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‘ [310] circulated here and in other States of the Union, and having a direct and necessary tendency to excite in the minds of our own citizens deadly hatred and hostility against their brethren of other States, and to stimulate the slave population there to rise against their masters, and to effect by fire and sword their emancipation.’ If allowed to be published and circulated freely here, ‘may not the citizens of those States well imagine that such publications are authorized by our laws?’ Judge Thacher found the law of libel elastic enough to suit his purpose:
In that country from which we drew our principles of 1 jurisprudence, it is laid down by the highest judicial authority, that every publication which has a tendency to promote public mischief, whether by causing irritation in the minds of the people that may induce them to commit a breach of the public peace, or whether it be more public and specific, extending to the morals, the religion, or magistracy of the country, is a libel. Any publication which tends to degrade, revile and defame persons in considerable situations of power and dignity in foreign countries, is taken to be and treated as a libel; and particularly where it has a tendency to interrupt the pacific relations between the two countries. If the publication contains a plain and manifest incitement and persuasion addressed to others, to assassinate and destroy the persons of such magistrates, as the tendency is to interrupt the harmony of the two countries, the libel assumes a still more criminal character.

An extract from this charge was copied into the Liberator without comment from Mr. Garrison, who some time afterwards makes a single allusion to it as ‘absurd and dangerous,’ and notices that it ‘has been hailed with2 joy by the whole tribe of Southern men-stealers and their insane apologists at the North.’ ‘Such doctrines,’ exclaimed the Milledgeville (Ga.) Journal, ‘will stand the test of all time.’ But Mr. Garrison did not underrate their value: they were obsolete as soon as uttered. Protests were raised against the charge in the Boston Com-3 mercial Gazette, and, after its appearance in full in the quarterly American Jurist, in the newly-founded Boston Atlas; the former writer pointing out that if a mere

1 Lib. 2.118.

2 Lib. 2.119.

3 Lib. 2.69.

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