony, or any persons connected therewith, might 
be brought into danger or contempt, or endeavoured to excite 
disaffection, tumult, or disturbance, or to effect or attain 
any object whatsoever, inconsistent with the duty or cha- 
racter of a peaceable, loyal, and well-affected subject of his 

And each of these deponents further saith, that he hath 
never written or subscribed, or been party to the writing or 
publication, directly or indirectly, of any seditious libel or 
libels, or of any writings or publications in any way tending 
to excite disaffection or disorder or disturbance in the said 
island of Jamaica, or any part thereof, or to bring the govern- 
ment, or the authorities thereof, or any of them, or any per- 
sons or person residing in, or connected with the said island, 
into public or private odium or contempt. 

And these deponents further say, that they are not con- 
scious of, nor do they believe there has existed any cause or 
pretext for charging these deponents, or either of them, with 
being persons of a dangerous character ; but as these depo- 
nents verily believe the application of the said character to 
these deponents, and all other proceedings taken against 
them until the period of their deportation, originated in the 
deception practised upon the Colonial Government and other 
authorities, by parties who were personally hostile to these 
deponents in matters of a domestic and personal character; 
and who thereby hoped to gratify vindictive feelings towards 
these deponents. 

And these deponents say, that in the progress of a public 
and private investigation into the history and conduct of these 
deponents, it has been imputed to them the said deponents, 
that they, or one of them, met others of the coloured class of 
the community, under the cloak of charitable societies, or 


meetings of amusement, for seditious purposes, and sold guns 
and gunpowder to the negroes, and exhibited seditious paint- 
ings at a dance. 

And each of these deponents saith, that it is true he be- 
longed to a Society called the " Societe de Bienfaisance ;" 
which Society was projected by this deponent Lewis Celeste 
Lecesne, for the relief of indigent persons of colour ; and the 
said Lewis Celeste Lecesne saith that he also belonged to a 
society of friends, who occasionally met as amateurs of music, 
and for no other purpose. 

And each of these deponents saith, that he never was pre- 
sent on any occasion, at any meeting of either of the said 
societies, or of any other society or assembly, or meeting, 
when any discussions of a political, seditious, treasonable, 
or revolutionary character occurred; nor does he believe 
that any discussion of a seditious, revolutionary, or trea- 
sonable, or in any \\ ay of a political character, ever did 
occur at any meeting of the members, or any of the mem- 
bers of either of the said societies. But this deponent Lewis 
Celeste Lecesne saith, that the object of the first of the said 
societies was wholly and entirely of a benevolent and cha- 
ritable character; and that the object of the second of the 
said societies was wholly and entirely the amusement of its 
members and their friends, by musical performances ; and 
that he, this deponent, verily believes that neither of the said 
societies was ever held for any other purpose than the object 
for which the same was established. 

And each of these deponents saith, that he never did, under 
the cloak of charitable societies, or meetings of amusement, 
meet anv person or persons for seditious or treasonable 

And each of these deponents further saith, that he never 
did at any time, or on any occasion, or under any circum- 
stances, directly or indirectly, or in anv manner whatever, sell, 
dispose of, exchange, give, or otherwise supply to any negro, 
or negroes, or any body of negroes, or any slave, or slaves, or 
any body or gang of slaves, or any person of colour, or to any 
person or individual whatever, in the island of Jamaica, or 


elsewhere, any guns, or gun, gunpowder, military stores, or 
weapons, or ammunition of any kind, sort, or description. 

And the said Lewis Celeste Lecesne for himself saith, in 
reference to the imputation of having used seditious paintings 
at a dance, that upon one occasion, namely, at a ball or dance 
given at the house of this depoiu nt, Lewis Celeste I>ecesne, 
by subscription, on the evening of St. John's Day, 1823, he 
this deponent exhibited, in the windows of his house, fronting 
West Street, in the town of Kingston, five transparencies, the 
subjects of which respectively were, — the Emblem of Com- 
merce, the Emblem of Music, the Emblem of Gaiety, the 
Emblem of Agriculture, and a Painting ol' St. John. But 
this deponent saith, that the said transparencies did not con- 
tain any seditious or political allusion of any kind or descrip- 
tion, but were truly and bona fide such as are herein described, 
and were designed, not by this deponent, or any of his friends, 
but by an artist who was white. 

And this deponent saith, that there were also two other 
transparencies exhibited in the supper room, upon the occasion 
of the said dance, which had been borrowed, having been 
used on a similar occasion by the officers of the garrison of 
Kingston, and the subject of which this deponent cannot 
recollect, but believes to have been the heraldic bearings of 
the island, and which were not of a seditious character, and 
did not contain any seditious allusion. 

And each of these deponents saith, that excepting these 
seven transparencies, he never did on any occasion make use 
of any pictures, paintings, or transparencies of any kind, 
excepting such as this deponent publicly uses for the orna- 
ments or furniture of rooms, and which are all destitute of 
any political or seditious character or allusion. 


Sworn at my Chambers, Serjeants Inn, 
Chancery Lane, London, this 6th day 
of February, 1830, before me, 

J. Park. 


Mr. Coleridge. — On behalf of Mr. Murray I beg to say 
one word. I cannot conceive he can be in better hands than 
the Attorney General's, and I am only desirous of saying-, in 
addition to his affidavit, that he sincerely regrets having been 
the means, quite unconsciously, as your Lordships will see 
from the affidavit, of giving pain to the prosecutors, by the 
publication of such a passage as your Lordships have heard 
read; and he is glad the prosecutors have had this opportunity 
of vindicating their character before the Court and the world. 

Mr. Attorney General. — I would only add, that be- 
fore any application was made to him, his withdrawing of the 
books from sale affords a perfect demonstration of his good 
disposition upon a subject of this nature. 

Mr. Justice Bayley. — John Murray, the sentence of 
the Court is, that you do pay to the King a fine of one shil- 
ling. The Court joins in the observations made by the prose- 
cutors, and think you conducted yourself with great propriety 
in the suppression of the work, as soon as you were apprized 
of the improper tendency of any part of it. 

The defendant paid the fine of one shilling, and left the 

London : Bagster and Thorns, Printers, Bartholomew Cloje.