Imatges de pÓgina
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i only look toward myself, I could wish you a pri, yate man to morrow : for I have nothing to ask; at least nothing that you will give, which is the same thing i and then you would see, whether I should not with much more willingness attend you in a retire. ment, whenever you please to give me leave, than ever I did at London of 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 Oct. 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 complimients, there is nothing you more hate thạn writing letters; but 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 fortunas, without taking them into your friendship, as you did me; whom you always countenanced in too pube lick and particular a manner, to be forgotten either by the world or myself." The merit of Swift, ia thus adhering to his friend at this juncture, was the more extraordinary, because he not only sacrificed ta it all regard to his own interest, but that of the pube Jick 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 roynd to Which Swift aļludęs here, where he says, " In your public sapacity you have often angered me to the heart; but as a private man, never once." S.

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

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. * refussed 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.

It appears, in the course of the Journal, that there grew up between the lord treasurer and Swift, a mutual friendship of the most cordial and purest kind. He mentions dining with him sometimes four, some times five and six days together; and if he chanced to absent himself two successive days, he was sure of a friendly chiding for it. He seems to have been adopted into the Harley family, and considered on the footing of a near relation. As an instance of this, he says, in his Journal of March 1713, “ I have now dined six days successively with lord treasurer. He had invited a good many of his relations; and, of a dozen at table, they were all of the Harley family but myself.” He was of all his private parties, and constantly accompanied himin his visits to Windsor. In short, lord Oxford never seemed to have any ep

See " Inquiry into the Behaviour of the Queen's last mia nistry. S.

joyment in which he was not a partaker. When we consider, that he had found in one and the same man, the clearest and ablest bead to give advice; and most open and candid heart in communicating his sentia ments upon all occasions, without the sinallest selfish view ; joined to the most uncommon talents to support his interests, and the most ardent zeal to promote them; we need not wonder that the mi. nister should use his best endeavours, to attach such a man closely to him.

But when in the same person he found the most delightful companion, possessed of an inexhaustible fund of the most original vein of wit and humour, for which he had a perfect relish; and who could at times descend to the bagatelle, and all the sportive plays of fancy, in the unrestrained hour of social mirth and good humour, of which it appears lord: Oxford was equally fond; we need inot wonder that an old courtier; hackneyed in the ways of men, who perhaps had never found any of these qualities, in an equal degree, in any other mortal; should take him to his bosom, and at once bestow his whole stock of friendship upon a subject so worthy of it. And indeed it does not appear, that out of his own family, there was any other person to whom he showed much attachment, or whose friendship he cultivated to any great degree. This circumstance Swift has touched upon in drawing his character, and considers it as a blameless part of it, where he says, It may be likewise said of him, that lie certainly did not value, or did not understand, the art of acquiring friends; having made very few during th's time of his power, and contracted a great mumber ox enemies."

On the other hand, lord Oxford, in his privats capacity, seems to have possessed a great number of qualities, which were the most likely to ender him to Swift, and secure him the first place in his friendship. By whom he is represented as a person of great virtue, abounding in good nature and good he

mour; as a great favourer of men of wit and learn, ing, particularly the former, whom he caressed, with out distinction of party, and could not endure to think that any of them should be his enemies. He says farther of him, “He had the greatest variety of knowledge that I have any where met; was a per: fect master of the learned languages, and well skilled in divinity. He had a prodigious memory, and a most exact judgment. He was utterly a stranger to fear, and consequently had a presence of mind upon all emergencies. His liberality, and contempt of money, were such that he almost ruined his estate while he was in employment; yet his avarice for the publick were so great, that it neither consisted with the present corruptions of the age, nor the circum: stances of the time. He was affable and courteous, extremely easy and agreeable in conversation, and altogether disengaged; regular in his life, with great appearance of piety.; nor ever guilty of any exprear şions, which could possibly tend to what was inde, cent-or profane. Such a character, even in private life, could not fail of attracting Swift's regard; but when these qualities, so congenial with his own, were found united in a man of the highest station in this country, and one of the most considerable per: sonages of his time in the eyes of all Europe ; when such a man, contrary to the usual bent of his nature, cagerly embraced every opportunity of ingratiating himself with Switt, and soliciting his friendship upon his own terms, that of a perfect equality; it is no wonder if these fare qualities were much enhanced in their value by such circumstances; or that Swift, after repeated proofs of his sincerity, should make him a suitable return, and give him the first place in bis friendship. But though he justly stood the of Swife's lo lord Oxford, the sou, many years after the trea


a letter surer’s death, dated June 1737, where he says, “ I loved my lurd, your taster, better than any other man in the world, ale

foremost in this rank, yet were there many others who shared it with him in different proportions. The large heart of Swift had an inexhaustible fund of benevolence, to be apportioned out to the several claiın, ants, according to their several degrees of meriton Among those who vied with lord Oxford for the possession of his friendship, no opes eems to have been more assiduous than the second man in the state, though perhaps, in point of abilities, the first in Eur rope, lord Bolingbroke. But though Swift held his talents in the bighest admiration, and made suitable returns for all his personal kindness and attention to him, yet he never seems to have had that cordial regard for himn that he showed for lord Oxford. The excellence of whose moral character, established that confidence in bin, which is so necessary to a firun friendship; while a notorious deficiency in the other, with regard to şame points, created a doubt of his principles with respect to all. And symptoms of this doubt have broken out from Swift on more than one pccasion, with regard to bis sincerity, though there are good reasons to believe his suspicions were unjust, as bis attachunent to him continued equally strong to the very last, and his friendship for him glows with uncommon ardour throughout his whale epistolary correspondence, in the decline of life, when there could have been no use for dissimulation. The geal which he showed før Swift's service, may be estimated by the following note which be sent him, at the time that the affair of his promotion was depending “ Though I have not seen, I did not fajl to write to lord treasurer. Non tra res agitur, dear Jqnathan; it is the treasurer's cause; it is my though I had no obligation to him on the score of preferment, having beep driven to this wretched kingdom, to which I was almost a stranger, hy his want of power to keep me, in what I ought to call my own country, although I happened to be dropped here, and was a year old before I left it." S.

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