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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 subsequent attachment to politics, without indubitable signs of penitence and regret. 13. R. p. 41. 42. 266.]
It is probable, that he hoped to exert himself more effectually in the church, by acquiring some 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 misrepresented his principles and character, her Majesty gave it to another *. Of this injury, however, the Archbishop was afterwards truly sensible, expressed great forrow for it, and desired his forgiveness. [J R. P. 271.]
After this disappointment 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 first fruits.' And upon this occasion his acquaintance with Harley commenced ti
As soon as he had received the Bishop's letter, instructions, and authority, he resolved to apply to Mr Harley, not only because he was a principal person in the Queen's ministry, but because, 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 person who had been extremely ill used by the last miniftry, because he would not go certain lengths which they would have
Abp Sharpe represented him as a person who was not a Chriftian, and the great lady supported the aspersion. Swift kept himself indeed within some tolerable bounds, when he spoke of the Queen : but his indignation knew no limits, when mentioned the Archbishop or the lady. 0. let. 4.
+ See the letters that passed between Dr Swift and the Irisa Bin thops on this occasion, in vol. 4. p. 232.–217.
had him ; this being in some sort Mr Harley's own case *. [vol. 4. p. 212.)
* Swift no rooner appeared at London in September 1710, but "all the Whigs were ravished to see him, and would have laid hold
on him as a twig to save them from sinking; and the great meer
were all making him thcir clumsy apologies.” [Let. to S. Sept.9. 17 10.]." It is good”. [faith the Doctor) * to see what a lamenta " able confession the Whigs all make of my ill usage." [15. Sept. 30.] In short, the Whigs would gladly have depended on his fupe-, rior talents for their resurreétion ; and the Tories dreaded from his pen their ievitable destruction. D. S. p. 312, 13.--It does not appear, that Swift had any design of attaching himself to the Tory ministry at this time. For he declares within a few days: after bis arrival, that he is heartily weary of London, and wishes. " that he had never stirred from Ireland.” [Lei. to S. Sept. 12. 1710.) But observing in October in what manner he was courted, by Mr Harley and Mr Secretary St John, (" who frequently pro“ tefted, after he had become their intimate, that he was the only
man in England they were afraid of,)” [Ibid. June zo. 171.) 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 fricod and protector.
And now the pablick interest to Sipport,
By Harley SWIFT inviied comes to courl. (vol. 6. p. 262.) * I stand with the new people” [laith he] “ ten times better " than ever I did with the old; and forty times more caressed." [Oft. 14. 1710.] "The prefent ministry have a difficult talk, and
want me, bc. According to the best judgment I have, they are
pursuing the true interest of the public; and therefore I am glad u to. contribute what lies in my power.” [Nov. 29. 1710),
As “ for your news that Mr St Jonn is going to Holland, he has no * fiich thoughts to quit the great station he is in; nor if he had, “ could I be spared to go with him.” [Jan. 24. 1710.) “ May my "enemies live here [at London) in summer; and yet I am so unlucky, that I cannot posibly be out of the way at this juncture,
--The Whigs whisper that our ministry differ among them“ felves, and thty begin to talk out the Secretary. They have “ some reasons for their whispers; tho' I thought it was a greater • fecret. I do not much like the present posture of things. I " always apprehended that any falling out would ruin them, and “ so I have told them several times. The Wliigs are mighty full " of bopes at present; and whatever is the matter, all kinds of "Itocks fall. I have not yet, talked with the Secretary about " Prior's journey [ro France. I should be apt to think it may, “ foretel a peace; and that is all we have to preserve us.”[ Aug. 27. 2711]Sivist and the Secretary having appointed to spend a
Mr Harley received him with the utmost kindness and respect ; he sat with him two hours in company, and two hours he was with him alone.
He not only engaged in the Doctor's immediate business with the utmost zeal, and soon after accomplished it; but told him, he múlt bring him acquainted with Mr St John ; invited him to dine with him ; charged him to come often;. and, when the Doctor proposed attending at his levee, told him that was no place for friends. The Doctor foon after became personally acquainted with the rest of the minifters, who appear to have courted and caressed him with uncommon asliduity. He dined every Saturday at Mr Harley's, with the Lord Keeper, Mr Secretary St John, and Lord Rivers. On that day no other perfog was for sometime admitted ; but this select company was at length enlarged to fixteen, all men of the firit class, Swift included. They dined once a-week at the houses of each other by rotation, and went under the general denomination of brotbers +
whole day in private together upon affairs of the greatest conse quence; “ The duce" (faith he)" is in this Secretary. When I & went to him this morning, he had people with him ; but says, " we are to dine with Prior to day, and then will do all our busi“ ness in the afternoon. At two, Prior fends word he is others * wise engaged. Then the Secretary and I go and dine with “ Brig-Briton ; sit 'till eight, grow merry, no busincís done; we “part, and appoint no time to meet again. This is the fault of all " the present ministers, teasing me to death for my aslistance, lay
ing the whole weight of their affairs upon it; and fipping oppor « tunities.” [08. 37. 1901.] D. S. p. 329. 39, 1.
+ Swift was represented to Mr Harley, " as one extremely ill “ used by the last ministry," (vol. 4. p.212.]; a sentiment which, in his political wisdom, that great minister 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, instantly began to pay his court to Swift in all the shapes that were consistent with his spirit and dignity. The moment that Swift appeared in his house, Harley " received him with the greatest respect and kind"ness imaginable ; and appointed him an hour two or three days after " to open his business to him." [Let. t0 S. 08. 4.1710.] No sooner 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 likewise the memorial he had drawn up, " and put it into his pocket to shew the Queen; told him the " measures he would take ; and, in thort, said every thing he could
wish; 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) desired him to dine with him on Tuesday; and af ter four hours being with him, fet him down at St James's coffechouse in a hackney-coach.” [087. 7. 1910.] 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 see him often. I told " him I was loth to trouble him in so much business as he had, * and desired I might have leave to come at his levee : which he
immediately refused, and said, that was 120 place for friends." [Oft. 8. 1710.) In two days after Harley "told him, he had shewn “his memorial to the Queen, and seconded it very heartily; be“ caule (faid he) che Queen designs to signify 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." (084. 10. 1710.)- I *** believe”? (faith the Doctor) never any thing was compassed so " soon, and purely done by my personal credit with Mr Harley, " who is so exceflively obliging, that I know not what to make of
it, unless to shew the rascals of the other party, that they used
a man unworthily who had deserved better.” [084. 21. 1710.) 5 Harley speaks ail the kind things to me in the world." (Nov. 8: 1710.]. But the account of his entertainment and reception 'ac the Secretary's, will give some 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 exciiles for not dining with us, because he was to s receive people who came to propose the advancing inoney to the
government. - The Secretary used lite with all the kindness in * the world. Prior came in after dinner; and upon an occasion " he [the Secretary] faid, the best thing he ever read is not yours, " says he, but Dr Swift's on Vanbrugh (in vol. 6. p. 96.); " 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 is could keep nothing from me, I had the way so much of getting into
I knew that was a refinement; and so I told him, and " it was so. · Indeed it is hard to see these great men use me like
one who was their berters, and the puppies with you in Ireland
so remarkable, that he was thought not only to defend, but in some degree to dire&t their measures ; and fuck was his importance in the opinion of the opposite party, that many speeches were made against him in both houses of parliament t; a reward. was also offered for discovering the author of The public spirit of the W'bigs, (vol. 5: p. 51.] 1.
hardly regarding me. But there are some reasons for all this? (Nov. 11. 1710.) These last words have an eye to his writing the Examiner; which he kept as a profound secret from all the world, except the printer and the ministry. Prior was suspected for being the author of the Examiner, see number 26, 31. [in vol, ş.] and bad like to have been insulted for it in the street; to which the letter from the Whigs to the Examiner, No. 28. very plainly alludes.
--It is a point beyond all controversy, that no lovereign prince was ever more careffed by noble, generous, and manly spirits, than Swift undoubtedly was, not only by the great Harley, but all the Tory ministry. For it is certain, that Swift courted not the ministry, but the ministry courted Swift to be their champion and their protector. (See his own words, Exa. miner, No: 26.]; and used him with the same respect, 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 gę nius spread itself, those peculiar talents of levelling his writings to the lowest, and sustaining 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 perfe&tly established. He had shewn abi. lities equal to those attributed by Homer to Ulylles:'he couid pear a beggar among beggars, and a king among kings ----From the year 1709, to the latest period of Anne, we find him fighting on the side of the ministers, and maintaini g their caule in pamphlets, poems, and weekły papers., In a letter to Mr Pope, of Jan. 10. 1921, he has this expreslion: " I have conversed in “ some freedom with more ministers of state, of all parties, than ** usually happens to men of my level; and I confess, in their ca“ pacity as ministers, I look upon them as a race of people whole
acquaintance no man would court, otherwise than on the score " 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 state he ever appeared mysterious and enigmatical, delivering his oracles, like the Delphian deity, in occult terms and ambiguous