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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 70

Statement of Claim

Statement of Claim.

The plaintiff, by Alexander Gray, his solicitor, says:—
1.The plaintiff is a journalist, and at the time of the commission of the wrongful acts hereinafter mentioned was and still is the Editor and Manager of the Catholic Times, a newspaper published at Wellington.
2.The defendants are the President and Secretary of a voluntary association of persons catling themselves the Wellington Branch of the New Zealand Typographical Association.
3.On the 28th day of September, 1801, the defendants at Wellington, in a letter addressed to his Grace Archbishop Redwood, the proprietor of the said newspaper and the employer of the plaintiff, published of and concerning the plaintiff the words following:—
"New Zealand Typographical Association, Wellington Branch. "Evening Post Office,

"To Archbishop Redwood.

"Your Grace,—I have the honour, in accordance with instructions, to forward the enclosed letter [meaning thereby the letter set out in paragraph 6 hereof], and to inform you that failing receipt of a favourable reply by the 5th proximo, it is the intention of the Board of Management to publish the same in the principal newspapers

in the colony.

"I have also to inform your Grace that the nembers of the Board decline under any circumitances to communicate with or recognise in any way the present Manager of the Catholic Times, but would with pleasure enter into negotiations with any other person it would please your Grace to appoint.

"Your obedient servant,

"(Signed) J. W. Henrichs, Secretary."

4.The defendants meant thereby that the plaintiff was not a fit and proper person to bo continued in bis employment as Manager and Editor of the said Catholic Times, and that he was not a fit person to enter into communication with the defendants upon matters connected with his said business or employment.
5.The said publication was false and malicious.
6.On the 28th day of September, 1891, the defendants, in another letter addressed to his Grace Archbishop Redwood, published of the plaintiff the words following, that is to say:—
"New Zealand Typographical Association, Wellington Branch.

"To Archbishop Redwood.

"Your Grace,—We have the honour, on behalf of the Wellington Branch of the New Zealand Typographical Association, to make a final request that you will receive a deputation from this body In regard to the Catholic Times office, which, we are given to understand, is conducted on the treating system, inasmuch as a certain sum of money is paid weekly to the manager or overseer, who is permitted to appropriate to his own use and benefit such amount aa represents the difference between the sum received and that paid in wages to his subordinates.

"Your Grace will doubtless recognise the serious evils of such a system when we point out that, as a consequence, the maximum wage paid to a journeyman compositor in that office is £2 58 per week, as against the minimum of £3 paid by other employers; and that an excessive number of boys is employed to the detriment of capable men who have families to support, and who are resident in the city.

"This condition of things is so utterly opposed to the precepts laid down in the recent Encyolical of His Holiness the Pope, as also to the utterances of Cardinal Moran on the Labour question, that we are tempted to attribute your previous refusals to receive a deputation to the fact that you have been wilfully kept in ignorance of the above" [meaning that the plaintiff, dishonestly and contrary to his duty, had concealed from the said Archbishop, his employer, information concerning the conduct of the business of the said newspaper, which it was the duty of the plaintiff to disclose to his employer, or had wilfully deceived his employer in matters connected with the said business; and that the plaintiff had been guilty of such concealment, with the object of improperly and dishonestly making a profit out of the funds supplied to him for the purpose of carrying on the said business], "and we humbly beg to assure you that in making this request we are actuated by no other motive than a desire to obtain a fair day's wage for a fair day's work, and that our request is preferred entirely in a conciliatory spirit.

"We trust your Grace will favourably consider our request and honour us with a personal reply, as hitherto our communications have been referred to the Manager of the Catholic Times (an individual who at different times has conducted a Freethought journal, lectured upon a Freethought platform, and ultimately accepted the management of a religious paper) a degradation which we humbly submit we have done nothing to deserve." [Meaning that the plaintiff was a person of such disgraceful character that it was degrading to the defendants to be asked to hold communication with him.]

"We are, Sir,

"Yours respectfully,


E. Thornton

, President. "(Signed)

J. W. Henrichs

, Secretary."
7.And the plaintiff says that the whole of the letter set out in paragraph 6, the defendants meant that the plaintiff was not a fit and proper person to be continued in his employment aforesaid.
8.The said Last-mentioned publication was false and malioious.

By reason of the premises the plaintiff was injured in his character, credit, and reputation, and in his business as a journalist.

Wherefore the plaintiff claims in respect of the libel set out in paragraph 3 the sum of three hundred pounds (£300) by way of damages, and in respect of the libel set out in paragraph 6 the sum of three hundred pounds (£300) by way of damages, and prays judgment for the same.