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GODWIN was a barrister of Gray's inn; and William, Dryden, Jonathan, and Adam, were attorneys.

GODWIN having married a relation of the old Mar chioness of Ormond, the old Duke of Ormond made him his attorney-general in the palatinate of Tipperary in Ireland Ireland was at this time almoft without lawyers, the rebellion having made almost every man, of whatever condition, a foldier. Godwin therefore determined to attempt the acquifition of a fortune in that kingdom; and the fame motives induced his four brothers to go with him. Godwin foon became wealthy; and the rest obtained fomething more than a genteel competence; though Dryden and Jonathan, who died foon after their arrival,' had little to bequeath.

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JONATHAN at the age of about three and twenty, and before he went to Ireland, married Mrs Abigail Erick, of Leicestershire +. The family of this lady was descended from Erick the Forefter, who raised an army to oppofe William the Conqueror; by whom he was vanquifhed, and afterwards made commander of his forces. But whatever was the honour of her lineage, her fortune was fmall; and about two years after her marriage, fhe was left a widow with one child, a daughter, and pregnant with another; having no means of fubfiftence but an annuity of 20h which her husband had purchafed for her in England, immediately after his mar riage.

In this diftrefs fhe was taken with her daughter into the family of Godwin, her husband's eldest brother; and, on the 30th of November 1667, about feven months after her husband's death, fhe was in Hoy's alley, in



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+ This lady was greatly beloved and efteemed by all the family of the Swifts. Her converfation was extremely polite, chearful, and agreeable. She was of a generous and hospitable nature, very exact in all the duties of religion, attended the public worship generally twice a day, was a very early rifer, and was always dreffed for the whole day at about fix o'clock in the morning. Her chief amusements were needle-work and reading. She was equally fond of both her children, notwithstanding some disagreements that fubfifted between them. D. S. p. 22. 23.

the parish of St Warburgh, Dublin, delivered of a fon, whom the called Jonathan in remembrance of his father, and who was afterwards the celebrated Dean of St Patrick's. [D. S. p. 22.]

Of all the brothers of Mrs Swift's hufband, Thomas excepted, Godwin only had fons; and by these fons fhe was fubsisted in her old age, as she had been before by their father and their uncles, with fuch liberality, that fhe declared herself not only happy, but rich. [Ď. S. p. 23.]

IT happened, by whatever accident, that Jonathan was not fuckled by his mother, but by a nurfe, who was a native of Whitehaven: and when he was about a year old, her affection for him was become so strong, that finding it neceffary to visit a relation who was dangeroufly fiek, and from whom the expected a legacy, the found means to convey the child on fhipboard, without the knowledge of his mother or his uncle, and carried him with her to Whitehaven. At this place he continued near three years; for when the matter was difcovered, his mother fent orders not to hazard a fecond voyage till he should be better able to bear it, The nurse however gave other teftimonies of her affection to Jonathan: for, during his ftay at Whitehaven, fhe had taught him to fpell; and when he was five years old, he was able to read any chapter in the Bible. [0. let. 1.]


Mrs Swift, about two years after her husband's death, quitted the family of Mr Godwin Swift, in Ireland, and retired to Leicester, the place of her nativity: but her fon was again carried to Ireland by his nurse, and re. placed under the protection of his uncle Godwin. [0. let. 1.]

It has been generally believed, that Swift was born in England: a mistake to which many incidents befides this have contributed. He had been frequently heard to fay, when the people of Ireland difpleafed him, “ I "am not of this vile country, I am an Englishman ;" and would infift, that he was stolen from England when a child, and brought over to Ireland in a band-box. Mr Pope also, in one of his letters to him [in vol. 4. p. 189.] mentions England as his native country. But


whatever the motives were that prevailed on Dr Swift to speak in this manner, they v were not borrowed from any fort of contempt which he had fecretly entertained against Ireland confidered merely as a nation, but ra ther proceeded from feveral other fources, which will appear afterward. [D. S. p. 26.] This account of his birth is taken from that which he left behind him in his own hand-writing; and while he lived, he was fo far from seriously denying or concealing his being a native of Ireland, that he often mentioned, and even pointed out the houfe in which he was born.


He has also been thought by some to have been a natural fon of Sir William Temple: a mistake which was probably founded upon another; for till the publication of his letter to Lord Vifc. Palmerfton, among his pofthumous works, [in vol. 4. p. 238] he was thought to have received fuch favours from Sir William as he could not be fuppofed to bestow upon a person to whom he was not related, and but diftantly related to his wife+. However, fuch a relation between Sir William and the Dean appears beyond contradiction to have been impoffible; for Sir William Temple was refident abroad in a public character from the year 1665 to 1670, first at Bruffels, and afterwards at the Hague; as may be proved by his letters to the Earl of Arlington, and the rest of the ministry fo that Dr Swift's mother, who never croffed

+ In the year of the revolution, his uncle Godwin Swift had fallen into a kind of lethargy, or dotage, which deprived him by degrees of his fpeech and memory, and rendered him totally incapable of being of the leaft fervice to his family and friends. But, in the hidft of this distressful situation, as if it was ordained that no incident fhould bereave mankind of fuch a genius, Sir William Temple (whofe lady was related to Dr Swift's mother) most generoufly ftept in to his affiftance, and avowedly supported his education at the university of Oxford. Acts of generosity seldom meet with their juft applaufe. Sir William Temple's friendship was immediately conftrued to proceed from a confciousness, that he was the real father of Mr Swift; otherwise it was thought impoffible, that he could be fo uncommonly munificent to a young man, no wife related to him, and but diftantly related to his wife. I am not quite certain, that Swift himself did not acquiefce in the calumny. Perhaps, like Alexander, he thought the natural fon of Jupiter would appear greater than the legitimate fon of Philip. 0. let. 2.

croffed the fea, except from England to Ireland, was out of all poffibility of a perfonal correfpondence with Sir William Temple, till fome years after her fon's birth; who, as before obferved, was born in 1667, [0. let. 1.]

Ar about the age of fix years [1673] he was fent to the school of Kilkenny; and having continued there eight years, he was at the age of fourteen [1681] admitted into the university of Dublin, and became a ftudent in Trinity college. There he lived in perfect regularity, and obeyed the ftatutes with the utmost exactness. But the morofenefs of his temper often rendered him very unacceptable to his companions; fo that he was little regarded, and lefs beloved: and he was so much depreffed by the difadvantages of his fituation, deriving his prefent fubfiftence merely from the precarious bounty of an uncle, and having no other object of hope but the continuance of it *, that he could not refift the temptation to neglect many neceffary objects of acade


While Swift was at the university, one day as he was looking out of his window, penfive and melancholy, his pockets being then at the lowest ebb, he fpied a master of a fhip gazing about in the college-courts. Lord, thought he, if that person should now be inquiring and staring about for my chamber, in order to bring me fome prefent from my coufin Willoughby Swift, what a happy creature should I be! He had fcafce amufed himself with this pleafing imagination, when behold the fhipmafter having come into his chamber, asked him if his name was Jonathan Swift? who having told him it was; Why then, faid the other, I have fomething for you that was fent to you by Mr Willoughby Swift. Whereupon he drew out of his pocket a large greafy leather bag, and poured him out all the money that it contained on the table. As this fum was greater than ever Swift had been master of at any one time before, he pushed over, without reckoning them, a good number of the filver cobs (for it was all in that specie) to the honeft failor, and defired he would accept of them for his trouble. But the failor would not touch a farthing. No, no, Mafter, said he, l'fe take nothing for my trouble; I would do more than that comes to for Mr Willoughby Swift. Whereupon Mr Swift gathered up the money as faft as he could, and thrust it into his pocket: for, by the Lord Harry, faid he when relating this story, I was afraid if the money had lain much longer upon the table, he might have repented his generofity, and taken a good part of it. But from that time forward, he declared that he became a better œconomist, and never was without fome little money in his pocket. D. S. p. 94. 55.

mic ftudy, to which he was not by nature much inclined, and apply himself wholly to books of history and poetry; by which he could, without intellectual labour, fill his mind with pleafing images, and for a while fufpend the fense of his condition *. The facrifice of the future to the prefent, whether it be a folly or a fault, is feldom unpunished; and Swift foon found himself in the fituation of a man who had burned his bed to warm his hands; for, at the end of four years, in the 1685, he was refused his degree of Bachelor of Arts for infufficiency, and was at last admitted fpeciali gratia, which is there confidered as the highest degree of reproach and dishonour. It is (fays Lord Orrery) a kind of dishonourable degree; and the record of it, notwithstanding Dr Swift's prefent established character throughout, the learned world, muft for ever remain against him in the academical register at Dublin +.

BUT upon Swift this punishment was not ineffectual. He dreaded the repetition of fuch a difgrace as the last evil that could befal him, and therefore immediately fet about to prevent it as the principal business of his life. During feven years from that time he studied eight hours a day [7. R. p. 50.] and by fuch an effort of fuch a mind fo long continued, great knowledge must necessarily have been acquired. He commenced these studies at the university in Dublin, where he continued them three years, till 1688; and during this time he also drew the first sketch of his Tale of a Tub. ‡. VOL. I.



*He held logic and metaphyfics in the utmost contempt, and he scarce confidered mathematics and natural philofophy, unless to turn them into ridicule. Orrery, let. 1.

+ Ambition could scarce have met with a feverer blow. Hercules found himself set aside for want of ftrength, or, if admitted among the wrestlers, admitted only by favour and indulgence; yet ftill he must be conscious that he was Hercules. Difappointments, the earlier they happen in life, the deeper imrpeffion they make upon the heart. Swift was full of indignation at the treatment which he had received in Ireland, and therefore resolved to pursue his ftudies at Oxford. Orrery, lẹt. 1.

Waffendon Warren, Efq; a gentleman of fortune near Belfast, in the north of Ireland, who was chamber-fellow with Dr Swift, declared, that he then saw a copy of the Tale of a Tub in Swift's own hand-writing. D. S. p. 31,

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