صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

The Works of Dr. Yonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick's, Dublint.

Vol. VIII. Collected and Revised by Deane Swift, Erg; of

Goodrich, in Herefordshire. 4to. 125. sew’d.
The Same, in Two Vols. being the XV. and XVI. of the Large

Oitavo Edition. Pr. 10s. And in Three Vols, being the
15th, 16th and 17th of the small Ostavo, Pr. 7s. 6d. Johnston.

TN our Review for October 1762, we gave an account of two 1 additional volumes (being the 7th of the quarto, and the 13th and 14th of the octavo editions of the writings of our immortal Swift. We have now more last words of this celebrated Writer; and, very shortly, it seems, we are to have more ftill: for we learn that two other volumes, of the Dean's pieces, which have never yet seen the light, are now in the press, under the inspection of a gentleman of very considerable eminence in the literary world. Hence, it is to be apprehended, that, from being solely regarded as the wittiest writer of his age, the Dean will henceforth be looked upon also as one of the most voluminous : a circumstance which he would himself have contemplated with very little satisfaction. But it was his own fault. He should have been careful to deftroy, in tine, every production of his pen, which he did not think worthy of being transmitted to pofterity : -He, who was, so early in life, aware of the indiscreet officiousness of Friends, and the inde. fatigable industry of Booksellers !- Vid. Pref, to the ist Edit. of Swift's and Pope's Miscellanies.

But, whatever fate may befal the Author's reputation, from the multiplicity and various merit of his writings, those who are warm admirers of the Dean's genius and literary talents, (and who is not an admirer of them ?) will be pleased with every new acquisition, every additional mite thrown by the hand of that great master, into the public treasury of wit and bumour. YOL. XXXIII.


[ocr errors]

To such, then, the main object of attention will be, the authenticity of the publications. This is a point that every reader and purchaser will consider as previously necessary to be settled.

With regard to the genuineness of the present volumes, befides the internal evidence which is visibly stamped on the pieces they contain, it chiefly rests on the credit of Mr. Deane Swift, their Editor: a gentleman whose name and character are too well established with the public, to admit of the least suspicion, in this respect. Such of our Readers as have not seen his Elay on the Lifé, IVritings, and Character of Dr. Jonathan Swift, may turn to the account of that performance, in the Twelfth Volume of our Review. Mr. Swift is a near relation of the celebrated Dean: his nephew, if we mistake not.

But that the authenticity of these remains may not appear to rest folely on the reputation of our Editor, he inforins us, in

his preliminary address to the Reader, that all the original - 1 manuscripts, not to mention two or three poems taken from the

public prints, are in the Doctor's own hand ; or, transcribed by his emanuensis, have the sanction of his endorsement; fome 'Few copies, for which indeed we have the honour to be obliged to our friends, only excepted.'— These manuscripts, he adds, ( we shall deposite in the British Museum, provided the governors will please to receive them into their collection.' .

The papers contained in this collection, are, Political Traits - Letters to various Perfons-and Poems on several Occasions. : Among the first class we have, 1. Memoirs relating to that Change which happened in the Queen's Ministry, in the Year 1710. In this tract, the Dean, fondly dwelling on the idea of his own importance, and consequence with the Tory ministry, gives some account of his unfuccessful endeavours to obtain, from persons in power, the proper materials for writing the history of her majesty's reign. That this intended work might the more naturally come from his pen, he tells us, that he was then ready to accept, and did actually solicit, the historiographer's place, although of inconsiderable value, and of which he must expect to have been deprived at the queen's death. The Dean, however, obtained neither the place nor the materials: a fhrewd token that he was, as hath been often supposed, rather the dupe than the confidante of that ministry to which he appears to have been so zealously attached. Whether or not the world hath a great loss, in being deprived of the history which Swift intended, of Queen Anne's reign, it is impossible to determine ; but if we may be allowed to guess, the public detriment, on this account, could not be very considerable : for it would, most probably, have been a partial and party business, conceived rather in the heat and ferment of faction, than in the genuine temper and spirit of History. Nor is this an unchari


that the ambitionere honej debok, and at the

table surmise ; for he hath afforded sufficient grounds for it, by a passage in this very paper. • I have often, lays he, pressed the Earl of Oxford, then lord treasurer, and my Lady Masham, who were the sole persons which brought about that great change, to give me a particular account of every circumstance and passage during that whole transaction : nor did this request proceed from curiosity or the ambition of knowing and publishing important secrets; but from a sincere honest delign of JUSTI: FYING the queen, in the measures the then took, and after pursued, against a load of scandal which would certainly be thrown on her memory, with some appearance of truth.' Here we have a plain confession that our volunteer historiographer intended to take a part, and an open declaration what part, in the political contests of those times. At all events the tory-queen was to be justified; that queen too, of whom and of whose government, he gives in this identical memoir, but a very indifferent character, and is here represented as an artful, disembling, capricicus woman; narrow and contracted in friendship, and so insensible of heart, that she could hardly be said to love or to hate any body.' So that whatever virtues the possessed as a sovereign, she was, according to this representation, not highly to be admired for her private virtues. "Harley, too, · Harley the nation's great support,' makes a less respectable figure here, than in the Dean's other writings. Speaking of his disappointment in his scheme for writing the history of the queen's reign, he says, “That incurable disease, either of negligence or procrastination, which influenced every action both of the queen and the Earl of Oxford, did in some sort infect every one who had credit or business in court: for, after foliciting near four years, to obtain a point of so great importance to the queen and her servants, from whence I could propose nothing but trouble, malice, and envy to myself, it was perpetually put off.'

What a glorious administration of public affairs must that have been, where the administrators languished under so fatal a political distemper as negligence, or procrastination! Yet this negligent or procrastinating government was to be juflified, at all events !-But was there not an hidden cause for their procrastin nation, with regard to the Dean's design,-a secret into which he did not penetrate? Is it not possible they were too conscious that it might not be altogether advisable to entrust him with, or to expose to the public eye, thole circumstances and passages' which he wanted to know*? They, posibly, were too well


. We find a like surmise thrown out by the noble Remarker on the life and writings of Swift : He (tlie. Dean) was employed, not iufted ; B 2


againat those happed in the mis paštagen at the peace

aware, that a thorough justification of all their measures, was a task beyond even the abilities of Swift to accomplish*. .

2. The fecond paper in this publication, is entitled, Preface to the History of the Four last Years of Queen Anne's Reign. Of this History, an edition was published, from uncertain authority, in 1758; and an account was given of it in the 18th Vol. of our Review. In this short preface, there is nothing that deferves great notice, unless it be the Dean's high pretensions to impartiality and integrity of heart, with regard to his views in writing the history of that glorious period. I am perfuaded in my own mind, says he, that I am doing my daty to God and man, by endeavouring to fet future ages right in their judgment of that HAPPY REIGN, [rifum tencatis !] and as a faithful hifto. rian, I cannot suffer fallhoods to run on any longer, not only ägainit all appearance of truth, as well as probability, but even against those happy events which owe their success to the very measures then fixed in the general peace.' It is unnecessary to make any comment on this passage. It may be fufficient barely to remind the English Reader that the peace which this

Tory Historiographer is eternally extolling, was the tory peace of Utrecht!

3. We have "An Enquiry into the Behaviour of the late Queen's Ministry, with relation to their Quarrels among themfelves, and the Design charged upon them, of altering the Suc'ceffion of the Crown.'--~In this piece, the Dean takes great pains to shew the falfhood, the improbability, and even the impossibility and absurdity of the design said to have been formed by Anne and her Jaft miniftry, to alter the succession, by setting aside the Hanover family, and bringing in the pretender.

This is, in truth, a very fenfible tract; in which the admirable · Author feems to have tasked his abilities, to prove his point : notwithstanding which, it will, if we mistake not, still be difficult, even at this day, (wherein the mists of party are in a great measure dispelled, and the retrospective view of those times is so much cleared up) to convince a majority of the public, that no fuch scheme was ever formed, and would not really have been attempted, had it not been rendered abortive by the queen's

meafures then happy events whichs well as probabiger, not on

and at the same time that he imagined himself a subtile diver, who dex. terously shot into the profoundest regions of politics, he was suffered only to found the Mallows nearest ihe shore, and was scarce admitted to descend below the froth at the top. Perhaps the deeper bottoms were too muddy for his infpeciion.'

• ORRERY. How far, afier all, Swift a&ually did accomplish part of his design, the public have seen, in his History of the Four latt Years of Queen Anne ; of which work we have already delivered our sentiments : fee Rev. Volt XVIII. p. 253, 381.


death. But whatever credit be given to the Dean's representation of the conduct of his tory friends, this tract must be al lowed its merit, as a piece of composition. The Author's sketches of some favourite characters, though perhaps partially touched, bear, undoubtedly, strong resemblance to the originals, and are especially worth notice ; for example:

ORM ON D. Of this nobleman's attainder, the Dean speaks with a tone of astonishment, as an event which no one person in the three kingdoms did ever pretend to foresee ;' and now it is done, adds he, it looks like a dream to those who will consider the nobleness of his birth, the great merits of his ancestors, and his own; his long unspotted loyalty, his affability, generosity, and sweetness of nature. I knew him long and well,' continues the Dean, “and, excepting the frailties of his youth, which had been for some years over, and that easiness of temper, which did sometimes lead him to follow the judgment of those who had, by many degrees, less understanding than himself; I have not conversed with a more faultless person; of great justice and cha.. sity, a true sense of religion, without oftentation ; of undoubted valour, thoroughly skilled in his trade of a soldier ; a quick and ready apprehension, with a good Ihare of understanding, and a general knowlege in men and history, although under some difadvantage by an invincible modefty, which however could not but render him yet more amiable to thofe who had the honour and happiness of being thoroughly acquainted with him.' _ To this short and professedly imperfect character of the Duke of Ormond, Swift adds his own private conjecture, (and a very allowable one it will appear, to every candid reader) that when, • by the direct and repeated commands of the queen, his mistress, the duke committed those faults for which he hath now forfeited his country, his titles, and his fortune; he no more conceived himself to be acting high treason, than he did when he was wounded and a prisoner at Landen f, for his sovereign king Wil. liam, or when he took and burned the enemy's feet at Vigo.'

BOLINGBROK E. ? It happens to very few men, in any age or country, to come into the world with so many advantages of nature and fortune, as the late secretary Bolingbroke : descended from the best families in England, heir to a great patrimonial estate, of a sound conftitution, and a moft graceful, amiable person ; but all these, had they been of equal value, were infinitely below, in degree, to* the accomplishments of his mind, which was

+ It is printed London in the book, both in the 400 and 8vo editions.

* The language of this sentence is somewhat inaccurate; but we have transcribed it literally.


B 3

« السابقةمتابعة »