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Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899

R. v. Hall [1827] NSWSupC 53

criminal procedure, press freedom, law reporting

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Forbes C.J. and Stephen J., 1 September 1827

Source: Sydney Gazette, 5 September 1827

The King v. E. S. Hall, Esq.

Mr. Keith stated, that he appeared in this case, on the part of Mr. Moore, the late Attorney General, to move the Court, that a day be appointed for the trial of the cause.[1 ]

Mr. HALL appeared in person, and stated, that he had understood the case of Dr. Wardell had been allowed to stand over till after the present term, and prayed that he might be allowed the same indulgence.

The CHIEF JUSTICE.  Mr. Hall, you have been misinformed.  This Court has no indulgence within its power to shew.  It is guided by rules, and cannot grant any time, except upon cause shewn and supported by affidavits.  In the case alluded to, the Court made no order.  It ruled that the motion of the Attorney General for the defendant to enter into recognizances, plead and go to trial, a[l]l at once, was irregular, and ordered that he should enter into recognizances agreeably to law; leaving the Attorney General to take such further steps as he should think advisable.  The Attorney General has not proceeded further, and there the case rests.

Mr. KEITH said he would inform Mr. Moore, and take the necessary steps to proceed.

The CHIEF JUSTICE.  Mr. Keith, in what light did you appear?

Mr. KEITH, on the part of the late ATTORNEY GENERAL, who will go on with these cases, as they were begun by him.

The CHIEF JUSTICE - It is proper that the Court should have competent parties before it; especially in prosecutions on the part of the Crown.  The Court has been informed that those prosecutions are ex officio, and in that point of view, we cannot recognize any prosecutor except the ATTORNEY GENERAL for the time being, or some person acting under a present authority from the Crown.  We shall be at all times ready to dispose of such motions as may be regularly made; but we must have proper parties before us, or our proceedings become a nullity.

The ATTORNEY GENERAL, who was in Court, said, that in consequence of what had fallen from the Bench, he would take such ulterior steps as should be found advisable.


Forbes C.J. and Stephen J., 13 September 1827

Source: Sydney Gazette, 14 September 1827

In this case the defendant, who appeared in person, addressed the Court as follows:

"May it please y[ou]r Honors - I rise to state to the Court, that there have been actions commenced against me, as the Editor of the Monitor Newspaper, at the suit of the King, for five different penalties of £100 each, for neglecting [t]o send a copy of my Newspaper to the Office of the Colonial Secretary, at the exact time, according to the Act of Council made in that case.  There were three Acts passed with reference to the public Press in this Colony, all at the same time.  One of the three was a[f]terwards withdrawn, and I think I shall be able to prove, at a proper time, that the others ought also to have been withdrawn.  However, I understood that the cause with reference to sending a copy of each Newspaper on the day of publication was in the Act that was repealed, but afterwards discovered tha[t] I had been mistaken.  I apologized to the Colonial Secretary, but my excuses were not accepted, and actions for the penalties prescribed by the Act, were commenced against me, as I have already stated to the Court.  I applied to the Acting Attorney General, Mr. Moore, as a matter of courtesy, to let the case go for trial before a Jury, as his predecessor, Mr. Bannister, had done in a case where the King was plaintiff, the King v. Cooper.  Mr. Moore declined complying with my application, and I accordingly moved the Court, on a form[e]r day, to direct that a Jury be impannelled in those cases; but, in consequence of the indisposition of his Honor the Chief Justice, the consideration of that motion was postponed.  I now, therefore, beg to move that the case agai[n]st me, in which the King is plaintiff, and wh[i]ch is set down for trial, this day, may be tried by a Jury, on the following grou[n]ds.  It is provided by the law, in reference to this Colony, that the people shall not be subjected, without their own consent, to the inconvenience of trial by Jury, which, it was considered, might not operate towards the furtherance of justice in a society so constituted as ours.  I might consider that I would have more justice done me by having my case tried by the Judge and two assessors, than by a Jury of twelve men taken from amongst the people in this Colony, and the law has, therefore, pro[v]ided that I shall not sustain an inconve[n]ience of such a nature, by instituting a different, and, as it was thought, a safer mode of trial, and declared that the ancient custom should be abrogated, unless both parties wished to have it otherwise, and that trial by Jury should not take place except in cases where both parties concurred.  Now I argue from this, that where they do concur, the law provides that they shall have a Jury.  I argue, also, that the King, according to the Act of P[a]rliament, always concurs when his subjects find it convenient that they shall have a Jury.  His Majesty, therefore, who is the plaintiff in the actions against me, having, by affixing his signature to the Act, as I contend, already consented to trial by Jury, it only remains for the subject to say whether he will have his case tried by a Jury or not.  It has been urged by Mr. Moore, that according to my argument, the King would be worse off, in a case like this, than the subject, by forcing him to [t]rial by Jury; but I contend that the objection does not apply, for the King and Parliament have already consented that trial by Jury shall take place, whenever the subject concur.  I have, therefore, on those grounds, to pray the Court, that a Jury may be directed to try the case against me, at the suit of the King.

After some observations from Mr. Moore, the Chief Justice having consulted with Mr. Justice Stephen, stated it to be the opinion of the Court, if the case were considered as an action at law, under the words of the clause of the 4 of Geo. the 4th, c. 96, where one party was plain[t]iff, and the other defendant, there must be a concurrence between the parties in order to entitle them to a jury; and, as no concurrence appeared in this case, the Court could not direct on[e].


Stephen J., 13 September 1827[2 ]

Source: Sydney Gazette, 19 September 1827



Mr. W. H. MOORE stated the case.  This was an action on the part of the Crown, against the defendant, Mr. E. S. Hall, the Editor, Printer, and Publisher of the Monitor newspaper, to the recovery of five several penal[t]ies of £100 each, founded on the 14th clause of the Act in Council, No. 2. of the present year, for not delivering copies of his Journal, on the respective days of publication, into the office of the Colonial Secretary as provided by the said Act.  The papers, which the defendant neglected to deliver, according to the provisions of the before mentioned ordinance, were those of the 18th of May, and the 1st, 8th, 12th, and 15th of June of the current year.  Various grounds, as was to be collected from the newspapers, were intended to be set up by the defendant to this action.  On the first default the defendant was written to by the then Attorney General, but which letter, he had thought proper to publish, in one of his subsequent newspapers, and which he (Mr. Moore) would then read to the Court from the copy.  The letter was as follows:-

"George street, Sydney, May 21st, 1827.


"It having been officially communicated to me by the Government, that you have neglected to deliver at the Office of the Colonial Secretary of the Colony, or to transmit to him, a copy of your last publication of the Monitor, which by the terms of the Act in Council, No. 2, ought to have been done by you, being the Proprietor Editor, Printer, and Publisher of that Paper, on the day of the publication thereof.

"I have been directed to proceed against you for the recovery of the penalty you have subjected yourself to by such omission; but, should it have occurred by any accidental neglect on your part, I shall not do so, unless you fail to give me some explanation whether it has been done intentionally or inadvertently, and in the latter event, only on your furnishing the copy, as required, without delay.

"I am, Sir,

your obdt. Servant,


"To E. S. Hall, Esq. Editor of the Monitor Newspaper."

The defendant then went on to make some editorial remarks, observing that the magazine was not a newspaper, but a book; from which it was to be collected, that the contended his publication of the 18th of May, did not come with the description of those papers comprehended in the Act of Council No. 2.  But he (Mr. Moore), would have to maintain that, by the wording of that Act, any newspap[e]r, or other paper, meaning thereby any paper for the publication of the ordinary occurrences of the day, no matter how folded, came within its provisions; and he would, therefore, put the publication in this form, into the hands of the Jury, and leave it to them and the Court to say, whether, from its internal arrangement, it was not, to all intents and purposes, a newspaper, similar in every respect to the others, with the mere exception of its folding.  In subsequent observations, the defendant gives the public clearly to understand, that his neglect to transmit a copy of this publication, was for the very purpose of mooting the question of whether it was to be considered a book or a newspaper; but, after two publications in this form, he again reverted to his former method of publishing, sti[l]l, however, neglecting to file copies in the office of the Colonial Secretary.  After three publications, he received another letter from the office of the Attorney General, again reminding him of his mission to fulfil the requisitions of the Act.  In answer to this communication he replied by note, stating that the circumstance arose from a mistake in his having supposed that the Act requiring him to do so had been rescinded.  It was however, impossible that he could have been under any such impression; because the rescinded Act, as he well knew, was an act imposing a Stamp duty on the newspapers of the Colony, having no connection whatever with the Act of Council under which this action was brought, and because he had directly stated in an antecedent publication, that he had purposely omitted to transmit the Magazine to the Colonial Secretary's Office, with the express intention of mooting the question.  But, even after this, after giving even that explanation of his motives in writing, and stating his intention to rectify the error into which he had fallen, he not only neglected to send those three papers to the office of the Colonial Secretary, and also the subsequent one; but in his publication of the 21st of June, he takes a different ground, and after having already declared publicly that it was done to moot the question, he attributes the neglect to ill health, by which he says he was prevented from complying with the regulations of the Act.  Mr. Moore concluded by observing, that it was unnecessary to trouble the Court with any further observations on the case, until the line of defence which the defendant should set up was known.  He would, therefore, proceed to call the necessary proof.

T. C. Harrington, Esq. examined by Mr. Moore - Witness is Assistant Colonial Secretary; an affidavit was made by the defendant in this action, as Editor, Printer, and Proprietor of the Monitor newspaper, and filed in the office of the Colonial Secretary, on the 3d of May last, according to the provisions of the Act in Council, No. 2; subsequent to the filing of that affidavit, the defendant continued to transmit copies of the Monitor, once in each week, and afterwards twice a week, bearing the signature "E. S. Hall;" a copy of the Monitor Magazine, of the 18th of May, was filed in the office, but it was not delivered on the day of publication, nor on the day after.

Mr. W. C. Wentworth rose, and stated to the Court, that, before the examination of Mr. Harington was proceeded with, he wished to ask him a few questions.

Q.  Have you, Mr. Harington, been specifically appointed under the Act of Council, to receive these papers?

A.  Yes.

Q.  Will you produce your appointment?

Mr. Harrington handed in a written document.

Mr. Wentworth. --- I see it bears no date; when did this appointment take place?

A.  The appointment was at first a verbal one, and took place on the 1st or 2d of May; and on the 2d or 3d, I can't positively say which, I received the written  one, not including the signature; the subsequent writing on the back was made this day.

Mr. Wentworth here submitted to the Court, that the Colonial Secretary was required, by the Act, to appoint a person to receive the papers from the different Editors and that, in fact, Mr. Harrington had no appointment whatever till this day.

Examination continued by Mr. Moore.  The Magazine was delivered after the 18th of May, but not before the 25th; bel[i]eves on the 26th, but will not swear positively, can't say whether any other papers were delivered at the same time; thinks not any of any other date; the paper of the 1st of June has been delivered, but not on the 1st of June; believes it was delivered on the 15th, but certainly not before the 13th; it came together with the papers of the 9th and 12th of the same month; there were no pap[e]rs either of the 9th or 12th of June, signed by the defendant, delivered into the office the days of publication; neither was there a paper signed by the defendant delivered the 15th of June; the pa[p]ers of May the 18th, June the 1st, 8th, 12th, and 15th, have been delivered into the office, but not on the days on which they bear date; the paper May the 18th, is in a different shape from the others; witness has read the publication of the 18th; it contains advertisements and the ordinary news of the day; the contents are, in fact, the same as the Monitor newspaper, according to witness' opinion.

Mr. Wentworth submitted, that the distinction between a Magazin[e] and a newspaper, was a matter of law, to be collected from Acts of Parliament.  Mr. Harington could no[t] tell the difference.

Was appointed by Mr. McLeay, verbally to receive the papers, on the 1st or 2d of May.

Cross-examined by Mr. Wentworth.  Witness is not aware of any pub[l]ic intimation being given of his appointment; the papers of th[o]se dates, which have been already mentioned, were not handed to witness on the days whereon they respectively bear date witness received a note directed to Mr. McLeay, with the papers of the 1st, 8th and 12th of June, expressing regret for the mistake into which the defendant had fallen, in supposing the Act requiring the transmission of the papers to have been rescinded.  [Note read.]

William Howarth examined - witness is clerk to the defendant, who is Editor of the Monitor newspaper; the publication called the Monitor magazine, now produced, was published at the office of the defendant, on the 18th of May; believes a copy was sent to the office of the Co[l]onial Secretary, but it was some time after the day of publication; a copy of the publication of the 25th of May was sent to the Colonial Office; cannot say on what day; copies of  the newspapers of the 1st, 8th, 12th and 15th of June, signed by the defendant, were also transmitted, but witness cannot tell on what day.

Cross-examined. - Has heard the note from the defendant to Mr. Moore read; knows of the Stamp Act being repealed; witness believes it was the opinion of the defendant that, if he furnished his papers to the Secretary's Office, the particular day was not material; the defendant gave positive orders that the papers should be regularly sent to the office of the Colonial Secretary; gave those orders to witness, whose duty it was to see them fulfilled; thinks that the papers were sent regularly, with the exception of that of the 18th of May, which was withheld, but witness cannot say for what reason; if the papers were not regularly transmitted it was not by desire of the defendant but was more witness's neglect.

Re-examined. -  The defendant was not in good health at the time when one of those papers was omitted to be sent, and which circumstance, witness believes was the reason why they were not regularly forwarded does not remember which it was, whether it was a number of the magazine or a newspaper; thinks it was a magazine, but is not positive; it was withheld in consequence of [i]llness, and not for the purpose of trying the question; if [t]he others were not sent, it was the neglect of witness, as he had positive orders to do so; the defendant signed them regularly on the days of publication for the purp[o]se of being transmitted; can't say whether the defendant thought the Act, requiring copies of newspapers to be sent to the Colonial Secretary's office, was rescinded.

The Honorable Mr. McLEAY examined - witness is Colonial Secretary; had no idea that any written appointment, for Mr. Harington to receive the papers, was at all necessary, until this day, nor that the Act required it; witness certainly did desire Mr. Harington to receive the papers; not one of them were ever delivered to witness; the affidavit of the defendant, now before the Court, stating himself to be the Editor, Publisher, and Proprietor of the Monitor, was taken before witness; the defendant has made no subsequent affidavit.

Cross-examined.  Witness cannot say of his own knowledge whether the papers were delivered at the office; only knows from the report of Mr. Harington that they were not; witness cannot say whether he notified it to any of the clerks in the office, that Mr. Harington was appointed to receive the papers, but remembers perfectly that he desired Mr. Harington to make it known; the papers might have been lodged in the office, for any thing witness knows; it was quite possible and probable that witness might have been away from the office for an hour, on each of the days when it is said that the papers were not delivered, and it is also possible that the defendant or his agents might have been looking for him at those times when he was not there.

The case on the part of the Crown closed here.

Mr. W. C. Wentworth took several legal objections to the pleadings, the Act in Council, and to the evidence which he contended was not sufficient to sustain the plaintiff's case, a[n]d addressed the jury at considerable length on the part of the defendant.[3 ]

HIS HONOR, Mr. JUSTICE STEPHEN, summed up the evidence.  The action against the defendant was, for the recovery of certain penalties, under an Act of the Colonial Legislature.  Several le[g]al objections had been taken, as to the legality of the Act, as well as to the pleadings, and should any benefit arise from which, the defendant might take advantage of it at another stage of the proceedings in arrest of judgment.  With respect to the appointment of Mr. Harington, which it was contended should have been in writing, it appeared from that gentleman's testimony, that he not only considered himself appointed for that particular office, but that the defendant had, by himself or his agents, recognized his appointment, by having delivered papers to him at different times.  It, then, the Jury should be of opinion, from the evidence before them, that there was a non-delivery of the papers of those particular dates, there were then five several cases in which the defendant had incurred the penalty prescribed by the law on that subject.  One of the publications, it was contended, was a magazine, and did not come within the provisions of the Act in Council: that, however, was a question of law on which the Court, in the event of their verdict against the defendant, would have to p[r]onounce at a future period.  With regard to the excuse set up by the defendant, His Honor observed, it was his du[t]y to state to the Jury, that it was not in law sufficient to relieve him from the penalty he had incurred, to fix which it was only necessary to find the facts, as alleged against him.  After consulting for upwards of an hour, the assessors returned a special verdict for the plaintiff to the following effect:-

The Assessors find a verdict for the King, and assess the damages at the sum of £100 being the penalty incurred by the defendant for not having delivered on the day of publication but on a subsequent day, pursuant to the 14th clause of the Colonial Act No. 2, a certain publication entitled a Magazine dated the 18th of May, 1827, but whether the publication, entitled a Magazine, comes within the meaning of the said Colonial Act, as a new[s]paper, or other paper, the Assessors leave it to the Court to determine.  And if the Court are of opinion that the said publication does not come within the meaning of the Act, then the Assessors find for the defendant.


Source: Monitor, 17th September 1827 [4 ]

MR. WENTWORTH for the defendant rose; before he addressed any observations to the Jury (if indeed such should be necessary at all) he would make a few remarks upon the nature of the evidence, which notwithstanding his expectation to hear a mere skeleton and scanty distribution of it, had even fallen beneath his anticipation.  The 14th Clause of this MISCALLED Act of Council, contained an anomally [sic] as to the person to whom the papers were required to be delivered; that part of it which appointed him, was an absurdity, and the wording of it was involved in mystery.  Without insisting on the impossibility of any individual knowing to whom the papers were to be delivered, in the absence of a public notification of a receiver, he would allege, that until that notification took place, no delivery of his papers could be imperative on the defendant.  Supposing the verbal appointment (as alleged by Mr. McLeay to have been made by him) was sufficient, (he contended it was not) it was clear from Mr. Harrington's testimony, that no public promulgation of it took place; who then was to know that the nomination had existence?  It was indeed rather miraculous that under such circumstances any papers should have been delivered at all!  Yet for aught that appeared to the contrary, they might have been delivered at the office on the very days of publication, and he thought Mr. Howarth's evidence clearly proved that that was the case.  To substantiate a prosecution (AND THIS WAS ONE OF THE VERY WORST KIND) there should have been evidence to establish the fact of non-delivery, and their own witness (the defendant's Clerk) spoke quite the other way!  He was ready to admit, that a general principle extended to Acts of Parliament, and consequently to this miscalled Ordinance, or Act of Council, the construction of which must be limited to things ejusdem generis.  The Act of 55 Geo. III. c. 85, which was much more general in its wording than the Act of Council, imposed a Stamp-duty on English Newspapers.  That was an honest Act of Parliament! stating at once its meaning! and reciting the truth! and it was important for His Honor to see, what construction it admitted of.  The Monitor Magazine was not only not a Newspaper, but also was not such a paper at all as would be liable to a Stamp-duty under this miscalled Act of Council.  Before however he would advert to the multitude of other objections he had to make, he would submit to the Court at once that no competent appointee existed; that no promulgation of an appointment of Receiver of Newspapers as prescribed by the Act had taken place; and that there was no proof of non-delivery.  (The Judge overruling these objections for the present, the learned Counsel proceeded.)  This miscalled Act of Council was a naked authority which it was necessary to act up to; and to give it effect, the New South Wales Act of Parliament to which the making of Acts of Council belonged, should have been strictly complied with, and be proved to have been so.  There should been proof of a regular convening of the Council; and the certificate of the Chief Justice, that the Act under consideration, was not repugnant to the laws of England, should have been by all means produced.  Otherwise, how could the Court arrive at the certainty of such certificate, without which the Act was a dead letter, having been affixed?  He would refer for illustration of this point to the operation of a common Act of Parliament in England, where notwithstanding that the capability of the three estates to make laws was notorious, still such capability was always recited in the preamble of every Act before it became law.  Our Council was an anomaly of a Constitution.  In England every man was supposed to be present in Parliament, in the person of his representative, but here, there was no representation.  Therefore, before an Act of Council was made law, or could become law here it must be published with the most scrupulous regard to the forms and terms of the New South Wales Act.  This Act of Coucil [sic] therefore was evidently in an incomplete state, and until the certificate of its legality was produced, it was invalid and of no effect.  Passing from these obvious defects and deficiencies, to the declaration of the Plaintiff in this action, it certainly struck him as being one of the most curious productions that ever was submitted to any Court.  He admitted that the Chief Justice had cut and slashed away at declarations, and he believed sincerely in a very salutary manner; still he did not think that His Honor meant to cut up the English practice root and branch; he certainly must have meant to have left something like a declaration for suitors to stand by, so that a defendant might be able to kno[w] what he was called on to answer.  In this declaration there was no certainty, no averment that the papers had been neglected to be delivered, nor were the dates of the Newspapers complained of as being non-delivered, mentioned.  All of which omissions were fatal to the declaration.  (Mr. W. now appealed to the Judge to know if he need address the Jury.  Mr. Justice Stephen was of opinion that the case must go to the Assessors in the first instance; the objections just urged might be argued on the Defendant's behalf in an ulterior stage of the proceeding.)  Addressing himself to the Jury Mr. Wentworth then said.  "Gentlemen, a more diabolical damnable proceeding than the present never was instituted by any set of men!  The publication of May, the 18th, is no more a Newspaper, than the Encyclopedia Brittannia."  These Acts of Council, (he said) were vile attempts to stifle the Press of the Colony, an attempt acknowledged by the Government itself to be a smuggled attempt, because it rescinded one of them as premature.  The motive of the Defendant in withholding the first Magazine it was evident was, simply to try the applicability of the Act.  Had the Government joined issue with the defendant in that instance, they would have acted liberally; they would have acted honorably; but they have not done so, they have even refused the defendant a Jury, which refusal was most degrading to them! he would ask the Jury, to contrast the proceeding of this Government with the conduct of the Government which preceded it!  Was it becoming of them, of any Government, to take advantage of an individual? to force him against his will to be tried before two men instead of twelve?  Oh! Gentlemen, it is indeed an unworthy act!  But, look at the course they have chosen all along to adopt respecting the alleged non-delivery.  The Defendants letters to Mr. Moore, and Mr. McLeay, proved that such non-delivery was mere inadvertence arising from an impression on Defendants' mind, that the clause in the Act which directed the delivery was repealed along with the Stamp Act?  I would ask, whether, to men of liberal minds, the explanation given would not have been perfectly satisfactory?  Could they have required more?  Leaving the fact of the delivery safely in your hands, I will shew you the intention of this miscalled Act of Councel [sic].  A number of farcical incidents transpired some time ago, when certain parties, finding themselves grievously damnified, and sorely aggrieved, instituted proceedings for libel; they happened to be all non-suited, not being able to prove the publication, the Government doubtless thought that this might be their own case another day; and so they thought it convenient to adopt preventive measures.  Now, would not the delivery of the papers a few days subsequently to their publication, have been quite as sufficient to prove a libel, as if delivered on the very day?  Would they not have been at the call of the any individual?  Are they not among the achieves of the Colonial office?  Who then would have been damnified?  Was not therefore the Government influenced in this prosecution by improper motives?  Connected as these proceedings were with the writings of the Editor, is it to be doubted that vindictiveness and malice are at the bottom of this prosecution?  Had the Government been bedaubed with praise, instead of being censured with severity, this action would never have been instituted.  Look at it Gentlemen.  Is it not a hardship to have two individuals forced on the Defendant for his Judges, instead of twelve?  Among twelve, there would be a far greater probability of finding one firm honest unbending man, than among two?  Those two being the nominees of the Government from whose anticipated obsequiousness it was calculated they might expect a fovourable [sic] result.  God forbid, Gentlemen that I should imply that you are such tools of the Government, knowing as I do the honor of the Magistracy generally.  This Gentlemen however is only the first of a number of vindictive prosecutions to be brought against the Defendant.  If a stand is not made by you this day, a spirit will be generated in the colony that will say the foundations of all fellowship, and introduce discord at the fireside of every man in the Colony!  We have felt, and we do feel, the effects of that malignant influence, that exists among us; and I call on you this day to shew your opposition to this insidious power, and to make a stand against it, by your verdict this day.  The Colony has afortime laboured under arbitrary Government, but it was reserved for this Governor to deal in such conduct as the present.  You are expected Gentlemen to fawn, to owe your very breath to the present Authorities; and your compliance this day will doubtless ensure you a more cordial expression of the Govt. countenance; a more gracious smile, a warmer squeeze of the hand.  But Gentlemen, compliance may be met by contempt - it is for you therefore to shew the Government that you are not their - the Governor, that your are not his - tools.  Devotion to the will of an arbitrary Government often produces but a thankless harvest; the very course Gentlemen you are expected to follow this day, will draw down upon you the contempt of him, and most assurdedly, the merited contempt of every honest man in the Colony.  You are expected Gentlemen to be the compliant tools of an individual; it is for you to shew, how far you will realize those anticipations.  If damages you do give, (and you can range from one farthing, to one hundred pounds,) the smallest coin of the realm is most suited to this prosecution.  The learned Gentleman concluded his very energetic address by portraying the probable result to Defendant of a verdict for the full penalties.


[1 ] See also Newspaper Acts Opinion, 1827.

[2 ] As often happened, the Sydney Gazette had the date wrong, stating it as Thursday, September 12, when that Thursday was the 13th of September 1827.  Both the Monitor, 17 September 1827, and the Australian, 14 September 1827, were happy with the outcome of this case.

[3 ] For a more detailed account of Wentworth's speech, see below.

[4 ] This is the Monitor's account of Wentworth's speech in this trial; it is an extract from the Monitor's report of the case.  The Sydney Gazette refused to publish this speech, claiming, on 19 September 1827, that the speech was slanderous and disgraceful, and that it was libellous for the Monitor to report it.  On 21 September 1827, the Sydney Gazette described Wentworth's language in court as "seditious and treasonable".

It is this sensitivity, and its tendency to occasional errors, which made the Gazette an unreliable law reporter.  On the other hand, its extra issues each week allowed it to report some cases in much greater depth than the other newspapers.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University