Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

land t.

a year *. Is it? Pray write me a good humour'd letter immediately, let it be ever so short. This affair was carried with great difficulty, which vexes me. But they say here, it is much to my reputation, that I have made a bishop, in spite of all the world, and to get the best deanery in Ire

“ 26th. I was at court to day, and a thousand people gave me joy; so I ran out. I dined with lady Orkney. Yesterday I dined with lord treasurer, and his Saturday people, as usual; and was so be-dean'd, @c. The archbishop of York says ke will never more speak against me.

From an examination of this extract, we shall clearly see, that the great obstacle to Swift's preferment, was the prejudice conceived against him by the queen, and not any neglect or want of friendship in the ministry. He seems to have been himself of this opinion, where he says, upon finding that none of the deaneries were given to him, I bid Mr. Lewis tell my lord treasurer, that I take nothing ill of him, lut'his not giving me timely notice, as he promised to do, if he found the queen would do nothing for me."

And afterward, in the progress of this affair, he expresses his suspicion more strongly in that point, where he says,

- This will delay it some time, and while it is delayed, I am not sure of the queen, muy enemies being lusy. I hate this suspense." It is evident also, that the lord treasurer, upon hearing Swift's declaration to Mr. Lewis, was greatly alarmed, and began to bestir himself with all his might. The warrants for the deans were immediately stopped, to prevent Swift's departing as he

* This deanery was worth more than seven hundred. S. + The most considerable in point of rank, but not in

S.

come.

threatened he would. And though the affair was not carried on with that dispatch, which Swift's impatience required, yet it is evident, the treasurer was exerting his utmost endeavours to accomplish the point for him in his own way. He was by no means satisfied that his friend should be sent to Ireland, and was therefore using all his influence to get him a canonry of Windsor, which he knew also would be much more agreeable to him. The affair of the deanery was easily settled, as we see from the following passage in the Journal : “ Mr. Lewis tells me, that the duke of Ormond has been to day with the queer, and she was content that Dr. Sterne should be bishop of Dromore, and I, dean of St. Patrick's; but then out came lord treasurer, and said, he would not be satisfied, but that I must be a prebendary of Windsor. Thus he perplexes things," &c. In the whole progress of this affair, Swift speaks peevishly of the lord treasurer, and, with all the captiousness of a jealous lover, who will not come to an explanation. The treasurer was really exerting all his endeavours to serve his friend, in the way which he knew would be most agrecable to him; though, according to his usual reserve, he did not care to inform him of the difficulties in his way. And Swift, who was too proud to inquire into this, suspected him either of want of zeal, or indulging his usual procrastination, which is obvious, from all the expressions relative to him in the above quotations. But the truth of the whole matter appears to be this: The queen was willing enough that Swift should have a moderate provision made for him in Ireland, in order to send him, into banishment, in a decent, though not very honourable manner. And the mninister, on the other hand, wanted to keep him with him at all events. We find, with regard to the Windsor promotion, the queen continued inflexible, not only against the solicitations of the treasurer, but of lady Masham, who was her nearest favourite, after the duchess of Somerset. How zealous that lady was in his cause, may be seen in a passage of the above quotation, where, speaking of her, he says,

• She said much to me of what she had talked to the queen, and lord treasurer. The poor lady fell a shedding of tears openly. She could not bear to think of my having St. Patrick's," &c.

We find afterward, when the lord treasurer say that the queen was obstinate with regard to this point, there was another bar thrown in the way of Swift's promotion in Ireland, probably contrived between him and the duke of Ormond; which was, that the duke should demur against Sterne's being made a bishop ; por can this change in the duke of Ormond, when he had before consented to Sterne's promotion, be rationally accounted for in any other

way. This probably was the treasurer's last effort, to oblige the queen to do something for Swift in England; but when Swift himself continued resolute in the other point, probably on a suspicion, that the queen could not be wrought upon to prefer him in England, and urged the duke of Ormond to the accomplishment of it, and upon bis demurring, expressed himself resentfully; the duke, who loved Swift sincerely, could stand it no longer, but as Swift mentions in the Journal, “ with great kindness, he said he would consent, but would do it for no man else but me,” c.

But there is one circumstance in this transaction, that seems very unaccountable; which is, that Swift was not immediately made bishop of Clogher, instead of dean of St. Patrick's. We do not find, that Dr. Sterne had one friend in the world to recommend him, but Swift hinself. On the con

trary, we see he was obnoxious to the ministry, but particularly so to the duke of Ormond, then lord lieutenant of Ireland, who was chiefly to be consulted in the disposal of preferments there. When it comes to the push, the only objection the duke offers to Swift's getting St. Patrick's, is his dislike of Sterne, and the reluctance he shows at his being promoted to a bishoprick. Now, was not this difficulty easily smoothed away, by making Swift at once bishop of Clogher? And would not the ministry have been all much better pleased to place him in that see, than a man who was at best indifferent to them, but certainly obnoxious to some, and those the principal among them? It may

therefore be surmised, that this was a point not attempted, because they were sure the queen would never consent to make him a bishop, while her displeasure continued so high against him, though she was willing to send him into exile, in so moderate a station, as that of dean, even at the expense of promoting a man of no weight or consideration, to a higher station, to make room for him. And the ministry certainly showed the greatest readiness to gratify him in any thing which he should desire, when they consented to the promotion of a man, whom they disliked, to make room for his preferment, in a way also which they did not approve of, merely because he made a point of it. So that, however small a recompense the deanery itself might have been considered for Swift's services, yet as there was a bishoprick bestowed at the same time, purely to make way for this, and to be charged wholly to his account, the ministry certainly cannot be taxed with a want of a due sense of his merits, and a suitable desire of rewarding them, And however out of humour he might be, where he says, “ This affair was carried with great difficulty,

eue

which vexes 'me;" yet he very justly adds, “ But they say here, it is much to my reputation, that I have made a bishop in spite of all tiie world, and to get the best deanery in Ireland.” He afterward shows how entirely this was his work, against all opposition, where he says, “I shall write next post to bishop Sterne. Never man had so many mies in Ireland as he; I carried it with the strongest hand possible. If he does not use me well, and gently, in what dealings I shall have with him, he will be the most ungrateful of mankind."

In his whole account of this transaction, which exhibits a lively picture of his state of mind to the moment, he seems to have been much under the influence of humour. Though he was conscious that the queen herself was the chief bar to his promotion, yet he speaks as peevishly of the treasurer, as if the sole blane lay with him. At one time he seems earnest about obtaining St. Patrick's, and is angry with the treasurer for putting any rub in the way, though in favour of another measure, which would certainly have pleased him more. When he mentions the queen's having consented to Swift's arrangement of the bishoprick and deanerv, he adds, much out of humour, “ but then out came lord treasurer, and said he would not be satisfied, but that I must be a prebendary of Windsor.. Thus he perplexes things. I expect neither ; but I conTess, as much as I love England, I am so angry at this treatment, that if I had my choice I would rather have St. Patrick's." And yet in his Journal of the 18th, the day but one after this, when he learns from the treasurer, that the queen was at last resolved upon the arrangement proposed, he says,

- Neither can I feel joy at passing my dits

« AnteriorContinua »