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vice to his family after the Restoration ; for Godwin Swift, his eldest son, who had studied at Gray's Inn, and had been called to the bar, was appointed Attorney-general of the Palatinate of Tipperary, under the Duke of Ormond. He was a man of talents, and appears to have possessed a considerable revenue, which he greatly embarrassed by embarking in speculative and expensive projects, to which his nephew, Jonathan, ever after entertained an unconquerable aversion.* Meantime, however, the success of Godwin Swift, in his profession, attracted to Ireland three of his brethren, William, Jonathan, and Adam,
* One of these projects seems to have been the iron manufactory at Swadlingbar, mentioned sarcastically by the Dean in his Essay on Barbarous Denominations in Ireland, Vol. VII. p. 147. Swift's dislike to projects and projectors, is exhibited in his Essay on English Bubbles, and the subsequent Tracts relating to the
proposed establishment of a bank in Ireland. The following anecdote is also recorded on the same subject:
“When Swift was at Holyhead, waiting for a fair wind to sail for Ireland, one Welldon, an old seafaring man, sent him a letter that he had found out the longitude, and would convince him of it; to which the Dean answered, in writing, that if he had found it out, he must apply to the Lords of Admiralty, of whom, perhaps, one might be found who knew something of navigation, of which he was totally ignorant; and that he never knew but two projectors, one of whom, (meaning his uncle Godwin,) ruined himself and family, and the other hanged himself; and desired him to desist, lest one or other might happen to him."-Swiftiana, London, 1804, 12mo, vol. I. p. 177. The other unfortunate projector was probably Joseph Beaumont, often mentioned in Swift's Journal, who committed suicide.
all of whom settled in that kingdom, and there lived and died.
Jonathan Swift, the father of the celebrated author, was the sixth or seventh son of the Vicar of Goodrich, the number of whose descendants, and the obscurity of their fortunes, does not admit of distinguishing his lineage more accurately. Jonathan, like his brother Godwin, appears to have been bred to the law, though not like him called to the bar. He added to the embarrassments of his situation, by marrying Abigail Ericke of Leicestershire, a lady whose ancient genealogy was her principal dowry. The Dean has, himself, informed us, that his father obtained some agencies and employments in Ireland ; but his principal promotion seems to have been the office of steward to the society of the King's Inns, Dublin, to which he was nominated in 1665.
This situation 'he did not long enjoy, for he died in 1667, two years after his appointment, leaving an infant daughter, and his widow, then pregnant, in a very destitute situation,* as Mrs Swift was unable,
• The following original documents, procured by the kindness of Mr Hartstonge, establish the time of his appointment and death, and also the destitute circumstances of the poet's mother. As Mr Swift states himself to have been conversant about the King's Inns for six or seven years before the date of his petition, it is probable that he came to Ireland upon the death of his father, 1658.
without the assistance of the society, even to defray the expense of her husband's funeral.
“ To his Grace the Lord Chancellor, the Right Honourable the
Judges, and other the Honourable Benchers of the Honourable Society of the King's Inns, Dublin :
“ The humble Petition of Jonathan Swift ; Humbly sheweth, “That the stewardship of this Honourable Society is now become void by the death of Thomas Wale, the late steward thereof: That your petitioner, his father, and their whole family, have been always very loyal and faithful to his said Majesty and his royal father, and have been very great sufferers upon that account: That your petitioner, for these six or seven years last past, hath been much conversant about the said Inns, and is very quainted with the duty and employment belonging unto the steward thereof, he having assisted the said Thomas Wale in entering of the orders of your honours, and in the settling and ordering other things belonging to the said employment.
“ That your petitioner doubts not but if your honours will be pleased to confer the said employment of steward upon your petitioner, that he shall give your honours all satisfaction imaginable therein.
“ He therefore humbly prays that your honours will be pleased to confirm the said stewardship upon him.
And he shall pray." [Extracted from the Black-book of the King's Inns, in the library, Henrietta Street, Dublin, p. 242.]
I compared the above extracts with Mr Hartstonge, and can certify its correctness with the original.
B. T. DUHIGG,
Presented to a Council held
at the King's Inns, Dublin, 14th Nov. 1665.
Librarian to the Honourable
Society of King's Inns,
Dryden William Swift, the brother of the deceased, seems to have been active in behalf of his sister
“At a Council holden at the King's Inns, Dublin, the 25th day of January, 1665-6,
[Amongst other matters it was] “ Ordered “ That Jonathan Swift, upon his petition, be admitted steward of this house.
I also compared the above,
B. T. DUHIGG.
The period of the death of the above-mentioned Mr Jonathan Swift is fully ascertained, by the following petition of his widow, Mrs Abigail Swift, to the Honourable Society of King's Inns, presented at a council held the 15th of April, 1667.
“ To his Grace the Lord Chancellor, and the Right Honourable
the Judges and Benchers of the Honourable Society of King's Inns :
“The humble Petition of Abigail Swift, widow; “Humbly sheweth, “ That it having pleased God to take away your petitioner's husband, the late steward of this honourable Society, unexpectedly, and your petitioner being left a disconsolate widow, hath this affliction added to her, that there is due to her from the several members of this honourable Society, for Commons and Cost Commons, about six score pounds sterling, which she is noways able to get in without your honours' assistance: That your petitioner hath desired her late husband's brother, William Swift, to in-law, but Godwin, who was supposed to be wealthy, was her chief support; and, upon the 30th of November, 1667, being St Andrew's day, she was deli
help her in getting in her said money, who hath manifested himself very willing to assist her, but hath been denied by several persons, upon pretence that he had no authority to receive the same.
Now, for as much as your petitioner hath no friend next your honours, but her said brother, to rely upon, and that he, your petitioner's said brother, cannot befriend her without he be authorized by your honours' orders to the purpose, “May it therefore please your honours to grant your petitioner
an order, wherein the said William Swift may be authorized and appointed to gather in your petitioner's said money.
“ And your petitioner shall ever pray.”
[The prayer of which petition was fully granted upon the same day,
and her brother-in-law appointed to receive the moneys due.]
[Extracted from the Black-book of the King's Inns, Dublin, page 248.] I also compared the above,
B. T. DUHIGG.
I have seen another original petition from Mrs Abigail Swift, presented in council to the Society of King's Inns, in the month of January, less than two months after the birth of her son, which was on the 30th of November, 1667. I am thus irresistibly convinced, and entirely concur in opinion with Mr Duhigg, (see his history of the King's Inns, page 248,) that the illustrious Jonathan Swift, the Dean of St Patrick's, Dublin, was undoubtedly born in Ireland. This latter petition, here noticed, is in the Black-book of the King's Inns, Dublin, p. 276, which states her poverty, and her desire to pay the funeral expenses of her late husband, and praying that the society do pay her the arrears due, &c.
MATTHEW WELD HARTSTONGE. I compared the above with Mr Hartstonge,
B. T. DUHIGG.