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was not, therefore, because scientific men had satisfied them that the views of the plaintiff were erroneous, that he was to be held up to society as an impostor, a swindler, and a scoundrel. In order to ascertain the motives of the plaintiff in publishing his work, they must look a little closer into the contents of his book. In the first place, what were the charges? It was said by the defendant that the plaintiff had put forward his theory for the purpose of frightening persons to become his patients, in order to gain by them. The learned judge then referred to the chapters in the plaintiff's book relating to the symptoms of consumption and the causes of consumption, which he alleged to be colds, catarrh, elongated uvula, bronchitis, &c. The plaintiff's book warned those who were afflicted with these complaints that if they resorted to their ordinary medical attendants for advice, although they might apparently improve in health, they were the certain victims of consumption. On the other hand the medical profession said that such statements were utterly false. If they thought that these statements were put forward by the plaintiff with a knowledge that they were untrue, and with the sinister design of putting money into his pocket, they must say whether they were of opinion that the article in which the plaintiff was described as a swindler and an impostor went one whit beyond what the circumstances justified. There were two or three passages in the plaintiff*s book which were very important indeed, as enabling them to arrive at an accurate judgment as to the honesty or dishonesty of the plaintiff in publishing that work. Thus, in one part of the work, he stated that a common cold in the head would, if not checked, tend to the loss of the bones of the nose. This was at least rather a startling proposition. Then he proceeded to remark how a sore throat must lead to consumption, unless it was immediately cured, adding that a patient having such a complaint would soon find how short a step led from a sore throat to consu
nsumption, if he remained under the hands of his ordinary medical adviser. It was also rather startling to hear that the tickling in the throat arising from an elongated uvula, might be the precursor of speedy decline. Physicians perfectly conversant with those complaints had come forward on behalf of the defendant, and had declared that all these suggestions were utterly untrue, and were pure delusions. It was for the jury to say whether they thought that the experience of the medical men who had given their evidence before them in the witness-box was to be received as truth rather than the statements contained in the plaintiffos book. It was also for them to say whether they believed those statements on the part of the plaintiff to have been put forward as the result of honest conviction of their truth, or merely for the purpose of deceiving people into believing that they were in danger of losing their lives. Were they put forward with the honest intention of warning the profession and the public generally of the dangers which might result from slight colds; or were they published for the twofold purpose of terrifying persons in order to induce them to believe that unless they adopted his system of cure they were certain to die of consumption, and for the purpose of putting money into his pocket ? In all cases where it was suggested that a man had done a dishonest act, it was incumbent on them to see whether he was interested in the result, and whether he had made his profit a prominent feature. Now the plaintiff alleged in his work that medical men, although they tampered with the disease by administering cod-liver oil and other nauseous mixtures, had abandoned the idea of effecting a cure, whereas he alone had discovered a certain remedy for the disease, and therefore if they wished to be cured they must come to him, as he alone could and would cure them. He did not think he was doing the plaintiff the slightest injustice when he suggested this to be the effect of his work. Another point that must be considered in coming to a determination as to the good faith of the plaintiff was, that he described as unmistakable symptoms of consumption such things as shortness of breath on walking up a hill—an affliction from which every person in years suffered, or an acceleration of the pulse, which might be the result of a slight cold. Again, he said that losing flesh was a sign of consumption, although he added that this was not a necessary consequence of that disease, as it frequently happened that plump, pretty, rosy-cheeked girls, looking the very picture of health, were marked as the victims of consumption. It was for the jury to say whether these statements were put forward by the plaintiff for the honest purpose of enlightening the profession or the public, or for the more sinister motive which was alleged in the article complained of. Were they put forward for the purpose of promoting the interest of the plaintiff or not? Undoubtedly the tenour of the book was to show that it was useless to go to the ordinary practitioner for advice as to the treatment of consumption or its premonitory symptoms. It mattered not what confidence might be placed in the medical man, or what honours he had achieved in his profession, if there was any thing the matter with the respiratory organs, he was unfit to remedy the evil, and the patient must necessarily turn to whom? Why to the man who administered medicines by means of inhalation, and did not give his patients cod-liver oil. And who was that? Why the plaintiff, who was possessed of the necessary instruments, and of the requisite knowledge for curing the complaint by his peculiar mode of treatment. He was most anxious not to draw any deduction from the book which was not justified by its contents; but was it possible to read it without coming to such a conclusion as he had suggested ? They must, however, take care that a man should not be held up to the finger of scorn simply because he had put forward a theory which, upon being strictly tested by the rules of science, was found erroneous. It might be that when a valuable discovery was first brought to light, the profession, who were told that all their preconceived ideas were worthless and their learning useless, might object to the introduction into practice of the new theory, that they might say the theory had no substantial foundation, and might stigmatize its author as an impostor and a quack; and it would be the duty of the jury to take care that a man was not crushed and driven out of the profession for such a reason. On the other hand they knew by the history of the world that, from the earliest ages, men had sought to impose upon the credulous by acting upon the fears of mankind, by pretending to be possessed of the power of healing all the ailments and diseases to which human nature was subject-men who had trifled with the misery and suffering of their fellow-creatures for the purposes of their own sordid interests. The denouncement of such pretenders was, perhaps, one of the most meritorious actions in which a public writer could exercise his power. It might certainly be that the plaintiff, while he made dupes of others, was himself a dupe of his own theory. He might believe that he had hit upon a great discovery, by which he believed he could cure this fatal disease ; but it might also happen that his knowledge as a medical man had shown him that the best way of acting upon mankind was by working upon the fears of the timid and nervous, by leading them to believe that they were marked as the victims of a disease which he alone could cure. Nor must they confine their attention to the book alone; they must also look at the circumstances under which it was published, and at the method of advertising which had been adopted by the plaintiff. The medical men who had been examined had told them that the plaintiff's book was deficient in one essential particular--a particular by which a genuine work, published by a scientific man, was distinguished from that of a quacknamely, that it did not contain in distinct and clear terms the method of cure adopted by the plaintiff. The object of a scientific medical man in publishing a work, was to enlighten the members of his profession, and enable them to treat patients according to his method, whereas the object of the quack was to conceal his method, and thus to keep his system of cure secret for the purpose of making money by its means. They had been told that in this respect the work was altogether silent, and that no medical man could by reading the work in question apply the plaintiff's system to his patients. But this book was said to have passed through edition after edition with unexampled rapidity, and he could scarcely see the necessity for publishing the advertisement respecting it even in “The Times "-since, if it passed through fifty-six ordinary editions in a month, every man, woman, and child in the kingdom must have been engaged in reading the work. Could it be supposed that these were ordinary editions ? Again, there were prefaces to the work purporting to be written by two physicians, who turned out to be merely assistants to the plaintiff. Would it not have been as well if the plaintiff had made that fact public, instead of leading people to believe that two gentlemen high in the profession had stamped the work before it came out with their unqualified approval ? But would any medical man in England, if ever he published a treatise upon any branch of his science, resort to the quack-like expedient of advertising himself in the way the plaintiff had done? The plaintiff, however, was not satisfied with the repeated and successive editions of his work. He had resorted to the extraordinary and unprecedented expedient of taking his book to pieces and of publishing it by instalments in the daily papers. Had he employed a hundred criers to hawk about his book, or had he stuck up large placards at every corner in the streets, he could not have resorted to a better means of making his book known, than by the course he had adopted of publishing it by portions of a column at a time in the various newspapers. Even the learned counsel who appeared for the plaintiff could not in any way approve of this course of proceeding, and endeavoured to excuse it by stating that the plaintiff came from America, where advertising to any extent was legitimate. But they were not in America—they were in England ; and whatever might be the practice in the former country, he was happy to say that such a practice had not extended to this kingdom. The rule here was this—that quacks advertised, but professional men did not, and no one could doubt that if it were open to medical men to advertise their attainments, the honour, and the dignity, and the respectability of the profession would soon become tarnished and soiled. What would be thought if a member of the Bar, in publishing one of those treatises by which from time to time they were enlightened and instructed, were to take portions of it, and publish it day after day as an advertisement, taking care to append to the advertisement the important piece of information, that he would sit daily at his chambers from ten till six, to advise with clients who came to consult with him ? Such an individual so acting would be scouted from the profession which he disgraced. Then why should such a system be permitted in the sister profession, the honour of which was equally dear to its members ? Therefore, until he had some better evidence to the contrary, he did not and would not believe that any such practice was resorted to by the medical men in America. The plaintiff had undoubtedly brought forward a number of witnesses who alleged that they had been cured by his method of treatment; but of the twelve who so came forward, only two were alleged to be cases of consumption, and even of those two only one had been informed by an independent practitioner that he was suffering from consumption -an assumption in which he might have been mistaken. A gentleman in Canada had declared that he had been materially benefited by the plaintiff's system; but in that case, as in that of the Polish countess, there was no reliable evidence before them to establish the fact that those persons were really suffering from that disease when treated by the plaintiff. Supposing that the defendant had failed in showing that the plaintiff was an impostor, he might still rely upon his second ground of defence, which was that, as a public writer, he was justified in writing the article in question, as an honest and fair comment upon a matter of public concern, even although it might afterwards turn out that the assumed facts upon which the article was founded were not correct. He fully endorsed the proposition that if a public writer, in commenting upon a matter of public concern, exercised honestly his powers of criticism, he would be justified in so doing, even although the facts might fall short of what he had supposed them to be. The occasion in such a case was a privileged one, and he was entitled to the protection of his privilege. It was undoubted that the article was written in a spirit of extreme bitterness and severity, which could only be justified by the assumption that it was written by a medical man who was defending his profession from what he regarded as a stain upon its honour and its dignity. The whole matter was, however, one for the determination of the jury. They must weigh the whole of the circumstances that had been laid before them in the course of this lengthened trial, and must say—first, whether the libel was true; secondly, whether it was a fair comment, honestly written, upon a matter of public concern ; and if they found both those questions in favour of the plaintiff, to what amount of damages he was entitled.
The jury retired and deliberated about two hours, after which the foreman said they found a verdict for the plaintiff—Daniages, One Farthing.
The Lord Chief Justice : I wish to know whether it is your opinion as a matter of fact, that the article was intended to convey that the imputation with regard to the offence alleged by Mrs. Merrick to have been committed was true ?- The Foreman: We have taken the article as a whole.
The Lord Chief Justice: Then you consider that the justification was not entirely made out —The Foreman : Yes, my Lord, we do.
The verdict was then entered for the plaintiff for a Farthing Damages.
PUBLIC DOCUMENTS AND STATE PAPERS.
REPORT OF THE JAMAICA ROYAL COMMISSION,
TO THE QUEEN'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY.
will be proper to state briefly the course
which we have pursued in conducting our WE Your Majesty's Commissioners ap- inquiry. pointed to make inquiry into the origin, If we encountered difficulties, they have nature, and circumstances of certain late been such as have been inherent in the disturbances in the Island of Jamaica, nature of the case, and have not been and with respect to the measures adopted attributable to other causes. in the course of their suppression, and It is our duty, no less than our pleasure, being for the purpose of such inquiry to place upon record our sense of the authorized jointly or severally to collect readiness with which all persons of all evidence in the said Island respecting the classes in Jamaica, upon the first anorigin, nature, and circumstances of the nouncement of Your Majesty's intention said disturbances, and respecting the to appoint a Commission of Inquiry, at means adopted in the course of the sup- once came forward to promote the objects pression of the same, and respecting the of such Commission. conduct of those concerned in such dis- Before, indeed, intelligence of the full turbances and suppression; and being re- constitution of the Commission had been quired to communicate to your Majesty as received, the Island Legislature had al. well the said evidence as any opinions ready invested the Commissioners with which we may think fit to express there- those statutory powers for enforcing the upon; humbly report as follows:
attendance of witnesses, and taking their 1. In obedience to Your Majesty's com. examination upon oath, without which mands we have instituted a full and our proceedings would have been seriously searching inquiry into the subjects re- impeded. ferred to us.
Î'he readiness in fact with which, as 2. In the course of such inquiry we soon as the purport of Your Majesty's have collected a large body of evidence, Commission became generally known, and have also been furnished with certain evidence was proffered, proved at first a Returns.
source of some embarrassment, and, toge3. The whole of the evidence, both ther with other circumstances, which we oral and documentary, will be found in proceed to narrate, led to a modification of the Appendix.
our original plan. 4. Before entering upon our Report, it Our intention, at the outset, was, to