REPORT OF THE TRIAL
MR. JOHN MURRAY,
COURT OF KING'S BENCH, AT WESTMINSTER-HALL, THF
19th DECEMBFR, 1829,
Jhttrtrtmettt for a Uibel
MESSRS. LECESNE AND ESCOFFERY.
PRINTED BY BAGSTER AND THOMS.
t * THE KING v. JOHN MURRAY.
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.
REPORT OF THE TRIAL
* OF AN
INDICTMENT AGAINST JOHN MURRAY
In the Court of King's Bench at Westminster Hall,
On the 19th of December, 1829.
Counsel for the Prosecution — Mr. Attorney General.
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: —
SIMON SMITH, ESQ.
WM. CHAS. THOMAS, ESQ.
GEORGE TUDOR, ESQ.
JOHN THOMPSON, ESQ.
GEORGE ROOKE, ESQ.
The Attorney General prayed a tales.
The following common jurymen were called : —
STEPHEN STAFF. WILLIAM SIMONS.
WILLIAM WESTALL. JOHN SILVESTER.
JAMES WARD. WILLIAM TRIPP.
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
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
" 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
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
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? "
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 .'
Cross-examined by Mr. Coleridge.
Q. That book is one volume : the work is in two volumes I
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
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
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
Q. By one or the other ?
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
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
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
Mr. Gurney — Have you known that the Lords of the
Treasury have referred the subject of compensation to those
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
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
Mr. Gurney— About there being compensation to be
Lord Tentf.rden — What has he said?
A. We have had so many meetings that I cannot recollect
Mr. Gurney — Has he or not communicated to you that
they are to receive compensation, the amount to be fixed
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?
Mr. Gurnev — Will you have the goodness to read the
title and then the passages .'
Mr. Stephen — Mr. Gurney, Will you allow me U,
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-
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
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
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 ?
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-
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
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
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
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,
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
DELIVERED IN THE COURT OF KING'S BENCH,
WEDNESDAY, 10th FEBRUARY, 1830.
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 : —
IN THE KING'S BENCH.
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
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-
The affidavit of the prosecutors was then put in : —
IN THE KINGS BENCH.
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
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
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.
L. C. LECESNE.
Sworn at my Chambers, Serjeants Inn,
Chancery Lane, London, this 6th day
of February, 1830, before me,
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.