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WITH MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR, BY THOMAS ROSCOE;
PORTRAIT AND AUTOGRAPH.
No Author in the British language has enjoyed the extensive popularity of the celebrated Dean of St. Patrick's. The vivid
SIR WALTER SCOTT.
HENRY G. BOHN, YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN.
"ABOUT the year 1722, when Charles duke of Grafton was lordlieutenant of Ireland, one William Wood, a hardwareman and a bankrupt, alleging the great want of copper money in that kingdom, procured a patent for coining 108,000/. to pass there as current money. The dean, believing this measure to be a vile job from the beginning to the end, and that the chief procurers of the patent were to be sharers in the profits which would arise from the ruin of a kingdom, assumed the character of a Draper, which for some reasons he chose to write Drapier; and in the following LETTERS warned the people not to receive the coin which was then sent over.
"To judge by the accounts generally given of that transaction, it would appear a monster of despotism and fraud, that the halfpence were deficient in weight and goodness, and that the circulation of them would have been followed by the total ruin of Ireland. In fact, the inimitable humour of Swift, which places the kingdom on one side and William Wood on the other, has misled our judgment and captivated our imagination; and most persons have formed their opinion from his Drapier's Letters and satirical poems, rather than from authentic documents or well-attested facts. The simple narrative of this transaction, stripped of the exaggerated dress in which the malignant wit of the author has invested it, is reduced to a short compass. There being great deficiency of copper cur
rency in Ireland, the king, in virtue of his prerogative, granted to William Wood a patent for coining farthings and halfpence, to the value of 100,000l. sterling, on certain terms which the patentee was bound to follow. William Wood, who in the party language of Swift is ridiculed under the denomination of a hardwareman and a low mechanic, was a great proprietor and renter of iron-works in England. He had a lease of all the mines on the crown-lands in thirty-nine counties, was proprietor of several iron and copper works, and carried on, to a very considerable amount, manufactures for the different preparations of those metals. Among many proposals submitted to government, that which he delivered was accepted, and was considered by all persons of judgment or capacity, not biassed by party or national prejudice, as beneficial to Ireland. But the natives did not see it in so favourable a light; and before the money was circulated a general ferment was excited."-Coxe, Memoirs of Sir Robert Walpole.
[Various Specimens of Wood's Halfpenny, taken from the Originals preserved in the British Museum.]
THE tracts relating to Ireland are those of a public nature, in which the dean appears in the best light, because they do honour to his heart, as well as to his head; furnishing some additional proofs that, though he was free in his abuse of the inhabitants of that country, as well natives as foreigners, he had their interest sincerely at heart, and perfectly understood it. His Sermon upon doing Good, though peculiarly adapted to Ireland, and Wood's designs upon it, contains perhaps the best motives to patriotism that ever were delivered within so small a compass-BURKE.
LETTER THE FIRST.
TO THE TRADESMEN, SHOPKEEPERS, FARMERS, AND COUNTRY PEOPLE IN GENERAL, OF THE KINGDOM OF IRELAND,
CONCERNING THE BRASS HALFPENCE COINED BY ONE WILLIAM WOOD, HARDWAREMAN, WITH A DESIGN TO HAVE THEM PASS IN THIS KINGDOM:
Wherein is shown the power of his Patent, the value of his Halfpence, and how far every person may be obliged to take the same in payments, and how to behave himself, in case such an attempt should be made by Wood, or any other person.
(VERY PROPER TO BE KEPT IN EVERY FAMILY.)
WHAT I intend now to say to you is, next to your duty to God and the care of your salvation, of the greatest concern to yourselves and your children: your bread and clothing, and every common necessary of life, entirely depend upon it. Therefore I do most earnestly exhort you as men, as christians, as parents, and as lovers of your country, to read this paper with the utmost attention, or get it read to you by others; which that you may do at the less expense, I have ordered the printer to sell it at the lowest rate.
It is a great fault among you, that when a person writes with no other intention than to do you good, you will not be at the pains to read his advices. One copy of this paper may serve a dozen of you, which will be less than a farthing a-piece. It is your folly that you have no common or general interest in your view, not even the wisest among you; neither do you