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PREFACE TO THE TRIAL

of

THOMAS PAINE

FOR A LIBEL.

THOMAS Paine's work, entitled, The Rights of Man, is so justly odious in England, from the scurrility and indecency with which it reviles and ridicules the principles which have for so many years supported and illustrated the excellent form of government established in this country, that the Editor has been induced to vary from his former plan; and, instead of selecting the passages contained in the Information, has prefaced the following Speech of Mr. Erskine for the Defendant with a copy of the Information itself, including the charges of their evil tendency, which were confirmed by the verdict of the Jury ;and with the Speech of the Attorney General in condemnation of the work, which contain in fact all the proceedings material to the cause : the proof of publication, and the reading of the passages selected

VOL. u.

ar

in the Information, being all the evidence adduced at the trial ;-and the Jury having convicted the Defendant, without calling for any reply on the part of the Crown or any sunming up from the Judge.

It ought, however, to be noticed, that the letter from Thomas Paine to the Attorney General, part of which was read by the Attorney General in the course of his address to the Jury, was read in evidence ;-the objections taken to it by Mr. Erskine having been overruled by the Court. This letter, in addition to those inserted in the argument for the Crown, contained passages replete with most scurrilous matter against the King and Prince of Wales, which we have purposely avoided printing, as they formed no part of the charge which the Jury had to try.

The effect of the following trial upon every enlightened mind, must be an increased admiration of that free constitution, which permitted such a man and such a work to be so defended.

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