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Dr SWIFT. xxxvii ef their conferences, so early as the year 1710, was to this effect, That the kingdom was as certainly ruined as a bankrupt merchant; that a peace, whether bad or good, was absolutely necessary; that the confederacy maft foon break, and factions increase ; and that the ministry was upon too narrow a bottom, and stood like an isthmus, between the Whigs on one side, and the violent Tories on the other; a situation in which they could not sublift *. These violent Tories were formed into a society called the Oktober club, of whom Swift Says,"
They are about a hundred parliament men of “ the country, who drink October beer at home, and
meet every evening at a tavern near the parlia- ment-house, to drive things on to extremes against " the Whigs, to call the old ministry to account, and VOL. I. d
Of this nature I take some presents to have been which the Earl made to the Doctor, particularly his own picture enamelled by Zink, the seal of Julius Cæsar, and especially the seal of the young Hercules, which were both given to the Earl by his royal mistress, and afterwards by the Earl presented to the Doctor ; alluding perhaps, in the present of the young Hercules, to the character of Alcides in the poem called Atlas, the Earl being conscious to himself how much the Doctor had supported the constitution, the Queen, and the ministry. But what, I think, Thewed more kindness and affection than any of the former, was the present of that penknife wherewith the Earl himself had been stabbed by Guiscard. It was a common ordinary penknife, with a tortoise shell handle; and when it was shut, was just about the length of a man's little finger. But as the blade was broken within half an inch of the handle, by the violence of the blow against one of the Earl's ribs, the Doctor had a hole drilled thro that part of the blade which was broken off, and another hole thro' that piece which remained in the handle, and by that contrivance they were both held together by a little silver chain. D. S. p.
“ This king
* Dr Swift's own account of this is as follows. “ dom is certainly ruined as much as was ever any bankrupt mer“ chant. We must have peace, let it be a bad or a good one; tho'
no body dares talk of it. The nearer I took upon things, the “ worse I like them. I believe the confederacy will soon break to
pieces; and our factions at home increase. The ministry is upon a narrow bottom; and stands like an isthmus between the
Whigs on one side, and violent I ories on the other. They are " able sea-men; but the tempest is too great, the ship too is rotten,
get off five or fix heads *." Let. to S. Feb. 18. 1710. [D. S. p. 319. 320. ]
But, if Swift thought this party too precipitant, it is certain he thought Lord Oxford too flow ; and he once told him so in a manner that shews both his integrity, and the freedom of his conversation with those who have a prescriptive right to servility and adulation. He had received (from Col. Hill, a gentleman of worth, who had commanded with great bravery in the battle of Almanza, soon after his promotion to a regiment) a prefent of a fine tortoise fhell snuff-box, richly lined with gold, with the prospect of the rialto of Venice, several gondalos playing on the canals, and other figures to the pumber of 150, representing the pleasures of a carnival, painted on the inside of the lid. This present he shewed one day to Harley ; who having admired the painting
" and the crew all against them. Lord Sommers has been twice " in the Queen's closet, once very lately; and the Duchess of "S----t, who now has the key, is a most insinuating woman ; " and I believe they will endeavour to play the same game that “ has been played against them. I have told them all this
, which they know already ; but they cannot help it: they have cau“ tioned the Queen so much against being governed, that she ob“ serves it too much. I could talk till to-morrow upon these
things; but they make me melancholy. I could not but ob" serve, that lately after much conversation with Mr Harley, tho' “ he is the most fearless man alive, and the least apt to despond, "he confessed to me, that uttering his mind to me gave him ease.” [Let. to Stella, March 4. 1710.] D. S. p. 318.
The ministry seem not to regard them ; yet one of them in confidence told me, that there must be something thought on to Tettle things better. I'll tell you one great state-secret. The
Queen, fenfible how much she was governed by the late ministry, runs a little into the other extreme, and is jealous in that point even of those who got her out of the other's hands. The ministry is for gentler measures, and the other Tories for more vinlent. Lord Rivers talking to me the other day, cursed the paper called the Examiner, for speaking civilly of the Duke of Marlborough. This I happened to talk of to the Secretary; who blamed the warmth of that Lord and some others, and swore, that if their advice were followed, they would be blown up in twenty-four hours. And I have reason to think that they will endeavour to prevail on the Queen to put her affairs more in the hands of a ministry than she does at present: and there are, I believe, two men thought on, &c. [Let. to s.] D. S. p. 320.
and the workmanship, at last spied a figure studded on the outside of the bottom, which he thought resembled a goose ; upon which, turning to the Doctor, “ Jona" than,” says he, “ I think the Colonel has made a
goose of you." Yes, “my Lord,” says the Doctor; " but, if your Lordship will look a little farther, you “ will see that I am driving a snail before me; which indeed happened to be the device. - To this the Earl coolly replied, " That is severe enough, Jonathan; but “ I deserve it.” [D. S. p. 163, 4:]
It is equally true, and equally evident, that Swift had no expectations of advantage from his connection with these persons; that he knew they could not long preserve their power; that he did not honour it while it lafted, and that he disdained pecuniary obligations *. " The ministry” (faith he)
are good honelt hear“ ty fellows. I use them like dogs, because I expect " they will use me so. They call me nothing but Jo“ nathan ; and I said I believed they would leave me “ Jonathan as they found me ; and that I never knew
a ministry do any thing for those whom they make “ companions of their pleasures ; but I care not." [Ltr. to S. Feb. 17. 1710. D. S. p. 322.]
In the summer of 1711, he foresaw the ruin of the ministry, by those misunderstandings among themselves which at lait affected it; and it was not only his opi
Swift, conscious of his great abilities, and that he was not obliged to the ministry, for any the least favour, how much focver they had been obliged to him for his care and protection, treated every one of them round, just in what style and manner he thought convenient. The ministry, who were themselves men of wit and penetration, bore with his temper, and soothed him in his greatest irregularities. Had they ventured to have acted otherwise, they knew in their souls, that he would have taken horse the next morning, and, careless of their fate, exposed them to the fury of their enemies. But this spirit of dominion, which more or lefs gave a tincture to all his conversation and behaviour throughout his whole life, was suffered freely to pass under the soft and gentle appellation of wit and humour. I dined to-day" (faith he) " with Mr Secretary St John. I went to the court of requests at
and sent Mr Harley into the house to call the Secretary, " to let him know I would not dine with him if he dined lase." [Let to S. Feb. 12. 1750.]
nion, but their own, that if they could not carry a peace, they would not be able to keep themselves out of the To:ver, even though they should agree. [D. S. p. 331. Let. to Stella.] In order therefore to facilitate this great event, Swift wrote, The conduct of the alies ; a piece which he confesses cost him much pains, and which succeeded even beyond his expectation. [D. S. P: 332. Let. to s.] It was published Nov. 27. 1711, jutt ten days before the parliament met ; and, before the 28th of January, above eleven thousand were sold, seven editions having been printed in England, and three in Ireland. [D. S. p. 335.] The Tory members in both houses who spoke, drew all their arguments from it; and the resolutions which were printed in the votes, and which would never have passed but for the conduct of the allies, were little more than quotations from it *. [D. S. P: 337. Let. to S.)
FROM The Whigs, encouraged, supported, and abetted, by the Dutch, the Emperor, and all the princes in the grand alliance, were furious against a peace. lo summer 1711 they had been ex. tremely active in muffering up their forces, and collecting their whole strength against the
next meeting of the parliament ; and with such dexterity their affairs were managed, that actually they had got the Queen herself to be secretly on their side, as appeared to a demonstration from her behaviour to the Duke of Shrewsbury, Dec. 7. 1711. For, “ when the Queen was going from the house “ of Lords, where she sat to hear the debate, Shrewsbury, Lord « Chamberlain, asked her Majesty, whether he, or the Great “ Chamberlain Lindsay, ought to lead her out? The answered short, “ Neither of you; and gave her hand to the Duke of Somerset, " who was louder than any in the house against the peace." (Let. to S. Dec. 8. 1711.) And Dr Swift " having asked Lord Oxford, " whether some particular Lords would have voted against the court,
if the Duke of Somerset had not aflured them it would please " the Queen? Lord Oxford plainly told him, his conje&tures w
were “ true, and that my Lord Duke of Somerset had so allured them." [Ib. Dec. 11.] And this behaviour of the Queen was in fact the original cause of her making twelve Peers at once, " after she had at last been persuaded to her own interest and security. Yet, after all,” adds Swift, « it is a strange unhappy necessity of making to “ many Peers together; but the Queen has drawn it upon herself, “ by her trimming and moderation." [Ib. Dec. 29.) The Whigs, thus elated with hope, and with a full assurance of success in de feating the ministry, and qualhing the preliminaries of a peace, Stocks fell, and all difficulties seemed to vanish before them. “ We have no quiet” (faith the Doctor).“ with che Whigs, they
Dr SWIFT. xli From this time till the year 1713, he continued to exert himself, with unwearied diligence, in the service of the ministry. [D. S. p. 156.) And while he was ac Windsor, just at the conclusion of the peace of Utrecht,
" are so violent against a peace; but I will cool them with a ven.
geance, very soon.” [08t. 26. 1711.] “ I have written a paper" (faith he) which the ministers reckon will do abundance of
good, and open the eyes of the nation, who are half bewitched
against a peace. Few of this generation can remember any " thing but war' and taxes, and they think it is as it should be ; “ whereas it is certain, we are the most undone people in Europe,
I am afraid I shall make appear beyond all contradiction." (08.30.)--After the publication of The conduct of the allies, all London, both court and city, were alarmed. The Dutch envoy designed to complain of it, and refused dining with Dr D'Avenant, because, among others, he was suspected to be the author. The Whigs resolved to bring it into the house of Lords, to have it there examined; and the Lord Chief Justice sent for Morphew the printer, threatned him, asked him who was the author of The condu&t of the allies, and bound him over to appear the next term, The noise which it made was extraordinary. " It is fit” (faith the Doctor) " it should answer the pains I have been at about it, " Some lay it to Prior, others to Mr Secretary St John; but I am
always the first they lay every thing to." (Dec. 2.] However, within four days after it was published, there was a report in London, that several of the Whigs began to be content that a peace hould be treated. -- The parliament, however, met Dec. 7. • The Earl of Nottingham began and spoke against the peace, " and desired, that in their address they might put a clause to ad“ vise the Queen not to make a peace without Spain ;' which was de
bated, and carried by the Whigs, by about lix voices, in a com. “ mittee of the whole house,” (Dec. 5.]: and the next day " the " clause was carried against the court in the house of Lords almost
two to one." [Dec. 8.] The Doctor, who has written copi. ously on these proceedings, concludes his lecter in these words. " This is a long journal, and of a day that may produce great al
terations, and hazard the ruin of England. The Whigs are all "in triumph. They foretold how all this would be, but we thought "it boasting. Nay, they said the parliament ihould be disolved “ before Christmas, and perhaps it may. This is all your D-“ of S-t's doings. I warned them (the ministers) of it nine • months ago, and a hundred times since. The Secretary always
dreaded it. I told Lord Treasurer, I should have the advantage
of him, for he would lose his head, and I should only be hanged, * and fo carry my body entire to the grave.” [Dec. 8.)-And shortly after talking of these affairs, “ Here are" (laith the Doctor) " the first steps towards the ruin of an excelleni ministry; for I