This language virtually says that a sneer in the columns of a newspaper is not sufficient to sustain a private action for damages, when it conveys or insinuates no charge from which a court can infer that the plaintiff has been, or ought to be, degraded in the estimation of the public, and no special damage is averred. In somewhat the same line of thought it has been held that it is not actionable to pu blish of a man that he pleaded the statute of limitations against a debt theretofore admitted to be just, or that he shielded himself against the payment of a debt for liquors by the defense that the sale of liquors was prohibited by statute. The article in question aflserts,in substance, that the retail grocers' union had promised to pay the plaintiff, who was their president, a small compensation for the, time which he spent in collecting subscriptions amongthemembera of the union for the World's Fair, and that he was prompted to spend his time and obtain subscriptions by this per diem allowance, and that he had presented. ll. ,bill of $22.50 for 18 days'service, and that in thus doing he was not aCtuated by patriotism or love of his g:uild, but bythe stimulus of thiseompensation. The correspondsays fllat the action may be all right, but seems very much out of .' All tIlat is charged is that the society thought proper to offer a slightretnUlleration for the services and expenses of a person who was to flpend his time in a cause which it considered important; that he entered upon the under that promise; that he a bill which the correspondent consider:nery small; that the correspondent is of the opinion that the transaction was unpatriotic; and that it was a pity that the grocers 'could' not have obtained a person so unselfishafl to do such work for nothing. The action of the societyand of the plaintiff was legal and proper. They each recognized that the plaintiff not be called upon 'to give up considerable time without some compensation for the outlay·. ' Be charged hiss than he was authorized to do, for he had a. tq an allowance of $2.50 a day, while for 189ays' services he $1;25 per day. .The article is a sneer at the plaintiff, but I cannot special damage not being averred,that it says anything *hichcanproperly dishonor or degrade or injure him in the estimation of.his or the public. or cause him to suB:er loss in property, <$.aracter, or in his. social relations. ' , The d.emurrer is sustained.
UNITEI) STATES ,. CITY OF ELIZABETH.
(Circuit Court, D. New Jlffsey. March 25, 1890.)
An alternative writ of mandamus commanding a city, and certain of its officers, to perform certain acts necessary to the raising of a tax to satisfy relators' judgment against the city, and "such persons as may be elected to fill vacancies in the board of revision and assessment" to accept that office, qualify, and assess a tax, is bad on demurrer, it showing that SOUle against whom it is directed have had no notice, and are not ascertained.
Mandamus. Strong « Mathewson, for relators. Mr. Blffgen, City SoL, for defendants.
GREEN, J. This matter comes before the court upon a demurrer in..; terposed by certain of the defendants to an alternative writ of mandamus .directed to "the city of Elizabeth, the comptroller, the treasurer, the president and members of the city council, and the board of assessment ·and revision of taxes, of said nity, and to such persons as shall be elected, in pursuance hereof, to fill vacancies in said board of assessment ;and revision of taxes." The writ recites the recovery of the judgment against the city of Elizabeth; the issuing of the writ of execution there.()n; the return of that writ, wholly unsatisfied, by the marshal of the .district, there being no property belonging to the city whereon to make levy; the service of a copy of the writ by the marshal according to law, but upon whom such service was made not being stated; that the board ·of revision of taxes in said city consists of one person from each of the eight wards of the city, which board acts as the assessor of said city; that, ever since rendition of relators' judgment said board has not been inexistence, on account of the resignation of its members and the failure to qualify of the persons elected thereto; that the said board is re·quired by law, and itis its duty, to assess the taxes in and for said city, .and of such persons as are elected to fill such vacancies to accept said .office, and to qualify to fill the same, and of said board of assessment :and revision of taxes to meet and assess taxes, and do and pertormeach and every other act required by la wto Le performed by them in relation ;thereto; ihat it is the duty of the city of Elizabeth to levy, assess, and .collect a tax sufficient to discharge the relators' said judgment; that it the duty of the city council of said city to levy, raise, and collect said iax, and to fill any vacancies in said board of assessment and revisiQn. .()f taxes of said city; that it is the duty of the comptroller of said cit:-: upon the levying and the assessment of said tax, to collect, or Ca1..1W the same to be collected, as provided bylaw, and paid tolthetreasurer of the city; that it is the duty of the said treasurer, upon receiving said tax, to pay the same to the marshal of this district; that the said defenuantshave failed, neglected, and refused to perform the said severa. rrespective duties; that the persons elected to fillvacanoies in ihl!. boare: