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adorned with the choicest gifts that God hath yet thought fit to bestow upon the children of men*; a strong memory, a clear judgment, a vast range of wit and fancy, a thorough comprehenfion, an invincible eloquence, with a most agreeable elocution. He had well cultivated all these talents by travel and study, the latter of which he feldom omitted, even in the midst of his pleasures, of which he had indeed been too great and criminal à pursuer : for, although he was persuaded to leave off intemperanice in wine, which he did for some time, to such a degree that he seemed rather abstemious; yet he was said to allow bimfelf other liberties, which can by no means be reconciled to religion or morals; whereof, I have reason to believe, he began to be sensible. But he was fond of mixing pleasure and business, and of being esteemed excellent at both : upon which account he had a great respect for the characters of Alcibiades and Petronius, especially the latter, whom he would gladly be thought to resemble. His detractors charged him with some degree of affectation, and perhaps, not altogether without grounds; lince it was hardly possible for a young man, with half the business of the nation upon him, and the applause of the whole, to escape fome tincture of that infirmity. He had been early bred to business, was a most artful negociator, and perfectly understood foreign affairs. But what I have often wondered at, in a man of his temper, was his prodigious application, whenever he thought it necessary; for he would plod whole days and nights, like the lowest clerk in an office. His talent of speaking in public, for which he was so very much celebrated, I know nothing of, except from the information of others; but under Itanding men, of both parties, have assured me, that, in this point, in their memory and judgment, he was never equalled.'
OXFORD. $ The Eail of Oxford is a person of as much virtue as can possibly consist with the love of power; and his love of power is no greater than what is common to men of his superior capacities; neither did any man ever appear to value it less t, after he had obtained it, or exert it with more moderation. He is the only instance that ever fell within my memory or observation, of a person passing from a private life, through the several stages of greatness, without any perceivable impresion'on
If this he true, how highly aggravated was the guilt of that man, who made fo ungrateful a reușn to the inestimable bounty of his Creator!
+ This is barely consistent with what the Dean elsewhere fays of this minifter's fondness for being thought to possess more power, and influcnce 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 Vercs 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 foured, 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 should be his enemies; and it was his good fortune that none of them ever appeared to be so; 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 scurrilities 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 matter 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 thein in so strong and clear a light. Although his stile were not always correct, which, however, he knew how to mend; yet, ofien, to save time, he would leave the imaller alterations to others. I have heard that he spoke but seldom in parliament, and then rather with art than eloquence: but no man equalled him in the knowlege of our conftitution; the reputation whereof made him be chofen + speaker to three succeslive parliaments.-His fagacity was such, that I could produce very amazing instances of it, if they were not unseasonable.
le. 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 ftranger 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 eftate while he was in emplayment; yet his avarice for the public was so great, that it nei
• From this contradi&tory mode of expreffion, and some other light inaccuracies and coarseneis of -diction, and redundancies, observable 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 last note.
ther 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 agreeable 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 secrecy 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
ave 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 often 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 fovereign and he, upon that article: and therefore, in the disposal of employments, wherein the queen was very absolute, a year would often pass 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 consident, his intentions were generally better than his disappointed sollicitors would believe, It may likewise be said 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 disike, was no hindrance at all to their pref-rment.'
This character of the celebrated Harley, appears to have been drawn with more impartiality than was common with Dean Swift; whose violence of teinper, of attachment, and of refentment, fellom permitted him to give each deed the exact intrinfic worth, as his friend Pope expresses it. He tells us that he dwelt the longer on this great man's character, because he obferved it to be so often mistaken by the wise reasoners, of both parties; and becaufe, having had the honour of a near acquaintance with him, without the least mercenary obligation, he thought it lay in his power to represent him to the world with impartiality and truth.
4, 5, and 6. Are small tracts of little account: the 7th is a
fermon · Upon the Martyrdom of K. Charles I. preached at St. Patrick's, Dublin, Jan. 30, 1725-6, being Sunday. It is a strange, illiberal, ranting piece of high-churchism ; suited only to the taste and disposition of a jacobite mob; and will be a lafting disgrace to the character and memory of the preacher,
8. An Account of the Court and Empire of Japan. Written in 1728.' An infult on the memory of that worthy_prince George the First; and a severe fatire 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 fames as preserved.
10. 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 sermon just mentioned : but these instances will serve to Thew how 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 ac. commodated to the understandings of the vulgar, the Observations on the Absurdities, &c. were designed for the notice of politicians, and readers of the higher classes.
The first of these abfurdities will not, however, be generally admitted, as such ; for no dissenter from the established church, can possibly agree with the Dean's assertion, that it is absurd that any person who profelleth a different form of worship from that which is national, should be trusted with a vote for electing members in the houfe of commons.'-Nay, few, we apprehend, of the more moderate churchman, will afsent 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 geal for his own relis gion, although he regards not morality; and therefore will endeavour, to his 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 conftitutional 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. For, (adds he) it is no part of our business to be a warlike ria.
tion, otherwise than by our feets. In foreign wars we have no concern, further than in conjunction with allies, whom we may either assist by fea, or by foreign troops paid with our money. But mercenary troops in England can be of no ure, 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 ftill more glaring and self-evident absurdity is what next follows ; viz. • 'That the election of senators should be of any charge to the candidates; but, (adds he) that it should be so to a ministry, is a manifest acknowledgment of the worst designs. If a ministry intended the service of their prince and country, or well understood wherein their own security best consisted, (as it is impossible 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 strongelt methods to leave 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 fum 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 sum equal to twenty pounds in ours. The law, therefore, should rather have fixed on a certain quantity of LAND, arable or pafture, 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 do, in reality, represent nobody. Is it not equally abfurd, that several large towns are not represented at all, though fuil of industrious inhabitants, who much advance the trade of the kingdom?
He mentions the claim of senators, to have themselves and servants excmpted from law-fuits and arrests,' as a manifest absurdity! The proceedings at law are already (adds he) so scandalous a grievance, upon account of the delays, that they need little any 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 decifion of the law, is surely but illqualified to be a legislator!'-This evil has since been, in some measure, remedied, by the act passed, in 1764, for excluding bankrupts from privilege of parliament.