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5 > Page 5 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. defendant, Judge Hargis, on the charge of mutilating the Rowan county records. Unless he is shown to be guilty of that crime, there is no instruction upon which you can base-a verdict for the plaintiff. In other words, if the defendant is innocent of these charges, it is your duty to so find, and you cannot go further, upon any instruction, and find a ver- dict for damages for the plaintiff. On that point alone does your ver- dict turn. In the decision of that question the defendant has involved all that is near and dear to him. Not so with the plaintiff in this case. He has not the same great interests at stake. He has, in a measure, gained all that he set out for, let the result be as it may-that is, noto- riety, and the gratification of his unbounded malice towards Judge Har- gis. To quote his own language, in the Lexington Gazette: " If what I have stated is not true, even though believing it to be true, if I have made such serious charges upon insufficient testimony, then I have been guilty of a grave offense against the good of society, and the dig- nity of the Commonwealth,. and ought to be severelv punished for it. If Judge Hargi- be innocent, my offense is not that of a mere libeller of individual character, but if I have gone deliberately to work to utter and publish falsehoods, the effect of which, until they may be put down by jutdicial investigation, will be to destroy the confidence of a large body of the people in the integrity of one of the judges of the court of last resort, then I ought to be sent to jail." You have no power, in this form of action, to send the plaintiff to jail or otherwise punish. him,, but if upon this investigation his charges arc false he cannot complain of a mere judgment for defendant's costs against him, which he himself acknowledges cannot be made out of him by law. His own costs and expenses, according to his testimony, are not borne by himself. All this litigation has been carried on without cost to Mr. Green in any particular. So we see he at least has nothing to lose. A solid year almost has been consumed in the preparation and trial of this case, during which time the parties and their attorneys have been almost constantly engaged. Nearly four months of your time have been taken up since you were sworn and impanelted as a jury, but I would remind you, gentlemen, that it has not been our fault. Judge Hargiis did not bring this Litigation into this court to vex and annoy the good people of Louisville. He came here, however, when sued, and entered his appearance, without objection to the court or the county in which he was sued, not even making the objection, which he could per- haps have made successfully, that he was not sued in the county of his residence. We have no' asked even for a change of venue. He has come willing to submit this case to a jury of honest men, whatever may be their avocations in life, and let them be obtained from whatever por- tion of this broad Commonwealth they inay. He is willing to trust his all in your hands. You have seen in the testimony of this case, however, that this con- troversy is six years old. It began in the heat and partisan strife of a race for Judge in the Fourteenth Judicial District in I874. It was revived in the canvass for Appellate Judge in 1879. One remarkable fact appears in the history of this controversy, and that is, that as early as June, 1874, Judge Hargis, after the plaintiff had made this charge for the first time in the early days of June, i874, wrote what is known in this record as the Open Letter, dated the 8th of June, 1874, and 5