In 1774, the Edinburgh Magazine and Review published a paragraph criticizing an essay sent to the editors for possible publication. Although the Review did not print the missive, the editors noted that the essay was written in opposition to a ball held in the town of Whitburn, and that it exhibited “alternate strokes of superstition and blasphemy.” The Review further stated that the essay was signed by one J---D--NE in Bathgate, who was a school-master, and that it had been approved by a popular clergyman. In response, Bathgate schoolmaster Walter Jardine raised a libel action against the Review’s printer, William Smellie, and publishers William Creech and Charles Elliot. Jardine alleged that based on the information printed in the Review, the essay would be widely attributed to him; however, he denied being the writer. The defenders argued that the paragraph did not refer to Jardine, and that it merely contained matters of opinion.

Published Reports

William Morison, The Decisions of the Court of Session (1811), pg. 3438