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determined, and offensive a form as in this ostentatious monarch. William III, before his accession to the British throne, had been the most formidable opponent to his progress. But he had contrived to set his grandson, Philip V, on the throne of Spain, in opposition to the claims of Austria, and, by the fear of the ultimate union of these two great nations under one sceptre, alarmed all Europe. In vain was the united resistance of Austria and Holland, till England sent out its great general, Marlborough: and the names of Marlborough, and the Savoyard, Prince Eugene, became as those of the demi-gods in the temple of war; and Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde, and Malplaquet, arose from their ages of obscurity into continental pyramids of England's military renown.
But of what avail was all this renown? What was won by it, except the empty glory itself? At the crowning moment-at the hour of otherwise inevitable retribution to the bloody and unprincipled monarch of France, and of recompense to those nations whose blood he had so lavishly shed, and whose surface he had covered with ashes, ruins, and horrors, instead of cities, peaceful villages, and fair fields—the Whigs were expelled from office by the Tories, and all the fruits of this long and bitter war were snatched away from us and our allies. To deprive the Whigs of the glory of a successful war, to dash down as abortive all the triumphs of the Whig general, Marlborough, these men rushed into peace, without consulting the allies, and left no results to the great European struggle but the blood which had been shed, and the misery that had been endured. Louis, then eighty-five years of age, and tottering towards the grave, saw himself at once released from the most terrible condition into which his wicked ambition had plunged him--from the most terrible prospect of humiliation and disgrace which could wring such a mind. He had reduced his kingdom to the last stage of exhaustion, by balf a century's incessant contest with Europe; by bribing the English monarchs, Charles II. and James II. and many English nobles, to refuse help to the suffering continent; and by bribing and paying the armies of German princes whom he could induce to become traitors to their nation. His people were fiercely embittered against him; no taxes could be raised; his best generals were defeated on all hands, and a short time would, most probably, have seen Marlborough and Eugene anticipate the allies of our day, by marching directly upon and taking possession of Paris. So sensible of this was Louis, that his haughty tone was totally gone; he ordered his ambassadors to give up Alsace, and even to assist in driving Philip, his own grandson, out of Spain, by privately paying the allies a million of livres monthly for the purpose. The Tories came in at this critical juncture, and all was changed. They offered Louis a most unexpected peace. At once he lifted again his head and his heart: Alsace remains, to this day, a part of France; Spain has descended to the Bourbon; and the glory of Marlborough is without a single result, except Blenheim House, the dukedom to his family, and sixty-two millions and a half of taxation, which that war cost the English people. The peace of Utrecht roused the indignation of the whole civilised world. Volumes have been written in reprehension of it, and even enlightened conservatives of our time, as Hallam in his Constitutional History, join in the condemnation.
Yet this mighty change, with all its countless consequences, could be effected, almost wholly, by the simple vicar of a simple Irish parish. It was Swift who helped to plan and carry out this grand scheme of defeat and mortification to the Whigs, who had excited his wrath by withholding from him preferment. It was he, more than all men together, who, in the Examiner, painted the scheme in all his affluence of delusive colours to the nation, and roused the English people, by the cry of English blood and English money wasted on the continent, to demand immediate peace.
While we lament the deed, we must confess the stupendous powers of the man.
But all this could not win him the keenly coveted bishopric. He could reverse the history of total Europe, he could arrest the victorious arms of Marlborough and Eugene, he could put forth his hand and save France and its proud monarch from just humiliation ; but he could not extort from the reluctant queen, even by the combined hands of Oxford and Bolingbroke, the
object of his own ambition-a mitre. The Tale of a Tub stood in his way; it was only just in time, that his friends, themselves falling, secured for him the deanery of St. Patrick's; to which he retired to act the ostensible patriot by indulging his own private resentment against his enemies and his fate.
Laracor is about two English miles from Trim. It lies in a drearyish sort of farming country, and to Swift, full of ambition, and accustomed to town life, and the stirring politics of the time, with which he was so much mixed up, one would have thought must prove a perfect desert. There is no village there, nor does there appear to have been one. It was a mere church and parsonage, and huts were very likely scattered about here and there, as they are now. The church still stands; one of the old, plain, barn-like structures of this part of the country, with a low belfrey. The graveyard is pretty well filled with headstones and tombs, and some that seem to belong to good families. The churchyard is surrounded by a wall and trees, and in a thatched cottage at the gate lives the sexton. He said he had built the house himself: that he was seventy-five or so; and his wife, who had been on the spot fifty years, as old; but that the incumbent, a Mr. Irvine, was eighty-four, and that he was but the third from Swift. Swift held it fifty-five years, the next incumbent nearly as long, and this clergyman thirty-six, or thereabouts. It must, therefore, be a healthy place. The old man complained that all the gentry who used to live near were gone away. Ilis wife used to get 201. at Christmas, for Christmas-boxes, “and now she does not get even a cup o'tay. Poor creature ! and she so fond of the tay !”
Like his house at Dublin, Swift's house here is gone. There remains only one tall, thick ruin of a wall.—“What is that ?” I asked of a man at a cottage door, close by. “It's been there from the time of the Dane," said he. For a moment I imagined he meant the Danes; but soon recollected myself. Close to it, at the side of the high road, is a clear spring, under some bushes, and margined with great stones, which they call “ the Dane's cellar,” and “the Dane's well.” Swift has not lost his
popularity yet with the people. “He was a very good man to the
poor," say they. “He was a fine bright man.” This, however, is all the remains of his place here. The present vicar has built himself a good house in the fields, nearer to Trim; and not only the dean's house is all gone except this piece of wall, but his holly hedge, his willows, and cherry trees have vanished. A common Irish hut now stands in what was his garden. The canal may still be traced, but the river walk is now a marsh.
Trim, where Stella lived when Swift was at Laracor, though the county town of Meath, is now little more than a large village. It bears, however, all the marks of its ancient import
The ruins all about it on the banks of the Boyne, are most extensive. They are those of a great palace, a castle, a cathedral, and other buildings. It is a great haunt for antiquarians, and not far distant from it is Tara, with its hill, the seat of ancient kings. As you leave the town to go to Laracor, you come at the town-end to a lofty column in honour of Wellington, who was born at Dangan Castle, a few miles beyond Laracor. The way to Laracor then lies along a flattish country, with a few huts here and there by the wayside. On your left, as you approach Laracor, runs an old ruinous wall, with tall trees within it, as having once formed a park. The first object, connected with Swift, which arrests your attention, is the ruin of his house, with its spring, which lies on the right hand of the road; and on the left side of the road, perhaps a hundred yards further, stands the church in its enclosure.
From Laracor, Swift's remove was to Dublin, where he spent the remainder of his life. Here the deanery has been quite removed, and a modern house occupies its place. The old cathedral of St. Patrick is a great object connected with his memory here. Though wearing a very ancient look, St. Patrick's was rebuilt after its destruction in 1362, and its present spire was added only in 1750. In size and proportion the cathedral is fine. It is three hundred feet long, and eighty broad. cannot boast much of its architecture, but contains several monuments of distinguished men; amongst them, those of Swift and Curran. These two are busts. Aloft in the nave hang the banners of the knights of St. Patrick; and again in the
choir hang newly emblazoned banners of the knights; and over the stalls which belong to the knights are fixed gilt helmets, and by each stall hangs the knight's sword. The whole fabric is now undergoing repair, and not before it was needed. Of course, the monuments of highest interest here, are those of Swift and Stella. These occupy two contiguous pillars on the south side of the nave. They consist of two plain slabs of marble, in memory of the dean and Mrs. Johnson,- Stella. The inscription on the dean's slab is expressive “ of that habit of mind which his own disappointments and the oppressions of his country had produced.” It was written by himself.
“ Hic depositum est corpus
Strenuum pro virili
Over this monument has been placed his bust in marble, sculptured by Cunningham, and esteemed a good likeness. It was the gift of T. T. Faulkner, Esq., nephew and successor to Alderman George Faulkner, Swift's bookseller, and the original publisher of most of his works. The inscription over his amiable and much-injured wife is as follows:-“ Underneath lie the mortal remains of Mrs. Hester Johnson, better known to the world by the name of Stella, under which she is celebrated in the writings of Dr. Jonathan Swift, dean of this cathedral. She was a person of extraordinary endowments and accomplishments of body, mind, and behaviour, justly admired and respected by all who knew her, on account of her many eminent virtues, as well as for her great natural and acquired perfections. She died January 27th 1727-8, in the forty-sixth year of her