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istration of affairs in that kingdom, under that lord's government, which he afterwards exposed to the world in such strong and odious colours. Had Swift been intent only on his own promotion, it is probable that he might easily have obtained preferment in Ireland at that juncture, on account of his great intimacy with the secretary; but he would have scorned to pay court to a viceroy of such a character, or even to have accepted any favour at his hands. Upon the change of affairs at court, when a new ministry was appointed, Swift was requested by the bishops of Ireland to take upon him the charge of soliciting a remission of the first fruits, and twentieth parts, to the clergy of that kingdom. It was not without great reluctance that he accepted of this office, for reasons hereafter to be assigned; but his regard to the interests of the church, outweighed all other considerations, and he accordingly set out for England as soon as his credentials were ready.
From the Introduction to Mr. Harley, to the death of
the Queen. ON
N his arrival in London in the month of September 1710, he found that open war was declared between the two parties, and raged with the utmost violence. There was no room for moderating schemes, and according to his own maxim, that a good citizen could not remain peutral in such a situation of affairs, Swift was to choose his party, and to declare himself accordingly. His arrival at that crisis, filled the whigs with joy, as in general they looked upon him to be of their party; but the leaders among them were not without their apprehensions, being conscious of the ill treatment he had met with at their hands. Of this, take the following account from Swift himself:* “ All the whigs were ravished to see me, and would have laid hold on me as a twig, to save them from sinking; and the great men were all making their clumsy apologies. It is good to see what a lamentable confession the whigs all make of my ill usage.” On the other hand, the tories were exceedingly alarmed at his arrival, as they had always considered him in the light of a whig, and as the leaders of their party had not even the least personal know ledge of him; how strong their apprehensions must have been, we may judge from a passage in Swift's journal of the following year, dated June 30, 1711, where he says, that, “Mr. Harley and Mr. Secretary St. John frequently protested after he had become their intimate, that he was the only man in England they were afraid of.” In such a disposition, therefore, it is to be supposed, that a visit from Dr. Swift to Mr. Harley was by no means an unacceptable thing. The occasion of this visit is set forth at large, in the letters which passed between Dr. King, archbishop of Dublin, and Dr. Swift, published in his works. Upon his leaving Ireland, Swift had undertaken to solicit the affair of the first fruits, and twentieth parts, for the benefit of the clergy in Ireland, which had been long depending, and in vain attempted by two bishops sent over for that purpose by the whole body. In his first letter to the archbishop on that subject, he says, “ As soon as I received the packets from your grace, I went to wait upon Mr. Harley. I had prepared him before by another hand, where he was very intimate ; and got myself represented (which I might justly do) as one extremely ill used by the last ministry, after some obligations, because I refused to go certain lengths they would have me.” He afterward gives such an account of the whole transactions as might be proper to be shown.
* At this time, and during his connexion with the ministry after, ward, Swift kept a regular journal of all the most remarkable events, as well as little anecdotes; which he transmitted every fortnight to Stella, for her private perusal, and that of Mrs. Dingley, but upon condition that it should be communicated to no other person whatsoever. This Journal was luckily preserved, and some time since given to the world. As nothing could better show Swift's own sentiments with regard to affairs at that time, and the motives which induced him to take the part he did in them, than such a journal, written as it were to the hour, and transmitted to that person in the world to whom his heart was most open ; the aceount of his conduct, during that busy time, will, wherever there is an opportunity, be corroborated by extraets from it. S..
But in his Journal to Stella he is more particular.
Oct. 4, 1710. “Mr. Harley received me with the greatest respect and kindness imaginable, and appointed me an hour, two or three days after, to open my business to him.”
Oct. 7. I had no sooner told him my business but he entered into it with all kindness; asked me for my powers, and read them; and read likewise the memorial I had drawn up, and put it into his pocket to show the queen : told me the measures he would take; and, in short, said every thing I could wish. Told me he must bring Mr. St. John and me acquainted; and spoke so many things of personal kindness and esteem, that I am inclined to believe what some friends had told me, that he would do every thing to bring me over. He desired me to dine with hini on Tuesday; and, after four hours being with him, set me down at St. James's coffee-house in a hackney coach.
“I must tell you a great piece of refinement in Harley. He charged me to come and see him often ; I told him I was loath to trouble him, in so much business as he had, and desired I might have leave to come at his levee;
which he immediately refused, and said, “That was no place for friends.
“ Oct. 10. Harley tells me he has shown my memorial to the queen, and seconded it very heartily; because, said he, the queen designs to signify it to the bishops of Ireland in form, and take notice that it was done upon a memorial from you; which he said he did to make it look more respectful to me; I believe never any thing was compassed so soon: and purely done by my personal credit with Mr. Harley; who is so excessively obliging, that I know not what to make of it, unless to show the rascals of the other party, that they used a man unworthily who had deserved better. He speaks all the kind things to me in the world.” Oct. 14. “ I stand with the new people ten times better than ever I did with the old, and forty times more caressed.”
When we consider the rapidity of Mr. Harley's motions on this occasion, who was remarkable for procrasti. nation, and the open freedom of his behaviour toward Swift, so contrary to that closeness and reserve, which were his characteristics, we may judge of his eager desire to fix him in their party. Nor was this hard to be accomplished : Swift had long in his own mind been of their side; and he only waited for such a favourable juncture as now offered to declare himself. Mr. Harley's uncommon condescension, flattered his pride; and the obligingness of his behaviour, engaged his friendship. Accordingly, after he had inquired into their plan, and the measures which they intended to pursue, as he found them entirely consonant to his own sentiments, he embarked without hesitation in their cause, and entered into their interests with his whole heart. His approbation of their measures he expresses in the following manner in his Journal.
Nov. 29.“ The present ministry have a difficult task, and want me. According to the best judgment I have, they are pursuing the true interest of the public, and therefore I anı glad to contribute what lies in my power."
The writers on both sides had before this taken the field, and attacked each other with great acrimony On the whig side, were Mr. Addison, Bishop Burnet, Sir Richard Steele, Mr. Congreve, Mr. Rowe, and many others of less note. On the part of the tories, the chief writers were, Lord Bolingbroke, Bishop Atterbury, and Mr. Prior. They had begun a weekly paper, called, “ The Examiner,” which was the joint work of those three celebrated writers, and had published twelve num
But as soon as Swift declared himself, they thought all aid to him unnecessary, and the whole conduct of that paper was from th ime put into his hands. He entered the field alone, and, with a Sampson-like strength, scorned assistance, and despised numbers. His power
of ridicule was like a flail in his hand, against which there was no fence. Though he industriously concealed his name, yet his friend Addison soon discover, ed him, and retired prudently from the field of battle, leaving the rest exposed to the attacks of this irresistible champion; by whom it must be allowed they were unmercifully handled, till, one after another, they were all laid low. His first paper was published on the 2d of November, 1710, No. 14 of the Examiner, which was about a month after his introduction to Mr. Harley; and, he continued them without interruption till June 7, 1711, where he dropped it, closing it with No. 45, and then leaving it to be carried on by other hands. During this time he lived in the utmost degree of confidence and familiarity, not only with Mr. Harley, but the whole
*They had published thirteen. See vol. V. N.