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Gosford, in the north of Ireland, he spent in 1728-9 almost a whole year, assisting Sir Arthur in his agricultural improvements, and lecturing, as usdal, the lady of the manor, upon the improvement of her health by walking, and her mind by reading; and he appears to have found a docile pupil as well as an obliging hostess. Sir Arthur himself thought with the Dean on political subjects, was a good scholar and fond of the classics, which predilections formed his bond of union with Swift. The circumstance of his letting a ruinous building, called Hamilton's Bawn, to the Crown for a barrack, not only occasioned his being distinguished in the Apology for Lord Carteret,* but gave rise to one of the Dean's most lively pieces of fugitive humour. The company also whom he met at Market-Hill was agreeable to him. Among these were distinguished Robert and Henry Leslie, sons of the celebrated nonjuror, Dr. Leslie.
The younger brother, Henry Leslie, was an excellent scholar, and a perfect fine gentleman. He had attained the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the Spanish service, but lost his commission upon a regulation being adopted against the employment of Protestants. He resided for several years in the town of Market-hill, near Sir Arthur Acheson's house, and Swift appears to have been his guest for about six months, in 1730, the year following his long residence in Sir Arthur Acheson's family. At Market-Hill he also met Captain Creichton, an aged and reduced officer of dragoons, whose campaigns had been chiefly directed against the Scotch west-country Whigs during the reigns of Charles II. and James II. To relieve this old gentleman's necessities, Swift compiled his tales of youthful adventure into a distinct parrative, which was published for the captain's benefit, with considerable success.
* See Swift's Works, Vol. VII. p. 303.
† “ The Grand Question Debated, Whether Hamilton's Bawn should be turned into a Barrack or Malt-House?” Swift sent a part of tbis poem, under the title of the Barrack, to the Intelligencer. Afterwards many copies were transcribed from one which had been obtained by Lord Carteret, and at length it found its way to the public. See Swift's Works, Vol. XV. p. 171, and Vol. XVIII. p.6.
His residence at Market-Hill was so agreeable to Swift, that at one time he seems to have thought of rendering it more permanent, by taking a lease from Sir Arthur, with the purpose of building a villa. The name of the chosen spot was changed from Drumlack to Drapier's Hill, in order the better to deserve the intended honour; and Sir Arthur, or some friend in his name, published a poem in the Dublin Journal, addressed to the Dean, and exulting in the future fame of a place on which he had resolved to fix his residence.* if we are to interpret literally the poetical apology which Swift made for laying aside this project, he had not found Sir Arthur uniformly guided by his opinion in the management of his estate, and had discovered that the knight's taste in literature, being turned toward metaphysics, was more different from his own than he had expected. But a growing reluctance to expend money and the distance of the situation from Dublin, a distance rendered incommodious by the Dean's increasing intirmities, were probably the real reasons for his declining a project, adopted perhaps hastily, and without much reflection.
Indeed his presence as a visitor, in the state of his health and spirits, was not altogether without inconvenience. Family tradition says, that Swift was already subject to those capricious and moody fits of melancholy and ill-humour, which preceded the decay of his understanding. He sometimes retired from table and had his victuals carried into his own apartment, from which he would not stir till his good-humour returned. And in one of those fits of caprice he took the liberty, during Sir Arthur Acheson's absence, to cut down an old and picturesque thorn near the house, which his landlord particularly valued. On this occasion, Sir Arthur was seriously displeased, and the Dean was under the necessity of propitiating him by those verses, which bave rendered the old thorn at Market-Hill immortal.t
* These, with the other verses composed at Market-Hill, are printed together in Swift's Works, Volume XV. p. 165.
† Mr.Sheridan has preserved two anecdotes of Swift about this VOL. II.
Such stories, imperfectly reported by scandal, and listened to with malignant greediness by envy, occasioned a charge against Swift, similar to that which was preferred after his residence at Gaulstown House. Against this malicious allegation of ingratitude and in hospitality, wbich was urged in some verses handed about Dublin, and afterwards printed, Swift defended himself at length in a letter to Dr. Jinny, Rector of Armagh. He mentions the “Grand Question Debated” as the ground of the charge, and describes this sort of composition as merely sallies of fancy and humour, intended for private diversiou; appeals to Jippy's knowledge of the whole
period. Captain Hamilton of Castle-Hamilton, a plain country gentleman, but of excellent natural sense, came upon a visit at Market-Hill, while the Dean was staying there, “ Sir Arthur, upon hearing of his friend's arrival, ran out to receive him at the door, followed by Swift. The captain, who did not see the Dean, as it was in the dusk of the evening, in his blunt way, upon entering the house, exclaimed, that he was very sorry he was so unfortunate 10 choose that time for his visit.'—Why so?-- Because I hear Dean Swist is with you. He is a great scholar, a wit; a plain country 'squire will have but a bad time of it in his company, and I don't like to be laughed at.' Swift then stepped to the captain, from behind Sir Arthur, where he had stood, and said to him, Pray, Captain Hamilton, do you know how to say yes, or no, properly ??—Yes, I think I have understanding enough for that.'-" Then give me your hand, -depend upon it, you and I will agree very well. tain told me he never passed two months so pleasantly in his life, nor had ever met with so agreeable a companion as Swist proved to be during the whole time.'
The other anecdote records a ready reply by a gentleman who passed by the name of Killbuck Tuite to Swift, who upbraided bim with not knowing the way to Market-Hill. os o That is the way,' said Swift, with all you Irish blockheads; you never know the way to any place beyond the next dunghill.”— Why,' answered Tuite, • I never was at Market-Hill: Have not you been there, Mr. Dean?' He acknowledged he had.— Then what a damned English blockhead are you,' replied Killbuck, 'to find fault with me for not directing you the way to a place where I never had been, when you don't know it yourself, who have been there ! Swift, with a countenance of great counterfeited terror, immediately rose and changed seats with Doughty, (a man of great size and strength,) who happened to be next to him, placing the giant between him and Tuite to protect him against that wild man, and skulking behind him like a child, with well acted fear, to the no small entertainment of the company; who, however, were not sorry that the Dean had met with his match."
history of the verses on the Barrack, and the favourable reception it met with from Sir Arthur Acheson and his lady. The charge of ingratitude brought against him, he repels with suitable disdain. “I was originally,” he observes, “as unwilling to be libelled as the nicest mar be: but having been used to such treatment ever since I unhappily began to be known, I am now grown hardened; and while the friends I have left will continue to use me with any kindness, I shall need but a small degree of philosopby to bear me up against those who are pleased to be iny enemies on the score of party zeal, and the hopes of turning that zeal to account. One thing, I confess, would still touch the quick; I mean if any person of true gen; us would employ his pen against me; but if I am not very partial to myself, I cannot remember, that among at least two thousand papers full of groundless reflections against me, hundreds of which I have seen, and heard of more, I ever saw any one production that the meanest writer could have cause to be proud of: for which I can assign a very natural reason; that, during the whole busy time of my life, the men of wit (in England) were all my particular friends, although many of them differed from me in opinions of public persons and proceedings.99*
In this, society, and with these amusements, but with health gradually undermined, Swift endured, and occasionally enjoyed existence, from the death of Stella, in 1727, till about 1732.
* Swift's Works, Vol. XVIII, p. 6.
Swift's conduct as a dignified Clergyman-His controver.
sies with the Dissenters—And with the Bishops of Ireland—Verses on his own Death-Faulkner's edition of his Works—His quarrel with Bettesworth—Satire on Quadrille-Legion Club-Controversy concerning the lowering of the Gold Coin-History of Queen Anne's reign-Swift's private Life at this period—He disposes of his Fortune to found a Hospital-He sinks into incapacity–His Death.
Ere proceeding to the melancholy remainder of Swift's life, we may here resume an account of his conduct as a dignitary of the Church of England, and of the various occasions in which he stood forth in her behalf, when he conceived her rights assaulted and endangered.
It ought to be first noticed, that Swift possessed, in the fullest degree, the only secure foundation for excellence in the clerical profession—a sincere and devout faith in the doctrines of Christianity. This was doubted during his life, on account of the levities in the Tale of a Tub; and also because he carried his detestation of hypocrisy to such a blameable excess, that he was rather willing to appear indifferent about religion, than to be suspected of affecting over zeal in her cause. Thus, when in London, he rose early in the morning, that he might attend public worship without observation; and in Dublin, Delany was six months in his house before he discovered that the Dean read prayers to his family with punctual regularity. He was equally regular in his private devotions. The place which he occupied as an oratory was a small closet, in which, when his situation required to be in some degree watched, he was daily observed to pray with great devotion. When his faculties, and particularly his memory, began to fail, he used often to enquire