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a whole year, in this ftate of helpless idiotifm, this house-keeper went into his room on the 30th of November in the morning, and told him, it was his birth-day, and that bonfires and illuminations were preparing to celebrate it as ufual: to which he immediately replied, "It is all folly, they had better "let it alone." Some other inftances of fhore intervals of fenfibility and reafon, after his madness ended in ftupor, feem to prove, that: his disorder, whatever it was, had not deftroyed, but only fufpended the powers of his mind. In 1744, he now and then called his fervant by name; and once attempting to fpeak to him, but not being able to exprefs his meaning, he fhewed figns of much uneafinefs; and at laft faid, "I am a fool." Once afterwards, as his fervant was taking away his watch, he faid, "bring it here :" and when the fame fervant was breaking a large hard coal, he faid, "That is a ftone; "you blockhead.” From this time he was perfectly filent, till the latter end of October 1745, and then died, without the leaft pang. or convulfion, in the 78th year of his age.
His character was very fingular, and has been attempted by feveral writers, the fub ftance of which is as follows. In his perfon, he was large, robust, and masculine, his deportment was commanding, and his walk erect. His voice was fharp and high toned, especially when he read prayers, but not ef C3 feminate;
feminate; and there was a natural feverity in his afpect, which even his fmiles could fcarce fotten, nor could his utmoft gaiety relax. He was cleanly even to fuperftition; his nails were always paired to the quick, to prevent the leaft gathering of dirt under them,.. and he never dreffed without a bafon of water by him, with which he carefully cleanfed his feet. Among his fingularities, were his refolution never to wear fpectacles, and his obftate perfeverance in the ufe of too much exercife. Regularity was peculiar to him in all his actions, even in the greatest trifles.. His hours of walking and reading never varied. His motions were guided by his watch, which was fo conftantly held in his hand, or placed before him on the table, that he feldom deviated many minutes in the daily revolutions of his exercifes and employments. His manner was without ceremony, but not. ruftic; for he had a perfect knowledge of all. the modes and variations of politeness and complaifance, which he practifed in a manner peculiar to himfelf; and the respect that was due to him by thefe rules, he took care to exact, without the leaft abatement. He had feen the great world, and profited much by his experience. His capacity and ftrength of mind were undeniably equal to any tafk whatfoever. His pride, his fpirit, or his ambition, call it by what name you pleafe, was boundlefs; but his views were checked in his younger
younger years, and the anxiety of that disap pointment had a vifible effect upon all his actions. He was four and fevere, but not ab➡folutely ill-natured. He was fociable only to particular friends, and to them only at parti cular hours. In company his rule was never to fpeak more than a minute at a time, and then to wait at least as long for others to take up the converfation. His colloquial ftile, like that of his writing, was clear, forcible, and concise. He greatly excelled in punning, a. talent, he said, which no man affected to de-fpife, but thofe which were without it.. But his converfation abounded with turns of wit of a higher kind. The Dean also greatly excelled in telling a ftory, his fentences werefhort and perfpicuous, his obfervations pier-cing; and though in the latter part of his life he was very apt to tell his ftories too. often, yet his wit, as well as his virtues, was always fuperior to the wretched expedients: of those despicable babblers, who are pepe-tually attempting to put off double entendre and profanenefs for wit and humour.. His converfation was in the highest degree chafte, and wholly free from, the least tincture of inreligion. As he was zealous to preferve all the delicacies of converfation, he was always best pleased, when fome of the company were ladies. He had not the leaft tincture of vanity in his converfation; he was used to fay, he was too proud to be vain. He generally
fpoke as he thought, in all companies, and at all times. If the converfation turned upon serious subjects, he was neither petulant in the debate, nor negligent of the issue. He would liften with great attention to the arguments of others, and whether he was engaged or not in the argument, he would recapitulate what had been faid, ftate the queftion with great clearness and precision, point out the controverted particular, and appeal to the opinion, either of some neutral person, or of the majority. It is however true, that he kept his friends in fome degree of awe, and was therefore rather an entertaining, than a defireable gueft. He was open to adu lation, and could not, or would not distin• guish between low flattery and just applause. Yet he was not lefs open to admonition, if it was offered without arrogance, and by per fons of whofe ability and honesty he had no doubt. Such was Swift as a companion; as a mafter, he was not lefs remarkable. As he expected punctual, ready, and implicit obedience, he always tried his fervants when he hired them, by fome teft of their humility. Among other questions, he always afked whether they understood cleaning shoes, "because," faid he, " my kitchen-wench "has a fcullion that does her drudgery, and "one part of the business of my groom "and footman, is conftantly to clean her fhoes by turns" if they fcrupled this,
the treaty was at an end; if not, he gave them a further hearing. He appeared to be churlish and auftere to his domeftics in gencral; but in reality was a good mafter. As a member of civil fociety, he was a zealous advocate for liberty, the detector of fraud, and the fcourge of oppreffion. In politics he was neither Whig nor Tory, Jacobite nor Republican; he was Dr. Swift. As an ecclefiaftic, he was fcrupulously exact, in the exercise of his function, as well with regard to spiritual as temporal things. He was extremely exact and confcientious in promoting the members of his choir according to their merit, and never advanced any perfon to a vicarage, who was not qualified in all refpects in the highest degree. He could never be induced to take fines for any of the chapterlands. He always chofe to raise the rents, as the method least oppreffive to the present tenant, and most advantageous to all future tenants and landlords, he conftantly refused to give charity out of the chapter-funds,. which he alleged were fcarce fufficient to maintain the neceffary repairs of the cathedral, and he expended more money to fupport and adorn it, than had been applied to the fame ufe in, any period of equal length fince it was firft built. He was a faithful guardian of the rights of his deanry, and even determined to affert his right of abfence. against the Archbishop of Dublin, at the ex