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TRIAL AND CONVICTION
The whole nation is at present very inquisitive after the proceedings in the cause of Goodman Fact, plaintiff, and Count Tariff, defendant; as it was tried on the 18th of June, in the thirteenth year of her majesty's reign, and in the year of the Lord 1713. I shall therefore give my countrymen a short and faithful account of that whole matter. And in order to it, must in the first place premise some particulars relating to the person and character of the said plaintiff, Goodman Fact.
Goodman Fact is allowed by every body to be a plain-spoken person, and a man of very few words. Tropes and figures are his aversion. He affirms every thing roundly, without any art, rhetoric, or circumlocution. He is a declared enemy to all kinds of ceremony and complaisance. He flatters no body. Yet so great is his natural eloquence, that he cuts down the finest orator, and destroys the best-contrived argument, as soon as ever he gets himself to be heard. He never applies to the passions or prejudices of his audience; when they listen with attention and honest minds, he never fails of carrying his point. He appeared in a suit of English broad-cloth, very plain, but rich. Every thing he wore was substantial, honest, homespun ware. His cane indeed came from the East Indies, and two or three little superfluities from Turkey, and other parts. It is said 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, dressers, whitsters, winders, mercers, throwsters, sugar-bakers, distillers, drapers, hosiers, planters, merchants, and fishermen; who all unanimously declared, that they could not live above two months longer, if their friend Fact did not gain his cause.
Every body was overjoyed to hear that the good man was come to town. He no sooner made his appearance in court, but several of his friends fell a weeping at the sight of him: for indeed he had not been seen there three years before. : The charge he exhibited against Count Tariff was drawn up in the following articles.
I. That the said Count had given in false and fraudulent reports in the name of the plaintiff. · II. That the said Count had tampered with the said plaintiff, and made use of many indirect methods to bring him over to his party.
III. That the said Count had wilfully and knowingly traduced the said plaintiff, having misrepresented him in many cunningly-devised speeches, as a person in the French interest. · IV. That the said Count had averred in the presence of above five hundred persons, that he had heard the plaintiff speak in derogation of the Portuguese, Spaniards, Italians, Hollanders, and others, who were the persons whom the said plaintiff had always favoured in his discourse, and whom he should always continue to favour. · V. That the said Count had given a very disadvantageous relation of the three great farms, which had long flourished under the care and superintendency of . the plaintiff.
VI. That he would have obliged the owners of the
said 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 strangers. That he would have lessened and destroyed the produce of the said farms.
That by these and many other wicked devices he would have starved many honest day-labourers: have impoverished the owner, and have filled his farm with beggars, &c.
VII. That the said Count had either sunk or mislaid several books, papers, and receipts, by which the plaintiff might sooner have found means to vindicate himself from such calumnies, aspersions, and misrepresentations.
In all these particulars Goodman Fact was very short, but pithy: for, as I said before, he was a plain, home-spun man. His yea was yea, and his nay, nay. He had farther so much of the Quaker in him, that he never swore, 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 so impudent as the Count, he was every whit as sturdy; and when it came to the Count's turn to speak, old Fact so stared him in the face, after his plain, downright way, that the Count was very often struck dumb, and forced to hold his tongue in the middle of his discourse.
More witnesses appeared on this occasion, to attest Goodman Fact's veracity, than ever were seen in a court of justice. His cause was pleaded by the ablest men in the kingdom: among whom was a gentleman of Suffolk, who did him signal service.
Count Tariff appeared just the reverse of Goodman Fact. He was dressed in a fine brocade waistcoat, curiously embroidered with flower-de-luces. He wore also a broad-brimmed hat, a shoulder-knot, and a pair of silver-clocked stockings. His speeches were accompanied with much gesture and grimace. He