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An ACCOUNT or Swift always ufed the feweft words that could be utter ed on the occafion; but he pronounced them with an emphafis and fervour which every one around him faw and felt, and with his hands clafped in each other, and lifted to his breaft. And it is hoped, that thofe who can no otherwife emulate the character of Swift, will attempt it in this act of religious decorum, and no longer affect either to be wits or fine gentlemen, by a conduct directly contrary to fo great an example.
BUT Swift, with all this piety in his heart, could not refift the temptation to indulge the peculiarity of his humour when an opportunity offered, whatever might be the impropriety of time and placé.
On the first Wednesday after he had fummoned his congregation at Laracor, he afcended his defk, and having fat fome time with no other auditor than his clerk Roger, he rofe up, and, with a compofure and gravity that upon this occafion was irrefiftibly ridiculous, he began, "Dearly beloved Roger, the fcripture moveth you and me in fundry, places" and fo proceeded to the end of the fervice. [O. let. 3.]
DURING Swift's refidence at Laracor, he invited to Ireland a lady whom he has celebrated by the name of Stella. With this Lady he became acquainted while he lived with Sir William Temple. She was the daughter. of his fteward, whofe name was Johnson; and Sir William, when he died, left her 1oco l. in confideration of her father's faithful fervices. At the death of Sir William, which happened in January 1698-9, fhe was in the fixteenth year of her age t; and it was about two years afterwards, that, at Swift's invitation. the left England, accompanied by her friend Mrs Dingley, a Lady
What a glorious prieft would he have been, to reform the young and fprightly from the extravagance of their ways? But, alas! that amazing capacity, fo continually rolling over with torrents of wit and humour, was by no means adapted to the folemnity of a country-parish, or to the confolation of old women. D. S. p. 117,
+ Mr Deane Swift fays 18; but it appears by the poem on her birth-day in 1718, that he was then but 34. The Dean fays the was in Ireland from 18, in his introduction to Bons Mats de Stella, iu vol. 4. p. 295. Hawkef.
who was fifteen years older, and whofe whole fortune, though fhe was related to Sir William, was no more than an annuity of 27 1. [D. S. p. 85. 86. 90.] Whe ther Swift at this time defired the company of Stella á wife or a friend, is not certain; but the reafon which fhe and her companion then gave for their leaving Eng. land, was, that in Ireland the intereit of money was high, and provifions were cheap. It appears, however, that other reafons were fufpected in the neighbourhood of Moorpark for Mr Thomas Swift, the rector of Puttenham, in a letter, dated Feb. 5. 1706, inquires whether Jonathan was married, or whether he had been able to refift the charms of both thofe gentlewomen who marched from Moorpark to Dublin, with "a refolution to engage him?" [D. S. p. 86. 87.1 It appears too, that Swift, if he did not addrefs her himfelf, yet contrived to break off a treaty of marriage with another, by perfuading her to infift upon terms with which the gentleman could not comply t. But what
The beauty and gracefulness of Mis Johnson's perfon had been remarked by Swift about two years before Sir William Temple's death, but never, we may be fure, had he made her the leaft advances. I am inclined however to think, that having obferved her to be a delightful girl, and of a genius quick and lively he had given her fome inftructions for the improvement of her mind in thofe happy years of ductility, when the foul is apt to receive all the finest impreffions; which, like feed thrown upon rich and fertile foil, might have prejudiced her inclinations to have a tenderness for him. D. S. p. 85. 86.
Dr Swift made no addreffes to this charming fair upon her first arrival in Ireland, when she was in the prime of her life, and fplendor of her beauty. However, the gracefulness of her perfon, and the politenefs of her converfation, were not to be refifted by a gentleman of wit and learning, who was an intimate friend of the Doctor, and with whom she had frequently converfed. This gentleman declared his paffion, and made her proposals of marriage. -Mrs Johnfon difcovered no repugnancy to the match; but ftill she would be advised by Dr Swift. The Doctor, perhaps loth to be feparated from fo delightful a companion, threw an obftacle in the way that was not to be furmounted. The gentleman had a bene fice in the church of a confiderable value about 100 miles from Dublin, which required his attendance. Dr Swift, in crder to bring matters to a final iffue, made him an overture, that he should fettle upon his wife 100 I. a-year for pin-money. The lover in1
whatever was Swift's attachment to Mrs Johnfon, every poffible precaution was taken to prevent fcandal. They never lived in the fame houfe. When Swift was abfent from Laracor, Mrs Johnfon and her friend refided at the parfonage; when he returned, they removed either to the houfe of Dr Raymond, vicar of Trim, a gentleman of great hofpitality, and Swift's intimate friend, or to a lodging provided for them in the neighbourhood: neither were they ever known to meet but in the prefence of a third perfon. [D. S. p. 90.] Swift made frequent excurfions to Dublin, and fome to London : but Mrs. Johnson was buried in folitude and obfcurity; The was known only to a few of Swift's moft intimate acquaintance, and had no female companion except her friend Mrs Dingley, who was by all accounts a very infipid companion.
IN 1701, Swift took his Doctor's degree; and in 1702, foon after the death of King William, he went to England, for the first time after his fettlement at Laracor; a journey which he frequently repeated during the reign of Queen Anne. Mrs Johnson was once alfo in Eng
deed, though extremely captivated with the charms of his mistress, was by no means delighted with this propofal; he defired, however, that he might have a night's time to confider of it. And the next morning, contrary to expectation, he agreed to the terms. Swift, never at a lofs for fome uncommon flight of imagination, Infifted further, that he fhould live in Dublin, and keep a coach for his wife. The gentleman had more honour than to promife what he could not perform; and fo the match was broken off. D. S. p. 87.89.-See Lord Orrery's account of this lady, and of Dr Swift's correfpondence with her, in vol. 4. p. 291. in the notes,
This courfe of life, so very fingular in a fine woman, abstracted Mrs Johnfon in a great meafure from the converse of her own fex. She lived, I cannot abfolutely fay by her own choice, wholly in the circle of books and men: a life fo unnatural to the sweetnefs and delicacy of a tender female conftitution, that I cannot. fuppofe it, with all its glittering advantages in the way of science, to have been near fo eligible to the lovely Mrs Johnson, as that open free converfe with the world, which is totally unacquainted with every colour and species of involuntary confinement. However, that greatness of mind, which infpires, like the demon of Socrates, courage and refolution into the fouls of the innocent, comforted and fupported the religious and virtuous Mrs Johnson, under all the bitterness and preffures of her restraint. D. S. p. 90. gr.
land in 1705; but returned in a few months, and net ver afterwards croffed the channel. [D. S. f. 9o.]
HE foon became eminent as a writer, and in that cha racter at least was known to the great men in both the factions, which were diftinguished by the names of Whig and Tory *. He had been educated among the Whigs; but he at length attached himself to the Tories, becaufe, as he said, the Whigs had renounced their old principles, and received others, which their forefathers held in utter abhorrence. t. [O let. 4.] He did not how
Two creatures, fays a modern author, who are born with a fecret antipathy to each other, and engage as naturally when they meet, as the elephant and rhinoceros. In a mixture of these twa jarring animals confifted the first ministry of Q. Anne; but the greater fhare of the adminiftration was committed to the Whigs, who, with indefatigable industry, foon ingroffed the whole; inclofing their fovereign within their own fortifications, and keeping her captive within their own walls. The Queen, whofe heart was naturally inclined towards the Tories, renrained an unwilling grifoner feveral years to the Whigs; till Mr Harley, with a Tory ar my, undermined all the Whiggith fortreffes, levelled their works to the ground, feized the princess, and, during the remainder of her life, furrounded and defended her with a new fet of troops under the command of the Duke of Ormond. O. Pet. 4.
+ The effects of power and ambition are extraordinary and boundless. They blind our faculties, they flagger our refolution, and they fubvert our nature. Not all the metamorphofes of Ovid can produce a parallel equal to the change that appears in the fame man, when from a patriot he becomes a courtier. Yet it may be afferted, and will redound to the honour of Dr Swift, that when he rofe into the confidence and efteem of thefe great men who fat at the helm of affairs during the last years of Q. Anne's reign, he fearce ever loft himself, or grew giddy by the plenitude of power, and the exalted station of frequently appearing in the confidence and favour of the reigning minifter. He may have been carried away by inconsiderate paffion, but he was not to be fwayed by deliberate evil. He may have erred in judgment, but he was upright in intention.. The welfare and profperity of thefe kingdoms were the conftant aim of his polities, and the immediate fubject of his thoughts and writings. O let.-4.
however write any political pamphlet from the year 1701* to the year 1708 †, [D. S. p. 148.]
Bur though, by his frequent excurfions to England, and a long abfence from his cures, he appears to have delayed
* In 1701 Dr Swift having wrote the piece intitled, A discourse of the contefts and diffenfions in Athens and Rome [in vol. 5. p. 8.] returned from England to Ireland; where having met with old Bp Sheridan, at his uncle William Swift's in Dublin, the Bishop, after fome conversation with him about affairs in England, asked him if he had read that pamphlet, and what reputation it carried at London? The Doctor told him modeftly, that he had read it, and that, as far as he had obferved, it was very well liked at London, Very well liked! faid the Bishop, with some emotion; yes, Sir, it is one of the finest tracts that ever was written. Well, furely Bishop Burnet is one of the best writers in the whole world! Bishop Burnet, my Lord! faid the Doctor: Why, my Lord, BiShop Burnet was not the author of that discourfe. Not the author of it? faid the Bishop, Why, Sir, there is never a man in England except the Bishop capable of writing it. I can affure Lordship, replied the Doctor, Bishop Burnet was not the author of it. Not the author of it? faid the Bishop: Pray, Sir, give me your reafon for thinking fo. Becaufe, my Lord, faid Swift, that difcourfe is not written in the Bishop's ftyle. Not in the Bishop's style? replied old Sheridan, with some degree of contempt. No, my Lord, the ftyle of that pamphlet is, I think, wholly different from the ftyle of the Bishop. Oh, Mr Swift, replied Sheridan, I have had a long acquaintance with your uncles, and an old friendfhip for all your family, and really I have a great regard for you in particular. But let me advise you, for you are still a very young man; I know you have a good share of abilities, and are a good fcholar; however, let me affure you notwithstanding, that you are ftill a great deal too young to pronounce your judgment on the ftyle of authors. I am greatly obliged to your Lordship, replied Swift, for the good opinion you are pleafed to entertain of me; but ftill I am to affure your Lordship, that Bishop Burnet was not the author of that difcourfe. Well, Sir, faid the Bifhop, let me know who it was that did write it. Why, really, my Lord, re plied Swift, I writ it myself. And this was the first time that ever he acknowledged himself to be the author of that famous tract. D. S. p. 122, 3.
During this interval, Dr Swift had worked hard within those fubterraneous paffages, where, as has been hinted in a former note, the mine was formed that blew up the Whiggish ramparts, and opened a way for the Tories to the Queen. Swift was to the Tories what Cæfar was to the Romans, at once a leader of their armies, and an hiftoriographer of their triumphs. He refided very much in England: his inclinations were always there, 0. let. 4.