The Works of Dr Jonathan Swift

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Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009 - 142 pages
Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: A N ENQUIRY Into the BEHAVIOUR of the QUEEN'S LAST MINISTRY, With relation to their QU A R R E L s among themfelves, and the de- fign charged upon them of altering the SucceiHon of the Crown. June Mdccxv. q IN C E the death of the Queen, it was reafonable enough for me to conclude that I had done with all public affairs and fpeculations: betides, the fcene and ftation I am in have reduced my thoughts into a narrow compafs: and being wholly excluded from any view of favour under the pre- fent adminiftratioo, upon that invincible rea- fon of having been in fome degree of truft and confidence with the former, I have not found the tranfition very difficult into a private life, for which I am better qualified both by nature and education. The reading of, and enquiring after, news not being one of my diverfions, having al- D 4. waysways diffiked a mixed and general converfa- tion, which, however it fell to my lot, is now in my power to avoid; and being placed, by the duties of my function, af a great diftance from the feat of bufinefs; I am altogether ignorant of many common events which happen in the world: only, from the little I know and hear, it is man if eft that the hearts of moft men are filled with doubts, fears, and jealoufies, or elfe with hatred and rage, to a degree that there feems to be an end of all amicable commerce between people of different parties; and what the conft- quences of this may be, let thofe conlider who have contributed to the cauies; which, I thank God, is no concern of mine. There are two points, with reference to the conduit of the late miniftry, much in- fiftedon, and little underftood by thofe who write or talk upon that fubject; wherein I am fufficiently qualified to give fatisfac- tion; and would gladly do it, b...

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About the author (2009)

Apparently doomed to an obscure Anglican parsonage in Laracor, Ireland, even after he had written his anonymous masterpiece, A Tale of a Tub (c.1696), Swift turned a political mission to England from the Irish Protestant clergy into an avenue to prominence as the chief propagandist for the Tory government. His exhilaration at achieving importance in his forties appears engagingly in his Journal to Stella (1710--13), addressed to Esther Johnson, a young protegee for whom Swift felt more warmth than for anyone else in his long life. At the death of Queen Anne and the fall of the Tories in 1714, Swift became dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. In Ireland, which he considered exile from a life of power and intellectual activity in London, Swift found time to defend his oppressed compatriots, sometimes in such contraband essays as his Drapier's Letters (1724), and sometimes in such short mordant pieces as the famous A Modest Proposal (1729); and there he wrote perhaps the greatest work of his time, Gulliver's Travels (1726). Using his characteristic device of the persona (a developed and sometimes satirized narrator, such as the anonymous hack writer of A Tale of a Tub or Isaac Bickerstaff in Predictions for the Ensuing Year, who exposes an astrologer), Swift created the hero Gulliver, who in the first instance stands for the bluff, decent, average Englishman and in the second, humanity in general. Gulliver is a full and powerful vision of a human being in a world in which violent passions, intellectual pride, and external chaos can degrade him or her---to animalism, in Swift's most horrifying images---but in which humans do have scope to act, guided by the Classical-Christian tradition. Gulliver's Travels has been an immensely successful children's book (although Swift did not care much for children), so widely popular through the world for its imagination, wit, fun, freshness, vigor, and narrative skill that its hero is in many languages a common proper noun. Perhaps as a consequence, its meaning has been the subject of continuing dispute, and its author has been called everything from sentimental to mad. Swift died in Dublin and was buried next to his beloved "Stella."

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