Page images

been made by the present editor ;' as also of the two volumes printed by himself as a continuation of Dr. Hawkesworth's edition ; and of Literary Relics, published by Mr. Berkeley *. In his advertisement to the reader, Mr. Nichols explains what is to be found in this impression :'

• In presenting to the publick a new edition of the works of so well-known and popular a writer as Dr. Swift, it would be equally unjust and invidious to withhold the preliminary observations of men high in esteem for critical sagacity, who on former occasions have not disdained to undertake the office of ushering the dean's writings into the world. These, therefore, will be found collected into one point of view at the beginning of the second volume.

From a large accumulation of useful materials (to which the present editor had contributed no inconsiderable share, and to which in 1779 he annexed a copious index to the dean's works, and a chro. nological list of the epistolary correspondence) a regular edition in seventeen volumes was in 1784 compiled by the late Mr. Sheridan; who prefixed an excellent life of the dean, which no man was better qualified than himself to undertake, and which renders it unnecessary to enter farther on that subject, than merely to observe, in the words of a late worthy friend t, that, “ if we deduct somewhat from report, which is apt to add to the oddities of men of note, the greatest part of his conduct may be accounted for by the common operations of human nature.- Cholcr,' lord Bacon observes, puts men on action ; when it grows adust, it turns to melancholy.' In Swift, that humour seems to have been predominant; governed, however, even in his younger days, by a fund of good sense, and an early experience of the world. He was thrown, luckily, in the prime of life, into the family of a great personage, where he had the happiness of an inter. view with a monarch ; from whence he had reasonable hopes of satisfying his towering ambition. But he found them followed by rothing but disappointment. In a course of years, honours seemed a second time to make their court to him. He came into favour with a prime minister under another rein, even when different principles prevailed from those which guided his former patron; a rare felicity! which, however, in the event, served only to convince him, that he was banished to Ireland for life, and that all hopes were cut off of his rising, even there, any higher than the deanery. What would ane of his parts and wit do in such a situation, but drop mankind as much as possible, especially the higher class of it, which to a man of humour is naturally a restraint ; where, at best, as he observes, the only difference is, to have two candles on the table instead of one? What, I say, would such a one do, but cultivate an acquaintarice with those who were disappointed like himself? what but write compliments on Jadies, lampoons on men in power, sarcasms on hwnan mature, trifle away life between whim and resentment, just as the bile arose or subsided? He had sense, and I believe religion,

M. R. N. S. vol. ij. p. 241.
of Mr. Bowyer, the justly celebrated printer.'

[ocr errors]

Chough to keep him from vice; and, from a consciousness of his integrity, was less solicitous about the appearances of virtue, or even decency, which is often the counterfeit of it. The patriot principle, which he had imbibed in queen Anne's reign, lurked at the bottom of his heart ; which, as it was more active in those days than since, sometimes roused him to defend the church, and Ireland his asylum, against any encroachments.-View him now in his decline. Passions decay, and the lamp of life and reason grows dim. It is the fate of many, I may say most geniuses, who have secluded themselves from the world, to lose their senses in their old age ; especially those who have worn them out in thought and application. Providence, perhaps, has therefore ordained, that the eyes, the inlets of knowledge, should be impaired, before the understanding, the repository of it, is decayed; that the defects of the former may protract the latter. Few of us are enough sensible how much the conjugal tie, and the several connexions which follow from it, how much even domestick troubles, when surmountable, are the physick of the soul; which, at the same time that they quicken the senses, preserve them too.”

• Not wishing to trouble the publick with any more last words of Dr. Swift ; the editor contented himself with writing in the margin of his own books such particulars as occurred relative either to the dean, or to his writings; a circumstance which now enables him to supply several matters which had escaped Mr. Sheridan's observation, and to elucidate some passages which were left unexplained *. Careful, however, not to interfere with the general arrangement of the last edition; what has been done to the seventeen volumes, though attended with no small labour, it is useless to the general reader to point out. To the critical collator, it would be superfluous.

• For the principal part of the contents of the eighteenth and nineteenth volumes, the Editor is alone responsible. The authority on which the miscellaneous tracts are adopted is in general given; and the articles in the Epistolary Correspondence sufficiently speak for themselves, and need no apology. Some of these are now first printed from the originals; and ** Letters written by wise men," says an experienced writer, “ are of all the works of men, in my judgment, the best t."

• One advantage at least this edition possesses : a complete general Index, compiled by a Gentleman to whom the revision of the whole work at the press has been consigned by the proprietors, and whose kind attention has much facilitated the labours of the editor.

• For the critical notes the reader is almost wholly indebted to the late Mr. Sheridan. Those which are historical are selected from the former publications of lord Orrery, Dr. Delany, Dr. Hawkesworth, Dcane Swift, esq., Mr. Bowyer, Dr. Bircb, Mr. Faulkner, and the present cditor.


•* Neither Mr. Sheridan, nor any other of the dean's biographers, has noticed, that he once possessed the prebend of Dualavin, see vol. xi. pp. 76, 259.' . 't Bacon, de Augment. Scientiarum.'

O 2

In the two volumes, for the contents of which Mr. Nichols represents himself as particularly responsible, we find several pieces which are avowedly not the Dean's productions; and many of which proceeded from the pen of Mrs. Manley, the celebrated author of the Atalantis. They find a place with some propriety, however, in the present work, because they were written in consequence of suggestions from Swift, or had been revised and corrected by him.--We have also an additional Drapier's letter, which bears strong internal marks of having been written by Lord Chesterfield, and was considered as his production by Dr. Maty.

In reviewing a new edition of an author whose works have been so frequently published and are so well known as those of Dr. Swift, who may justly be considered as a classic in our language, we can do little more than state the contents of each volume; afterward presenting to our readers some of the new matter, to enable them to form an opinion of the value of the additions. As Mr. Nichols has very properly mentioned the different sources from which he has derived his new materials, we are enabled to determine the degree of authority belonging to each contribution.

The first volume contains the life of Dr. Swift by Mr. Sheridan, with memoirs and anecdotes of the Dean, extracted from the former publications by Dr. Delany and others :-some particulars concerning him, taken from Mrs. Pilkington's Memoirs : - Conclusion :- Anecdotes of the Family of Swift:-a fragment written by Dr. Swift :-His Will:-Pedigree of the younger Branch of the Swifts of Yorkshire.- Vol. Il. includes a general Preface, giving a History of those Editions which preceded the present a Tale of a Tub:- The Battle of the Books :-a Discourse concerning the mechanical Operation of the Spirit, a fragment;--The History of Martin :-A Project for the universal benefit of Mankind: -- ADiscourse of the Contents and Dissensions between the Commons and Nobles in Athens and Rome: The Sentiments of a Church of England M., &c.:-An Argument to prove that the Abolition of Christianity in England may be attended with some Inconveniences ;--and a Project for the Advancement of Religion, &c.-Vol. III. contains – The Exá.. miner. -Some Advice to the Members of the October Club:

-The public Spirit of the Whigs :-The Conduct of the Allies, and of the late Ministry, &c. ---and some Remarks on the Barrier Treaty. In the IVth Vol. we are presented with the History of the four last Years, &c.-Free Thoughts on the present State of Affairs :-Memoirs relating to the Queen's Ministry in 1710.-An Inquiry into the Behaviour of the Queen's last Ministry: Some Considerations on the Conse.




[ocr errors]

quences hoped and feared from the Queen's Death:-A Preface
to Burnet's Introduction ;-and a Letter on the Sacramental
Test.-The Vth Vol. comprehends-A Tritical Essay :-Prea
dictions for the Year 1708, by J. Bickerstaff :---An Answer to
ditto :-An Account of the Death of Partridge:-Squire Bicker-
staff detected :-A Vindication of Bickerstaff :-Merlin's Pro-
phecy :- A Meditation on a Broomstick :- A Proposal for cor-
recting, &c. the English Tongue:- A Letter to a young Clergy-
man :-An Essay on the Fates of Clergymen :- Essay on
modern Education :- A Letter to a very young Lady on her
Marriage:- The wonderful Wonder of Wonders:--The Wonder
of all the Wonders :- Tatlers :--Spectator, No. 50:-Intelli.
gencers :-Hints towards an Essay on Conversation :- Advice
to a young Poet:-Some Arguments against enlarging the
Power of Bishops :- The Presbyterian's Plea of Merit :--The
Advantages proposed by repealing the Sacramental Test:--
Queries relating to the Test :-Reasons offered to Parliament
for repealing it:Character of Lord Wharton * :-Remarks on
a Letter to the Lords of the Committee appointed to examine
Gregg :-A new Journey to Paris :--The Importance of the
Guardian considered, &c. :-Thoughts on various Subjects;
and an Essay on National Rewards. - VIth Vol. :-Gulliver's
Travels.-VIIth Vol. Poems. ---VIIIth Vol. Poems ;-Polite
Conversation :--Decree for concluding the Treaty between Dr.
Swift and Mrs. Long :-Proposals for the Regulation of Quad-
rille :--Advertisement for the Honour of Ireland :-Blunders
of Quilca :-Ars punica :- The original of Punning :- From
my much-honoured Friend at Heldelville (Dr. Delany):--The
History of Poetry ;-and an Essay on English Bubbles.--The
IXth Vol. contains the Drapier's Letters, and the Pamphlets
relative to them :---A Vindication of Lord Carteret :- Consi.
derations on two Bills relating to the Clergy :- A Proposal for
paying the National Debt :-An Examination of Abuses in
Dublin :- A Proposal for preventing the Children of the Poor in
Ireland from being a Burden to their Parents:- The last Speech
of Ebenezer Elliston :- The Story of an injured Lady :--Thç
Answer to ditto :- An Answer to the Craftsman:--Proposal that
the Ladies should wear Irish Manufactures :-A Letter to the
Archbishop of Dublin concerning the Weavers :- Answer to
several Letters from unknown Persons:-The Dean's Speech
to the Lord Mayor and Aldermen: The Swearer's Bank:
Maxims controlled in Ireland :-Advice to the Freemen in


* It would be no unprofitable employment to compare this cha: racter of the Earl, witle the deservedly celebrated delineation of, huis 105 Penen

Dublin: amazin


by Pure.

Dublin:-Considerations on the Choice of a Recorder :- The humble Petition of the Footmen in Dublin ;- and a Proposal for giving Badges to the Beggars.

The Xth Vol. comprehends 12 Sermons:Prayers for Mrs. Johnson ;-Thoughts on Religion :--On Collins's Discourse on Free-thinking :-A Letter, &c. on choosing a Speaker im Thoughts on the Repeal of the Test:- Treatise on Good Man. ners :-On the Death of Mrs. Johnson :-- Character of Mrs. Howard :-Ditto of Primate Marsh :- Thoughts on various Subjects :--Bons Mots de Stella :-Reasons against the Bill for settling the Tithe of Hemp, &c.:-An Account of the Court of Japan:- A Letter on Maculla's Project. - A Letter to the Writer of the Occasional Paper :-Of public Absurdities in England :-Remarks on Burnet's History ;-and Memoirs of Captain J. Creighton.-Vols. XI, XII, XIII, and XIV. contain Letters to and from the Dean...Vol. XV. is occupied by the Journal to Stella.—Vol. XVI. Fragment of the History of England :--Directions to Servants :- The Duty of ditto :-Re. marks on a Book entitled the Rights of the Christian Church :On the Universal Hatred against the Clergy :- An Account of a pestilent Neighbour:- A punning Letter to Lord Pembroke : -Ditto :-A Letter to the King at Arms :- Ditto to Mrs. S. Neville :-On barbarous Denominations in Ireland:-On giving Badges to the Poor :- Considerations about maintaining the Poor:- The humble Representation of the Clergy of Dublin : -Of the Education of Ladies :-Of the Antiquity of the English Tongue :- Answer of Pulteney to Walpole :-An Ap. pendix to the Conduct of the Allies :- A Vindication of E. Lewis :--Thoughts on Free-thinking :-Hints on Good Manners :-Resolutions for Old Age :-Laws for the Dean's Servants :-Of mean and great Figures made by several Persons ;

Preamble to Harley's Patent:-Remarks on Bishop Fleetwood's Preface :-Observations on Heylin's History:--Prefaces and Dedications to Sir W. Temple's Works ; -and Remarks on Gibbs's Psalms.- In the XVIIth Vol. are contained--Martinus Scriblerus :- A Key to the Lock:- Memoirs of P. P. Parish Clerk:- History of John Bull:-On the Art of political Lying:

Reasons offered against examining Drugs:- Humble Petition of the Colliers :-It cannot rain but it pours:- Narrative of the Frenzy of John Dennis :- An Account of the Poisoning, of E. Curl:---Farther Account of the Condition of E. Curl : Of the Circumcision of E. Curli-God's Revenge against Punning :- A wonderful Prophecy :- The Country Post :- A fanhful Narrative of what passed in London, &c.—Thoughts on various Subjects ;-and several different Pieces of Poetry.-Vol. XVIIIth includes a true Narrative of what passed at


« PreviousContinue »