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here present the world with the Life of Dr. Swift, a man, whose original genius, and uncommon talents, have raised him, in the general estimation, above all the writers of the age. But from causes to be hereafter explained, his character as a man has hitherto been very problematical; nor shall I find it easy, notwithstanding the most convincing proofs, to persuade mankind, that one who flourished in the beginning of this century, in times of great corruption, should afford in himself a pattern of such perfect virtue, as was rarely to be found in the annals of the ancient republick of Rome, when virtue was the mode. Yet if it can be shown that even at this day, when corruption seems to have arrived at its utmost pitch, when prostitution is openly avowed, and publick spirit turned into a jest; if in such times as these in fæce Romuli, there lives a man fully equal to Swift in all the moral virtues attributed to him; the improbability of the existence of such a character at a former period, will be much lessened. In the following history Swift has been represented as a man of the most disinterested principles, regardless of self, and constantly employed in doing good to others. In acts of charity and liberality, in proportion to his means, perhaps without an equal, in his days. A warm champion in the cause of liberty, and support of the English constitution. A firm patriot, in withstanding all attempts against his country, either by oppression, or corruption; and indefatigable in pointing out, and encouraging the means to render her state more flourishing. Of incorruptible integrity, inviolable truth, and steadiness in friendship. Utterly free from vice, and living in the constant discharge of all moral and christian duties. If, in these times, there should be found a man resembling him in all these points, it is fit the memorial of him, together with that of his immortal compeer, should be handed down to latest posterity: and that such a one does exist, will be acknowledged by all who have ever heard the universally revered name of Sir George SAVILE.
To him, therefore, is the following Life of a congenial patriot inscribed by its author; who has long admired his character, and been well acquainted with his worth, though a stranger to his person. .
P. S.The above was committed to 'the press some weeks before the much lamented death of the excellent man, to whom it was addressed; but the publication has by some accidents been deferred 'till now. That the author had no interested view in his choice of a patron (though he must ever regret the occasion) he has now an opportunity of showing, by letting the above Dedication remain in its original state, and thus consecrating to the memory of the dead, that tribute of praise, so justly due to the living
OTWITHSTANDING the several attempts to gratify the curiosity of the world, in delineating the Life and Character of the immortal Swift, yet bitherto little satisfactory has been produced on that subject. The different, and often opposite lights in which he has been shown by the several writers, have occasioned an equal diversity of judgments in their several readers, according to their various prepossessions, and even the most candid are too often: left in a state of doubt, through the want of having the truth laid before them supported by sufficient proofs.
Perhaps there never was a man whose true character has been so little known, or whose conduct at all times, even from his first setting out in life, has been so misrepresented to the world, as his. This was owing to several causes, which will be laid open in the following work. But the chief source of all the erroneous opinions entertained of him, arose from Swift himself, on account of some singularities in his character, which at all times exposed him to the shafts of envy and malice, while he employed no other shield in his defence, but that of conscious integrity.
He had, early in life, from causes to be hereafter explained, imbibed such a strong hatred to hypocrisy, that he fell into the opposite extreme; and no mortal ever took more pains to display his good qualities, and appear in the best light to the world,
than he did to conceal his, or even to put on the semblance of their contraries.
This humour affected his whole conduct, as well in the more important duties, as in the common offices of life.
Though a man of great piety, and true religion, yet he carefully shunned all ostentation of it: as an instance of which, it is well known that during his residence in London, not being called upon by any duty to officiate publickly in his clerical capacity, he was seldom seen at church at the usual hours that pretenders, to religion show themselves there; but he was a constant / attendant on early prayers, and a frequent partaker of early sacraments.
Though generous and charitable in his nature to the highest degree, he seemed to part with money so reluctantly, and spoke so much about economy, that he passed for avaricious, and hardhearted. 1. His very civilities bore the appearance of rudeness, and his finest compliments were covered under the disguise of satire., ;
Lord Bolingbroke, who knew him well, in two words summed up his character in this respect, by saying, that Swift was a hypocrite reversed.
In short, he always appeared to the world in a mask, which he never took off but in the company of his most intimate friends: and as the world can judge only by appearances, no wonder they were so much mistaken in the ideas formed of hiin.
When we consider that the time in which he made the chief figure in life, was a season wherein faction raged with the greatest violence; that he was looked upon as the principal champion of the tory cause, and therefore was the common butt at