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ties, and appear in the best light to the world, than he did to conceal his, or even to put on the semblance of their contraries.
This humour affected his whole conduct, as well in the more important duties, as in the common offices of life.
Though a man of great piety, and true religion, yet he carefully shunned all oftentation of it: as an instance of which, it is well known that during his residence in London, not being called upon by any duty to officiate publickly in his clerical capacity, he was seldom seen at church at the usual hours that pretenders to religion shew themselves there ; but
: he was a constant attendant on early prayers, and a frequent partaker of early Sacraments.
Though generous and charitable in his nature to the highest degree, he seemed to
with reluctantly, and spoke so much about economy, that he passed for avaricious, and hard-hearted.
His very civilities bore the appearance of rude- . ness, and his finest compliments were conveyed under the disguise of satyr.
Lord Bolingbroke, who knew him well, in two words, summed up his character in this respect, by saying, that Swift was a hypocrite reversed.
In short, he always appeared to the world in a mask, which he never took off but in the company of his most intimate friends : and as the world can judge only by appearances, no wonder they were so much mistaken in the ideas formed of him.
When we consider that the time in which he made the chief figure in life, was a season wherein
faction raged with the greatest violence ; that he was looked upon as the principal champion of the Tory cause, and therefore was the common butt at which all the Writers on the Whig lide levelled their shafts; there will be no occasion to wonder, that out of the many calumnies poured out against him, fome of them should stick. These were indeed so numerous, that we are told by himself, that in the space of not many years, upwards of a thousand Pamphlets and Papers were written professedly against him ; to which he never deigned to give an answer, nor endeavoured to wipe off any aspersion thrown on him. Thus by the former part of his character, just laid open, he afforded his enemies sufficient ground-work on which to raise what superstructure of calumny they pleased, and as no defence was made, it was daily suffered to increase. For he had very unwisely laid it down as a maxim,
" To act uprightly, and pay no regard to the opinion of the
world * "
Thus, while he was admired, esteemed, beloved, beyond any man of his time, by his particular friends, not only on account of his superior talents, but his pre-eminence in
kind of virtue; he was envied, feared, and hated by his enemies, who conGifted of a whole virulent faction to a man. And when we take in the general appetite for scandal, and the spirit of envy in the bulk of mankind, which delights in the humiliation of an exalted character
• Miss Vanhomrigh, in one of her letters to him, has the following paffage. " You once had a maxim, which was-To act what was right, and not mind what the world would say,”
we shall not be surprised, that even among his own party,
he found few advocates to vindicate his fame; and that he had no other support in this torrent of abuse, but the consciousness of his own rectitude, and the unalterableattachment of his intimate friends: among which number he could count such as were most eminent in those days, both for talents and virtue.
In this state Swift continued 'till the death of the Queen ; admired by all as a genius, detested by most as a man. All the world now knows, upon that event, with what implacable malice the Whigs pursued their antagonists, as soon as they had got all power into their hands. This spirit raged still more violently in Ireland, than in England; the effects of which Swift sensibly felt on retiring to his Deanery. The ill name he had obtained in London, followed him to Dublin; where he was the object of general hatred for some
years. But when, în process of time, his true character came to be known, and his exemplary conduct gave
the lie to the gross misrepresentations that had been made of him; when his spirit of patriotism broke forth into action, and saved his country from threatened ruin; when it was seen that the great object of his life was to promote public good ; that in the discharge of all moral and religious duties, he had no fuperiour; in the choice and extent of his charities, perhaps no equal; he obtained such a degree of public favour, às no man in that country had ever reached. Praise was united to his name, admira, tion and affection to his person; and this just tribute
was ever after paid to him during his life, and to his memory after his decease'; till a certain Author arose, bent upon fullying his fair fame; who, opening the channels of calumny, long covered over by time, and raking in them with a friendly industry, once more brought their foul contents to light. Nor was it an enemy that did this, but one who professed himself Swift's friend, and who was during his life-time, his greatest flatterer ; I mean John Earl of Orrery.
The cruel manner in which he has treated the memory of his friend Swift, as his Lordship in the course of the work often affects to call him, had something so surprising in it, that people were at a loss how to account for it, except by supposing it to proceed from some uncommon degree of 'malevolence in his Lordship’s nature. But though he cannot be wholly cleared from an imputation of 'that fort, yet I am persuaded that his chief motive to it was not quite of fo black a die.' His father had, in his will, bequeathed his library from him, and this circumstance made the world conclude that he looked upon
his son as a blockhead. This ftung the
young man to the quick; and we may see how deep an impression it made on him, by the account he gives of it in one of his letters to his son. It seems to have been the chief object of his life afterwards, to wipe away this stigma, and convince the world of the injustice done him, by publishing some Work that might do him credit as a Writer. Conscious of his want of genius to produce any thing original, he applied himself diligently to a Translation of Pliny's
up with a
Letters; but he was so long about this task, and putit into so many hands to correct it that Melmoth's excellent translation of the same Work, lipped into the world-before his, and forestalled this avenue to fame. Vexed at this disappointment, he looked out for some other way by which he might acquire literary reputațion, and he found no field fo suited to his talents, as that of criticism ; fince, to make a figure there, required neither genius, nor deep learning: and therefore he might, with ease, arrive at the title of a true critic, as described in the Tale of a Tub. Of whom it had been remarked, “ That a true critic is a sort of mechanick set stock and tools for his trade, at as little expence as
taylor," But Swift denies this position" For, (says he) on the contrary, nothing is more certain, that it requires greater layings out to be free of the critics company, than that of any
you can name, For, as to be a true beggar, it will cost the richest candidate every groat he is worth; fo, before one can commence a true critic, it will cost a man all the good qualities of his mind: which, pera haps, for a less purchase, would be thought but an indifferent bargain.” As his Lordship has fairly paid the purchase, it would be hard if he should be denied the title.
The business now was, to find out a proper subject on which to exercise his talents in that way. As there never had been published any History of Swift's Life, he thought nothing could excite general curiosity more than fome account of that extraordinary man. It is true he was supplied with