Letter from Thomas Ford, 22 June 1844

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now forcibly imprisoned and detained there and that the has been ordered under arms to resist any attempt to arrest the persons accused. I have not particularly enquired into the truth of these latter reports; for although they may become matters of great importance in the Sequel, they are not necessary to be ascertained and acted upon at present
I now express to you my opinion that your conduct in the destruction of the press was a very gross and outrage upon the laws and the liberties of the people. It may have been full of libels, but this did not authorise you to distroy it. There are many Newspapers in this which [have?] been wrongfully abusing me for more than a year, and yet such is my regard for the liberty of the press and the rights of a free people in a republican Government that I would Shed the last drop of my blood to protect those presses from any illegal violence You have violated the Constitution, in at least four particulars you have violated that part of it which declares that the printing presses Shall be free being responsible for the abuse thereof and that the truth may be given in evidence This article of the constitution contemplates that the proprietors of a libellous press may be sued for private damage or may be indicted criminally; and that upon trial they should have a right to give the truth in evidence In this case the proprietors had no notice of the proceeding— The constitution also provides that the people shall be protected against unreasonable Searches and Seizeures of their property; And “that no man Shall be deprived of life liberty or property, except by the judgment of his peers” (which means a jury trial) “and the the law of the land”; which means due process [p. [3]]
now forcibly imprisoned and detained there and that the has been ordered under arms to resist any attempt to arrest the persons accused. I have not particularly enquired into the truth of these latter reports; for although they may become matters of great importance in the Sequel, they are not necessary to be ascertained and acted upon at present
I now express to you my opinion that your conduct in the destruction of the press was a very gross outrage upon the laws and the liberties of the people. It may have been full of libels, but this did not authorise you to distroy it. There are many Newspapers in this which [have] been wrongfully abusing me for more than a year, and yet such is my regard for the liberty of the press and the rights of a free people in a republican Government that I would Shed the last drop of my blood to protect those presses from any illegal violence You have violated the Constitution, in at least four particulars you have violated that part of it which declares that the printing presses Shall be free being responsible for the abuse thereof and that the truth may be given in evidence This article of the constitution contemplates that the proprietors of a libellous press may be sued for private damage or may be indicted criminally; and that upon trial they should have a right to give the truth in evidence In this case the proprietors had no notice of the proceeding— The constitution also provides that the people shall be protected against unreasonable Searches and Seizeures of their property; And “that no man Shall be deprived of life liberty or property, except by the judgment of his peers” (which means a jury trial) “and the the law of the land”; which means due process [p. [3]]
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