Page images

ning together, either at Mr Worral's, or at the deanery. The Dean, being a single mans was coftnet a guest to Mr Worral, than Mr Worral was a guest to him. And this brought on an agreement, that the Dean fhould dine with him whenever he would at a certain rate, and in vite as many friends, as he pleased upon the same terms, This gentleman is lately dead, and left a darge sum of money to be disposed of to public charities, at the difcretion of bis executors ; 500 l, of which was appropriated to the Dean's hospital. [D. S. p. 299. p. 92. vol. 4: 340, 1-] :

The Dean, when he firf fertled at Dublin, was in debt ; a situation which ill suited his spirit, and deter mined him to a severe economy, with which this agreement with. Werral well suited. [7. R. P. 92.) On his public days, however, the dignity of his fation was Sustained with the utmost elegance and decorum, under the direction of Mrs Johnson, who yet appeared in the circle without any character distinct from the rest of the company. She was however frequently invited with the Dean, whether to entertainments, or parties of plear fures, though not fo generally, as, if the had been his wife. She visited, and received vifits, as far as the prag rice is a mere ritual of good breeding. Her friendships feem to have been still among the men, bụt she was treated with great politeness by the ladies. [D. S. p.92-]

Tue Dean's mind had been now fo filled with politics, that he fopnd it impracticable to excel as a preacher his first and most laudable ambitions and frequently de clared, that though he sometimes attempted to exert himself in the pulpit, yet he could never rise higher than preaching pamphlets. [:). R. p.42.] He was however Atill a good dean, and a good prieft: He applied himself to the care of his deanery, his. cathedral, its regula tions, its income and æconomy, with great diligence'; he renewed the primitive practice of celebrating the holy communion every Sunday, and at this facrament he was not only constantly present, but he consecrated and adminiftrated it with his own hands, in a manner equally igraceful and devout; he attended at church every morning, and generally preached in his turn; he allo conftantly attended the performance of the anthem on a


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Sunday night, though he did not understand mufic, to fee that the choir did not neglect their duty. (D.3. p. 370, 1] # Businti

As to his employment at home, he seems to have had po heart to apply himself to-kudy of any kind, but to have resigned himself wholly to such amusements as of fered, that he might not think of his fituation, the mic fortune of his friends, and the disappointment of his hope. Such at least is the account that he gives to Mr Gay, in his letter dated January 8. 1722-3. I was * three years," says he, " reconciling myself to the « fcene, and business to which fortune hath condemned 4 me; and stupidity was what I had recourse to *} [vol 4. p. 33-):

It has been suggested, that the acquaintance he fell into with men of learning made it neceffary for him about this úme to review his Greek and Latin, and obe täin fome acquaintance with church history. [I. R. p. 1011). But surely he who had ftudied eight hours aday for seven years, or, according to Mr Deane Swift, EDASparz7i, 272, 276.1) ten hours a day for nine years the who had read and extracted the fathers more than fifteen years before, had little occasion to review his Latin and Greek, or acquaint himself with church hiftory, left he thould not fuftain his character among learned men : for except it be pretended that others were able to acquire more knowledge in lefs time and with less tabour, it must be allowed that Swift was like ly to be always the moft knowing of his company 19:10 inyo?


[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Froni the 1714, till he appeared, in t 420, a champion for Ireiland againft Wood's halfpence, his fpirit of politics and of patribtism was kept almol closely confined within his own breast. - Idleness and trimes.iogrossed too.many of his hours, fools and fycophants too much of his conversation. However, it may be obseryed, that the Lord Orrery fays, that he was little acquainted with the mathematics, and never considered the science ex, cept as; an object of ridicule *: but the author of the Obfervations affirmy, on the contrary, that he had acquired confiderable mathematical knowledge, and that he had seen him more than once undertake to solve an algebraic problem by arithmetic. l. 7. R. p. 101.]

her elf lide e ; a he and aly Ery fo

treatment which he received after the death of 'Q. Anne, was almoft a füfficient reason to justify fi contempt, if not an abhorrence of the human race. He had bravely withstned all hoftile indignities during the lifetime of thatsprincess ; but when the whole army of his friends were not only ronted, but taken prisoners, he dropt his sword, and retired into his fortification at Dublin, from avhence he feldom stirred beyond the limits of his own garden, unless in great indulgence to some particular favourites 0. let. 6.



The first remarkable event of his life that occurred after his settlement at the deanery, was his marriage to Mrs Johnson, after a moft intimate friendship of more than fixteen years. This was in the year 1716; and the ceremony was performed by Dr Athe, then Bifhop of Clogher, to whom the Dean had been a pupil in Trinity college, Dublin t. (vol. 4. p. 14-1 But whatever were the motives of this marriage, the Dean and the Lady continued to live afterwards jut in the fame manner as they had lived before 1. Mrs Dingley. was


See the Notes, above, p. xiii. 9* Tho' it is admitted, that Dr. Swift was magried to Mrs Joha. fon in 1716, yet it may be afferted with great truch, that he never had any serious thoughts of marriage after he was one, and twenty, Some time indeed before, while he was a strippling in the university of Dublin, he had a pallion for Mils Warren, the lifter of his chamber fellow. But whatever attachments he had to that lady upon his going to live in England, where he applied him felf close to politics and learning at Sir William Temple's, his passiop quick ly lublided, and he forgot his amour. Neither do I believe, further than common forms, that he ever paid bis court, throughow his whole life, to any woman besides, in the character of a profesod lover. D. S. p. 93, 94.-Sec Swift's letter to Mr Kendall, vol. 4.

p. 288.

* Mrs Johnsons with regard to her manners, her virtues, het mind, and her perfon, was not undeserving to have been married to the greatest prince in Europe : but her descent was from a fera yant of Sir William Temple; and therefore he was by no means worthy to have been the ackpowledged wife of Dr Swift. If Dr Swift had acknowledged his marriage even with this improved, this adorable creature, he would, in spite of his genius, and all the tes'. putation he had acquired in the days of K. William and Q. Anne, have immediately lank in the efteem of the world. For among the rest of his enemies, (and thefe were not few), there were fome that were not unacquainted with the story of Mrs Jobinson's birth and educagon, who, on account of some particular disobligations" they had received from the Doctor, would have been glad of an

opportunity, whom

[ocr errors]

still the infeparable companion of Stella where-ever The went; and the never refided at the deanery, except when the Dean was seized with violent fits of giddiness, which sometimes lasted near a month

-Till this time he had continued his visits to Vanessa who, though she had suffered very great pecuniary losses, had yet preserved her reputation, and her friends for the was vifited by maný persons of rank, character, and fortune, of both sexes; particularly Mrs Conolly, a Lady of very high reputation ; Dr Berkeley, the late most excellent Bishop of Cloyne , the late Judge Lindsay t, and the Lord Chief Justice Marley. D. $. p. 262.] The Dean appears still to have preserved the character of her preceptor, to have directed her 'progress in literature, and explained 'and illustrated the authors the had read. Bat foon his marriage he visited her on another accouncent'as an advocate for Mr Deart Winter,

opportunity of oxposing him to contempt and ridicule for the mean, ness of his spirit and as in that case they would have had it full in their power, as well as strong in their inclination, they would have published and confirmed the obscurity of Mrs Johnson's birth and education among all their acquaintance. They would have declara ed, among other particulars, that Mrs Johnson, when the was about ten or eleven years old, was appointed to wait upon the Doctor's

fifter in the character of her little servant, during the fummer that To spent at Moorpark in 1692. Neither can we suppose, that e.: ven the Doctor's lifter, with whom he had quarrelled to fuch a dee gree as niever to see her face, on’accotift of a match he thought greatly beneath her acceptance, (above, p. xxiv.), would have stised her indignation, or with any patience have forborn to retaliate the Severities of her brother apon his own back, when he himself hadr. married and acknowledged a wife so very meanly extracted, and particularly that individual person whom she despised and hated .. beyond all the inhabitants on carth. In one word, if Dr Swift, whose ambition was not to be gratified without some uncommon degree of admiration, had acknowledged Mrs Johnson for a wife, he would on all Gides have been so persecuted with contempt and derision, (as half mankind were in 1716, bis professed enemics). that, unable to fupport himself under the burden of his affliction, he would have lof his fpirits, broken his heart, and died in a twelvemonth. And accordingly we find he had more wisdom than to acknowledge this beautiful, this accomplied woman, før his , wife, D. S. pilo, 83, 84, 85.*

* See vol. 4. p. 291, 292:
| See vol. 7. p. 89, vol. 4. p. 3424.

whom he took with him, a gentleman who was a pro feffed admirer of Vanessa, and had made her fome overa tures of marriage: but though he had an estate of near 800 l. a.year, besides 300 l. a-year preferment in the church ; yet Vanessa rejected the proposal in such terms, as that it was never repeated. She was also addressed by Dr Price, who was afterwards Archbishop of Cashell, but without success. [D. S. p. 263. 265.) From this time the Dean's visits were much less frequent. In the year 1717 her fifter died ; and the whole remains of the family-fortune being then centered in Vanessa, she retired to Selbridge, a small house and estate, about twelve miles distance from Dublin, which had been purchased by her father.

11., FROM this place the wrote frequently to the Dean, and he answered her letters. In these letters the still, pressed him to marry her; and in his answers he still rallied, and still avoided a positive denial. At length, however, the infifted with great ardour, and great tenderness,

upon his positive and immediate acceptance or refusal of her as a wife. The Dean wrote an answer,

and delivered it with his own


As this letter of Vanessa's, which was written in 1723. is a demonstration that she was then utterly ignorant of the Dean's marriage with Stella, and as the appears to have known it almost immediately afterwards, it is probable that the Dean's answer communicated the fatal secret, which at once precluded all her hopes, and accounted for his former conduct : it is probable too, that the resentment which he felt at having it thus extorted from him, was the cause of the manner in which he delivered the letter; for having thrown it down upon her table, he haited back to his horse, and returned immediately to Dublin. [D. S. p. 264. 0. let. 9.]

This letter the unhappy lady did not survive many weeks. However, the was sufficiently composed to cancel a will that she had made in the Dean's favour, and to make another, in which the left her fortyne, which long retirement and frugality had in a great measure restored, to her two executors, Dr Berkeley, the Bishop of Cloyne, and Mr Marshall, one of the King's ferjeants


« PreviousContinue »