Page:Letters of Junius, volume 1 (Woodfall, 1772).djvu/37
It has also been alleged, that, although a common jury are sufficient to determine a plain matter of fact, they are not qualified to comprehend the meaning, or to judge of the tendency of a seditious libel. In answer to this objection (which, if well founded, would prove nothing as to the strict right of returning a general verdict) I might safely deny the truth of the assertion. Englishmen of that rank from which juries are usually taken, are not so illiterate as, (to serve a particular purpose) they are now represented. Or, admitting the fact, let a special jury be summoned in all cases of difficulty and importance, and the objection is removed. But the truth is, that, if a paper, supposed to be a libel upon government, be so obscurely worded, that twelve common men cannot possibly see the seditious meaning and tendency of it, it is in effect no libel. It cannot inflame the minds of the people, nor alienate their affections from government; for they no more understand what it means, than if it were published in a language unknown to them.
Upon the whole matter, it appears, to my understanding, clear, beyond a doubt, that if,