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had him ; this being in some fort Mr Harley's own case *. (vol. 4. p. 212.]
* Swift no sooner appeared at London in September 1710, but “ all the Whigs were ravished to see him, and would have said hold
on him as a twig to save them from sinking; and the great men
were all making him their clumsy apologies.” [Let. to S. Sept. 9. 1710.] “ It is good” (faith the Doctor] “ to see what a lament"able confession the Whigs all make of my ill usage." [Ib. Sept. 30.] In short, the Whigs would gladly have depended on his superior talents for their resurrection ; and the Tories dreaded from his pen their inevitable destruction. D. S. p. 312, 13.-It does not appear, that Swift had any design of attaching himself to the Tory ministry at this time. For he declares within a few days after his arrival, that he is heartily weary of London, and wishes “ that he had never stirred from Ireland.” (Lct. to S. Sept. 12. 1710.) But obferving in October in what manner he was courted by Mr Harley and Mr Secretary St John, (" who frequently protested, after he had become their intimate, that he was the only
man in England they were afraid of,)” [Ibid. June 30. 1711.) as well as by all the rest of the great people in power, to whom he was immediately introduced by Mr Harley upon their first acquaintance, he readily enough accepted the invitation to be their friend and protector.
And now the publick interest to support,
By Harley SWIFT invited comes to court. (vol. 6. p. 262.) " I stand with the new people" [faith he] “ ten times better " than ever I did with the old; and forty times more caressed.” [084. 14. 1710.] “ The present ministry have a difficult task, and
want me, &c. According to the best judgment I have, they are
pursuing the true interest of the public; and therefore I am glad " to contribute what lies in my power.” [Nov. 29. 1710)
As " for your news that Mr St John is going to Holland, he has no “ fuch thoughts to quit the great station he is in; nor if he had, “ could I be fpared to go with him.” [Jan. 24. 1710.) “ May my “ enémies live here [at London) in summer; and yet I am so un“ lucky, that I cannot possibly be out of the way at this juncture. --The Whigs Whisper that our miniftry differ among
thein" felves, and they begin to talk out the Secretary. They have “ fome reasons for their whispers; tho' I thought it was a greater • secret. I do not much like the present posture of things. I “ always apprehended that any falling out would ruin them, and " so I have told them several times. “The Whigs are mighey full w of hopes at present; and whatever is the matter, all kinds of “ stocks fall. I have not yet talked with the Secretary abour " Prior's journey [to France. I should be apt to think it may " foretel a peace; and that is all we have to preserve us.”[ Aug. 27. 1705.1--Swift and the Secretary having appointed to spend a
Mr Harley received him with the utmost kindness and respect ; he sat with him two hours in company, and two hours he was with him alone.
He not only engaged in the Doctor's immediate business with the utmost zeal, and soon after accomplished it; but told him, he must bring him acquainted with Mr șt John ; invited him to dine with him ; charged him to come often; and, when the Doctor proposed attending at his levee, told him that was no place for friends. The Doctor soon after became personally acquainted with the rest of the ministers, who appear to have courted and caressed him : with uncommon assiduity. He dined every Saturday at Mr Harley's, with the Lord Keeper, Mr Secretary St John, and Lord Rivers. On that day no other person was for sometime admitted ; but this select company was at length enlarged to fixteen, all men of the first class, Swift included. They dined once a-week at the houses of each other by ratation, and went under the general denomination of brothers to
whole day in private together upon affairs of the greatest consequence; “ The duce” (saith he) " is in this Secretary. When I' " went to him this morning, he had people with him; bat says,
we are to dine with Prior to day, and then will do all our busi“ pels in the afternoon. At two, Prior sends word he is other“ wife engaged. Then the Secretary and I go and dine with « Brig-Briton ; sit till eight, grow merry, no business done; we “part, and appoint no time to meet again. This is the fault of all " the present ministers, teasing me to death for my affittance, lay
ing the whole weight of their affairs upon it; and Nipping opportunities.” [08. 31. 1711.] D. S. p. 329, 30, I.
+ Swift was represented to Mr Harley, as one extremely ill " used by the last ministry,” (vol. 4. p. 212.]; a sentiment which, in his political wisdom, that great minister both greedily and fearfully imbibed. And accordingly, when Swift waited upon him about the first fruits and twentieth parts; Harley knowing the pride and spirit of the man with whom he had to deal, instantly began to pay his court to Swift in all the shapes that were consistent with his spirit and dignity. The moment that Swift appeared in his house, Harley “ received him ith the greatest respect and kind“ness imaginable ; and appointed him an hour two or three days after " to open his business to him.” [Let. to S. 08 4. 1710.) No sooner had Swift told him his business on the day appointed, but Harley " entered into it with all kindness, asked him for his powers and
From this time the Doctor fupported the interest of his new friends with all his power, in pamphlets, poems, and periodical papers ; his intimacy with them was
fo " read them, and read likewise the memorial he had drawn up, " and put it into his pocket to shew the Queen; told him the " measures he would take ; and, in short, said every thing he could
wish; told him he must bring Mr St John and him acquainted ;; " and spoke so many things of personal kindness and esteem, that " he (Swift) was inclined to believe what some friends had told
him, that he [Harley) would do every thing to bring him over. He (Harley] desired him to dine with him on Tuesday; and af
ter four hours being with him, set him down at St James's “ coffeehouse in a hackney-coach.” [0&t. 7. 1710.] Add again,
I must tell you'' [faith the Doctor] a great piece of refinement "in Harley." (This was but four days after their first acquaintance.] “ He charged me
to come to see him often. 1 told “ him I was loth to trouble him in so much business as he had, " and desired I might have leave to come at his levee : which he
immediately refused, and said, that was so place for friends."* [087. 8. 1730.) In two days after Harley “told him, he had fhewn a kis memorial to the Queen, and seconded it very heartily; be" caufe (faid he) the Queen designs to Signify it to the Bishops of “ Ireland in form, and take notice that it was done upon a me"morial from you: which Mr Harley told Swift he did to: * make it look more refpe&ful to him.” [087. 10. 1710.1" “ believe" [faith the Doctor] “ never any thing was com passed so
soon, and purely done by my personal credit with Mr Harley, “ who is so excessively obliging, that I know not what to make of
it, unless to shew the rascals of the other party, that they used a man unworthily who had deserved better." [O27. 21. 1710.]
Harley speaks all the kind things to me in the world.” (Nov. 8. 1710.] But the account of his entertainment and reception at the Secretary's, will give some clearer light into these matters. “ I dined to-day." [faith he] " by invitation with the Secretary of “ State, Mr St John. Mr Harley came in to us before dinner, ss and made me his excuses for not dining with us, because he was to " receive people who came to propose the advancing money to the
government. - The Secretary used me with all the kindness in. “The world. Prior came in after dinner; and upon an occasion " he [the Secretary) said, the best thing he ever read is not yours, “ says he, but Dr Swift's on Vanbrugh (in vol. 6. p. 76.]; " which I do not reckon fo very good neither: but Prior was
damped, till I stuffed him with two or three compliments. He “ told me among other things, that Mr Harley complained he “ could keep nothing from me, I had the way so much of getting into “ him. I knew that was a refinement; and so I told him; and “ it was so. Indeed it is hard to see these great men use me like one who was their betters, and the puppies with you in Ireland
so remarkable, that he was thought not only to defend, but in some degree to direct their measures ; and fuch was his importance in the opinion of the opposite party, that many speeches were made against him in both houses of parliament t; a reward was also offered for discovering the author of The public spirit of the Whigs. [vol. 5. p. 51.] 1.
hardly regarding me. But there are some reasons for all this." [Nov. 11. 1710.) These last words bave an eye to his writing the Examiner; which he kept as a profound secret from all the world, except the printer and the ministry. Prior was suspected for being the author of the Examiner, fee number 26. 31. [in vol. ș.] and had like to have been insulted for it in the street; to which the letter from the Whigs to the Examiner, No. 28. very plainly alludes.--It is a point beyond all controversy, that no Tovereign prince was ever more careffed by noble, generous, and manly spirits, than Swift undoubtedly was, not only by the great Harley, but all the Tory ministry. For it is certain, that Swift courted not the ministry, but the ministry courted Swift to be their champion and their protector. [See bis own words, Examiner, No. 26.]; and used him with the same respect, as well af ter, as before he had taken them under his care. Neither did he once consent to stay with the ministry, and run his fortune among them. D. S. p. 313:316. † See vol. 6. p. 262, 63.
Among the various branches into which Swift's expansive genius spread itself, those peculiar talents of levelling his writings to the lowest, and sustaining their dignity to the highest capacity, were probably the original motives that attracted the Earl of Oxford's friendship him. In the year 1709, the character of Dr Swift as an author, was perfectly established. He had shewn abilities equal to those attributed by Homer to Ulysies: he could ap. pear a beggar among beggars, and a king among kings--From the year 1709, to the latest period of Q. Anne, we find him fighting on the side of the ministers, and maintaining their caule in pamphlets, poems, and weekly papers. In a letter to Mr Pope, of Jan. 10. 1721, he has this expression: “ I have conversed in “ some freedom with more ministers of state, of all parties, than
usually happens to men of my level; and I confess, in their ca“ pacity as ministers, I look upon them as a race of people whole “ acquaintance no man would court, otherwise than on the score " of vanity or ambition."[vol.4.p. 27.) Lord Oxford, as a gentleman and a scholar, might be open and unreserved to Dr Swift, as far as his Lordfhip’s nature would permit; but as a minister of ftate he ever appeared mysterious and enigmatical, delivering his oracles, like the Delphian deity, in occult terms and ambiguous
WHATEVER excellence we possess, or whatever honours we obtain, the pleasure which they produce, is all relative to some particular favourite, with whom we are tenderly connected, either by friendship or by love ; or, at most, it terminates, like rays collected by a burningglass, in a very small circle, which is scarce more than a point, and, like light, becomes sensible only by reflection. Thus Swift, while he was courted and caressed by those whom others were making interest to approach, seems to have enjoyed his distinction, only in proportion as it was participated with Stella ; for amidst all the bufiness, and all the honours that crouded upon him, he wrote every day an account of whatever occurred, and sent her a journal, regularly dated, every fortnight, during the whole time of his connection with Q. Anne's ministry. [D. S. p. 258.] From these unrestrained effufions of his heart, many particulars are known, which
uld have been known no other way. And by these it appears incontestably, that he was not only employed, but trusted ; and that Harley, who is universally allowed to have been one of the most reserved and myfterious of all politicians, was to him, in affairs of the utmost moment, open and explicit *. The result of one
expressions... A man always appears of more consequence to himself, than he is in reality to any other person. Such perhaps was the case of Dr Swift. He found himself much indulged by the fimiles and conversation of the Earl of Oxford. He knew how useful he was to the administration in general: and in the aforementioned letter, he says, that the place of historiographer was intended for him [vol. 4. p. 23.) But I am apt to suspect that he Aattered himself too highly : at least it is very evident, that he remained without any preferment till the year 1713, when he was made Dean of St Patrick's. In point of power and re. venue, such a deanery might be esteemed no inconsiderable promotion ; but to an ambitious mind, whose perpetual aim was a fettlement in England, a dignity in any other kingdom must appear (as perhaps it was designed) only an honourable and profitable banishment. 0. let. 4.
• The Earl of Oxford had a real friendship for Dr Swift. And there are some little gratifications in the commerce of friendship, which appear to be as strong, if not stronger indications of our love and esteem for particular persons, than what is called advancing them in the grande monde, whether to honours or preferment.