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who flourished in the Augustan age of Queen Anne.
Yet, of all authors, perhaps, who ever wrote, Swift
appears to have been the most inattentive to literary reputation, and to have flung from him his numerous productions, with the least interest in their future fate. The valuable and laborious edition of Mr Nicol, was the first which presented to the public anything resembling a complete collection of Swift's works; and, unquestionably, those who peruse it must admire the labour and accuracy
of the editor. It has nevertheless been generally understood, that fugitive pieces of the Dean of St Patrick's, letters and anecdotes throwing light on his remarkable history and character, still remain excluded from this ample collection ; and, above all, that a distinct and combined account of his life, selected from the various sources afforded by his contradictory biographers and commentators, continued to be a desideratum.
The attempt to fill up such a blank by a
more complete edition of Swift's works, can only be justified by stating the various advantages which have been afforded to the present Editor, and of which, if he has not been able to avail himself, the blame undoubtedly rests with himself, and not with those friends whose liberality has furnished him with such copious materials.
The present edition of this incomparable English Classic, is offered to the public with the advantage of possessing considerably upwards of a hundred original Letters, Essays, and Poems, by Dean Swift, which have not hitherto been printed with his works. These have been recovered from the following authentic sources :- First, The most liberal communications have been made by Theophilus Swift, Esq. Dublin, son of the learned Deane Swift, the near kinsman and biographer of the celebrated Dean of St Patrick's. Secondly, A collection of Manuscripts, of various descriptions, concerning Swift and his affairs, which remained in the hands of Dr Lyons, the gentleman under whose charge Swift was
placed during the last sad period of his exist
To the use of these materials the Editor has been admitted by the favour of Thomas Steele, Esq. the nephew of Dr Lyons. Thirdly, Fourteen original Letters from Dean Swift, never before published, two of which are addressed to Mr Addison, and the others to Mr Tickell the poet. This interesting communication the Editor owes to the liberality and kindness of Major Tickell, the descendant of the ingenious friend of Swift and Addison. Fourthly, Several unpublished pieces, from the originals in Swift's hand-writing, in the possession of Leonard Macnally, Esq. barrister-at-law. Fifthly, The unwearied friendship of Matthew Weld Hartstonge, Esq.. has furnished much curious and interesting information, the result of long and laborious research through various journals and collections of rare pamphlets and loose sheets, in which last form many of Swift's satires made their first appearance. From such sources several additions have been made to Swift's publications
Wood's scheme, as well as to his other Tracts upon Irish affairs. Sixthly, The
Rev. Mr Berwick, so well known to the literary world, has obliged the Editor with some curious illustrations of the Dean's last satirical Tracts, and particularly of that entitled the Legion Club; and has also communicated to him the suppressed correspondence between Swift and Miss Vanhomrigh, which has been so long a desideratum in all editions of the author. The Editor might mention many other gentlemen of literary eminence, who have had the goodness to give countenance to his undertaking. But enough has been said for the present purpose, which is only to give an account to the public of some of the facilities afforded to the Editor, of improving the present edition of Swift's Works, both by the recovery of original compositions, and by collating, correcting, and enlarging those which have been already published.
In the Biographical Memoir, it has been the object of the Editor to condense the information afforded by Mr Sheridan, Lord Orrery, Dr Delany, Deane Swift, Dr Johnson, and others, into one distinct and comprehen
sive narrative. Some preliminary critical observations are offered on Swift's most interesting productions ; and historical explanations and anecdotes accompany his political treatises. So that, upon the whole, it is hoped this Edition may be considered as improved, as well as enlarged; and, in either point of view, may have some claim to public favour.
Some improvements in the arrangement have been adopted in the Second Edition of this distinguished Classic, which is now offered to the public. They are chiefly such as refer to the more equal distribution of the matter through the several volumes.
The Editor has also obtained the advantage of consulting several of the original letters of Dean Swift, and even adding to the number two or three not hitherto published, under the following singular circumstances :These valuable documents were in possession of the late Theophilus Swift, Esq., who, dying in