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gard to it. But, when he found that his enemies had been busy, instilling into the royal ear many prejudices against him, he entered upon his defence with his usual spirit. Among other artifices employed to lessen him in her majesty's esteem, there were three forged letters delivered to the queen signed with his name, written upon a very absurd subject, and in a very unbecoming style, which she either did, or affected to believe to be genuine. Swift had notice of this from his friend Pope, who procured one of the original letters from the countess of Suffolk, formerly Mrs. Howard, and sent it to him. In his indignant answer to Pope on this occasion, he has the following passages. “ As for those three letters you mention, “ supposed all to be written by me to the queen, on “ Mrs. Barber's account, especially the letter which “ bears my name; I can only say, that the appre“hensions one may be apt to have of a friend's “ doing a foolish thing, is an effect of kindness : “ and God knows who is free from playing the fool “ some time or other. But in such a degree as to “ write to the queen, who has used me ill without “ any cause, and to write in such a manner as the " letter you sent me, and in such a style, and to have “ so much zeal for one almost a stranger, and to make “ such a description of a woman, as to prefer her be“ fore all mankind; and to instance it as one of the
greatest grievances of Ireland, that her majesty lias “not encouraged Mrs. Barber, a woollen draper's wife “ declined in the world, because she has a knack of “ versifying; was to suppose, or fear, a folly so trans“ cendent, that no man could be guilty of, who was “ not fit for Bedlam. You know the letter you sent se enclosed is not my hand, and why I should disguise
my hand, and yet sign my name, is unaccountable. “ If the queen had not an inclination to think ill of
me, she knows me too well to believe in her own " heart that I should be such a coxcomb,” &c.
In his letter to Mrs. Howard, then countess of Suffolk, he says, “I find from several instances that “I am under the queen's displeasure ; and as it is “ usual among princes, without any manner of rea
I am told, there were three letters sent to “ her majesty in relation to one Mrs. Barber, who " is now in London, and soliciting for a subscription “to her poems. It seems, the queen thinks that “ these letters were written by me; and I scorn to “ defend myself even to her majesty, grounding my
scorn upon the opinion I had of her justice, her taste, and good sense : especially when the last of “ those letters, whereof I have just received the ori“ginal from Mr. Pope, was signed with my name : “ and why I should disguise my hand, which you “know very well, and yet write my name, is both ri. “ diculous and unaccountable. I am sensible I owe " a great deal of this usage to sir Robert Walpole," &c. In this, as well as many other passages of his letters at that time, we see he attributes the ill offices done him with the queen, chiefly to Walpole ; and accordingly he determined to keep no farther measures with him, but gave full scope to his resentment, in those poems, as well as several other pieces published afterward. Upon the first appearance of the two poems, entitled An Epistle to a Lady, and A Rhapsody on Poetry, Walpole was exasperated to the highest degree. The editor, printer, and publishers, were all taken up, and prosecutions commenced against them. As he had full proof that Swift was the author, in his first transport of passion, he determined to get him into his clutches, and wreak his chief vengeance on him *. With this view he had ordered a warrant to be made out by the secretary of state, for apprehending Swift, and bringing him over to be tried in London. The messenger was in waiting ready to be dispatched on this errand, when luckily a friend of Walpole's, who was better acquainted with the state of Ireland, and the high veneration in which the dean was held there, accidentally entered, and upon inquiry, being informed of his purpose, coolly asked him what army was to accompany the messenger, and whether he had at that time ten thousand men to spare, for he could assure him no less a number would be able to bring the drapier out of the kingdom by force. Upon this Walpole recovered his senses, and luckily for the messenger, as well as himself, dropped the design. For had the poor fellow arrived in Dublin, and attempted to cxecute his commission, he would most assuredly have been immediately hanged by the inob: and
* These poems were sent to Mrs. Barber, then in London, by one Pilkington, in order that she might make what advantage she could by the sale of them, being a woman of merit, rather in distressed circumstances. This Pilkington at the same time carried letters of recommendation from Swift to alderman Barber, lord mayor elect, by whom, in consequence of such recommendation, he was appointed city chaplain. Yet this man had the baseness to turn informer against his patron and benefactor, as the author, and Mrs. Barber, as the editor ; who thereupon was confined for some time in the house of a king's messenger. But, as upon examination, the gentlemen of the long robe could discover nothing in the poems that could come under the denomination of a libel, or incur any legal punishment, she and the publishers were released, and the prosecution dropped.
this might have involved the two countries in a contest, which it was by no means the interest of a minister to engage in.
But, whatever gratification it might have been to his ambitious spirit, to see himself raised by the voluntary suffrages of his countrymen, to a rank beyond the power of monarchs to bestow; to find himself considered by all as the first man in the realm ; the general object of veneration to all who wished well to their country, and of dread to those who betrayed its interests; yet he was far from being at all satisfied with his situation. The load of oppression under which Ireland groaned, from the tyrannick system of government over that country, established by the false politicks of England; the base corruption of some of the principal natives, who sacrificed the publick interests to their private views ; the supineness of others arising from despondency; the general infatuation of the richer sort, in adopting certain modes and customs to the last degree ruinous to their country; together with the miseries of the poor, and the universal face of penury and distress that overspread a kingdom,
kingdom, on which nature had scattered her bounties with a lavish hand, and which properly used, might have rendered it one of the happiest regions in the world : all these acted as perpetual corrosives to the free and generous spirit of Swift, and kept him from possessing his soul in peace. We have many instances in his letters, written at that time, of the violent irritation of his mind on these accounts. In one of them he says, “I find myself disposed every year, or rather
every month, to be more angry and revengeful; and my rage is so ignoble, that it descends even to resent
" the folly and baseness of the enslaved people
among whom I live.” And in the same letter to lord Bolingbroke, he says, “ But you think, as I “ought to think, that it is time for me to have done “ with the world, and so I would, if I could get « into a better, before I was called into the best, and “ not die here in a rage, like a poisoned rat in a hole." In one to Pope, speaking of his letters, he says, “ None of them have any thing to do with party, of “ which you are the clearest of all men, by your re
ligion, and the whole tenour of your life; while I
am raging every moment against the corruptions in “ both kingdoms, especially of this; such is my weaka ness.” And in one to Dr. Sheridan, when he seemed under the dominion of a more than ordinary fit of his spleen, he tells him, that he had just finished his will, in which he had requested that the doctor would attend his body to Holyhead, to see it interred there, for, says he, “ I will not lie in a country of slaves.” This habit of mind grew upon him immediately after the loss of the amiable Stella, whose lenient hand used to pour the balm of friendship on his wounded spirit. With her vanished all his domestick enjoyments, and of course he turned his thoughts more to publick affairs ; in the contemplation of which, he could see nothing but what served to inerease the malady. The advances of old age, with all its attendant infirmities; the death of almost all his old friends; the frequent returns of his most dispiriting maladies, deafness and giddiness; and above all, the dreadful apprehensions that he should outlive bis understanding, * made life such a burden
to Dr. Young has recorded an instance of this, where he relates, that walking out with Swift and son.e others about a mile from