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nexions and future prospects, are perhaps, not perfectly impartial. It is, however, a subject, which should be generally understood by men of all ranks, and especially bý those who are liable to serve on juries; for the liberty of the press is essentially connected with it, and with that liberty every other branch of public freedom.
As the writer of thcfeObservations has read most of the pieces that have been published relative to the law of libels, and perused almost every trial of this kind that has been published, he is not unacquainted with the language of the law upon that subject, and could have expressed himself with a greater conformity to the
technical phrases of that profession. But as he writes not for lawyers, but chiefly for men of other professions and employments, he thought it best to make use of language that should be generally intelligible. Every man, who is liable to serve on a jury should endeavour, as far as his other avocations will admit, to make himself acquainted with the duties of that important office: and it is not possible for this knowledge to be too generally diffeminated.
In any incidental expressions that may be used, in the course of these Observations, relative to the gentlemen of the law, the Writer hopes it will not be imagined, that he meant
any thing disrespectful to the members of that profession in general. For many of them he has a great personal esteem and regard. He confiders it as a very honourable profefsion ; and he has a high sense of the worth of many of those who are engaged in it. He has not forgotten, that if the profession of the law has been disgraced by a JEFFERIES and a Scroggs, it has also been adorned by a Hale, a Selden, a Somers, and a Camden.
A MONG the several great and dif1 tinguished privileges, of which the inhabitants of this country are possessed, none is more important to their personal security, than the right of trial by jury. But this right has, in particular instances, been rendered less beneficial to the subject than it might have been, by the ignorance or timidity of those who have served on juries; and by the arts which have been employed to confine them within narrower limits than was intended by the constitution, and to bewilder their under
standings by the fubtilties of legal fophiftry. It is, therefore, of great consequence to the interests of public freedom, that the rights of jurymen should be resolutely maintained, and their business and duty clearly explained and generally understood. In the observations now offered to the public, the rights and duty of juries in trials for libels is the particular object of attention; as it is apprehended, that doctrines have been recently advanced upon that fubje&, by men whose offices naturally give weight to their opinions, which are highly derogatory to the rights of juries, inconsistent wtih the purposes for which juries were evidently appointed, and totally subversive of the freedom of the press.
By the doctrine which has lately been maintained upon this subject, juries have no business, or right, in trials for libels, to enter at all into the merits of any book, pamphlet, or paper, which any man is tried