« PreviousContinue »
MR. PILKINGTON TO MR. BOWYER.
I FIND you are resolved to lay me under so many obligations to you, that, upon principles of gratitude, I must be always desirous to promote your interest to the utmost of my power. I think you have nothing more left to do, but to make the experiment, by putting it in my way to return your favours. sent sixty-five books to Mr. Faulkner's, and hope, some time or other, to have it in my power to make acknowledgments. I find Mr. Faulkner sent you a little pamphlet of my writing, called, An Infallible Scheme to pay the Debts of this Nation. I have the honour to see it mistaken for the Dean's, both in Dublin and in your part of the world; but I am still diffident of it, whether it will merit esteem or contempt. It was a sudden whim; and I was tempted to send it into the world by the approbation which the Dean (my wisest and best friend) expressed when he read it: if you were concerned in the printing of it, I hope you will be no sufferer. I am very much obliged to you for receiving the young printer, whom I recommended to you, in so friendly a manner. If I can, on this side of the water, be serviceable to any friend of yours, command me.
I am much pleased to hear of your acquaintance with Dr. Delany, who is the best of friends; and I do not doubt but your affection for him will increase with your intimacy with him. I desire you to present my service to him; and tell him that the Dean designs to trouble him to buy a convenient microscope, that he may find out both myself and my house with greater ease than he can at present,
because we are both so excessively small, that he can scarce discover either. I hope I hope to hear soon from you, although it be Parliament-time, and you hurried with business; and shall always be your sincere friend and servant,
MR. PILKINGTON TO MR. BOWYER.
I RECEIVED your last letter, with the note to Mr. North. I am extremely obliged to you for the favour of such a present, and shall be glad to have an opportunity to express my gratitude to you.
I would send with this letter two or three of those papers which I design for your volume, but the Dean is reading them over, to try if there be any alteration requisite in any of them. I shewed him your note to Mr. North; and I believe he was at least as much pleased as the person who was to receive it. We have thoughts of preparing a preface to your edition, in the name of the editor. Let me know whether I shall send the pamphlets by post, and whether you have the Journal of a Dublin Lady, the Ballad on the English Dean, and Rochford's Journal; because you shall have the copies sent to you, and the property effectually secured. I mentioned your request to the Dean; and I shall get you the right of printing the Proposal for Eating Children. I mentioned the alteration of the titles, and he thinks it will be most proper to give them both the Irish and English titles. For instance, the Soldier and the Scholar, or Hamilton's Bawn,
&c. I have some hope of being able to send all these in about a week or fortnight's time; and shall venture to send them by post, though it will be expensive. The Dean says, he thinks the assignment as full as it is possible for him to write; but that he will comply with any alterations we think proper. I shall expect to hear from you as soon as possible; because I have some schemes to transact, which, probably, I shall acquaint you with in my next letter.
I am, Sir,
Your most obliged servant,
* The assignment is in these words :
"Whereas several scattered papers, in prose and verse, for three or four years last past, were printed in Dublin, by Mr. George Faulkner, some of which were sent, in manuscript, to Mr. William Bowyer, of London, printer, which pieces are supposed to be written by me, and are now, by the means of the Reverend Matthew Pilkington, who delivered or sent them to the said Faulkner and Bowyer, become the property of the said Faulkner and Bowyer: I do here, without specifying the said papers, give up all manner of right I may be thought to have in the said papers, to Mr. Matthew Pilkington aforesaid, who informs me that he intends to give up the said right to Mr. Bowyer aforesaid.
"Witness my hand, July 22, 1732, JONATH. SWIFT. From the Deanery House in Dublin, the day and year above written."
This conveyance is assigned by Pilkington, as empowered by Dr. Swift to do so, to Mr William Bowyer of London, on 5th October, 1732.
THE EARL OF ORRERY,
PREFIXED TO POEMS ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS.
BY MRS. BARBER.
Rivington, 1724. 4to.
MRS. BARBER was the wife of a linen-draper in Dublin, a person of some talents for poetry, or rather for versifying, who had been introduced to the Dean, and had naturally done her best to secure his patronage. We shall here give place to one of her effusions, both as relating to Swift, and because it may afford a fair specimen of her talents, which, in no point of view, can be considered as rising above mediocrity :
On sending my Son as a present to Dr. Swift, Dean of St. Patrick's, on his Birth-day.-[See Barber's Poems, p. 72.]
A curious statue, we are told,
But if the artist could inspire
This would advance the price so high,-
A richer present I design,
Kings could not send a nobler gift,-
Dublin, Nov. 30, 1726.
Swift, accustomed to praise of a much superior quality, can scarce be supposed weak enough to be blinded to the poverty of Mrs. Barber's powers by the magic of her adulation. But he considered her as a worthy person, who added some literary attainments to the regular discharge of her duty as a wife and a mother; and when she proposed that her volume of poetry (to be published by subscription) should be dedicated to the Earl of Orrery, the Dean supplied her with the following introductory and apologetical epistle.
By means of a singular fraud, the good-natured patronage which Swift extended to a woman of some talent, and in indifferent circumstances as to fortune, was the means of breaking off the precarious intercourse still subsisting betwixt him and Queen Caroline, which had been already much interrupted. Her Majesty received three letters in the Dean's name, but evidently in a hand-writing different, in which, after bestowing the most exaggerated praises on Mrs. Barber's poetry, and extolling her as a luminary of the first order, the writer expostulates with her Majesty concerning the affairs of Ireland, in a style offensive and unbecoming from a subject to a sovereign. One of these forgeries, which was given by Mr. Howard to Mr. Pope, has been preserved, and occurs Vol. XVII. p. 367. Mrs. Barber is there described as an ornament to her country and her sex, eminent for genius and merit of many kinds, the best female poet of this or any other age, and one whose genius is either honoured or envied by every man of genius in England.
Swift vindicated himself indignantly to Pope and to Lady