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This disappointment was soon after followed by another. It happened, that the deanery of Derry became vacant, and it was the Earl of Berkeley's turn to dispose of it. Yet whatever atonement was due to Swift for his Lordship's late breach of engagement, the secretary having received a bribe t, the deanery was given to another, upon pretence that Swift, who was then more than thirty years old, was too young f;
and + I have been told, that upon the Secretary's being offered 1000 l. for the deanery of Derry, he would not conclude the bargain, but kept it in referve, until he had acquainted Swift with the proposal he had received: which after he had done, he made him the offer of the deanery for the like fum. But Swift told him plainly, that he thought he had nothing to do with ecclesiastical preferments, and rejected his overture with all imaginable disdain. D. S. p. 113.
The rich dcanery of Derry was intended for Swift by Lord Berkeley, if Dr King, then Bishop of Derry, and afterwards Archbishop of Dublin, had not interposed : intreating with great earnest. ness, that the deanery might be given to fome grave and elderly divine, rather than to so young a man ; " because” (added the Bishop) "the situation of Derry is in the midst of Presbyterians, and I " should be glad of a clergyman who could be of assistance to me.
I bave no objection to Mr Swift. I know him to be a sprightly
ingenious young man; but instead of residing, I dare fay, he will “ be eternally flying backwards and forwards to London; and " therefore I intreat, that he may be provided for in some other
place."-Swift was accordingly set afide on account of youth ; but, as if his stars had destined to him a parallel revenge, he lived to see the Bishop of Derry afterwards set aside on account of age. That prelate had been Archbishop of Dublin many years, and had been long celebrated for his wit and learning, when Dr Lindfay the Primate of Ireland died. Upon his death, Archbishop King immediately made claim to the prinacy, as a preferment to which he had a right from his station in the fee of Dublin, and from his acknowledged character in the church. Neither of these pretenfions were prevalent. He was looked upon as too far advanced in years to be removed. The reason alledged was as mortifying as the refusal itself. But the Archbishop had no opportunity of Thewing his resentment, except to the new Primate Dr Bolter, whom he received at his own house, and in his dining-parlour, without rising from his chair, and to whom he made an apology, by saying, in his usual strain of wit, and with his usual (neering countenance, · My Lord, I am certain your Grace will forgive me, because, you know, I am too old to rise." Orrery, let. 3:
Whether or no Dr King, who was at that time very deservedly in high reputation, although descended from the meanest of the people, (being the fon of a milter], was afraid of being eclipsed by the supe
and he received instead of it the two livings of Laracor and Rathbeggin, in the diocese of Meath, which together did not amount to half the value of the deanery The first of these rectories was worth about 200 1. and the latter about 60 l. a-year ; and they were the only church-preferments that Dr Swift enjoyed till he was appointed Dean of St Patrick's, in 1713. [O. let. 3.]
Whilst Swift was chaplain to Lord Berkeley, his only fifter, who was of a middle size, finely shaped, rather beyond what is called the agreeable throughout her whole person, was polite and well bred, with at least a good share of understanding, and at that time worth 300 1. by the consent and approbation of her uncles and relations, accepted a proposal of marriage from a tradesman, whose fortune, character, and situation were esteemed, by all her friends, suitable for her in every respect. He was reputed to be worth five thousand pounds. Having communicated this proposal to her brother, and finding him utterly averse from entertaining the most diftant thoughts of it, she began to remonstrate to him in the
way of reason, (for the match was by no means very desirable in her own breast), that she could not support herself on her 300 l. On which her brother assured her, that he would never see her want the necessaries or the conveniencies of life ; and as a further proof to convince her that his regards were truly affectionate and sincere, he promised to settle upon her 500 1. being all he was then possessed of in the world, the very hour he should get some benefice in the church, which he daily expect
rior luftre of this young aspiring genius, who was in all respects, notwithstanding that he agreed with the Bishop in aflairs ecclesiastical, a man of a quite diferent cast and manner of thinking, 1 sall not prelume to determine. However, it is by no means improbable, that Swift's prodigious talents, which appear throughout his whole life to have been dreaded by all his contemporaries, not excepting even thole ministers, who were desirous to have the honour of being ranked among his best friends, had a greater share in obftructing his promotion to the deanery of Derry, than perhaps any filly, trifling objections against his youth and sprightliness. D. s. p. 114.
• As Swift did not receive these livings till after the deanery was given to another, his non-residence could not, as Lord Orrery lupo poies, bc thc reason why it was not given to him. Hawkes.
ed, provided the would reject this overture of marriage with a proper disdain. But the match having taken place, notwithstanding her brother's remonftrances, it was entirely disagreeable to him. It seemed to interrupt those ambitious views which he had long since formed. He grew outrageous at the thoughts of being brother-inlaw to a tradesman. He utterly refused all reconciliation with his fifter, nor ever would listen to the intreaties of his mother, who came over to Ireland, under almost a certainty of pacifying his anger; having, in alle other respects, ever found him a dutiful and obedient fon. But his pride was not to be conquered ; and Mrs Swift, finding her son inflexible, hastened back to Leicester, where The continued till her death. However, his sister's marriage proved in the end very unfortunate. The husband was an old, tyrannical, vitious rake; and with regard to his 5000 l. he was scarce worth half so much on the day he was married. After he had two or three children, he broke and died, leaving his family in very deplorable circumstances. Mr Swift upon this event acquainted his fifter by message, (for he would never be so far reconciled as to see her face), that he would allow her zo l. a-year during her life, provided the would live in England, but not otherwise. She accordingly went to England, where she constantly received her annuity till her death. [D. S. p. 101.-104. O. let. 3.]
In 1699, Swift had like to have burnt the castle of Dublin, and Lord Berkeley in the midst of it. For the Doctor, whose bedchamber was the next room to his Excellency's, having grown drowsy over his book while he was reading in bed, dropt asleep without extinguishing his candle ; which happened to fall upon his quilt, set it on fire, and burnt its passage quite through the bed cloaths, until it reached his thigh. Swift roused by the pain, leaped out of bed, and extinguished the fire, which by this time had burnt part of the curtains. He took care to have the damages repaired ; and by throwing away some guineas in hulh-money, che accident was never made known in the castle. [D. S.p. 112.]
As Swift had refused a commission under King Wil. liam, and a secular employment under Sir William Temple, it appears, that his attachment to a religious life,
however early and however strong, was not the effect of temporary views, but of zeal for the success of the great work in which he was about to engage, and a consciousness of his own ability to acquit himself with advantage. That religious purposes were at this time predominant in his mind, he used frequently to declare ; he hoped, he said, that, by diligent and constant application, he should fo far excel, that the fexton might sometimes be asked on a Sunday morning,
Pray, does the Doctor “ preach to-day?" And when, after having taken possession of his livings, he went to refide at Laracor he gave public notice, that he would read prayers on every Wednesday and Friday; a labour which he would not have brought upon himself, if he had been principally concerned about the value of his dues, which had been long before customarily paid for much less service. [J. R. P. 40. 41.]
The duties of the church, which he thus rendered more frequent, he performed with the utmost punctuality, and the most rational devotion. He was indeed devout, not only in his public and solemn addresses to God, but in that transient act of adoration, which is called Jaying grace, and which generally consists only in a mutter and a bow; in which the speaker appears to compliment the company, and the company each other. VOL. I.
Swift, * As soon as the Earls of Berkeley and Galway had been succeeded in the government by the Primate and the Earl of Drogheda, which happened, I think, somewhat about a year after his being presented to the livings of Laracor and Rathbeggin, poor Swift, half in despair of any further preferment, gallops down to Laracor ; where folitude, retirement, the fanning of leaves, and the warbling of birds, threw him into some kind of reveries, more fuitable, if any stress can be laid on the general opinions of the world, to the gravity and sedateness of an older divine, than to that abundant sprightliness and fire which animated the foul-of this young, vigorous, uncommon, heteroclite genius. Perhaps it may be thought exceedingly Itrange by those who admire Swift only for his wit and politics, that immediately after he had gone to reside in the country, he thould begin to reflect, that he was intrusted with the cure of souls. But Swift was really a man of high religion, without grunt. ing, groaning, canting hypocrisy, or making wry faces. And fure it is, that in proportion to those talents, which he is allowed to have possessed in the most eminent degree, he beat all his contemporaries many thousands of leagues in the race of Christianity. D. S. p. 115. 116.
Swift always used the fewest words that could be uttered on the occafion ; but he pronounced them with an emphasis and fervour which every one around him faw . and felt, and with his hands clasped in each other, and lifted to his breast. : And it is hoped, that those who can no otherwise emulate the character of Swift, will attempt it in this act of religious decorum, and no longer affect either to be wits or fine gentlemen, by a conduct directly contrary to fo great an example.
But Swift, with all this piety in his heart, could not refift the temptation to indulge the peculiarity of his humour when an opportunity offered, whatever might be the impropriety of time and place.
On the first Wednesday after he had summoned his congregation at Laracor, he afcended his dek, and having fat some time with no other auditor than his clerk Roger, he rose up, and, with a composure and gravity that
upon this occasion was irresistibly ridiculous, he began, “Dearly beloved Roger, the scripture moveth you " and me in sundry places ;” “and so proceeded to the end of the service *. (0. let. 3.]
During Swift's refidence at Laracor, he invited to Ireland a lady whom he has celebrated by the name of Stella. With this Lady he became acquainted while he lived with Sir William Temple. She was the daughter of his steward, whose name was Johnson; and Sir Wil. liam, when he died, left her 1000 l. in consideration of her father's faithful services. At the death of Sir Wil. liam, which happened in January 1698-9, she was in the fixteenth year of her age t; and it was about two years afterwards, that, at Swift's invitation, the left Eng. land, accompanied by her friend Mrs Dingley, a Lady
• What a glorious priest would he have been, to reform the young and sprightly from the extravagance of their ways ? But, alas ! that amazing capacity, fo continually rolling over with torrents of wit and humour, was by no means adapted to the solemnity of a country-parish, or to the consolation of old women. D. S. p. 117
+ Mr Deane Swift says 18; but it appear's by the poem on her birth-day in 1718, that she was then but 34. The Dean fays Inc was in Ireland from 18, in bis introduction to Bons Mots de Stella, in vol. 4. p. 295. Hawkes.