a man so paltry that he would pretend to sickness in his family as an excuse to keep away from Court, and resort to trick after trick to put off his case for a day or two—it seemed to us, considering the present relations of the parties, most ungen——There we go again! We mean to say that the whole of this part of Mr. Cooper's speech grated upon our feelings rather harshly. We believe that isn't a libel. (This talking with a gag in the mouth is rather awkward at first, but we'll get the hang of it in time. Have patience with us, Fenimore on one side and the Public on the other, till we nick it.) ... Personally, Fenimore treated us pretty well on this trial—let us thank him for that—and so much the more that he did it quite at the expense of his consistency and his logic. For, after stating plumply that he considered us the best of the whole Press-gang he had been fighting with, he yet went on to argue that all we had done and attempted with the intent of rendering him strict justice, had been in aggravation of our original trespass! Yes, there he stood, saying one moment that we were, on the whole, rather a clever fellow, and every other arguing that we had done nothing but to injure him wantonly and maliciously at first, and then all in our power to aggravate that injury! (What a set the rest of us must be!) And here is where he hit us hard for the first time. He had talked over an hour without gaining, as we could perceive, an inch of ground. When his compliment was put-in, we supposed he was going on to say he was satisfied with our explanation of the matter and our intentions to do him justice, and would now throw up the case. But instead of this he took a sheer the other way, and came down upon us with the assertion that our publishing his statement of the Fonda business with our comments, was an aggravation of our original offense—was in effect adding insult to injury! ... There was a little point made by the prosecution which seemed to us too little. Our Fonda letter had averred that Cooper had three libel-suits coming off there at that Circuit—two against Webb, one against Weed. Richard and Fenimore argued that this was a lie—the one against Weed was all. The nicety of the distinction here taken will be appreciated when we explain that the suits against Webb were indictments for libels on J. Fenimore Cooper! We supposed that Fenimore would pile up the law against us, but were disappointed. He merely cited the last case decided against an Editor by the Supreme Court of this State. Of course, it was very fierce against Editors and their libels, but did not strike us as at all meeting the issue we had raised, or covering the grounds on which this case ought to have been decided. Fenimore closed very effectively with an appeal for his character, and a picture of the sufferings of his wife and family—his grown — up daughters often suffused in tears by these attacks on their father. Some said this was mawkish, but we consider it good, and think it told. We have a different theory as
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.