Imatges de pÓgina
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printers, for whom Swift had demanded several places in his department, of considerable value, that the doctor commanded, and he must obey. We find too, that when any of the ministry themselves had a favour to ask of lord Oxford, it was through him they made their application. It was the same too with regard to the foreign ministers f. In what light he stood with the Spanish ambassador, may be seen from the following extract from his Journal, December 21, 1712 : “ This

day se’nnight, after I had been talking at court “ with sir William Wyndham, the Spanish am“ bassador came to him, and said he heard that was “ doctor Swift, and desired him to tell me, that his “ master, and the king of France, and the queen, “ were obliged to me more than to any man in Eu

rope. So we bowed, and shook hands, &c. I took “ it very well of him.” All state writings, the queen's speeches, addresses upon them, &c. were either entirely drawn up by him, or submitted to his correction. He had a considerable share in the famous representation of the speaker's, sir Thomas Hanmer, which made such a noise at that time, and was considered as the finest that ever was penned. In short, there was not a move made of any kind

• Journal, January 8, 1712-13. “I tell you a good thing; “ there is not one of the ministry, but what will employ me as

gravely to speak for them to lord treasurer, as if I were their “ brother, or his, and I do it as gravely, though I know they do “ it only because they will not make themselves uneasy, or had 6 rather I should be denied than they.”

+ March 5, 1712-13. “ I was at court to day, and the foreign

ministers have got a trick of employing me to speak for them to " lord treasurer, and lord Bolingbroke, which I do when the case " is reasonable."

with relation either to publick affairs, or party matters, in which he was not consulted, and the greatest share of labour in the executive part was thrown upon his shoulders.

his shoulders. In all this plenitude of power, he was so far from being elated with the

appearance of enjoying ministerial confidence, that he used his best endeavours to conceal it from the world in general, though it could not be a secret to those of his own party. With this view he absented himself from lord treasurer's levees, having never appeared there but twice during their whole acquaintance. And at court he always avoided him whenever he made toward him, nor would ever be seen speaking to him there*. But it was impossible long to conceal that superiour degree of favour in which he stood with the minister. His writings, in the cause he espoused, had rendered him too conspicuous, and the adverse party were too much galled by them not to make them watchful of all his motions. He was accordingly considered by the leaders of the opposite party, as the first mover in all the ministerial measures; and many virulent speeches were made against him by name, both in the house of lords and commons, as one who was in the secret of all affairs, and without whose advice or privity nothing was done, or employment disposed of it. O lord Orrery! how little did you know of the true state of affairs at that time, when you wrote that false envious paragraph! and how utterly unacquainted must you have been with the real character of the man, whose memoirs you undertook to write, when you could suppose him so mean spirited as to be the mere tool of a ministry; and so blinded by vanity (a fault of which he had not one particle in his composition, for, as he himself has often observed, he was too proud to be vain) as not to discover whether he was only employed, not trusted !

* January 15, 1712-13. I was at court to day, and as lord "treasurer came toward me I avoided him, and he hunted me thrice “ about the room. I affect never to take notice of him at church " or court. He knows it, for I have told him so, and to night at lord Masham's he gave an account of it to the company; but “my reasons are, that people seeing me speak to him, causes a great " deal of teasing." + Vide Swift's Memoirs relating to the Change, &c.

Nor was his influence confined to England only, he was the chief person consulted in the affairs of Ireland, particularly during the duke of Ormond's administration, and few preferments passed, especially in the church, without his approbation. Of this there are many proofs to be found in his correspondence with the archbishop of Dublin, primate Lindsay, lord chancellor Phipps, and his own Journal *.

Having now, past all controversy, established the high degree of power and influence which he then enjoyed, beyond any that perhaps ever fell to the lot of a private person, must not the disinterested spirit of Swift strike us with astonishment, wlien we reflect that he made no other use of these great advantages, but to promote the publick cause in which he was engaged, or to make ample provision for persons

* Vide his letter to the archbishop, September 31, 1713. His Journal, February 1, 1712-13.

Lord primale Lindsay writes thus to him, in his letter of January 5, 1713-14. “ There is a gentleman, whom I believe you must “ have heard of, Dr. Andrew Hamilton, archdeacon of Raphoe, a

man of good learning and abilities, and one of great interest in “ that country, whom I could wish you would move for to suc“ ceed me in Raphoe, as one that is most likely to do good in that

part of the country, of any man I know,” “ And now be pleased to accept my thanks for the great services

you have done me, and as you have contributed much to my advancement, so I inust desire you, upon occasion, to give me your far. " ther assistance for the service of the church.”.

of merit, while he was utterly negligent with regard to his own fortune? It must be obvious to every one, who considers the light in which he stood, that had he been a man of intrigue, or could he have made his principles bend to the reigning policy of the court; had he not incurred the queen's displeasure, by endeavouring to counteract her adopted system of government, and treating her bosom favourite with a severity never to be forgiven ; nay had he only followed the lead of the minister, by acquiescing in measures which he found it vain to oppose; it must be allowed, I say, considering the immensity of his talents, the close connexion he stood in with all the leading men, the great importance he was of to their cause, and the almost sisterly affection shown him by lady Masham, that he might have aspired to the highest dignities in the church, or even, if his bent

in the state. For in those days thę gown was not considered as a disqualification to mi. nisterial offices, as we find the bishop of Bristol was made lord privy seal, and ambassador plenipotentiary. But as it was a maxim with Swift, that while the queen pursued her trimming plan, the interests of the church and state were on a sandy foundation, and that there could be no solid establishment for them, till the whigs were all turned out of their employments, and a total end put to their power; he determined not only never to fall in with the queen's measures, but on the contrary openly to oppose them. Though at the same time he must have

way,

been

lay that

been conscious that this was the most certain way to bar his own preferment.

The only employment that Swift ever asked for during all that time, was that of historiograplier; and his reasons for desiring it are thus set forth, in his memorial to the queen, April 1, 1714.

“ The change of ministry about four years ago, “ the fall of the duke of Marlborough, and the pro“ceedings since, in relation to the peace and treaties,

are all capable of being very maliciously represented “ to posterity, if they should fall under the pen of “ some writer of the opposite party, as they probably may.

Upon these reasons it is necessary, for the ho“nour of the queen, and in justice to her servants, “ that some able hand should be immediately em

ployed, to write the history of her majesty's reign, “ that the truth of things may be transmitted to fu“ ture ages, and bear down the falsehood of malicious pens.

“ The dean of St. Patrick's is ready to undertake “ this work, humbly desiring her majesty will please “ to appoint him her historiographer ; not from any “ view of the profit, (which is so inconsiderable, that “ it will hardly serve to pay the expense of searching “ offices) but from an earnest desire to serve his

queen and country : for which that employment “ will qualify him, by an opportunity of access to “ those places, where papers and records are kept, “ which will be necessary to any who undertake such “ a history.”

We sce upon what disinterested principles Swift desired this office; and he seems to have been highly provoked at his not obtaining it, laying the blame

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