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their affociates. In that cafe, there were few Whigs, fo loft to all fenfe of fhame, as would choose to be one of a handful of English Proteftants, at the head of a. numerous body of Sectaries of all kinds, Infidels, and Atheists; as there would be few Tories, who would wish to appear leaders of Papifts and Jacobites only. Under the name of Church of-England-man, none of thofe enemies to our conftitution could have lifted whereas, under the vague names of Whig and Tory, perfons of all denominations and principles were enrolled without fcruple, by both, merely to encrease their numbers, and fwell the cry. This project, for the uniting of parties, feems to have taken ftrong poffef fion of Swift, and not to have quitted him for some time, as we find he mentions it in a letter to Colonel Hunter, in the beginning of the following year. However, if this defign failed, he was determined, whenever matters fhould come to an open rupture between the parties, not to remain neutral; but to choose that fide, which, upon the whole, should appear to him the best, according to the maxim before laid down. In order therefore to render himself of the greater confequence, he seems to have exerted himself this year in the difplay of his various talents. Befide the two admirable tracts before-mentioned, he published, "A Letter from a Member of the House of Commons in Ireland, to a Member of the House of Commons in England, concerning the Sacramental Test." As he, always kept a watchful eye upon the motions of the Prefbyterians, the intention of this piece was, not only to fruftrate their attempt to get the Teft Act repealed
* I amufe myself fometimes with writing verses to Mrs. Finch, and fometimes with projects for the uniting of parties, which I perfect over night, and burn in the morning.
Swirr's firft Letter to Col. Hunter.
in Ireland, but alfo to alarm the people in England, by fhewing that their defign was deeper laid, and that the carrying of it firft in that country, was only intended as a precedent for doing the fame here. In the humourous way, he wrote alfo in this year thofe admirable. papers on Partridge the Almanack Maker, which appeared under the name of Ifaac Bickerstaff, Efq; and in poetry, An Elegy on the fuppofed death of Partridge; the Story of Baucis and Philemon; and two copies of Verses on Vanbrugh's houfe *. So wide a display of fuch different talents; fuch knowledge in political affairs; fo much good fenfe and ftrength of reafoning, joined to fo pure and masterly a ftyle; and above all, fo much wit, and fuch uncommon powers of ridicule, could not fail of raifing prognofticks, that he would prove the most able and formidable champion living, of that party whose cause he should espouse. The Whigs therefore, who had hitherto neglected him, as confidering him in the light of a half brother, began now to dread, and confequently to pay him great Their apprehenfions were quickened by the
* It appears from a memorandum in Swift's hand-writing, that he had an intention this year to publish a Volume of his Works, confisting of the following articles: October, 1708.
narrow escape which they just then had of being turned out of power, by the intrigues of Mr. Harley; which had very nearly taken place then, in the manner they did two years afterwards. No folicitations nor promifes were wanting, on their parts, to engage Swift on their fide; but they found him a man of ftubborn integrity; nor could any temptation prevail on him to go the lengths which they wanted. Failing in this, their next wish was to fend him out of the way, in fome honourable poft. That of Secretary to an intended embaffy to the Court of Vienna, was firft defigned for him; but that project going off, there was a fcheme on foot to make him Bishop of Virginia, with a power to ordain Priests and Deacons, and a general authority over all the Clergy in the American Colonies. There could not have been a stronger bait thrown out to Swift than this; as it would gratify his ambition, by a most extenfive power, in the very sphere where he most wished to have it, in the Church; as religion was always weareft his heart. Accordingly we find that he was very earneft in the purfuit of that point; but, unfortunately for the interefts of religion in America, and as unfortunately for the Whiggish Ministry, notwithstanding their promises, that it fhould be done, the defign fell to the ground, and Swift remained in the fame state: remained on the spot, filled with refentment at their treatment of him, and determined to wreak his vengeance on them, when opportunity fhould ferve, which was not now far diftant.
Early in the following year, Swift publifhed that admirable piece, called, A Project for the Advancement of Religion. In which, after enumerating all the corruptions and depravities of the age, he fhews that the chief fource of them was the neglect, or contempt of religion, which fo generally prevailed. Though at
firft view this pamphlet feemed to have no other drift, but to lay down a very rational fcheme for a general reformation of manners, yet upon a clofer examination it will appear to have been a very strong, though covert attack, upon the power of the Whigs. It could not have escaped a man of Swift's penetration, that the Queen had been a long time wavering in her fentiments, and that he was then meditating that change in the Ministry, which fometime afterwards took place. To confirm her in this intention, and to haften the execution of it, appears, from the whole tenour of the pamphlet, to have been the main object he had in view, in publishing it at that time. For though it feems defigned for the ufe of the world in general, and is particularly addreffed to the Countefs of Berkeley, yet that it was chiefly calculated for the Queen's perufal, appears from this; that the whole execution of his Project depended upon the impreffion which it might make upon her mind; and the only means of reformation proposed, were fuch as were altogether in her own power. At fetting out, he fays; "Now, as univerfal and deep-rooted as thefe corruptions appear to be, I am utterly deceived, if an effectual remedy might not be applied to most of them; neither am I, now upon a wild fpeculative project, but fuch a one as may be eafily put in execution. For, while the prerogative of giving all employments continues in the Crown, either immediately, or by fubordination, it is in the power of the Prince to make piety and virtue become the fashion of the age, if, at the fame time, he would make them neceffary qualifications for favour and preferment." He then proceeds to fhew the neceffity of her Majesty's exerting her authority in this way, by a very free obfervation, couched under one of the finest compliments that ever was penned: "It is clear from prefent experience,
rience, that the bare example of the best Prince, will not have any mighty influence where the age is very corrupt. For, when was there ever a better Prince on the throne than the prefent Queen? I do not talk of her talent for government, her love of the people, or any other qualities that are purely regal; but her piety, charity, temperance, conjugal love, and whatever other virtues do beft adorn a private life; wherein, without queftion, or flattery, fhe has no fuperior: yet, neither will it be fatyr or peevish invective to affirm, that infidelity and vice are not much diminished fince her coming to the Crown; nor will, in probability, until more effectual remedies be provided."
The chief remedy he propofes, is, "To bring religion into countenance, and encourage thofe, who, from the hope of future reward, and dread of future punishment, will be moved to act with justice and integrity, This is not to be accomplished in any other way, than by introducing religion as much as poffible, to be the turn and fashion of the age, which only lies in the power of the Administration; the Prince, with utmost ftrictnefs, regulating the Court, the Ministry, and other perfons in great employment; and thefe, by their example and authority, reforming all who have depend
ence on them."
Having expatiated on this topic, and fhewn how eafily fuch a design might be carried into execution, if the Queen would only form fuch a determination, he 'proceeds to enforce his arguments by confcientious motives; which were likely to have the ftrongeft effects upon one of fuch a truly religious turn as the Queen was. After having juft mentioned fome points of reformation, in which the aid of the Legislature might be found neceffary, he fays, "But this is beside my prefent defign, which was only to fhew what degree of