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Swift acted the part of a philosopher, yet no one could feel more for the distresses of his former friends, and the uncomfortableness of his own situation. In a letter to Pope, June 28, 1715, he

says, “ You know how well I loved both lord Oxford and “ Bolingbroke, and how dear the duke of Ormond “ is to me: and do you imagine I can be easy “ while their enemies are endeavouring to take off “ their heads ? I nunc, & versus tecum meditare canoros. “ Do you imagine I can be easy, when I think on “the probable consequences of these proceedings, “perhaps upon the very peace of the nation, but “ certainly of the minds of so many hundred thou“sand good subjects ?” And in one to Mr. Gay, he says, “ I was three years reconciling myself to the

scene, and the business, to which fortune hath "condemned me, and stupidity was that I had re

taken into custody of the ferjeant at arms: sir Pierce Butler, Mr. Matthew Ford, and Mr. Robert Cope. Swist, visiting Cope one day, found Povey the serjeant at arms, who was a perfect stranger to Swift's person, sitting with him. After some conversation, Swift asked Cope whether he did not intend to go out that morning, as it was a fine day. Cope said he could not stir out, he was confined. Swift asked, had he taken physick ? Cope said, no, but that he was confined by the parliament, and was then in custody of the serjeant at arms. Swift, with an air of perfect ignorance, and simplicity, inquired the meaning of that, as if he had never heard of a serjeant at arms, or


such power in the parliament ; and soon after took his leave. When he was gone, Povey said it would be well for the church and the kingdom, if the clergy minded state affairs as little as that honest gentleman, who he durst say, was a good parish minister, residing at his living, and minding his own affairs, without troubling his head about those of the publick. Pray what is his name? Swift. Is he any relation of the dean of St. Patrick's? The very man, says Cope. The very man! replied Povey; damn him, he has bit me, and left the room in some confusion.


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years hence.”

“ course to.” In another to the same, he gives this account of himself: “I would describe to you niy

way of living, if any method could be called so “ in this country. I choose my companions among “ those of least consequence, and most compliance: “I read the most trifling books I can find, and “ when I write, it is upon the most trifling subjects: but riding, walking, and sleeping, take up eighteen of the twenty-four hours. I procrasti

nate more than I did twenty years ago, and have “ several things to finish, which I put off to twenty

hence. In this manner did he pass seven years of his life from his arrival in Ireland, little known there as an author, except on account of his political writings, which, in that change of times rendered him an object of general detestation. There had been then no collection made of his works, and his detractors in England had robbed him of the merit of his principal work, The Tale of a Tub, by denying him to be the author. Many calumnies were industriously propagated against him, taken from the writings of the hirelings on the whig side, whereof the number was so great, that Swift in one place says, that there were upward of a thousand papers and pamphlets published against him in the space of a few years. But wrapped in the consciousness of his integrity, he had the fortitude to treat all this with silent contempt. To counterbalance the ill treatment he met with from the publick, he, by degrees, contracted an intiinacy with a select few, who had taste to relish the author, and virtue to admire the man * He had also


• In a passage above quoted from his letter to Gay, where he says, “ I choose my companions among those of least consequence,

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the supreme satisfaction of constantly enjoying the society of the amiable and accomplished Stella, whose


" and most compliance," we are to understand only such humbie friends as were always at his devotion, to be let in, or sent away without ceremony, according as he was in the humour. It was probably this passage, which furnished lord Orrery with an occasion of exercising his usual disposition to depreciate the dean as much as possible, in the following paragraphs: “ After the great " names, which I have just now mentioned, it is matter of " astonishment to find the sanie person, who had enjoyed the

highest and the best conversation, equally delighted with the “ lowest and the worst; and yet it is certain, from Swift's settle

ment in Dublin as dean of St. Patrick's, his choice of compa“nions in general, showed him of a very depraved taste.”

" From the year 1714, till he appeared in the year 1720, a

champion for Ireland against Wood's halfpence, his spirit of po“ liticks and of patriotism was kept almost closely confined within “ his own breast. Jdleness and trifles engrossed too many of his 6 hours: fools and sycophants too much of his conversation.”

His answerer, Dr. Delany, fired with indignation at this false charge, replies to him in the following manner :

“ My lord, you have been so grossly abused, in the accounts “ which dictated those two paragraphs to you, that I am almost " ashamed to set you right.

“ The meanest man I ever heard of his conversing withi during “ that period, was Mr. Worrall, a clergyman, a master of arts, a * reader and vicar of his cativedral, and a master of the song. He “ was nearly of his own standing in the college; a good walker, a ". man of sense, and a great deal of humour. Mr. Worrall's situ“ ation in the church, naturally engaged his attendance upon the “ dean, every time he went thither : and their walks naturally “ ended either in the dean's dining with him, or he with the " dean. But as the dean was a single man, the former happened “ more frequently: and this intercourse at last ended in the dean's “ dining with him, as often as he pleased, at a certain rate, and in“ viting as many friends as he pleased upon the same terms,”

The doctor then proceeds to relate his intimacy with the Grattans, a numerous race of brothers, all in affluent or easy circumstances, a set of men as generally acquainted, and as much beloved, as any one family in the nation. After a particular description of each of these, conversation, by his own account, was the niost engaging of any he had ever met with, either in

he proceeds thus: “ These, my lord, were men of open hearts, and “ free spirits : who as little deserved, and as much di dained the cha“racter and office of sycophants, as any nobleman of yours, or any “ nation. And yet these, with their allies, the Jacksons, &c. gen“ teel, agreeable, and well bred men and women, were the compa“ nions of many of Swift's easiest and happiest hours: such compa“ nions, as no wise man ever wanted, or at least would want, if he “ could help it; any more than he would his night gown, his couch, “ or his easy chair.”

" Whether the Grattans led Swift, or he them, into the acquaint“ ance of their friends, George Rochfort, and Peter Ludlow, I can“ not say. But this I know, that he lived much with those gen. “ tlemen, and cultivated their friendship with a very distinguished “ affection, and esteem; and it is certain, that they well deserved " the highest regard and distinction he could pay them.

Quales animæ neque candidiores terra tulit,
Nec queis te magis optasses amicum.
Such souls! more candid never earth produced,

Nor whom you could more wisely wish your friendls. “ They were men of fortune, scholars, men of parts, men of “ humour, men of wit, and men of virtue. Greater companions • Swift might have conversed with, but better he neither did, nor “ could.-Let me add to these another gentleman, for whom the “ dean had a particular esteem, Matthew Ford, a man of family and “ fortune; a fine gentleman, and the best lay scholar of his time and or nation. These, with the fellows of the college, Dr. Walmsley, “ Dr. Helsham, Dr. Delany, Mr. Stopford (now bishop of Cloyne) “ and Dr. Sheridan, among the men ; and lady Eustace, Mrs. “ Moore, lady Betty Rochfort, and Mrs. Ludlow, ladies suffi“ ciently distinguished, of the other sex; were, with Stella, and her

friends, Swift's principal acquaintance and companions, during “ the period you mention, and treat as the era of his infamy.

“ I might mention some others of very distinguished characters, “ who made up, I will not say, that adnjired, but I can say with “ truth, that envied society, in which Swift passed his life at " that period. But I hope I have already said sufficient to set you right."


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man or woman. And he found in Dr. Sheridan, that beft cordial of life, a bosom friend, to whom he could open himself without restraint, in all humours, and who was peculiarly calculated for the bagatelle, of which Swift at that tiine professed himself so fond, as the only means of keeping up his spirits in the gloom that surrounded him. He had the pleasure of hearing often from his former friends, whose letters breathed the same cordial affection, and high esteem which they always professed for him. Among this number were lord Bolingbroke, lord Harley, Mr. Addison, Dr. Arbuthnot, Prior, Pope, Lewis, &c. the duchess of Ormond, and lady Bolingbroke. In the year 1715, when lord Oxford was committed to the Tower, Swift wrote pressingly to him that he might be permitted to attend him there. His letter begins thus : “ My lord, it may look like an “idle or officious thing in me, to give your lordship

any interruption under your present circumstances :

yet I could never forgive myself, if, after having been “ treated for several years with the greatest kindness " and distinction, by a person of your lordship’s “ virtue, I should omit making you at this time “ the humblest offers of my poor service and at“ tendance. It is the first time I ever solicited " you in my own behalf; and if I am refused, it “ will be the first request you ever refused me.” But lord Oxford, however desirous he might be of the presence of such a friend, whose conversation might contribute more than any thing in the world to soften the rigour of confinement, was too generous to put him to such an inconvenience on that account.

Yet immediately on his release from the Tower, he expressed his desire of seeing him in



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