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pence of feveral hundred pounds, when he did not believe he fhould ever again claim the privileges for himself; because he would not hurt his fucceffor by an injurious precedent. The poor, in the liberty of his cathedral, were better regulated than any other in the kingdom: They were all badged, and were never found begging out of their dif trict. For thefe he built and furnished a little alms-houfe, being affifted by fome voluntary contributions, and he preferved among them uncommon cleanlinefs and decency, by conftantly vifiting them in perfon. Nor was his care and kindness confined to his cathedral; he improved his living of Laracor, though he continued there but a fhort time, and left both the house and glebe a convenient and agreeable retreat to his fucceffor, at a confiderable expence. In his private capacity, he was not only charitable but generous, and whatever milanthropy may be found in his writings, there does 'not appear to have been any in his life. His writings in defence of the poor people of Ireland are well known, and that he might not be wanting himfelf, while he pleaded their caufe with others, he conftantly lent out a large fum of money, in fmall portions, to honest, induftrious, and neceflitous tradefmen, upon eafy terms. Befides this, he fre+ quently gave five and ten pounds, without any parade, when proper objects offered..
He was diligent to relieve the poor, and, at the fame time, to encourage industry, even in the loweft ftation, he ufed regularly to vifit a great number of poor, chiefly women, as well in the public streets, as in the bye allies, and under the arches of Dublin. If he was not exempt from the infirmity of loving money, yet he was clear of the vice. If his oeconomy degenerated into avarice, it must be confeffed it did not contract his bounty. He turned all the evil of exceffive frugality upon himfelf; it induced him to walk, when he had been used to ride, and he would then fay, he had earned a fhilling or eighteen pence, which he had a right to do what he pleased with, and which he conftantly applied to his ufual charities, which by this expedient he could continue, and yet expend lefs upon the whole than before. Whilft he abounded in charity, he was not lefs diligent in the practice of other virtues, or lefs devout and conftant in the folemnities of religion. He was remarkably temperate, both in eating and drinking. He was not only juft, but punctual in his dealings, and he had an inviolable regard for truth. As he conftantly attended divine worship when he was at home, fo he used always to go early to church when he was in London, and never to fleep without affembling his family in his own chamber to prayers. An abhorrence of hypocrify was a ftriking particular in his character; he even carried
carried it to fuch an excefs, that it is not eafy to determine, whether it was more a virtue than a vice; for it brought upon him the charge of irreligion, and encouraged others to be irreligious. In proportion as he abhorred hypocrify, he dreaded the imputation of it, and therefore concealed his piety with as much diligence, as others conceal their vices, which cuftom has not made reputable. As his abhorrence of hypocrify exempted him from affectation, the natural equity of his mind. fecured him against envy. He cultivated genius wherever he found it, and in whatever degree, with great zeal and affiduity, and would frequently spend much time in correcting and improving any literary compofition that had the leaft appearance of ingenuity. As a writer, he had no equal. His ftile is masterly, correct, and ftrong, never diffufive, yet always clear; and if we confider it in comparifon of his predeceffors, he has outdone them all, and is one, perhaps the chief, of thofe few felect English writers, who have excelled in elegance and propriety of language. In politics, his favourite topic, he appears like a masterly gladiator; he wields the fword of party with eafe, juftnefs, and dexterity, and while he entertains the ignorant and the vulgar, he draws an equal attention from the learned and the great. When he is ferious, his gravity becomes him; when he laughs, his readers muft laugh with him. In poetry,
he would not take pains to excel: but became, in fonre measure, fuperior to it, and affumed more the air and manner of a critic, than a poet. But what fhall be faid for his love of trifles, and his want of delicacy and decorum? Forgive him these errors, and draw a veil over certain excrefcences of wit and humour, you will then admire him as an honour to the public, and a fcourge to all the knaves and fools of his time. Upon the whole, his conduct was greatly variegated, fo much as to appear even capricious and contradictory. However, if we look a little deeper than the furface, thefe feeming contradictions will be found to arife from the fame principles. Swift was naturally temperate and chaste, it was therefore eafy for him to be frugal; but he was alfo naturally highfpirited; and therefore, as wealth is the pledge of independence, it is not ftrange his frugality fhould verge to excefs. However, as he acted upon Chriflian principles of general virtue, he did not deliver himself up to natu ral propenfions, when contrary to his duty; and therefore his love of money did not contract his charity to the poor, or defraud hs fucceffors to enrich himself. The fame fpirit which fecured his integrity, by difdaining the. meannels of a lie, produced that dread of hypocrify which concealed his piety, and be trayed him into appearances of evil: and the fame want of natural tenderness which made VOL. I.
him obdurate and auftere, transferred the diftribution of his liberality from inftinct to religion. Such was Jonathan Swift, whofe life, with all the advantages of genius and learning, was a scale of infelicity, gradually af cending, till pain and anguish destroyed the faculties by which they were felt. An inftructive leffon to teach the wife humility, and the fimple content.
By his will, which is dated in May 1740, juft before he ceafed to be a reasonable being, he left about 1200 l. in legacies* ; and the reft of his fortune, which amounted to about 11,000 l. to erect and endow an hospital for ideots and lunatics. He was buried in the great ifle of St. Patrick's ftone of black marble,
cathedral, under a infcribed with the
His will, like all his other writings, is drawn up in a peculiar manner. Even in so serious a compofition he could not help indulging himself in leaving legacies that carry with them an air of raillery and jeft. He difpofes of his three hats, his beft, his fecond best, and his third best beaver, with an ironical folemnity that renders the bequefts rediculous. He bequeaths
Mr. John Gratton a filver box, to keep in it the tobacco which the faid John ufually chewed, called pigtail.' But his legacy to Mr. Robert Gratton is fill more extraordinary. Item, I bequeath to Mr. • Robert Gratton, prebendary of St. Andrew's, my ftrong box, on condition of his giving the fole ufe of the faid box to his brother, Dr. James Gratton, during the life of the faid Doctor, who hath more ⚫ occafion for it,”