« EelmineJätka »
bread, he termed the prayers and importunities of fuch a ftarving multitude, the CLAMOURS OF FACTION.
As foon as the Count was driven out of this devicet he affirmed roundly in the court, that FACT was not an Englishman by birth, but that he was of Dutch extraction, and born in Holland. In confequence of this affertion, he began to rally the poor plaintiff, under the title of MYNHEER VAN FACT; which took pretty well with the fimpletons of his party, but the men of sense did not think the jeft worth all their lands and
When the Count had finished his fpeech, he defired leave to call in his witneffes, which was granted: when immediately there came to the bar a man with a hat down over his eyes in fuch a manner that it was impoflible to fee his face. He spoke in the fpirit, nay, in the very language of the Count, repeated his arguments, and confirmed his affertions. Being asked his
name; he said the world called him MERCATOR; but as for his true name, his age, his lineage, his religion, his place of abode, they were particulars, which for certain reafons he was obliged to conceal. The court found him fuch a falfe, fhuffling, prevaricating rascal, that they fet him afide as a perion unqualified to give his teftimony in a court of juftice; advifing him at the fame time, as he tendered his ears, to forbear uttering fuch notorious falfhoods as he had then published. The witness however perfilted in his contumacy, telling them that he was forry to find, that notwithstanding what he had faid, they were refolved to be as arrant fools as their forefathers had been for a hundred years before them.
There came up another witness, who spoke much to the reputation of Count Tariff. This was a tall, black, blustering perfon, dreffed in a Spanish habit, with a plume of feathers on his head, a Gollilio about his neck, and a long Toledo fticking out by his fide; his garments were fo covered with tinfel and fpangles, that at a diftance he feeined to be made up of filver and gold.
He called himself DoN ASSIENTO, and mentioned feveral nations that had fought his friendship; but declared that he had been gained over by the Count; and that he was come into these parts to enrich every one that heard him. The court was at firft very well pleafed with his figure, and the promises he made them; but upon examination, found him a true Spaniard: nothing but. fhew and beggary. For it was fully proved, that notwithstanding the boafts and appearance which he made, he was not worth a groat: nay, that upon cafting up his annual expences, with the debts and incumbrances which lay upon his eftate, he was worse than nothing.
There appeared another witness in favour of the Count, who spoke with fo much violence and warmth, that the court began to listen to him very attentively; until upon hearing his name they found he was a notorious Knight of the Poft, being kept in pay, to give his teftimony or all occafions where it was wanted. This was the EXAMINER; a perfon who had abused almost every man in England, that deferved well of his country. He called goodman Fact a lyar, a feditious perfon, a traitor, and a rebel; and fo much incensed the honeft man, that he would certainly have knocked him down if he could have come at him. It was allowed by every body, that fo foul-mouthed a witness never appeared in any caufe. Seeing feveral perfons of great eminence, who had maintained the cause of goodman Fact, he called them idiots, blockheads, villains, knaves, infidels, atheists, apoftates, fiends and devils; never did man show so much eloquence in ribaldry. The court was at length fo juftly provoked with this fellow's behaviour, who fpared no age, nor fex, nor profeflion, which had flown any friendship or inclination for the plaintiff, that feveral began to whisper to one another, it was high time to bring him to punishment. But the witnefs over-hearing the word pillory repeated twice or thrice, flunk away privately, and hid himself among the people.
After full hearing on both fides, Count Tariff was caft, and goodman Fact got his caufe; but the court fitting late, did not think it fit at that time to give him cofts, or indeed to enter into that matter. The honeft man immediately retired, after having affured his friends, that at any time when the Count fhould appear on the like occafion, he would undertake their defence, and come to their affiftance, if they would be at the pains to find him out.
It is incredible, how general a joy goodman Fact's fuccefs created in the City of London; there was nothing to be seen or heard the next day, but fhaking of hands, congratulations, reflexions on the danger they had efcaped; and gratitude to those who had delivered them from it.
The night concluded with balls, bonfires, ringing of bells, and the like public demonftrations of joy.