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duty to make of that melancholy event. “ Mem. On Wednesday, between seven and eight in the evening, May 10, 1710, I received a letter in my chamber ar Laracor (Mr. Percival and Jo. Beaumont being by) from Mr3.
F d ated May 9, with one ioclosed, sent by Mrs. Worral at Leicester to Mrs. Fr , giving an account that my dear moiher, Mrs. Abigail Swift, died that morning, Mon. day, April 24, 1710, about ten o'clock, after a long sickness : being ill all winter, and lame; and extremely ill about a month or six weeks before her death. I have now lost my barrier berween me and death. God grant I may live to be as well prepared for it as I confidently believe her to bave been! If the way to heaven be through piety, truth, juitice, and charity, he is there. J. S.”
• He always treated bis mother, during her life, with the utmost duty and affection: and the sometimes came to Ireland 10 vilit him after his settlement at Laracor. She lodged at Mr. Brent's, the printer, in George's Lane, Dublin. She asked Mrs. Brent, the Jandlady, " Wheiher the could keep a tecret ?” She replied, “The could very well." Upon which he enjoined her not to make the matier public, which she was now going to communicate to her. “I have a spark in this town, that I carried on a correspondence with, whilft I was in England. He will be here presently to pay his ad. dresles, for he hath heard by this time of my arrival. But I would not have the matter known." Soon after this a rap was heard ar che door, and Dr. Swift walked op stairs. Mrs. Brent retired : bui after à little time she was called, and then Mrs. Swift introduced her to her son, and said, “ This is my spark, I was telling you of. This is my lover: and indeed the only one I thall ever admit to pay their addresses to me.” The Doctor smiled at his mother's humour, and akerwards paid his duty to her erery day, unsuspected by Mrs Brent, whom he invited some years afterwards to take care of his family affairs, when he became Dean of St. Patrick's: and when Mrs. Brent died, he continued her daughter, a poor widow, in the same office.'
Mr. Nichols hath preserved a curious letter, addressed by Alderman Faulkner (the celebrated Peter Paragraph of one of Foote's comedies) to the late Earl of Chesterficld. It contains some striking anecdotes of Dean Swift, which his former biographers were unacquainted with. One of them respects Dr. Sacheverei; and seems to show in what light he was privately held by the persons who, in public, were the warmest partisans of his cause. Dr. Sacheverel, in consequence of a most impudent and infammatory fermon, preached before the Lord Mayor, on Nov. 5, 1709, was impeached at the bar of the House of Lords, in the name of the Commons of Great Britain, for high crimes and misdemeanors, &c. Having been tried before the Lords, and found guilty, he was silenced for the space of three years, and his sermon was condemned to be burned by the hands of the common hangman, which sentence was rigidly executed.
• When this affair was over (says Mr. Faulkner) the ministry took very little notice of him, and created him with great indifference : but upon the Rectory of St. Andrew's, Holborn, being vacant, the
Doflor Doctor applied to them for that living: bot they had no regard to his solicitation. Upon which he wrote to Dr. Swift, with whom he had a very slender acquaintance, to request his interest with the Go. vernment for that parih : and set forth, how much he had suffered for them, and cheir caule. Dr. Swift immediately carried this latter to Lord Bolingbroke, then secretary of state, who railed much at Sacheverel, calling him a busy, intermeddling fellow, a prig, and an incendiary, who had set the kingdom in a flaine, which could not be extinguithed, and therefore deferved censure inftead of a reward. To which Swito replied, “ True, iny Lord;- but let me tell you a hort story. In a sea-fone in the reign of Charles II. there was a very bicody engagement between the English and the Dutch Beers ; in the heat of which, a Scotcb seaman was very feverely bit by a louse in his neck, which he caught, and flooping down to crack it between his nails, many of the sailors near him, had their headssaken off by a chain fhot from the enemy, which fcatered their brains and blood about him. On this he had compaffion on the poor loule, returned him to his place, and bid bim live there at difcretion : for as he had faved his life, he was bound in gratitude to save his.' The recital of this put my Lord Boling broke into a fit of laughter ; who, when it was over, faid, “ The foule shall have the living for your story :” and foon after Sacheverel was prefenied to it.'
This is generally the case with the tools of a party : they think themselves lions; but their secret employers, who give thein all their consequence, regard them no better than lice!
The liberality of Dean Swift hath been a topic of just encomium with all his admirers : nor could his cnemies deny him this praise. In his domestic affairs, he always acted with strict economy. He kept the most regular accounts: and he seems to have done this chiefly with a view to increase his power of being useful. Mr. Faulkner informs us, that his income was 900l. per annum, which he endeavoured to divide into three parts, for the following purposes. First, to live upon one third of it. Secondly, to give another third in pensions and charities, according to the manner in which persons who received them had lived : and the other third he laid-by, to build a hospital for the reception of ideots and lunatics.'-amma • What is remarkab'e in this generous man, is this, (says Mr. F.) that when he lent money upon bond or mortgage, he would not take the legal intereit, but one per cent. below it.'
• Fires have sometimes happened in Dublin, by which people of all denominations have been (ufferers : upon which melancholy occasions, the Dean always exerted himself, not only in person, by going from house to house, to make collections for thein; but wrote and recommended their melancholy cales to the pub!ic. He would go to the 'afilicted sufferers, offir them his lervice, and would be the first to subicribe in a most princely and generous manner to their relief; which worthy example of his, the beneyolent citizens of Dublin would imitate.' Aa4
and fellom the deferul accoarded vir
· His charity appears to have been a fettled principle of duty, more than an instinctive cffort of good nature; but as it was thus founded and fupported, it had extraordinary merit, and feldom failed to exert itself in a manner that contributed most to render it beneficial. He did not lavith his money on the idle and the worthless. He nicely discriminated characters, and was seldom the dupe of impolition. Hence his generosity always turned to a useful account; while it relieved distress, it encouraged industry, and rewarded virtue.
We dwell with great pleasure on this truly excellent and distinguishing part of the Dean's character : and for the sake of his charity, we can overlook his oddities, and almost forgive his faults. He was a very peculiar man in every respect. Some have said, “. What a man he would have been, had he been without those whims and infirmities which faded both his genius and his character !” But perhaps the peculiarities complained of were inseparable froin his genius. The vigor and fertility of the root could not fail now and then of throwing out fuperfluous suckers. What produced there, produced also the more beautiful branches, and gave the fruit all its richness.
It must be acknowledged, that the Dean's fancy hurried him into great absurdities and inconsistencies, for which, nothing but his extraordinary talents and noble virtues, discovered in other instances, could have atoned. The rancour he discovered to. wards the Diffenters, we have already taken notice of. No feet could have merited it in the degree in which he always showed it to them : for in some instances, it bordered on downright per. fecution. He doubtless had his reasons for expoing their principles to ridicule : and might perhaps have sufficient grounds for some of his accusations against their principal leaders in Ireland : but nothing could justify his virulence against the whole body. Indiscriminate reflections on a community at large, are general. ly the offspring of ignorance or malice. It is impossible for us to put down his prejudices to the account of the former; and we thould be forry to impute them to a worse principles
In the biographical anecdotes, collected by the Editor of this Supplement, we are informed, such was the Dean's chagrin, on the choice which the corporation of Dublin had made of a Dise senter, for a physician to an hospital in that city, that he imme. diately altered a will, in which he had nominated them truflces to a public charity of his own. This action trongly marked his temper; but he should have confidered, that the corporation had acted, not in a religious, but a civil capacity; and that it was at least posible, that a man might be a very skilful phy. sician, withou: being an orthodox churchman. The prejudices of party, carried into common lie, are only fit for the vulgar.
miltinguishing hriftianity ments of ho
When Swift's resentment was excited, it generally arose to indignation. Amidst the constellation of virtues which shed a diftinguishing luflre on his character, he wanted one that a minister of christianity ought to be ambitious of numbering amongst the chief ornaments of his profesion; and that was FORGIVENESS. This is a virtue that requires a great share of humility: and Swift seemed to consider himself as having a prescriptive right to haughtiness. His pride gave a dignity indeed to some parts of his conduct; but it frequently transgressed all the bounds of common civility, and christian condescen. fion. His pride was not gratified with lowering on those he hated, with a supercilious brow: it must trampie them under his feet. He could not laugh away his resentment. " It stuck to his last rand :" and gained strength by its duration.
Of Dr. Sharp, the Archbishop of York, who hindered his promotion in the church, by insinuating something to the prejudice of his religion, he never spoke but with a tone of indigo nation, that marked a fettled rancour, Dr. Tenison, the Archbishop of Canterbury, he calls, for the same good reason, the most good-for-nothing prelate that ever lived. Mr. Nichols hath transcribed, from an authentic MS. in the possession of
Thomas Astle, Esq; a sort of a counterpart to Macky's • Characters,' (annexed to the Memoirs of Secret Services,'1 in which the Dean hath discovered his keenness of observation, and feverity of resentment, against some of the most distinguished characters of the court of George I. In some few instances he agrees with Macky. But in a far greater number,' he totally differs from him, and with a dath of his pen damns a character that Macky had exerted all his talents to emblazon and rccommend. We shall select some of the most striking and characteristic.
Lord Wharton *. . He is one of the completest gentlemen in England: hath a very clear understanding and manly expreffion; with abundance of wit. MACKY. 6 The most universal villain I ever saw." SWIFT. MS.
Earl of Galway. He is one of the finest gentlemen in the army, with a head fitted for the cabinet as well as the camp : is very modeft, vigilant, and sincere : a man of honour and honesty: without pride or affectation." Macky. "In all directly otherwise. A deceitful, hypocritical, facious knave: a damnable hypocrite: of no religion.” SWIFT. MS. · Of John Duke of Argyle, Swift says in his MS. "Am. bitious, covetous, cunning Scot: has no principles but his own intereft and greainers : A true Scot in his whole deportment."
• In one of his poems, he expressly says a toad.'
he hated Wharton like
bhouse of peers, man, well thapadacky.
Earl of Derby. “ He never will make any great figure in the house of peers, the sword being most his profeffion. He is a fair complexioned man, well shaped, taller than the ordinary fize, and a man of honour." Macky. " As arrant a Scoundrel as his brother.” SWIFT. MS.
Duke of Grafton. " A very pretty gentleman." MACKY. « Almost a slobberer : without one good quality." SWIFT. MS.
Secretary Johnston. "He is very honest, yet something too credulous and suspicious. He would not tell a lie for the world." Macky. " A treacherous knave. One of the greatest knaves even in Scotland." Swift. MS.
Here follow some of Swife's characters in the gross. Lord Cholmondley. " Good for nothing, as far as ever I knew." Lord Guildford. " A mighty Gilly fellow.” Duke of Marlborough. " Detestably covetous." Earl of Sandwich. “ As much a puppy as ever I saw : very ugly, and a fop.” Speaker of the House of Commons. " A heavy man." .
Swift's particular aversion to Lord Wharton is well accounted for, by a curious anecdote, communicated to Mr. Nichols by the late Dr. Salter.
Lord Somers recommended Dr. Swift, at his own earnest request, to Lord Wharton, when that Earl went as Lord Lieutenant to Ire. land, in 1708; but without success : and the answer his Lordship is faid to have given, was never forgotten, or forgiven by Swift, but feems to have laid the foundation for that peculiar rancour, with which he always mentions Lord Wharton. I jaw and read (says Dr. Saleer) two letters of Jonathan Swift, then Prebendary of St. Patrick's, Dablin, to Lord Somers: the firft earnettly entreating his favour, pleading his poverty, and profesling the most unalterable attachment io his Lordship's person, friends, and cause : the second, acknowBudging Lord Somers's kindness, in having recommended him, and concluding wich the like folemn profeflions; not more than a year betore Swift deserted Lord Somers, and all his friends, writing avowedly on the contrary side, and (as he boalls himself) libelling all the junto round. I saw also the very letters which Lord Somers wroie to ihe Earl of Wharton, in which Svift is very heartily and warmly recommended ; and I well remember the short and very smart answer ibat Lord Wharton is said to have giver, which, as I have observed, Swift never forgave or forgot. It was to this purpose, “ Oh, my Lord! we must not prefer, or countenance there fellows; we have not character enough our felves.”
The natural acrimony of Swift's temper was increased by repeated disappointments. This gave a splenetic tincture to his writings; and amidst the duties of private and domestic life, it too frequently appeared to shade the lustre of his more eminent virtues. A pre-sentiment which he had long entertained of that wretchedness which would inevitably overtake him towards the close of life, by the failure of bis intellects, clouded his mind with the most melancholy ideas, and tinged every object