A report on litigation which started with a farewell address and letter personally presented by Josephson and his step daughter, Sarah Levey, to the outgoing Governor of New South Wales, Sir Richard Bourke, in December 1837. The address and letter received a favourable reply from the Governor's private secretary, H. F. Gisborne. As Eric Irvine writes, '[t]hat the Governor should not only receive an address from the players but, in the face of everything the newspapers had said to the contrary, should also express a favourable opinion about [the performances of the Theatre Royal and its company] outraged the Sydney newspaper proprietors ...' (223). Josephson published letters and advertisements in the Australian and Sydney Monitor newspapers in reply to this criticism. One advertisement named the Sydney Gazette's editor, George Cavenagh as the 'King of the Coblers'. According to the report of the trial, this phrase was written on Josephson's behest by Andrew Cohen of the Australian and had been used by the Sydney Monitor to describe Cavenagh. A perceived threat to Josephson published in the Gazette the next day caused Josephson to visit Cavenagh and deny authorship of the advertisement. This denial, written by Cavenagh with adverse comments against the Australian, was published in the Gazette causing, in turn, the wrath of Cohen and subsequent litigation between Cohen and Cavenagh, who denied the charge, and then Cohen and Josephson. Josephson seems to have found himself in the middle of a feud between Cohen of the Australian and Cavenagh of the Gazette with participation from Hall of the Sydney Monitor. Perhaps, too, Josephson's actions were used as an excuse by the newspapers to begin point scoring among themselves. The report ends with the note that 'a nonsuit was entered'.
Work Cited: Irvine, Eric. Theatre Comes to Australia St Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 1971
A report on libel actions listed in the Supreme Court, civil side, for July 1838. The actions involve Sydney newspapers and their editors and mainly stem from an article 'The Devil and the Man of Worth' published in the Australian Magazine, 1(3) March 1838. The list includes E. D. O'Reilly v. Edward Smith Hall of the Monitor; Edward Smith Hall v. James McEachern, the editor of the Colonist; Abraham Cohen of the Australian v. Jacob Josephson 'as the writer of a letter bearing defendant's signature, inserted in the [Sydney] Gazette' ; Jacob Josephson v. 'Messrs. Fulton and Purcell, as the writer of an article, inserted in the 3rd number of The Australian Magazine, headed "The Devil and the Man of Worth"'; Jacob Josephson v. George Cavenagh, the editor of the Sydney Gazette, 'for the publication of a letter, signed "A Subscriber" referring to the article "The Devil and the Man of Worth"'. The report also mentions 'McAlister at the suit of the Attorney-General' and Edward O'Shaughnessy v. James McEarchern. See also [Untitled], correspondence by A Subscriber (fl. 1838), published in the Sydney Gazette, 6 March 1838. The publication of 'The Devil and the Man of Worth' lead to a trial of libel, Josephson v. Fulton, in the Supreme Court of New South Wales in March 1839.
This column continues the argument between the Sydney Gazette and the Sydney Monitor over press freedoms and perceived editorial transgressions that raged between the two newspapers in April 1838. It also contains a response to, in the words of the column's author, an 'excessively bombastical article' published in the Australian newspaper on 18 April 1838 entitled The Disreputableness of Permitting a Free Periodical Press to Become the Vehicle of Personal Altercation.
The Sydney Monitor quotes from the Australian (which in turn quoted from the Sydney Herald) regarding the editorship of Sydney newspapers. The Monitor objects to the Australian's arguments on two grounds.
Firstly, although the Monitor has no issue with emancipists being involved with the running of newspaper, it believes that those still serving their terms should not hold positions of responsibility in the press as, being under the control of the executive government, they cannot be considered truly independent. Secondly, the Monitor declares that the Australian is mistaken in its assertion that no persons of a 'certain class' are running newspapers in the colongy. The Monitor is unequivocal in stating that 'part of the Sydney Press is notoriously under the control of a person who is not freed, though partially emancipated'. (The Monitor is likely referring to William Watt (q.v.).)
The writer for the Monitor then goes on to declaim about the nature of newspaper writers and editors in general, noting that the names of editors of British newspapers are not generally known, but the tone of newspapers is set by the character of the proprietors (whose names are known). Newspaper columns are read in the belief that their writers are honest and independent. The Monitor concludes: 'Measures should be taken to place the Press under the agency of men of integrity.'