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CRITICISM. The art of judging skillfully of the merits or beauties, defects
or faults of a literary or scientific performance, or of a production of
art; when the criticism is reduced to writing, the writing itself is called
2. Liberty of criticism must be allowed, or there would be neither purity of taste nor of morals. Fair discussion, is essentially necessary to, the truth of history and advancement of science. That publication therefore, is not a libel, which has for its object, not to injure the reputation of an individual, but to correct misrepresentations of facts, to refute sophistical reasoning, to expose a vicious taste for literature, or to censure what is hostile to morality. Campb. R. 351-2. As every man who publishes a book commits himself to the judgment of the public, any one may comment on his performance. If the commentator does not step aside from the work, or introduce fiction for the purpose of condemnation, he exercises a fair and legitimate right. And the critic does a good service to the public who writes down any vapid or useless publication such as ought never to have appeared; and, although the author may suffer a loss from it, the law does not consider such loss an injury; because it is a loss which the party ought to sustain. It is the loss of fame and profit, to which he was never entitled. 1 Campb. R. 358, n. See 1 Esp. N. P. Cas. 28; 2 Stark. Cas. 73; 4 Bing. N. S. 92; S. C. 3 Scott, 340;. 1 M. & M. 44; 1 M. & M. 187; Cooke on Def. 52.