[C.1821 Indictment for Libeling a Maryland Judge and a related Subpoena issued to a Maryland Newspaper Editor].
German-American editor Mathias Bartgis called to give evidence; the alleged libeler indicted for “wickedly & maliciously…contriving & intending to defame”
In July and August 1820, newspaper articles critical of Associate Judge Abraham Shriver were written by Samuel Barnes and published in Frederick, Maryland. Judge Shriver claimed he was libeled. The writer of the articles and the newspaper editor who published them were soon caught up in a case that eventually involved the Maryland State legislature.
Here, the indictment of Samuel Barnes for libel upon Frederick County Levy Court Judge Abraham Shriver is detailed in two and one half pages. At issue were 1820 newspaper articles by Barnes printed in the Republican Gazette and General Advertiser, edited by German-American Mathias Bartgis, and in another newspaper.
Barnes caused “...it to be believed, that he, the said Ab[raha]m S[hriver]. as such ass. Judge of the 5th ju. Dis. Of the State of Md. Had been guilty of corruption and of very great abuses and misdemeanors in the execution of his said office…[and Barnes] did unlawfully and maliciously, wickedly & scandalously, compose, write, print & publish…a certain libel…”
The accompanying subpoena issued to Bartgis in 1821 orders him to produce “the original manuscripts or writings” printed by him at “Frederick town,” i.e. Frederick, Maryland. (Bartgis was Frederick County’s first printer. A 1788 partly printed document bears his imprint.)
In 1822, Barnes and Bartgis preferred charges against Judge Shriver for improper conduct stemming from the allegations by Barnes, but the judge was acquitted by the Maryland legislature.
Description: [C.1821 Indictment for Libeling a Maryland Judge and a related Subpoena issued to a Maryland Newspaper Editor].
Frederick County, Maryland, c.1821. [2½]pp. Manuscript Indictment. Bifolium [with:] pp. Manuscript Subpoena. Folium. The two within a contemporary paper band-wrapper. Folds; small ink blot, various closed tears, minor losses to one manuscript, neither affecting sense; otherwise, very good.