A Case That Influenced the Passage of the Libel Act of 1792 [Trial]. Stockdale, John [1749?-1814], Defendant. Gurney, Joseph [1744-1815], Reporter. [Erskine, Thomas [1750-1823]. The Whole Proceedings on the Trial of an Information Exhibited Ex Officio, by the King's Attorney General, Against John Stockdale; For a Libel on the House of Commons, Tried in the Court of King's-Bench West-Minster, On Wednesday, The Ninth of December, 1789, Before the Right Hon. Lloyd Lord Kenyon, Chief Justice of England. Taken in Short Hand by Joseph Gurney. To Which is Subjoined, An Argument in Support of the Rights of Juries. London: Printed for John Stockdale, Opposite Burlington House, Piccadilly, 1790. xi, , 228 pp. Lacking final 8 leaves of publisher advertisements. Octavo (9-1/4" x 5-3/4"). Contemporary tree calf, gilt spine with lettering piece, gilt tooling to board edges, edges of text block colored yellow. Some minor nicks and scratches to boards, light rubbing to extremities, some wear to spine ends, joints starting at ends, corners bumped and lightly worn, hinges starting, light toning to text. An attractive, wide-margined copy in a lovely original binding. $1,000. * First edition. Stockdale, a publisher and bookseller, was indicted for libel on the House of Commons after publishing an account of the impeachment of Warren Hastings by John Logan that accused the Commons of corrupt and unjust behavior. Stockdale was defended by Erskine, who argued that Stockdale should not be judged by isolated passages in Logan's book, but by the entire publication. Stockdale was acquitted and his case is believed to have influenced the passage of the Libel Act of 1792, which restored the verdict power of juries in libel cases. Taken in shorthand by Gurney, The Whole Proceedings is Stockdale's account of his trial. A Dublin reissue and a "New" London edition were also published in 1790. English Short-Title Catalogue T83638.
Book number 70955