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adorned with the choicest gifts that God hath yet thought fit to
• If this be true, how highly aggravated was the guilt of that man,
+ This is barely consistent with what the Dean elsewhere says of this minifler's fondness for being thought to poffefs more power,
'and influence with the queen, than he really had.
his temper or behaviour. As his own birth was illustrious, being descended from the heirs-general of the Veres and the Mortimers, so he seemed to value that accidental advantage in himself, and others, more than it could pretend to deserve. He abounded in good-nature, and good-humour ; although subject to passion, which, however, he kept under the strictest government *, till towards the end of his ministry, when he began to grow soured, and to suspect his friends. - He was a great favourer of men of wit and learning, particularly the former, whom he caressed without distinction of party, and could not endure to think that any of them mould be his enemies; and it was his good fortune that none of them ever appeared to be fo; at least if one may judge by the libels and pamphlets published against him, which he frequently read by way of amusement, with a most unaffected indifference :-neither do I remember ever to have endangered his good opinion so much, as by appearing uneasy when the dealers in that kind of writing first. began to pour out their fcurrilities against me; which he thought was a weakness altogether inexcusable in a man of virtue and liberal education. He had the greatest variety of knowlege that I have any where met; was a perfect master of the learned languages, and well skilled in divinity. He had a prodigious memory, and a most exact judgment. In drawing up any statepaper, no man had more proper thoughts, or put them in so strong and clear a light. Although his file were not always correct, which, however, he knew how to mend; yet, often, to save time, he would leave the smaller alterations to others. I have heard that he spoke but feldom in parliament, and then rather with art than eloquence: but no man equalled him in the knowlege of our constitution; the reputation whereof made him be chosen + speaker to three successive parliaments. His fagacity was such, that I could produce very amazing instances of it, if they were not unseasonable. In all difficulties, he immediately found the true point that was to be pursued, and adhered to it: and one or two others in the ministry have confessed very often to me, that after having condemned his opinion, they found him in the right, and themselves in the wrong. He was utterly a stranger to fear; and consequently had a presence of mind upon all emergencies. His liberality, and contempt of money, were such, that he almost ruined his estate while he was in employment; yet his avarice for the public was so great, that it neither consisted with the present corruptions of the age, nor the circumstances of the time. He was seldom mistaken in his judgment of men, and therefore not apt to change a good or ill opinion by the representation of others; except towards the end of his ministry. He was affable and courteous, extremely easy and a reeable in conversation, and altogether disengaged; regular in his life, with great appearance of piety; nor ever guilty of any expressions that could possibly tend to what was indecent or prophane.' His imperfections were, at least, as obvious, although not so numerous, as his virtues. He had an air of seçrccy in his manner and countenance, by no means proper for a great minister, because it warns all men to prepare against it, He often gave no answer at all, and very seldom a direct one: and I the rather blame this reservedne!s of temper, because I have known' a very different practice succeed much better. Another of his imperfections, universally known and complained of, was procrastination, or delay; which was, doubtless, natural to him, although he ofren bore the blame without the guilt, and when the remedy was not in his power; for never were prince and minister better matched than his sovereign and he, upon that article: 'and therefore, in the disposal of employments, wherein the queen was very absolute, a year would often pals before they could come to a determination.- He was likewise heavily charged with the common court-vice, of promising very liberally, and seldom performing; of which, although I cannot altogether acquit him, yet I am confident, his intentions were generally better than his disappointed sollicitors would believe. It may likewise be faid of him, that he certainly did not value, or did not understand, the art of acquiring friends; having made very few during the time of his power, and contracted a great number of enemies. Some of us used to observe, that those whom he talked well of, or suffered to be often near him, were not in a situation of much advantage; and that his mentioning others with contempt, or diNike, was no hindrance at all to their reformert.'
* From this contradictory mode of expression, and some other fight inaccuracies and coarseness of di&tion, and redundancies, cbservable in the present tract, it appears that the Dean, the most correct of all writers, had not thoroughly prepared it for the press. + Vide the latt note. B 4
Tois chirader of the celebrated Harley, appears to have been drawn with more impartiality than was common with Dean Swift ; whose violence of reinper, of attachinent, and of resentment, 'se! om permitted him to give qach deed the cxact intrinsic worth, 'as his friend Pope expresies it. He tells us that he dwelt thie'longer cn this great inan's character, because he obferved it to be so often mistaken by the wise reasoners, of both parties; and because, having had the honour of a near' açquaintance with him, without the least mercenary obligation, he thought it lay in his power to represent him to the world with impartiality and truihi 4, 5, and 6. Are small tracks of litile account : the 7th is
sermon Upon the Martyrdom of K. Charles I. preached at St. Patrick's, Dublin, Jan. 30, 1725-6, being Sunday. It is a ftrange, illiberal, ranting piece of high-churchism ; suited only to the taste and disposition of a jacobite mob; and will be a lasting disgrace to the character and memory of the preacher.
8. • An Account of the Court and Empire of Japan. Written in 1728.' An insult on the memory of that worthy_prince George the First; and a severe satire on the late Earl of Orford.
9. A Letter to the Writer of an occasional Paper : Vide the Craftsman, 1727' Not of any great account. This article might as well have been committed to the flames as preserved.
io. • Of Public Absurdities in England.' The absurdities here pointed out, are of a political nature; and some of them are here exploded with such manly freedom and true sterling sense, that one would hardly think this paper could come from the author of the thirtieth of January lermon just mentioned : but these instances will serve to Thew ho:v well the Dean could vary his style and manner, and even his sentiments, according to the difference of rank, or order, of the particular people for whom his compositions were intended. The Sermon was accommodated to the understandings of the vulgar, the Observations on the Absurditics, &c. were designed for the notice of poJiticians, and readers of the higher claffes.
The first of these absurdities will not, however, be generally admitted, as such; for no dissenter from the establifhed church, can possibly agree with the Dean's assertion, that it is absurd that any person who professeth a different form of worship from that which is national, should be trusted with a vote for electing members in the house of commons.'-Nay, few, we apprehend, of the more moderate churchman, will assent to this propofition, notwithstanding our Author's argument in support of his opinion, hath something specious in its appearance; viz. • Because (says he) every man is full of zeal for his own religion, although he regards not morality; and therefore will endeavour, 'to ħís utmost, to bring in a representative of his own principles, which, if they be popular, may endanger the religion established; which, as it hath formerly happened, may alter the whole frame of government.'- Very true, Mr. Dean! and it is happy for this country, that the frame of our government hath been altered.'- And the ensuing observations, from this very paper, strongly intimate, that there is still room for constitutional reformation.
The next'absurdity here pointed out, is contained in the following paragraph: • A standing army in England, (says the Dean) whether in time of peace or war, is a direct absurdity, Fos (adds he) it is no part of our business to be a warlike na.
tion, otherwise than by our Aeets. In foreign wars we have no concern, further than in conjunction with allies, whom we may either aslift by sea, or by foreign troops paid with our money. But mercenary troops in England can be of no use, except to awe senates, and thereby promote arbitrary power in a monarchy or oligarchy.'-There is no date to these remarks ; but one would almost think the Writer had a prophetic foresight of after-times !
A fill more glaring and self-evident absurdity is what next follows; viz. “That the election of fenators should be of any charge to the candidates; but, (adds he) that it should be fo to a ministry, is a manifest acknowledgment of the worst designs. If a miniitry intended the service of their prince and country, or well understood wherein their own security best consisted, (as it is impoflible that a parliament freely elected, according to the original institution, can do any hurt to a tolerable prince, or a tolerable ministry ;) they would use the strongest methods to Jeave the people to their own free choice.' -We refer to the book for our Author's arguments in support of this proposition ; as they would take up too much of our room. Beside, they will only be laugh’d at by the statesmen and politicians of these days. -Nevertheless, what he says of the want of fagacity in our ancestors, who, in framing the old constitution, fixed a determinate sum for the value of a freehold in land, as a qualification to vote for a knight of the fire, is extremely just. Forty Shillings a-year, as he observes, was, in those days, a fum equal to twenty pounds in ours. The law, therefore, should rather have fixed on a certain quantity of LAND, arable’or pasture, sufficient to produce a certain quantity of corn or hay; which would have prevented the evil and the absurdity now complained of; and which cries aloud for regulation.
Another absurdity :—that boroughs decayed are not absolutely extinguished, because, says our Author, the returned members co, in reality, represent nobody. Is it not equally abfurd, that several large towns are not represented at all, though full of industrious inhabitants, who much advance the trade of the kingdom?
He mentions the claim of fenators, to have themselves and servants exempted from law-suits and arrests,' as a manifest absurdity! The proceedings at law are already (adds he) fo scandalous à grievance, upon account of the delays, that they need litile
addition, Whoever is either not able, or not willing to pay his just debts, or, to keep other men out of their lands, would evade the decision of the law, is surely but illqualified t; be a legislator!'—- This evil has since been, in some measure, remedied, by the act paffed, in 1764, for excluding bankrupis from privilege of parliament.