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[231] by his own statement of the whole matter. I will not predict your estimate, gentlemen, but I may express my profound conviction that no opinion which Mr. Cooper might choose to express of any act of my life—no construction he could put upon my conduct or motives, could possibly damage me to an extent which would entitle or incline me to ask damages at your hands.

But, gentlemen, you are bound to consider—you cannot refuse to consider, that if you condemn me to pay any sum whatever for this expression of my opinions on his conduct, you thereby seal your own lips, with those of your neighbors and countrymen, against any such expression in this or any other case; you will no longer have a right to censure the rich man who harasses his poor neighbor with vexatious lawsuits merely to oppress and ruin him, but will be liable by your own verdict to prosecution and damages whenever you shall feel constrained to condemn what appears to you injustice, oppression, or littleness, no matter how flagrant the case may be.

Gentlemen of the Jury, my character, my reputation are in your hands. I think I may say that I commit them to your keeping untarnished; I will not doubt that you will return them to me unsullied. I ask of you no mercy, but justice. I have not sought this issue; but neither have I feared or shunned it. Should you render the verdict against me, I shall deplore far more than any pecuniary consequence the stigma of libeler which your verdict would tend to cast upon me—an imputation which I was never, till now, called to repel before a jury of my countrymen. But, gentlemen, feeling no consciousness of deserving such a stigma—feeling, at this moment, as ever, a profound conviction that I do not deserve it, I shall yet be consoled by the reflection that many nobler and worthier than I have suffered far more than any judgment here could inflict on me for the Rights of Free Speech and Opinion—the right of rebuking oppression and meanness in the language of manly sincerity and honest feeling. By their example, may I still be upheld and strengthened. Gentlemen, I fearlessly await your decision!

Mr. Greeley resumes his narrative:

Mr. J. Fenimore Cooper summed up in person the cause for the prosecution. He commenced by giving at length the reasons which had induced him to bring this suit in Saratoga The last and only one that made any impression

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