Imatges de pÓgina

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 execute his commission, he would most assuredly have been immediately hanged by the mob: and this might have involved the two countries in a contest, which it was by no means the interest of a minister to en

gage in.

But, whatever gratification it might have been to his ambitious spirit, to see himself raised by the voluntary suffrages of his countryinen, to a rank beyond the power of monarchs to bestow; to find himself considered by all as the first man in the realm;

of such recommendation, he was appointed city chaplain. l'et 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 prosecutiou dropped. S.


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, 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 « But

you think, as I ought to think, that it is tiine 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 thein have any thing to do with party, of which you are the clearest of all men, by your religion, 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 weakness.” 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 woundedspirit. With her vanished all his do mestick enjoyment, and of course he turned his thoughts more to publick affairs ; in the contemplation of which, he could see nothing but what served to increase 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 his understanding *, made life such a burden to him, that he had no hope left but in a speedy dissolution, which was the object of his daily prayer to the Almighty.

• Dr. Young has recorded an instance of this, where he reJates that, walking out with Swift and some others about a mile from Dublin, he suddenly missed the Dean, who had staid behind the rest of the company. He turned back, in order to know the occasion of it; and found Swift at some distance, gazing intently at the top of a lofty elm, whose head had been blasted. Upon Young's approach he pointed to it, saying, “ I shall be like that tree; I shall die first at the top.” S.


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About the year 1736, his memory was greatly impaired, and his other faculties of imagination and intellect decayed, in proportion as the stores from which they were supplied diminished. When the understanding was shaken from its seat, and reason had given up the reins, the irascible passions which at all times he had found difficult to be kept within due bounds, now raged without controul, and made him a torment to himself, and to all who were about him. An unusually long fit of deafness, attended with giddiness, which lasted almost a year, had disqualified him wholly for conversation, and made him lose all relish for society. Conscious of his situation, he was little desirous of seeing any of his old friends and companions, and they were as little solicitous to visit him in that deplorable state. He could now no longer amuse himself with writing ; and a resolution he had formed of never wearing spectacles, to which he obstinately adhered, prevented him from reading. Without employment, without amusements of any kind, thus did his time pass heavily along ; not one white day in the calendar, not one hour of comfort, nor did even a ray of hope pierce through the gloom. The state of his mind is strongly pictured in a letter to Mrs. Whiteway.

I have been very miserable all night, and to day extremely deaf and full of pain. I am so stupid and confounded, that I cannot express the mortification I am under both in body and mind. All I can say is, that I am not in torture ; but I daily and hourly expect it. Pray let me know how your health is, and your family. I hardly understand one word I write. I am sure my days will be very

few ; few and miserable they must be I am, for those few days,

Your's entirely,

J. Swift, If I do not blunder, it is Saturday,'

July 26, 1740."

Not long after the date of this letter, his understanding failed to such a degree, that it was found necessary to have guardians legally appointed to take care of his person and estate,

This was followed by a fit of lunacy, which continued some months, and then he sunk into a state of idiocy, which lasted to his death. He died October 19, 1745.

The behaviour of the citizens on this occasion, gave the strongest proof of the deep impression he had made on their minds. Though he had been, for so many years, to all intents and purposes dead to the world, and his departure froin that state seemed a thing rather to be wished than deplored, yet no sooner was his death announced, than the citizens gathered from all quarters, and forced their way in crowds into the house, to pay the last tribute of grief to their departed benefactor. Nothing but lamentations were heard all around the quarter where he lived, as if he had been cut off in the vigour of his years. Happy were they who first got into the chamber where he lay, to procure, by bribes to the servants, locks of his hair to be handed down as sacred relicks to their posterity *. And so eager were numbers to obtain at any price this pre

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