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[227] an ordinary editor might present as plainly and fully as an able lawyer. We wished to place before the Court and the country those views which we understand the Press to maintain with us of its own position, duties, responsibilities, and rights, as affected by the practical construction given of late years in this State to the Law of Libel, and its application to editors and journals. Understanding that we could not appear both in person and by counsel, we chose the former; though on trial we found our opponent was permitted to do what we supposed we could not. So much by way of explanation to the many able and worthy lawyers in attendance on the Circuit, from whom we received every kindness, who would doubtless have aided us most cheerfully if we had required it, and would have conducted our case far more skillfully than we either expected or cared to do. We had not appeared there to be saved from a verdict by any nice technicality or legal subtlety.

The case was opened to the Court and Jury by Richard Cooper, nephew and attorney of the plaintiff, in a speech of decided pertinence and force. * * * Mr. R. Cooper has had much experience in this class of cases, and is a young man of considerable talent. His manner is the only fault about him, being too elaborate and pompous, and his diction too bombastic to produce the best effect on an unsophisticated auditory. If he will only contrive to correct this, he will yet make a figure at the Bar—or rather, he will make less figure and do more execution. The force of his speech was marred by Fenimore's continually interrupting to dictate and suggest to him ideas when he would have done much better if left alone. For instance: Fenimore instructed him to say, that our letter from Fonda above recited purported to be from the “correspondent of the Tribune,” and thence to draw and press on the Jury the inference that the letter was written by some of our own corps, whom we had sent to Fonda to report these trials. This inference we were obliged to repel in our reply, by showing that the article plainly read “correspondence of the Tribune,” just as when a fire, a storm, or some other notable event occurs in any part of the country or world, and a friend who happens to be there, sits down and dispatches us a letter by the first mail to give us early advices, though he has no connection with us but by subscription and good will, and perhaps never wrote a line to us in his life till now.


The next step in Mr. R. Cooper's opening: We had, to the Declaration against us, pleaded the General Issue—that is Not Guilty of libelling Mr. Cooper, at the same time fully admitting that we had published all that he called our libels on him, and desiring to put in issue only the fact of their being or not being libels, and have the verdict turn on that issue. But Mr. Cooper told the Jury (and we found, to our cost, that this was New York Supreme and Circuit Court law) that by pleading Not Guilty we had legally admitted ourselves to be Guilty—that all that was necessary for the plaintiff under that plea was to put in our admission of publication, and then the Jury

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