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-,---THE POPULARITY OF MR.…

ON BEINS PBEBBNTED WITH A…

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ISTATIONS OF THE BRITISH ARMY.

ACTION for LIBEL AGAINST a…

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ACTION for LIBEL AGAINST a LADY. The cause of "Topham v. Lyle" haabeen tried in London, and was an action for libel The defendant plaaded not guilty. The circumstances of the case were somewhat ,t peculiar. The plaintiff, Joseph Topham, was a farmer in Cornwall, and the defendant was. the daughter of Mr. John Lyle, senior, a gentleman sixty-nine years of age, who was tenant for life, subject to certain mort- gages, of the estate on which the plaintiff Is farm was situate. Formerly Mr. Lyle's son was tenant of the farm at a rental of £ 750, but he got into difficulties, and had to go abroad, and in consequence his father mortgaged the estate, first to a clergyman named Hamilton, for £ 6,000 and next to a solicitor named Woodrooffe, far £ 400! Ultimately it beoame necessary to get a tenant for the farm, and the plaintiff, who had for nineteen years farmed between 600 and 700 acres near St. Neot's, in Huntingdonshire, offered to take it. Some difficulty arose as to the plaintiff rent. ing the mansion house on the estate which was occupied by Mr. Lyle and his daughters, but in May, 1^67, he became tenant of the farm alone. In August follow- ing the defendant wrote a letter to Mr. Hamilton, giving what was the result of her inquiries in Hunting- donshire respecting the character of the plaintiff; and that was the libel complained of. Her statements were, in substance, to this effect He has no cauital of his own, and has not always been able to pay his labourers. During the last few years he has had a difficulty in carrying the farm on, and for some time put h. £ b £ n obW » ttoa,h hi. COM » « ™ it from the field to pay his harvest expmIM. He has no sheep or cattle of his own, and other ? ^have been sent to eat the grass. He hw n° cre(ht m his o^ neighbourhood, and it is thought that if he paiaeve^ one he would not be worth £100. His father is a respectable tradesman, but by no means rich. His chsraoter ill very bad he is a great swearer, and very immoral, so uch so that his wife left her house last year in consequence of his improper conduct, they had a governess who remained with them until circumstances compelled her ^parture, and the present governess was the cause of the desperate stop his wife took. He has always been very wild and profligate, and is supposed to be borrowing money now. This letter was sent by Mr. Hamilton to Mr. Woodrooffe, who acted as receiver of the estate for him, and eventually came to the knowledge of the plaintiff. The contents, it was also said, got circulated in Huntingdonshire, and the plaintiff was therefore compelled to bring the action for the vindication of his character. Mr. Topham, the plaintiff, who said-he was a married man with seven children, swore that the whole of the allegations in the letter were totally devoid of founda- tion. He added that he was still on the farm, but Mr Lyle had not yet granted him a lease. Mrs. Topham deposed that the statements concerning her and the governess were entirely false. Miss Elizabeth Measures, who had been nursery governess in the family since 1861, gave equally positive evidence against the truth of the aspersions on her character. Cole, on the part of the defence, not only did not attempt to justify the accusations in question, but admitted that they were untrue. He relied entirely upon the letter being a privileged communication, the result ot inquiries which the defendant personally and bona fade made at the request of her father for the pro- tection or his interests as well as the interests of the familYi alJ4 contended that if it had been published to the world it was entirely owing to the acts of the plaintiff himself. Mr. Baron Martin suggested that the parties should come to an arrangement. Mr. Keane said he had made what he thought a fair offer, but it had not been accepted. An i.*l "2 Sly Lvl'e, « beinK ->"»> « X, Ser father, 1 that such information was true. Upon cross-examination she said she went to Huntingdonshire on one day and returned the next, and had never been there before or since. on y saw three persons. At first she objected to state their 1 llawOi, but on being told by the judge that if (jot per. ) sisted in the objection she nri*ttake the consequences, she gave them, stating one of the parties was a parish clerk, another the landlady of a public-house, and the third an attorney. She had seen Mrs. Topham with her children and governess at the parish church in Cornwall on Sunday—that was within six weeks before writing the letter. She believed Mrs. Topham was then living with her husband on the farm, but she had no personal knowledge of the fact. She never tested the truth of the information she received, and did not wish to make herself any personal accusa- tions against the plaintiff. Mr. Baron Martin, in summing up, held as a matter of law that the occasion was one which would justify such a letter, and render it a privileged communica. tion, and left the jury to say whether it was written honestly, and with a bona fide intention of conveying what the defendant had heard, and really believed to be true. If they thought it was so written, the defen- dant would be entitled to their verdict; but if they should be of a different opinion, they would find for the plaintiff. The jury found a verdict for the defendant.

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THE MARKETS.