« EelmineJätka »
Trial and Conviction
HE whole nation is at prefent very inquifitive after the proceedings in the caufe of goodman Fact, plaintiff, and Count Tariff, defendant; as it was tried on the eighteenth of June, in the thirteenth year of her Majefty's reign, and in the year of the Lord 1713. I shall therefore give my countrymen a fhort and faithful account of that whole matter. And in order to it, muft in the first place premise fome particulars relating to the perfon and character of the faid goodman Fact.
Goodman Fact is allowed by all to be a plain spoken perfon, and a man of a very few words. Tropes and figures are his averfion. He affirms every thing roundly, without any art, rhetoric, or circumlocution. He is a declared enemy to all manner of ceremony and complaifance. He flatters no body. Yet fo great is his natural eloquence, that he cuts down the finest orator, and deftroys the best contrived argument, as foon as ever he gets himfelf to be heard. He never applies to the paffions or prejudices of his audience: When they liften with attention and honeft minds, he never fails of
carrying his point. He appeared in a fuit of Englifb broad-cloth, very plain, but rich. Every thing he wore was fubftantial, honeft, home-fpun ware. His cane indeed came from the Eaft-Indies, and two or three fuperfluities from Turkey, and other parts. It is faid, that he encouraged himself with a bottle of neat Port, before he appeared at the trial. He was huzzaed into the court by several thousands of Weavers, Clothiers, Fullers, Dyers, Packers, Calenders, Setters, Silk-men, Spinners, Dreffers, Whitfters, Winders, Mercers, Throwfters, Sugar-bakers, Diftillers, Drapers, Hofi⚫ers, Planters, Merchants, and Fishermen;' who all unanimoufly declared that they could not live above two months longer, if their friend Fact did not gain his
Every body was over-joy'd to hear that the good man was come to town. He no fooner made his appearance in court, but feveral of his friends fell weeping at the fight of him: For indeed he had not been feen there three years before.
The charge he exhibited against Count Tariff was drawn up in the following articles.
I. That the faid Count had given in false and fraudulent reports in the name of the plaintiff.
II. That the faid Count had tampered with the faid plaintiff, and made use of many indirect methods to bring him over to his party.
III. That the faid Count had wilfully and knowingly traduced the faid plaintiff, having mifreprefented him in many cunningly devifed fpeeches, as a perfon in the
IV. That the faid Count had averred in the presence of above five hundred perfons, that he had heard the plaintiff speak in derogation of the Portuguese, Spaniards,
Italians, Hollanders, and others; who were the perfons whom the faid plaintiff had always favoured in his difcourfe, and whom he should always continue to favour.
V. That the faid Count had given a very difadvantageous relation of the three great farms, which had long flourished under the care and fuperintendency of the plaintiff.
VI. That he would have obliged the owners of the faid farms to buy up many commodities which grew upon their own lands. That he would have taken away the labour from the tenants, and put it into the hands of ftrangers. That he would have leffened and destroyed the produce of the faid farms.
That by thefe and many other wicked devices he would have starved many honeft day-labourers; have impoverished the owner, and have filled his farm with beggars, &c.
VII. That the faid Count had either funk or mislaid feveral books, papers, and receipts, by which the plaintiff might fooner have found means to vindicate himself from fuch calumnies, afperfions, and mifreprefentations.
In all these particulars goodman Fact was very short but pithy: For, as I faid before, he was a plain, homefpun man. His yea was yea, and his nay, nay. He had farther fo much of the quaker in him, that he never fwore, but his affirmation was as valid as another's oath.
It was observed that Count Tariff endeavoured to brow-beat the plaintiff all the while he was speaking: But though he was not fo impudent as the Count, he was every whit as fturdy; and when it came to the Count's turn to speak, old Fact fo ftared him in the face, after his plain, downright way, that the Count was very often ftruck dumb, and forced to hold his tongue in the middle of his difcourfe.
More witneffes appeared on this occafion to atteft goodman Fact's 's veracity, than ever were seen in a court
of juftice. His caufe was pleaded by the ableft men in the kingdom; among whom was a gentleman of Suffolk, who did him fignal fervice.
Count Tarif appeared juft the reverfe of goodman Fact. He was dreffed in a fine brocade waistcoat, curiously embroidered with flower-de-luces. He wore also a broad-brimmed hat, a fhoulder-knot, and a pair of filver-clocked ftockings. His fpeeches were accompanied with much gefture and grimace. He abounded in empty phrafes, fuperficial flourishes, violent affertions, and feeble proofs. To be brief, he had all the French affurance, cunning, and volubility of tongue; and would moft certainly have carried his caufe, had he dealt with any one antagonist in the world befides goodman Fact.
The Count being called upon to answer to the charge which had been made against him, did it after a manner peculiar to the family of the Tariffs, viz. by railing and calling names.
He, in the first place, accufed his adverfary of Scandalum Magnatum, and of speaking against his fuperiors with faucinefs and contempt. As the plain good man was not of a make to have any friends at court, he was a little ftartled at this accufation, until at length he made it appear, that it was impoffible for any of his family to be either faucy or cringing, for that their character was, above all others in the world, to do what was required of them by the court, that is, To SPEAK THE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH.
The Count in the next place affured the court, that his antagonist had taken upon him a wrong name, having curtailed it of two or three letters; for that in reality his name was not FACT but FACTION. The Court was fo pleated with this conceit, that for an hour together he repeated it in every fentence; calling his antagonist's affertions, the reports of faction; his friends, the fons of faction; the teftimonies of witneffes, the dictates of faction: Nay, with such a degree of impudence did he puth this matter, that when he heard the cries of above a million of people begging for their bread,