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4 > Page 4 of Argument of Hon. Henry L. Stone of Mt. Sterling, Ky. : delivered May 20th, 21st, and 24th, 1880, before the jury in the Jefferson Court of Common Pleas, at Louisville, in behalf of the defendant on the trial of the celebrated libel suit of Thomas M. Green vs. Thomas F. Hargis / reported by Charles A. Graham ; with an appendix containing the pleadings, instructions, verdict, judgment, executions, officer's returns thereon, and sketches of the jurors.

ARGUMENT OF HON. HENRY L. STONE, Paris Trite Kentuckian, the. Lexington Ga-ette, the Richmond Regis/er, the Kentucky Sentinel, and the Courier-Journal. On th7 i i th of June, 1879, the defendant, out of respect for that portion of the people of Kentucky who were not acquainted with the author of these charges against him, or familiar 'vith its origin, wrote an article to the Cowier- JoIrnal, in which he denounced the charges as false, and those who had theretofore circulated them, and those who might thereafter do so, as willful caluminators; and upon that article the plaintiff brought this action for libel, on the i8th day of June, in the Jefferson Court of Common Pleas, claiming damages in the sum of ten thousand dollars. Mr. Green, after the appellate election, had gone about over the State wherever he could obtain a listening ear, upon the street, in the office, in the store-everywhere his tongue and pen were busy upon the repu- tation of the defendant. Here and there a bar meeting was instigated. Prejudices were engendered against the defendant in the minds of the people, and especially among the legal profession. Here in the city of Louisville, justly regarded as the center of legal knowledge in Ken- tucky, the plaintiff was at work with an object perfectly apparent to my mind. He and his friends in this city were then preparing the soil where they expected to pitch their crop. Many of the legal profession, and especially the younger members, were prejudiced against the defendant by the ex parte statements of Mr. Green. In answer to this suit Judge Hargis pleads that he wvas justifiable in denouncing these charges as false, and that the plaintiff is, in fact, a -willful caluminator. What constitutes a willful calumniator, gentlemen A T-an who writes and publishes a charge of an infamous 'character against another, which turns out to be false, is in law a' calumniator. When through the the same journal or channel of publication the party accused denounces the charge, and characterizes the author as a willful calumniator, the author cannot sue the accused in an action for libel and recover damages unless he makes out the truth of his charge; and even then it is doubtful vhether he would have a legal cause of action. If a man could with impunity utter and publish in the n ewspapers, a charge which was false against another, and then turn around and say by way of defense -that he did not know that the charge was false when lie made it, thus trying to escape the consequences of his own wrongful act, no man's reputa- tion would be safe in the community. But the law says he must abide the consequences of his charge whether he knew it or not to be true. He must know that it is true before he makes it. If he makes it and it should turn out to be false, he does it at his peril. But we find counsel representing the plaintiff in this case sta'uggling before this Court two or three days for what Virtually acknowledging that they have made a failure in this prosecution, that they have been unable to satisfy a reasonable jury of the guilt of the defendant in 'this case, yet asking the Court to instruct the jury that if the plaintiff did not knovw his charge was false that he still has the right to recover dam- ages from the man he has denounced in the face of the public who calls him a willful calumniator, thereby endeavoring to crawl out of the main' issue involved in this case, to escape its consequences and recover a ver- dict for damages upon the ground of the plaintiff's want of knowledge. But, gentlemen of the jury, you know from the instructions of the Court, such pretended law was not given for your consideration, and your verdict must turn, in this case, upon the guilt or innocence of the 4