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air ; Florent hi ho Hubloud 3:1-29
LIFE of Dr JONATHAN. SWIFT, Dean
of St Patrick's, Dublin.
H E lives of eminent men have always been es steemed the most valuable part of history, both
for entertainment and instruction. Accounts of fuch persons especially, as besides their merit, have been distinguished by any remarkable peculiarities of character or genius, juftly command the public attention: There is a pleasure in seeing human nature displayed in a beautiful, but fingular and uncommon view. We are fond of being introduced into a sort of acquaintance with fuch persons, which may compensate the loss of our not having been of the number of their contemporaries or friends. We peruse their works with much greater satisfaction when we know the man as well as the author.
For these reafons, no wonder that the public have hown so much desire to be instructed in all the particulars that relate to Dr Swift, and have received fo readily every performance that promised them information of this kind. His character and manners, fingular in every respect, awakened general curiofity. By his good sense and penetration, his public spirit, and his charities, eminent and eftimable in a very high degree : by his peculiar and amazing genius for wit and ridicule, the wonder of the age in which he lived ; by his caprices and oddnesses, reduced to the common level of mankind. A character of this kind, is more eagerly enquired into; and to the bulk of mankind more interefting chan that of philosophers or heroes.
HAPPILY for the public, the materials for their informations as to Dr Swift's life and character are not inconfiderable. Lord Orrery's letters, and the essay on
waistcoat, he set out for Ragland castle, whither King Charles I. had retired after the battle of Naseby, in 1645. The Governor, who well knew him, asked what was his errand ? “ I am come,” faid Swift, “ to “ give his Majesty my coat ;" at the same time pulling it off, and presenting it. The Governor told him pleasantly, that his coat was worth little. • Why then,” said Swift, “ take my waistcoat.” This was soon found to be an useful garment by its weight; and it is remarked by Lord Clarendon, that the King received no supply more seasonable or acceptable than these 300 broad pieces during the whole war, his distress being then very great, and his resources cut off. The zeal and activity of this gentleman for the royal cause expofed him to much danger, and many fufferings. He was plundered more than thirty times by the parliament's army, was ejected from his church-livings, his estate was sequeftered, and he was himself thrown into prison. His eftate however was afterwards recovered, and part of it fold to -pay
money due on the mortgage, and fome other debts; the remainder, being about one half; defcended to his heir, and is now pofleffed by his greatgrandfon, Deane Swift, Esq; *
This Mr Thomas Swift married Mrs Elisabeth Dryden, of an antient family in Huntingdopshire, fifter to the father of the famous John Dryden the poet; by whom he had ten fons and four daughters. · He died in 1658 ; and of his fons, fix survived him, Godwin, Thomas, Dryden, William, Jonathan, and Adam.
THOMAS was bred at Oxford, and took orders. He married the eldest daughter of Sir William D'Avenant ; but dying young, he left only one fon, whose name al. fo was Thomas, and who died in May 1752, in the 87th year of his age, rector of Puttenham, in Surrey, a benefice which he had poflefled fixty years.
* The grandmother of this gentleman, one of the wives of Godwin Swift, was heiress to Adm. Deane, one of the Regicides; whepce Deane became a Christian name in the family.
GODWIN was a barrister of Gray's ina; and William, Dryden, Jonathan, and Adam, were attorneys.
Godwin having married a relation of the old Marchioness of Ormond, the old Duke of Ormond made him bis attorney-general in the palatinate of Tipperary in Ireland. Ireland was at this time almost without lawyers, the rebellion having made almost every man, of whatever condition, a foldier. 'Godwin therefore determined to attempt the acquisition of a fortune in that kingdom ; and the fame motives induced his four brothers to go with him. Godwin soon became wealthy; and the reft obtained fomething more than a genteel competence; though Dryden and Jonathan, who died foon after their arrival, had little to bequeath.
JONATHAN at the age of about three and twenty, and before he went to Ireland, married Mrs Abigail Erick, of Leicefershire t. The family of this lady was descend, ed from Erick the Forefter, who raised an army to oppofe William the Conqueror; by whom he was vanquished, and afterwards made commander of his forces. But whatever was the honour of her lineage, her fortune was small; and about two years after her marriage, she was left a widow with one child, a daughter, and pregnant with another'; having no means of fubfiftende but an annuity of 20 l. which her husband had purchased for her in England, immediately after his marriage:
In this diftress she was taken with her daughter into the family of Godwin, her husband's eldest brother; and, on the zoth of November 1667, about seven months after her husband's death, she was in Hoy's alley, in
+ This lady was greatly beloved and esteemed by all the family of the Swifts. Her conversation was extremely polite, chcarful, and agreeable. She was of a generous and hospitable nature, very exact in all the duties of religion, attended the public worship ge. nerally twice a day, was a very early riser, and was always dressed for the whole day at about six o'clock in the morning. Her chief amusements were needle-work and reading. She was equally fond of both her children, notwithftanding some disagreements that fubGifted between them.': D. S. p. 22. 23.
the life, writings and character of Dr Swift, by Deane Swift, Esq; furnish a variety of facts supported in general by good authority. The former writes with the severity, and sometimes the fourness, of a critic ; the latter with the attachment of a near relation. A volume of letters figned 7. R. generally supposed to be written by Dr Delany, supplies fome new materials. We have also preserved to us by Deane Swift, Efq; a begun sketch of the Doctor's life, composed by himself; but containing little more than an account of the family of the Swifts, and some few transactions of his younger years. From a comparison of all these with each other; Mr Hawkesworth has compiled that life of the Doctor which is prefixed to his late edition of his works in 1755. As this is the most accurate and best digested account we have seen, we have given it entire to our readers. Some omissions in it are supplied, and a variety of notes added, containing such anecdotes, or different relations of the same fact as were worth preserving. The whole of the sketch.composed by the Doctor himself, so far as it is in the least interesting, is inserted in Mr. Hawkesworth's relation. As Mrs Pilkington in her Memoirs has transmitted to us some little incidents in the Doctor's conversation and domestic life, not unentertaining, an abridgement of these is annexed. On the whole, nothing has been omitted that might serve to make our readers acquainted with all the characteritical peculiarities of this extraordinary personage.
N. B. In the references to be found in the life, D. S. Itands for Mr Deane Swift's Essay on the life, writings, and character of Dr Jonathan Swift; O. for Orrery's remarks on the life and writings of Dr Jonathan Swift ; J. R. for J. R.'s Observations on Lord Orrery's Re. marks, generally fupposed to have been written by Dr Delany; and Letter to S. Letters from the Dean to Stella, mentioned by Mr Swift, but not published. The other references relate to the volumes of this edition,