Trial of the Case of the Commonwealth versus David Lee Child, for Publishing in the Massachusetts Journal a Libel on the Honorable John Keyes, Before the Supreme Judicial Court . . . October Term, 1828. Reported by John W. Whitman. Libel, David Lee Child, defendant.

Trial of the Case of the Commonwealth versus David Lee Child, for Publishing in the Massachusetts Journal a Libel on the Honorable John Keyes, Before the Supreme Judicial Court . . . October Term, 1828. Reported by John W. Whitman.

Boston: Dutton and Wentworth, Printers, 1829. First edition. Original printed green-gray wrappers (spine reinforced with library cloth tape), 8.75 x 5.38 inches, 119, [1] pages. Item #19544

A presentation copy, inscribed in ink autograph, “Amos Lawrence Esquire with the respects of D. K. Child” at the head of the title page. “This cannot be a libel. It wants upon its face the stamp of malice. The matter was proper information for the people. It exposed a public abuse which it was for them to know and remedy. It suggested the inquiry respecting misconduct in office to the competent tribunal. It was not and idle and unfounded calumny. There was a real interest at stake, a beneficial purpose in view; and the fact rested upon evidence not lightly to be questioned. . . . It was therefore employing the liberty of the press according to its most restricted use for the lawful purposes of a popular government.” The abolitionist lawyer and newspaper editor David L. Child (husband of novelist and activist Lydia Maria Child) had suggested in the columns of his Massachusetts Journal that the process of accepting bids for the contract of state printer had been tilted by John Keyes (acting as chair of the Committee of Accounts for the Massachusetts Legislature) in favor of the Jacksonian newspaper printers True and Greene of Boston. (That Dutton and Wentworth had lost the contract despite evidently supplying a lower bid might explain their involvement in this publication.) Despite the eloquence of his counsel, Child was found guilty. An ex-library copy, with a library ink stamp to the title page and a later large withdrawn stamp across that, suggesting this pamphlet may have been an example of a book given by Lawrence to stock one of his philanthropic library ventures. McCoy C319; Sabin 12703.

Price: $250.00