« PreviousContinue »
and, from several passages, does not appear anxious to conceal this identity This also relates chiefly to the conduct of Whitshed, and the merits of the prosecution against Harding. The seventh letter, though last published, appears to have been composed shortly after the fourth. It enters widely into the national complaints of Ireland, and illustrates what has been already mentioned, that the project of Wood was only chosen as an ostensible and favourable point on which to make a stand against principles of aggression, which involved many questions of much more vital importance. This letter was not published until the Drapier's papers were collected into a volume. Meantime Carteret yielded to the storm,—Wood's patent was surrendered, and the patentee indemnified by a grant of L.3000 yearly, for twelve years. Thus victoriously terminated the first grand struggle for the independence of Ireland. The eyes
of the kingdom were now turned with one consent on the man, by whose unbending fortitude and preeminent talents this triumph was accomplished. The Drapier's head became a sign, his portrait was engraved, woven upon handkerchiefs, struck upon medals, and displayed in every possible inanner, as the liberator of Ireland. A club was formed in honour of the patriot, who held regular meetings to commemorate his excellences, study his doctrines, and carouse to his health. In
1 To the Drapier's Club we owe the first collection of the Drapier's letters, published by Faulkner at their desire, under the following title:-“ Fraud Detected; or, the Hibernian Patriot, containing all the Drapier's letters to the people of
all this, Swift's popularity did not probably exceed that of other patriots, who, at some decisive and critical period, have had the fortune to render a striking service to their country. Nor is it singular that the Dean's memory should, after death, be honourably and tenderly cherished by the nation which he did so much to rescue from subjection. But the period between the deeds on which a patriot rests his fame, and the time when they are recorded on his tombstone, is but rarely distinguished by the unclouded and steady glow of uniform popularity. History affords, in all countries, too many instances of the mutability of public favour, and exhibits a long list of those benefactors of nations who have heard the songs composed in their praise turned into libellous parodies, and the accla
Ireland on Wood's coinage, &c. interspersed with the following particulars, viz.-1. The addresses of the Lords and Commons of Ireland against Wood's coin.-2. His Majesty's answer to the said addresses.—3. The report of his Majesty's most honourable Privy-Council.-4. Seasonable advice to the Grand-Jury.-5. Extract of the votes of the House of Commons of England, upon breaking a Grand-Jury.-6. Considerations on the attempts made to pass Wood's coin.—7. Reasons showing the necessity the people of Ireland are under, to refuse Wood's coinage. To which are added, Prometheus, a poem. Also, a new poem to the Drapier ; and the songs sung at the Drapier's Club in Truck Street, Dublin, never before printed. With a preface explaining the usefulness of the whole.—Dublin : Reprinted and sold by George Faulkner, in Pembroke Court, Castle Street, 1725, 12mo.”
This publication contains five songs to the honour of the Drapier, to which some others might be added from the broadsides before the Editor. But they would only show the zeal and attachment of the worthy members of the Drapier's Club at Taplin's, Truck Street, without doing any credit to their literary talents.
mations of their countrymen exchanged for as loud and general shouts of reprobation or derision. To the honour of the warmhearted and generous people for whom he exposed his safety, the sun of Swift's popularity shone unclouded even after he was incapable of distinguishing its radiance. While he was able to go abroad, a thousand popular benedictions attended his steps, and if he visited a town where he was not usually resident, his reception resembled that of a sovereign prince. The slightest idea of personal danger to THE DEAN, for by that title he was generally distinguished, aroused a whole district in his defence; and when, on one occasion, Walpole meditated his arrest, his proposal was checked by a prudent friend, who enquired if he could spare
ten thousand soldiers to guard the messenger who should execute so perilous a commission. His foibles, though of a kind which seem peculiarly obnoxious to the observation and censure of the vulgar, were overlooked with the pious respect paid by filial affection to the imperfections of a parent. The governors of Ireland, from the courtly Carteret to the haughty Dorset, even while disliking his politics, if not his person, saw themselves under the necessity of respecting his influence, and temporizing with his zeal. And as he was mourned in his last stage of imbecility, and followed to the grave by the lamentations of his people, so there have been few Irish authors who have not since that period paid to the memory of Swift that tribute of gratitude, which is so peculiarly his due. One of the latest, as well as the most eloquent panegyrics which have decorated his monument, occurs in “ A Sketch of the State of Ireland, past and present,” published in 1810. With this just and concise character of the Dean of St Patrick's, viewed as an Irish patriot, we close the present section.
“ On this gloom one luminary rose, and Ireland worshipped it with Persian idolatry; her true patriot—her first, almost her last. Sagacious and intrepid-he saw, he dared ; above suspicion, he was trusted ; above envy, he was beloved ; above rivalry, he was obeyed. His wisdom was practical and prophetic-remedial for the present, warning for the future; he first taught Ireland that she might become a nation, and England that she must cease to be a despot. But he was a church
His gown impeded his course, and entangled his efforts,-guiding a senate, or heading an army, he had been more than Cromwell, and Ireland not less than England. As it was, he saved her by his courage—improv her by his authority—adorned her by his talents—and exalted her by his fame. His mission was but of ten years; and for ten years only did his personal power mitigate the government; but though no longer feared by the great, he was not forgotten by the wise; his influence, like his writings, has survived a cen'tury; and the foundations of whatever prosperity we have since erected, are laid in the disinterested and magnanimous patriotism of Swift." I
1 [The tract here quoted is now known to have been an early production of the Right Honourable J. W. Croker.]
Swift retires to Quilca—His friendship for Sheridan-He
visits England-Has an audience of Walpole—Becomes known at the Prince of Wales's Court— Returns to Ireland, and publishes Gulliver's Travels-He revisits England And is recalled by Stella's indisposition—Her death, Swift breaks with the Court and Minister-His writings on Irish affairs—He quarrels with Lord Allen-Is intimate with Carteret-A letter is forged in his name to the Queen-His Miscellaneous Prose Writings about this period—His Poems—His residence at Gossford with Sir Arthur Acheson, and the Verses which were written there.
WHEN Wood's project appeared to be on the verge of being abandoned, Swift, as if desirous of escaping from the popular applause which hailed him from every quarter, retreated with Mrs Dingley and Mrs Johnson to Quilca, a small countryhouse belonging to his intimate friend Dr Sheridan, in a wild and sequestered situation, about seven miles from the town of Kells. In this retirement, where the want of accommodation became the subject of one or two of those pieces of humour, which he has called family trifles, he remained for several months. He seems to have meditated a final blow at Wood and his halfpence; but hearing the patent was resigned, he stopped the publication