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delayed the execution of his purpose to excel as a preacher; yet he used to declare, that he did not renounce it till his acquaintance with Harley; nor did he ever mention his fubfequent attachment to politics, without indubitable figns of penitence and regret. [7. R. p. 43. 42. 266.]
Ir is probable, that he hoped to exert himself more effectually in the church, by acquiring fome other preferment; and that, with this view, he was follicitous to be near the court: for before his acquaintance with Lord Oxford, a bishoprick was intended for him by the Queen. But Abp Sharpe, and a certain great Lady, having mifrepresented his principles and character, her Majesty gave it to another *. Of this injury, however, the Archbishop was afterwards truly fenfible, expreffed great forrow for it, and defired his forgivenefs. [ R. 2. 271.]
AFTER this difappointment it was not long before a new scene opened before him; for in 1710, being then in England, he was impowered by his Grace the Lord Primate of Ireland, to folicit the Queen to exonerate the clergy of Ireland from paying the twentieth parts and firft fruits. And upon this occafion his acquaintance with Harley commenced 1.
As foon as he had received the Bishop's letter, inftructions, and authority, he refolved to apply to Mr Harley, not only because he was a principal perfon in the Queen's miniftry, but becaufe, by his intereft, the fame favour had been granted to the clergy of England. That he might not wait upon Mr Harley, to whom his name was well known, wholly without recommendation, he got himself represented as a perfon who had been extremely ill ufed by the laft miniftry, because he would not go certain lengths which they would have had
Abp Sharpe reprefented him as a perfon who was not a Chriftian, and the great lady fupported the afperfion. Swift kept himfelf indeed within fome tolerable bounds, when he spoke of the Queen: but his indignation knew no limits, when he mentioned the Archbishop or the lady. O. let. 4.
+ See the letters that paffed between Dr Swift and the Irish Bithops on this occasion, in vol. 4. p. 212.—217.
had him; this being in fome fort Mr Harley's own cafe [vol. 4. p. 212. }
Swift no fooner appeared at London in September 1710, but, "all the Whigs were ravithed to see him, and would have laid hold on him as a twig to fave them from finking; and the great merr were all making him their clumfy apologies." [Let. to S. Sept. 9. 17 10.] It is good" [faith the Doctor] "to fee what a lamentable confeffion the Whigs all make of my ill ufage." [b. Sept. 30.] In fhort, the Whigs would gladly have depended on his fuperior talents for their refurrection; and the Tories dreaded from his pen their inevitable deftruction. D. S. p. 312, 13-It does not appear, that Swift had any defign of attaching himself to the Tory miniftry at this time. For he declares within a few days after his arrival, that he is heartily weary of London, and wishes "that he had never ftirred from Ireland." [Let. to S. Sept. 12. 1710.] But obferving in October in what manner he was courted, by Mr Harley and Mr Secretary St John, ("who frequently protefted, after he had become their intimate, that he was the only man in England they were afraid of,)" [Ibid. June 30. 1711.1 as well as by all the rest of the great people in power, to whom he was immediately introduced by Mr Harley upon their first acquaintance, he readily enough accepted the invitation to be their friend and protector.
And now the publick intereft to Support, By Harley SWIFT invited comes to court. [vol. 6. p. 262.I "I ftand with the new people" [faith he] "ten times better "than ever I did with the old; and forty times more careffed." [08. 14. 1710.] The prefent miniftry have a difficult task, and "want me, &c. According to the best judgment I have, they are purfuing the true intereft of the public; and therefore I am glad to contribute what lies in my power." [Nov. 29. 1710]
"for your news that Mr St John is going to Holland, he has no "fuch thoughts to quit the great ftation he is in; nor if he had, "conld 1 be fpared to go with him." [Jan. 24. 1710.] “ May my "enemies live here [at London] in fummer; and yet I am fo unlucky, that I cannot poffibly be out of the way at this juncture
The Whigs whifper that our miniftry differ among themfelves, and they begin to talk out the Secretary. They have "fome reasons for their whispers; tho' I thought it was a greater fecret. I do not much like the prefent pofture of things. I "always apprehended that any falling out would ruin them, and "fo I have told them feveral times. The Whigs are mighty full "of hopes at prefent; and whatever is the matter, all kinds of Stocks fall. I have not yet, talked with the Secretary about "Prior's journey [to France.] I fhould be apt to think it may "foretel a peace; and that is all we have to preferve us."[ Aug. 27. 711.]Swift and the Secretary having appointed to spend a
Mr Harley received him with the utmost kindness and refpect; he fat with him two hours in company, and two hours he was with him alone. He not only enga ged in the Doctor's immediate bufinefs with the utmost zeal, and foon after accomplished it; but told him, he must bring him acquainted with Mr St John; invited him to dine with him; charged him to come often; and, when the Doctor propofed attending at his levee, told him that was no place for friends. The Doctor foon after became perfonally acquainted with the reft of the minifters, who appear to have courted and careffed him with uncommon affiduity. He dined every Saturday at Mr Harley's, with the Lord Keeper, Mr Secretary St John, and Lord Rivers. On that day no other perfon was for fometime admitted; but this felect company was at length enlarged to fixteen, all men of the first clafs, Swift included. They dined once a-week at the houfes of each other by rotation, and went under the general denomination of brothers +.
whole day in private together upon affairs of the greatest confe quence; "The duce" (faith he) "is in this Secretary. When I "went to him this morning, he had people with him; but fays, we are to dine with Prior to day, and then will do all our bufi "nefs in the afternoon. At two, Prior fends word he is other "wife engaged, Then the Secretary and I go and dine with Brig-Briton; fit till eight, grow merry, no bufincís done; we part, and appoint no time to meet again. This is the fault of all "the prefent minifters, teafing me to death for my affiftance, laying the whole weight of their affairs upon it; and flipping oppor "tunities." [O. 31. 1711.] D. S. p. 329, 30, 1.
+ Swift was reprefented to Mr Harley, as one extremely ill "ufed by the laft ministry," [vol. 4. p. 212.]; a fentiment which, in his political wisdom, that great minifter both greedily and fear. fully imbibed. And accordingly, when Swift waited upon him about the first fruits and twentieth parts; Harley knowing the pride and spirit of the man with whom he had to deal, inftantly began to pay his court to Swift in all the shapes that were confiftent with his fpirit and dignity. The moment that Swift appeared in his houfe, Harley received him with the greatest respect and kind"nefs imaginable; and appointed him an hour two or three days after "to open his bufinefs to him." [Let. to S. 08. 4. 1710.] No fooner had Swift told him his business on the day appointed, but Harley "entered into it with all kindness, asked him for his powers and
FROM this time the Doctor fupported the interest of his new friends with all his power, in pamphlets, poems, and periodical papers; his intimacy with them was fo
read them, and read likewife the memorial he had drawn up, and put it into his pocket to fhew the Queen; told him, the meafures he would take; and, in fhort, faid every thing he could "with; told him he must bring Mr St John and him acquainted; " and spoke fo many things of perfonal kindness and esteem, that he [Swift] was inclined to believe what some friends had told him, that he [Harley would do every thing to bring him over. He [Harley] defired him to dine with him on Tuesday; and after four hours being with him, fet him down at St James's coffechoufe in a hackney-coach." [08. 7. 1716.] Add again, I must tell you" [faith the Doctor] a great piece of refinement "in Harley." [This was but four days after their first acquaintance.] "He charged me to come to fee him often. I told "him I was loth to trouble him in fo much bufinefs as he had, and defired I might have leave to come at his levee: which he immediately refufed, and faid, that was no place for friends." [Oct. 8. 1710.] In two days after Harley "told him, he had fhewn "his memorial to the Queen, and feconded it very heartily; be "caufe (faid he) the Queen defigns to fignify it to the Bishops of "Ireland in form, and take notice that it was done upon a me"morial from you: which Mr Harley told Swift he did to make it look more respectful to him." [08. 10. 1710.]—" I "believe" [faith the Doctor] never any thing was compaffed fo "foon, and purely done by my personal credit with Mr Harley, "who is fo exceffively obliging, that I know not what to make of it, unless to fhew the rafcals of the other party, that they ufed "a man unworthily who had deferved better." [08. 21. 1710.] Harley fpeaks all the kind things to me in the world." [Nov. 8: 1710.] But the account of his entertainment and reception at the Secretary's, will give fome clearer light into these matters. "I dined to-day" [faith he] "by invitation with the Secretary of State, Mr St John. Mr Harley came in to us before dinner, and made me his excufes for not dining with us, because he was to "receive people who came to propofe the advancing money to the government.The Secretary used me with all the kindness in "the world. Prior came in after dinner; and upon an occafion "he [the Secretary] faid, the best thing he ever read is not yours, "fays he, but Dr Swift's on Vanbrugh [in vol. 6. p. 76.]; "which I do not reckon so very good neither: but Prior was damped, till I ftuffed him with two or three compliments. He told me among other things, that Mr Harley complained he "could keep nothing from me, I had the way fo much of getting into "bim. I knew that was a refinement; and fo I told him; and "it was fo. Indeed it is hard to see these great men ufe me like one who was their betters, and the puppies with you in Ireland
fo remarkable, that he was thought not only to defend, but in fome degree to direct their measures; and fuch was his importance in the opinion of the oppofite party, that many speeches were made against him in both houfes of parliament †; a reward was alfo offered for difcovering the author of The public spirit of the Whigs, [vol. 5. p. 51.11.
hardly regarding me. But there are fome reafons for all this. [Nov. 11. 1710] Thefe laft words have an eye to his writing the Examiner; which he kept as a profound fecret from all the world, except the printer and the miniftry. Prior was fufpected for being the author of the Examiner, fee number 26, 31. [in vol. 5. and had like to have been infulted for it in the ftreet; to which the letter from the Whigs to the Examiner, No. 28. very plainly alludes.- -It is a point beyond all controverfy, that no fovereign prince was ever more careffed by noble, generous, and manly fpirits, than Swift undoubtedly was, not only by the great Harley, but all the Tory miniftry. For it is certain, that Swift courted not the miniftry, but the miniftry courted Swift to be their champion and their protector. [See his own words, Examiner, No. 26.]; and ufed him with the fame refpect, as well af ter, as before he had taken them under his care. Neither did he once consent to stay with the ministry, and run his fortune among them, D.. S. p. 313. —316.
+ See vol. 6. p. 262, 63.
Among the various branches into which Swift's expansive ge nius spread itself, those peculiar talents of levelling his writings to the lowest, and fuftaining their dignity to the highest capacity, were probably the original motives that attracted the Earl of Oxford's friendship to him. In the year 1709, the character of Dr Swift as an author, was perfectly established. He had hewn abilities equal to thofe attributed by Homer to Ulylles: he could ap pear a beggar among beggars, and a king among kings-From the year 1709, to the latest period of Q. Anne, we find him fighting on the fide of the minifters, and maintaini. g their caufe in pamphlets, poems, and weekly papers. In a letter to Mr Pope, of Jan. 10. 1721, he has this expreffion: I have converfed in "fome freedom with more minifters of state, of all parties, than ufually happens to men of my level; and I confefs, in their ca"pacity as minifters, I look upon them as a race of people whole acquaintance no man would court, otherwife than on the fcore "of vanity or ambition."[vol.4. p. 27.] Lord Oxford; as a gentleman and a scholar, might be open and unreferved to Dr Swift, as far as his Lordship's nature would permit; but as a minister of ftate he ever appeared myfterious and enigmatical, delivering his oracles, like the Delphian deity, in occult terms and ambiguous expreffions.