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Trial of John Peter Zenger, of New-York, Printer; for a Libel Against

ZENGER, John Peter.

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From G.S. MacManus Co., ABAA (Bryn Mawr, PA, U.S.A.)

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ZENGER, John Peter. The Trial of John Peter Zenger, of New-York, Printer; for a Libel Against the Governmewnt, on the Fourth of August, MDCCXXXV. London: Printed for Flexney. Davies. Merrill. and Eddowes, 1784. 4th ed. [2],64 pp. Bound in later 1/4-morocco and marbled boards. Some foxing and toning, else a very good copy. HOWES Z-6. Grolier 100, 9. "One of the famous decisions in legal history, establishing the epochal doctrine of the freedom of the press; probably written by James Alexander, one of Zenger's attorneys."--Howes. John Peter Zenger (1697-1746) was a German born printer and journalist who emigrated with his family to New York at the age of 13. "In the early thirties, the erection of a court of exchequer and the summary removal of Lewis Morris from the chief justiceship by Gov. William cosby brought about a powerful revolt by lawyers, merchants, and people of all classes. Morris, James Alexander, and William Smith set up Zenger as editor of an anti-administration paper, the New York Weekly Journal, which was opposed by Bradford's New York Gazette, organ of the government. From the very first number of Zenger's paper, Nov. 5, 1733, an independent and truculent spirit was infused into New York journalism. The major articles, which bear a legalistic stamp, were undobutedly contributed by his more highly-educated backers . but as publisher Zenger was legally responisble. He was an indifferent printer, with a poor knowledge of English, but the articles from his own pen show a courageous and polemical spirit. .In April term, 1735, he was brought to trial for criminal libel. When his counsel, Smith and Alexander, attacked the validity of the appointment of De Lancey and Philipse as judges, they were promptly disbarred. But when the case came up again in August, Zenger was represented by Andrew Hamilton of Philadelphia, who, despite the strict construction of the common law of criminal libel which then prevailed, pleaded for the right of the jury to inquire into the truth or falsity of the libel, and when his course was blocked by the court, appealed to the jury, who responded with a verdict of not guilty, to the acclaim of the spectators and populace. In his newspaper Zenger printed a complete verbatim account of the trial, the first major victory for the freedom of the press in the American colonies. His report, printed spe. Bookseller Inventory # 54675

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Title: Trial of John Peter Zenger, of New-York, ...

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Binding: Soft cover

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All books are in reasonable second-hand condition. We accept VISA, MASTERCARD, or personal check. Checks can be made out to the George S. MacManus Company, 12 Water Street, Bryn Mawr, PA, 19010 USA. Emails can be sent to books@macmanus-rarebooks.com. Phone numbers: 610-520-7273. FAX: 610-520-7272. All inquiries should be directed to Clarence Wolf. Deferred billing available for libraries. PA residents add 6%sales tax.


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