- Transcriber's Note: This book is a compilation of previously published works and therefore contains some inconsistencies. -
BOHN'S STANDARD LIBRARY
* * * * *
THE PROSE WORKS OF JONATHAN SWIFT
LONDON: GEORGE BELL AND SONS PORTUGAL ST. LINCOLN'S INN, W. C. CAMBRIDGE: DEIGHTON, BELL & CO. NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN CO. BOMBAY: A. H. WHEELER & CO.
In 12 volumes, 5s. each.
THE PROSE WORKS
JONATHAN SWIFT, D. D.
VOL. I. A TALE OF A TUB AND OTHER EARLY WORKS. Edited by TEMPLE SCOTT. With a biographical introduction by W. E. H. LECKY, M. P. With Portrait and Facsimiles.
VOL. II. THE JOURNAL TO STELLA. Edited by FREDERICK RYLAND, M. A. With two Portraits of Stella and a Facsimile of one of the Letters.
VOLS. III. & IV. WRITINGS ON RELIGION AND THE CHURCH. Edited by TEMPLE SCOTT. With Portraits and Facsimiles of Title-pages.
VOL. V. HISTORICAL AND POLITICAL TRACTS—ENGLISH. Edited by TEMPLE SCOTT. With Portrait and Facsimiles of Title-pages.
VOL. VI. THE DRAPIER'S LETTERS. Edited by TEMPLE SCOTT. With Portrait, Reproductions of Wood's Coinage, and Facsimiles of Title-pages.
VOL. VII. HISTORICAL AND POLITICAL TRACTS—IRISH. Edited by TEMPLE SCOTT. With Portrait and Facsimiles of Title-pages.
VOL. VIII. GULLIVER'S TRAVELS. Edited by G. RAVENSCROFT DENNIS. With Portrait, Maps and Facsimiles.
VOL. IX. CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE "EXAMINER," "TATLER," "SPECTATOR," &c. Edited by TEMPLE SCOTT. With Portrait.
VOL. X. HISTORICAL WRITINGS. Edited by TEMPLE SCOTT. With Portrait.
VOL. XI. LITERARY ESSAYS. Edited by TEMPLE SCOTT. With Portrait. [In the press.
VOL. XII. FULL BIBLIOGRAPHY AND INDEX TO COMPLETE WORKS. Together with an Essay on the Portraits of Swift, by the HON. SIR FREDERICK FALKINER, K. C. With two Portraits. [In the press.
SOME PRESS OPINIONS
"An adequate edition of Swift—the whole of Swift, and nothing but Swift—has long been one of the pressing needs of students of English literature. Mr. Temple Scott, who is preparing the new edition of Swift's Prose Works, has begun well, his first volume is marked by care and knowledge. He has scrupulously collated his texts with the first or the best early editions, and has given various readings in the footnotes.... Mr. Temple Scott may well be congratulated on his skill and judgment as a commentator.... He has undoubtedly earned the gratitude of all admirers of our greatest satirist, and all students of vigorous, masculine, and exact English."—Athenaeum.
"The volume is an agreeable one to hold and to refer to, and the notes and apparatus are, on the whole, exact. A cheap and handy reprint, which we can conscientiously recommend."—Saturday Review.
"From the specimen now before us we may safely predict that Mr. Temple Scott will easily distance both Roscoe and Scott. He deserves the gratitude of all lovers of literature for enabling Swift again to make his bow to the world in so satisfactory and complete a garb."—Manchester Guardian.
"Mr. Temple Scott's introductions and notes are excellent in all respects, and this edition of Swift is likely to be one most acceptable to scholars."—Notes and Queries.
"The new Bohn's Library edition of the prose works of Jonathan Swift is a venture which proves itself the more welcome as each instalment is issued.... This edition is likely long to remain the standard edition."—Literary World.
"'Bohn's Libraries' need no push, and the magnificent edition of 'The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift,' edited by Mr. Temple Scott, is in every respect worthy of that great collection of classics. It is an ideal edition, edited by an ideal editor, beautifully printed, handsomely bound, and ridiculously cheap. I have no hesitation in saying that this edition supersedes all its forerunners."—Star.
"We have nothing but praise for the editing, annotating, printing, and general production. Indeed, now that the set has advanced so far, we can safely pronounce the opinion that all other editions of Swift must give place to it, and that no serious student of the politics of the eighteenth century can afford to be without these volumes.... A superb edition."—Irish Times.
"Edited with exhaustive care, and produced in excellent style. This is not only the best, it is the only edition of Swift."—Pall Mall Gazette.
"There could hardly be a more acceptable addition to Bohn's Standard Library than a new edition of Swift's Prose Works. The text is well printed, and the volume is of convenient size. The edition deserves to be popular, since Swift is a writer who will always be read, while this edition will bring him within reach of a number of new readers."—Scotsman.
"The time is now ripe for a definite edition. This, of which the first volume lies before us, promises to fulfil all the conditions of a scholarly and satisfying work.... The edition is a genuine gain to English literature."—Birmingham Post.
"The publishers of Bohn's Libraries will earn the thanks of a wide circle of readers by their undertaking to produce a popular and collected edition of the prose works of Swift.... So far as one may judge from a first instalment, the present edition seems to fulfil the requirements of popularity and accuracy as well as could be desired.... The edition promises to be one of the most valuable and welcome items in those classic 'Libraries' which have done so much to bring good literature, in worthy form, within the reach of the British public."—Glasgow Herald.
"We are indebted to the proprietors of the Bohn Libraries for various literary enterprises, but it is questionable indeed if they have issued lately a work more acceptable, or likely to become more popular, than 'The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift.' No better edition of it could be desired. Mr. Temple Scott is editing the volumes with the greatest care."—Belfast News Letter.
"No more welcome reprint has appeared for some time past than the new edition, complete and exact so far as it was possible to make it, of Swift's 'Journal to Stella.'"—Morning Post.
"By far the most satisfactory text yet printed of the wonderful 'Journal to Stella.'"—Newcastle Daily Chronicle.
"The 'Journal to Stella' has long stood in need of editing, far more than any other of Swift's works. It abounds in references to persons great and small, to political and social 'occurrents,' to ephemeral publications; and to identify and explain all these demands an editor steeped in the history, literature, broadsides and press news of the time of the Harley administration. Mr. Ryland's present edition will satisfy all but the few who dream of an ideal."—Athenaeum.
"The immortal 'Journal to Stella,' one of the works most indispensable to a knowledge of the life and literature of the early part of the eighteenth century. We know of no shape in which the Journal is published so convenient for perusal as this. The notes are short and serviceable, and there is a full index."—Notes and Queries.
"At last we have a well-printed, carefully edited text of Swift's famous Journal in a single, handy, and cheap volume. The present edition will, we hope, encourage many timid souls, who have been awed by the formidable array of Scott, Sheridan, or Hawkesworth's editions, to make the acquaintance of the most interesting, charming, and tender journal that ever man kept for a woman's eye."—St. James's Gazette.
"Mr. Dennis is quite justified in his boast of now first giving us a complete and trustworthy text [of 'Gulliver's Travels']."—Manchester Guardian.
"The number of useless reprints of Gulliver, based on Hawkesworth's untrustworthy edition, and mostly expurgated besides, is so great that we owe double thanks to Mr. Dennis, since he has not shirked the trouble of collating the five earliest editions, and has given us again at last—as far as is possible in the present case—the complete and authentic text of the original."—PROF. MAX FOeRSTER in Anglia.
"An ideal text of 'Gulliver's Travels.'"—Literary World.
"The best and most scholarly edition of 'Gulliver's Travels.'"—University Correspondent.
* * * * *
THE PROSE WORKS
JONATHAN SWIFT, D. D.
HISTORICAL AND POLITICAL TRACTS—IRISH
LONDON GEORGE BELL AND SONS 1905 CHISWICK PRESS. CHARLES WHITTINGHAM AND CO. TOOKS COURT, CHANCERY LANE, LONDON.
Swift took up his permanent residence in the Irish capital in 1714. The Harley Administration had fallen never to rise again. Harley himself was a prisoner in the Tower, and Bolingbroke a voluntary exile in France, and an open adherent of the Pretender. Swift came to Dublin to be met by the jeers of the populace, the suspicion of the government officials, and the polite indifference of his clerical colleagues. He had time enough now in which to reflect and employ his brain powers. For several years he kept himself altogether to his duties as Dean of the Cathedral of St. Patrick's, only venturing his pen in letters to dear friends in England—to Pope, Atterbury, Lady Howard. His private relations with Miss Hester Vanhomrigh came to a climax, also, during this period, and his peculiar intimacy with "Stella" Johnson took the definite shape in which we now know it.
He found himself in debt to his predecessor, Sterne, for a large and comfortless house and for the cost of his own installation into his office. The money he was to have received (L1,000) to defray these expenses, from the last administration, was now, on its fall, kept back from him. Swift had these encumbrances to pay off and he had his Chapter to see to. He did both in characteristic fashion. By dint of almost penurious saving he accomplished the former and the latter he managed autocratically and with good sense. His connection with Oxford and Bolingbroke had been of too intimate a nature for those in power to ignore him. Indeed, his own letters to Knightley Chetwode show us that he was in great fear of arrest. But there is now no doubt that the treasonable relations between Harley and St. John and the Pretender were a great surprise to Swift when they were discovered. He himself had always been an ardent supporter of the Protestant succession, and his writings during his later period in Ireland constantly emphasize this attitude of his—almost too much so.
The condition of Ireland as Swift found it in 1714, and as he had known of it even before that time, was of a kind to rouse a temper like his to quick and indignant expression. Even as early as the spring of 1716 we find him unable to restrain himself, and in his letter to Atterbury of April 18th we catch the spirit which, four years later, showed itself in "The Proposal for the Universal Use of Irish Manufactures" and the "Drapier's Letters," and culminated in 1729 in the terrible "Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People from being a Burthen to their Parents." To Atterbury he wrote:
"I congratulate with England for joining with us here in the fellowship of slavery. It is not so terrible a thing as you imagine: we have long lived under it: and whenever you are disposed to know how to behave yourself in your new condition, you need go no further than me for a director. But, because we are resolved to go beyond you, we have transmitted a bill to England, to be returned here, giving the Government and six of the Council power for three years to imprison whom they please for three months, without any trial or examination: and I expect to be among the first of those upon whom this law will be executed."
Writing to Archdeacon Walls (May 5th, 1715) of the people in power, he said:
"They shall be deceived as far as my power reaches, and shall not find me altogether so great a cully as they would willingly make me."
At that time England was beginning to initiate a new method for what it called the proper government of Ireland. Hitherto it had tried the plan of setting one party in the country against another; but now a new party was called into being, known as the "English party." This party had nothing to do with the Irish national spirit, and any man, no matter how capable, who held by such a national spirit, was to be set aside. There was to be no Irish party or parties as such—there was to be only the English party governing Ireland in the interests of England. It was the beginning of a government which led to the appointment of such a man as Primate Boulter, who simply ruled Ireland behind the Lord Lieutenant (who was but a figurehead) for and on behalf of the King of England's advisers. Irish institutions, Irish ideas, Irish traditions, the Irish Church, Irish schools, Irish language and literature, Irish trade, manufactures, commerce, agriculture—all were to be subordinated to England's needs and England's demands. At any cost almost, these were to be made subservient to the interests of England. So well was this plan carried out, that Ireland found itself being governed by a small English clique and its Houses of Parliament a mere tool in the clique's hands. The Parliament no longer represented the national will, since it did really nothing but ratify what the English party asked for, or what the King's ministers in England instructed should be made law.
Irish manufactures were ruined by legislation; the commerce of Ireland was destroyed by the same means; her schools became practically penitentiaries to the Catholic children, who were compelled to receive a Protestant instruction; her agriculture was degraded to the degree that cattle could not be exported nor the wool sold or shipped from her own ports to other countries; her towns swarmed with beggars and thieves, forced there by the desolation which prevailed in the country districts, where people starved by the wayside, and where those who lived barely kept body and soul together to pay the rents of the absentee landlords.
Swift has himself, in the pamphlets printed in the present volume, given a fairly accurate and no exaggerated account of the miserable condition of his country at this time; and his writings are amply corroborated by other men who might be considered less passionate and more temperate.
The people had become degraded through the evil influence of a contemptuous and spendthrift landlord class, who considered the tenant in no other light than as a rent-paying creature. As Roman Catholics they found themselves the social inferiors of the ruling Protestant class—the laws had placed them in that invidious position. They were practically without any defence. They were ignorant, poor, and half-starved. Thriftless, like their landlords, they ate up in the autumn what harvests they gathered, and begged for their winter's support. Adultery and incest were common and bred a body of lawless creatures, who herded together like wild beasts and became dangerous pests.
Swift knew all this. He had time, between the years 1714 and 1720, to find it out, even if he had not known of it before. But the condition was getting worse, and his heart filled, as he told Pope in 1728, with a "perfect rage and resentment" at "the mortifying sight of slavery, folly, and baseness about me, among which I am forced to live."
He commenced what might be called a campaign of attack in 1720, with the publication of his tract entitled, "A Modest Proposal for the Universal Use of Irish Manufactures." As has been pointed out in the notes prefixed to the pamphlets in the present volume, England had, apparently, gone to work systematically to ruin Irish manufactures. They seemed to threaten ruin to English industries; at least so the people in England thought. The pernicious legislation began in the reign of Charles II. and continued in that of William III. The Irish manufacturer was not permitted to export his products and found a precarious livelihood in a contraband trade. Swift's "Proposal" is one of retaliation. Since England will not allow Ireland to send out her goods, let the people of Ireland use them, and let them join together and determine to use nothing from England. Everything that came from England should be burned, except the people and the coal. If England had the right to prevent the exportation of the goods made in Ireland, she had not the right to prevent the people of Ireland from choosing what they should wear. The temper of the pamphlet was mild in the extreme; but the governing officials saw in it dangerous symptoms. The pamphlet was stigmatized as libellous and seditious, and the writer as attempting to disunite the two nations. The printer was brought to trial, and the pamphlet obtained a tremendous circulation. Although the jury acquitted the printer, Chief Justice Whitshed, who had, as Swift puts it, "so quick an understanding, that he resolved, if possible, to outdo his orders," sent the jury back nine times to reconsider their verdict. He even declared solemnly that the author's design was to bring in the Pretender. This cry of bringing in the Pretender was raised on any and every occasion, and has been well ridiculed by Swift in his "Examination of Certain Abuses and Corruptions in the City of Dublin." The end of Whitshed's persecution could have been foretold—it fizzled out in a nolle prosequi.
Following on this interesting commencement came the lengthened agitation against Wood's Halfpence to which we owe the remarkable series of writings known now as the "Drapier's Letters." These are fully discussed in the volume preceding this. But Swift found other channels in which to continue rousing the spirit of the people, and refreshing it to further effort. The mania for speculation which Law's schemes had given birth to, reached poor Ireland also. People thought there might be found a scheme on similar lines by which Ireland might move to prosperity. A Bank project was initiated for the purpose of assisting small tradesmen. But a scheme that in itself would have been excellent in a prosperous society, could only end in failure in such a community as peopled Ireland. Swift felt this and opposed the plan in his satirical tract, "The Swearer's Bank." The tract sufficed, for no more was heard of the National Bank after the House of Commons rejected it.
The thieves and "roughs" who infested Dublin came in next for Swift's attention. In characteristic fashion he seized the occasion of the arrest and execution of one of their leaders to publish a pretended "Last Speech and Dying Confession," in which he threatened exposure and arrest to the remainder of the gang if they did not make themselves scarce. The threat had its effect, and the city found itself considerably safer as a consequence.
How Swift pounded out his "rage and resentment" against English misgovernment, may be further read in the "Story of the Injured Lady," and in the "Answer" to that story. The Injured Lady is Ireland, who tells her lover, England, of her attractions, and upbraids him on his conduct towards her. In the "Answer" Swift tells the Lady what she ought to do, and hardly minces matters. Let her show the right spirit, he says to her, and she will find there are many gentlemen who will support her and champion her cause.
Then came the plain, pathetic, and truthful recital of the "Short View of the State of Ireland"—a pamphlet of but a few pages and yet terribly effective. As an historical document it takes rank with the experiences of the clergymen, Skelton and Jackson, as well as the more dispassionate writings of contemporary historians. It is frequently cited by Lecky in his "History of Ireland."
What Swift had so far left undone, either from political reasons or from motives of personal restraint, he completed in what may, without exaggeration, be called his satirical masterpiece—the "Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People from being a Burthen to their Parents." Nothing comparable to this piece of writing is to be found in any literature; while the mere fact that it came into being must stand as one of the deadliest indictments against England's misrule. Governments and rulers have been satirized time and again, but no similar condition of things has existed with a Swift living at the time, to observe and comment on them. The tract itself must be read with a knowledge of the Irish conditions then prevailing; its temper is so calm and restrained that a reader unacquainted with the conditions might be misled and think that the author of "Gulliver's Travels" was indulging himself in one of his grim jokes. That it was not a joke its readers at the time well knew, and many of them also knew how great was the indignation which raged in Swift's heart to stir him to so unprecedented an expression of contempt. He had, as he himself said, raged and stormed only to find himself stupefied. In the "Modest Proposal" he changed his tune and
... with raillery to nettle, Set your thoughts upon their mettle.
Swift has been censured for the cold-blooded cynicism of this piece of writing, but these censurers have entirely misunderstood both his motive and his meaning. We wonder how any one could take seriously a proposal for breeding children for food purposes, and our wonder grows in reflecting on an inability to see through the thin veil of satire which barely hid an impeachment of a ruling nation by the mere statement of the proposal itself. That a Frenchman should so misunderstand it (as a Frenchman did) may not surprise us, but that any Englishman should so take it argues an utter absence of humour and a total ignorance of Irish conditions at the time the tract was written. But history has justified Swift, and it is to his writings, rather than to the many works written by more commonplace observers, that we now turn for the true story of Ireland's wrongs, and the real sources of her continued attitude of hostility towards England's government of her.
It has been well noted by one of Swift's biographers, that for a thousand readers which the "Modest Proposal" has found, there is perhaps only one who is acquainted with Swift's "Answer to the Craftsman." It may be that the title is misleading or uninviting; but there is no question that this tract may well stand by the side of the "Modest Proposal," both for force of argument and pungency of satire. In its way and within the limits of its more restricted argument it is one of the ablest pieces of writing Swift has given us on behalf of Irish liberty.
The title of Irish patriot which Swift obtained was not sought for by him. It was given him mainly for the part he played, and for the success he achieved in the Wood's patent agitation. He was acclaimed the champion of the people, because he had stopped the foolish manoeuvres of the Walpole Administration. So to label him, however, would be to do him an injustice. In truth, he would have championed the cause of liberty and justice in any country in which he lived, had he found liberty and justice wanting there. The matter of the copper coinage patent was but a peg for him to hang arguments which applied almost everywhere. It was not to the particular arguments but to the spirit which gave them life that we must look for the true value of Swift's work. And that spirit—honest, brave, strong for the right—is even more abundantly displayed in the writings we have just considered. They witness to his championship of liberty and justice, to his impeachment of selfish office-holders and a short-sighted policy. They gave him his position as the chief among the citizens of Dublin to whom he spoke as counsel and adviser. They proclaim him as the friend of the common people, to whom he was more than the Dean of St. Patrick's. He may have begun his work impelled by a hatred for Whiggish principles; but he undoubtedly accomplished it in the spirit of a broad-minded and far-seeing statesman. The pressing needs of Ireland were too urgent and crying for him to permit his personal dislike of the Irish natives to divert him from his humanitarian efforts. If he hated the beggar he was ready with his charity. The times in which he lived were not times in which, as he told the freemen of Dublin, "to expect such an exalted degree of virtue from mortal men." He was speaking to them of the impossibility of office-holders being independent of the government under which they held their offices. "Blazing stars," he said, "are much more frequently seen than such heroical virtues." As the Irish people were governed by such men he advised them strongly to choose a parliamentary representative from among themselves. He insisted on the value of their collected voice, their unanimity of effort, a consciousness of their understanding of what they wished to bring about. "Be independent" is the text of all his writings to the people of Ireland. It is idle to appeal to England's clemency or England's justice. It is vain to evolve social schemes and Utopian dreams. The remedy lay in their own hands, if the people only realized it.
"Violent zeal for truth," Swift noted in one of his "Thoughts on Religion," "has a hundred to one odds to be either petulancy, ambition, or pride." Examining Swift's writings on behalf of Ireland by the criterion provided in this statement, we must acquit him entirely of misusing any of these qualities. If he were bitter or scornful, he was certainly not petulant. No one has written with more justice or coolness; the temper is hot but it is the heat of a conscious and collected indignation. If he wrote or spoke in a manner somewhat overbearing, it was not because of ambition, since he was now long past his youth and his mind had become settled in a fairly complacent acceptance of his position. If he had pride, and he undoubtedly had, it was nowhere obtruded for personal aggrandizement, but rather by way of emphasizing the dignity of citizenship, and the value of self-respect. Assuredly, in these Irish tracts, Swift was no violent zealot for truth. Indeed, it is a high compliment to pay him, to say that we wonder he restrained himself as he did.
Swift, however, had his weakness also, and it lay, as weaknesses generally lie, very close to his strength. Swift's fault as a thinker was the outcome of his intellectuality—he was too purely intellectual. He set little store on the emotional side of human nature; his appeal was always to the reason. He hated cant, and any expression of emotion appealed to him as cant. He could not bear to be seen saying his prayers; his acts of charity were surreptitious and given in secret with an affectation of cynicism, so that they might veil the motive which impelled them. It may have been pride or a dislike to be considered sentimental; but his attitude owed its spring to a genuine faith in his own thought. If Swift had one pride more than another, it lay in a consciousness of his own superiority over his fellow-mortals. It was the pride of intellect and a belief that man showed himself best by following the judgements of the reason. His disgust with people was born of their unreasonable selfishness, their instinctive greed and rapacity, their blind stupidity, all which resulted for them in so much injustice. Had they been reasonable, he would have argued, they would have been better and happier. The sentiments and the passions were impulsive, and therefore unreasonable. Swift seemed to have no faith in their elevation to a higher intellectual plane, and yet he often roused them by his very appeals to reason. His eminently successful "Drapier's Letters" are a case in point. Yet we question if Swift were not himself surprised at their effect. He knew his power later when he threatened the Archbishop of Armagh, but he, no doubt, credited the result to his own arguments, and not to the passions he had aroused. His sense of justice was the strongest, and it was through that sense that the condition of the people of Ireland appealed to him. He forgot, or he did not see that the very passion in himself was of prime importance, since it was really to it that his own efforts were due. The fine flower of imagination never blossomed in Swift. He was neither prophet nor poet; but he was a great leader, a splendid captain, a logical statesman. It is to this lack of imagination that we must look for the real root of his cynical humour and satirical temper. A more imaginative man than Swift with much less power would have better appreciated the weaknesses of humanity and made allowances for them. He would never have held them up to ridicule and contempt, but would rather have laid stress on those instincts of honour and nobility which the most ignorant and least reasoning possess in some degree.
Looking back on the work Swift did, and comparing its effect at the time with the current esteem in which he is held in the present day, we shall find that his reputation has altogether changed. In his own day, and especially during his life in Ireland, his work was special, and brought him a special repute. He was a party's advocate and the people's friend. His literary output, distinguished though it was, was of secondary importance compared with the purpose for which it was accomplished. He was the friend of Harley, the champion of the Protestant Church, the Irish patriot, the enemy of Whiggism, the opponent of Nonconformity. To-day all these phrases mean little or nothing to those who know of Swift as the author of "A Tale of a Tub," and "Gulliver's Travels." Swift is now accepted as a great satirist, and admired for the wonderful knowledge he shows of the failings and weaknesses of human nature. He is admired but never loved. The particular occasions in his life-time which urged him to rouse passions mean nothing to us; they have lost the aroma of his just indignation and are become historical events. What is left of him for us is the result of cold analysis and almost heartless contempt. How different would it have been had Swift allied his great gift as a writer to such a spirit as breathes in the Sermon on the Mount! But to wish this is perhaps as foolish as to expect dates to grow on thistles. We must accept what is given us, and see that we, at any rate, steer clear of the dangers mapped out for us by the travellers of the past.
* * * * *
The editor takes this opportunity to thank Mr. G. Ravenscroft Dennis and Mr. W. Spencer Jackson for much valuable assistance in the reading of proofs and the collation of texts.
May 18, 1905.
A LETTER TO A MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, IN IRELAND, UPON THE CHOOSING A NEW SPEAKER THERE 1
A PROPOSAL FOR THE UNIVERSAL USE OF IRISH MANUFACTURE 11
AN ESSAY ON ENGLISH BUBBLES. BY THOMAS HOPE, ESQ. 31
THE SWEARER'S BANK 37
A LETTER TO THE KING AT ARMS 47
THE LAST SPEECH AND DYING WORDS OF EBENEZER ELLISTON 55
THE TRUTH OF SOME MAXIMS IN STATE AND GOVERNMENT, EXAMINED WITH REFERENCE TO IRELAND 63
THE BLUNDERS, DEFICIENCIES, DISTRESSES, AND MISFORTUNES OF QUILCA 73
A SHORT VIEW OF THE STATE OF IRELAND 79
THE STORY OF THE INJURED LADY. WRITTEN BY HERSELF 93
THE ANSWER TO THE INJURED LADY 104
AN ANSWER TO A PAPER CALLED "A MEMORIAL OF THE POOR INHABITANTS, TRADESMEN, AND LABOURERS OF THE KINGDOM OF IRELAND" 107
ANSWER TO SEVERAL LETTERS FROM UNKNOWN PERSONS 117
AN ANSWER TO SEVERAL LETTERS SENT ME FROM UNKNOWN HANDS 127
A LETTER TO THE ARCHBISHOP OF DUBLIN CONCERNING THE WEAVERS 135
OBSERVATIONS OCCASIONED BY READING A PAPER ENTITLED "THE CASE OF THE WOOLLEN MANUFACTURES OF DUBLIN," ETC. 145
THE PRESENT MISERABLE STATE OF IRELAND 151
THE SUBSTANCE OF WHAT WAS SAID BY THE DEAN OF ST. PATRICK'S TO THE LORD MAYOR AND SOME OF THE ALDERMEN WHEN HIS LORDSHIP CAME TO PRESENT THE SAID DEAN WITH HIS FREEDOM IN A GOLD BOX 167
ADVERTISEMENT BY DR. SWIFT IN HIS DEFENCE AGAINST JOSHUA, LORD ALLEN 173
A LETTER ON MR. M'CULLA'S PROJECT ABOUT HALFPENCE, AND A NEW ONE PROPOSED 177
A PROPOSAL THAT ALL THE LADIES AND WOMEN OF IRELAND SHOULD APPEAR CONSTANTLY IN IRISH MANUFACTURES 191
A MODEST PROPOSAL FOR PREVENTING THE CHILDREN OF POOR PEOPLE FROM BEING A BURTHEN TO THEIR PARENTS OR THE COUNTRY, AND FOR MAKING THEM BENEFICIAL TO THE PUBLIC 201
ANSWER TO THE CRAFTSMAN 217
A VINDICATION OF HIS EXCELLENCY JOHN, LORD CARTERET 225
A PROPOSAL FOR AN ACT OF PARLIAMENT TO PAY OFF THE DEBT OF THE NATION WITHOUT TAXING THE SUBJECT 251
A CASE SUBMITTED BY DEAN SWIFT TO MR. LINDSAY, COUNSELLOR AT LAW 259
AN EXAMINATION OF CERTAIN ABUSES, CORRUPTIONS, AND ENORMITIES IN THE CITY OF DUBLIN 261
A SERIOUS AND USEFUL SCHEME TO MAKE AN HOSPITAL FOR INCURABLES 283
THE HUMBLE PETITION OF THE FOOTMEN IN AND ABOUT THE CITY OF DUBLIN 305
ADVICE TO THE FREEMEN OF THE CITY OF DUBLIN IN THE CHOICE OF A MEMBER TO REPRESENT THEM IN PARLIAMENT 309
SOME CONSIDERATIONS HUMBLY OFFERED TO THE LORD MAYOR, THE COURT OF ALDERMEN AND COMMON-COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF DUBLIN IN THE CHOICE OF A RECORDER 317
A PROPOSAL FOR GIVING BADGES TO THE BEGGARS IN ALL THE PARISHES OF DUBLIN 321
CONSIDERATIONS ABOUT MAINTAINING THE POOR 337
ON BARBAROUS DENOMINATIONS IN IRELAND 343
SPEECH DELIVERED ON THE LOWERING OF THE COIN 351
IRISH ELOQUENCE 361
A DIALOGUE IN HIBERNIAN STYLE 362
TO THE PROVOST AND SENIOR FELLOWS OF TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN 364
TO THE RIGHT WORSHIPFUL THE MAYOR, ALDERMEN, SHERIFFS, AND COMMON-COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CORK 366
TO THE HONOURABLE THE SOCIETY OF THE GOVERNOR AND ASSISTANTS IN LONDON, FOR THE NEW PLANTATION IN ULSTER 368
CERTIFICATE TO A DISCARDED SERVANT 369
AN EXHORTATION ADDRESSED TO THE SUB-DEAN AND CHAPTER OF ST. PATRICK'S CATHEDRAL, DUBLIN 370
A LETTER TO THE WRITER OF THE OCCASIONAL PAPER 375
AN ACCOUNT OF THE COURT AND EMPIRE OF JAPAN 382
THE ANSWER OF THE RIGHT HON. WILLIAM PULTENEY, ESQ., TO THE RIGHT HON. SIR ROBERT WALPOLE 392
A MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, IN IRELAND,
UPON THE CHOOSING A NEW SPEAKER THERE.
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1708.
In the note prefixed to the reprint of Swift's "Letter concerning the Sacramental Test," the circumstances under which this "Letter to a Member of Parliament in Ireland" was written, are explained (see vol. iv., pp. 3-4, of present edition). The Godolphin ministry was anxious to repeal the Test Act in Ireland, as a concession to the Presbyterians who had made themselves prominent by their expressions of loyalty to William and the Protestant succession. In this particular year also (1708), rumours of an invasion gave them another opportunity to send in loyal addresses. In reality, however, the endeavour to try the repeal in Ireland, was in the nature of a test, and Swift ridiculed the attempt as being like to "that of a discreet physician, who first gives a new medicine to a dog, before he prescribes it to a human creature." It seems that Swift had been consulted by Somers on the question of the repeal, and had given his opinion very frankly. The letter to Archbishop King, revealing this, contains some bitter remarks about "a certain lawyer of Ireland." The lawyer was Speaker Brodrick, afterwards Lord Midleton, who was enthusiastic for the repeal. The present letter gives a very clear idea of what Swift thought should be a Speaker's duties both as the chairman of the House and as related to this particular measure of the Test.
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The text of the present reprint is based on the original manuscript in Swift's handwriting; but as this was found to be somewhat illegible, it has been collated with the text given in vol. viii. of the quarto edition of Swift's collected works, published in 1765.
A LETTER TO A MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, IN IRELAND, UPON THE CHOOSING A NEW SPEAKER THERE.
You may easily believe I am not at all surprised at what you tell me, since it is but a confirmation of my own conjecture that I sent you last week, and made you my reproaches upon it at a venture. It looks exceeding strange, yet, I believe it to be a great truth, that, in order to carry a point in your house, the two following circumstances are of great advantage; first, to have an ill cause; and, secondly, to be a minority. For both these circumstances are extremely apt to unite men, to make them assiduous in their attendance, watchful of opportunities, zealous for gaining over proselytes, and often successful; which is not to be wondered at, when favour and interest are on the side of their opinion. Whereas, on the contrary, a majority with a good cause are negligent and supine. They think it sufficient to declare themselves upon occasion in favour of their party, but, sailing against the tide of favour and preferment, they are easily scattered and driven back. In short, they want a common principle to cement, and motive to spirit them; For the bare acting upon a principle from the dictates of a good conscience, or prospect of serving the public, will not go very far under the present dispositions of mankind. This was amply verified last sessions of Parliament, upon occasion of the money bill, the merits of which I shall not pretend to examine. 'Tis enough that, upon the first news of its transmission hither, in the form it afterwards appeared, the members, upon discourse with their friends, seemed unanimous against it, I mean those of both parties, except a few, who were looked upon as persons ready to go any lengths prescribed them by the court. Yet with only a week's canvassing among a very few hands, the bill passed after a full debate, by a very great majority; yet, I believe, you will hardly attempt persuading me, or anybody else, that one man in ten, of those who changed their language, were moved by reasons any way affecting the merits of the cause, but merely through hope, fear, indolence, or good manners. Nay, I have been assured from good hands, that there was still a number sufficient to make a majority against the bill, if they had not apprehended the other side to be secure, and therefore thought it imprudence, by declaring themselves, to disoblige the government to no purpose.
Reflecting upon this and forty other passages, in the several Houses of Commons since the Revolution, makes me apt to think there is nothing a chief governor can be commanded to attempt here wherein he may not succeed, with a very competent share of address, and with such assistance as he will always find ready at his devotion. And therefore I repeat what I said at first, that I am not at all surprised at what you tell me. For, if there had been the least spark of public spirit left, those who wished well to their country and its constitution in church and state, should, upon the first news of the late Speaker's promotion, (and you and I know it might have been done a great deal sooner) have immediately gone together, and consulted about the fittest person to succeed him. But, by all I can comprehend, you have been so far from proceeding thus, that it hardly ever came into any of your heads. And the reason you give is the worst in the world: That none offered themselves, and you knew not whom to pitch upon. It seems, however, the other party was more resolved, or at least not so modest: For you say your vote is engaged against your opinion, and several gentlemen in my neighbourhood tell me the same story of themselves; this, I confess, is of an unusual strain, and a good many steps below any condescensions a court will, I hope, ever require from you. I shall not trouble myself to inquire who is the person for whom you and others are engaged, or whether there be more candidates from that side, than one. You tell me nothing of either, and I never thought it worth the question to anybody else. But, in so weighty an affair, and against your judgment, I cannot look upon you as irrevocably determined. Therefore I desire you will give me leave to reason with you a little upon the subject, lest your compliance, or inadvertency, should put you upon what you may have cause to repent as long as you live.
You know very well, the great business of the high-flying Whigs, at this juncture, is to endeavour a repeal of the test clause. You know likewise that the moderate men, both of High and Low Church, profess to be wholly averse from this design, as thinking it beneath the policy of common gardeners to cut down the only hedge that shelters from the north. Now, I will put the case; If the person to whom you have promised your vote be one of whom you have the least apprehension that he will promote or assent to the repealing of that clause, whether it be decent or proper, he should be the mouth of an assembly, whereof a very great majority pretend to abhor his opinion. Can a body, whose mouth and heart must go so contrary ways, ever act with sincerity, or hardly with consistence? Such a man is no proper vehicle to retain or convey the sense of the House, which, in so many points of the greatest moment, will be directly contrary to his; 'tis full as absurd, as to prefer a man to a bishopric who denies revealed religion. But it may possibly be a great deal worse. What if the person you design to vote into that important post, should not only be a declared enemy of the sacramental test, but should prove to be a solicitor, an encourager, or even a penner of addresses to complain of it? Do you think it so indifferent a thing, that a promise of course, the effect of compliance, importunity, shame of refusing, or any the like motive, shall oblige you past the power of retracting?
Perhaps you will tell me, as some have already had the weakness to do, that it is of little importance to either party to have a Speaker of their side, his business being only to take the sense of the House and report it, that you often, at committees, put an able speaker into the chair on purpose to prevent him from stopping a bill. Why, if it were no more than this, I believe I should hardly choose, even among my footmen, such a one to deliver a message, whose interest and opinions led him to wish it might miscarry. But I remember to have heard old Colonel Birch of Herefordshire say, that "he was a very sorry Speaker, whose single vote was not better than fifty common ones." I am sure it is reckoned in England the first great test of the prevalency of either party in the House. Sir Thomas Littleton thought, that a House of Commons with a stinking breath (supposing the Speaker to be the mouth) would go near to infect everything within the walls, and a great deal without. It is the smallest part of an able Speaker's business, what he performs in the House, at least if he be in with the court, when it is hard to say how many converts may be made in a circle of dinners, or private cabals. And you and I can easily call to mind a gentleman in that station, in England, who, by his own arts and personal credit, was able to draw over a majority, and change the whole power of a prevailing side in a nice juncture of affairs, and made a Parliament expire in one party who had lived in another.
I am far from an inclination to multiply party causes, but surely the best of us can with very ill grace make that an objection, who have not been so nice in matters of much less importance. Yet I have heard some persons of both sides gravely deliver themselves in this manner; "Why should we make the choosing a Speaker a party cause? Let us fix upon one who is well versed in the practices and methods of parliament." And I believe there are too many who would talk at the same rate, if the question were not only about abolishing the sacramental test, but the sacrament itself.
But suppose the principles of the most artful Speaker could have no influence either to obtain or obstruct any point in Parliament, who can answer what effects such a choice may produce without doors? 'Tis obvious how small a matter serves to raise the spirits and hopes of the Dissenters and their high-flying advocates, what lengths they run, what conclusions they form, and what hopes they entertain. Do they hear of a new friend in office? That is encouragement enough to practise the city, against the opinion of a majority into an address to the Queen for repealing the sacramental test; or issue out their orders to the next fanatic parson to furbish up his old sermons, and preach and print new ones directly against Episcopacy. I would lay a good wager, that, if the choice of a new Speaker succeeds exactly to their liking, we shall see it soon followed by many new attempts, either in the form of pamphlet, sermon, or address, to the same, or perhaps more dangerous purposes.
Supposing the Speaker's office to be only an employment of profit and honour, and a step to a better; since it is in your own gift, will you not choose to bestow it upon some person whose principles the majority of you pretends to approve, if it were only to be sure of a worthy man hereafter in a high station, on the bench or at the bar?
I confess, if it were a thing possible to be compassed, it would seem most reasonable to fill the chair with some person who would be entirely devoted to neither party: But, since there are so few of that character, and those either unqualified or unfriended, I cannot see how a majority will answer it to their reputation, to be so ill provided of able persons, that they must have recourse for a leader to their adversaries, a proceeding of which I never met with above one example, and even that succeeded but ill, though it was recommended by an oracle, which advised some city in Greece to beg a general from their enemies, who, in scorn, sent them either a fiddler or a poet, I have forgot which; but so much I remember, that his conduct was such, as they soon grew weary of him.
You pretend to be heartily resolved against repealing the sacramental test, yet, at the same time, give the only great employment you have to dispose of to a person who will take that test against his stomach (by which word I understand many a man's conscience) who earnestly wisheth it repealed, and will endeavour it to the utmost of his power; so that the first action after you meet, will be a sort of contravention to that test: And will anybody go further than your practice to judge of your principles?
And now I am upon this subject, I cannot conclude without saying something to a very popular argument against that sacramental test, which may be apt to shake many of those who would otherwise wish well enough to it. They say it was a new hardship put upon the Dissenters, without any provocation; and, it is plain, could be no way necessary, because we had peaceably lived together so long without it. They add some other circumstances of the arts by which it was obtained, and the person by whom it was inserted. Surely such people do not consider that the penal laws against Dissenters were made wholly ineffectual by the connivance and mercy of the government, so that all employments of the state lay as open to them as they did to the best and most legal subjects. And what progress they would have made by the advantages of a late conjecture, is obvious to imagine; which I take to be a full answer to that objection.
I remember, upon the transmission of that bill with the test clause inserted, the Dissenters and their partisans, among other topics, spoke much of the good effects produced by the lenity of the government, that the Presbyterians were grown very inconsiderable in their number and quality, and would daily come into the church, if we did not fright them from it by new severities. When the act was passed, they presently changed their style, and raised a clamour, through both kingdoms, of the great numbers of considerable gentry who were laid aside, and could no longer serve their queen and country; which hyperbolical way of reckoning, when it came to be melted down into truth, amounted to about fifteen country justices, most of them of the lowest size, for estate, quality, or understanding. However, this puts me in mind of a passage told me by a great man, though I know not whether it be anywhere recorded. That a complaint was made to the king and council in Sweden, of a prodigious swarm of Scots, who, under the condition of pedlars, infested that kingdom to such a degree, as, if not suddenly prevented, might in time prove dangerous to the state, by joining with any discontented party. Meanwhile the Scots, by their agents, placed a good sum of money to engage the offices of the prime minister in their behalf; who, in order to their defence, told the council, he was assured they were but a few inconsiderable people, that lived honestly and poorly, and were not of any consequence. Their enemies offered to prove the contrary, whereupon an order was made to take their number, which was found to amount, as I remember, to about thirty thousand. The affair was again brought before the council, and great reproaches made the first minister, for his ill computation; who, presently took the other handle, said, he had reason to believe the number yet greater than what was returned; and then gravely offered to the king's consideration, whether it were safe to render desperate so great a body of able men, who had little to lose, and whom any hard treatment would only serve to unite into a power capable of disturbing, if not destroying the peace of the kingdom. And so they were suffered to continue.
UNIVERSAL USE OF IRISH MANUFACTURE.
This pamphlet constitutes the opening of a campaign against his political enemies in England on whom Swift had, it must be presumed, determined to take revenge. When the fall of Harley's administration was complete and irrevocable, Swift returned to Ireland and, for six years, he lived the simple life of the Dean of St. Patrick's, unheard of except by a few of his more intimate friends in England. Accustomed by years of intimacy with the ministers of Anne's court, and by his own temperament, to act the part of leader and adviser, Swift's compulsory silence must have chafed and irritated him to a degree. His opportunities for advancement had passed with the passing of Harley and Bolingbroke from power, and he had given too ardent and enthusiastic a support to these friends of his for Walpole to look to him for a like service. Moreover, however strong may have been these personal motives, Swift's detestation of Walpole's Irish policy must have been deep and bitter, even before he began to express himself on the matter. His sincerity cannot be doubted, even if we make an ample allowance for a private grudge against the great English minister. The condition of Ireland, at this time, was such as to arouse the warmest indignation from the most indifferent and unprejudiced—and it was a condition for which English misrule was mainly responsible. It cannot therefore be wondered at that Swift should be among the strenuous and persistent opponents of a policy which spelled ruin to his country, and his patriotism must be recognized even if we accept the existence of a personal motive.
The crass stupidity which characterized England's dealings with Ireland at this time would be hardly credible, were it not on record in the acts passed in the reigns of Charles II. and William III., and embodied in the resolutions of the English parliament during Walpole's term of power. An impartial historian is forced to the conclusion that England had determined to ruin the sister nation. Already its social life was disreputable; the people taxed in various ways far beyond their means; the agriculture at the lowest state by the neglect and indifference of the landed proprietors; and the manufactures crippled by a series of pernicious restrictions imposed by a selfish rival.
Swift, in writing this "Proposal," did not take advantage of any special occasion, as he did later in the matter of Wood's halfpence. His occasion must be found in the condition of the country, in the injustice to which she was subjected, and in the fact that the time had come when it would be wise and safe for him to come out once more into the open.
He began in his characteristic way. All the evils that the laws against the manufactures and agriculture of Ireland brought into existence are summarized in this "Proposal." His business is not to attack the laws directly, but to attempt a method by which these shall be nullified. Since the manufactures of Ireland might not be exported for sale, let the people of Ireland wear them themselves, and let them resolve and determine to wear them in preference to those imported from England. If England had the right to prevent the importation to it of Irish woollen goods, it was surely only just that the Irish should exercise then right to wear their own home-made clothes! The tract was a reasonable and mild statement. Yet, such was the temper of the governing officials, that a cry was raised against it and the writer accused of attempting to disunite the two kingdoms. With consistent foolishness, the printer was brought to trial, and although the jury acquitted him, yet the Lord Chief Justice Whitshed, zealous for his employer more than for his office, refused to accept the verdict and attempted to force the jury to a conviction. In his letter to Pope, dated January 10th, 1720-21, Swift gives an account of this matter:
"I have written in this kingdom, a discourse, to persuade the wretched people to wear their own manufactures, instead of those from England. This treatise soon spread very fast, being agreeable to the sentiments of the whole nation, except those gentlemen who had employments, or were expectants. Upon which a person in great office here immediately took the alarm; he sent in haste for the chief-justice, and informed him of a seditious, factious, and virulent pamphlet, lately published, with a design of setting the two kingdoms at variance; directing, at the same time, that the printer should be prosecuted with the utmost rigour of the law. The chief-justice has so quick an understanding, that he resolved, if possible, to outdo his orders. The grand juries of the county and city were effectually practised with, to represent the said pamphlet with all aggravating epithets, for which they had thanks sent them from England, and their presentments published, for several weeks, in all the newspapers. The printer was seized, and forced to give great bail. After his trial, the jury brought him in not guilty, although they had been culled with the utmost industry. The chief-justice sent them back nine times, and kept them eleven hours, until, being perfectly tired out, they were forced to leave the matter to the mercy of the judge, by what they call a special verdict. During the trial, the chief-justice, among other singularities, laid his hand on his breast, and protested solemnly that the author's design was to bring in the Pretender, although there was not a single syllable of party in the whole treatise; and although it was known that the most eminent of those who professed his own principles, publicly disallowed his proceedings. But the cause being so very odious and unpopular, the trial of the verdict was deferred from one term to another, until, upon the Duke of Grafton's, the lord lieutenant's arrival, his grace, after mature advice, and permission from England, was pleased to grant a noli prosequi."
This Chief Justice Whitshed was the same who acted as judge on Harding's trial for printing the fourth Drapier letter. Swift never forgot him, and took several occasions to satirize him bitterly.
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The text of the present edition is based on the Dublin edition of 1720 and collated with the texts of Faulkner, 1735, and Miscellanies of same date.
For the universal Use
Of Irish Manufacture,
Cloaths and Furniture of Houses, &c.
Rejecting and Renouncing
Every Thing wearable that comes from
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Dublin: Printed and Sold by E. Waters, in Essex-street, at the Corner of Sycamore-Alley, 1720.
A PROPOSAL FOR THE UNIVERSAL USE OF IRISH MANUFACTURE, IN CLOTHES AND FURNITURE OF HOUSES, &c.
UTTERLY REJECTING AND RENOUNCING EVERY THING WEARABLE THAT COMES FROM ENGLAND.
It is the peculiar felicity and prudence of the people in this kingdom, that whatever commodities or productions lie under the greatest discouragements from England, those are what we are sure to be most industrious in cultivating and spreading. Agriculture, which hath been the principal care of all wise nations, and for the encouragement whereof there are so many statute laws in England, we countenance so well, that the landlords are everywhere by penal clauses absolutely prohibiting their tenants from ploughing; not satisfied to confine them within certain limitations, as it is the practice of the English; one effect of which is already seen in the prodigious dearness of corn, and the importation of it from London, as the cheaper market: And because people are the riches of a country, and that our neighbours have done, and are doing all that in them lie, to make our wool a drug to us, and a monopoly to them; therefore the politic gentlemen of Ireland have depopulated vast tracts of the best land, for the feeding of sheep.
I could fill a volume as large as the history of the Wise Men of Gotham with a catalogue only of some wonderful laws and customs we have observed within thirty years past. 'Tis true indeed, our beneficial traffic of wool with France, hath been our only support for several years past, furnishing us all the little money we have to pay our rents and go to market. But our merchants assure me, "This trade hath received a great damp by the present fluctuating condition of the coin in France; and that most of their wine is paid for in specie, without carrying thither any commodity from hence."
However, since we are so universally bent upon enlarging our flocks, it may be worth enquiring what we shall do with our wool, in case Barnstaple should be overstocked, and our French commerce should fail?
I could wish the Parliament had thought fit to have suspended their regulation of church matters, and enlargements of the prerogative till a more convenient time, because they did not appear very pressing (at least to the persons principally concerned) and instead of these great refinements in politics and divinity, had amused themselves and their committees a little with the state of the nation. For example: What if the House of Commons had thought fit to make a resolution nemine contradicente against wearing any cloth or stuff in their families, which were not of the growth and manufacture of this kingdom? What if they had extended it so far as utterly to exclude all silks, velvets, calicoes, and the whole lexicon of female fopperies; and declared, that whoever acted otherwise, should be deemed and reputed an enemy to the nation? What if they had sent up such a resolution to be agreed to by the House of Lords, and by their own practice and encouragement spread the execution of it in their several countries? What if we should agree to make burying in woollen a fashion, as our neighbours have made it a law? What if the ladies would be content with Irish stuffs for the furniture of their houses, for gowns and petticoats to themselves and their daughters? Upon the whole, and to crown all the rest: Let a firm resolution be taken by male and female, never to appear with one single shred that comes from England; "And let all the people say, AMEN."
I hope and believe nothing could please His Majesty better than to hear that his loyal subjects of both sexes in this kingdom celebrated his birthday (now approaching) universally clad in their own manufacture. Is there virtue enough left in this deluded people to save them from the brink of ruin? If the men's opinions may be taken, the ladies will look as handsome in stuffs as brocades; and since all will be equal, there may be room enough to employ their wit and fancy in choosing and matching of patterns and colours. I heard the late Archbishop of Tuam mention a pleasant observation of somebody's; "that Ireland would never be happy till a law were made for burning everything that came from England, except their people and their coals." Nor am I even yet for lessening the number of those exceptions.
Non tanti mitra est, non tanti judicis ostrum.
But I should rejoice to see a staylace from England be thought scandalous, and become a topic for censure at visits and tea-tables.
If the unthinking shopkeepers in this town had not been utterly destitute of common sense, they would have made some proposal to the Parliament, with a petition to the purpose I have mentioned; promising to improve the "cloths and stuffs of the nation into all possible degrees of fineness and colours, and engaging not to play the knave according to their custom, by exacting and imposing upon the nobility and gentry either as to the prices or the goodness." For I remember in London upon a general mourning, the rascally mercers and woollen-drapers, would in four-and-twenty hours raise their cloths and silks to above a double price; and if the mourning continued long, then come whining with petitions to the court, that they were ready to starve, and their fineries lay upon their hands.
I could wish our shopkeepers would immediately think on this proposal, addressing it to all persons of quality and others; but first be sure to get somebody who can write sense, to put it into form.
I think it needless to exhort the clergy to follow this good example, because in a little time, those among them who are so unfortunate to have had their birth and education in this country, will think themselves abundantly happy when they can afford Irish crape, and an Athlone hat; and as to the others I shall not presume to direct them. I have indeed seen the present Archbishop of Dublin clad from head to foot in our own manufacture; and yet, under the rose be it spoken, his Grace deserves as good a gown as any prelate in Christendom.
I have not courage enough to offer one syllable on this subject to their honours of the army: Neither have I sufficiently considered the great importance of scarlet and gold lace.
The fable in Ovid of Arachne and Pallas, is to this purpose. The goddess had heard of one Arachne a young virgin, very famous for spinning and weaving. They both met upon a trial of skill; and Pallas finding herself almost equalled in her own art, stung with rage and envy, knocked her rival down, turned her into a spider, enjoining her to spin and weave for ever, out of her own bowels, and in a very narrow compass. I confess, that from a boy, I always pitied poor Arachne, and could never heartily love the goddess on account of so cruel and unjust a sentence; which however is fully executed upon us by England, with further additions of rigour and severity. For the greatest part of our bowels and vitals are extracted, without allowing us the liberty of spinning and weaving them.
The Scripture tells us, that "oppression makes a wise man mad." Therefore, consequently speaking, the reason why some men are not mad, is because they are not wise: However, it were to be wished that oppression would in time teach a little wisdom to fools.
I was much delighted with a person who hath a great estate in this kingdom, upon his complaints to me, "how grievously poor England suffers by impositions from Ireland. That we convey our own wool to France in spite of all the harpies at the custom-house. That Mr. Shuttleworth, and others on the Cheshire coasts are such fools to sell us their bark at a good price for tanning our own hides into leather; with other enormities of the like weight and kind." To which I will venture to add some more: "That the mayoralty of this city is always executed by an inhabitant, and often by a native, which might as well be done by a deputy, with a moderate salary, whereby poor England lose at least one thousand pounds a year upon the balance. That the governing of this kingdom costs the lord lieutenant two thousand four hundred pounds a year, so much net loss to poor England. That the people of Ireland presume to dig for coals in their own grounds, and the farmers in the county of Wicklow send their turf to the very market of Dublin, to the great discouragement of the coal trade at Mostyn and Whitehaven. That the revenues of the post-office here, so righteously belonging to the English treasury, as arising chiefly from our own commerce with each other, should be remitted to London, clogged with that grievous burthen of exchange, and the pensions paid out of the Irish revenues to English favourites, should lie under the same disadvantage, to the great loss of the grantees. When a divine is sent over to a bishopric here, with the hopes of five-and-twenty hundred pounds a year; upon his arrival, he finds, alas! a dreadful discount of ten or twelve per cent. A judge or a commissioner of the revenue has the same cause of complaint."—Lastly,
"The ballad upon Cotter is vehemently suspected to be Irish manufacture; and yet is allowed to be sung in our open streets, under the very nose of the government." These are a few among the many hardships we put upon that poor kingdom of England; for which I am confident every honest man wishes a remedy: And I hear there is a project on foot for transporting our best wheaten straw by sea and land carriage to Dunstable; and obliging us by a law to take off yearly so many ton of straw hats for the use of our women, which will be a great encouragement to the manufacture of that industrious town.
I should be glad to learn among the divines, whether a law to bind men without their own consent, be obligatory in foro conscientiae; because I find Scripture, Sanderson and Suarez are wholly silent in the matter. The oracle of reason, the great law of nature, and general opinion of civilians, wherever they treat of limited governments, are indeed decisive enough.
It is wonderful to observe the bias among our people in favour of things, persons, and wares of all kinds that come from England. The printer tells his hawkers that he has got "an excellent new song just brought from London." I have somewhat of a tendency that way myself; and upon hearing a coxcomb from thence displaying himself with great volubility upon the park, the playhouse, the opera, the gaming ordinaries, it was apt to beget in me a kind of veneration for his parts and accomplishments. 'Tis not many years, since I remember a person who by his style and literature seems to have been corrector of a hedge-press in some blind alley about Little Britain, proceed gradually to be an author, at least a translator of a lower rate, though somewhat of a larger bulk, than any that now flourishes in Grub Street; and upon the strength of this foundation, come over here, erect himself up into an orator and politician, and lead a kingdom after him. This, I am told, was the very motive that prevailed on the author of a play, called "Love in a hollow Tree," to do us the honour of a visit; presuming with very good reason, that he was a writer of a superior class. I know another, who for thirty years past, hath been the common standard of stupidity in England, where he was never heard a minute in any assembly, or by any party with common Christian treatment; yet upon his arrival hither, could put on a face of importance and authority, talked more than six, without either gracefulness, propriety, or meaning; and at the same time be admired and followed as the pattern of eloquence and wisdom.
Nothing hath humbled me so much, or shewn a greater disposition to a contemptuous treatment of Ireland in some chief governors, than that high style of several speeches from the throne, delivered, as usual, after the royal assent, in some periods of the two last reigns. Such high exaggerations of the prodigious condescensions in the prince, to pass those good laws, would have but an odd sound at Westminster: Neither do I apprehend how any good law can pass, wherein the king's interest is not as much concerned as that of the people. I remember after a speech on the like occasion, delivered by my Lord Wharton, (I think it was his last) he desired Mr. Addison to ask my opinion of it: My answer was, "That his Excellency had very honestly forfeited his head on account of one paragraph; wherein he asserted by plain consequence, a dispensing power in the Queen." His Lordship owned it was true, but swore the words were put into his mouth by direct orders from Court. From whence it is clear, that some ministers in those times, were apt, from their high elevation, to look down upon this kingdom as if it had been one of their colonies of outcasts in America. And I observed a little of the same turn of spirit in some great men, from whom I expected better; although to do them justice, it proved no point of difficulty to make them correct their idea, whereof the whole nation quickly found the benefit?—But that is forgotten. How the style hath since run, I am wholly a stranger, having never seen a speech since the last of the Queen.
I would now expostulate a little with our country landlords, who by unmeasurable screwing and racking their tenants all over the kingdom, have already reduced the miserable people to a worse condition than the peasants in France, or the vassals in Germany and Poland; so that the whole species of what we call substantial farmers, will in a very few years be utterly at an end. It was pleasant to observe these gentlemen labouring with all their might for preventing the bishops from letting their revenues at a moderate half value, (whereby the whole order would in an age have been reduced to manifest beggary) at the very instant when they were everywhere canting their own lands upon short leases, and sacrificing their oldest tenants for a penny an acre advance. I know not how it comes to pass, (and yet perhaps I know well enough) that slaves have a natural disposition to be tyrants; and that when my betters give me a kick, I am apt to revenge it with six upon my footman; although perhaps he may be an honest and diligent fellow. I have heard great divines affirm, that "nothing is so likely to call down an universal judgment from Heaven upon a nation as universal oppression;" and whether this be not already verified in part, their worships the landlords are now at full leisure to consider. Whoever travels this country, and observes the face of nature, or the faces, and habits, and dwellings of the natives, will hardly think himself in a land where either law, religion, or common humanity is professed.
I cannot forbear saying one word upon a thing they call a bank, which I hear is projecting in this town. I never saw the proposals, nor understand any one particular of their scheme: What I wish for at present, is only a sufficient provision of hemp, and caps, and bells, to distribute according to the several degrees of honesty and prudence in some persons. I hear only of a monstrous sum already named; and if others, do not soon hear of it too, and hear of it with a vengeance, then am I a gentleman of less sagacity, than myself and very few besides, take me to be. And the jest will be still the better, if it be true, as judicious persons have assured me, that one half of this money will be real, and the other half only Gasconnade. The matter will be likewise much mended, if the merchants continue to carry off our gold, and our goldsmiths to melt down our heavy silver.
BY THOMAS HOPE, ESQ.
The excitement and even fury which were prevalent in England and France during the years 1719 and 1720 over Law's South Sea schemes afforded Swift an opportunity for the play of his satire by way of criticism on projects which appeared to him to be of the same character. News from France on the Mississippi Scheme which, in 1719, was at the height of its stock-jobbing success, gave glorious accounts of fortunes made in a night, and of thousands who had become rich and were living in unheard of luxury. Schemes were floated on every possible kind of ventures, and so plentiful was the "paper money" that nothing was too absurd for speculators. All these schemes, which soon came to nought, went, later, by the name of "Bubbles," and this essay of Swift's touches the matter with his usual satire.
The time chosen for the proposal for the establishment of a National Bank in Ireland was not a happy one. It was made in 1720 when the "Bubbles" had burst and found thousands ruined and pauperized. Swift, always an enemy to schemes of any kind, classed that of the bank with the rest of the "Bubbles," and, although the plan itself was a real effort to relieve Ireland, and might have effected its purpose, the terror of the "Bubbles" was sufficient to wreck it.
It required very little from Swift to insure its rejection, and rejected it was by the Irish legislature, before whose consideration it was brought.
* * * * *
Some doubt seems to obtain as to the authenticity of this "Essay on English Bubbles," which, in the words of Sir Walter Scott, may "be considered as introductory to the other" tracts on the Bank Project. This essay, however, appears in the edition of 1720 of "The Swearer's Bank," and, although it is not included in the "Miscellanies" of 1722, it is accepted by Faulkner in his collected edition of Swift's works. The present text is based on that prefixed to the edition of "The Swearer's Bank," 1720.
AN ESSAY ON ENGLISH BUBBLES.
BY THOMAS HOPE, ESQ.
To the Right Reverend, Right Honourable, and Right Worshipful, and to the Reverend, Honourable, and Worshipful, &c. Company of Stockjobbers; whether Honest or Dishonest, Pious or Impious, Wise or Otherwise, Male or Female, Young or Old, One with another, who have suffered Depredation by the late Bubbles: Greeting.
Having received the following scheme from Dublin, I give you the earliest notice, how you may retrieve the DECUS ET TUTAMEN, which you have sacrificed by permits in bubbles. This project is founded on a Parliamentary security, besides, the devil is in it, if it can fail, since a dignitary of the Church is at the head on't. Therefore you, who have subscribed to the stocking insurance, and are out at the heels, may soon appear tight about the legs. You, who encouraged the hemp manufacture, may leave the halter to rogues, and prevent the odium of felo de se. Medicinal virtues are here to be had without the expense and hazard of a dispensary: You may sleep without dreaming of bottles at your tail, and a looking-glass shall not affright you; and since the glass bubble proved as brittle as its ware, and broke together with itself the hopes of its proprietors, they may make themselves whole by subscribing to our new fund.
Here indeed may be made three very grave objections, by incredulous interested priests, ambitious citizens, and scrupulous statesmen. The stocking manufactory gentlemen don't know how swearing can bring 'em to any probability of covering their legs anew, unless it be by the means of a pair of stocks: That the hemp-snared men apprehend, that such an encouragement for oaths can tend to no other advancement, promotion, and exaltation of their persons, than that of the gallows: The late old ordinary, Paul, having grown grey in the habit of making this accurate observation in every month's Session-Paper, "That swearing had as great a hand in the suspension of every living soul under his cure, as Sabbath-breaking itself;" and that the glass-bubble-men cannot, for their lives, with the best pair of spectacles, that is the only thing left neat and whole, out of all their wares, see how they shall make anything out of this his oath-project, supposing he should even confirm by one its goodness: An oath being, as they say, as brittle as glass, and only made to be broken.
But those incredulous priests shall not go without an answer, that will, I am sure, induce them to place a great confidence in the benefit arising from Christians, who damn themselves every hour of the day. For while they speak of the vainness and fickleness of oaths, as an objection against our project, they little consider that this fickleness and vainness is the common practice among all the people of this sublunary world; and that consequently, instead of being an objection against the project, is a concluding argument of the constancy and solidity of their sure gain by it; a never-failing argument, as he tells us, among the brethren of his cloth.
The ambitious citizens, who from being plunged deep in the wealthy whirlpool of the South-Sea, are in hopes of rising to such seats of fortune and dignity, as would best suit with their mounting and aspiring hopes, may imagine that this new fund, in the sister nation, may prove a rival to theirs; and, by drawing off a multitude of subscribers, will, if it makes a flood in Ireland, cause an ebb in England. But it may be answered, that, though our author avers, that this fund will vie with the South-Sea, yet it will not clash with it. On the contrary, the subscribers to this must wish the increase of the South-Sea, (so far from being its rival); because the multitude of people raised by it, who were plain-speakers, as they were plain-dealers before, must learn to swear, in order to become their clothes, and to be gentlemen a la mode; while those that are ruined, I mean Job'd by it, will dismiss the patience of their old pattern, swear at their condition, and curse their Maker in their distress; and so the increase of that English fund will be demonstratively an ample augmentation of the Irish one: So far will it be from being rivalled by it, so that each of them may subscribe to a fund they have their own security for augmenting.
The scrupulous statesmen (for we know that statesmen are usually very scrupulous) may object against having this project secured by votes in Parliament; by reason, as they may deem it, in their great wisdom, an impious project; and that therefore so illustrious an assembly, as the Irish parliament, ought, by no means, according to the opinion of a Christian statesman, to be concerned in supporting an impious thing in the world. The way that some may take to prove it impious, is, because it will tend highly to the interest of swearing.—But this I take to be plain downright sophistry, and playing upon words: If this be called the Swearing project, or the Oath-act, the increase of swearing will be very much for the benefit and interest of swearing, (i.e.) to the subscribers in the fund to be raised by this fruitful Swearing-act, if it should be so called; but not to the swearers themselves, who are to pay for it: So that it will be, according to this distinction, piously indeed an act for a benefit to mankind, from swearing, not impiously, a benefit in swearing: So that I think that argument entirely answered and defeated. Far be it from the Dean to have entered into so unchristian a project, as this had been, so considered. But then these politicians (being generally, as the world knows, mighty tender of conscience) may raise these new doubts, fears, and scruples, viz. that it will however cause the subscribers to wish, in their minds, for many oaths to fly about, which is a heinous crime, and to lay stratagems to try the patience of men of all sorts, to put them upon the swearing strain, in order to bring grist to their own mill, which is a crime still more enormous; and that therefore, for fear of these evil consequences, the passing of such an act is not consistent with the really extraordinary and tender conscience of a true modern politician. But in answer to this, I think I can plead the strongest plea in nature, and that is called precedent, I think; which I take thus from the South-Sea: One man, by the very nature of that subscription, must naturally pray for the temporal damnation of another man in his fortune, in order for gaining his own salvation in it; yea, even though he knows the other man's temporal damnation would be the cause of his eternal, by his swearing and despairing. Neither do I think this in casuistry and sin, because the swearing, undone man is a free agent, and can choose whether he will swear or no, anybody's wishes whatsoever to the contrary notwithstanding: And in politics I am sure it is even a Machiavellian holy maxim, "That some men should be ruined for the good of others." Thus I think I have answered all the objections that can be brought against this project's coming to perfection, and proved it to be convenient for the state, of interest to the Protestant church, and consonant with Christianity, nay, with the very scruples of modern, squeamish statesmen.
To conclude: The laudable author of this project squares the measures of it so much according to the scripture rule, it may reasonably be presumed, that all good Christians in England will come as fast into the subscriptions for his encouragement, as they have already done throughout the kingdom of Ireland. For what greater proof could this author give of his Christianity, than, for bringing about this Swearing-act, charitably to part with his coat, and sit starving in a very thin waistcoat in his garret, to do the corporal virtues of feeding and clothing the poor, and raising them from the cottage to the palace, by punishing the vices of the rich. What more could have been done even in the primitive times!
From my House in St. Faith's Parish, London, August 10, 1720.
P.S.—For the benefit of the author, application may be made to me at the Tilt-Yard Coffee-house, Whitehall.
THE SWEARER'S BANK.
The plan for the establishment of a National Bank in Dublin was first put forward in 1720 in the form of a petition presented to the King by the Earl of Abercorn, Viscount Boyne, Sir Ralph Gore, and others. It was proposed to raise a fund of L500,000 for the purpose of loaning money to merchants at a comparatively low rate of interest. The King approved of the petition, and directed that a charter of incorporation for such a bank should pass the Great Seal of Ireland. When the matter came up for discussion in the Irish Houses of Legislature, both the Lords and Commons rejected the proposal on the ground that no safe foundation for such an establishment could be found. (See note post.)