From the Richmond Dispatch, 8/15/1864, p.1, c. 5

The Grounds of Indictment for Libel against the Editor and Reporter of a Newspaper. – Brief mention was made in our last issue of the indictment for libel by the Grand Jury of the Hustings Court, on Friday last, of the editor and reporter of the Richmond Examiner. We give the following extracts from the Mayor’s Court proceedings upon which the grounds of the indictment were based:

(From the Examiner of the 9th of July 1864.)

“The continued case of John P. Sledd, butcher, previously examined upon the charge of stealing four cows, of the value of $4,000, from Francis H. Deane, of Henrico, and released on $5,000 bail, was again called, and Mr. Sledd appeared with his counsel, Mr. Crane, and his cloud of witnesses.

“To afford a proper understanding of the case, it may be proper to state that Mr. Sledd was arrested last Friday week upon the charge, and through the charge was such as to justify his release upon bail, the very impartial and fair-dealing Mayor who rules over us refused to enter into an examination of the cast at the time. They do say that he has had a personal pique against the prisoner of several years’ standing. But who believes that this virtuous, incorrupt and incorruptible magistrate; this model of Mayors; this man of amiable temper, cleanly habits, and temperate way of life, could possibly permit a private animosity to bias his judgment in the decision of a case affecting the liberty of an accused citizen? Who, indeed! Who! Echo answers – who? Mr. Sledd, however, went to jail, and remained there until last Monday, when he was examined and bailed, though the evidence was the same that was obtainable on the first day.”

In another case, where certain parties are charged with violating the liquor law, the following language occurs:

“Whether ‘Old Joe’ has any liquor and lunch bills standing at the above places, we do not know; but there runs a tradition that ‘Old Joe; is hard on those inn and grog-keepers who cast up scores chalked down behind the door against him.”

From the Examiner on the 12th of July the following extract from the Mayor’s Court proceedings is copied in the indictment:

“George Drew, the man so earnestly sought in the case of John P. Sledd, was in court this morning.” *** ”Drew confirms every word of Mr. Sledd’s statement in regard to the manner in which he came in possession of the cows, which statement the Mayor chose to set at naught, and committed Mr. Sledd to jail. Mr. Sledd will not have justice done him, when a malignant Mayor finds he can no farther carry his enmity concealed beneath the draggled gown of his office without exposure and detection.”

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