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for near a month, he did not fleep two hours in twentyfour yet a moderate appetite continued; and, what is more to be wondered at, the last day of his illness he knew me perfectly well, took me by the hand, called me by my name, and fhewed the fame pleasure as usual in feeing me. I asked him, if he would give me a dinner? He said, to be fure, my old friend. Thus he continued that day, and knew the doctor and furgeon, and all his family fo well, that Mr Nichols thought it poffible he might return to a fhare of understanding, fo as to be able to call for what he wanted, and to bear fome of his old friends to amufe him. But, alas! this pleasure to me was but of fhort duration; for the next day or two it was all over, and proved to be only pain that had roufed him. He is now free from torture; his eye almoft well; very quiet, and begins to fleep; but cannot, without great difficulty, be prevailed on to walk a turn about his room; and yet, in this way, the phyficians think he may hold out for fome time. I am, my Lord,

Your Lordship's most obedient,

bumble fervant,


What a fhocking, what a melancholy account is this! of how small eftimation must the greatest genius appear in the fight of God!



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Dublin, April 4. 1744. S to the ftory of O poor old man! I inquired into it. The Dean did fay fomething upon his feeing himself in the glafs; but neither Mrs Ridgeway, nor the lower fervants, could tell me what it was he faid. I defired them to recollect it, by the time when I should come again to the deanery. I have been there fince,

Author of the Elay on the life, character, &c. of Dr Swift.



they cannot recollect it. A thousand ftories have been invented of him within these two years, and imposed upon the world. I thought this might have been one of them and yet I am now inclined to think there may be fome truth in it: for, on Sunday the 17th of March, as he fat in his chair, upon the houfekeeper's moving a knife from him as he was going to catch at it, he fhrugged his fhoulders, and, rocking himself, faid, I am what I am, I am what I am: and, about fix minutes afterwards, repeated the fame words two or three times over.

His fervant fhaves his cheeks, and all his face as low as the tip of his chin, once a-week: but under the chin, and about the throat, when the hair grows long, it is cut with fellars.

Sometimes he will not utter a fyllable; at other times he will speak incoherent words; but he never yet, as far as I could hear, talked nonfenfe, or said a foolih thing.

About four months ago he gave me great trouble: he feerned to have a mind to talk to me. In order to try what he would fay, I told him, I came to dine with him; and immediately his houfekeeper, Mrs Ridgeway, faid, "Won't you give Mr Swift a glass of wine, Sir?" He shrugged his fhoulders, juft as he used to do when he had a mind that a friend fhould fpend the evening with him. Shrugging his fhoulders, your Lordship may remember, was as much as to fay, "You'll ruin me in "wine." I own I was fcarce able to bear the fight. Soon after, he again endeavoured, with a good deal of pain, to find words to speak to me at last, not being able, after many efforts, he gave a heavy figh, and, I think, was afterwards filent. This puts me in mind of what he faid about five days ago. He endeavoured feveral times to speak to his fervant, (now and then he calls him by his name): at lait, not finding words to exprefs what he would be at, after fome uneafinefs, he faid, "I am a fool." Not long ago, the fervant took up his watch that lay upon the table to fee what o'clock it was; he faid, " Bring it here;" and when it was brought, he looked very attentively at it. Some time ago, the fervant was breaking a large ftubborn coal; he faid, "That's a stone, you blockhead."

In a few days, or fome very fhort time, after guardians had been appointed for him, I went into his dining-room, where he was walking; I faid fomething to him very infignificant, I know not what; but, instead of making any kind of anfwer to it, he faid, “Go, "go," pointing with his hand to the door; and immediate y afterwards, railing his hand to his head, he said, 66 My best understanding; and fo broke off abruptly,

and walked away.

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am, my Lord,

Your Lordship's most obedient,

and mof bumble fervant,


An account of the fituation of Dr SWIFT's health and mind, from 1739 to his death, at the latter end of October 1745; with a DISSERTATION ON LUNACY and IDIOTISM.

By the Earl of ORRERY.

HE total deprivation of Dr Swift's fenfes came


upon him by degrees. In the year 1736, I remember him seized with a violent fit of giddinefs. He was at that time writing a fatirical poem, called The legion-club; but he found the effects of his giddiness fo dreadful, that he left the poem unfinished; and never afterwards attempted a compofition of any length either in verfe or profe. However, his conversation still remained the fame, lively and fevere; but his memory gradually grew worfe and worfe; and as that decreafed and was impaired, he appeared every day more fretful and impatient. From the year 1739 to the latter end of 1741, his friends found his paffions fo violent and ungovernable, his memory fo decayed, and his reafon fo depraved, that they took the utmost precautions to keep all ftrangers from approaching him; for, till then, he had not appeared totally incapable of converfation: but, early in the year 1742, the fall remains of his understanding became entirely confufcd, and the violence


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of his rage increased absolutely to a degree of madness. In this miferable ftate, he seemed to be appointed as the first proper inhabitant for his own hofpital: efpecially, as from an outragious lunatic, he funk afterwards into a quiet, fpeechlefs idiot; and dragged out the remainder of his life in that helpless fituation. He died towards the latter end of October 1745. The manner of his death was eafy, without the leaft pang or convulfion. Even the rattling in his throat was scarce fufficient to give any alarm to his attendants, till within fome very little time before he expired. A man in full poffeffion of his reason would have wifhed for fuch a kind of diffolution; but Swift was totally infenfible of happinefs or pain. He had not even the power or expreffion of a child; appearing, for fome years before his death, referved only as an example to mortify human pride, and to reverfe that fine defcription of I uman nature, which is given us by Shakespear in an inimitable manner. "What a piece of work is man! how noble "in reafon how infinite in faculty in form and mo

"ving, how exprefs and admirable! in a&ion, how "like an angel! in apprehenfion, how like a god! the "beauty of the world, the paragon of animals." Thus poets paint; but how vain and perishable is the picture? The final left thunderbolt from heaven blasts it in a moment, and every tinct is fo effectually obliterated, that fcarce the outlines of the figure remain.

Swift certainly forefaw his fate. His frequent attacks of giddinefs, and his manifeft defect of memory, gave room for fuch apprehenfions. I have often heard him lament the state of childhood and idiotism, to which fome of the greatest men of this nation were reduced before their death. He mentioned, as examples within his own time, the Duke of Marlborough, and Lord Somers and when he cited thofe melancholy inftances, it was always with a heavy figh, and with geftures that fhewed great uneafinefs, as if he felt an impulfe of what was to happen to him before he died.

Uulefs I am mifinformed, he died worth about twelve thoufand pounds, inclufive of the fpecific legacies mentioned in his will, and which may be computed at the fum of twelve hundred pounds; fo that the remai der,


near eleven thoufand pounds, is entirely applicable to the hofpital for idiots and lunatics: a charitable foun dation, particularly beneficial in thefe kingdoms, where the epidemic diftemper of lunacy is fo prevalent, that it will conftantly furnish the largest building with a fuffi cient number of inhabitants.

Lunacy may in general be confidered, as arifing from a depraved imagination, and muft therefore be originally owing to a fault in the body, or the mind.


fee inftances every day, where, in fevers, all the powers * of fenfe and reafon are utterly overturned by a raging madness. This frenzy conquers, or is conquered foon: but, from more flow and chronical caufes, fuch obftructions may be formed, as gradually to produce various degrees of this diforder, and to remain invincible to the very last moments of life. Nothing more strongly dif poses the mind to this depraved ftate, than too fixed an attention to any particular object. Mr Locke, if my memory does not deceive me, defines madness as arifing from fome particular idea, or fet of ideas, that make fo ftrong an impreffion upon the mind as to banish all others; and the perfons affected are chearful or melancholy, well-tempered or fierce, according as the objects and ideas of their minds are different. From hence it is evident, that we ought to consider the strength of the mind, even in the purfuit of knowledge, and often to vary our ideas by exercise and amusements; conftantly fixing a ftrict guard against any paffion that may be prevalent in two high a degree, or may acquire an habitual strength and dominion over us. Paffions are the gales. of life; and it is our part to take care that they do not rife into a tempeft.

Love, with all its charms, must be reftrained within proper bounds, otherwife it will torture that breast which it was formed to delight. Love contains within itself a variety of other paffions, and lays fuch a foundation of maduefs in the mind, that the frenzy, in this particular cafe, never fails to appear in its full force, and to difplay itself in all its ftrength of horror.

Religion, which can only make the mind happy, and is our fureft and beft defence against the paffions, if con fidered in a wrong and melancholy view, has often per

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