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which he purfued with great fuccefs; and he recommended Congreve, Addifon, Parnel, and many others, to those whofe favour was most likely to render them confpicuous.
AMONG his fingularities, were his resolutions never to wear spectacles; and his obftinate perfeverance in the use of too much exercise. His want of fpectacles made it difficult to read, and his immoderate exercise wafted his flesh, and produced a poornefs in his blood, as he was often told by his friends and phyficians, Dr Helfham and Dr Grattan, and as afterwards appeared by experiment; for when he was reduced to a state of idiotifm, and ceased from walking, he recovered his flesh in a short time
He was cleanly even to fuperftition; his nails were always pared to the quick, to prevent the least gathering of dirt under them; and he never dreffed without a bafon of water by him, with which he carefully cleanfed his feet. In his person he was robuft and mafculine, his deportment was commanding, and his walk erect. His voice was fharp and high-toned, especially when he read prayers, but not effeminate; and there was a natural feverity in his afpect, which even his fmiles could fcarce foften, nor his utmoft gaiety relax. [0. let. 9.]
His manner was without ceremony, but not ruftic; for he had a perfect knowledge of all the modes and variations of politenefs and complaifance, which he practifed in a manner peculiar to himfelf; and the refpect that was due to him by these rules, he took care to exact without the leaft abatement. [D. S. p. 360, 65.]
IT will readily be admitted, that every man has fome appetite, affection, or difpofition, which either in kind or in degree is irregular, and which it is the province of reafon to order and reftrain. As it will always happen, that in fome inftances paffion will predominate, and reafon in others, it follows, that there must be fome diffimilitude in every character; from which Swift's could not therefore be exempt: but, upon the whole, it will be found uncommonly fteady and uniform; tho' fome, to fcreen their own fcattered and inconfiftent reprefentations of it from cenfure, have pretended, that it was capricious, various and contradictory.
SWIFT appears to have been naturally temperate and chafte, it was therefore eafy for him to be frugal; but he was also naturally high fpirited: and therefore, as wealth is the pledge of independence, it is not ftrange his frugality fhould verge towards excefs. However, as he acted upon principles, not only of general virtue, but of the nobleft moral fyftem of Chriflianity, he did not deliver himself up to natural propenfities, when they were contrary to his duty; and therefore his love of money did not contract his charity to the poor, or de fraud his fucceffors to enrich himself. The fame fpirit which fecured his integrity, by difdaining the meanness of a lie, produced that dread of hypocrify which concealed his piety, and betrayed him into appearances of evil and the fame want of natural tenderness, which made him appear obdurate and auftere, transferred the diftribution of his liberality from instinct to religion, and made that, which in others is an exercife of felf-love, in him an act of obedience to God.
SUCH was Dr Jonathan Swift, whofe writings either ftimulate mankind to fuftain their dignity as rational and moral beings, by fhewing how low they ftand in mere animal nature; or fright them from indecency, by holding up its picture before them in its native deformity and whofe life, with all the advantages of genius and learning, was a fcale of infelicity gradually afcending, till pain and anguish deftroyed the faculties by which they were felt: while he was viewed at a diftance with envy, he became a burden to himself; he was forfaken by his friends, and his memory has been, loaded with unmerited reproach: his life therefore does not afford lefs inftruction than his writings, fince to the wife it may teach humility, and to the fimple content.
Some particulars in Dr SWIFT'S CHARACTER, extracted from Lord ORKERY'S Remarks, and Mr SWIFT'S Effay.
From LORD ORRERY.
R Swift was in the decline of life when I knew him. His friendship was an honour to me; and, to fay the truth, I have even drawn advantage from his errors. I have beheld him in all humours and difpofitions; and I have formed various fpeculations from the feveral weakneffes to which I obferved him liable. capacity and ftrength of mind were undoubtedly equal to any task whatever. His pride, his fpirit, or his ambition, call it by what name you please, was boundless: but his views were checked in his younger years, and the anxiety of that difappointment had a vifible effect upon all his actions. He was four and fevere, but not absolutely ill-natured. He was fociable only to particular friends, and to them only at particular hours. He knew politenefs more than he practifed it. He was a mixture of avarice and generofity: the former was frequently prevalent; the latter feldom appeared, unless excited by compaffion. He was open to adulation; and could not, or would not diftinguish between low flattery, and juft applaufe. His abilities rendered him fuperior to envy. He was undifguifed, and perfectly fincere. I am induced to think, that he entered into orders, more from fome private and fixed resolution, than from abfolute choice. Be that as it may, he performed the duties of the church with great punctuality, and a decent degree of devotion. He read prayers rather in a ftrong nervous voice, than in a graceful manner: and altho he has been often accused of irreligion, nothing of that kind appeared in his converfation or behaviour. His caft of mind induced him to think and speak more of politics than of religion. His perpetual views were directed towards power; and his chief aim was to be
removed into England: but when he found himself entirely disappointed, he turned his thoughts to oppofition, and became the patron of Ireland.
Few characters have afforded fo great a variety of faults and beauties. Few men have been more known and admired, or more envied and cenfured, than Dr Swift. From the gifts of nature he had great powers, and from the imperfection of humanity he had many failings. I always confidered him as an abftract and brief chronicle of the times; no man being better acquainted with human nature, both in the higheft and in the lowest scenes of life. His friends and correfpondents were the greatest and most eminent men of the age. The fages of antiquity were often the companions of his clofet: and altho' he industriously avoided an oftentation of learning, and generally chofe to draw his materials from his own ftore; yet his knowledge in the ancient authors evidently appears from the ftrength of his fentiments, and the claffic correctness of his ftyle.
His attendance upon the public fervice of the church was regular and uninterrupted. And indeed regularity was peculiar to him in all his actions, even in the greateft trifles. His hours of walking and reading never va ried. His motions were guided by his watch, which was fo conftantly held in his hand, or placed before him upon his table, that he feldom deviated many minutes, in the daily revolution of his exercifes and employments.
From Mr DEANE SWIFT.
THE character of Dr Swift is fo exceedingly ftrange, various and perplexed, that it can never be drawn up with any degree of accuracy. I fhall however remark fome few particulars, without venturing to attempt the delineation of a character, which hath entirely baffled all endeavours hitherto made, either by friends or enemies.
SWIFT's natural temper feems to have been a miraculous compound of the placid and the fevere. The placid frequently had the fuperiority in his breaft; and the fevere in its turn, when excited by the follies and cor
ruptions of human-kind, as frequently, the predomi
He was by nature of a fpirit wonderfully exalted. His pride, if pride it must be called, was of a turn peculiar to himself. His whole deportment was of a piece. He would not have ftooped to converfe with the greatest monarch in Europe, upon any terms lower than equality.
He knew to a point the respect that was due to him; which he took care to exact without any fort of abatements. It will appear from the following inftance, with what quickness he refented any failure in good manners. An English clergyman, appointed a Bishop in Ireland, fent his fervant one morning to the Dean, to beg the favour of him to order St Patrick's cathedral to be got ready against the next Sunday for his confecration. The Doctor would by no means grant his requeft; but faid, he would order the church to be in readiness against the Sunday following. When the fervant was gone, the Doctor told a friend, then with him, that he could as well have had the church ready against the next, as against the following Sunday: but, faid he, my reafon for refufing to grant that geritleman's requeft was, becaufe he ought to have come himself, and not fent his fervant to me upon fuch a meffage.
NEITHER could he endure to be treated with any fort of familiarity, or that any man living (his three or four old acquaintances in England only excepted) fhould rank himself in the number of his friends. A young perfon of quality, upon fome occafion or other, once ventured to addrefs Dr Swift in the ftyle of Dear Swift, and call himself the Doctor's friend. When the Dean opened his letter, which was defigned as a compliment, his indignation took inftant fire. Dear Swift! faid he; what monftrous familiarity is here! But when he found the letter-writer had called himfelf his friend, he was out of all patience. My friend! my friend!" faid he; "pifh, pha; my friend! But" (faid he, recollecting himself)" he is a Lord, and fo let it pafs."
SWIFT's fpirit was formed with a strong reluctance to fubmiffion of any kind; and particularly he paid no regard to the monitions of his friends and phyficians, who