CARLISLE, THURSDAY, AUG. 3.
ARMSTRONG V. JORDAN.
Mr. BROUGHAM stated the plaintiff's case to the Jury, and said that Mr.
ARMSTRONG, the plaintiff, was an attorney of great respectability, who had
formerly lived in, and indeed was a native of Carlisle, but had removed to
Liverpool, where he had a good practice. The defendant was a grocer in this
town, and it would appear had a somewhat loose and slanderous tongue, which he
was inclined to exercise in vituperating his late townsman, and for which he was
now about to be brought to account. The slander was this. He said at the King's
Arms Inn, to a person named IRVING, with whom he was in conversation, that
"ARMSTRONG (the plaintiff) was a villainous scoundrel, and a bloodsucking,
pettifogging attorney, and had robbed Edward BEAUMONT of 7L." which was
understood as alluding to some action at law conducted by the plaintiff, in
which Mr. BEAUMONT was a party. Now this was a kind of exercise of tongue, or a
treatment, which no professional man could submit to, and he had brought this
action in order to give the defendant an opportunity of proving his assertion,
or if not, to show him that the exercise of his abusive tongue could not pass
unnoticed and unpunished, as the verdict of the Jury would have the effect he
(Mr. BROUGHAM) trusted of bridling his organ of speech in future. The defendant,
however, had thought proper not to put any justification on the record, and
consequently intended no defence, thus at once admitting the falsehood, and
giving a convincing proof, that it was altogether unfounded, and was spoken with
a malicious intention: it would be for the Jury (and he hoped they would teach
the defendant a lesson) to say what measure of damages so flagrant a case
merited, as the promulgation of slander against any man was always attended with
injurious and often ruinous consequences.
The learned Counsel called Mr. Joseph IRVING, who stated that he was acquainted
with both the plaintiff and the defendant. On the 4th of April last, at ten
o'clock in the morning, he was sitting in the bar of the King's Arms Inn, with
Mr. DONALD, the landlord, and the defendant. In the course of conversation the
defendant asked about Mr. ARMSTRONG, and how he was getting on. Witness answered
that he was settled at Liverpool, and doing well. The defendant seemed by his
expression of countenance to doubt it, and dropped the conversation for some
time, but something arising about an action in which the plaintiff was employed,
the defendant exclaimed, "he is a pettifogging attorney, and a blood-sucking
designing scoundrel; he has robbed Edward BEAUMONT, of the Pine Apple, of 7L. or
8L." That was all that passed. Witness communicated what he had heard to
ARMSTRONG on his return to Liverpool.
Cross-examined by Mr. SCARLETT. - I was a grocer at Carlisle, but failed, and am
now in business at Liverpool. I know both parties. I really do not recollect all
the conversation that passed, neither do I exactly remember the subject of it. I
think it related to an action about some pictures, bought by a person named
BEAUMONT against HAZARD. I do not believe that the defendant used the words in
any other sense than merely applying them to the particular action or
transaction arising out of it. I did not write the words down, but I informed my
family, and then told the plaintiff shortly after my return. I will swear that I
did not go to him about this, but on my own business. I cannot say that my
opinion was in any way affected by what I heard of the plaintiff. I am convinced
the words were only applied to the action of BEAUMONT. I saw the words written
down shortly after I told the plaintiff - indeed, I wrote them down, and he
copied them, and by his direction I signed the copy.
Mr. SCARLETT. - Why, just now you told me that you did not write down the words?
Witness. - I did write them down certainly.
Mr. SCARLETT. - What were the words?
Witness. - What I have stated.
Mr. SCARLETT. - What is that?
Witness repeated the words on the record.
Mr. SCARLETT. - Have you seen the copy since you signed it?
Witness. - No, I have not.
Mr. SCARLETT. - You swear that?
Witness. - I do. I do not live with the plaintiff. I occasionally call on him. I
am certainly intimate with him. I came here with him. We had a pleasant journey.
The plaintiff amused himself with a man who was carrying a letter, by throwing
his hat over a hedge. We were in very good spirits, I assure you. (A laugh.)
Mr. SCARLETT. - Upon your oath, did you not promise never to mention these
Witness. - I cannot say.
Mr. SCARLETT. - I repeat the question. Did you or did you not?
Witness. - I might have done so. I was desired not, as it might cause an enmity.
Mr. SCARLETT. - Upon your oath, did you not give a reason to believe that you
would never mention the words?
Witness. - I never gave a real reason. I might have said I would not, but never
said so positively.
Mr. SCARLETT. - Did you not do this for the sake of this action being brought?
Witness. - No, I did not.
Mr. SCARLETT. - What did you do it for? Was it to make him happy or miserable?
Witness. - I cannot say.
Re-examined by Mr. BROUGHAM. - The conversation took place in the bar; DONALD,
the landlord, was in and out attending on his customers.
Mr. SCARLETT submitted, that as one of the allegations set forth the plaintiff
was an attorney, that ought to be proved.
Mr. Baron HULLOCK said that it was not disputed; and as it appeared admitted,
the objection availed nothing.