Danby therefore ordered a return from every diocese of the numbers of dissenters, both Romanist and Protestant, in order by a proof of their insignificance to remove the royal scruples.3 In December 1676 he issued a proclamation for the suppression of coffee-houses because of the "defamation of His Majesty's Government" which took place in them, but this was soon withdrawn.
The criminal jurisdiction of courts Christian over laymen included, besides these " perjuries," (a) all sexual of f ences not punishable on indictment; (b) Defamation of character (the king's courts came in time to limit this to such defamation as could not be made the subject of a temporal action); (c) Offences by laymen against clerks (i.e.
(6) Defamation was taken away in England by 18 & 19 Vict.
1 3Xaa477uLa, profane language, slander, probably derived from root of Ovi rrEt y, to injure, and 017µr7, speech), literally, defamation or evil speaking, but more peculiarly restricted to an indignity offered to the Deity by words or writing.
"No stronger proof," says Mark Pattison, "can be given of the inpressions produced by this powerful philippic, dedicated to the defamation of an individual, than that it has been the source from which the biography of Scaliger, as it now stands in our biographical collections, has mainly flowed."
They have in a similar manner been relieved of their jurisdiction in testamentary matters, and in matters of defamation and of brawling in churches; and the only jurisdiction which they continue to exercise over the general laity is with regard to their use of the churches and churchyards.