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The references in the notes to this Life are thus contracted :
S. 8. The Works and Life of Swift, by Sir W. Scott, 1814.
N Account of Dr. Swift has been already collected,
with great diligence and acuteness, by Dr. Hawkesworth, according to a scheme which I laid before him in the intimacy of our friendship. I cannot therefore be expected to say much of a life, concerning which I had long since communicated my thoughts to a man capable of dignifying his narration with so much elegance of language and force of sentiment.
Jonathan Swift was, according to an account said to be written by himself, the son of Jonathan Swift," an attorney, and was born at Dublin on St. Andrew's day, 1667 : according to his own report, as delivered by Pope to Spence, he was born at Leicester, the son of a clergyman, who was minister of a parish in Herefordshire.* During his life the place of his birth was undetermined. He was contented to be called an Irishman by the Irish ; but would
* Spence's Anecdotes, vol. ii. p. 273.-Johnson.”
John Hawkesworth brought out in 1752 The Adventurer, and afterwards edited Swift's works, with a life prefixed. He died in 1773. -MATT. ARNOLD.
· Frag. Autobiography, Forster, vol. i. p. 12. First printed in Deane Swift's Essay, 1755. Reprinted by Scott, vol. i. p. 500, and, with corrections, apparently authoritative, by Craik, p. 509. 3 Ed. Singer, p. 161.
Johnson's reference must be to the MS. volumes. The “Anecdotes” were published in 1820.
occasionally call himself an Englishman. The question may, without much regret, be left in the obscurity in which he delighted to involve it."
Whatever was his birth, his education was Irish. He was sent at the age of six to the school at Kilkenny, and in his fifteenth year (1682) was admitted into the University of Dublin.
In his academical studies he was either not diligent or not happy. It must disappoint every reader's expectation, that, when at the usual time he claimed the Bachelorship of Arts, he was found by the examiners too conspicuously deficient for regular admission, and obtained his degree at last by special favour; a term used in that university to denote want of merit.
Of this disgrace it may be easily supposed that he was much ashamed, and shame had its proper effect in producing reformation. He resolved from that time to study eight hours a-day, and continued his industry for seven years, with what improvement is sufficiently known. This part of his story well deserves to be remembered ; it may afford useful admonition and powerful encouragement to men, whose abilities have been made for a time useless by their passions or pleasures, and who, having lost one part of life in idleness, are tempted to throw away the remainder in despair.
In this course of daily application he continued three years longer at Dublin ; and in this time, if the observation and memory of an old companion may
For a full account of Swift's family, birth in Dublin, and early life in Whitehaven, see Craik, pp. 1-10.
2 The degree was obtained, not by examination, but by a scholastic disputation, Craik, p. 14. Mr. Forster thinks that “ Johnson did him (Swift) no kind of justice, because of too little liking for him," p. vi., and shows that the degree being given speciali gratia, was no uncommon occurrence, pp. 29-38.
3 Mr. Warren (or more properly, Waring) the chamber fellow of
be trusted, he drew the first sketch of his “Tale of a Tub.”
When he was about one-and-twenty (1688), being by the death of Godwin Swift his uncle, who had supported him, left without subsistence, he went to consult his mother, who then lived at Leicester, about the future course of his life, and by her direction solicited the advice and patronage of Sir William Temple, who had married one of Mrs. Swift's relations, and whose father Sir John Temple, Master of the Rolls in Ireland, had lived in great familiarity of friendship with Godwin Swift, by whom Jonathan had been to that time maintained.
Temple received with sufficient kindness the nephew of his father's friend, with whom he was, when they conversed together, so much pleased, that he detained him two years in his house." Here ? he became known to King William, who sometimes visited Temple when he was disabled by the gout, and, being attended by Swift in the garden, shewed him how to cut asparagus in the Dutch way.
King William's notions were all military ; and he expressed his kindness to Swift by offering to make him a captain of horse.
When Temple removed to Moor-park,4 he took Swift with him; and when was consulted by the Earl of Portland
l about the expedience of complying with a bill then depending for making parliaments triennial, against which King
Swift in the University of Dublin,” as reported by Mr. Deane Swift, a kinsman of the Doctor (of the family of Admiral Deane), but the improbability of this early date is shown by Mr. Forster, pp. 47-48.
1“ He calls it himself two years,' in the first draft of the Anecdotes ; but this has been corrected in my amended copy by the insertion, in his own hand, of1690'as the date of his first return to Ireland.”-Forster,
? At Sheen, near Richmond, in Surrey.-P. CUNNINGHAM.
Orrery's Remarks, 12mo, 1753, p. 13. 4 In 1689. The house, near Farnham, Surrey, still remains.