The Times, Saturday, Aug 05, 1826; pg. 3; Issue 13038; col D


                              CARLISLE, THURSDAY, AUG. 3.

                                   ARMSTRONG V. JORDAN.
    
Mr. SCARLETT addressed the jury for the defendant, and observed, this was an
instance of what could be produced by a mischievous man carrying tales to and
fro. The witness had, it seemed, sat an hour with an old acquaintance,
conversing upon natural occurrences, and in the course of that conversation,
something arises about an action; and here there was a very great distinction
for the consideration of the jury, because, he contended, the words were only
applicable to that particular action, and not meant at all in a general sense.
The witness himself only understood them as applying to the matter in question,
and not to Mr. ARMSTRONG's character generally; therefore, if that was so
understood, and so admitted, he really thought that the jury would not give a
verdict for the plaintiff, by any means; because what did the words amount to?
Certainly not to slander, or any thing approaching it. Why, a man might say,
"Bless my soul, he is a great thief, but a most excellent dancer," and not be a
slanderer at the time, because the words would not sustain the action; and he
might also say, speaking of an attorney, who had twelve actions to try at an
assize, and gained them all, "that he was a good bloodsucker;" because,
doubtless, the word could only be applied to money, as he had been successful in
sucking that out which was the stamina sought for; and therefore he contended
that, in this case, there was no proof of malicious motive, which must be the
groundwork of such cases; and in fact, thereupon the investigation of the case
was proved to be an entire absence of any such motive, but merely this, that
over a glass the defendant had called the plaintiff a "bloodsucker;" and after
turning and twisting that, it could only be construed into a mere allusion to
his profession of an attorney, that he had been successful in drawing out the
money - the matter disputed. He contended there was altogether an absence of any
thing like intention. It was said accidentally, carelessly, and without motive,
and was admitted not to apply to the plaintiff's general character. In all these
cases, the jury must have proof of a man's having a deliberate, wilful, and
malicious intention, before they could convict for slander, which proof had
altogether failed in this action. There was another point for their
consideration, which almost proved that the plaintiff was a bloodsucker (and he
hoped that he would not bring an action against him for calling him one),
namely, that the plaintiff was his own attorney in this action, and he well knew
that he could lose nothing, but if he succeeded, could suck out of the
defendant's pocket his own costs; in which anticipation he hoped the jury would
disappoint him. They would see upon this occasion the prospect of costs cheered
his way; his vivacity was not at all checked or affected by the slanderous
words; no, not by any means; he came in high spirits, and amused himself in
playing off a hoax upon a poor man whom they had met on the road. As to the
slander, if it could be so called, nobody had heard of it in Liverpool but
himself, his friend the witness, and his wife, and their opinions of him were
not likely to be changed by it. He therefore confidently expected a verdict for
the defendant.

Mr. Baron HULLOCK, in summing up, observed, that he considered it would have
been discreet if the witness had held his tongue, and much more so if the
plaintiff had treated it with the indifference it seemed only to require. Taking
the words into consideration, he was of opinion that the only part of them
which, in point of law, was actionable, were the words "pettifogging attorney,"
which being certainly actionable, the plaintiff was entitled to a verdict, and
he believed the smallest consideration in damages would meet the justice of the
case.

The jury consulted for a few minutes, and returned a verdict for the
plaintiff. - Damages 1s.