1793 · Perth
Palmer, a Unitarian minister of Dundee, Scotland, was tried for seditious libel in 1793 for causing distribution of a pamphlet sponsored by the Dundee Society of the Friends of Liberty, charging the British government with tyranny and urging the reading of Thomas Paine's writings. "You are plunged into a War by a wicked Ministry and a compliant Parliament, who seem careless and unconcerned for your interest." Palmer's counsel argued eloquently for "the liberty of the Press, the most invaluable privilege of a British Subject." Though the publication contained "animadversions on the House of Commons, and implied censure on the conduct of the executive government, who could maintain that this was not warranted in the liberty of the Press, and by the first principles of our government? Such censures were not only not blameable, but praise-worthy and meritorious. They compelled unworthy representatives, and bad ministers, to become good or paved the way to removal or punishment, if they continued to be bad." But Palmer was found guilty and sentenced to banishment.
OCLC locates 17 copies. McCoy P27, II Harv. Law Cat. 1158 [Edinburgh printing]. Not in Sabin. (Inventory #: 21911)