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Swift acted as secretary to lord Berkeley, till they arrived at Dublin; when he was supplanted in that office by one Bush, who had by some means ingratiated himself with my lord ; and representing the office of secretary as an improper one for a clergyman, he was appointed in Swift's room. Lord Berkeley making the best apology to him that he could, and at the same time promising to make him amends, by bestowing on him the first good church preferment that should fall in his gift. Swift was not a man to be treated in this manner with impunity. Accordingly, he gave free scope to his resentment, in a severe copy of verses, which placed the governor and his new-made secretary in a most ridiculous point of light, and which was every where handed about to their no small mortification. Soon after this the rich deanery of Derry became vacant, and as it was the earl of Berkeley's turn to present to it, Swift applied to him for it upon the strength of his promise. Lord Berkeley said, that Bush had been beforehand with him, and had got the promise of it for another. Upon seeing Swift's indignation rise at this, my lord, who began to be in no small fear of him, said that the matter might still be settled if he would talk with Bush. Swift immediately found out the secretary, who very frankly told him that he was to get a thousand pound for it, and if he would lay down the money, he should have the preference. To which Swift, cnraged to the utmost degree, at an offer which he considered as the highest insult, and done evidently with lord Berkeley's participation, made no other answer but this; “ God confound you both for a couple of
“ scoundrels.” With these words he immediately quitted the room, and turned his back on the castle, determined to appear there no more. But lord Berkeley was too conscious of the ill treatment he had given him, and too fearful of the resentment of an exasperated genius, not to endeavour to pacify him. He therefore immediately presented him with the rectory of Agher, and the vicarages of Laracor and Rath-beggan, then vacant in the diocese of Meath. Though these livings united did not make up a third of the deanery in value, and though from the large promises which had been made him, he had reason to expect much greater preferment, yet, considering the specimens already given of the performance of those promises, Swift thought it most prudent to accept of those livings, dropping all future expectations from that quarter. Nor did he afterward estrange himself from lord Berkeley's family, but continued still in his office of chaplain; to which he seems to have been chiefly induced, from the great honour and respect which he had for his excellent lady: whuse virtues he has celebrated in so masterly a manner, in the Introduction to the Project for the Advancement of Religion.
From this behaviour to lord Berkeley, we may judge how little Swift was qualified to rise at court, in the usual way of obtaining preferment; and we may estimate the greatness of his spirit, by the degree of resentment shown to the man, in consequence of ill treatment, upon whom all his hopes of preferment then rested.
It was at this time that Swift's true humorous vein in poetry began to display itself, in several little pieces, written for the private entertainment of lord
Berkeley's family; among which was that incompa- . rable piece of low humour, called The humble Petition of Mrs. Frances Harris, &c.
When lord Berkeley quitted the government of Ireland, Swift went to reside on his living at Laracor ; where he lived for some time in the constant and strict discharge of his duty.
It was about this time that Mrs. Johnson (tho afterward celebrated Stella) arrived in Ireland, accompanied by another lady of the name of Dingley, who was related to the family of the Temples. Sir William Temple had bequeathed to Mrs. Johnson a legacy of a thousand pounds, in consideration of her father's faithful services, and her own rising merits. After sir William's death, she lived for some time with Mrs. Dingley, a lady who had but a small annuity to support her. In this situation Swift advised his lovely pupil to settle in Ireland, as the interest of money was at that time ten per cent in that kingdom; and considering the cheapness of provisions, her income there would afford her a genteel support, instead of a mere subsistence in England: for the same reason also he recommended it to Mrs. Dingley to accompany her. This proposal was very agreeable to both the ladies. To the latter, as she had scarce a sufficient income to subsist on in England, though managed with the utmost frugality; to the former, that she might be near her tutor, whose lessons, however they might dwell on her memory, had sunk still deeper into her licart. These ladies, soon after their arrival, took a lodging at Trim, a village ncar Laracor, which was the place of Swist's residence. The conversation of this amiable woman, who, by his own account, had the most and finest accomplishments of any person he had ever known of either şox, contributed not a little to sweeten his retirement, which otherwise must soon have become burdensome to so active a spirit. But though Stella's beauty was at that time arrayed in all the pride of blooming eighteen, yet it is certain that he never dropped the least hint that might induce her to consider him in the light of a lover. In his whole deportment he still maintained the character of a tutor, a guardian, and a friend ; but he so studiously avoided the appearance of any other attachment to her, that he never saw, or conversed with her, but in the presence of some third person. The truth is, that Swift, at that time, knew not what the passion of love was; his fondness for Stella was only that of an affectionate parent to a favourite child; and he had long entertained a dislike to matrimony. He seems to have been under the dominion of a still more powerful passion, that of ambition: a passion which, from his boyish days, had taken strong hold of his mind, and never afterward forsook him, till all hopes of its being farther gratified had failed.
Urged by this restless spirit, he every year -paid a visit to England, absenting himself for some months from the duties of his parish, and the charming conversation of the amiable Stella, in hopes of finding some favourable opportunity of distinguishing himself, and pushing his fortune in the world. His first visit to London, from the time he had taken possession of his living, was in the year 1901. At which time he found the publick in a ferment, occasioned by the impeachment of the earls of Portland and Orford, lord Somers, and lord Halifax,
by the house of commons. Upon this occasion Swift wrote and published his first political tract, entitled, A Discourse of the Contests and Dissensions in Athens and Rome. In which he displayed great knowledge in ancient history, as well as skill in the English constitution, and the state of parties. The author of this piece concealed his name with the greatest precaution, nor was he at that time personally known to any of the nobles, in whose favour it seems to have been written; and indeed, from the spirit of the piece itself, we may see that Swift was induced to write it from other motives than such as were private and personal. As no one understood the English constitution better, so no one loved it more, or would have gone greater lengths to preserve it, than Swift, He saw clearly that the balance, upon the due preservation of which the very life of our constitution depends, had been for some time in a fluctuating state, and that the popular scale was likely to preponderate. All the horrours of anarchy, and the detested times of a Cromwell, came fresh into his mind. He therefore thought it his duty to lay before the publick the fatal consequences of the encroachments then making by the commons upon the other two branches of the legislature; which he executed in a most masterly manner, with great force of argument, assisted by the most striking examples of other states in similar circumstances; and at the same time in a style and method so perspicuous, as to render the whole clear to common capacities. Another reason for supposing that Swift wrote this wholly from a principle of duty, is, that the author deals throughout in generals, excepting only one oblique compliment to the four lords