Imatges de pÓgina
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“ his answer, whether I shall go there before, or

meet him hereabouts, or go i Vimple (his son's “ house) and so with him down: and I expect to “ leave this place in two or three days, one way or “other. I will stay with him till the parliament “ meets again, if he desires it. I am written to “ earnestly by somebody, to come to town, and

join with those people now 'in power; but I will “ not do it. Say nothing of this, but guess the person.

I told lord Oxford I would go with him “ when he was out; and now he begs it of me, I “ cannot refuse him. I meddle not with his faults, “ as he was minister of state ; but you know his

personal kindness to me was excessive. He dis

tinguished and chose me, above all other men, , “ while he was great, and his letter to me, the “ other day, was the most moving imaginablc,” &c. *

There is one expression in lord Oxford's letter, which is indeed very affecting, where he says, “ I

go to Wimple, thence alone .to Herefordshire." What! this great minister, who had conferred so many obligations, and made the fortunes of such numbers, not to find one companion to attend him in his reverse of fortune! Methinks I sce Swift

* This resolution of Swift's is fully confirmed in a letter to archdeacon Wall, dated August 8. 17:4. “Upon the earl of Ox. “ for l’s removal, he desired I would go with him into Hereford. “shire, which I consente !o, and wrote you woril of it, desiring

vou would renew my licence of absence at the end of this “ month, for I think it then expires. I bad carnest invitations os from those in power to go to town, and assist them in their new

ministry, which I resolved to excuse; bint before I could write,

news came of the queen's death, and all our schemes broke to « shatters."

reading

reading this passage, and exclaiming, “ What, alone! “ No, while I exist, my friend shall not go alone “into Herefordshire.

This conduct was the more noble in Swift, as during the whole course of their intimacy, he never received one personal favour from the minister, though treated with the most unreserved kindness by the ma. Nay, whether it were owing to his procrastinating temper, or, as Swift calls it in another place, his unmeasurable publick thrift, lie had neglected to procure for him an order for a thousand pound on the treasury, to pay the debt contracted by him upon his introduction to the deanery, which was all the reward Swift ever asked for his services *. And there is reason to believe, from a passage in a letter of Dr. Arbuthnot to him, dated July 14, that Swift was distressed for money at that time, on account of that neglect. Tne passage is this, “ Do not think I make you a bare compliment " in what I am going to say, for I can assure you s " am in earnest. I am in hopes to have tivo hun“dred pounds before I go out of town, rd yju may

command all, or any part of it you please, as long as you have occasion for it.” And in the same

• Nothing can show more the strong desire which lord Bolingbroke had to attach Swift to bis interest upon his getting into power, than his taking care, during his short niinistry vi three days only, to have an order signed by the queen on the treasury, :0 pay that sum to Swift, though by her sudden death he reaped no advantage from it. It appears, that Swift had this order in his possession when he visited London in the year 1726; for he says, in a letter to Dr. Sheridan, “ Tell the archdeacon that I never " asked for my thousand pounds, which he hears I have got, “ though I mentioned it to the princess the last time I saw her ; "but I bid her tell Walpole, I scorned to ask him for it."

letter

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letter it appears, that the doctor had been desired by Swift to apply to lord Bolingbroke for fifty pounds due to him from that lord, where he says, “ As to the fifty pounds, he (lord Bolingbroke) was

ready to pay it, and if he had had it about him, “ would have given it to me.” But it is highly probable, from the great delicacy of Swift's sentiments, that this very circumstance of his lying under no obligation to lord Oxford, was what rendered his attachment to him the stronger, as it must proceed wholly froin pure disinterested friendship. That this was his way of thinking, may be seen from several of his letters. In that of July 1, 1714, on his retiring to Letcombe, he thus expresses himself,

To Lord TREASURER OXFORD. “ My Lord, “When I was with you, I have said more than “ once, that I would never allow quality or station “ made any real difference between men. Being now “ absent and forgotten, I have changed my mind :

you have a thousand people who can pretend they “ love you, with as much appearance of sincerity as “I; so that, according to common justice, I can “ have but a thousandth part in return of what I give. “ And this difference is wholly owing to your station. “ And the misfortune is still the greater, because I “ loved you so much the less for your station : for, in

your publick capacity, you have often angered me “ to the heart; but as a private man, never once *. So

" that,

In the several accounts given of lord Oxford by Swift in different parts of his writing, there seems to be something contradic

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that, if I only look toward myself, I could wish “ you a private man to morrow: for I have nothing “ to ask; at least. nothing that you will give, which “ is the same thing: and then you would see, whether « I should not with much more willingness attend you in

a retirement, whenever you please to give me leave, “ than ever I did at London or Windsor *. From “ these sentiments, I will never write to you, if I

can help it, otherwise than as to a private man, or " allow myself to have been obliged by you in any “other capacity, &c."

And in one, many years after, dated October 11, 1722, expostulating with him in a friendly manner on his long silence, he says, “ I never courted your ac

quaintance when you governed Europe, but you
“ courted mine; and now you neglect me, when I

use all my insinuations to keep myself in your
memory. I am very sensible, that next to your
receiving thanks and compliments, there is no-
thing you more hate than writing letters : but

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tory; as in some places he extols him to the skies, and in others,
imputes great weakness and faults to him. But this arises from
the view he gives of him in two different characters. As a publick
minister, he represents him to have been one of the wisest, the
ablest, and the most disinterested that ever lived; and he con,,
firms this character hy enumerating the many great services he had
done to the state, without reaping the least advantage to himself,
but rather injuring his private fortune. At the same time he shows
that he was utterly unqualified to be the leader of a party, or to
manage the private intrigues of a court; in which respects, partly
from his natural disposition, and partly through want of true por
licy, he committed numberless errours; to which Swift alludes here,
where he says, “ In your publick capacity you have often angered
ke me to the heart ; but as a private man, never once.”

• Lord Oxford had too soon reason to put this declaration of
Swift's to the test, and found it nobly answered.

" since

gered

“ since I never gave you thanks, nor made you

compliments, I have so much more merit than any of those thousands whom you have less obliged, by only making their fortunes, without

taking them into your friendship, as you did me; “ whom you always courtenanced in too publick and “ particular a manner, to be forgotten either by the “ world or myself.” The merit of Swift, in thus adhering to his friend at this juncture, was the more extraordinary, because he not only sacrificed to it all regard to his own interest, but that of the publick also. It appears, that the queen in the last six months of her life, had changed her whole system with regard to parties, and came entirely round to that which had been the great object of all Swift's politicks, by making a general sweep of the whigs from all their employments, both civil and military : and the only obstacles thrown in the way were by lord Oxford ; who from private motives of his own, set forth by Swift at large in his Inquiry, &c.*, refused to fall into the measure; and notwithstanding every effort used by Swift, continued inflexible in his resolution. He might therefore have had the strongest plea, from motives of a superiour nature, his duty to the publick, for deserting him on this occasion, and joining all his other friends in promoting his favourite plan, so essentially necessary to the support of the common cause. Nor could he have been liable to the least censure or reproach for such conduct. But his high notions of friendship, and delicate sense of honour, outweighed all other considerations, and would not let him hesitate a moment what part he should take. • l'id. Inquiry into the Behaviour of the Queen's last ministry.

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