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schemes, and according to his own maxim, that a good citizen could not remain neutral in such a situation of affairs, Swift was to choose his party, and to declare himself accordingly. His arrival at that crisis, filled the whigs with joy, as in general they looked, upon hiin to be of their party; but the leaders among them were not without their apprehensions, being conscious of the ill treatment he had met with at their hands. Of this, take the following account from Swift himself*.
“ All the whigs were “ ravished to see me, and would have laid hold on “ me as a twig, to save them from sinking; and the
great men were all making me their clumsy apolo
gies. It is good to see what a lamentable confes“sion the whigs all make of my ill usage.” On the other hand, the tories were exceedingly alarmed at his arrival, as they liad always considered him in the light of a whig, and as the leaders of their party had not even the least personal knowledge of him ; how strong their apprehensions must have been, we may judge from a passage in Swift's Journal of the following year, dated June 30, 1711, where he says, that,
At this time, and during his connexion with the ministry afterward, Swift kept a regular journal of all the most remarkable events, as well as little anecdotes, which he transmitted every fortnight to Stella, for her private perusal, and that of Mrs. Dingley, but upon condition that it should be communicated to no other person whatsoever. This journal was luckily preserved, and sometime since given to the world. As nothing could better show Swift's own sentiments with regard to affairs at that time, and the motives which induced him to take the part he did in them, than such a journal, written as it were to the hour, and transmitted to that person in the world to whom his heart was most open; the account of his conduct, during that busy time, will, wherever there is an opportunity, be corroborated by extracts from it.
“ Mr. Harley and Mr. secretary St. John, frequently
protested, after he had become their intimate, “ that he was the only man in England they were " afraid of.” In such a disposition, therefore, it is to be supposed, that a visit froin Dr. Swift to Mr. Harley, was by no means an unacceptable thing. The occasion of this visit is set forth at large, in the letters which passed between Dr. King, archbishop of Dublin, and Dr. Swift, published in his works. Upon his leaving Ireland, Swift had undertaken to solicit the affair of the first fruits, and twentieth parts, for the benefit of the clergy in Ireland, which had been long depending, and in vain attempted by two bishops sent over for that purpose by the whole body. In his first letter to the archbishop on that subject, he says,
“ As soon as I received the packets from your grace, I went to wait upon
Mr. Harley. I had prepared him before, by an« other hand, where he was very intimate ; and got
myself represented (which I might justly do) as “ one extremely ill used by the last ministry, after
some obligations, because I refused to go certain “ lengths they would have me.' He afterward gives such an account of the whole transaction as might be proper to be shown. But in his Journal to Stella, he is more particular.-- October 4, 1710.“ Mr. Harley received me with the greatest respect “ and kindness imaginable, and appointed me an “ hour, two or three days after, to open my business " to him."
October 7. “ I Had no sooner told him my business, but he entered into it with all kindness; asked me for my powers, and read them; and read likewise the memorial I had drawn up, and put it into his pocket to show the queen: told me the measures he would take; and, in short, said every thing I could wish. Told me he must bring Mr. St. John and me acquainted; and spoke so many things of personal kindness and esteem, that I am inclined to believe what some friends had told me, that he would do every thing to bring me over. He desired me to dine with him on Tuesday; and, after four hours being with him, set me down at St. James's coffeehouse in a hackney coach.
“I must tell you a great piece of refinement in Harley. He charged me to come and see him often: I told him I was loth to trouble him, in so much business as he had, and desired I might have leave to come at his levee; which he immediately refused, and said, “That was no place for friends."
October 10, 1710. “ HARLEY tells me he has shown my memorial to the queen, and seconded it very heartily; because, said he, the queen designs to signify it to the bishops of Ireland in form, and take notice that it was done upon a memorial from you ; which he said he did to make it look more respectful to me: I believe never any thing was compassed so soon : and purely done by my personal credit with Mi. Harley ; who is so excessively obliging, that I know not what to make of it, unless to show the jascals of the other party, that they used a man unworahily, who had deserved better. He speaks all the kind things to me in the world.”
October 14 “ I STAND with the new people ten times better than ever I did with the old, and forty times more caressed."
When we consider the rapidity of Mr. Harley's motions on this occasion, who was remarkable for procrastination, and the open freedom of his behaviour toward Swift, so contrary to that closeness and reserve, which were his characteristicks, we may judge of his eager desire to fix him in their party. Nor was this hard to be accomplished : Swift had long in his own mind been of their side; and he only waited for such a favourable juncture as now offered to declare himself. Mr. Harley's uncommon condescension, flattered his pride ; and the obligingness of his behaviour, engaged his friendship. Accordingly, after he had inquired into their plan, and the measures which they intended to pursue, as he found them entirely consonant to his own sentiments, he embarked without hesitation in their cause, and entered into their interests with his whole heart. His approbation of their measures he expresses in the following manner in his Journal.
November 29, 1710. “The present ministry have a difficult task, and want me. According to the best judgment I have, they are pursuing the true interest of the publick, and therefore I am glad to contribute what lies in my power.”
The writers on both sides had before this taken the field, and attacked each other with great acrimony. On the whig side, were Mr. Addison, bi
shop Burnet, sir Richard Steele, Mr. Congreve, Mr. Rowe, and many others of less note. On the part of the tories, the chief writers were, lord Bolingbroke, bishop Atterbury, and Mr. Prior. They had begun a weekly paper, called, The Examiner, which was the joint work of those three celebrated writers, and had published twelve numbers. But as soon as Swift declared himself, they thought all aid to him unnecessary, and the whole conduct of that paper was from that time put into his hands. He entered the field alone, and, with a Sampsonlike strength, scorned assistance, and despised numbers. His power of ridicule was like a flail in his hand, against which there was no fence. Though he industriously concealed his name, yet his friend Addison soon discovered him, and retired prudently from the field of battle, leaving the rest exposed to the attacks of this irresistible champion ; by whom it must be allowed they were unmercifully handled, till, one after another, they were all laid low. His first paper was published on the 2d of November, 1710, No. 13 of the Examiner, which was about a month after his introduction to Mr. Harley; and he continued them without interruption till June 7 1711, where he dropped it, closing it with No. 44, and then leaving it to be carried on by other hands. During this time he lived in the utmost degree of confidence and familiarity, not only with Mr. Harley, but the whole ministry. Mr. secretary St. John was not behind Mr. Harley, either in desire of cultivating Swift's acquaintance, or in address, which the following extract from his Journal will sufficiently show.