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GODWIN was a barrister of Gray's inn; and William, Dryden, Jonathan, and Adam, were attorneys.
Godwin having married a relation of the old Marchioness of Ormond, the old Duke of Ormond made him his attorney-general in the palatinate of Tipperary in Ireland. Ireland was at this time almost without lawyers, the rebellion having made almost every man, of whatever condition, a foldier. Godwin therefore determined to attempt the acquisition of a fortune in that kingdom ; and the same motives induced his four brothers to go with him. Godwin foon became wealthy; and the rest obtained fomething more than a genteel competence; though Dryden and Jonathan, who died foon after their arrival, had little to bequeath.
JONATHAN at the age of about three and twenty, and before he went to Ireland, married Mrs Abigail Erick, of Leicestershire +. The family of this lady was descendied from Erick the Forester, who raised an army to oppose William the Conqueror; by whom he was vanqaished, and afterwards-made commander of his forces. But whatever was the honour of her lineage, her fortune was small ; and about two years after her marriage, Mhe was left a widow with one child, a daughter, and pregnant with another; having no means of subfiftence but an annuity of 20 l. which her husband had purchared for her in England, immediately after his mar riage.
In this distress she was taken with her daughter into the family of Godwin, her husband's eldeft brother; and, on the goth of November 1667, about seven months after her husband's death, the war in Hoy's alley, in
marar gci . + This lady was greatly beloved and esteemed by all the family of the Swifts." Her conversation was extremely polito, chearful, and agreeable. She was of a génerous and hospitable nature, very exact in all the duties of religion, attended the public worship generally twice a day, was a very early riser, and was always drefied for the whole day at about six o'clock in the morning. Her chief amusements were needle-work' and reading. She was equally food of both her children, notwithftanding fome disagreements that fublifted between them. D. S. p. 22: 23.
the parish of St Warburgh, Dublin, delivered of a son, whom she called Jonathan in remembrance of his father, and who was afterwards the celebrated Dean of St Patrick's. (D. S. p. 22.]
Op all the brothers of Mrs Swift's husband, Thomas excepted, Godwin only had fons; and by these fons she was fubfifted in her old age, as the had been before by their father and their uncles, with fuch liberality, that she declared herself not only happy, but rich. D. S. p. 23.)
It happened, by whatever accident, that Jonathan was not suckled by his mother, but by a nurse, who was a native of Whitehaven : and when he was about a year old, her affection for him was become so strong, that finding it necessary to visit a relation who was dangerously fick, and from whom he expected a legacy, The found means to convey the child on thipboard, without the knowledge of his mother or his uncle, and carried him with her to Whitehaven. At this place he continued near three years; for when the matter was discovered, his mother sent orders not to hazard a second voyage till he should be better able to bear it, The nurse however gave other testimonies of her affection to Jonathan : for, during his stay at Whitehaven, she had taught him to spell; and when he was five years old, he was able to read any chapter in the Bible. [0. let. 1.]
Mrs Swift, about two years after her husband's death, quitted the family of Mr Godwin Swift, in Ireland, and retired to Leicester, the place of her nativity : but her fon was again carried to Ireland by his nurse, and se. placed under the protection of his uncle Godwin. [O, let. 1.]
It has been generally believed, that Swift was born in England: a mistake to which many incidents besides this have contributed. He had been frequently heard to say, when the people of Ireland displeased him, “I “ am not of this vile country, I am an Englithman;" and would infift, that he was stolen from England when a child, and brought over to Ireland in a band-box. Mr Pope also, in one of his letters to him [in vol, 4. p. 189.] mentions England as his native country. But
whatever the motives were that prevailed on Dr Swift to speak in this manner, they were not borrowed from any sort of contempt which he had secretly entertained against Ireland considered merely as a nation, but rather proceeded from several other sources, which will appear afterward. [D. S. p. 26.] This account of his birth is taken from that which he left behind him in his own hand-writing; and while he lived, he was so far from seriously denying or concealing his being a native of Ireland, that he often mentioned, and even pointed out the houfe in which he was born.
He has also been thought by some to have been a natural fon of Sir William Temple: a mistake which was probably founded upon another; for till the publication of his letter to Lord Visc. Palmerston, among his pofthumous works, (in vol. 4. p. 238 ) he was thought to have received such favours from Sir William as he could not be supposed to bestow upon a person to whom he was not related; and but diftantly related to his wife t. However, such a relation between Sir William and the Dean appears beyond contradiction to have been imposible ; for Sir William Temple was resident abroad in a public character from the year 1665 to 1670, first at Bruftels, and afterwards at the Hague; as may proved by his letters to the Earl of Arlington, and the rest of the ministry : fo that Dr Swift's mother, who never
+ In the year of the revolution, his uncle Godwin Swift had fallen into a kind of lethargy, or dotage, which deprived him by degrees of his speech and memory, and rendered him totally incapable of being of the least service to his family and friends. But, in the sidst of this distressful situation, as if it was ordained that no incident Tould bereave mankind of such a genius, Sir William Temple (whose lady was related to Dr Swift's mother) most generously stept in to his assistance, and avowedly supported his education at the university of Oxford. Acts of generosity feldom meet with their juft applause. Sir William Temple's friendlhip was immediately construed to proceed fiom a consciousness, that he was the real father of Mr Swift'; otherwise it was thought impossible, that he could be so uncommonly munificent to a young man, no wise related to him, and but distantly related to his wife. I am not quite certain, that Swift himself did not acquiesce in the calumny. Perhaps, like Alexander, he thought the natural son of Jupiter would appear greater than the legitimate son of Philip. 0. let. 2.
crossed the fea, except from England to Ireland, was out of all possibility of a personal correspondence with Sir William Temple, till some years after her son's birth; who, as before observed, was born in 1667, [0. let. 1.]
At about the age of fix years (1673] he was sent to the school of Kilkenny; and having continued there eight years, he was at the age of fourteen (1681) admitted into the university of Dublin, and became a ftu. dent in Trinity college. There he lived in perfect regularity, and obeyed the statutes with the utmoft ex. actness. But the moroseness of his temper often rendered him very unacceptable to his companions ; so that he was little regarded, and less beloved : and he was fo much depressed by the disadvantages of his situation, deriving his present subsistence merely from the precarious bounty of an uncle, and having no other object of hope but the continuance of it *, that he could not resist the temptation to neglect many neceffary objects of acade
While Swift was at the university, one day as he was looking out of his window, pensive and melancholy, his pockets being then at the lowest ebb, he spied a master of a ship gazing about in the college-courts. Lord, thought he, if that person should now be inquiring and staring about for my chamber, in order to bring me fome present from my cousin Willoughby Swift; what a happy creature should I be! He had scarce amused himself with this pleasing imagination, when behold the shipmaster having come into his chamber, asked him if his name was Jonathan Swift? who having told him it was; Why then, said the other, I have something for you that was sent to you by Mr Willoughby Swift. · Whereupon he drew out of his pocket a large greasy leather bag, and povred him out all the money that it contained on the table. As this sum was greater than ever Swift had been master of at any one time before, he pushed over, without reckoning them, a good number of the silver cobs (for it was all in that specie) to the honest failor, and desired he would accept of them for his trouble. But the failor would not touch a farthing. No, no, Master, faid he, l'fe take nothing for my trouble; I would do more than that comes to for Mr Willoughby Swift. Whereupon Mr Swift gathered up the money as fast as he could, and thrust it into his pocket : for, by the Lord Harry, said he when relating this story, I was afraid if the money had lain much longer upon the table, he might have repented his generosity, and taken a good part of it. But from that time forward, he declared that he became a better economist, and never was without some little money in his pocket. D. S. p. 54. 55.
mic study, to which he was not by nature much inclined, and apply himself wholly to books of history and poetry; by which he could, without intellectual labour, fill his mind with pleasing images, and for a while suspend the sense of his condition *. The sacrifice of the future to, the present, whether it be a folly or a fault, is seldom unpunished ; and Swift foon found himself in the fituation of a man who had burned his bed to warm his hands; for, at the end of four years, in the 1685, he was refused his degree of Bachelor of Arts for insufficiency, and was at last admitted Speciali gratia, which is there considered as the highest degree of reproach and dishonour. It is (says Lord Orrery) a kind of disho-, nourable degree; and the record of it, notwithftanding Dr Swift's present established character throughout the learned world, muft for ever remain against him in the !" academical register at Dublin +.
But upon Swift this punishment was not ineffectual. He dreaded the repetition of fuch a disgrace as the laft evil that could befal him, and therefore immediately fet about to prevent it as the principal business of his life. During seven years from that time he studied eight hours
1 a day (J. R. p. 50.] and by such an effort of such a mind so long continued, great knowledge must neceffarily have been acquired. He commenced these studies at the university in Dublin, where he continued them three years, till 1688; and during this time he also drew the first sketch of his Tale of a Tub. I. VOL. I. b
He held logic and metaphysics in the utmost contempt, and hè scarce considered mathematics and natural philosophy, unless to turn them into ridicule. Orrery, let. 1.
+ Ambition could scarce have met with a severer blow. Hercu. les found himself set aside for want of strength, or, if admitted among the wrestlers, admitted only by favour and indulgence; yet still he must be conscious that he was Hercules. Difappointments, the earlier they happen in life, the deeper imrpellion they make . upon the heart. Swift was full of indignation at the treatment which he had received in Ireland, and therefore resolved to pursue his studies at Oxford. Orrery, let. 1.
Waffendon Warren, Efq; a gentleman of fortune near Belfast, i in the north of Ireland, who was chamber-fellow with Dr Swift, declared, that he then saw a copy of the Tale of a Tub in Swift's own hand-writing. D. S. p. 31,