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Title: The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, D.D. - Volume 07 - Historical and Political Tracts-Irish
Author: Swift, Jonathan, 1667-1745
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, D.D. - Volume 07 - Historical and Political Tracts-Irish" ***

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|Transcriber's Note: This book is a compilation of previously |
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       *       *       *       *       *




_In 12 volumes, 5s. each._






  Edited by TEMPLE SCOTT. With a biographical introduction by
  W. E. H. LECKY, M. P. With Portrait and Facsimiles.

  RYLAND, M. A. With two Portraits of Stella and a Facsimile of
  one of the Letters.

  CHURCH. Edited by TEMPLE SCOTT. With Portraits and Facsimiles
  of Title-pages.

  Edited by TEMPLE SCOTT. With Portrait and Facsimiles
  of Title-pages.

  SCOTT. With Portrait, Reproductions of Wood's Coinage, and Facsimiles
  of Title-pages.

  Edited by TEMPLE SCOTT. With Portrait and Facsimiles of Title-pages.

  DENNIS. With Portrait, Maps and Facsimiles.

  With Portrait.

  With Portrait.

  With Portrait.                              [_In the press._

  WORKS. Together with an Essay on the Portraits of
  Swift, by the HON. SIR FREDERICK FALKINER, K. C. With two
  Portraits.                                  [_In the press._


     "An adequate edition of Swift--the whole of Swift, and nothing but
     Swift--has long been one of the pressing needs of students of
     English literature. Mr. Temple Scott, who is preparing the new
     edition of Swift's Prose Works, has begun well, his first volume is
     marked by care and knowledge. He has scrupulously collated his
     texts with the first or the best early editions, and has given
     various readings in the footnotes.... Mr. Temple Scott may well be
     congratulated on his skill and judgment as a commentator.... He has
     undoubtedly earned the gratitude of all admirers of our greatest
     satirist, and all students of vigorous, masculine, and exact

     "The volume is an agreeable one to hold and to refer to, and the
     notes and apparatus are, on the whole, exact. A cheap and handy
     reprint, which we can conscientiously recommend."--_Saturday

     "From the specimen now before us we may safely predict that Mr.
     Temple Scott will easily distance both Roscoe and Scott. He
     deserves the gratitude of all lovers of literature for enabling
     Swift again to make his bow to the world in so satisfactory and
     complete a garb."--_Manchester Guardian._

     "Mr. Temple Scott's introductions and notes are excellent in all
     respects, and this edition of Swift is likely to be one most
     acceptable to scholars."--_Notes and Queries._

     "The new Bohn's Library edition of the prose works of Jonathan
     Swift is a venture which proves itself the more welcome as each
     instalment is issued.... This edition is likely long to remain the
     standard edition."--_Literary World._

     "'Bohn's Libraries' need no push, and the magnificent edition of
     'The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift,' edited by Mr. Temple Scott, is
     in every respect worthy of that great collection of classics. It is
     an ideal edition, edited by an ideal editor, beautifully printed,
     handsomely bound, and ridiculously cheap. I have no hesitation in
     saying that this edition supersedes all its forerunners."--_Star._

     "We have nothing but praise for the editing, annotating, printing,
     and general production. Indeed, now that the set has advanced so
     far, we can safely pronounce the opinion that all other editions of
     Swift must give place to it, and that no serious student of the
     politics of the eighteenth century can afford to be without these
     volumes.... A superb edition."--_Irish Times._

     "Edited with exhaustive care, and produced in excellent style. This
     is not only the best, it is the _only_ edition of Swift."--_Pall
     Mall Gazette._

     "There could hardly be a more acceptable addition to Bohn's
     Standard Library than a new edition of Swift's Prose Works. The
     text is well printed, and the volume is of convenient size. The
     edition deserves to be popular, since Swift is a writer who will
     always be read, while this edition will bring him within reach of a
     number of new readers."--_Scotsman._

     "The time is now ripe for a definite edition. This, of which the
     first volume lies before us, promises to fulfil all the conditions
     of a scholarly and satisfying work.... The edition is a genuine
     gain to English literature."--_Birmingham Post._

     "The publishers of Bohn's Libraries will earn the thanks of a wide
     circle of readers by their undertaking to produce a popular and
     collected edition of the prose works of Swift.... So far as one
     may judge from a first instalment, the present edition seems to
     fulfil the requirements of popularity and accuracy as well as could
     be desired.... The edition promises to be one of the most valuable
     and welcome items in those classic 'Libraries' which have done so
     much to bring good literature, in worthy form, within the reach of
     the British public."--_Glasgow Herald._

     "We are indebted to the proprietors of the Bohn Libraries for
     various literary enterprises, but it is questionable indeed if they
     have issued lately a work more acceptable, or likely to become more
     popular, than 'The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift.' No better
     edition of it could be desired. Mr. Temple Scott is editing the
     volumes with the greatest care."--_Belfast News Letter._

     "No more welcome reprint has appeared for some time past than the
     new edition, complete and exact so far as it was possible to make
     it, of Swift's 'Journal to Stella.'"--_Morning Post._

     "By far the most satisfactory text yet printed of the wonderful
     'Journal to Stella.'"--_Newcastle Daily Chronicle._

     "The 'Journal to Stella' has long stood in need of editing, far
     more than any other of Swift's works. It abounds in references to
     persons great and small, to political and social 'occurrents,' to
     ephemeral publications; and to identify and explain all these
     demands an editor steeped in the history, literature, broadsides
     and press news of the time of the Harley administration. Mr.
     Ryland's present edition will satisfy all but the few who dream of
     an ideal."--_Athenæum._

     "The immortal 'Journal to Stella,' one of the works most
     indispensable to a knowledge of the life and literature of the
     early part of the eighteenth century. We know of no shape in which
     the Journal is published so convenient for perusal as this. The
     notes are short and serviceable, and there is a full
     index."--_Notes and Queries._

     "At last we have a well-printed, carefully edited text of Swift's
     famous Journal in a single, handy, and cheap volume. The present
     edition will, we hope, encourage many timid souls, who have been
     awed by the formidable array of Scott, Sheridan, or Hawkesworth's
     editions, to make the acquaintance of the most interesting,
     charming, and tender journal that ever man kept for a woman's
     eye."--_St. James's Gazette._

     "Mr. Dennis is quite justified in his boast of now first giving us
     a complete and trustworthy text [of 'Gulliver's
     Travels']."--_Manchester Guardian._

     "The number of useless reprints of Gulliver, based on Hawkesworth's
     untrustworthy edition, and mostly expurgated besides, is so great
     that we owe double thanks to Mr. Dennis, since he has not shirked
     the trouble of collating the five earliest editions, and has given
     us again at last--as far as is possible in the present case--the
     complete and authentic text of the original."--PROF. MAX
     FÖRSTER in _Anglia_.

     "An ideal text of 'Gulliver's Travels.'"--_Literary World._

     "The best and most scholarly edition of 'Gulliver's
     Travels.'"--_University Correspondent._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Jonathan Swift_

_From an engraving by Andrew Miller after the painting by Francis Bindon
in the Deanery of St. Patrick's Dublin._]










Swift took up his permanent residence in the Irish capital in 1714. The
Harley Administration had fallen never to rise again. Harley himself was
a prisoner in the Tower, and Bolingbroke a voluntary exile in France,
and an open adherent of the Pretender. Swift came to Dublin to be met by
the jeers of the populace, the suspicion of the government officials,
and the polite indifference of his clerical colleagues. He had time
enough now in which to reflect and employ his brain powers. For several
years he kept himself altogether to his duties as Dean of the Cathedral
of St. Patrick's, only venturing his pen in letters to dear friends in
England--to Pope, Atterbury, Lady Howard. His private relations with
Miss Hester Vanhomrigh came to a climax, also, during this period, and
his peculiar intimacy with "Stella" Johnson took the definite shape in
which we now know it.

He found himself in debt to his predecessor, Sterne, for a large and
comfortless house and for the cost of his own installation into his
office. The money he was to have received (£1,000) to defray these
expenses, from the last administration, was now, on its fall, kept back
from him. Swift had these encumbrances to pay off and he had his Chapter
to see to. He did both in characteristic fashion. By dint of almost
penurious saving he accomplished the former and the latter he managed
autocratically and with good sense. His connection with Oxford and
Bolingbroke had been of too intimate a nature for those in power to
ignore him. Indeed, his own letters to Knightley Chetwode[1] show us
that he was in great fear of arrest. But there is now no doubt that the
treasonable relations between Harley and St. John and the Pretender were
a great surprise to Swift when they were discovered. He himself had
always been an ardent supporter of the Protestant succession, and his
writings during his later period in Ireland constantly emphasize this
attitude of his--almost too much so.

The condition of Ireland as Swift found it in 1714, and as he had known
of it even before that time, was of a kind to rouse a temper like his to
quick and indignant expression. Even as early as the spring of 1716 we
find him unable to restrain himself, and in his letter to Atterbury of
April 18th we catch the spirit which, four years later, showed itself in
"The Proposal for the Universal Use of Irish Manufactures" and the
"Drapier's Letters," and culminated in 1729 in the terrible "Modest
Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People from being a Burthen
to their Parents." To Atterbury he wrote:

"I congratulate with England for joining with us here in the fellowship
of slavery. It is not so terrible a thing as you imagine: we have long
lived under it: and whenever you are disposed to know how to behave
yourself in your new condition, you need go no further than me for a
director. But, because we are resolved to go beyond you, we have
transmitted a bill to England, to be returned here, giving the
Government and six of the Council power for three years to imprison whom
they please for three months, without any trial or examination: and I
expect to be among the first of those upon whom this law will be

Writing to Archdeacon Walls[2] (May 5th, 1715) of the people in power,
he said:

"They shall be deceived as far as my power reaches, and shall not find
me altogether so great a cully as they would willingly make me."

At that time England was beginning to initiate a new method for what it
called the proper government of Ireland. Hitherto it had tried the plan
of setting one party in the country against another; but now a new party
was called into being, known as the "English party." This party had
nothing to do with the Irish national spirit, and any man, no matter how
capable, who held by such a national spirit, was to be set aside. There
was to be no Irish party or parties as such--there was to be only the
English party governing Ireland in the interests of England. It was the
beginning of a government which led to the appointment of such a man as
Primate Boulter, who simply ruled Ireland behind the Lord Lieutenant
(who was but a figurehead) for and on behalf of the King of England's
advisers. Irish institutions, Irish ideas, Irish traditions, the Irish
Church, Irish schools, Irish language and literature, Irish trade,
manufactures, commerce, agriculture--all were to be subordinated to
England's needs and England's demands. At any cost almost, these were to
be made subservient to the interests of England. So well was this plan
carried out, that Ireland found itself being governed by a small English
clique and its Houses of Parliament a mere tool in the clique's hands.
The Parliament no longer represented the national will, since it did
really nothing but ratify what the English party asked for, or what the
King's ministers in England instructed should be made law.

Irish manufactures were ruined by legislation; the commerce of Ireland
was destroyed by the same means; her schools became practically
penitentiaries to the Catholic children, who were compelled to receive a
Protestant instruction; her agriculture was degraded to the degree that
cattle could not be exported nor the wool sold or shipped from her own
ports to other countries; her towns swarmed with beggars and thieves,
forced there by the desolation which prevailed in the country districts,
where people starved by the wayside, and where those who lived barely
kept body and soul together to pay the rents of the absentee landlords.

Swift has himself, in the pamphlets printed in the present volume, given
a fairly accurate and no exaggerated account of the miserable condition
of his country at this time; and his writings are amply corroborated by
other men who might be considered less passionate and more temperate.

The people had become degraded through the evil influence of a
contemptuous and spendthrift landlord class, who considered the tenant
in no other light than as a rent-paying creature. As Roman Catholics
they found themselves the social inferiors of the ruling Protestant
class--the laws had placed them in that invidious position. They were
practically without any defence. They were ignorant, poor, and
half-starved. Thriftless, like their landlords, they ate up in the
autumn what harvests they gathered, and begged for their winter's
support. Adultery and incest were common and bred a body of lawless
creatures, who herded together like wild beasts and became dangerous

Swift knew all this. He had time, between the years 1714 and 1720, to
find it out, even if he had not known of it before. But the condition
was getting worse, and his heart filled, as he told Pope in 1728, with a
"perfect rage and resentment" at "the mortifying sight of slavery,
folly, and baseness about me, among which I am forced to live."

He commenced what might be called a campaign of attack in 1720, with the
publication of his tract entitled, "A Modest Proposal for the Universal
Use of Irish Manufactures." As has been pointed out in the notes
prefixed to the pamphlets in the present volume, England had,
apparently, gone to work systematically to ruin Irish manufactures. They
seemed to threaten ruin to English industries; at least so the people in
England thought. The pernicious legislation began in the reign of
Charles II. and continued in that of William III. The Irish manufacturer
was not permitted to export his products and found a precarious
livelihood in a contraband trade. Swift's "Proposal" is one of
retaliation. Since England will not allow Ireland to send out her goods,
let the people of Ireland use them, and let them join together and
determine to use nothing from England. Everything that came from England
should be burned, except the people and the coal. If England had the
right to prevent the exportation of the goods made in Ireland, she had
not the right to prevent the people of Ireland from choosing what they
should wear. The temper of the pamphlet was mild in the extreme; but the
governing officials saw in it dangerous symptoms. The pamphlet was
stigmatized as libellous and seditious, and the writer as attempting to
disunite the two nations. The printer was brought to trial, and the
pamphlet obtained a tremendous circulation. Although the jury acquitted
the printer, Chief Justice Whitshed, who had, as Swift puts it, "so
quick an understanding, that he resolved, if possible, to outdo his
orders," sent the jury back nine times to reconsider their verdict. He
even declared solemnly that the author's design was to bring in the
Pretender. This cry of bringing in the Pretender was raised on any and
every occasion, and has been well ridiculed by Swift in his "Examination
of Certain Abuses and Corruptions in the City of Dublin." The end of
Whitshed's persecution could have been foretold--it fizzled out in a
_nolle prosequi_.

Following on this interesting commencement came the lengthened agitation
against Wood's Halfpence to which we owe the remarkable series of
writings known now as the "Drapier's Letters." These are fully discussed
in the volume preceding this. But Swift found other channels in which to
continue rousing the spirit of the people, and refreshing it to further
effort. The mania for speculation which Law's schemes had given birth
to, reached poor Ireland also. People thought there might be found a
scheme on similar lines by which Ireland might move to prosperity. A
Bank project was initiated for the purpose of assisting small tradesmen.
But a scheme that in itself would have been excellent in a prosperous
society, could only end in failure in such a community as peopled
Ireland. Swift felt this and opposed the plan in his satirical tract,
"The Swearer's Bank." The tract sufficed, for no more was heard of the
National Bank after the House of Commons rejected it.

The thieves and "roughs" who infested Dublin came in next for Swift's
attention. In characteristic fashion he seized the occasion of the
arrest and execution of one of their leaders to publish a pretended
"Last Speech and Dying Confession," in which he threatened exposure and
arrest to the remainder of the gang if they did not make themselves
scarce. The threat had its effect, and the city found itself
considerably safer as a consequence.

How Swift pounded out his "rage and resentment" against English
misgovernment, may be further read in the "Story of the Injured Lady,"
and in the "Answer" to that story. The Injured Lady is Ireland, who
tells her lover, England, of her attractions, and upbraids him on his
conduct towards her. In the "Answer" Swift tells the Lady what she ought
to do, and hardly minces matters. Let her show the right spirit, he says
to her, and she will find there are many gentlemen who will support her
and champion her cause.

Then came the plain, pathetic, and truthful recital of the "Short View
of the State of Ireland"--a pamphlet of but a few pages and yet terribly
effective. As an historical document it takes rank with the experiences
of the clergymen, Skelton and Jackson, as well as the more dispassionate
writings of contemporary historians. It is frequently cited by Lecky in
his "History of Ireland."

What Swift had so far left undone, either from political reasons or from
motives of personal restraint, he completed in what may, without
exaggeration, be called his satirical masterpiece--the "Modest Proposal
for Preventing the Children of Poor People from being a Burthen to their
Parents." Nothing comparable to this piece of writing is to be found in
any literature; while the mere fact that it came into being must stand
as one of the deadliest indictments against England's misrule.
Governments and rulers have been satirized time and again, but no
similar condition of things has existed with a Swift living at the time,
to observe and comment on them. The tract itself must be read with a
knowledge of the Irish conditions then prevailing; its temper is so calm
and restrained that a reader unacquainted with the conditions might be
misled and think that the author of "Gulliver's Travels" was indulging
himself in one of his grim jokes. That it was not a joke its readers at
the time well knew, and many of them also knew how great was the
indignation which raged in Swift's heart to stir him to so unprecedented
an expression of contempt. He had, as he himself said, raged and stormed
only to find himself stupefied. In the "Modest Proposal" he changed his
tune and

      ... with raillery to nettle,
  Set your thoughts upon their mettle.

Swift has been censured for the cold-blooded cynicism of this piece of
writing, but these censurers have entirely misunderstood both his motive
and his meaning. We wonder how any one could take seriously a proposal
for breeding children for food purposes, and our wonder grows in
reflecting on an inability to see through the thin veil of satire which
barely hid an impeachment of a ruling nation by the mere statement of
the proposal itself. That a Frenchman should so misunderstand it (as a
Frenchman did) may not surprise us, but that any Englishman should so
take it argues an utter absence of humour and a total ignorance of Irish
conditions at the time the tract was written. But history has justified
Swift, and it is to his writings, rather than to the many works written
by more commonplace observers, that we now turn for the true story of
Ireland's wrongs, and the real sources of her continued attitude of
hostility towards England's government of her.

It has been well noted by one of Swift's biographers, that for a
thousand readers which the "Modest Proposal" has found, there is perhaps
only one who is acquainted with Swift's "Answer to the Craftsman." It
may be that the title is misleading or uninviting; but there is no
question that this tract may well stand by the side of the "Modest
Proposal," both for force of argument and pungency of satire. In its way
and within the limits of its more restricted argument it is one of the
ablest pieces of writing Swift has given us on behalf of Irish liberty.

The title of Irish patriot which Swift obtained was not sought for by
him. It was given him mainly for the part he played, and for the success
he achieved in the Wood's patent agitation. He was acclaimed the
champion of the people, because he had stopped the foolish manoeuvres
of the Walpole Administration. So to label him, however, would be to do
him an injustice. In truth, he would have championed the cause of
liberty and justice in any country in which he lived, had he found
liberty and justice wanting there. The matter of the copper coinage
patent was but a peg for him to hang arguments which applied almost
everywhere. It was not to the particular arguments but to the spirit
which gave them life that we must look for the true value of Swift's
work. And that spirit--honest, brave, strong for the right--is even more
abundantly displayed in the writings we have just considered. They
witness to his championship of liberty and justice, to his impeachment
of selfish office-holders and a short-sighted policy. They gave him his
position as the chief among the citizens of Dublin to whom he spoke as
counsel and adviser. They proclaim him as the friend of the common
people, to whom he was more than the Dean of St. Patrick's. He may have
begun his work impelled by a hatred for Whiggish principles; but he
undoubtedly accomplished it in the spirit of a broad-minded and
far-seeing statesman. The pressing needs of Ireland were too urgent and
crying for him to permit his personal dislike of the Irish natives to
divert him from his humanitarian efforts. If he hated the beggar he was
ready with his charity. The times in which he lived were not times in
which, as he told the freemen of Dublin, "to expect such an exalted
degree of virtue from mortal men." He was speaking to them of the
impossibility of office-holders being independent of the government
under which they held their offices. "Blazing stars," he said, "are much
more frequently seen than such heroical virtues." As the Irish people
were governed by such men he advised them strongly to choose a
parliamentary representative from among themselves. He insisted on the
value of their collected voice, their unanimity of effort, a
consciousness of their understanding of what they wished to bring about.
"Be independent" is the text of all his writings to the people of
Ireland. It is idle to appeal to England's clemency or England's
justice. It is vain to evolve social schemes and Utopian dreams. The
remedy lay in their own hands, if the people only realized it.

"Violent zeal for truth," Swift noted in one of his "Thoughts on
Religion," "has a hundred to one odds to be either petulancy, ambition,
or pride." Examining Swift's writings on behalf of Ireland by the
criterion provided in this statement, we must acquit him entirely of
misusing any of these qualities. If he were bitter or scornful, he was
certainly not petulant. No one has written with more justice or
coolness; the temper is hot but it is the heat of a conscious and
collected indignation. If he wrote or spoke in a manner somewhat
overbearing, it was not because of ambition, since he was now long past
his youth and his mind had become settled in a fairly complacent
acceptance of his position. If he had pride, and he undoubtedly had, it
was nowhere obtruded for personal aggrandizement, but rather by way of
emphasizing the dignity of citizenship, and the value of self-respect.
Assuredly, in these Irish tracts, Swift was no violent zealot for truth.
Indeed, it is a high compliment to pay him, to say that we wonder he
restrained himself as he did.

Swift, however, had his weakness also, and it lay, as weaknesses
generally lie, very close to his strength. Swift's fault as a thinker
was the outcome of his intellectuality--he was too purely intellectual.
He set little store on the emotional side of human nature; his appeal
was always to the reason. He hated cant, and any expression of emotion
appealed to him as cant. He could not bear to be seen saying his
prayers; his acts of charity were surreptitious and given in secret with
an affectation of cynicism, so that they might veil the motive which
impelled them. It may have been pride or a dislike to be considered
sentimental; but his attitude owed its spring to a genuine faith in his
own thought. If Swift had one pride more than another, it lay in a
consciousness of his own superiority over his fellow-mortals. It was the
pride of intellect and a belief that man showed himself best by
following the judgements of the reason. His disgust with people was born
of their unreasonable selfishness, their instinctive greed and rapacity,
their blind stupidity, all which resulted for them in so much injustice.
Had they been reasonable, he would have argued, they would have been
better and happier. The sentiments and the passions were impulsive, and
therefore unreasonable. Swift seemed to have no faith in their elevation
to a higher intellectual plane, and yet he often roused them by his very
appeals to reason. His eminently successful "Drapier's Letters" are a
case in point. Yet we question if Swift were not himself surprised at
their effect. He knew his power later when he threatened the Archbishop
of Armagh, but he, no doubt, credited the result to his own arguments,
and not to the passions he had aroused. His sense of justice was the
strongest, and it was through that sense that the condition of the
people of Ireland appealed to him. He forgot, or he did not see that the
very passion in himself was of prime importance, since it was really to
it that his own efforts were due. The fine flower of imagination never
blossomed in Swift. He was neither prophet nor poet; but he was a great
leader, a splendid captain, a logical statesman. It is to this lack of
imagination that we must look for the real root of his cynical humour
and satirical temper. A more imaginative man than Swift with much less
power would have better appreciated the weaknesses of humanity and made
allowances for them. He would never have held them up to ridicule and
contempt, but would rather have laid stress on those instincts of honour
and nobility which the most ignorant and least reasoning possess in some

Looking back on the work Swift did, and comparing its effect at the time
with the current esteem in which he is held in the present day, we shall
find that his reputation has altogether changed. In his own day, and
especially during his life in Ireland, his work was special, and brought
him a special repute. He was a party's advocate and the people's friend.
His literary output, distinguished though it was, was of secondary
importance compared with the purpose for which it was accomplished. He
was the friend of Harley, the champion of the Protestant Church, the
Irish patriot, the enemy of Whiggism, the opponent of Nonconformity.
To-day all these phrases mean little or nothing to those who know of
Swift as the author of "A Tale of a Tub," and "Gulliver's Travels."
Swift is now accepted as a great satirist, and admired for the wonderful
knowledge he shows of the failings and weaknesses of human nature. He is
admired but never loved. The particular occasions in his life-time
which urged him to rouse passions mean nothing to us; they have lost the
aroma of his just indignation and are become historical events. What is
left of him for us is the result of cold analysis and almost heartless
contempt. How different would it have been had Swift allied his great
gift as a writer to such a spirit as breathes in the Sermon on the
Mount! But to wish this is perhaps as foolish as to expect dates to grow
on thistles. We must accept what is given us, and see that we, at any
rate, steer clear of the dangers mapped out for us by the travellers of
the past.

       *       *       *       *       *

The editor takes this opportunity to thank Mr. G. Ravenscroft Dennis and
Mr. W. Spencer Jackson for much valuable assistance in the reading of
proofs and the collation of texts.



_May 18, 1905._


  THE CHOOSING A NEW SPEAKER THERE                                     1



  THE SWEARER'S BANK                                                  37

  A LETTER TO THE KING AT ARMS                                        47


  EXAMINED WITH REFERENCE TO IRELAND                                  63

  OF QUILCA                                                           73

  A SHORT VIEW OF THE STATE OF IRELAND                                79


  THE ANSWER TO THE INJURED LADY                                     104

  OF IRELAND"                                                        107


  HANDS                                                              127

  WEAVERS                                                            135

  ETC.                                                               145

  THE PRESENT MISERABLE STATE OF IRELAND                             151

  DEAN WITH HIS FREEDOM IN A GOLD BOX                                167

  JOSHUA, LORD ALLEN                                                 173

  AND A NEW ONE PROPOSED                                             177


  THE PUBLIC                                                         201

  ANSWER TO THE CRAFTSMAN                                            217



  AT LAW                                                             259

  ENORMITIES IN THE CITY OF DUBLIN                                   261

  INCURABLES                                                         283

  CITY OF DUBLIN                                                     305



  PARISHES OF DUBLIN                                                 321


  ON BARBAROUS DENOMINATIONS IN IRELAND                              343


  IRISH ELOQUENCE                                                    361

  A DIALOGUE IN HIBERNIAN STYLE                                      362

  DUBLIN                                                             364

  CORK                                                               366

  ULSTER                                                             368

  CERTIFICATE TO A DISCARDED SERVANT                                 369

  OF ST. PATRICK'S CATHEDRAL, DUBLIN                                 370



     AN ACCOUNT OF THE COURT AND EMPIRE OF JAPAN                     382

     ESQ., TO THE RIGHT HON. SIR ROBERT WALPOLE                      392

  INDEX                                                              401







     In the note prefixed to the reprint of Swift's "Letter concerning
     the Sacramental Test," the circumstances under which this "Letter
     to a Member of Parliament in Ireland" was written, are explained
     (see vol. iv., pp. 3-4, of present edition). The Godolphin ministry
     was anxious to repeal the Test Act in Ireland, as a concession to
     the Presbyterians who had made themselves prominent by their
     expressions of loyalty to William and the Protestant succession. In
     this particular year also (1708), rumours of an invasion gave them
     another opportunity to send in loyal addresses. In reality,
     however, the endeavour to try the repeal in Ireland, was in the
     nature of a test, and Swift ridiculed the attempt as being like to
     "that of a discreet physician, who first gives a new medicine to a
     dog, before he prescribes it to a human creature." It seems that
     Swift had been consulted by Somers on the question of the repeal,
     and had given his opinion very frankly. The letter to Archbishop
     King, revealing this, contains some bitter remarks about "a certain
     lawyer of Ireland." The lawyer was Speaker Brodrick, afterwards
     Lord Midleton, who was enthusiastic for the repeal. The present
     letter gives a very clear idea of what Swift thought should be a
     Speaker's duties both as the chairman of the House and as related
     to this particular measure of the Test.

       *       *       *       *       *

     The text of the present reprint is based on the original manuscript
     in Swift's handwriting; but as this was found to be somewhat
     illegible, it has been collated with the text given in vol. viii.
     of the quarto edition of Swift's collected works, published in

     [T. S.]



You may easily believe I am not at all surprised at what you tell me,
since it is but a confirmation of my own conjecture that I sent you last
week, and made you my reproaches upon it at a venture. It looks
exceeding strange, yet, I believe it to be a great truth, that, in order
to carry a point in your house, the two following circumstances are of
great advantage; first, to have an ill cause; and, secondly, to be a
minority. For both these circumstances are extremely apt to unite men,
to make them assiduous in their attendance, watchful of opportunities,
zealous for gaining over proselytes, and often successful; which is not
to be wondered at, when favour and interest are on the side of their
opinion. Whereas, on the contrary, a majority with a good cause are
negligent and supine. They think it sufficient to declare themselves
upon occasion in favour of their party, but, sailing against the tide of
favour and preferment, they are easily scattered and driven back. In
short, they want a common principle to cement, and motive to spirit
them; For the bare acting upon a principle from the dictates of a good
conscience, or prospect of serving the public, will not go very far
under the present dispositions of mankind. This was amply verified last
sessions of Parliament, upon occasion of the money bill, the merits of
which I shall not pretend to examine. 'Tis enough that, upon the first
news of its transmission hither, in the form it afterwards appeared, the
members, upon discourse with their friends, seemed unanimous against it,
I mean those of both parties, except a few, who were looked upon as
persons ready to go any lengths prescribed them by the court. Yet with
only a week's canvassing among a very few hands, the bill passed after a
full debate, by a very great majority; yet, I believe, you will hardly
attempt persuading me, or anybody else, that one man in ten, of those
who changed their language, were moved by reasons any way affecting the
merits of the cause, but merely through hope, fear, indolence, or good
manners. Nay, I have been assured from good hands, that there was still
a number sufficient to make a majority against the bill, if they had not
apprehended the other side to be secure, and therefore thought it
imprudence, by declaring themselves, to disoblige the government to no

Reflecting upon this and forty other passages, in the several Houses of
Commons since the Revolution, makes me apt to think there is nothing a
chief governor can be commanded to attempt here wherein he may not
succeed, with a very competent share of address, and with such
assistance as he will always find ready at his devotion. And therefore I
repeat what I said at first, that I am not at all surprised at what you
tell me. For, if there had been the least spark of public spirit left,
those who wished well to their country and its constitution in church
and state, should, upon the first news of the late Speaker's promotion,
(and you and I know it might have been done a great deal sooner) have
immediately gone together, and consulted about the fittest person to
succeed him. But, by all I can comprehend, you have been so far from
proceeding thus, that it hardly ever came into any of your heads. And
the reason you give is the worst in the world: That none offered
themselves, and you knew not whom to pitch upon. It seems, however, the
other party was more resolved, or at least not so modest: For you say
your vote is engaged against your opinion, and several gentlemen in my
neighbourhood tell me the same story of themselves; this, I confess, is
of an unusual strain, and a good many steps below any condescensions a
court will, I hope, ever require from you. I shall not trouble myself to
inquire who is the person for whom you and others are engaged, or
whether there be more candidates from that side, than one. You tell me
nothing of either, and I never thought it worth the question to anybody
else. But, in so weighty an affair, and against your judgment, I cannot
look upon you as irrevocably determined. Therefore I desire you will
give me leave to reason with you a little upon the subject, lest your
compliance, or inadvertency, should put you upon what you may have cause
to repent as long as you live.

You know very well, the great business of the high-flying Whigs, at this
juncture, is to endeavour a repeal of the test clause. You know likewise
that the moderate men, both of High and Low Church, profess to be wholly
averse from this design, as thinking it beneath the policy of common
gardeners to cut down the only hedge that shelters from the north.[3]
Now, I will put the case; If the person to whom you have promised your
vote be one of whom you have the least apprehension that he will promote
or assent to the repealing of that clause, whether it be decent or
proper, he should be the mouth of an assembly, whereof a very great
majority pretend to abhor his opinion. Can a body, whose mouth and heart
must go so contrary ways, ever act with sincerity, or hardly with
consistence? Such a man is no proper vehicle to retain or convey the
sense of the House, which, in so many points of the greatest moment,
will be directly contrary to his; 'tis full as absurd, as to prefer a
man to a bishopric who denies revealed religion. But it may possibly be
a great deal worse. What if the person you design to vote into that
important post, should not only be a declared enemy of the sacramental
test, but should prove to be a solicitor, an encourager, or even a
penner of addresses to complain of it? Do you think it so indifferent a
thing, that a promise of course, the effect of compliance, importunity,
shame of refusing, or any the like motive, shall oblige you past the
power of retracting?

Perhaps you will tell me, as some have already had the weakness to do,
that it is of little importance to either party to have a Speaker of
their side, his business being only to take the sense of the House and
report it, that you often, at committees, put an able speaker into the
chair on purpose to prevent him from stopping a bill. Why, if it were no
more than this, I believe I should hardly choose, even among my footmen,
such a one to deliver a message, whose interest and opinions led him to
wish it might miscarry. But I remember to have heard old Colonel
Birch[4] of Herefordshire say, that "he was a very sorry Speaker, whose
single vote was not better than fifty common ones." I am sure it is
reckoned in England the first great test of the prevalency of either
party in the House. Sir Thomas Littleton[5] thought, that a House of
Commons with a stinking breath (supposing the Speaker to be the mouth)
would go near to infect everything within the walls, and a great deal
without. It is the smallest part of an able Speaker's business, what he
performs in the House, at least if he be in with the court, when it is
hard to say how many converts may be made in a circle of dinners, or
private cabals. And you and I can easily call to mind a gentleman in
that station, in England, who, by his own arts and personal credit, was
able to draw over a majority, and change the whole power of a prevailing
side in a nice juncture of affairs, and made a Parliament expire in one
party who had lived in another.

I am far from an inclination to multiply party causes, but surely the
best of us can with very ill grace make that an objection, who have not
been so nice in matters of much less importance. Yet I have heard some
persons of both sides gravely deliver themselves in this manner; "Why
should we make the choosing a Speaker a party cause? Let us fix upon one
who is well versed in the practices and methods of parliament." And I
believe there are too many who would talk at the same rate, if the
question were not only about abolishing the sacramental test, but the
sacrament itself.

But suppose the principles of the most artful Speaker could have no
influence either to obtain or obstruct any point in Parliament, who can
answer what effects such a choice may produce without doors? 'Tis
obvious how small a matter serves to raise the spirits and hopes of the
Dissenters and their high-flying advocates, what lengths they run, what
conclusions they form, and what hopes they entertain. Do they hear of a
new friend in office? That is encouragement enough to practise the
city, against the opinion of a majority into an address to the Queen for
repealing the sacramental test; or issue out their orders to the next
fanatic parson to furbish up his old sermons, and preach and print new
ones directly against Episcopacy. I would lay a good wager, that, if the
choice of a new Speaker succeeds exactly to their liking, we shall see
it soon followed by many new attempts, either in the form of pamphlet,
sermon, or address, to the same, or perhaps more dangerous purposes.

Supposing the Speaker's office to be only an employment of profit and
honour, and a step to a better; since it is in your own gift, will you
not choose to bestow it upon some person whose principles the majority
of you pretends to approve, if it were only to be sure of a worthy man
hereafter in a high station, on the bench or at the bar?

I confess, if it were a thing possible to be compassed, it would seem
most reasonable to fill the chair with some person who would be entirely
devoted to neither party: But, since there are so few of that character,
and those either unqualified or unfriended, I cannot see how a majority
will answer it to their reputation, to be so ill provided of able
persons, that they must have recourse for a leader to their adversaries,
a proceeding of which I never met with above one example, and even that
succeeded but ill, though it was recommended by an oracle, which advised
some city in Greece to beg a general from their enemies, who, in scorn,
sent them either a fiddler or a poet, I have forgot which; but so much I
remember, that his conduct was such, as they soon grew weary of him.

You pretend to be heartily resolved against repealing the sacramental
test, yet, at the same time, give the only great employment you have to
dispose of to a person who will take that test against his stomach (by
which word I understand many a man's conscience) who earnestly wisheth
it repealed, and will endeavour it to the utmost of his power; so that
the first action after you meet, will be a sort of contravention to that
test: And will anybody go further than your practice to judge of your

And now I am upon this subject, I cannot conclude without saying
something to a very popular argument against that sacramental test,
which may be apt to shake many of those who would otherwise wish well
enough to it. They say it was a new hardship put upon the Dissenters,
without any provocation; and, it is plain, could be no way necessary,
because we had peaceably lived together so long without it. They add
some other circumstances of the arts by which it was obtained, and the
person by whom it was inserted. Surely such people do not consider that
the penal laws against Dissenters were made wholly ineffectual by the
connivance and mercy of the government, so that all employments of the
state lay as open to them as they did to the best and most legal
subjects. And what progress they would have made by the advantages of a
late conjecture, is obvious to imagine; which I take to be a full answer
to that objection.

I remember, upon the transmission of that bill with the test clause
inserted, the Dissenters and their partisans, among other topics, spoke
much of the good effects produced by the lenity of the government, that
the Presbyterians were grown very inconsiderable in their number and
quality, and would daily come into the church, if we did not fright them
from it by new severities. When the act was passed, they presently
changed their style, and raised a clamour, through both kingdoms, of the
great numbers of considerable gentry who were laid aside, and could no
longer serve their queen and country; which hyperbolical way of
reckoning, when it came to be melted down into truth, amounted to about
fifteen country justices, most of them of the lowest size, for estate,
quality, or understanding. However, this puts me in mind of a passage
told me by a great man, though I know not whether it be anywhere
recorded. That a complaint was made to the king and council in Sweden,
of a prodigious swarm of Scots, who, under the condition of pedlars,
infested that kingdom to such a degree, as, if not suddenly prevented,
might in time prove dangerous to the state, by joining with any
discontented party. Meanwhile the Scots, by their agents, placed a good
sum of money to engage the offices of the prime minister in their
behalf; who, in order to their defence, told the council, he was assured
they were but a few inconsiderable people, that lived honestly and
poorly, and were not of any consequence. Their enemies offered to prove
the contrary, whereupon an order was made to take their number, which
was found to amount, as I remember, to about thirty thousand. The affair
was again brought before the council, and great reproaches made the
first minister, for his ill computation; who, presently took the other
handle, said, he had reason to believe the number yet greater than what
was returned; and then gravely offered to the king's consideration,
whether it were safe to render desperate so great a body of able men,
who had little to lose, and whom any hard treatment would only serve to
unite into a power capable of disturbing, if not destroying the peace of
the kingdom. And so they were suffered to continue.





     This pamphlet constitutes the opening of a campaign against his
     political enemies in England on whom Swift had, it must be
     presumed, determined to take revenge. When the fall of Harley's
     administration was complete and irrevocable, Swift returned to
     Ireland and, for six years, he lived the simple life of the Dean of
     St. Patrick's, unheard of except by a few of his more intimate
     friends in England. Accustomed by years of intimacy with the
     ministers of Anne's court, and by his own temperament, to act the
     part of leader and adviser, Swift's compulsory silence must have
     chafed and irritated him to a degree. His opportunities for
     advancement had passed with the passing of Harley and Bolingbroke
     from power, and he had given too ardent and enthusiastic a support
     to these friends of his for Walpole to look to him for a like
     service. Moreover, however strong may have been these personal
     motives, Swift's detestation of Walpole's Irish policy must have
     been deep and bitter, even before he began to express himself on
     the matter. His sincerity cannot be doubted, even if we make an
     ample allowance for a private grudge against the great English
     minister. The condition of Ireland, at this time, was such as to
     arouse the warmest indignation from the most indifferent and
     unprejudiced--and it was a condition for which English misrule was
     mainly responsible. It cannot therefore be wondered at that Swift
     should be among the strenuous and persistent opponents of a policy
     which spelled ruin to his country, and his patriotism must be
     recognized even if we accept the existence of a personal motive.

     The crass stupidity which characterized England's dealings with
     Ireland at this time would be hardly credible, were it not on
     record in the acts passed in the reigns of Charles II. and William
     III., and embodied in the resolutions of the English parliament
     during Walpole's term of power. An impartial historian is forced to
     the conclusion that England had determined to ruin the sister
     nation. Already its social life was disreputable; the people taxed
     in various ways far beyond their means; the agriculture at the
     lowest state by the neglect and indifference of the landed
     proprietors; and the manufactures crippled by a series of
     pernicious restrictions imposed by a selfish rival.

     Swift, in writing this "Proposal," did not take advantage of any
     special occasion, as he did later in the matter of Wood's
     halfpence. His occasion must be found in the condition of the
     country, in the injustice to which she was subjected, and in the
     fact that the time had come when it would be wise and safe for him
     to come out once more into the open.

     He began in his characteristic way. All the evils that the laws
     against the manufactures and agriculture of Ireland brought into
     existence are summarized in this "Proposal." His business is not to
     attack the laws directly, but to attempt a method by which these
     shall be nullified. Since the manufactures of Ireland might not be
     exported for sale, let the people of Ireland wear them themselves,
     and let them resolve and determine to wear them in preference to
     those imported from England. If England had the right to prevent
     the importation to it of Irish woollen goods, it was surely only
     just that the Irish should exercise then right to wear their own
     home-made clothes! The tract was a reasonable and mild statement.
     Yet, such was the temper of the governing officials, that a cry was
     raised against it and the writer accused of attempting to disunite
     the two kingdoms. With consistent foolishness, the printer was
     brought to trial, and although the jury acquitted him, yet the Lord
     Chief Justice Whitshed, zealous for his employer more than for his
     office, refused to accept the verdict and attempted to force the
     jury to a conviction. In his letter to Pope, dated January 10th,
     1720-21, Swift gives an account of this matter:

     "I have written in this kingdom, a discourse, to persuade the
     wretched people to wear their own manufactures, instead of those
     from England. This treatise soon spread very fast, being agreeable
     to the sentiments of the whole nation, except those gentlemen who
     had employments, or were expectants. Upon which a person in great
     office here immediately took the alarm; he sent in haste for the
     chief-justice, and informed him of a seditious, factious, and
     virulent pamphlet, lately published, with a design of setting the
     two kingdoms at variance; directing, at the same time, that the
     printer should be prosecuted with the utmost rigour of the law. The
     chief-justice has so quick an understanding, that he resolved, if
     possible, to outdo his orders. The grand juries of the county and
     city were effectually practised with, to represent the said
     pamphlet with all aggravating epithets, for which they had thanks
     sent them from England, and their presentments published, for
     several weeks, in all the newspapers. The printer was seized, and
     forced to give great bail. After his trial, the jury brought him in
     not guilty, although they had been culled with the utmost industry.
     The chief-justice sent them back nine times, and kept them eleven
     hours, until, being perfectly tired out, they were forced to leave
     the matter to the mercy of the judge, by what they call a _special
     verdict_. During the trial, the chief-justice, among other
     singularities, laid his hand on his breast, and protested solemnly
     that the author's design was to bring in the Pretender, although
     there was not a single syllable of party in the whole treatise; and
     although it was known that the most eminent of those who professed
     his own principles, publicly disallowed his proceedings. But the
     cause being so very odious and unpopular, the trial of the verdict
     was deferred from one term to another, until, upon the Duke of
     Grafton's, the lord lieutenant's arrival, his grace, after mature
     advice, and permission from England, was pleased to grant a _noli

     This Chief Justice Whitshed was the same who acted as judge on
     Harding's trial for printing the fourth Drapier letter. Swift never
     forgot him, and took several occasions to satirize him bitterly.

       *       *       *       *       *

     The text of the present edition is based on the Dublin edition of
     1720 and collated with the texts of Faulkner, 1735, and
     Miscellanies of same date.

     [T. S.]



For the universal Use

Of _Irish_ Manufacture,


Cloaths and Furniture of Houses, &c.


_Rejecting_ and _Renouncing_

Every Thing wearable that comes from


       *       *       *       *       *

_Dublin_: Printed and Sold by _E. Waters_, in _Essex-street_, at the
Corner of _Sycamore-Alley_, 1720.



It is the peculiar felicity and prudence of the people in this kingdom,
that whatever commodities or productions lie under the greatest
discouragements from England, those are what we are sure to be most
industrious in cultivating and spreading. Agriculture, which hath been
the principal care of all wise nations, and for the encouragement
whereof there are so many statute laws in England, we countenance so
well, that the landlords are everywhere by penal clauses absolutely
prohibiting their tenants from ploughing; not satisfied to confine them
within certain limitations, as it is the practice of the English; one
effect of which is already seen in the prodigious dearness of corn, and
the importation of it from London, as the cheaper market:[6] And because
people are the riches of a country, and that our neighbours have done,
and are doing all that in them lie, to make our wool a drug to us, and a
monopoly to them; therefore the politic gentlemen of Ireland have
depopulated vast tracts of the best land, for the feeding of sheep.[7]

I could fill a volume as large as the history of the Wise Men of Gotham
with a catalogue only of some wonderful laws and customs we have
observed within thirty years past.[8] 'Tis true indeed, our beneficial
traffic of wool with France, hath been our only support for several
years past, furnishing us all the little money we have to pay our rents
and go to market. But our merchants assure me, "This trade hath received
a great damp by the present fluctuating condition of the coin in France;
and that most of their wine is paid for in specie, without carrying
thither any commodity from hence."

However, since we are so universally bent upon enlarging our flocks, it
may be worth enquiring what we shall do with our wool, in case
Barnstaple[9] should be overstocked, and our French commerce should

I could wish the Parliament had thought fit to have suspended their
regulation of church matters, and enlargements of the prerogative till a
more convenient time, because they did not appear very pressing (at
least to the persons principally concerned) and instead of these great
refinements in politics and divinity, had amused themselves and their
committees a little with the state of the nation. For example: What if
the House of Commons had thought fit to make a resolution _nemine
contradicente_ against wearing any cloth or stuff in their families,
which were not of the growth and manufacture of this kingdom? What if
they had extended it so far as utterly to exclude all silks, velvets,
calicoes, and the whole lexicon of female fopperies; and declared, that
whoever acted otherwise, should be deemed and reputed an enemy to the
nation?[10] What if they had sent up such a resolution to be agreed to
by the House of Lords, and by their own practice and encouragement
spread the execution of it in their several countries? What if we should
agree to make burying in woollen a fashion, as our neighbours have made
it a law? What if the ladies would be content with Irish stuffs for the
furniture of their houses, for gowns and petticoats to themselves and
their daughters? Upon the whole, and to crown all the rest: Let a firm
resolution be taken by male and female, never to appear with one single
shred that comes from England; "And let all the people say,

I hope and believe nothing could please His Majesty better than to hear
that his loyal subjects of both sexes in this kingdom celebrated his
birthday (now approaching) universally clad in their own manufacture. Is
there virtue enough left in this deluded people to save them from the
brink of ruin? If the men's opinions may be taken, the ladies will look
as handsome in stuffs as brocades; and since all will be equal, there
may be room enough to employ their wit and fancy in choosing and
matching of patterns and colours. I heard the late Archbishop of Tuam
mention a pleasant observation of somebody's; "that Ireland would never
be happy till a law were made for burning everything that came from
England, except their people and their coals." Nor am I even yet for
lessening the number of those exceptions.[11]

     Non tanti mitra est, non tanti judicis ostrum.

But I should rejoice to see a staylace from England be thought
scandalous, and become a topic for censure at visits and tea-tables.

If the unthinking shopkeepers in this town had not been utterly
destitute of common sense, they would have made some proposal to the
Parliament, with a petition to the purpose I have mentioned; promising
to improve the "cloths and stuffs of the nation into all possible
degrees of fineness and colours, and engaging not to play the knave
according to their custom, by exacting and imposing upon the nobility
and gentry either as to the prices or the goodness." For I remember in
London upon a general mourning, the rascally mercers and
woollen-drapers, would in four-and-twenty hours raise their cloths and
silks to above a double price; and if the mourning continued long, then
come whining with petitions to the court, that they were ready to
starve, and their fineries lay upon their hands.

I could wish our shopkeepers would immediately think on this proposal,
addressing it to all persons of quality and others; but first be sure to
get somebody who can write sense, to put it into form.

I think it needless to exhort the clergy to follow this good example,
because in a little time, those among them who are so unfortunate to
have had their birth and education in this country, will think
themselves abundantly happy when they can afford Irish crape, and an
Athlone hat; and as to the others I shall not presume to direct them. I
have indeed seen the present Archbishop of Dublin clad from head to foot
in our own manufacture; and yet, under the rose be it spoken, his Grace
deserves as good a gown as any prelate in Christendom.[12]

I have not courage enough to offer one syllable on this subject to their
honours of the army: Neither have I sufficiently considered the great
importance of scarlet and gold lace.

The fable in Ovid of Arachne and Pallas, is to this purpose. The goddess
had heard of one Arachne a young virgin, very famous for spinning and
weaving. They both met upon a trial of skill; and Pallas finding herself
almost equalled in her own art, stung with rage and envy, knocked her
rival down, turned her into a spider, enjoining her to spin and weave
for ever, out of her own bowels, and in a very narrow compass. I
confess, that from a boy, I always pitied poor Arachne, and could never
heartily love the goddess on account of so cruel and unjust a sentence;
which however is fully executed upon us by England, with further
additions of rigour and severity. For the greatest part of our bowels
and vitals are extracted, without allowing us the liberty of spinning
and weaving them.

The Scripture tells us, that "oppression makes a wise man mad."
Therefore, consequently speaking, the reason why some men are not mad,
is because they are not wise: However, it were to be wished that
oppression would in time teach a little wisdom to fools.

I was much delighted with a person who hath a great estate in this
kingdom, upon his complaints to me, "how grievously poor England suffers
by impositions from Ireland. That we convey our own wool to France in
spite of all the harpies at the custom-house. That Mr. Shuttleworth, and
others on the Cheshire coasts are such fools to sell us their bark at a
good price for tanning our own hides into leather; with other enormities
of the like weight and kind." To which I will venture to add some more:
"That the mayoralty of this city is always executed by an inhabitant,
and often by a native, which might as well be done by a deputy, with a
moderate salary, whereby poor England lose at least one thousand pounds
a year upon the balance. That the governing of this kingdom costs the
lord lieutenant two thousand four hundred pounds a year,[13] so much
_net_ loss to poor England. That the people of Ireland presume to dig
for coals in their own grounds, and the farmers in the county of Wicklow
send their turf to the very market of Dublin, to the great
discouragement of the coal trade at Mostyn and Whitehaven. That the
revenues of the post-office here, so righteously belonging to the
English treasury, as arising chiefly from our own commerce with each
other, should be remitted to London, clogged with that grievous burthen
of exchange, and the pensions paid out of the Irish revenues to English
favourites, should lie under the same disadvantage, to the great loss of
the grantees. When a divine is sent over to a bishopric here, with the
hopes of five-and-twenty hundred pounds a year; upon his arrival, he
finds, alas! a dreadful discount of ten or twelve _per cent._ A judge or
a commissioner of the revenue has the same cause of complaint."--Lastly,

"The ballad upon Cotter is vehemently suspected to be Irish manufacture;
and yet is allowed to be sung in our open streets, under the very nose
of the government."[14] These are a few among the many hardships we put
upon that _poor_ kingdom of England; for which I am confident every
honest man wishes a remedy: And I hear there is a project on foot for
transporting our best wheaten straw by sea and land carriage to
Dunstable; and obliging us by a law to take off yearly so many ton of
straw hats for the use of our women, which will be a great encouragement
to the manufacture of that industrious town.

I should be glad to learn among the divines, whether a law to bind men
without their own consent, be obligatory _in foro conscientiae_; because
I find Scripture, Sanderson and Suarez are wholly silent in the matter.
The oracle of reason, the great law of nature, and general opinion of
civilians, wherever they treat of limited governments, are indeed
decisive enough.

It is wonderful to observe the bias among our people in favour of
things, persons, and wares of all kinds that come from England. The
printer tells his hawkers that he has got "an excellent new song just
brought from London." I have somewhat of a tendency that way myself; and
upon hearing a coxcomb from thence displaying himself with great
volubility upon the park, the playhouse, the opera, the gaming
ordinaries, it was apt to beget in me a kind of veneration for his parts
and accomplishments. 'Tis not many years, since I remember a person who
by his style and literature seems to have been corrector of a
hedge-press in some blind alley about Little Britain, proceed gradually
to be an author, at least a translator of a lower rate, though somewhat
of a larger bulk, than any that now flourishes in Grub Street; and upon
the strength of this foundation, come over here, erect himself up into
an orator and politician, and lead a kingdom after him.[15] This, I am
told, was the very motive that prevailed on the author of a play, called
"Love in a hollow Tree," to do us the honour of a visit; presuming with
very good reason, that he was a writer of a superior class.[16] I know
another, who for thirty years past, hath been the common standard of
stupidity in England, where he was never heard a minute in any assembly,
or by any party with common Christian treatment; yet upon his arrival
hither, could put on a face of importance and authority, talked more
than six, without either gracefulness, propriety, or meaning; and at the
same time be admired and followed as the pattern of eloquence and

Nothing hath humbled me so much, or shewn a greater disposition to a
contemptuous treatment of Ireland in some chief governors,[17] than that
high style of several speeches from the throne, delivered, as usual,
after the royal assent, in some periods of the two last reigns. Such
high exaggerations of the prodigious condescensions in the prince, to
pass those good laws, would have but an odd sound at Westminster:
Neither do I apprehend how any good law can pass, wherein the king's
interest is not as much concerned as that of the people. I remember
after a speech on the like occasion, delivered by my Lord Wharton, (I
think it was his last) he desired Mr. Addison to ask my opinion of it:
My answer was, "That his Excellency had very honestly forfeited his head
on account of one paragraph; wherein he asserted by plain consequence, a
dispensing power in the Queen." His Lordship owned it was true, but
swore the words were put into his mouth by direct orders from Court.
From whence it is clear, that some ministers in those times, were apt,
from their high elevation, to look down upon this kingdom as if it had
been one of their colonies of outcasts in America. And I observed a
little of the same turn of spirit in some great men, from whom I
expected better; although to do them justice, it proved no point of
difficulty to make them correct their idea, whereof the whole nation
quickly found the benefit?--But that is forgotten. How the style hath
since run, I am wholly a stranger, having never seen a speech since the
last of the Queen.

I would now expostulate a little with our country landlords, who by
unmeasurable screwing and racking their tenants all over the kingdom,
have already reduced the miserable people to a worse condition than the
peasants in France, or the vassals in Germany and Poland; so that the
whole species of what we call substantial farmers, will in a very few
years be utterly at an end.[18] It was pleasant to observe these
gentlemen labouring with all their might for preventing the bishops from
letting their revenues at a moderate half value, (whereby the whole
order would in an age have been reduced to manifest beggary) at the very
instant when they were everywhere canting their own lands upon short
leases, and sacrificing their oldest tenants for a penny an acre
advance.[19] I know not how it comes to pass, (and yet perhaps I know
well enough) that slaves have a natural disposition to be tyrants; and
that when my betters give me a kick, I am apt to revenge it with six
upon my footman; although perhaps he may be an honest and diligent
fellow. I have heard great divines affirm, that "nothing is so likely to
call down an universal judgment from Heaven upon a nation as universal
oppression;" and whether this be not already verified in part, their
worships the landlords are now at full leisure to consider. Whoever
travels this country, and observes the face of nature, or the faces, and
habits, and dwellings of the natives, will hardly think himself in a
land where either law, religion, or common humanity is professed.[20]

I cannot forbear saying one word upon a thing they call a bank, which I
hear is projecting in this town.[21] I never saw the proposals, nor
understand any one particular of their scheme: What I wish for at
present, is only a sufficient provision of hemp, and caps, and bells,
to distribute according to the several degrees of honesty and prudence
in some persons. I hear only of a monstrous sum already named; and if
others, do not soon hear of it too, and hear of it with a vengeance,
then am I a gentleman of less sagacity, than myself and very few
besides, take me to be. And the jest will be still the better, if it be
true, as judicious persons have assured me, that one half of this money
will be real, and the other half only Gasconnade.[22] The matter will be
likewise much mended, if the merchants continue to carry off our gold,
and our goldsmiths to melt down our heavy silver.






     The excitement and even fury which were prevalent in England and
     France during the years 1719 and 1720 over Law's South Sea schemes
     afforded Swift an opportunity for the play of his satire by way of
     criticism on projects which appeared to him to be of the same
     character. News from France on the Mississippi Scheme which, in
     1719, was at the height of its stock-jobbing success, gave glorious
     accounts of fortunes made in a night, and of thousands who had
     become rich and were living in unheard of luxury. Schemes were
     floated on every possible kind of ventures, and so plentiful was
     the "paper money" that nothing was too absurd for speculators. All
     these schemes, which soon came to nought, went, later, by the name
     of "Bubbles," and this essay of Swift's touches the matter with his
     usual satire.

     The time chosen for the proposal for the establishment of a
     National Bank in Ireland was not a happy one. It was made in 1720
     when the "Bubbles" had burst and found thousands ruined and
     pauperized. Swift, always an enemy to schemes of any kind, classed
     that of the bank with the rest of the "Bubbles," and, although the
     plan itself was a real effort to relieve Ireland, and might have
     effected its purpose, the terror of the "Bubbles" was sufficient to
     wreck it.

     It required very little from Swift to insure its rejection, and
     rejected it was by the Irish legislature, before whose
     consideration it was brought.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Some doubt seems to obtain as to the authenticity of this "Essay on
     English Bubbles," which, in the words of Sir Walter Scott, may "be
     considered as introductory to the other" tracts on the Bank
     Project. This essay, however, appears in the edition of 1720 of
     "The Swearer's Bank," and, although it is not included in the
     "Miscellanies" of 1722, it is accepted by Faulkner in his collected
     edition of Swift's works. The present text is based on that
     prefixed to the edition of "The Swearer's Bank," 1720.

     [T. S.]



     To the Right Reverend, Right Honourable, and Right Worshipful, and
     to the Reverend, Honourable, and Worshipful, &c. Company of
     Stockjobbers; whether Honest or Dishonest, Pious or Impious, Wise
     or Otherwise, Male or Female, Young or Old, One with another, who
     have suffered Depredation by the late Bubbles: _Greeting_.

Having received the following scheme from Dublin, I give you the
earliest notice, how you may retrieve the DECUS ET TUTAMEN,[23]
which you have sacrificed by permits in bubbles. This project is founded
on a Parliamentary security, besides, the devil is in it, if it can
fail, since a dignitary of the Church[24] is at the head on't. Therefore
you, who have subscribed to the stocking insurance, and are out at the
heels, may soon appear tight about the legs. You, who encouraged the
hemp manufacture, may leave the halter to rogues, and prevent the odium
of _felo de se_. Medicinal virtues are here to be had without the
expense and hazard of a dispensary: You may sleep without dreaming of
bottles at your tail, and a looking-glass shall not affright you; and
since the glass bubble proved as brittle as its ware, and broke together
with itself the hopes of its proprietors, they may make themselves whole
by subscribing to our new fund.

Here indeed may be made three very grave objections, by incredulous
interested priests, ambitious citizens, and scrupulous statesmen. The
stocking manufactory gentlemen don't know how swearing can bring 'em to
any probability of covering their legs anew, unless it be by the means
of a pair of stocks: That the hemp-snared men apprehend, that such an
encouragement for oaths can tend to no other advancement, promotion, and
exaltation of their persons, than that of the gallows: The late old
ordinary, Paul,[25] having grown grey in the habit of making this
accurate observation in every month's Session-Paper, "That swearing had
as great a hand in the suspension of every living soul under his cure,
as Sabbath-breaking itself;" and that the glass-bubble-men cannot, for
their lives, with the best pair of spectacles, that is the only thing
left neat and whole, out of all their wares, see how they shall make
anything out of this his oath-project, supposing he should even confirm
by one its goodness: An oath being, as they say, as brittle as glass,
and only made to be broken.

But those incredulous priests shall not go without an answer, that will,
I am sure, induce them to place a great confidence in the benefit
arising from Christians, who damn themselves every hour of the day. For
while they speak of the vainness and fickleness of oaths, as an
objection against our project, they little consider that this fickleness
and vainness is the common practice among all the people of this
sublunary world; and that consequently, instead of being an objection
against the project, is a concluding argument of the constancy and
solidity of their sure gain by it; a never-failing argument, as he tells
us, among the brethren of his cloth.

The ambitious citizens, who from being plunged deep in the wealthy
whirlpool of the South-Sea, are in hopes of rising to such seats of
fortune and dignity, as would best suit with their mounting and aspiring
hopes, may imagine that this new fund, in the sister nation, may prove a
rival to theirs; and, by drawing off a multitude of subscribers, will,
if it makes a flood in Ireland, cause an ebb in England. But it may be
answered, that, though our author avers, that this fund will vie with
the South-Sea, yet it will not clash with it. On the contrary, the
subscribers to this must wish the increase of the South-Sea, (so far
from being its rival); because the multitude of people raised by it, who
were plain-speakers, as they were plain-dealers before, must learn to
swear, in order to become their clothes, and to be gentlemen _à la
mode_; while those that are ruined, I mean Job'd by it, will dismiss the
patience of their old pattern, swear at their condition, and curse their
Maker in their distress; and so the increase of that English fund will
be demonstratively an ample augmentation of the Irish one: So far will
it be from being rivalled by it, so that each of them may subscribe to a
fund they have their own security for augmenting.

The scrupulous statesmen (for we know that statesmen are usually very
scrupulous) may object against having this project secured by votes in
Parliament; by reason, as they may deem it, in their great wisdom, an
impious project; and that therefore so illustrious an assembly, as the
Irish parliament, ought, by no means, according to the opinion of a
Christian statesman, to be concerned in supporting an impious thing in
the world. The way that some may take to prove it impious, is, because
it will tend highly to the interest of swearing.--But this I take to be
plain downright sophistry, and playing upon words: If this be called the
Swearing project, or the Oath-act, the increase of swearing will be very
much for the benefit and interest of swearing, (_i.e._) to the
subscribers in the fund to be raised by this fruitful Swearing-act, if
it should be so called; but not to the swearers themselves, who are to
pay for it: So that it will be, according to this distinction, piously
indeed an act for a benefit to mankind, _from_ swearing, not
_impiously_, a benefit _in swearing_: So that I think that argument
entirely answered and defeated. Far be it from the Dean to have entered
into so unchristian a project, as this had been, so considered. But then
these politicians (being generally, as the world knows, mighty tender of
conscience) may raise these new doubts, fears, and scruples, _viz._ that
it will however cause the subscribers to wish, in their minds, for many
oaths to fly about, which is a heinous crime, and to lay stratagems to
try the patience of men of all sorts, to put them upon the swearing
strain, in order to bring grist to their own mill, which is a crime
still more enormous; and that therefore, for fear of these evil
consequences, the passing of such an act is not consistent with the
really extraordinary and tender conscience of a true modern politician.
But in answer to this, I think I can plead the strongest plea in nature,
and that is called precedent, I think; which I take thus from the
South-Sea: One man, by the very nature of that subscription, must
naturally pray for the temporal damnation of another man in his fortune,
in order for gaining his own salvation in it; yea, even though he knows
the other man's temporal damnation would be the cause of his eternal, by
his swearing and despairing. Neither do I think this in casuistry and
sin, because the swearing, undone man is a free agent, and can choose
whether he will swear or no, anybody's wishes whatsoever to the contrary
notwithstanding: And in politics I am sure it is even a Machiavellian
holy maxim, "That some men should be ruined for the good of others."
Thus I think I have answered all the objections that can be brought
against this project's coming to perfection, and proved it to be
convenient for the state, of interest to the Protestant church, and
consonant with Christianity, nay, with the very scruples of modern,
squeamish statesmen.

To conclude: The laudable author of this project squares the measures of
it so much according to the scripture rule, it may reasonably be
presumed, that all good Christians in England will come as fast into the
subscriptions for his encouragement, as they have already done
throughout the kingdom of Ireland. For what greater proof could this
author give of his Christianity, than, for bringing about this
Swearing-act, charitably to part with his coat, and sit starving in a
very thin waistcoat in his garret, to do the corporal virtues of feeding
and clothing the poor, and raising them from the cottage to the palace,
by punishing the vices of the rich. What more could have been done even
in the primitive times!

                                                 THOMAS HOPE.

  From my House in St. Faith's Parish,
      London, August 10, 1720.

P.S.--For the benefit of the author, application may be made to me at
the Tilt-Yard Coffee-house, Whitehall.



     The plan for the establishment of a National Bank in Dublin was
     first put forward in 1720 in the form of a petition presented to
     the King by the Earl of Abercorn, Viscount Boyne, Sir Ralph Gore,
     and others. It was proposed to raise a fund of £500,000 for the
     purpose of loaning money to merchants at a comparatively low rate
     of interest. The King approved of the petition, and directed that a
     charter of incorporation for such a bank should pass the Great Seal
     of Ireland. When the matter came up for discussion in the Irish
     Houses of Legislature, both the Lords and Commons rejected the
     proposal on the ground that no safe foundation for such an
     establishment could be found. (See note _post_.)

     During and after the discussion on this project in the legislature
     a pamphlet controversy arose in which two able writers
     distinguished themselves--Mr. Henry Maxwell and Mr. Hercules
     Rowley. The former was in favour of the bank while Mr. Rowley was
     against it.

     Mr. Maxwell argued soundly from the ground on which all banking
     institutions were founded. Mr. Rowley, however, pointed out that
     the condition of Ireland, dependent as that country was on
     England's whims, and interfered with as she always had been, by
     English selfishness, in her commercial and industrial enterprises,
     would not be bettered were the bank to prove even a great success.
     For, should the bank be found in any way to touch the trade of
     England, it might be taken for granted that its charter would be
     repealed, and Ireland find itself in a worse state than it was

     The pamphlets written by these gentlemen bear the following titles:

         (1) Reasons offer'd for erecting a Bank in Ireland; in a letter to
         Hercules Rowley, Esq., by Henry Maxwell, Esq.        Dublin, 1721.

         (2) An Answer to a Book, intitled Reasons offered for erecting a
         Bank in Ireland. In a Letter to Henry Maxwell, Esq. By Hercules
         Rowley, Esq. Dublin, 1721.

         (3) Mr. Maxwell's Second Letter to Mr. Rowley, wherein the
         objections against the Bank are answered.            Dublin, 1721.

         (4) An answer to Mr. Maxwell's Second Letter to Mr. Rowley,
         concerning the Bank. By Hercules Rowley, Esq.        Dublin, 1721.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Sir Walter Scott, in his edition of Swift's works, reprints these
     pamphlets. The text of the present edition of "The Swearer's Bank"
     is based on that published in London in 1720.

     [T. S.]




Parliamentary Security


Establishing a new BANK




The Medicinal Use of OATHS is considered.


The _Best in Christendom_. A TALE.)

       *       *       *       *       *

_Written by Dean_ SWIFT.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Si Populus vult decipi decipiatur._

       *       *       *       *       *

To which is prefixed,

An ESSAY upon _English_ BUBBLES.

_By_ THOMAS HOPE, _Esq_;

       *       *       *       *       *


Printed by THOMAS HUME, next Door to the _Walsh's-Head_ in
_Smock-Alley_. 1720. Reprinted at _London_ by J. ROBERTS in


"To believe everything that is said by a certain set of men, and to
doubt of nothing they relate, though ever so improbable," is a maxim
that has contributed as much for the time, to the support of Irish
banks, as it ever did to the Popish religion; and they are not only
beholden to the latter for their foundation, but they have the happiness
to have the same patron saint: For Ignorance, the reputed mother of the
devotion of the one, seems to bear the same affectionate relation to the
credit of the other.

To subscribe to banks, without knowing the scheme or design of them, is
not unlike to some gentlemen's signing addresses without knowing the
contents of them: To engage in a bank that has neither act of
parliament, charter, nor lands to support it, is like sending a ship to
sea without bottom; to expect a coach and six by the former, would be as
ridiculous as to hope a return by the latter.

It was well known some time ago, that our banks would be included in the
bubble-bill; and it was believed those chimeras would necessarily vanish
with the first easterly wind that should inform the town of the royal

It was very mortifying to several gentlemen, who dreamed of nothing but
easy chariots, on the arrival of the fatal packet, to slip out of them
into their walking shoes. But should those banks, as it is vainly
imagined, be so fortunate as to obtain a charter, and purchase lands;
yet on any run on them in a time of invasion, there would be so many
starving proprietors, reviving their old pretensions to land, and a
bellyful, that the subscribers would be unwilling, upon any call, to
part with their money, not knowing what might happen: So that in a
rebellion, where the success was doubtful, the bank would infallibly

Since so many gentlemen of this town have had the courage, without any
security, to appear in the same paper with a million or two; it is
hoped, when they are made sensible of their safety, that they will be
prevailed to trust themselves in a neat skin of parchment with a single

To encourage them, the undertaker proposes the erecting a bank on
parliamentary security, and such security as no revolution or change of
times can affect.

To take away all jealousy of any private view of the undertaker, he
assures the world, that he is now in a garret, in a very thin waistcoat,
studying the public good, having given an undeniable pledge of his love
to his country, by pawning his coat, in order to defray the expense of
the press.

It is very well known, that by an act of parliament to prevent profane
swearing, the person so offending, on oath made before a magistrate,
forfeits a shilling, which may be levied with little difficulty.

It is almost unnecessary to mention, that this is become a pet-vice
among us; and though age renders us unfit for other vices, yet this,
where it takes hold, never leaves us but with our speech.

So vast a revenue might be raised by the execution of this act, that I
have often wondered, in such a scarcity of funds, that methods have not
been taken to make it serviceable to the public.

I dare venture to say, if this act was well executed in England, the
revenue of it applied to the navy, would make the English fleet a terror
to all Europe.

It is computed by geographers, that there are two millions in this
kingdom, (of Ireland) of which number there may be said to be a million
of swearing souls.

It is thought there may be five thousand gentlemen; every gentleman,
taking one with another, may afford to swear an oath every day, which
will yearly produce one million, eight hundred, twenty-five thousand
oaths, which number of shillings makes the yearly sum of ninety-one
thousand, two hundred and fifty pounds.

The farmers of this kingdom, who are computed to be ten thousand, are
able to spend yearly five hundred thousand oaths, which gives
twenty-five thousand pounds; and it is conjectured, that from the bulk
of the people twenty, or five-and-twenty thousand pounds may be yearly

These computations are very modest, since it is evident that there is a
much greater consumption of oaths in this kingdom, and consequently a
much greater sum might be yearly raised.

That it may be collected with ease and regularity, it is proposed to
settle informers in great towns in proportion to the number of
inhabitants, and to have riding-officers in the country; and since
nothing brings a greater contempt on any profession than poverty, it is
determined to settle very handsome salaries on the gentlemen that are
employed by the bank, that they may, by a generosity of living,
reconcile men to an office, that has lain under so much scandal of late,
as to be undertaken by none but curates, clerks of meeting-houses, and
broken tradesmen.

It is resolved, that none shall be preferred to those employments, but
persons that are notorious for being constant churchmen, and frequent
communicants; whose piety will be a sufficient security for their honest
and industrious execution of their office.

It is very probable, that twenty thousand pounds will be necessary to
defray all expenses of servants salaries, &c. However, there will be the
clear yearly sum of one hundred thousand pounds, which may very justly
claim a million subscription.

It is determined to lay out the remaining unapplied profits, which will
be very considerable, towards the erecting and maintaining charity
schools; a design so beneficial to the public, and especially to the
Protestant interest of this kingdom, has met with so much encouragement
from several great patriots in England, that they have engaged to
procure an act to secure the sole benefit of informing, on this swearing
act, to the agents and servants of this new bank. Several of my friends
pretend to demonstrate, that this bank will in time vie with the South
Sea Company: They insist, that the army dispend as many oaths yearly as
will produce one hundred thousand pounds _net_.

There are computed to be one hundred pretty fellows in this town, that
swear fifty oaths a head daily; some of them would think it hard to be
stinted to an hundred: This very branch would produce a vast sum yearly.

The fairs of this kingdom will bring in a vast revenue; the oaths of a
little Connaught one, as well as they could be numbered by two persons,
amounted to three thousand. It is true, that it would be impossible to
turn all of them into ready money; for a shilling is so great a duty on
swearing, that if it was carefully exacted, the common people might as
well pretend to drink wine as to swear; and an oath would be as rare
among them as a clean shirt.

A servant that I employed to accompany the militia their last muster
day, had scored down in the compass of eight hours, three hundred oaths,
but as the putting the act in execution on those days, would only fill
the stocks with porters, and pawn-shops with muskets and swords: And as
it would be matter of great joy to Papists, and disaffected persons, to
see our militia swear themselves out of their guns and swords, it is
resolved, that no advantage shall be taken of any militiaman's swearing
while he is under arms; nor shall any advantage be taken of any man's
swearing in the Four Courts provided he is at hearing in the exchequer,
or has just paid off an attorney's bill.

The medicinal use of oaths is what the undertaker would by no means
discourage, especially where it is necessary to help the lungs to throw
off any distilling humour. On certificate of a course of swearing
prescribed by any physician, a permit will be given to the patient by
the proper officer of the bank, paying no more but sixpence. It is
expected, that a scheme of so much advantage to the public will meet
with more encouragement than their chimerical banks; and the undertaker
hopes, that as he has spent a considerable fortune in bringing this
scheme to bear, he may have the satisfaction to see it take place, for
the public good, though he should have the fate of most projectors, to
be undone.

It is resolved, that no compositions shall be made, nor licences granted
for swearing, under a notion of applying the money to pious uses; a
practice so scandalous as is fit only for the see of Rome, where the
money arising from whoring licences is applied _ad propagandam fidem_:
And to the shame of Smock-alley, and of all Protestant whores,
(especially those who live under the light of the Gospel-ministry) be it
spoken, a whore in Rome never lies down, but she hopes it will be the
means of converting some poor heathen, or heretic.

The swearing revenues of the town of Cork will be given for ever, by the
bank, to the support of poor clergymen's widows; and those of Ringsend
will be allowed to the maintenance of sailors' bastards.

The undertaker designs, in a few days, to appoint time and place for
taking subscriptions; the subscribers must come prepared to pay down one
fourth, on subscribing.


The Jews of Rotterdam have offered to farm the revenues of Dublin at
twenty thousand pounds _per ann._ Several eminent Quakers are also
willing to take them at that rent; but the undertaker has rejected their
proposals, being resolved to deal with none but Christians.

Application may be made to him about them, any day at Pat's
coffee-house, where attendance will be given.





_November 18, 1721._


In a late printed paper,[28] containing some notes and queries upon that
list of the subscribers' names, which was published by order of the
commissioners for receiving of subscriptions, I find some hints and
innuendoes that would seem to insinuate, as if I and some others were
only _reputed_ esquires; and our case is referred to you, in your kingly
capacity. I desire you will please to let me know the lowest price of a
real esquire's coat of arms: And, if we can agree, I will give my bond
to pay you out of the first interest I receive for my subscription;
because things are a little low with me at present, by throwing my
whole fortune into the bank, having subscribed for five hundred pounds

I hope you will not question my pretensions to this title, when I let
you know that my godfather was a justice of peace, and I myself have
been often a keeper of it. My father was a leader and commander of
horse, in which post he rode before the greatest lords of the land;[29]
and, in long marches, he alone presided over the baggage, advancing
directly before it. My mother kept open house in Dublin, where several
hundreds were supported with meat and drink, bought at her own charge,
or with her personal credit, until some envious brewers and butchers
forced her to retire.[30]

As to myself, I have been, for several years, a foot-officer; and it was
my charge to guard the carriages, behind which I was commanded to stick
close, that they might not be attacked in the rear. I have had the
honour to be a favourite of several fine ladies; who, each of them at
different times, gave me such coloured knots and public marks of
distinction, that every one knew which of them it was to whom I paid my
address. They would not go into their coach without me, nor willingly
drink unless I gave them the glass with my own hand. They allowed me to
call them my mistresses, and owned that title publicly. I have been
told, that the true ancient employment of a squire was to carry a
knight's shield, painted with his colours and coat of arms. This is what
I have witnesses to produce that I have often done; not indeed in a
shield, like my predecessors, but that which is full as good, I have
carried the colours of a knight upon my coat.[31] I have likewise borne
the king's arms in my hand, as a mark of authority;[32] and hung them
painted before my dwelling-house, as a mark of my calling:[33] So that I
may truly say, His Majesty's arms have been my supporters. I have been a
strict and constant follower of men of quality, I have diligently
pursued the steps of several squires, and am able to behave myself as
well as the best of them, whenever there shall be occasion.

I desire it may be no disadvantage to me, that, by the new act of
parliament going to pass for preserving the game, I am not yet qualified
to keep a greyhound. If this should be the test of squirehood, it will
go hard with a great number of my fraternity, as well as myself, who
must all be unsquired, because a greyhound will not be allowed to keep
us company; and it is well known I have been a companion to his betters.
What has a greyhound to do with a squireship? Might I not be a real
squire, although there was no such thing as a greyhound in the world?
Pray tell me, sir, are greyhounds to be from henceforth the supporters
of every squire's coat of arms? Although I cannot keep a greyhound, may
not a greyhound help to keep me? May not I have an order from the
governors of the bank to keep a greyhound, with a _non obstante_ to the
act of parliament, as well as they have created a bank against the votes
of the two Houses? But, however, this difficulty will soon be overcome.
I am promised _125l._ a year for subscribing _500l._; and, of this
_500l._ I am to pay in only _25l._ ready money: The governors will trust
me for the rest, and pay themselves out of the interest by _25l._ _per
cent._ So that I intend to receive only _40l._ a-year, to qualify me for
keeping my family and a greyhound, and let the remaining _85l._ go on
till it makes _500l._ then _1000l._ then _10,000l._ then _100,000l._
then a million, and so forwards. This, I think, is much better (betwixt
you and me) than keeping fairs, and buying and selling bullocks; by
which I find, from experience, that little is to be gotten, in these
hard times. I am,

                            Your friend, and
                                Servant to command,
                                         A. B. ESQUIRE.

_Postscript_. I hope you will favourably represent my case to the
publisher of the paper above-mentioned.

Direct your letter for A. B. Esquire, at ---- in ----; and, pray, get some
parliament-man to frank it, for it will cost a groat postage to this






_Published at his desire, for the common good._

     _N. B. About the time that this speech was written, the Town was
     much pestered with street-robbers; who, in a barbarous manner would
     seize on gentlemen, and take them into remote corners, and after
     they had robbed them, would leave them bound and gagged. It is
     remarkable, that this speech had so good an effect, that there have
     been very few robberies of that kind committed since._[34]


     Burke spoke of Swift's tracts of a public nature, relating to
     Ireland, as "those in which the Dean appears in the best light,
     because they do honour to his heart as well as his head; furnishing
     some additional proofs that, though he was very free in his abuse
     of the inhabitants of that country, as well natives as foreigners,
     he had their interest sincerely at heart, and perfectly understood

     The following tract on "The Last Words and Dying Speech of Ebenezer
     Elliston" admirably illustrates Burke's remark.

     The city of Dublin, at the time Swift wrote, was on a par with some
     of the lower districts of New York City about twenty years ago,
     which were dangerous in the extreme to traverse after dark. Robbers
     in gangs would waylay pedestrians and leave them often badly
     maltreated and maimed. These thieves and "roughs" became so
     impudent and brazen in their business that the condition of the
     city was a disgrace to the municipal government. To put down the
     nuisance Swift took a characteristic method. Ebenezer Elliston had,
     about this time, been executed for street robbery. Although given a
     good education by his parents, he forsook his trade of a silk
     weaver, and became a gambler and burglar. He was well known to the
     other gangs which infested Dublin, but his death did not act as a
     deterrent. Swift, in composing Elliston's pretended dying speech,
     gave it the flavour and character of authenticity in order to
     impose on the members of other gangs, and so successful was he in
     his intention, that the speech was accepted as the real expression
     of their late companion by the rest and had a most salutary effect.
     Scott says it was "received as genuine by the banditti who had been
     companions of his depredations, who were the more easily persuaded
     of its authenticity as it contained none of the cant usual in the
     dying speeches composed for malefactors by the Ordinary or the
     ballad-makers. The threat which it held out of a list deposited
     with a secure hand, containing their names, crimes, and place of
     rendezvous, operated for a long time in preventing a repetition of
     their villanies, which had previously been so common."

       *       *       *       *       *

     The text of the present edition is based on that given by Faulkner
     in the fourth volume of his edition of Swift printed in Dublin in

     [T. S.]


I am now going to suffer the just punishment for my crimes prescribed by
the law of God and my country. I know it is the constant custom, that
those who come to this place should have speeches made for them, and
cried about in their own hearing, as they are carried to execution; and
truly they are such speeches that although our fraternity be an ignorant
illiterate people, they would make a man ashamed to have such nonsense
and false English charged upon him even when he is going to the gallows:
They contain a pretended account of our birth and family; of the fact
for which we are to die; of our sincere repentance; and a declaration of
our religion.[35] I cannot expect to avoid the same treatment with my
predecessors. However, having had an education one or two degrees better
than those of my rank and profession;[36] I have been considering ever
since my commitment, what it might be proper for me to deliver upon this

And first, I cannot say from the bottom of my heart, that I am truly
sorry for the offence I have given to God and the world; but I am very
much so, for the bad success of my villainies in bringing me to this
untimely end. For it is plainly evident, that after having some time ago
obtained a pardon from the crown, I again took up my old trade; my evil
habits were so rooted in me, and I was grown so unfit for any other
kind of employment. And therefore although in compliance with my
friends, I resolve to go to the gallows after the usual manner,
kneeling, with a book in my hand, and my eyes lift up; yet I shall feel
no more devotion in my heart than I have observed in some of my
comrades, who have been drunk among common whores the very night before
their execution. I can say further from my own knowledge, that two of my
fraternity after they had been hanged, and wonderfully came to life, and
made their escapes, as it sometimes happens, proved afterwards the
wickedest rogues I ever knew, and so continued until they were hanged
again for good and all; and yet they had the impudence at both times
they went to the gallows, to smite their breasts, and lift up their eyes
to Heaven all the way.

Secondly, From the knowledge I have of my own wicked dispositions and
that of my comrades, I give it as my opinion, that nothing can be more
unfortunate to the public, than the mercy of the government in ever
pardoning or transporting us; unless when we betray one another, as we
never fail to do, if we are sure to be well paid; and then a pardon may
do good; by the same rule, "That it is better to have but one fox in a
farm than three or four." But we generally make a shift to return after
being transported, and are ten times greater rogues than before, and
much more cunning. Besides, I know it by experience, that some hopes we
have of finding mercy, when we are tried, or after we are condemned, is
always a great encouragement to us.

Thirdly, Nothing is more dangerous to idle young fellows, than the
company of those odious common whores we frequent, and of which this
town is full: These wretches put us upon all mischief to feed their
lusts and extravagancies: They are ten times more bloody and cruel than
men; their advice is always not to spare if we are pursued; they get
drunk with us, and are common to us all; and yet, if they can get
anything by it, are sure to be our betrayers.

Now, as I am a dying man, I have done something which may be of good use
to the public. I have left with an honest man (and indeed the only
honest man I was ever acquainted with) the names of all my wicked
brethren, the present places of their abode, with a short account of the
chief crimes they have committed; in many of which I have been their
accomplice, and heard the rest from their own mouths: I have likewise
set down the names of those we call our setters, of the wicked houses we
frequent, and of those who receive and buy our stolen goods. I have
solemnly charged this honest man, and have received his promise upon
oath, that whenever he hears of any rogue to be tried for robbing, or
house-breaking, he will look into his list, and if he finds the name
there of the thief concerned, to send the whole paper to the government.
Of this I here give my companions fair and public warning, and hope they
will take it.

In the paper above mentioned, which I left with my friend, I have also
set down the names of several gentlemen who have been robbed in Dublin
streets for three years past: I have told the circumstances of those
robberies; and shewn plainly that nothing but the want of common courage
was the cause of their misfortunes. I have therefore desired my friend,
that whenever any gentlemen happens to be robbed in the streets, he will
get that relation printed and published with the first letters of those
gentlemen's names, who by their own want of bravery are likely to be the
cause of all the mischief of that kind, which may happen for the future.

I cannot leave the world without a short description of that kind of
life, which I have led for some years past; and is exactly the same with
the rest of our wicked brethren.

Although we are generally so corrupted from our childhood, as to have no
sense of goodness; yet something heavy always hangs about us, I know not
what it is, that we are never easy till we are half drunk among our
whores and companions; nor sleep sound, unless we drink longer than we
can stand. If we go abroad in the day, a wise man would easily find us
to be rogues by our faces; we have such a suspicious, fearful, and
constrained countenance; often turning back, and slinking through narrow
lanes and alleys. I have never failed of knowing a brother thief by his
looks, though I never saw him before. Every man among us keeps his
particular whore, who is however common to us all, when we have a mind
to change. When we have got a booty, if it be in money, we divide it
equally among our companions, and soon squander it away on our vices in
those houses that receive us; for the master and mistress, and the very
tapster, go snacks; and besides make us pay treble reckonings. If our
plunder be plate, watches, rings, snuff-boxes, and the like; we have
customers in all quarters of the town to take them off. I have seen a
tankard worth fifteen pounds sold to a fellow in ---- street for twenty
shillings; and a gold watch for thirty. I have set down his name, and
that of several others in the paper already mentioned. We have setters
watching in corners, and by dead walls, to give us notice when a
gentleman goes by; especially if he be anything in drink. I believe in
my conscience, that if an account were made of a thousand pounds in
stolen goods; considering the low rates we sell them at, the bribes we
must give for concealment, the extortions of alehouse-reckonings, and
other necessary charges, there would not remain fifty pounds clear to be
divided among the robbers. And out of this we must find clothes for our
whores, besides treating them from morning to night; who, in requital,
reward us with nothing but treachery and the pox. For when our money is
gone, they are every moment threatening to inform against us, if we will
not go out to look for more. If anything in this world be like hell, as
I have heard it described by our clergy; the truest picture of it must
be in the back-room of one of our ale-houses at midnight; where a crew of
robbers and their whores are met together after a booty, and are
beginning to grow drunk, from which time, until they are past their
senses, is such a continued horrible noise of cursing, blasphemy,
lewdness, scurrility, and brutish behaviour; such roaring and confusion,
such a clatter of mugs and pots at each other's heads, that Bedlam, in
comparison, is a sober and orderly place: At last they all tumble from
their stools and benches, and sleep away the rest of the night; and
generally the landlord or his wife, or some other whore who has a
stronger head than the rest, picks their pockets before they wake. The
misfortune is, that we can never be easy till we are drunk; and our
drunkenness constantly exposes us to be more easily betrayed and taken.

This is a short picture of the life I have led; which is more miserable
than that of the poorest labourer who works for four pence a day; and
yet custom is so strong, that I am confident, if I could make my escape
at the foot of the gallows, I should be following the same course this
very evening. So that upon the whole, we ought to be looked upon as the
common enemies of mankind; whose interest it is to root us out likes
wolves, and other mischievous vermin, against which no fair play is

If I have done service to men in what I have said, I shall hope I have
done service to God; and that will be better than a silly speech made
for me full of whining and canting, which I utterly despise, and have
never been used to; yet such a one I expect to have my ears tormented
with, as I am passing along the streets.

Good people fare ye well; bad as I am, I leave many worse behind me. I
hope you shall see me die like a man, the death of a dog.
                                                            E. E.







     These maxims, written in the year 1724, may be taken as Swift's
     opening of his campaign against the oppressive legislation of
     England which had brought Ireland to the degraded and
     poverty-stricken condition it existed in at the time he wrote.
     Burke characterizes these maxims as "a collection of State
     Paradoxes, abounding with great sense and penetration." The
     subjects they touch on are dealt with in greater detail in the
     tracts which follow in this volume, and the reader is referred to
     them and the notes for the causes which had brought Ireland in so
     low a state.

       *       *       *       *       *

     The text of the present edition is based on that given by Deane
     Swift in the eighth volume of the edition of 1765.

     [T. S.]


There are certain maxims of state, founded upon long observation and
experience, drawn from the constant practice of the wisest nations, and
from the very principles of government, nor ever controlled by any
writer upon politics. Yet all these maxims do necessarily presuppose a
kingdom, or commonwealth, to have the same natural rights common to the
rest of mankind, who have entered into civil society; for if we could
conceive a nation where each of the inhabitants had but one eye, one
leg, and one hand, it is plain that, before you could institute them
into a republic, an allowance must be made for those material defects
wherein they differed from other mortals. Or, imagine a legislator
forming a system for the government of Bedlam, and, proceeding upon the
maxim that man is a sociable animal, should draw them out of their
cells, and form them into corporations or general assemblies; the
consequence might probably be, that they would fall foul on each other,
or burn the house over their own heads.

Of the like nature are innumerable errors committed by crude and short
thinkers, who reason upon general topics, without the least allowance
for the most important circumstances, which quite alter the nature of
the case.

This hath been the fate of those small dealers, who are every day
publishing their thoughts, either on paper or in their assemblies, for
improving the trade of Ireland, and referring us to the practice and
example of England, Holland, France, or other nations.

I shall, therefore, examine certain maxims of government, which
generally pass for uncontrolled in the world, and consider how far they
will suit with the present condition of this kingdom.

First, It is affirmed by wise men, that "The dearness of things
necessary for life, in a fruitful country, is a certain sign of wealth
and great commerce;" for when such necessaries are dear, it must
absolutely follow that money is cheap and plentiful.

But this is manifestly false in Ireland, for the following reason. Some
years ago, the species of money here did probably amount to six or seven
hundred thousand pounds;[38] and I have good cause to believe, that our
remittances then did not much exceed the cash brought in to us. But, the
prodigious discouragements we have since received in every branch of our
trade, by the frequent enforcements and rigorous execution of the
navigation-act,[39] the tyranny of under custom-house officers, the
yearly addition of absentees, the payments to regiments abroad, to civil
and military officers residing in England, the unexpected sudden demands
of great sums from the treasury, and some other drains of perhaps as
great consequence,[40] we now see ourselves reduced to a state (since we
have no friends) of being pitied by our enemies; at least, if our
enemies were of such a kind, as to be capable of any regard towards us
except of hatred and contempt.

Forty years are now passed since the Revolution, when the contention of
the British Empire was, most unfortunately for us, and altogether
against the usual course of such mighty changes in government, decided
in the least important nation; but with such ravages and ruin executed
on both sides, as to leave the kingdom a desert, which in some sort it
still continues. Neither did the long rebellions in 1641, make half such
a destruction of houses, plantations, and personal wealth, in both
kingdoms, as two years campaigns did in ours, by fighting England's

By slow degrees, and by the gentle treatment we received under two
auspicious reigns,[41] we grew able to live without running in debt. Our
absentees were but few: we had great indulgence in trade, a considerable
share in employments of church and state; and while the short leases
continued, which were let some years after the war ended, tenants paid
their rents with ease and cheerfulness, to the great regret of their
landlords, who had taken up a spirit of oppression that is not easily
removed. And although, in these short leases, the rent was gradually to
increase after short periods, yet, as soon as the terms elapsed, the
land was let to the highest bidder, most commonly without the least
effectual clause for building or planting. Yet, by many advantages,
which this island then possessed, and hath since utterly lost, the rents
of lands still grew higher upon every lease that expired, till they have
arrived at the present exorbitance; when the frog, over-swelling
himself, burst at last.

With the price of land of necessity rose that of corn and cattle, and
all other commodities that farmers deal in: hence likewise, obviously,
the rates of all goods and manufactures among shopkeepers, the wages of
servants, and hire of labourers. But although our miseries came on fast,
with neither trade nor money left; yet neither will the landlord abate
in his rent, nor can the tenant abate in the price of what that rent
must be paid with, nor any shopkeeper, tradesman, or labourer live, at
lower expense for food and clothing, than he did before.

I have been the larger upon this first head, because the same
observations will clear up and strengthen a good deal of what I shall
affirm upon the rest.

The second maxim of those who reason upon trade and government, is, to
assert that "Low interest is a certain sign of great plenty of money in
a nation," for which, as in many other articles, they produce the
examples of Holland and England. But, with relation to Ireland, this
maxim is likewise entirely false.

There are two reasons for the lowness of interest in any country. First,
that which is usually alleged, the great plenty of species; and this is
obvious. The second is, the want of trade, which seldom falls under
common observation, although it be equally true: for, where trade is
altogether discouraged, there are few borrowers. In those countries
where men can employ a large stock, the young merchant, whose fortune
may be four or five hundred pounds, will venture to borrow as much more,
and can afford a reasonable interest. Neither is it easy, at this day,
to find many of those, whose business reaches to employ even so
inconsiderable a sum, except among the importers of wine, who, as they
have most part of the present trade in these parts of Ireland in their
hands, so they are the most exorbitant, exacting, fraudulent dealers,
that ever trafficked in any nation, and are making all possible speed to
ruin both themselves and the nation.

From this defect of gentlemen's not knowing how to dispose of their
ready money, ariseth the high purchase of lands, which in all other
countries is reckoned a sign of wealth. For, the frugal squires, who
live below their incomes, have no other way to dispose of their savings
but by mortgage or purchase, by which the rates of land must naturally
increase; and if this trade continues long, under the uncertainty of
rents, the landed men of ready money will find it more for their
advantage to send their cash to England, and place it in the funds;
which I myself am determined to do, the first considerable sum I shall
be master of.

It hath likewise been a maxim among politicians, "That the great
increase of buildings in the metropolis, argues a flourishing state."
But this, I confess, hath been controlled from the example of London;
where, by the long and annual parliamentary session, such a number of
senators, with their families, friends, adherents, and expectants, draw
such prodigious numbers to that city, that the old hospitable custom of
lords and gentlemen living in their ancient seats among their tenants,
is almost lost in England; is laughed out of doors; insomuch that, in
the middle of summer, a legal House of Lords and Commons might be
brought in a few hours to London, from their country villas within
twelve miles round.

The case in Ireland is yet somewhat worse: For the absentees of great
estates, who, if they lived at home, would have many rich retainers in
their neighbourhoods, have learned to rack their lands, and shorten
their leases, as much as any residing squire; and the few remaining of
these latter, having some vain hope of employments for themselves, or
their children, and discouraged by the beggarliness and thievery of
their own miserable farmers and cottagers, or seduced by the vanity of
their wives, on pretence of their children's education (whereof the
fruits are so apparent,) together with that most wonderful, and yet more
unaccountable zeal, for a seat in their assembly, though at some years'
purchase of their whole estates: these, and some other motives better
let pass, have drawn such a concourse to this beggarly city, that the
dealers of the several branches of building have found out all the
commodious and inviting places for erecting new houses; while fifteen
hundred of the old ones, which is a seventh part of the whole city, are
said to be left uninhabited, and falling to ruin. Their method is the
same with that which was first introduced by Dr. Barebone at London, who
died a bankrupt.[42] The mason, the bricklayer, the carpenter, the
slater, and the glazier, take a lot of ground, club to build one or more
houses, unite their credit, their stock, and their money; and when their
work is finished, sell it to the best advantage they can. But, as it
often happens, and more every day, that their fund will not answer half
their design, they are forced to undersell it at the first story, and
are all reduced to beggary. Insomuch, that I know a certain fanatic
brewer, who is reported to have some hundreds of houses in this town, is
said to have purchased the greater part of them at half value from
ruined undertakers; hath intelligence of all new houses where the
finishing is at a stand, takes advantage of the builder's distress, and,
by the advantage of ready money, gets fifty _per cent._ at least for his

It is another undisputed maxim in government, "That people are the
riches of a nation;" which is so universally granted, that it will be
hardly pardonable to bring it in doubt. And I will grant it to be so far
true, even in this island, that if we had the African custom, or
privilege, of selling our useless bodies for slaves to foreigners, it
would be the most useful branch of our trade, by ridding us of a most
unsupportable burthen, and bringing us money in the stead. But, in our
present situation, at least five children in six who are born, lie a
dead weight upon us, for want of employment. And a very skilful computer
assured me, that above one half of the souls in this kingdom supported
themselves by begging and thievery; whereof two thirds would be able to
get their bread in any other country upon earth.[43] Trade is the only
incitement to labour; where that fails, the poorer native must either
beg, steal, or starve, or be forced to quit his country. This hath made
me often wish, for some years past, that instead of discouraging our
people from seeking foreign soil, the public would rather pay for
transporting all our unnecessary mortals, whether Papists or
Protestants, to America; as drawbacks are sometimes allowed for
exporting commodities, where a nation is overstocked. I confess myself
to be touched with a very sensible pleasure, when I hear of a mortality
in any country parish or village, where the wretches are forced to pay
for a filthy cabin, and two ridges of potatoes, treble the worth;
brought up to steal or beg, for want of work; to whom death would be the
best thing to be wished for on account both of themselves and the

Among all taxes imposed by the legislature, those upon luxury are
universally allowed to be the most equitable, and beneficial to the
subject; and the commonest reasoner on government might fill a volume
with arguments on the subject. Yet here again, by the singular fate of
Ireland, this maxim is utterly false; and the putting it in practice may
have such pernicious a consequence, as, I certainly believe, the
thoughts of the proposers were not able to reach.

The miseries we suffer by our absentees, are of a far more extensive
nature than seems to be commonly understood. I must vindicate myself to
the reader so far, as to declare solemnly, that what I shall say of
those lords and squires, doth not arise from the least regard I have for
their understandings, their virtues, or their persons: for, although I
have not the honour of the least acquaintance with any one among them,
(my ambition not soaring so high) yet I am too good a witness of the
situation they have been in for thirty years past; the veneration paid
them by the people, the high esteem they are in among the prime nobility
and gentry, the particular marks of favour and distinction they receive
from the Court; the weight and consequence of their interest, added to
their great zeal and application for preventing any hardships their
country might suffer from England, wisely considering that their own
fortunes and honours were embarked in the same bottom.





_Begun April 20, 1724. To be continued Weekly, if due Encouragement be


     Swift's friends in Ireland were not many. He had no high opinion of
     the people with whom he was compelled to live. But among those who
     displeased him least, to use the phrase he employed in writing to
     Pope, was a kindly and warm-hearted scholar named Sheridan.
     Sheridan must have taken Swift's fancy, since they spent much time
     together and wrote each other verses and nonsense rhymes. He had
     failed in his attempt to keep up a school in Dublin, and refused
     the headmastership of the school of Armagh which Lord Primate
     Lindsay had offered him, through Swift's efforts. Swift however
     obtained for him, from Carteret, one of the chaplaincies of the
     Lord-Lieutenant and a small living near Cork. Unfortunately
     Sheridan was struck off from the list of chaplains on the
     information of one Richard Tighe who reported that Sheridan, on the
     anniversary of the accession of the House of Hanover, had preached
     from the text "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." Poor
     Sheridan had been totally unconscious of committing any
     indiscretion, but he could not deny the fact.

     It was at Quilca, a small county village, near Kells, that Sheridan
     was accustomed to spend his vacations with his family at a small
     house he owned there. Swift used often to use this house, at
     Sheridan's desire, and spent many days there in quiet enjoyment
     with Mrs. Dingley and Esther Johnson. The place and his life there
     he has attempted to describe in the following piece; but the
     description may also stand, as Scott observes, as "no bad
     supplement to Swift's account of Ireland."

       *       *       *       *       *

     The text here given is based on that printed in the eighth volume
     of the Edinburgh edition of 1761.

     [T. S.]




But one lock and a half in the whole house.

The key of the garden door lost.

The empty bottles all uncleanable.

The vessels for drink few and leaky.

The new house all going to ruin before it is finished.

One hinge of the street door broke off, and the people forced to go out
and come in at the back-door.

The door of the Dean's bed-chamber full of large chinks.

The beaufet letting in so much wind that it almost blows out the

The Dean's bed threatening every night to fall under him.

The little table loose and broken in the joints.

The passages open over head, by which the cats pass continually into the
cellar, and eat the victuals; for which one was tried, condemned, and
executed by the sword.

The large table in a very tottering condition.

But one chair in the house fit for sitting on, and that in a very ill
state of health.

The kitchen perpetually crowded with savages.

Not a bit of mutton to be had in the country.

Want of beds, and a mutiny thereupon among the servants, till supplied
from Kells.

An egregious want of all the most common necessary utensils.

Not a bit of turf in this cold weather; and Mrs. Johnson[46] and the
Dean in person, with all their servants, forced to assist at the bog, in
gathering up the wet bottoms of old clamps.

The grate in the ladies' bed-chamber broke, and forced to be removed, by
which they were compelled to be without fire; the chimney smoking
intolerably; and the Dean's great-coat was employed to stop the wind
from coming down the chimney, without which expedient they must have
been starved to death.

A messenger sent a mile to borrow an old broken tun-dish.

Bottles stopped with bits of wood and tow, instead of corks.

Not one utensil for a fire, except an old pair of tongs, which travels
through the house, and is likewise employed to take the meat out of the
pot, for want of a flesh-fork.

Every servant an arrant thief as to victuals and drink, and every comer
and goer as arrant a thief of everything he or she can lay their hands

The spit blunted with poking into bogs for timber, and tears the meat to

_Bellum atque foeminam_: or, A kitchen war between nurse and a nasty
crew of both sexes; she to preserve order and cleanliness, they to
destroy both; and they generally are conquerors.

_April_ 28. This morning the great fore-door quite open, dancing
backwards and forwards with all its weight upon the lower hinge, which
must have been broken if the Dean had not accidentally come and relieved

A great hole in the floor of the ladies' chamber, every hour hazarding a
broken leg.

Two damnable iron spikes erect on the Dean's bedstead, by which he is in
danger of a broken shin at rising and going to bed.

The ladies' and Dean's servants growing fast into the manners and
thieveries of the natives; the ladies themselves very much corrupted;
the Dean perpetually storming, and in danger of either losing all his
flesh, or sinking into barbarity for the sake of peace.

Mrs. Dingley[47] full of cares for herself, and blunders and negligence
for her friends. Mrs. Johnson sick and helpless. The Dean deaf and
fretting; the lady's maid awkward and clumsy; Robert lazy and forgetful;
William a pragmatical, ignorant, and conceited puppy; Robin and nurse
the two great and only supports of the family.

_Bellum lacteum_: or, The milky battle, fought between the Dean and the
crew of Quilca; the latter insisting on their privilege of not milking
till eleven in the forenoon; whereas Mrs. Johnson wanted milk at eight
for her health. In this battle the Dean got the victory; but the crew of
Quilca begin to rebel again; for it is this day almost ten o'clock, and
Mrs. Johnson hath not got her milk.

A proverb on the laziness and lodgings of the servants: "The worse their
sty--the longer they lie."[48]

Two great holes in the wall of the ladies' bed-chamber, just at the back
of the bed, and one of them directly behind Mrs. Johnson's pillow,
either of which would blow out a candle in the calmest day.


Short VIEW






Printed by _S. HARDING_, next Door to the _Crown_ in _Copper-Alley_,


     This tract, written and published towards the end of the year 1728,
     summarizes the disadvantages under which Ireland suffered at the
     time, and re-enforces the contention that these were mainly due to
     England's jealousy and stupid indifference. Swift, however, does
     not lose sight of the fact that the people of Ireland also were
     somewhat to blame, though in a much less degree.

     In Dublin, where tracts of this nature had now become almost
     commonplace and where official interference in their publication
     had been found unwise and even dangerous, the issue of the "Short
     View" was effected without any official comment. In England,
     however, where it was reprinted by Mist the journalist, it was
     otherwise. Its publication brought down a prosecution on Mist, who,
     no doubt, numbered this with the many others which were visited
     upon him. It is an important tract, to which many historians of
     Ireland have often referred.

       *       *       *       *       *

     The text of the present edition is based on that of the first
     edition and compared with that given by Sir Walter Scott.

     [T. S.]




I am assured that it hath for some time been practised as a method of
making men's court, when they are asked about the rate of lands, the
abilities of tenants, the state of trade and manufacture in this
Kingdom, and how their rents are paid, to answer, That in their
neighbourhood all things are in a flourishing condition, the rent and
purchase of land every day increasing. And if a gentleman happens to be
a little more sincere in his representations, besides being looked on as
not well affected, he is sure to have a dozen contradictors at his
elbow. I think it is no manner of secret why these questions are so
cordially asked, or so obligingly answered.

But since with regard to the affairs of this Kingdom, I have been using
all endeavours to subdue my indignation, to which indeed I am not
provoked by any personal interest, being not the owner of one spot of
ground in the whole Island, I shall only enumerate by rules generally
known, and never contradicted, what are the true causes of any country's
flourishing and growing rich, and then examine what effects arise from
those causes in the Kingdom of Ireland.

The first cause of a Kingdom's thriving is the fruitfulness of the soil,
to produce the necessaries and conveniences of life, not only sufficient
for the inhabitants, but for exportation into other countries.

The second, is the industry of the people in working up all their native
commodities to the last degree of manufacture.

The third, is the conveniency of safe ports and havens, to carry out
their own goods, as much manufactured, and bring in those of others, as
little manufactured as the nature of mutual commerce will allow.

The fourth, is, That the natives should as much as possible, export and
import their goods in vessels of their own timber, made in their own

The fifth, is the liberty of a free trade in all foreign countries,
which will permit them, except those who are in war with their own
Prince or State.

The sixth, is, by being governed only by laws made with their own
consent, for otherwise they are not a free People. And therefore all
appeals for justice, or applications, for favour or preferment to
another country, are so many grievous impoverishments.

The seventh, is, by improvement of land, encouragement of agriculture,
and thereby increasing the number of their people, without which any
country, however blessed by Nature, must continue poor.

The eighth, is the residence of the Princes, or chief administrators of
the civil power.

The ninth, is the concourse of foreigners for education, curiosity or
pleasure, or as to a general mart of trade.

The tenth, is by disposing all offices of honour, profit or trust, only
to the natives, or at least with very few exceptions, where strangers
have long inhabited the country, and are supposed to understand, and
regard the interest of it as their own.

The eleventh is, when the rents of lands, and profits of employments,
are spent in the country which produced them, and not in another, the
former of which will certainly happen, where the love of our native
country prevails.

The twelfth, is by the public revenues being all spent and employed at
home, except on the occasions of a foreign war.

The thirteenth, is where the people are not obliged, unless they find it
for their own interest, or conveniency, to receive any monies, except of
their own coinage by a public mint, after the manner of all civilized

The fourteenth, is a disposition of the people of a country to wear
their own manufactures, and import as few incitements to luxury, either
in clothes, furniture, food or drink, as they possibly can live
conveniently without.

There are many other causes of a Nation's thriving, which I cannot at
present recollect; but without advantage from at least some of these,
after turning my thoughts a long time, I am not able to discover from
whence our wealth proceeds, and therefore would gladly be better
informed. In the mean time, I will here examine what share falls to
Ireland of these causes, or of the effects and consequences.

It is not my intention to complain, but barely to relate facts, and the
matter is not of small importance. For it is allowed, that a man who
lives in a solitary house far from help, is not wise in endeavouring to
acquire in the neighbourhood, the reputation of being rich, because
those who come for gold, will go off with pewter and brass, rather than
return empty; and in the common practice of the world, those who possess
most wealth, make the least parade, which they leave to others, who have
nothing else to bear them out, in shewing their faces on the Exchange.

As to the first cause of a Nation's riches, being the fertility of the
soil, as well as temperature of climate, we have no reason to complain;
for although the quantity of unprofitable land in this Kingdom,
reckoning bog, and rock, and barren mountain, be double in proportion to
what it is in England, yet the native productions which both Kingdoms
deal in, are very near on equality in point of goodness, and might with
the same encouragement be as well manufactured. I except mines and
minerals, in some of which however we are only defective in point of
skill and industry.

In the second, which is the industry of the people, our misfortune is
not altogether owing to our own fault, but to a million of

The conveniency of ports and havens which Nature bestowed us so
liberally is of no more use to us, than a beautiful prospect to a man
shut up in a dungeon.

As to shipping of its own, this Kingdom is so utterly unprovided, that
of all the excellent timber cut down within these fifty or sixty years,
it can hardly be said that the Nation hath received the benefit of one
valuable house to dwell in, or one ship to trade with.

Ireland is the only Kingdom I ever heard or read of, either in ancient
or modern story, which was denied the liberty of exporting their native
commodities and manufactures wherever they pleased, except to countries
at war with their own Prince or State, yet this by the superiority of
mere power is refused us in the most momentous parts of commerce,[49]
besides an Act of Navigation to which we never consented, pinned down
upon us, and rigorously executed,[50] and a thousand other unexampled
circumstances as grievous as they are invidious to mention. To go unto
the rest.

It is too well known that we are forced to obey some laws we never
consented to, which is a condition I must not call by its true
uncontroverted name for fear of my Lord Chief Justice Whitshed's ghost
with his _Libertas et natale solum_, written as a motto on his coach, as
it stood at the door of the court, while he was perjuring himself to
betray both.[51] Thus, we are in the condition of patients who have
physic sent them by doctors at a distance, strangers to their
constitution, and the nature of their disease: And thus, we are forced
to pay five hundred _per cent._ to divide our properties, in all which
we have likewise the honour to be distinguished from the whole race of

As to improvement of land, those few who attempt that or planting,
through covetousness or want of skill, generally leave things worse than
they were, neither succeeding in trees nor hedges, and by running into
the fancy of grazing after the manner of the Scythians, are every day
depopulating the country.

We are so far from having a King to reside among us, that even the
Viceroy is generally absent four-fifths of his time in the Government.

No strangers from other countries make this a part of their travels,
where they can expect to see nothing but scenes of misery and

Those who have the misfortune to be born here, have the least title to
any considerable employment to which they are seldom preferred, but upon
a political consideration.

One third part of the rents of Ireland is spent in England, which with
the profit of employments, pensions, appeals, journeys of pleasure or
health, education at the Inns of Court, and both Universities,
remittances at pleasure, the pay of all superior officers in the army
and other incidents, will amount to a full half of the income of the
whole Kingdom, all clear profit to England.

We are denied the liberty of coining gold, silver, or even copper. In
the Isle of Man, they coin their own silver, every petty Prince, vassal
to the Emperor, can coin what money he pleaseth.[53] And in this as in
most of the articles already mentioned, we are an exception to all other
States or Monarchies that were ever known in the world.

As to the last, or fourteenth article, we take special care to act
diametrically contrary to it in the whole course of our lives. Both
sexes, but especially the women, despise and abhor to wear any of their
own manufactures, even those which are better made than in other
countries, particularly a sort of silk plaid, through which the workmen
are forced to run a sort of gold thread that it may pass for Indian.
Even ale and potatoes in great quantity are imported from England as
well as corn, and our foreign trade is little more than importation of
French wine, for which I am told we pay ready money.

Now if all this be true, upon which I could easily enlarge, I would be
glad to know by what secret method it is that we grow a rich and
flourishing people, without liberty, trade, manufactures, inhabitants,
money, or the privilege of coining; without industry, labour or
improvement of lands, and with more than half of the rent and profits of
the whole Kingdom, annually exported, for which we receive not a single
farthing: And to make up all this, nothing worth mentioning, except the
linen of the North, a trade casual, corrupted, and at mercy, and some
butter from Cork. If we do flourish, it must be against every law of
Nature and Reason, like the thorn at Glastonbury, that blossoms in the
midst of Winter.

Let the worthy Commissioners who come from England ride round the
Kingdom, and observe the face of Nature, or the face of the natives, the
improvement of the land, the thriving numerous plantations, the noble
woods, the abundance and vicinity of country seats, the commodious
farmers houses and barns, the towns and villages, where everybody is
busy and thriving with all kind of manufactures, the shops full of goods
wrought to perfection, and filled with customers, the comfortable diet
and dress, and dwellings of the people, the vast numbers of ships in our
harbours and docks, and shipwrights in our sea-port towns. The roads
crowded with carriers laden with rich manufactures, the perpetual
concourse to and fro of pompous equipages.

With what envy and admiration would these gentlemen return from so
delightful a progress? What glorious reports would they make when they
went back to England?

But my heart is too heavy to continue this journey[54] longer, for it is
manifest that whatever stranger took such a journey, would be apt to
think himself travelling in Lapland or Ysland,[55] rather than in a
country so favoured by Nature as ours, both in fruitfulness of soil, and
temperature of climate. The miserable dress, and diet, and dwelling of
the people. The general desolation in most parts of the Kingdom. The old
seats of the nobility and gentry all in ruins, and no new ones in their
stead. The families of farmers who pay great rents, living in filth and
nastiness upon butter-milk and potatoes, without a shoe or stocking to
their feet, or a house so convenient as an English hog-sty to receive
them.[56] These indeed may be comfortable sights to an English
spectator, who comes for a short time only to learn the language, and
returns back to his own country, whither he finds all our wealth

  _Nostrâ miseriâ magnus es._

There is not one argument used to prove the riches of Ireland, which is
not a logical demonstration of its poverty. The rise of our rents is
squeezed out of the very blood and vitals, and clothes, and dwellings of
the tenants who live worse than English beggars. The lowness of
interest, in all other countries a sign of wealth, is in us a proof of
misery, there being no trade to employ any borrower. Hence alone comes
the dearness of land, since the savers have no other way to lay out
their money. Hence the dearness of necessaries for life, because the
tenants cannot afford to pay such extravagant rates for land (which they
must take, or go a-begging) without raising the price of cattle, and of
corn, although they should live upon chaff. Hence our increase of
buildings in this City, because workmen have nothing to do but employ
one another, and one half of them are infallibly undone. Hence the daily
increase of bankers, who may be a necessary evil in a trading country,
but so ruinous in ours, who for their private advantage have sent away
all our silver, and one third of our gold, so that within three years
past the running cash of the Nation, which was about five hundred
thousand pounds, is now less than two, and must daily diminish unless we
have liberty to coin, as well as that important Kingdom the Isle of Man,
and the meanest Prince in the German Empire, as I before observed.[57]

I have sometimes thought, that this paradox of the Kingdom growing rich,
is chiefly owing to those worthy gentlemen the BANKERS, who, except some
custom-house officers, birds of passage, oppressive thrifty squires, and
a few others that shall be nameless, are the only thriving people among
us: And I have often wished that a law were enacted to hang up half a
dozen bankers every year, and thereby interpose at least some short
delay, to the further ruin of Ireland.

"Ye are idle, ye are idle," answered Pharaoh to the Israelites, when
they complained to his Majesty, that they were forced to make bricks
without straw.

England enjoys every one of these advantages for enriching a Nation,
which I have above enumerated, and into the bargain, a good million
returned to them every year without labour or hazard, or one farthing
value received on our side. But how long we shall be able to continue
the payment, I am not under the least concern. One thing I know, that
_when the hen is starved to death, there will be no more golden eggs_.

I think it a little unhospitable, and others may call it a subtile piece
of malice, that, because there may be a dozen families in this Town,
able to entertain their English friends in a generous manner at their
tables, their guests upon their return to England, shall report that we
wallow in riches and luxury.

Yet I confess I have known an hospital, where all the household officers
grew rich, while the poor for whose sake it was built, were almost
starving for want of food and raiment.

To conclude. If Ireland be a rich and flourishing Kingdom, its wealth
and prosperity must be owing to certain causes, that are yet concealed
from the whole race of mankind, and the effects are equally invisible.
We need not wonder at strangers when they deliver such paradoxes, but a
native and inhabitant of this Kingdom, who gives the same verdict, must
be either ignorant to stupidity, or a man-pleaser at the expense of all
honour, conscience and truth.









     Under the guises of a gentleman and two ladies, Swift represents
     England, Scotland, and Ireland--England being the gentleman and
     Scotland and Ireland the two mistresses for whom he is affecting an
     honourable love. The Injured Lady is Ireland, who represents her
     rival, Scotland, as unworthy of her lover's attention. She
     expatiates on her own attractions and upbraids him also on his
     treatment of her. This affords Swift an opportunity for some
     searching and telling criticism on England's conduct towards
     Ireland. The fiction is admirably maintained throughout the story.

     In "The Answer to the Injured Lady" which follows "The Story,"
     Swift takes it upon himself to give her proper advice for her
     future conduct towards her lover. In this advice he reiterates what
     he has always been saying to the people of Ireland, but formulates
     it in the language affected by the lady herself. He tells her that
     she should look to it that her "family and tenants have no
     dependence upon the said gentleman farther than by the old
     agreement [the Act of Henry VII], which obliges you to have the
     same steward, and to regulate your household by such methods as you
     should both agree to"; that she shall be free to carry her goods to
     any market she pleases; that she shall compel the servants to whom
     she pays wages to remain at home; and that if she make an agreement
     with a tenant, it shall not be in his power to break it. If she
     will only show a proper spirit, he assures her that there are
     gentlemen who would be glad of an occasion to support her in her

       *       *       *       *       *

     The text of both the tracts here given is based on that of the
     earliest edition I could find, namely, that of 1746, collated with
     that given by Faulkner.

     [T. S.]





Being a true PICTURE of SCOTCH Perfidy, IRISH
Poverty, and ENGLISH Partiality.



Never before Printed.

       *       *       *       *       *

By the Rev. Dr. SWIFT, D. S. P. D.

       *       *       *       *       *


Printed for M. COOPER, at the _Globe_ in

_Pater-Noster-Row_. MDCCXLVI.

[Price One Shilling.]


Being ruined by the inconstancy and unkindness of a lover, I hope, a
true and plain relation of my misfortunes may be of use and warning to
credulous maids, never to put too much trust in deceitful men.

A gentleman[58] in the neighbourhood had two mistresses, another and
myself;[59] and he pretended honourable love to us both. Our three
houses stood pretty near one another; his was parted from mine by a
river,[60] and from my rival's by an old broken wall.[61] But before I
enter into the particulars of this gentleman's hard usage of me, I will
give a very just impartial character of my rival and myself.

As to her person she is tall and lean, and very ill shaped; she hath bad
features, and a worse complexion; she hath a stinking breath, and twenty
ill smells about her besides; which are yet more insufferable by her
natural sluttishness; for she is always lousy, and never without the
itch. As to other qualities, she hath no reputation either for virtue,
honesty, truth, or manners; and it is no wonder, considering what her
education hath been. Scolding and cursing are her common conversation.
To sum up all; she is poor and beggarly, and gets a sorry maintenance by
pilfering wherever she comes. As for this gentleman who is now so fond
of her, she still beareth him an invincible hatred; revileth him to his
face, and raileth at him in all companies. Her house is frequented by a
company of rogues and thieves, and pickpockets, whom she encourageth to
rob his hen-roosts, steal his corn and cattle, and do him all manner of
mischief.[62] She hath been known to come at the head of these rascals,
and beat her lover until he was sore from head to foot, and then force
him to pay for the trouble she was at. Once, attended with a crew of
ragamuffins, she broke into his house, turned all things topsy-turvy,
and then set it on fire. At the same time she told so many lies among
his servants, that it set them all by the ears, and his poor _Steward_
was knocked on the head;[63] for which I think, and so doth all the
Country, that she ought to be answerable. To conclude her character; she
is of a different religion, being a Presbyterian of the most rank and
virulent kind, and consequently having an inveterate hatred to the
Church; yet, I am sure, I have been always told, that in marriage there
ought to be an union of minds as well as of persons.

I will now give my own character, and shall do it in few words, and with
modesty and truth.

I was reckoned to be as handsome as any in our neighbourhood, until I
became pale and thin with grief and ill usage. I am still fair enough,
and have, I think, no very ill feature about me. They that see me now
will hardly allow me ever to have had any great share of beauty; for
besides being so much altered, I go always mobbed and in an undress, as
well out of neglect, as indeed for want of clothes to appear in. I might
add to all this, that I was born to a good estate, although it now
turneth to little account under the oppressions I endure, and hath been
the true cause of all my misfortunes.[64]

Some years ago, this gentleman taking a fancy either to my person or
fortune, made his addresses to me; which, being then young and foolish,
I too readily admitted; he seemed to use me with so much tenderness, and
his conversation was so very engaging, that all my constancy and virtue
were too soon overcome; and, to dwell no longer upon a theme that
causeth such bitter reflections, I must confess with shame, that I was
undone by the common arts practised upon all easy credulous virgins,
half by force, and half by consent, after solemn vows and protestations
of marriage. When he had once got possession, he soon began to play the
usual part of a too fortunate lover, affecting on all occasions to shew
his authority, and to act like a conqueror. First, he found fault with
the government of my family, which I grant, was none of the best,
consisting of ignorant illiterate creatures; for at that time, I knew
but little of the world. In compliance to him, therefore, I agreed to
fall into his ways and methods of living; I consented that his
steward[65] should govern my house, and have liberty to employ an
under-steward,[66] who should receive his directions. My lover proceeded
further, turning away several old servants and tenants, and supplying me
with others from his own house. These grew so domineering and
unreasonable, that there was no quiet, and I heard of nothing but
perpetual quarrels, which although I could not possibly help, yet my
lover laid all the blame and punishment upon me; and upon every falling
out, still turned away more of my people, and supplied me in their stead
with a number of fellows and dependents of his own, whom he had no other
way to provide for.[67] Overcome by love and to avoid noise and
contention, I yielded to all his usurpations, and finding it in vain to
resist, I thought it my best policy to make my court to my new servants,
and draw them to my interests; I fed them from my own table with the
best I had, put my new tenants on the choice parts of my land, and
treated them all so kindly, that they began to love me as well as their
master. In process of time, all my old servants were gone, and I had not
a creature about me, nor above one or two tenants but what were of his
choosing; yet I had the good luck by gentle usage to bring over the
greatest part of them to my side. When my lover observed this, he began
to alter his language; and, to those who enquired about me, he would
answer, that I was an old dependant upon his family, whom he had placed
on some concerns of his own; and he began to use me accordingly,
neglecting by degrees all common civility in his behaviour. I shall
never forget the speech he made me one morning, which he delivered with
all the gravity in the world. He put me in the mind of the vast
obligations I lay under to him, in sending me so many of his people for
my own good, and to teach me manners: That it had cost him ten times
more than I was worth, to maintain me: That it had been much better for
him, if I had been damned, or burnt, or sunk to the bottom of the sea:
That it was but reasonable I should strain myself as far as I was able,
to reimburse him some of his charges: That from henceforward he expected
his word should be a law to me in all things: That I must maintain a
parish-watch against thieves and robbers, and give salaries to an
overseer, a constable, and others, all of his own choosing, whom he
would send from time to time to be spies upon me: That to enable me the
better in supporting these expenses, my tenants shall be obliged to
carry all their goods cross the river to his town-market, and pay toll
on both sides, and then sell them at half value.[68] But because we were
a nasty sort of people, and that he could not endure to touch anything
we had a hand in, and likewise, because he wanted work to employ his own
folks, therefore we must send all our goods to his market just in their
naturals;[69] the milk immediately from the cow without making it into
cheese or butter; the corn in the ear, the grass as it is mowed; the
wool as it cometh from the sheep's back, and bring the fruit upon the
branch, that he might not be obliged to eat it after our filthy hands:
That if a tenant carried but a piece of bread and cheese to eat by the
way, or an inch of worsted to mend his stockings, he should forfeit his
whole parcel: And because a company of rogues usually plied on the river
between us, who often robbed my tenants of their goods and boats, he
ordered a waterman of his to guard them, whose manner was to be out of
the way until the poor wretches were plundered; then to overtake the
thieves, and seize all as lawful prize to his master and himself. It
would be endless to repeat a hundred other hardships he hath put upon
me; but it is a general rule, that whenever he imagines the smallest
advantage will redound to one of his footboys by any new oppression of
me and my whole family and estate, he never disputeth it a moment. All
this hath rendered me so very insignificant and contemptible at home,
that some servants to whom I pay the greatest wages, and many tenants
who have the most beneficial leases, are gone over to live with him; yet
I am bound to continue their wages, and pay their rents;[70] by which
means one third part of my whole income is spent on his estate, and
above another third by his tolls and markets; and my poor tenants are so
sunk and impoverished, that, instead of maintaining me suitably to my
quality, they can hardly find me clothes to keep me warm, or provide the
common necessaries of life for themselves.

Matters being in this posture between me and my lover; I received
intelligence that he had been for some time making very pressing
overtures of marriage to my rival, until there happened some
misunderstandings between them; she gave him ill words, and threatened
to break off all commerce with him. He, on the other side, having either
acquired courage by his triumphs over me, or supposing her as tame a
fool as I, thought at first to carry it with a high hand; but hearing at
the same time, that she had thoughts of making some private proposals to
join with me against him, and doubting, with very good reason, that I
would readily accept them, he seemed very much disconcerted.[71] This I
thought was a proper occasion to shew some great example of generosity
and love, and so, without further consideration, I sent him word, that
hearing there was likely to be a quarrel between him and my rival;
notwithstanding all that had passed, and without binding him to any
conditions in my own favour, I would stand by him against her and all
the world, while I had a penny in my purse, or a petticoat to pawn. This
message was subscribed by all my chief tenants; and proved so powerful,
that my rival immediately grew more tractable upon it. The result of
which was, that there is now a treaty of marriage concluded between
them,[72] the wedding clothes are bought, and nothing remaineth but to
perform the ceremony, which is put off for some days, because they
design it to be a public wedding. And to reward my love, constancy, and
generosity, he hath bestowed on me the office of being sempstress to his
grooms and footmen, which I am forced to accept or starve.[73] Yet, in
the midst of this my situation, I cannot but have some pity for this
deluded man, to cast himself away on an infamous creature, who, whatever
she pretendeth, I can prove, would at this very minute rather be a whore
to a certain great man, that shall be nameless, if she might have her
will.[74] For my part, I think, and so doth all the country too, that
the man is possessed; at least none of us are able to imagine what he
can possibly see in her, unless she hath bewitched him, or given him
some powder.

I am sure, I never sought his alliance, and you can bear me witness,
that I might have had other matches; nay, if I were lightly disposed, I
could still perhaps have offers, that some, who hold their heads higher,
would be glad to accept.[75] But alas! I never had any such wicked
thought; all I now desire is, only to enjoy a little quiet, to be free
from the persecutions of this unreasonable man, and that he will let me
manage my own little fortune to the best advantage; for which I will
undertake to pay him a considerable pension every year, much more
considerable than what he now gets by his oppressions; for he must needs
find himself a loser at last, when he hath drained me and my tenants so
dry, that we shall not have a penny for him or ourselves. There is one
imposition of his, I had almost forgot, which I think unsufferable, and
will appeal to you or any reasonable person, whether it be so or not. I
told you before, that by an old compact we agreed to have the same
steward, at which time I consented likewise to regulate my family and
estate by the same method with him, which he then shewed me writ down
in form, and I approved of.[76] Now, the turn he thinks fit to give this
compact of ours is very extraordinary; for he pretends that whatever
orders he shall think fit to prescribe for the future in his family, he
may, if he will, compel mine to observe them, without asking my advice,
or hearing my reasons. So that, I must not make a lease without his
consent, or give any directions for the well-governing of my family, but
what he countermands whenever he pleaseth. This leaveth me at such
confusion and uncertainty, that my servants know not when to obey me,
and my tenants, although many of them be very well inclined, seem quite
at a loss.

But I am too tedious upon this melancholy subject, which however, I
hope, you will forgive, since the happiness of my whole life dependeth
upon it. I desire you will think a while, and give your best advice what
measures I shall take with prudence, justice, courage, and honour, to
protect my liberty and fortune against the hardships and severities I
lie under from that unkind, inconstant man.



I have received your Ladyship's letter, and carefully considered every
part of it, and shall give you my opinion how you ought to proceed for
your own security. But first, I must beg leave to tell your Ladyship,
that you were guilty of an unpardonable weakness t'other day in making
that offer to your lover, of standing by him in any quarrel he might
have with your rival. You know very well, that she began to apprehend he
had designs of using her as he had done you; and common prudence might
have directed you rather to have entered into some measures with her for
joining against him, until he might at least be brought to some
reasonable terms: But your invincible hatred to that lady hath carried
your resentments so high, as to be the cause of your ruin; yet, if you
please to consider, this aversion of yours began a good while before she
became your rival, and was taken up by you and your family in a sort of
compliment to your lover, who formerly had a great abhorrence for her.
It is true, since that time you have suffered very much by her
encroachments upon your estate,[77] but she never pretended to govern or
direct you: And now you have drawn a new enemy upon yourself; for I
think you may count upon all the ill offices she can possibly do you by
her credit with her husband; whereas, if, instead of openly declaring
against her without any provocation, you had but sat still awhile, and
said nothing, that gentleman would have lessened his severity to you out
of perfect fear. This weakness of yours, you call generosity; but I
doubt there was more in the matter. In short, Madam, I have good
reasons to think you were betrayed to it by the pernicious counsels of
some about you: For to my certain knowledge, several of your tenants and
servants, to whom you have been very kind, are as arrant rascals as any
in the Country. I cannot but observe what a mighty difference there is
in one particular between your Ladyship and your rival. Having yielded
up your person, you thought nothing else worth defending, and therefore
you will not now insist upon those very conditions for which you yielded
at first. But your Ladyship cannot be ignorant, that some years since
your rival did the same thing, and upon no conditions at all; nay, this
gentleman kept her as a miss, and yet made her pay for her diet and
lodging.[78] But, it being at a time when he had no steward, and his
family out of order, she stole away, and hath now got the trick very
well known among the women of the town, to grant a man the favour over
night and the next day have the impudence to deny it to his face. But,
it is too late to reproach you with any former oversights, which cannot
now be rectified. I know the matters of fact as you relate them are true
and fairly represented. My advice therefore is this. Get your tenants
together as soon as you conveniently can, and make them agree to the
following resolutions.

_First_, That your family and tenants have no dependence upon the said
gentleman, further than by the old agreement, which obligeth you to have
the same steward, and to regulate your household by such methods as you
should both agree to.[79]

_Secondly_, That you will not carry your goods to the market of his
town, unless you please, nor be hindered from carrying them anywhere

_Thirdly_, That the servants you pay wages to shall live at home, or
forfeit their places.[81]

_Fourthly_, That whatever lease you make to a tenant, it shall not be in
his power to break it.[82]

If he will agree to these articles, I advise you to contribute as
largely as you can to all charges of Parish and County.

I can assure you, several of that gentleman's ablest tenants and
servants are against his severe usage of you, and would be glad of an
occasion to convince the rest of their error, if you will not be wanting
to yourself.

If the gentleman refuses these just and reasonable offers, pray let me
know it, and perhaps I may think of something else that will be more

  I am,
      Your Ladyship's, etc.









     This is, perhaps, as trenchant and fine a piece of writing as is to
     be found in any of those pamphlets Swift wrote for the alleviation
     of the miserable condition of Ireland. The author of the "Memorial"
     to which Swift made this passionate reply was Sir John Browne, and
     the purport of his writing may be easily gathered from Swift's

       *       *       *       *       *

     The text here given is based on that printed by Faulkner in 1735 in
     the fourth volume of his collected edition of Swift's works. Scott
     reprints Browne's "Memorial" and his reply to the present "Answer,"
     but they are of little importance and in no way assist us in our
     appreciation of Swift's work. The date of Swift's answer is given
     by Faulkner as "March 25th, 1728," which year Scott misprints 1738,
     evidently a printer's error, though the arrangement of the order of
     the pamphlets in his edition leaves much to be desired.

     [T. S.]





I received a paper from you, wherever you are, printed without any name
of author or printer, and sent, I suppose, to me among others, without
any particular distinction. It contains a complaint of the dearness of
corn, and some schemes of making it cheaper which I cannot approve of.

But pray permit me, before I go further, to give you a short history of
the steps by which we arrived at this hopeful situation.

It was, indeed, the shameful practice of too many Irish farmers, to wear
out their ground with ploughing; while, either through poverty,
laziness, or ignorance, they neither took care to manure it as they
ought, nor gave time to any part of the land to recover itself; and,
when their leases are near expiring, being assured that their landlords
would not renew, they ploughed even the meadows, and made such a havock,
that many landlords were considerable sufferers by it.

This gave birth to that abominable race of graziers, who, upon
expiration of the farmer's leases were ready to engross great quantities
of land; and the gentlemen having been before often ill paid, and their
land worn out of heart, were too easily tempted, when a rich grazier
made him an offer to take all his land, and give his security for
payment. Thus a vast tract of land, where twenty or thirty farmers
lived, together with their cottagers and labourers in their several
cabins, became all desolate, and easily managed by one or two herdsmen
and their boys; whereby the master-grazier, with little trouble, seized
to himself the livelihood of a hundred people.

It must be confessed, that the farmers were justly punished for their
knavery, brutality, and folly. But neither are the squires and landlords
to be excused; for to them is owing the depopulating of the country, the
vast number of beggars, and the ruin of those few sorry improvements we

That farmers should be limited in ploughing is very reasonable, and
practised in England, and might have easily been done here by penal
clauses in their leases; but to deprive them, in a manner, altogether
from tilling their lands, was a most stupid want of thinking.

Had the farmers been confined to plough a certain quantity of land, with
a penalty of ten pounds an acre for whatever they exceeded, and farther
limited for the three or four last years of their leases, all this evil
had been prevented; the nation would have saved a million of money, and
been more populous by above two hundred thousand souls.

For a people, denied the benefit of trade, to manage their lands in such
a manner as to produce nothing but what they are forbidden to trade
with,[83] or only such things as they can neither export nor manufacture
to advantage, is an absurdity that a wild Indian would be ashamed of;
especially when we add, that we are content to purchase this hopeful
commerce, by sending to foreign markets for our daily bread.

The grazier's employment is to feed great flocks of sheep, or black
cattle, or both. With regard to sheep, as folly is usually accompanied
with perverseness, so it is here. There is something so monstrous to
deal in a commodity (further than for our own use) which we are not
allowed to export manufactured, nor even unmanufactured, but to one
certain country, and only to some few ports in that country;[84] there
is, I say, something so sottish, that it wants a name in our language
to express it by: and the good of it is, that the more sheep we have,
the fewer human creatures are left to wear the wool, or eat the flesh.
Ajax was mad, when he mistook a flock of sheep for his enemies; but we
shall never be sober, until we have the same way of thinking.

The other part of the grazier's business is, what we call black-cattle,
producing hides, tallow, and beef for exportation: all which are good
and useful commodities, if rightly managed. But it seems, the greatest
part of the hides are sent out raw, for want of bark to tan them; and
that want will daily grow stronger; for I doubt the new project of
tanning without it is at an end. Our beef, I am afraid, still continues
scandalous in foreign markets, for the old reasons. But our tallow, for
anything I know, may be good. However, to bestow the whole kingdom on
beef and mutton, and thereby drive out half the people who should eat
their share, and force the rest to send sometimes as far as Egypt for
bread to eat with it, is a most peculiar and distinguished piece of
public economy, of which I have no comprehension.

I know very well that our ancestors the Scythians, and their posterity
our kinsmen the Tartars, lived upon the blood, and milk, and raw flesh
of their cattle, without one grain of corn; but I confess myself so
degenerate, that I am not easy without bread to my victuals.

What amazed me for a week or two, was to see, in this prodigious plenty
of cattle, and dearth of human creatures, and want of bread, as well as
money to buy it, that all kind of flesh-meat should be monstrously dear,
beyond what was ever known in this kingdom. I thought it a defect in the
laws, that there was not some regulation in the price of flesh, as well
as bread: but I imagine myself to have guessed out the reason: In short,
I am apt to think that the whole kingdom is overstocked with cattle,
both black and white; and as it is observed, that the poor Irish have a
vanity to be rather owners of two lean cows, than one fat, although
with double the charge of grazing, and but half the quantity of milk; so
I conceive it much more difficult at present to find a fat bullock or
wether, than it would be if half of both were fairly knocked on the
head: for I am assured that the district in the several markets called
Carrion Row is as reasonable as the poor can desire; only the
circumstance of money to purchase it, and of trade, or labour, to
purchase that money, are indeed wholly wanting.

Now, sir, to return more particularly to you and your memorial.

A hundred thousand barrels of wheat, you say, should be imported hither;
and ten thousand pounds premium to the importers. Have you looked into
the purse of the nation? I am no commissioner of the treasury; but am
well assured that the whole running cash would not supply you with a sum
to purchase so much corn, which, only at twenty shillings a barrel, will
be a hundred thousand pounds; and ten thousand more for the premiums.
But you will traffic for your corn with other goods: and where are those
goods? if you had them, they are all engaged to pay the rents of
absentees, and other occasions in London, besides a huge balance of
trade this year against us. Will foreigners take our bankers' papers? I
suppose they will value it at little more than so much a quire. Where
are these rich farmers and engrossers of corn, in so bad a year, and so
little sowing?

You are in pain of two shillings premium, and forget the twenty
shillings for the price; find me out the latter, and I will engage for
the former.

Your scheme for a tax for raising such a sum is all visionary, and owing
to a great want of knowledge in the _miserable state_ of this nation.
Tea, coffee, sugar, spices, wine, and foreign clothes, are the
particulars you mention upon which this tax should be raised. I will
allow the two first; because they are unwholesome; and the last, because
I should be glad if they were all burned: but I beg you will leave us
our wine to make us a while forget our misery; or give your tenants
leave to plough for barley. But I will tell you a secret, which I
learned many years ago from the commissioners of the customs in London:
they said, when any commodity appeared to be taxed above a moderate
rate, the consequence was, to lessen that branch of the revenue by one
half; and one of those gentlemen pleasantly told me, that the mistake of
parliaments, on such occasions, was owing to an error of computing two
and two to make four; whereas, in the business of laying impositions,
two and two never made more than one; which happens by lessening the
import, and the strong temptation of running such goods as paid high
duties. At least in this kingdom, although the women are as vain and
extravagant as their lovers or their husbands can deserve, and the men
are fond enough of wine; yet the number of both who can afford such
expenses is so small, that the major part must refuse gratifying
themselves, and the duties will rather be lessened than increased. But,
allowing no force in this argument; yet so preternatural a sum as one
hundred and ten thousand pounds, raised all on a sudden, (for there is
no dallying with hunger,) is just in proportion with raising a million
and a half in England; which, as things now stand, would probably bring
that opulent kingdom under some difficulties.

You are concerned how strange and surprising it would be in foreign
parts to hear that the poor were starving in a RICH country,
&c. Are you in earnest? Is Ireland the rich country you mean? Or are you
insulting our poverty? Were you ever out of Ireland? Or were you ever in
it till of late? You may probably have a good employment, and are saving
all you can to purchase a good estate in England. But by talking so
familiarly of one hundred and ten thousand pounds, by a tax upon a few
commodities, it is plain you are either naturally or affectedly ignorant
of our present condition: or else you would know and allow, that such a
sum is not to be raised here, without a general excise; since, in
proportion to our wealth, we pay already in taxes more than England ever
did in the height of the war. And when you have brought over your corn,
who will be the buyers? Most certainly not the poor, who will not be
able to purchase the twentieth part of it.

Sir, upon the whole, your paper is a very crude piece, liable to more
objections than there are lines; but I think your meaning is good, and
so far you are pardonable.

If you will propose a general contribution in supporting the poor in
potatoes and butter-milk, till the new corn comes in, perhaps you may
succeed better, because the thing at least is possible; and I think if
our brethren in England would contribute upon this emergency, out of the
million they gain from us every year, they would do a piece of justice
as well as charity. In the mean time, go and preach to your own tenants,
to fall to the plough as fast as they can; and prevail with your
neighbouring squires to do the same with theirs; or else die with the
guilt of having driven away half the inhabitants, and starving the rest.
For as to your scheme of raising one hundred and ten thousand pounds, it
is as vain as that of Rabelais; which was, to squeeze out wind from the
posteriors of a dead ass.

But why all this concern for the poor? We want them not, as the country
is now managed; they may follow thousands of their leaders, and seek
their bread abroad. Where the plough has no work, one family can do the
business of fifty, and you may send away the other forty-nine. An
admirable piece of husbandry, never known or practised by the wisest
nations, who erroneously thought people to be the riches of a country!

If so wretched a state of things would allow it, methinks I could have a
malicious pleasure, after all the warning I have in vain given the
public, at my own peril, for several years past, to see the consequences
and events answering in every particular. I pretend to no sagacity: what
I writ was little more than what I had discoursed to several persons,
who were generally of my opinion; and it was obvious to every common
understanding, that such effects must needs follow from such causes;--a
fair issue of things begun upon party rage, while some sacrificed the
public to fury, and others to ambition: while a spirit of faction and
oppression reigned in every part of the country, where gentlemen,
instead of consulting the ease of their tenants, or cultivating their
lands, were worrying one another upon points of Whig and Tory, of High
Church and Low Church; which no more concerned them than the long and
famous controversy of strops for razors: while agriculture was wholly
discouraged, and consequently half the farmers and labourers, and poorer
tradesmen, forced to beggary or banishment. "Wisdom crieth in the
streets: Because I have called on ye; I have stretched out my hand, and
no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsels, and would
none of my reproof; I also will laugh at your calamity, and mock when
your fear cometh."

I have now done with your Memorial, and freely excuse your mistakes,
since you appear to write as a stranger, and as of a country which is
left at liberty to enjoy the benefits of nature, and to make the best of
those advantages which God hath given it, in soil, climate, and

But having lately sent out a paper, entitled, _A Short View of the State
of Ireland_; and hearing of an objection, that some people think I have
treated the memory of the late Lord Chief Justice Whitshed with an
appearance of severity; since I may not probably have another
opportunity of explaining myself in that particular, I choose to do it
here. Laying it, therefore, down for a postulatum, which I suppose will
be universally granted, that no little creature of so mean a birth and
genius, had ever the honour to be a greater enemy to his country, and to
all kinds of virtue, than HE, I answer thus; Whether there be two
different goddesses called Fame, as some authors contend, or only one
goddess sounding two different trumpets, it is certain that people
distinguished for their villainy have as good a title for a blast from
the proper trumpet, as those who are most renowned for their virtues
have from the other; and have equal reason to complain if it be refused
them. And accordingly the names of the most celebrated profligates have
been faithfully transmitted down to posterity. And although the person
here understood acted his part in an obscure corner of the world, yet
his talents might have shone with lustre enough in the noblest scene.

As to my naming a person dead, the plain honest reason is the best. He
was armed with power, guilt, and will to do mischief, even where he was
not provoked, as appeared by his prosecuting two printers,[85] one to
death, and both to ruin, who had neither offended God nor the King, nor
him nor the public.

What an encouragement to vice is this! If an ill man be alive, and in
power, we dare not attack him; and if he be weary of the world, or of
his own villainies, he has nothing to do but die, and then his
reputation is safe. For these excellent casuists know just Latin enough
to have heard a most foolish precept, that _de mortuis nil nisi bonum_;
so that if Socrates, and Anytus his accuser, had happened to die
together, the charity of survivors must either have obliged them to hold
their peace, or to fix the same character on both. The only crime of
charging the dead is, when the least doubt remains whether the
accusation be true; but when men are openly abandoned, and lost to all
shame, they have no reason to think it hard if their memory be
reproached. Whoever reports, or otherwise publisheth, any thing which it
is possible may be false, that man is a slanderer; _hic niger est, hunc
tu, Romane, caveto_. Even the least misrepresentation, or aggravation of
facts, deserves the same censure, in some degree, but in this case, I am
quite deceived if my error hath not been on the side of extenuation.

I have now present before me the idea of some persons (I know not in
what part of the world) who spend every moment of their lives, and every
turn of their thoughts, while they are awake, (and probably of their
dreams while they sleep,) in the most detestable actions and designs;
who delight in mischief, scandal, and obloquy, with the hatred and
contempt of all mankind against them, but chiefly of those among their
own party and their own family; such whose odious qualities rival each
other for perfection: avarice, brutality, faction, pride, malice,
treachery, noise, impudence, dullness, ignorance, vanity, and revenge,
contending every moment for superiority in their breasts. Such creatures
are not to be reformed, neither is it prudence or safety to attempt a
reformation. Yet, although their memories will rot, there may be some
benefit for their survivors to smell it while it is rotting.

                                   I am, Sir,
                                     Your humble servant,
                                                      A. B.

       March 25th, 1728.







I am inclined to think that I received a letter from you two, last
summer, directed to Dublin, while I was in the country, whither it was
sent me; and I ordered an answer to it to be printed, but it seems it
had little effect, and I suppose this will have not much more. But the
heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing,
and their eyes they have closed. And, gentlemen, I am to tell you
another thing: That the world is so regardless of what we write for the
public good, that after we have delivered our thoughts, without any
prospect of advantage, or of reputation, which latter is not to be had
but by subscribing our names, we cannot prevail upon a printer to be at
the charge of sending it into the world, unless we will be at all or
half the expense; and although we are willing enough to bestow our
labours, we think it unreasonable to be out of pocket; because it
probably may not consist with the situation of our affairs.

I do very much approve your good intentions, and in a great measure your
manner of declaring them; and I do imagine you intended that the world
should not only know your sentiments, but my answer, which I shall
impartially give.

That great prelate, to whose care you directed your letter, sent it to
me this morning;[88] and I begin my answer to-night, not knowing what
interruption I may meet with.

I have ordered your letter to be printed, as it ought to be, along with
my answer; because I conceive it will be more acceptable and informing
to the kingdom.

I shall therefore now go on to answer your letter in all manner of

Although your letter be directed to me, yet I take myself to be only an
imaginary person; for, although I conjecture I had formerly one from
you, yet I never answered it otherwise than in print; neither was I at a
loss to know the reasons why so many people of this kingdom were
transporting themselves to America. And if this encouragement were owing
to a pamphlet written, giving an account of the country of Pennsylvania,
to tempt people to go thither, I do declare that those who were tempted,
by such a narrative, to such a journey, were fools, and the author a
most impudent knave; at least, if it be the same pamphlet I saw when it
first came out, which is above 25 years ago, dedicated to Will Penn
(whom by a mistake you call "Sir William Penn,") and styling him, by
authority of the Scripture, "Most Noble Governor." For I was very well
acquainted with Penn, and did, some years after, talk with him upon that
pamphlet, and the impudence of the author, who spoke so many things in
praise of the soil and climate, which Penn himself did absolutely
contradict. For he did assure me that his country wanted the shelter of
mountains, which left it open to the northern winds from Hudson's Bay
and the Frozen Sea, which destroyed all plantations of trees, and was
even pernicious to all common vegetables. But, indeed, New York,
Virginia, and other parts less northward, or more defended by mountains,
are described as excellent countries: but, upon what conditions of
advantage foreigners go thither, I am yet to seek.[89]

What evils do our people avoid by running from hence, is easier to be
determined. They conceive themselves to live under the tyranny of most
cruel exacting landlords, who have no view further than increasing their
rent-rolls. Secondly, you complain of the want of trade, whereof you
seem not to know the reason. Thirdly, you lament most justly the money
spent by absentees in England. Fourthly, you complain that your linen
manufacture declines. Fifthly, that your tithe-collectors oppress you.
Sixthly, that your children have no hopes of preferment in the church,
the revenue, or the army; to which you might have added the law, and all
civil employments whatsoever. Seventhly, you are undone for silver, and
want all other money.

I could easily add some other motives, which, to men of spirit, who
desire and expect, and think they deserve the common privileges of human
nature, would be of more force, than any you have yet named, to drive
them out of this kingdom. But, as these speculations may probably not
much affect the brains of your people, I shall choose to let them pass
unmentioned. Yet I cannot but observe, that my very good and virtuous
friend, his excellency Burnet, (_O fili, nec tali indigne parente!_)[90]
hath not hitherto been able to persuade his vassals, by his oratory in
the style of a command, to settle a revenue on his viceroyal person.[91]
I have been likewise assured, that in one of those colonies on the
continent, which nature hath so far favoured, as (by the industry of the
inhabitants) to produce a great quantity of excellent rice, the
stubbornness of the people, who having been told that the world is wide,
took it into their heads that they might sell their own rice at whatever
foreign markets they pleased, and seem, by their practice, very
unwilling to quit that opinion.

But, to return to my subject: I must confess to you both, that if one
reason of your people's deserting us be, the despair of things growing
better in their own country, I have not one syllable to answer; because
that would be to hope for what is impossible; and so I have been telling
the public these ten years. For there are three events which must
precede any such blessing: First, a liberty of trade; secondly, a share
of preferments in all kinds, to the British natives; and thirdly, a
return of those absentees, who take almost one half of the kingdom's
revenues. As to the first, there is nothing left us but despair; and for
the third, it will never happen till the kingdom hath no money to send
them; for which, in my own particular, I should not be sorry.

The exaction of landlords hath indeed been a grievance of above twenty
years' standing. But as to what you object about the severe clauses
relating to improvement, the fault lies wholly on the other side: for
the landlords, either by their ignorance, or greediness of making large
rent-rolls, have performed this matter so ill, as we see by experience,
that there is not one tenant in five hundred who hath made any
improvement worth mentioning. For which I appeal to any man who rides
through the kingdom, where little is to be found among the tenants but
beggary and desolation; the cabins of the Scotch themselves, in Ulster,
being as dirty and miserable as those of the wildest Irish. Whereas good
firm penal clauses for improvement, with a tolerable easy rent, and a
reasonable period of time, would, in twenty years, have increased the
rents of Ireland at least a third part in the intrinsic value.

I am glad to hear you speak with some decency of the clergy, and to
impute the exactions you lament to the managers or farmers of the
tithes. But you entirely mistake the fact; for I defy the most wicked
and most powerful clergymen in the kingdom to oppress the meanest farmer
in the parish; and I likewise defy the same clergyman to prevent himself
from being cheated by the same farmer, whenever that farmer shall be
disposed to be knavish or peevish. For, although the Ulster
tithing-teller is more advantageous to the clergy than any other in the
kingdom, yet the minister can demand no more than his tenth; and where
the corn much exceeds the small tithes, as, except in some districts, I
am told it always doth, he is at the mercy of every stubborn farmer,
especially of those whose sect as well as interest incline them to
opposition. However, I take it that your people bent for America do not
shew the best part of their prudence in making this one part of their
complaint: yet they are so far wise, as not to make the payment of
tithes a scruple of conscience, which is too gross for any Protestant
dissenter, except a Quaker, to pretend. But do your people indeed think,
that if tithes were abolished, or delivered into the hands of the
landlord, after the blessed manner in the Scotch spiritual economy, that
the tenant would sit easier in his rent under the same person, who must
be lord of the soil and of the tithe together?

I am ready enough to grant, that the oppression of landlords, the utter
ruin of trade, with its necessary consequence the want of money, half
the revenues of the kingdom spent abroad, the continued dearth of three
years, and the strong delusion in your people by false allurement from
America, may be the chief motives of their eagerness after such an
expedition. [But there is likewise another temptation, which is not of
inconsiderable weight; which is their itch of living in a country where
their sect is predominant, and where their eyes and consciences would
not be offended by the stumbling-block of ceremonies, habits, and
spiritual titles.[92]]

But I was surprised to find that those calamities, whereof we are
innocent, have been sufficient to drive many families out of their
country, who had no reason to complain of oppressive landlords. For,
while I was last year in the northern parts, a person of quality, whose
estate was let above 20 years ago, and then at a very reasonable rent,
some for leases of lives, and some perpetuities, did, in a few months,
purchase eleven of those leases at a very inconsiderable price, although
they were, two years ago, reckoned to pay but half value. From whence it
is manifest, that our present miserable condition, and the dismal
prospect of worse, with other reasons above assigned, are sufficient to
put men upon trying this desperate experiment, of changing the scene
they are in, although landlords should, by a miracle, become less

There is hardly a scheme proposed for improving the trade of this
kingdom, which doth not manifestly shew the stupidity and ignorance of
the proposer; and I laugh with contempt at those weak wise heads, who
proceed upon general maxims, or advise us to follow the examples of
Holland and England. These empirics talk by rote, without understanding
the constitution of the kingdom: as if a physician, knowing that
exercise contributed much to health, should prescribe to his patient
under a severe fit of the gout, to walk ten miles every morning. The
directions for Ireland are very short and plain; to encourage
agriculture and home consumption, and utterly discard all importations
which are not absolutely necessary for health or life. And how few
necessities, conveniences, or even comforts of life, are denied us by
nature, or not to be attained by labour and industry! Are those
detestable extravagancies of Flanders lace, English cloths of our own
wool, and other goods, Italian or Indian silks, tea, coffee, chocolate,
china-ware, and that profusion of wines, by the knavery of merchants
growing dearer every season, with a hundred unnecessary fopperies,
better known to others than me; are these, I say, fit for us, any more
than for the beggar who could not eat his veal without oranges? Is it
not the highest indignity to human nature, that men should be such
poltroons as to suffer the kingdom and themselves to be undone, by the
vanity, the folly, the pride, and wantonness of their wives,[93] who,
under their present corruptions, seem to be a kind of animal, suffered,
for our sins, to be sent into the world for the destruction of families,
societies, and kingdoms; and whose whole study seems directed to be as
expensive as they possibly can, in every useless article of living; who,
by long practice, can reconcile the most pernicious foreign drugs to
their health and pleasure, provided they are but expensive, as starlings
grow fat with henbane; who contract a robustness by mere practice of
sloth and luxury; who can play deep several hours after midnight, sleep
beyond noon, revel upon Indian poisons, and spend the revenue of a
moderate family to adorn a nauseous, unwholesome living carcase? Let
those few who are not concerned in any part of this accusation, suppose
it unsaid; let the rest take it among them. Gracious God, in His mercy,
look down upon a nation so shamefully besotted!

If I am possessed of an hundred pounds a year, and by some misfortune it
sinks to fifty, without a possibility of ever being retrieved; does it
remain a question, in such an exigency, what I am to do? Must not I
retrench one-half in every article of expense, or retire to some cheap,
distant part of the country, where necessaries are at half value?

Is there any mortal who can shew me, under the circumstances we stand
with our neighbours, under their inclinations towards us, under laws
never to be repealed, under the desolation caused by absentees, under
many other circumstances not to be mentioned, that this kingdom can ever
be a nation of trade, or subsist by any other method than that of a
reduced family, by the utmost parsimony, in the manner I have already

I am tired with letters from many unreasonable, well-meaning people, who
are daily pressing me to deliver my thoughts in this deplorable
juncture, which, upon many others, I have so often done in vain. What
will it import, that half a score people in a coffee-house may happen to
read this paper, and even the majority of those few differ in every
sentiment from me? If the farmer be not allowed to sow his corn; if half
the little money among us be sent to pay rents to Irish absentees, and
the rest for foreign luxury and dress for the women, what will our
charitable dispositions avail, when there is nothing left to be given?
When, contrary to all custom and example, all necessaries of life are so
exorbitant; when money of all kinds was never known to be so scarce, so
that gentlemen of no contemptible estates are forced to retrench in
every article, (except what relates to their wives,) without being able
to shew any bounty to the poor?





I am very well pleased with the good opinion you express of me; and wish
it were any way in my power to answer your expectations, for the service
of my country. I have carefully read your several schemes and proposals,
which you think should be offered to the Parliament. In answer, I will
assure you, that, in another place, I have known very good proposals
rejected with contempt by public assemblies, merely because they were
offered from without doors; and yours, perhaps, might have the same
fate, especially if handed into the public by me, who am not acquainted
with three members, nor have the least interest with one. My printers
have been twice prosecuted, to my great expense, on account of
discourses I writ for the public service, without the least reflection
on parties or persons; and the success I had in those of the Drapier,
was not owing to my abilities, but to a lucky juncture, when the fuel
was ready for the first hand that would be at the pains of kindling it.
It is true, both those envenomed prosecutions were the workmanship of a
judge, who is now gone _to his own place_.[95] But, let that be as it
will, I am determined, henceforth, never to be the instrument of leaving
an innocent man at the mercy of that bench.

It is certain there are several particulars relating to this kingdom (I
have mentioned a few of them in one of my Drapier's letters,[96]) which
it were heartily to be wished that the Parliament would take under
their consideration, such as will nowise interfere with England,
otherwise than to its advantage.

The first I shall mention, is touched at in a letter which I received
from one of you, gentlemen, about the highways; which, indeed, are
almost everywhere scandalously neglected. I know a very rich man in this
city, a true lover and saver of his money, who, being possessed of some
adjacent lands, hath been at great charge in repairing effectually the
roads that lead to them; and has assured me that his lands are thereby
advanced four or five shillings an acre, by which he gets treble
interest. But, generally speaking, all over the kingdom the roads are
deplorable; and, what is more particularly barbarous, there is no sort
of provision made for travellers on foot; no, not near this city, except
in a very few places, and in a most wretched manner: whereas the English
are so particularly careful in this point, that you may travel there an
hundred miles with less inconvenience than one mile here. But, since
this may be thought too great a reformation, I shall only speak of roads
for horses, carriages, and cattle.[97]

Ireland is, I think, computed to be one-third smaller than England; yet,
by some natural disadvantages, it would not bear quite the same
proportion in value, with the same encouragement. However, it hath so
happened, for many years past, that it never arrived to above
one-eleventh part in point of riches; and of late, by the continual
decrease of trade, and increase of absentees, with other circumstances
not here to be mentioned, hardly to a fifteenth part; at least, if my
calculations be right, which I doubt are a little too favourable on our

Now, supposing day-labour to be cheaper by one half here than in
England, and our roads, by the nature of our carriages, and the
desolation of our country, to be not worn and beaten above one-eighth
part so much as those of England, which is a very moderate computation,
I do not see why the mending of them would be a greater burthen to this
kingdom than to that.

There have been, I believe, twenty acts of Parliament, in six or seven
years of the late King, for mending long tracts of impassable ways in
several counties of England, by erecting turnpikes, and receiving
passage-money, in a manner that everybody knows. If what I have advanced
be true, it would be hard to give a reason against the same practice
here; since the necessity is as great, the advantage, in proportion,
perhaps much greater, the materials of stone and gravel as easy to be
found, and the workmanship, at least, twice as cheap. Besides, the work
may be done gradually, with allowances for the poverty of the nation, by
so many perch a year; but with a special care to encourage skill and
diligence, and to prevent fraud in the undertakers, to which we are too
liable, and which are not always confined to those of the meaner sort:
but against these, no doubt, the wisdom of the nation may and will

Another evil, which, in my opinion, deserves the public care, is the ill
management of the bogs; the neglect whereof is a much greater mischief
to this kingdom than most people seem to be aware of.

It is allowed, indeed, by those who are esteemed most skilful in such
matters, that the red, swelling mossy bog, whereof we have so many large
tracts in this island, is not by any means to be fully reduced; but the
skirts, which are covered with a green coat, easily may, being not an
accretion, or annual growth of moss, like the other.

Now, the landlords are generally too careless that they suffer their
tenants to cut their turf in these skirts, as well as the bog adjoined;
whereby there is yearly lost a considerable quantity of land throughout
the kingdom, never to be recovered.

But this is not the greatest part of the mischief: for the main bog,
although, perhaps, not reducible to natural soil, yet, by continuing
large, deep, straight canals through the middle, cleaned at proper times
as low as the channel or gravel, would become a secure summer-pasture;
the margins might, with great profit and ornament, be filled with
quickens, birch, and other trees proper for such a soil, and the canals
be convenient for water-carriage of the turf, which is now drawn upon
sled-cars, with great expense, difficulty, and loss of time, by reason
of the many turf-pits scattered irregularly through the bog, wherein
great numbers of cattle are yearly drowned. And it hath been, I confess,
to me a matter of the greatest vexation, as well as wonder, to think how
any landlord could be so absurd as to suffer such havoc to be made.

All the acts for encouraging plantations of forest-trees are, I am told,
extremely defective;[98] which, with great submission, must have been
owing to a defect of skill in the contrivers of them. In this climate,
by the continual blowing of the west-south-west wind, hardly any tree of
value will come to perfection that is not planted in groves, except very
rarely, and where there is much land-shelter. I have not, indeed, read
all the acts; but, from enquiry, I cannot learn that the planting in
groves is enjoined. And as to the effects of these laws, I have not seen
the least, in many hundred miles riding, except about a very few
gentlemen's houses, and even those with very little skill or success. In
all the rest, the hedges generally miscarry, as well as the larger
slender twigs planted upon the tops of ditches, merely for want of
common skill and care.

I do not believe that a greater and quicker profit could be made, than
by planting large groves of ash a few feet asunder, which in seven years
would make the best kind of hop-poles, and grow in the same or less time
to a second crop from their roots.

It would likewise be of great use and beauty in our desert scenes, to
oblige all tenants and cottagers to plant ash or elm before their
cabins, and round their potato-gardens, where cattle either do not or
ought not to come to destroy them.

The common objections against all this, drawn from the laziness, the
perverseness, or thievish disposition, of the poor native Irish, might
be easily answered, by shewing the true reasons for such accusations,
and how easily those people may be brought to a less savage manner of
life: but my printers have already suffered too much for my
speculations. However, supposing the size of a native's understanding
just equal to that of a dog or horse, I have often seen those two
animals to be civilized by rewards, at least as much as by punishments.

It would be a noble achievement to abolish the Irish language in this
kingdom, so far at least as to oblige all the natives to speak only
English on every occasion of business, in shops, markets, fairs, and
other places of dealing: yet I am wholly deceived, if this might not be
effectually done in less than half an age, and at a very trifling
expense; for such I look upon a tax to be of only six thousand pounds a
year, to accomplish so great a work.[99] This would, in a great measure,
civilize the most barbarous among them, reconcile them to our customs
and manner of living, and reduce great numbers to the national religion,
whatever kind may then happen to be established. The method is plain and
simple; and although I am too desponding to produce it, yet I could
heartily wish some public thoughts were employed to reduce this
uncultivated people from that idle, savage, beastly, thievish manner of
life, in which they continue sunk to a degree, that it is almost
impossible for a country gentleman to find a servant of human capacity,
or the least tincture of natural honesty; or who does not live among his
own tenants in continual fear of having his plantations destroyed, his
cattle stolen, and his goods pilfered.

The love, affection, or vanity of living in England, continuing to carry
thither so many wealthy families, the consequences thereof, together
with the utter loss of all trade, except what is detrimental, which hath
forced such great numbers of weavers, and others, to seek their bread in
foreign countries; the unhappy practice of stocking such vast quantities
of land with sheep and other cattle, which reduceth twenty families to
one: these events, I say, have exceedingly depopulated this kingdom for
several years past. I should heartily wish, therefore, under this
miserable dearth of money, that those who are most concerned would think
it advisable to save a hundred thousand pounds a year, which is now sent
out of this kingdom, to feed us with corn. There is not an older or more
uncontroverted maxim in the politics of all wise nations, than that of
encouraging agriculture: and therefore, to what kind of wisdom a
practice so directly contrary among us may be reduced, I am by no means
a judge. If labour and people make the true riches of a nation, what
must be the issue where one part of the people are forced away, and the
other part have nothing to do?

If it should be thought proper by wiser heads, that his Majesty might be
applied to in a national way, for giving the kingdom leave to coin
halfpence for its own use, I believe no good subject will be under the
least apprehension that such a request could meet with refusal, or the
least delay. Perhaps we are the only kingdom upon earth, or that ever
was or will be upon earth, which did not enjoy that common right of
civil society, under the proper inspection of its prince or legislature,
to coin money of all usual metals for its own occasions. Every petty
prince in Germany, vassal to the Emperor, enjoys this privilege. And I
have seen in this kingdom several silver pieces, with the inscription of






     The archbishop to whom Swift wrote was Dr. William King, for many
     years his friend. King was a fine patriot and had stood out
     strongly against the imposition of Wood's Halfpence. In this
     letter, so characteristic of Swift's attitude towards the condition
     of Ireland, he aims at a practical and immediate relief. The causes
     for this condition discussed so ably by Molesworth, Prior and Dobbs
     in their various treatises are too academic for him. His "Proposal
     for the Universal Use of Irish Manufacture" well illustrates the
     kind of practical reform Swift insisted on. Yet the insistence was
     more because of the spirit of independence such a course demanded.
     To Swift there was no hope for Ireland without a radical change in
     the spirit of its people. The change meant the assertion of
     manliness, independence, and strength of character. How to attain
     these, and how to make the people aware of their power, were always
     Swift's aims. All his tracts are assertions of and dilations on
     these themes. If the people were but to insist on wearing their own
     manufactures, since they were prohibited from exporting them, they
     would keep their money in the kingdom. Likewise, if they were to
     deny themselves the indulgence in luxuries, they would not have to
     send out their money to the countries from which these luxuries
     were obtained. There were methods ready at hand, but the practice
     in them would result in the cultivation of that respect for
     themselves without which a nation is worse than a pauper and lower
     than a slave.

       *       *       *       *       *

     The text of this edition is based on the original manuscript, and
     collated with that of Scott's second edition of Swift's collected

     [T. S.]



The corporation of weavers in the woollen manufacture, who have so often
attended your Grace, and called upon me with their schemes and proposals
were with me on Thursday last, when he who spoke for the rest and in the
name of his absent brethren, said, "It was the opinion of the whole
body, that if somewhat were written at this time by an able hand to
persuade the people of the Kingdom to wear their own woollen
manufactures, it might be of good use to the Nation in general, and
preserve many hundreds of their trade from starving." To which I
answered, "That it was hard for any man of common spirit to turn his
thoughts to such speculations, without discovering a resentment which
people are too delicate to bear." For, I will not deny to your Grace,
that I cannot reflect on the singular condition of this Country,
different from all others upon the face of the Earth, without some
emotion, and without often examining as I pass the streets whether those
animals which come in my way with two legs and human faces, clad and
erect, be of the same species with what I have seen very like them in
England, as to the outward shape, but differing in their notions,
natures, and intellectuals, more than any two kinds of brutes in a
forest, which any men of common prudence would immediately discover, by
persuading them to define what they mean by law, liberty, property,
courage, reason, loyalty or religion.

One thing, my Lord, I am very confident of; that if God Almighty for
our sins would most justly send us a pestilence, whoever should dare to
discover his grief in public for such a visitation, would certainly be
censured for disaffection to the Government. For I solemnly profess,
that I do not know one calamity we have undergone this many years,
whereof any man whose opinions were not in fashion dared to lament
without being openly charged with that imputation. And this is the
harder, because although a mother when she hath corrected her child may
sometimes force it to kiss the rod, yet she will never give that power
to the footboy or the scullion.

My Lord, there are two things for the people of this Kingdom to
consider. First their present evil condition; and secondly what can be
done in some degree to remedy it.

I shall not enter into a particular description of our present misery;
It hath been already done in several papers, and very fully in one,
entitled, "A short View of the State of Ireland." It will be enough to
mention the entire want of trade, the Navigation Act executed with the
utmost rigour, the remission of a million every year to England, the
ruinous importation of foreign luxury and vanity, the oppression of
landlords, and discouragement of agriculture.

Now all these evils are without the possibility of a cure except that of
importations, and to fence against ruinous folly will be always in our
power in spite of the discouragements, mortifications, contempt, hatred,
and oppression we can lie under. But our trade will never mend, the
Navigation Act never be softened, our absentees never return, our
endless foreign payments never be lessened, or our landlords ever be
less exacting.

All other schemes for preserving this Kingdom from utter ruin are idle
and visionary, consequently drawn from wrong reasoning, and from general
topics which for the same causes that they may be true in all Nations
are certainly false in ours; as I have told the Public often enough, but
with as little effect as what I shall say at present is likely to

I am weary of so many abortive projects for the advancement of trade, of
so many crude proposals in letters sent me from unknown hands, of so
many contradictory speculations about raising or sinking the value of
gold and silver: I am not in the least sorry to hear of the great
numbers going to America, though very much so for the causes that drive
them from us, since the uncontrolled maxim, "That people are the riches
of a Nation," is no maxim here under our circumstances. We have neither
[manufactures] to employ them about, nor food to support them.

If a private gentleman's income be sunk irretrievably for ever from a
hundred pounds to fifty, and that he hath no other method to supply the
deficiency, I desire to know, my Lord, whether such a person hath any
other course to take than to sink half his expenses in every article of
economy, to save himself from ruin and the gaol. Is not this more than
doubly the case of Ireland, where the want of money, the irrecoverable
ruin of trade, with the other evils above mentioned, and many more too
well known and felt, and too numerous or invidious to relate, have been
gradually sinking us for above a dozen years past, to a degree that we
are at least by two thirds in a worse condition than was ever known
since the Revolution? Therefore instead of dreams and projects for the
advancing of trade, we have nothing left but to find out some expedient
whereby we may reduce our expenses to our incomes.

Yet this procedure, allowed so necessary in all private families, and in
its own nature so easy to be put in practice, may meet with strong
opposition by the cowardly slavish indulgence of the men to the
intolerable pride arrogance vanity and luxury of the women, who strictly
adhering to the rules of modern education seem to employ their whole
stock of invention in contriving new arts of profusion, faster than the
most parsimonious husband can afford; and to compass this work the more
effectually, their universal maxim is to despise and detest everything
of the growth and manufacture of their own country, and most to value
whatever comes from the very remotest parts of the globe. And I am
convinced, that if the virtuosi could once find out a world in the moon,
with a passage to it, our women would wear nothing but what came
directly from thence.[100]

The prime cost of wine yearly imported to Ireland is valued at thirty
thousand pounds, and the tea (including coffee and chocolate) at five
times that sum. The lace, silks, calicoes, and all other unnecessary
ornaments for women, including English cloths and stuffs, added to the
former articles, make up (to compute grossly), about four hundred
thousand pounds.

Now, if we should allow the thirty thousand pounds for wine, wherein the
women have their share, and which is all we have to comfort us, and
deduct seventy thousand pounds more for over-reckoning, there would
still remain three hundred thousand pounds, annually spent for
unwholesome drugs, and unnecessary finery. Which prodigious sum would be
wholly saved, and many thousands of our miserable shopkeepers and
manufacturers comfortably supported.

Let speculative people busy their brains as much as they please, there
is no other way to prevent this Kingdom from sinking for ever than by
utterly renouncing all foreign dress and luxury.

It is absolutely so in fact that every husband of any fortune in the
Kingdom is nourishing a poisonous, devouring serpent in his bosom with
all the mischief but with none of its wisdom.

If all the women were clad with the growth of their own Country, they
might still vie with each other in the cause of foppery, and still have
room left to vie with each other, and equally shew their wit and
judgment in deciding upon the variety of Irish stuffs; And if they could
be contented with their native wholesome slops for breakfast, we should
hear no more of their spleen, hysterics, colics, palpitations, and
asthmas. They might still be allowed to ruin each other and their
husbands at play, because the money lost would only circulate among

My Lord; I freely own it a wild imagination that any words will cure the
sottishness of men, or the vanity of women, but the Kingdom is in a fair
way of producing the most effectual remedy, when there will not be money
left for the common course of buying and selling the very necessaries of
life in our markets, unless we absolutely change the whole method of our

This Corporation of Weavers in Woollen and Silks, who have so frequently
offered proposals both to your Grace and to me, are the hottest and
coldest generation of men that I have known. About a month ago they
attended your Grace, when I had the honour to be with you, and designed
me then the same favour. They desired you would recommend to your clergy
to wear gowns of Irish stuffs, which might probably spread the example
among all their brethren in the Kingdom, and perhaps among the lawyers
and gentlemen of the University and among the citizens of those
Corporations who appear in gowns on solemn occasions. I then mentioned a
kind of stuff, not above eightpence a yard, which I heard had been
contrived by some of the trade and was very convenient. I desired they
would prepare some of that or any sort of black stuff on a certain day,
when your Grace would appoint as many clergymen as could readily be
found to meet at your Palace, and there give their opinions; and that
your Grace's visitations approaching you could then have the best
opportunity of seeing what could be done in a matter of such
consequence, as they seemed to think, to the woollen manufacture. But
instead of attending, as was expected, they came to me a fortnight
after, with a new proposal; that something should be writ by an
acceptable and able hand to promote in general the wearing of home
manufactures, and their civilities would seem to fix that work upon me.
I asked whether they had prepared the stuffs, as they had promised, and
your Grace expected; but they had not made the least step in the matter,
nor as it appears thought of it more.

I did some years ago propose to the masters and principal dealers in the
home manufactures of silk and wool, that they should meet together, and
after mature consideration, publish advertisements to the following
purpose.[101] That in order to encourage the wearing of Irish
manufactures in silk and woollen, they gave notice to the nobility and
gentry of the Kingdom, That they the undersigned would enter into bonds,
for themselves and for each other, to sell the several sorts of stuffs,
cloths and silks, made to the best perfection they were able, for
certain fixed prices, and in such a manner, that if a child were sent to
any of their shops, the buyer might be secure of the value and goodness,
and measure of the ware, and lest this might be thought to look like a
monopoly any other member of the trade might be admitted upon such
conditions as should be agreed on. And if any person whatsoever should
complain that he was ill used in the value or goodness of what he
bought, the matter should be examined, the person injured be fully
satisfied, by the whole corporation without delay, and the dishonest
seller be struck out of the society, unless it appeared evidently that
the failure proceeded only from mistake.

The mortal danger is, that if these dealers could prevail by the
goodness and cheapness of their cloths and stuffs to give a turn to the
principal people of Ireland in favour of their goods, they would relapse
into the knavish practice peculiar to this Kingdom, which is apt to run
through all trades even so low as a common ale-seller, who as soon as he
gets a vogue for his liquor, and outsells his neighbour, thinks his
credit will put off the worst he can buy; till his customers will come
no more. Thus I have known at London in a general mourning, the drapers
dye black all their old damaged goods, and sell them at double rates,
and then complain and petition the Court, that they are ready to starve
by the continuance of the mourning.

Therefore I say, those principal weavers who would enter in such a
compact as I have mentioned, must give sufficient security against all
such practices; for if once the women can persuade their husbands that
foreign goods besides the finery will be as cheap, and do more service,
our last state will be worse than the first.

I do not here pretend to digest perfectly the method by which these
principal shopkeepers shall proceed in such a proposal; but my meaning
is clear enough, and cannot reasonably be objected against.

We have seen what a destructive loss the Kingdom received by the
detestable fraud of the merchants, or Northern weavers, or both,
notwithstanding all the care of the Governers at that Board; the whole
trade with Spain for our linen, when we had an offer of commerce with
the Spaniards, to the value as I am told of three hundred thousand
pounds a year. But while we deal like pedlars, we shall practise like
pedlars; and sacrifice all honesty to the present urging advantage.

What I have said may serve as an answer to the desire made me by the
Corporation of Weavers, that I would offer my notions to the public. As
to anything further, let them apply themselves to the Parliament in
their next Session. Let them prevail in the House of Commons to grant
one very reasonable request: And I shall think there is still some
spirit left in the Nation, when I read a vote to this purpose:
"Resolved, _nemine contradicente_, That this House will, for the future,
wear no clothes but such as are made of Irish growth, or of Irish
manufacture, nor will permit their wives or children to wear any other;
and that they will to the utmost endeavour to prevail with their
friends, relations, dependants and tenants to follow their example." And
if at the same time they could banish tea and coffee, and china-ware,
out of their families, and force their wives to chat their scandal over
an infusion of sage, or other wholesome domestic vegetables, we might
possibly be able to subsist, and pay our absentees, pensioners,
generals, civil officers, appeals, colliers, temporary travellers,
students, schoolboys, splenetic visitors of Bath, Tunbridge, and Epsom,
with all other smaller drains, by sending our crude unwrought goods to
England, and receiving from thence and all other countries nothing but
what is fully manufactured, and keep a few potatoes and oatmeal for our
own subsistence.

I have been for a dozen years past wisely prognosticating the present
condition of this Kingdom, which any human creature of common sense
could foretell with as little sagacity as myself. My meaning is that a
consumptive body must needs die, which hath spent all its spirits and
received no nourishment. Yet I am often tempted to pity when I hear the
poor farmer and cottager lamenting the hardness of the times, and
imputing them either to one or two ill seasons, which better climates
than ours are more exposed to, or to the scarcity of silver which to a
Nation of Liberty would be only a slight and temporary inconveniency, to
be removed at a month's warning.

Ap., 1729.





The paper called "The Case of the Woollen Manufactures," &c. is very
well drawn up. The reasonings of the authors are just, the facts true,
and the consequences natural. But his censure of those seven vile
citizens, who import such a quantity of silk stuffs and woollen cloth
from England, is an hundred times gentler than enemies to their country
deserve; because I think no punishment in this world can be great enough
for them, without immediate repentance and amendment. But, after all,
the writer of that paper hath very lightly touched one point of the
greatest importance, and very poorly answered the main objection, that
the clothiers are defective both in the quality and quantity of their

For my own part, when I consider the several societies of handicraftsmen
in all kinds, as well as shopkeepers, in this city, after eighteen
years' experience of their dealings, I am at a loss to know in which of
these societies the most or least honesty is to be found. For instance,
when any trade comes first into my head, upon examination I determine it
exceeds all others in fraud. But after I have considered them all round,
as far as my knowledge or experience reacheth, I am at a loss to
determine, and to save trouble I put them all upon a par. This I chiefly
apply to those societies of men who get their livelihood by the labour
of their hands. For, as to shopkeepers, I cannot deny that I have found
some few honest men among them, taking the word honest in the largest
and most charitable sense. But as to handicraftsmen, although I shall
endeavour to believe it possible to find a fair dealer among their
clans, yet I confess it hath never been once my good fortune to employ
one single workman, who did not cheat me at all times to the utmost of
his power in the materials, the work, and the price. One universal maxim
I have constantly observed among them, that they would rather gain a
shilling by cheating you, than twenty in the honest way of dealing,
although they were sure to lose your custom, as well as that of others,
whom you might probably recommend to them.

This, I must own, is the natural consequence of poverty and oppression.
These wretched people catch at any thing to save them a minute longer
from drowning. Thus Ireland is the poorest of all civilized countries in
Europe, with every natural advantage to make it one of the richest.

As to the grand objection, which this writer slubbers over in so
careless a manner, because indeed it was impossible to find a
satisfactory answer, I mean the knavery of our woollen manufacturers in
general, I shall relate some facts, which I had more opportunities to
observe than usually fall in the way of men who are not of the trade.
For some years, the masters and wardens, with many of their principal
workmen and shopkeepers, came often to the Deanery to relate their
grievances, and to desire my advice as well as my assistance. What
reasons might move them to this proceeding, I leave to public
conjecture. The truth is, that the woollen manufacture of this kingdom
sate always nearest my heart. But the greatest difficulty lay in these
perpetual differences between the shopkeepers and workmen they employed.
Ten or a dozen of these latter often came to the Deanery with their
complaints, which I often repeated to the shopkeepers. As, that they
brought their prices too low for a poor weaver to get his bread by; and
instead of ready money for their labour on Saturdays, they gave them
only such a quantity of cloth or stuff, at the highest rate, which the
poor men were often forced to sell one-third below the rate, to supply
their urgent necessities. On the other side, the shopkeepers complained
of idleness, and want of skill, or care, or honesty, in their workmen;
and probably their accusations on both sides were just.

Whenever the weavers, in a body, came to me for advice, I gave it
freely, that they should contrive some way to bring their goods into
reputation; and give up that abominable principle of endeavouring to
thrive by imposing bad ware at high prices to their customers, whereby
no shopkeeper can reasonably expect to thrive. For, besides the dread of
God's anger, (which is a motive of small force among them,) they may be
sure that no buyer of common sense will return to the same shop where he
was once or twice defrauded. That gentlemen and ladies, when they found
nothing but deceit in the sale of Irish cloths and stuffs, would act as
they ought to do, both in prudence and resentment, in going to those
very bad citizens the writer mentions, and purchase English goods.

I went farther, and proposed that ten or a dozen of the most substantial
woollen-drapers should join in publishing an advertisement, signed with
their names to the following purpose:--That for the better encouragement
of all gentlemen, &c. the persons undernamed did bind themselves
mutually to sell their several cloths and stuffs, (naming each kind) at
the lowest rate, right merchantable goods, of such a breadth, which they
would warrant to be good according to the several prices; and that if a
child of ten years old were sent with money, and directions what cloth
or stuff to buy, he should not be wronged in any one article. And that
whoever should think himself ill-used in any of the said shops, he
should have his money again from the seller, or upon his refusal, from
the rest of the said subscribers, who, if they found the buyer
discontented with the cloth or stuff, should be obliged to refund the
money; and if the seller refused to repay them, and take his goods
again, should publicly advertise that they would answer for none of his
goods any more. This would be to establish credit, upon which all trade

I proposed this scheme several times to the corporation of weavers, as
well as to the manufacturers, when they came to apply for my advice at
the Deanery-house. I likewise went to the shops of several
woollen-drapers upon the same errand, but always in vain; for they
perpetually gave me the deaf ear, and avoided entering into discourse
upon that proposal: I suppose, because they thought it was in vain, and
that the spirit of fraud had gotten too deep and universal a possession
to be driven out by any arguments from interest, reason, or conscience.






     The following tract was taken by Sir Walter Scott "from a little
     miscellaneous 12mo volume of pamphlets, communicated by Mr.
     Hartsonge, relating chiefly to Irish affairs, the property at one
     time of Thomas Kingsbury, Esq., son of Dr. Kingsbury, who attended
     Swift in his last illness." The present editor came across a
     similar volume while on a visit of research in Dublin, among the
     collection of books which belonged to the late Sir W. Gilbert, and
     which were being catalogued for auction by the bookseller, Mr.
     O'Donoghue. The little 12mo contained this tract which had, as Sir
     W. Scott points out, a portrait of Swift at the end, on the recto
     of the last leaf.

     According to Sir W. Scott, the friend in Dublin to whom the letter
     is supposed to be addressed, was Sir Robert Walpole. If Scott be
     correct, and there seems little reason to doubt his conjecture, the
     tract must have been written in the second half of the year 1726.
     In the early part of that year Swift had an interview with Walpole.
     Our knowledge of what transpired at that interview is obtained from
     Swift's letter of April 28th, 1726, to Lord Peterborough; from
     Swift's letter to Dr. Stopford of July 20th, 1726; from Pope's
     letter to Swift of September 3rd, 1726; and from Swift's letter to
     Lady Betty Germaine of January 8th, 1732/3. From these letters we
     learn that Swift was really invited by Walpole to meet him. Swift's
     visit to England concerned itself mainly with the publication of
     "Gulliver's Travels," but Sir Henry Craik thinks that Swift had
     other thoughts. "As regards politics," says this biographer, "he
     was encouraged to hope that without loss either of honour or
     consistency, it was open to him to make terms with the new powers.
     In the end, the result proved that he either over-estimated his own
     capacity of surrendering his independence, or under-estimated the
     terms that would be exacted." This remark would leave it open for a
     reader to conclude that Swift would, at a certain price, have been
     ready to join Walpole and his party. But the letters referred to do
     not in the least warrant such a conclusion. Swift's thought was for
     Ireland, and had he been successful with Walpole in his pleading
     for Ireland's cause that minister might have found an ally in
     Swift; but the price to be paid was not to the man. From Swift's
     letter to Peterborough we are at once introduced to Ireland's case,
     and his point of view on this was so opposed to Walpole's
     preconceived notions of how best to govern Ireland, as well as of
     his settled plans, that Swift found, as he put it, that Walpole
     "had conceived opinions ... which I could not reconcile to the
     notions I had of liberty." Not at all of his own liberty, but of
     that of the liberty of a nation; for, as he says (giving now the
     quotation in full): "I had no other design in desiring to see Sir
     Robert Walpole, than to represent the affairs of Ireland to him in
     a true light, not only without any view to myself, but to any party
     whatsoever ... I failed very much in my design; for I saw that he
     had conceived opinions, _from the example and practices of the
     present, and some former governors_, which I could not reconcile to
     the notions I had of liberty." The part given here in italics is
     omitted by Sir H. Craik in his quotation.

     Swift saw Walpole twice--once at Walpole's invitation at a dinner
     at Chelsea, and a second time at his own wish, expressed through
     Lord Peterborough. At the first meeting nothing of politics could
     be broached, as the encounter was a public one. The second meeting
     was private and resulted in nothing. The letter to Peterborough was
     written by Swift the day after he had seen Walpole, and
     Peterborough was requested to show it to that minister. The letter
     is so pertinent to the subject-matter of this volume that it is
     printed here:

                                                  "_April 28th, 1726._

     "MY LORD,

     "Your lordship having, at my request, obtained for me an hour from
     Sir Robert Walpole, I accordingly attended him yesterday at eight
     o'clock in the morning, and had somewhat more than an hour's
     conversation with him. Your lordship was this day pleased to
     inquire what passed between that great minister and me; to which I
     gave you some general answers, from whence you said you could
     comprehend little or nothing.

     "I had no other design in desiring to see Sir Robert Walpole, than
     to represent the affairs of Ireland to him in a true light, not
     only without any view to myself, but to any party whatsoever: and,
     because I understood the affairs of that kingdom tolerably well,
     and observed the representations he had received were such as I
     could not agree to; my principal design was to set him right, not
     only for the service of Ireland, but likewise of England, and of
     his own administration.

     "I failed very much in my design; for I saw he had conceived
     opinions, from the example and practices of the present, and some
     former governors, which I could not reconcile to the notions I had
     of liberty, a possession always understood by the British nation to
     be the inheritance of a human creature.

     "Sir Robert Walpole was pleased to enlarge very much upon the
     subject of Ireland, in a manner so alien from what I conceived to
     be the rights and privileges of a subject of England, that I did
     not think proper to debate the matter with him so much as I
     otherwise might, because I found it would be in vain. I shall,
     therefore, without entering into dispute, make bold to mention to
     your lordship some few grievances of that kingdom, as it consists
     of a people who, beside a natural right of enjoying the privileges
     of subjects, have also a claim of merit from their extraordinary
     loyalty to the present king and his family.

     "First, That all persons born in Ireland are called and treated as
     Irishmen, although their fathers and grandfathers were born in
     England; and their predecessors having been conquerors of Ireland,
     it is humbly considered they ought to be on as good a foot as any
     subjects of Britain, according to the practice of all other
     nations, and particularly of the Greeks and Romans.

     "Secondly, That they are denied the natural liberty of exporting
     their manufactures to any country which is not engaged in a war
     with England.

     "Thirdly, That whereas there is a university in Ireland, founded by
     Queen Elizabeth, where youth are instructed with a much stricter
     discipline than either in Oxford or Cambridge, it lies under the
     greatest discouragements, by filling all the principal employments,
     civil and ecclesiastical, with persons from England, who have
     neither interest, property, acquaintance, nor alliance, in that
     kingdom; contrary to the practice of all other states in Europe
     which are governed by viceroys, at least what hath never been used
     without the utmost discontents of the people.

     "Fourthly, That several of the bishops sent over to Ireland, having
     been clergymen of obscure condition, and without other distinction
     than that of chaplains to the governors, do frequently invite over
     their old acquaintances or kindred, to whom they bestow the best
     preferment in their gift. The like may be said of the judges, who
     take with them one or two dependants, to whom they give their
     countenance; and who, consequently, without other merit, grow
     immediately into the chief business of their courts. The same
     practice is followed by all others in civil employments, if they
     have a cousin, a valet, or footman in their family, born in

     "Fifthly, That all civil employments, granted in reversion, are
     given to persons who reside in England.

     "The people of Ireland, who are certainly the most loyal subjects
     in the world, cannot but conceive that most of these hardships have
     been the consequence of some unfortunate representations (at least)
     in former times; and the whole body of the gentry feel the effects
     in a very sensible part, being utterly destitute of all means to
     make provision for their younger sons, either in the Church, the
     law, the revenue, or (of late) in the army; and, in the desperate
     condition of trade, it is equally vain to think of making them
     merchants. All they have left is, at the expiration of leases, to
     rack their tenants, which they have done to such a degree, that
     there is not one farmer in a hundred through the kingdom who can
     afford shoes or stockings to his children, or to eat flesh, or
     drink anything better than sour milk or water, twice in a year; so
     that the whole country, except the Scottish plantation in the
     north, is a scene of misery and desolation hardly to be matched on
     this side of Lapland.

     "The rents of Ireland are computed to about a million and a half,
     whereof one half million at least is spent by lords and gentlemen
     residing in England, and by some other articles too long to

     "About three hundred thousand pounds more are returned thither on
     other accounts; and, upon the whole, those who are the best versed
     in that kind of knowledge agree, that England gains annually by
     Ireland a million at least, which even I could make appear beyond
     all doubt.

     "But, as this mighty profit would probably increase, with tolerable
     treatment, to half a million more, so it must of necessity sink,
     under the hardships that kingdom lies at present.

     "And whereas Sir Robert Walpole was pleased to take notice, how
     little the king gets by Ireland, it ought, perhaps to be
     considered, that the revenues and taxes, I think, amount to above
     four hundred thousand pounds a-year; and, reckoning the riches of
     Ireland, compared with England, to be as one to twelve, the king's
     revenues there would be equal to more than five millions here;
     which, considering the bad payment of rents, from such miserable
     creatures as most of the tenants in Ireland are, will be allowed to
     be as much as such a kingdom can bear.

     "The current coin of Ireland is reckoned, at most, but at five
     hundred thousand pounds; so that above four-fifths are paid every
     year into the exchequer.

     "I think it manifest, that whatever circumstances could possibly
     contribute to make a country poor and despicable, are all united
     with respect to Ireland. The nation controlled by laws to which
     they do not consent, disowned by their brethren and countrymen,
     refused the liberty not only of trading with their own
     manufactures, but even their native commodities, forced to seek for
     justice many hundred miles by sea and land, rendered in a manner
     incapable of serving their king and country in any employment of
     honour, trust, or profit; and all this without the least demerit;
     while the governors sent over thither can possibly have no
     affection to the people, further than what is instilled into them
     by their own justice and love of mankind, which do not always
     operate; and whatever they please to represent hither is never
     called in question.

     "Whether the representatives of such a people, thus distressed and
     laid in the dust, when they meet in a parliament, can do the public
     business with that cheerfulness which might be expected from
     free-born subjects, would be a question in any other country except
     that unfortunate island; the English inhabitants whereof have given
     more and greater examples of their loyalty and dutifulness, than
     can be shown in any other part of the world.

     "What part of these grievances may be thought proper to be
     redressed by so wise and great a minister as Sir Robert Walpole, he
     perhaps will please to consider; especially because they have been
     all brought upon that kingdom since the Revolution; which, however,
     is a blessing annually celebrated there with the greatest zeal and

     "I most humbly entreat your lordship to give this paper to Sir
     Robert Walpole, and desire him to read it, which he may do in a few
     minutes. I am, with the greatest respect, my lord,

                                 "Your lordship's
                                       "most obedient and humble servant,
                                                          "JON. SWIFT."

     Scott thinks that had Swift been anxious for personal favours from
     Walpole he could easily have obtained them; "but the minister did
     not choose to gain his adherence at the expense of sacrificing the
     system which had hitherto guided England in her conduct towards the
     sister kingdom, and the patriot of Ireland was not to be won at a
     cheaper rate than the emancipation of his country."

     The original pamphlet bears neither date nor printer's name.

     [T. S.]



By the last packets I had the favour of yours, and am surprised that you
should apply to a person so ill qualified as I am, for a full and
impartial account of the state of our trade. I have always lived as
retired as possible; I have carefully avoided the perplexed honour of
city-offices; I have never minded anybody's business but my own; upon
all which accounts, and several others, you might easily have found
among my fellow-citizens, persons more capable to resolve the weighty
questions you put to me, than I can pretend to be.

But being entirely at leisure, even at this season of the year, when I
used to have scarce time sufficient to perform the necessary offices of
life, I will endeavour to comply with your requests, cautioning you not
implicitly to rely upon what I say, excepting what belongs to that
branch of trade in which I am more immediately concerned.

The Irish trade is, at present, in the most deplorable condition that
can be imagined; to remedy it, the causes of its languishment must be
inquired into: But as those causes (you may assure yourself) will not be
removed, you may look upon it as a thing past hopes of recovery.

The first and greatest shock our trade received, was from an act passed
in the reign of King William, in the Parliament of England, prohibiting
the exportation of wool manufactured in Ireland. An act (as the event
plainly shews) fuller of greediness than good policy; an act as
beneficial to France and Spain, as it has been destructive to England
and Ireland.[103] At the passing of this fatal act, the condition of
our trade was glorious and flourishing, though no way interfering with
the English; we made no broad-cloths above _6s._ per yard; coarse
druggets, bays and shalloons, worsted damasks, strong draught works,
slight half-works, and gaudy stuffs, were the only product of our looms:
these were partly consumed by the meanest of our people, and partly
sent to the northern nations, from which we had in exchange, timber,
iron, hemp, flax, pitch, tar, and hard dollars. At the time the current
money of Ireland was foreign silver, a man could hardly receive _100l._,
without finding the coin of all the northern powers, and every prince of
the empire among it. This money was returned into England for fine
cloths, silks, &c. for our own wear, for rents, for coals, for hardware,
and all other English manufactures, and, in a great measure, supplied
the London merchants with foreign silver for exportation.

The repeated clamours of the English weavers produced this act, so
destructive to themselves and us. They looked with envious eyes upon our
prosperity, and complained of being undersold by us in those
commodities, which they themselves did not deal in. At their instances
the act was passed, and we lost our profitable northern trade. Have they
got it? No, surely, you have found they have ever since declined in the
trade they so happily possessed; you shall find (if I am rightly
informed) towns without one loom in them, which subsisted entirely upon
the woollen manufactory before the passing of this unhappy bill; and I
will try if I can give the true reasons for the decay of their trade,
and our calamities.

Three parts in four of the inhabitants of that district of the town
where I dwell were English manufacturers, whom either misfortunes in
trade, little petty debts, contracted through idleness, or the pressures
of a numerous family, had driven into our cheap country: These were
employed in working up our coarse wool, while the finest was sent into
England. Several of these had taken the children of the native Irish
apprentices to them, who being humbled by the forfeiture of upward of
three millions by the Revolution, were obliged to stoop to a mechanic
industry. Upon the passing of this bill, we were obliged to dismiss
thousands of these people from our service. Those who had settled their
affairs returned home, and overstocked England with workmen; those whose
debts were unsatisfied went to France, Spain, and the Netherlands, where
they met with good encouragement, whereby the natives, having got a firm
footing in the trade, being acute fellows, soon became as good workmen
as any we have, and supply the foreign manufactories with a constant
recruit of artisans; our island lying much more under pasture than any
in Europe. The foreigners (notwithstanding all the restrictions the
English Parliament has bound us up with) are furnished with the greatest
quantity of our choicest wool. I need not tell you, sir, that a
custom-house oath is held as little sacred here as in England, or that
it is common for masters of vessels to swear themselves bound for one of
the English wool ports, and unload in France or Spain. By this means the
trade in those parts is, in a great measure, destroyed, and we were
obliged to try our hands at finer works, having only our home
consumption to depend upon; and, I can assure you, we have, in several
kinds of narrow goods, even exceeded the English, and I believe we
shall, in a few years more, be able to equal them in broad cloths; but
this you may depend upon, that scarce the tenth part of English goods
are now imported, of what used to be before the famous act.

The only manufactured wares we are allowed to export, are linen cloth
and linen yarn, which are marketable only in England; the rest of our
commodities are wool, restrained to England, and raw hides, skins,
tallow, beef, and butter. Now, these are things for which the northern
nations have no occasion; we are therefore obliged, instead of carrying
woollen goods to their markets, and bringing home money, to purchase
their commodities.

In France, Spain, and Portugal, our wares are more valuable, though it
must be owned, our fraudulent trade in wool is the best branch of our
commerce; from hence we get wines, brandy, and fruit, very cheap, and
in great perfection; so that though England has constrained us to be
poor, they have given us leave to be merry. From these countries we
bring home moydores, pistoles, and louisdores, without which we should
scarce have a penny to turn upon.

To England we are allowed to send nothing but linen cloth, yarn, raw
hides, skins, tallow, and wool. From thence we have coals, for which we
always pay ready money, India goods, English woollen and silks, tobacco,
hardware, earthenware, salt, and several other commodities. Our
exportations to England are very much overbalanced by our importations;
so that the course of exchange is generally too high, and people choose
rather to make their remittances to England in specie, than by a bill,
and our nation is perpetually drained of its little running cash.

Another cause of the decay of trade, scarcity of money, and swelling of
exchange, is the unnatural affectation of our gentry to reside in and
about London.[104] Their rents are remitted to them, and spent there.
The countryman wants employment from them; the country shopkeeper wants
their custom. For this reason he can't pay his Dublin correspondent
readily, nor take off a great quantity of his wares. Therefore, the
Dublin merchant can't employ the artisan, nor keep up his credit in
foreign markets.

I have discoursed some of these gentlemen, persons esteemed for good
sense, and demanded a reason for this their so unaccountable
proceeding,--expensive to them for the present, ruinous to their
country, and destructive to the future value of their estates,--and find
all their answers summed up under three heads, curiosity, pleasure, and
loyalty to King George. The two first excuses deserve no answer; let us
try the validity of the third. Would not loyalty be much better
expressed by gentlemen staying in their respective countries,
influencing their dependents by their examples, saving their own wealth,
and letting their neighbours profit by their necessary expenses, thereby
keeping them from misery, and its unavoidable consequence, discontent?
Or is it better to flock to London, be lost in a crowd, kiss the King's
hand, and take a view of the royal family? The seeing of the royal house
may animate their zeal for it; but other advantages I know not. What
employment have any of our gentlemen got by their attendance at Court,
to make up to them their expenses? Why, about forty of them have been
created peers, and a little less than a hundred of them baronets and
knights. For these excellent advantages, thousands of our gentry have
squeezed their tenants, impoverished the trader, and impaired their own

Another great calamity, is the exorbitant raising of the rents of lands.
Upon the determination of all leases made before the year 1690, a
gentleman thinks he has but indifferently improved his estate if he has
only doubled his rent-roll. Farms are screwed up to a rack-rent, leases
granted but for a small term of years, tenants tied down to hard
conditions, and discouraged from cultivating the lands they occupy to
the best advantage, by the certainty they have of the rent being raised,
on the expiration of their lease, proportionably to the improvements
they shall make. Thus is honest industry restrained; the farmer is a
slave to his landlord; 'tis well if he can cover his family with a
coarse home-spun frieze. The artisan has little dealings with him; yet
he is obliged to take his provisions from him at an extravagant price,
otherwise the farmer cannot pay his rent.

The proprietors of lands keep great part of them in their own hands for
sheep-pasture; and there are thousands of poor wretches who think
themselves blessed, if they can obtain a hut worse than the squire's
dog-kennel, and an acre of ground for a potato-plantation, on condition
of being as very slaves as any in America. What can be more deplorable,
than to behold wretches starving in the midst of plenty!

We are apt to charge the Irish with laziness, because we seldom find
them employed; but then we don't consider they have nothing to do. Sir
William Temple, in his excellent remarks on the United Provinces,
inquires why Holland, which has the fewest and worst ports and
commodities of any nation in Europe, should abound in trade, and
Ireland, which has the most and best of both, should have none? This
great man attributes this surprising accident to the natural aversion
man has for labour; who will not be persuaded to toil and fatigue
himself for the superfluities of life throughout the week, when he may
provide himself with all necessary subsistence by the labour of a day or
two. But, with due submission to Sir William's profound judgment, the
want of trade with us is rather owing to the cruel restraints we lie
under, than to any disqualification whatsoever in our inhabitants.

I have not, sir, for these thirty years past, since I was concerned in
trade, (the greatest part of which time distresses have been flowing in
upon us,) ever observed them to swell so suddenly to such a height as
they have done within these few months. Our present calamities are not
to be represented; you can have no notion of them without beholding
them. Numbers of miserable objects crowd our doors, begging us to take
their wares at any price, to prevent their families from immediate
starving. We cannot part with our money to them, both because we know
not when we shall have vent for their goods; and, as there are no debts
paid, we are afraid of reducing ourselves to their lamentable
circumstances. The dismal time of trade we had during Marr's Troubles in
Scotland, are looked upon as happy days when compared with the

I need not tell you, sir, that this griping want, this dismal poverty,
this additional woe, must be put to the accursed stocks, which have
desolated our country more effectually than England. Stockjobbing was a
kind of traffic we were utterly unacquainted with. We went late to the
South Sea market, and bore a great share in the losses of it, without
having tasted any of its profits.

If many in England have been ruined by stocks, some have been advanced.
The English have a free and open trade to repair their losses; but,
above all, a wise, vigilant, and uncorrupted Parliament and ministry,
strenuously endeavouring to restore public trade to its former happy
state. Whilst we, having lost the greatest part of our cash, without any
probability of its returning, must despair of retrieving our losses by
trade, and have before our eyes the dismal prospect of universal poverty
and desolation.

I believe, sir, you are by this time heartily tired with this indigested
letter, and are firmly persuaded of the truth of what I said in the
beginning of it, that you had much better have imposed this task on some
of our citizens of greater abilities. But perhaps, sir, such a letter as
this may be, for the singularity of it, entertaining to you, who
correspond with the politest and most learned men in Europe. But I am
satisfied you will excuse its want of exactness and perspicuity, when
you consider my education, my being unaccustomed to writings of this
nature, and, above all, those calamitous objects which constantly
surround us, sufficient to disturb the cleanest imagination, and the
soundest judgment.

Whatever cause I have given you, by this letter, to think worse of my
sense and judgment, I fancy I have given you a manifest proof that I am,

                               Your most obedient humble servant,

                                                              J. S.









     It was only proper and fitting that the citizens and freemen of the
     City of Dublin should express their sense of the high appreciation
     in which they held the writer of the "Drapier's Letters," and the
     man who had fought and was still fighting for an alleviation of the
     grievances under which their country suffered. The Dublin
     Corporation, in 1729, presented Swift with the freedom of the city,
     an honour rarely bestowed, and only on men in high position and
     power. To Swift the honour was welcome. It was a public act of
     justification of what he had done, and it came gratefully to the
     man who had at one time been abused and reviled by the people of
     the very city which was now honouring him. Furthermore, such a
     confirmation of his acts set the seal of public authority which was
     desirable, even if not necessary, to a man of Swift's temper. He
     could save himself much trouble by merely pointing to the gold box
     which was presented to him with the freedom. Even in this last
     moment, however, of public recognition, he was not allowed to
     receive it without a snarl from one of the crowd of the many
     slanderers who found it safer to backbite him. Lord Allen may have
     been wrong in his head, or ill-advised, or foolishly over-zealous,
     but his ill-tempered upbraiding of the Dublin Corporation for what
     he called their treasonable extravagance in thus honouring Swift,
     whom he deemed an enemy of the King, was the act of a fool. Swift
     was not the man to let the occasion slip by without advantage. In
     the substance of what he said to the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of
     Dublin in accepting their gift, he replied to the charges made by
     Lord Allen, and also issued a special advertisement by way of
     defence against what the lord had thought fit to say.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Both these pieces are here reprinted; the first from a broadside in
     the British Museum, and the second from a manuscript copy in the
     Forster Collection at South Kensington.

     [T. S.]



When his Lordship had said a few words, and presented the instrument,
the Dean gently put it back, and desired first to be heard. He said, "He
was much obliged to his lordship and the city for the honour they were
going to do him, and which, as he was informed, they had long intended
him. That it was true, this honour was mingled with a little
mortification by the delay which attended it, but which, however, he did
not impute to his lordship or the city; and that the mortification was
the less, because he would willingly hope the delay was founded on a
mistake;--for which opinion he would tell his reason."

He said, "It was well known, that, some time ago, a person with a
title[106] was pleased, in two great assemblies, to rattle bitterly
somebody without a name, under the injurious appellations of a Tory, a
Jacobite, an enemy to King George, and a libeller of the government;
which character," the Dean said that, "many people thought was applied
to him. But he was unwilling to be of that opinion, because the person
who had delivered those abusive words, had, for several years, caressed,
and courted, and solicited his friendship more than any man in either
kingdom had ever done,--by inviting him to his house in town and
country,--by coming to the Deanery often, and calling or sending almost
every day when the Dean was sick,--with many other particulars of the
same nature, which continued even to a day or two of the time when the
said person made those invectives in the council and House of Lords.
Therefore, that the Dean would by no means think those scurrilous words
could be intended against him; because such a proceeding would overthrow
all the principles of honour, justice, religion, truth, and even common
humanity. Therefore the Dean will endeavour to believe, that the said
person had some other object in his thoughts, and it was only the
uncharitable custom of the world that applied this character to him.
However, that he would insist on this argument no longer. But one thing
he would affirm and declare, without assigning any name, or making any
exception, that whoever either did, or does, or shall hereafter, at any
time, charge him with the character of a Jacobite, an enemy to King
George, or a libeller of the government, the said accusation was, is,
and will be, false, malicious, slanderous, and altogether groundless.
And he would take the freedom to tell his lordship, and the rest that
stood by, that he had done more service to the Hanover title, and more
disservice to the Pretender's cause, than forty thousand of those noisy,
railing, malicious, empty zealots, to whom nature hath denied any talent
that could be of use to God or their country, and left them only the
gift of reviling, and spitting their venom, against all who differ from
them in their destructive principles, both in church and state. That he
confessed, it was sometimes his misfortune to dislike some things in
public proceedings in both kingdoms, wherein he had often the honour to
agree with wise and good men; but this did by no means affect either his
loyalty to his prince, or love to his country. But, on the contrary, he
protested, that such dislikes never arose in him from any other
principles than the duty he owed to the king, and his affection to the
kingdom. That he had been acquainted with courts and ministers long
enough, and knew too well that the best ministers might mistake in
points of great importance; and that he had the honour to know many more
able, and at least full as honest, as any can be at present."

The Dean further said, "That since he had been so falsely represented,
he thought it became him to give some account of himself for about
twenty years, if it were only to justify his lordship and the city for
the honour they were going to do him." He related briefly, how, "merely
by his own personal credit, without other assistance, and in two
journeys at his own expense, he had procured a grant of the first-fruits
to the clergy, in the late Queen's time, for which he thought he
deserved some gentle treatment from his brethren.[107] That, during all
the administration of the said ministry, he had been a constant advocate
for those who are called the Whigs,--and kept many of them in their
employments both in England and here,--and some who were afterwards the
first to lift up their heels against him." He reflected a little upon
the severe treatment he had met with upon his return to Ireland after
her Majesty's death, and for some years after. "That being forced to
live retired, he could think of no better way to do public service, than
by employing all the little money he could save, and lending it, without
interest, in small sums to poor industrious tradesmen, without examining
their party or their faith. And God had so far pleased to bless his
endeavours, that his managers tell him he hath recovered above two
hundred families in this city from ruin, and placed most of them in a
comfortable way of life."

The Dean related, how much he had suffered in his purse, and with what
hazard to his liberty, by a most iniquitous judge[108]; who, to gratify
his ambition and rage of party, had condemned an innocent book, written
with no worse a design, than to persuade the people of this kingdom to
wear their own manufactures.[109] How the said judge had endeavoured to
get a jury to his mind; but they proved so honest, that he was forced to
keep them eleven hours, and send them back nine times; until, at last,
they were compelled to leave the printer[110] to the mercy of the court,
and the Dean was forced to procure a _noli prosequi_ from a noble
person, then secretary of state, who had been his old friend.

The Dean then freely confessed himself to be the author of those books
called "The Drapier's Letters;" spoke gently of the proclamation,
offering three hundred pounds to discover the writer.[111] He said,
"That although a certain person was pleased to mention those books in a
slight manner at a public assembly, yet he (the Dean) had learned to
believe, that there were ten thousand to one in the kingdom who differed
from that person; and the people of England, who had ever heard of the
matter, as well as in France, were all of the same opinion."

The Dean mentioned several other particulars, some of which those from
whom I had the account could not recollect; and others, although of
great consequence, perhaps his enemies would not allow him.

The Dean concluded, with acknowledging to have expressed his wishes,
that an inscription might have been graven on the box, shewing some
reason why the city thought fit to do him that honour, which was much
out of the common forms to a person in a private station;--those
distinctions being usually made only to chief governors, or persons in
very high employments.




_Feb. 18, 1729._


"Whereas Dr. Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick's, Dublin, hath been
credibly informed, that, on Friday the 13th of this instant February, a
certain person did, in a public place, and in the hearing of a great
number, apply himself to the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor of this
city, and some of his brethren, in the following reproachful manner: 'My
lord, you and your city can squander away the public money, in giving a
gold box to a fellow who hath libelled the government!' or words to that

"Now, if the said words, or words to the like effect, were intended
against him the said Dean, and as a reflection on the Right Hon. the
Lord Mayor, aldermen, and commons, for their decreeing unanimously, and
in full assembly, the freedom of this city to the said Dean, in an
honourable manner, on account of an opinion they had conceived of some
services done by him the said Dean to this city, and to the kingdom in
general,--the said Dean doth declare, That the said words, or words to
the like effect, are insolent, false, scandalous, malicious, and, in a
particular manner, perfidious; the said person, who is reported to have
spoken the said or the like words, having, for some years past, and even
within some few days, professed a great friendship for the said Dean;
and, what is hardly credible, sending a common friend of the Dean and
himself, not many hours after the said or the like words had been
spoken, to renew his profession of friendship to the said Dean, but
concealing the oratory; whereof the said Dean had no account till the
following day, and then told it to all his friends."








     The matter of this tract explains itself. M'Culla's project was to
     put in circulation notes stamped on copper to supply the deficiency
     in copper coins which Wood attempted. Swift, apparently, took a
     mild tone towards M'Culla's plan, but thought that M'Culla would
     make too much out of it for himself. He made a counter proposal
     which is fully entered into here. Nothing came either of M'Culla's
     proposal or Swift's counter-suggestion.

       *       *       *       *       *

     The present text is based on that given in the eighth volume of the
     edition of 1765, and compared with that of Faulkner's edition of
     1772. Faulkner's edition differs in many details from that given by
     Scott. The first sheet only of the original autograph manuscript is
     in the Forster Collection at South Kensington.

     [T. S.]



You desire to know my opinion concerning Mr. M'Culla's project, of
circulating notes stamped on copper, that shall pass for the value of
halfpence and pence. I have some knowledge of the man; and about a month
ago he brought me his book, with a couple of his halfpenny notes: but I
was then out of order, and he could not be admitted. Since that time I
called at his house; where I discoursed, the whole affair with him as
thoroughly as I could. I am altogether a stranger to his character. He
talked to me in the usual style, with a great profession of zeal for the
public good, which is the common cant of all projectors in their Bills,
from a First Minister of State down to a corn-cutter. But I stopped him
short, as I would have done a better man; because it is too gross a
pretence to pass at any time, and especially in this age, where we all
know one another so well. Yet, whoever proposeth any scheme which may
prove to be a public benefit, I shall not quarrel if it prove likewise
very beneficial to the contriver. It is certain, that next to the want
of silver, our greatest distress in point of coin is the want of small
change, which may be some poor relief for the defect of the former,
since the Crown will not please to take that work upon them here as they
do in England. One thing in Mr. M'Culla's book is certainly right, that
no law hinders me from giving a payable note upon leather, wood, copper,
brass, iron, or any other material (except gold and silver) as well as
upon paper. The question is, whether I can sue him on a copper bond,
when there is neither his hand nor seal, nor witnesses to prove it? To
supply this, he hath proposed, that the materials upon which his note is
written, shall be in some degree of value equal to the debt. But that is
one principal matter to be enquired into. His scheme is this:

He gives you a piece of copper for a halfpenny or penny, stamped with a
promissory note to pay you twentypence for every pound of the said
copper notes, whenever you shall return them. Eight and forty of the
halfpenny pieces are to weigh a pound, and he sells you that pound
coined and stamped for two shillings: by which he clearly gains a little
more than sixteen _per cent._; that is to say, twopence in every
shilling. This will certainly arise to a great sum, if he should
circulate as large a quantity of his notes, as the kingdom, under the
great dearth of silver, may very probably require: enough indeed to make
any Irish tradesman's fortune; which, however, I should not repine at in
the least, if we could be sure of his fair-dealing.

It was obvious for me to raise the common objection, why Mr. M'Culla
would not give security to pay the whole sum to any man who returned him
his copper notes, as my Lord Dartmouth and Colonel Moor were, by their
patents, obliged to do.[113] To which he gave some answers plausible
enough. First, "He conceived that his coins were much nearer to the
intrinsic value than any of those coined by patents, the bulk and
goodness of the metal fully equalling the best English halfpence made by
the crown: That he apprehended the ill-will of envious and designing
people, who, if they found him to have a great vent for his notes, since
he wanted the protection of a patent, might make a run upon him, which
he could not be able to support: And lastly, that his copper, (as is
already said,) being equal in value and bulk to the English halfpence,
he did not apprehend they should ever be returned, unless a combination,
proceeding from spite and envy, might be formed against him."

But there are some points in his proposals which I cannot well answer
for; nor do I know whether he would be able to do it himself. The first
is, whether the copper he gives us will be as good as what the crown
provided for the English halfpence and farthings; and, secondly, whether
he will always continue to give us as good; and, thirdly, when he will
think fit to stop his hand, and give us no more; for I should be as
sorry to lie at the mercy of Mr. M'Culla, as of Mr. Wood.

There is another difficulty of the last importance. It is known enough
that the Crown is supposed to be neither gainer nor loser by the coinage
of any metal; for they subtract, or ought to subtract, no more from the
intrinsic value than what will just pay all the charges of the mint; and
how much that will amount to, is the question. By what I could gather
from Mr. M'Culla, good copper is worth fourteenpence per pound. By this
computation, if he sells his copper notes for two shillings the pound,
and will pay twentypence back, then the expense of coinage for one pound
of copper must be sixpence, which is thirty per cent. The world should
be particularly satisfied on this article before he vends his notes; for
the discount of thirty per cent. is prodigious, and vastly more than I
can conceive it ought to be. For, if we add to that proportion the
sixteen per cent. which he avows to keep for his own profit, there will
be a discount of about forty-six per cent. Or, to reckon, I think, a
fairer way: Whoever buys a pound of Mr. M'Culla's coin, at two shillings
per pound, carries home only the real value of fourteenpence, which is a
pound of copper; and thus he is a loser of _41l. 13s. 4d._ per
cent.[114] But, however, this high discount of thirty per cent. will be
no objection against M'Culla's proposals; because, if the charge of
coinage will honestly amount to so much, and we suppose his copper notes
may be returned upon him, he will be the greater sufferer of the two;
because the buyer can lose but fourpence in the pound, and M'Culla must
lose sixpence, which was the charge of the coinage.[115]

Upon the whole, there are some points which must be settled to the
general satisfaction, before we can safely take Mr. M'Culla's copper
notes for value received; and how he will give that satisfaction, is not
within my knowledge or conjecture. The first point is, that we shall be
always sure of receiving good copper, equal in bulk and fineness to the
best English halfpence.

The second point is, to know what allowance he makes to himself, either
out of the weight or mixture of his copper, or both, for the charge of
his coinage. As to the weight, the matter is easy by his own scheme;
for, as I have said before, he proposes forty-eight to weigh a pound,
which he gives you for two shillings, and receives it by the pound at
twentypence: so that, supposing pure copper to be fourteenpence a pound,
he makes you pay thirty per cent. for the labour of coining, as I have
already observed, besides sixteen per cent. when he sells it. But if to
this he adds any alloy, to debase the metal, although it be not above
ten per cent.; then Mr. M'Culla's promissory notes will, as to the
intrinsic value of the metal, be above forty-seven per cent. discount.

For, subtracting ten per cent. off sixty pound's worth of copper, it
will (to avoid fractions) be about five and a half per cent. in the
whole _100l._, which, added to

                      41 13 4
                       5 10 0
  will be per cent.   47  3 4

That we are under great distress for change, and that Mr. M'Culla's
copper notes, on supposition of the metal being pure, is less liable to
objection than the project of Wood, may be granted: but such a discount,
where we are not sure even of our twentypence a pound, appears hitherto
a dead weight on his scheme.

Since I writ this, calling to mind that I had some copper halfpence by
me, I weighed them with those of Mr. M'Culla, and observed as follows:

First, I weighed Mr. M'Culla's halfpenny against an English one of King
Charles II., which outweighed Mr. M'Culla's a fourth part, or
twenty-five per cent.

I likewise weighed an Irish Patrick and David halfpenny, which
outweighed Mr. M'Culla's twelve and a half per cent. It had a very fair
and deep impression, and milled very skilfully round.

I found that even a common halfpenny, well-preserved, weighed equal to
Mr. M'Culla's. And even some of Wood's halfpence were near equal in
weight to his. Therefore, if it be true that he does not think Wood's
copper to have been faulty, he may probably give us no better.

I have laid these loose thoughts together with little order, to give
you, and others who may read them, an opportunity of digesting them
better. I am no enemy to Mr. M'Culla's project; but I would have it put
upon a better foot. I own that this halfpenny of King Charles II., which
I weighed against Mr. M'Culla's, was of the fairest kind I had seen.
However, it is plain the Crown could afford it without being a
loser.[116] But it is probable that the officers of the mint were then
more honest than they have since thought fit to be; for I confess not to
have met those of any other year so weighty, or in appearance of so good
metal, among all the copper coins of the three last reigns; yet these,
however, did much outweigh those of Mr. M'Culla; for I have tried the
experiment on a hundred of them. I have indeed seen accidentally one or
two very light; but it must certainly have been done by chance, or
rather I suppose them to be counterfeits. Be that as it will, it is
allowed on all hands, that good copper was never known to be cheaper
than it is at present. I am ignorant of the price, further than by his
informing me that it is only fourteenpence a pound; by which, I observe,
he charges the coinage at thirty per cent.; and therefore I cannot but
think his demands are exorbitant. But, to say the truth, the dearness or
cheapness of the metal do not properly enter into the question. What we
desire is, that it should be of the best kind, and as weighty as can be
afforded; that the profit of the contriver should be reduced from
sixteen to eight per cent.; and the charge of coinage, if possible, from
thirty to ten, or fifteen at most.

Mr. M'Culla must also give good security that he will coin only a
determinate sum, not exceeding twenty thousand pounds; by which,
although he should deal with all uprightness imaginable, and make his
coin as good as that I weighed of King Charles II., he will, at sixteen
per cent., gain three thousand two hundred pounds; a very good
additional job to a private tradesman's fortune!

I must advise him also to employ better workmen, and make his
impressions deeper and plainer; by which a rising rim may be left about
the edge of his coin, to preserve the letter from wearing out too soon.
He hath no wardens nor masters, or other officers of the mint, to suck
up his profit; and therefore can afford to coin cheaper than the Crown,
if he will but find good materials, proper implements, and skilful

Whether this project will succeed in Mr. M'Culla's hands, (which, if it
be honestly executed, I should be glad to see,) one thing I am confident
of, that it might be easily brought to perfection by a society of nine
or ten honest gentlemen of fortune, who wish well to their country, and
would be content to be neither gainers nor losers, further than the bare
interest of their money. And Mr. M'Culla, as being the first starter of
the scheme, might be considered and rewarded by such a society; whereof,
although I am not a man of fortune, I should think it an honour and
happiness to be one, even with borrowed money upon the best security I
could give. And, first, I am confident, without any skill, but by
general reason, that the charge of coining copper would be very much
less than thirty per cent. Secondly, I believe ten thousand pounds, in
halfpence and farthings, would be sufficient for the whole kingdom, even
under our great and most unnecessary distress for the want of silver;
and that, without such a distress, half the sum would suffice. For, I
compute and reason thus: the city of Dublin, by a gross computation,
contains ten thousand families; and I am told by shopkeepers, "That if
silver were as plenty as usual, two shillings in copper would be
sufficient, in the course of business, for each family." But, in
consideration of the want of silver, I would allow five shillings to
each family, which would amount to _2,500l._; and, to help this, I would
recommend a currency of all the genuine undefaced harp-halfpence, which
are left, of Lord Dartmouth's and Moor's patents under King Charles II.;
and the small Patrick and David for farthings. To the rest of the
kingdom, I would assign the _7,50l._ remaining; reckoning Dublin to
answer one-fourth of the kingdom, as London is judged to answer (if I
mistake not) one-third of England; I mean in the view of money only.

To compute our want of small change by the number of souls in the
kingdom, besides being perplexed, is, I think, by no means just. They
have been reckoned at a million and a half; whereof a million at least
are beggars in all circumstances, except that of wandering about for
alms; and that circumstance may arrive soon enough, when it will be time
to add another ten thousand pounds in copper. But, without doubt, the
families of Ireland, who lie chiefly under the difficulties of wanting
small change, cannot be above forty or fifty thousand, which the sum of
ten thousand pounds, with the addition of the fairest old halfpence,
would tolerably supply; for, if we give too great a loose to any
projector to pour in upon us what he pleases, the kingdom will be, (how
shall I express it under our present circumstances?) more than undone.

And hence appears, in a very strong light, the villainy of Wood, who
proposed the coinage of one hundred and eight thousand pounds in copper,
for the use of Ireland; whereby every family in the kingdom would be
loaden with ten or a dozen shillings, although Wood might not transgress
the bounds of his patent, and although no counterfeits, either at home
or abroad, were added to the number; the contrary to both which would
indubitably have arrived. So ill informed are great men on the other
side, who talk of a million with as little ceremony as we do of

But to return to the proposal I have made: Suppose ten gentlemen, lovers
of their country, should raise _200l._ a-piece; and, from the time the
money is deposited as they shall agree, should begin to charge it with
seven per cent. for their own use; that they should, as soon as
possible, provide a mint and good workmen, and buy copper sufficient for
coining two thousand pounds, subtracting a fifth part of the interest of
ten thousand pounds for the charges of the tools, and fitting up a place
for a mint; the other four parts of the same interest to be subtracted
equally out of the four remaining coinages of _2,000l._ each, with a
just allowance for other necessary incidents. Let the charge of coinage
be fairly reckoned, and the kingdom informed of it, as well as of the
price of copper. Let the coin be as well and deeply stamped as it ought.
Let the metal be as pure as can consist to have it rightly coined,
(wherein I am wholly ignorant,) and the bulk as large as that of King
Charles II. And let this club of ten gentlemen give their joint security
to receive all the coins they issue out for seven or ten years, and
return gold and silver without any defalcation.

Let the same club, or company, when they have issued out the first two
thousand pounds, go on the second year, if they find a demand, and that
their scheme hath answered to their own intention, as well as to the
satisfaction of the public. And, if they find seven per cent. not
sufficient, let them subtract eight, beyond which I would not have them
go. And when they have in five years coined ten thousand pounds, let
them give public notice that they will proceed no further, but shut up
their mint, and dismiss their workmen; unless the real, universal,
unsolicited, declaration of the nobility and gentry of the kingdom shall
signify a desire that they shall go on for a certain sum farther.

This company may enter into certain regulations among themselves; one of
which should be, to keep nothing concealed, and duly to give an account
to the world of their whole methods of acting.

Give me leave to compute, wholly at random, what charge the kingdom will
be at, by the loss of intrinsic value in the coinage of _10,000l._ in
copper, under the management of such a society of gentlemen.

First, It is plain that instead of somewhat more than sixteen per cent.
as demanded by Mr. M'Culla, this society desires but eight per cent.

Secondly, Whereas Mr. M'Culla charges the expense of coinage at thirty
per cent., I hope and believe this society will be able to perform it at

Thirdly, Whereas it doth not appear that Mr. M'Culla can give any
security for the goodness of his copper, because not one in ten thousand
have the skill to distinguish, the society will be all engaged that
theirs shall be of the best standard.

Fourthly, That whereas Mr. M'Culla's halfpence are one-fourth part
lighter than that kind coined in the time of King Charles II., these
gentlemen will oblige themselves to the public, to give their coin of
the same weight and goodness with those halfpence, unless they shall
find they cannot afford it; and, in that case, they shall beforehand
inform the public, show their reasons, and signify how large they can
make them without being losers; and so give over or pursue their scheme,
as they find the opinion of the world to be. However, I do not doubt but
they can afford them as large, and of as good metal, as the best English
halfpence that have been coined in the three last reigns, which very
much outweighed those of Mr. M'Culla. And this advantage will arise in
proportion, by lessening the charge of coinage from thirty per cent. to
ten or fifteen, or twenty at most. But I confess myself in the dark on
that article; only I think it impossible it should amount to any
proportion near thirty per cent.; otherwise the coiners of those
counterfeit halfpence called raps[117] would have little encouragement
to follow their trade.

But the indubitable advantages, by having the management in such a
society, would be the paying eight per cent. instead of sixteen, the
being sure of the goodness and just weight of the coin, and the period
to be put to any further coinage than what was absolutely necessary to
supply the wants and desires of the kingdom; and all this under the
security of ten gentlemen of credit and fortune, who would be ready to
give the best security and satisfaction, that they had no design to turn
the scheme into a job.

As to any mistakes I have made in computation, they are of little
moment; and I shall not descend so low as to justify them against any

The strongest objection against what I offer, and which perhaps may make
it appear visionary, is the difficulty to find half a score gentlemen,
who, out of a public spirit, will be at the trouble, for no more profit
than one per cent. above the legal interest, to be overseers of a mint
for five years; and perhaps, without any justice, raise the clamour of
the people against them. Besides, it is most certain that many a squire
is as fond of a job, and as dexterous to make the best of it, as Mr.
M'Culla himself, or any of his level.

However, I do not doubt but there may be ten such persons in this town,
if they had only some visible mark to know them at sight. Yet I just
foresee another inconveniency; That knavish men are fitter to deal with
others of their own denomination; while those who are honest and
best-intentioned may be the instruments of as much mischief to the
public, for want of cunning, as the greatest knaves; and more, because
of the charitable opinion which they are apt to have of others.
Therefore, how to join the prudence of the serpent with the innocency of
the dove, in this affair, is the most difficult point. It is not so hard
to find an honest man, as to make this honest man active, and vigilant,
and skilful; which, I doubt, will require a spur of profit greater than
my scheme will afford him, unless he will be contented with the honour
of serving his country, and the reward of a good conscience.

After reviewing what I had written, I see very well that I have not
given any allowance for the first charge of preparing all things
necessary for coining, which, I am told, will amount to about _200l._
besides _20l._ per annum for five years rent of a house to work in. I
can only say, that, this making in all _300l._, it will be an addition
of no more than three per cent. out of _10,000l._

But the great advantages to the public, by having the coinage placed in
the hands of ten gentlemen such as I have already described, (if such
are to be found,) are these:--

First, They propose no other gain to themselves than one per cent. above
the legal interest for the money they advance; which will hardly afford
them coffee when they meet at their mint-house.

Secondly, They bind themselves to make their coins of as good copper as
the best English halfpence, and as well coined, and of equal weight; and
do likewise bind themselves to charge the public with not one farthing
for the expense of coinage, more than it shall really stand them in.

Thirdly, They will, for a limited term of seven or ten years, as shall
be thought proper upon mature consideration, pay gold and silver,
without any defalcation, for all their own coin that shall be returned
upon their hands.

Fourthly, They will take care that the coins shall have a deep
impression, leaving a rising rim on both sides, to prevent being
defaced in a long time; and the edges shall be milled.

I suppose they need not be very apprehensive of counterfeits, which it
will be difficult to make so as not to be discovered; for it is plain
that those bad halfpence called raps are so easily distinguished, even
from the most worn genuine halfpenny, that nobody will now take them for
a farthing, although under the great present want of change.

I shall here subjoin some computations relating to Mr. M'Culla's copper
notes. They were sent to me by a person well skilled in such
calculations; and therefore I refer them to the reader.[118]

Mr. M'Culla charges good copper at fourteenpence per pound: but I know
not whether he means avoirdupois or troy weight.

  Avoirdupois is sixteen ounces to a pound,                    6960 grains.
  A pound troy weight,                                         5760 grains.
    Mr. M'Culla's copper is fourteenpence per pound avoirdupois.
  Two of Mr. M'Culla's penny notes, one with another, weigh     524 grains.
  By which computation, two shillings of his notes, which he
    sells for one pound weight, will weigh                     6288 grains.
  But one pound avoirdupois weighs, as above,                  6960 grains.
    This difference makes 10 per cent.
    to Mr. M'Culla's profit, in point of weight.
    The old Patrick and David halfpenny weighs                  149 grains.
    Mr. M'Culla's halfpenny weighs                              131 grains.
                                         The difference is       18

  Which is equal to 10-1/2 per cent.
  The English halfpenny of King Charles II. weighs              167 grains.
  M'Culla's halfpenny weighs                                    131 grains.
                                             The difference      36

  Which difference, allowed a fifth part, is 20 per cent.


Mr. M'Culla allows his pound of copper (coinage included) to be worth
twentypence; for which he demands two shillings.

  His coinage he computes at sixpence per pound weight; therefore,
    he laying out only twentypence, and gaining fourpence,
    he makes per cent. profit,                                        20
  The sixpence per pound weight, allowed for coinage,
    makes per cent.                                                   30
  The want of weight in his halfpenny, compared as above,
    is per cent.                                                      10
  By all which (viz. coinage, profit, and want of weight)
    --the public loses per cent.                                      60

If Mr. M'Culla's coins will not pass, and he refuses to receive them
back, the owner cannot sell them at above twelvepence per pound weight;
whereby, with the defect of weight of 10 per cent., he will lose 60 per

The scheme of the society, raised as high as it can possibly be, will be
only thus:

  For interest of their money, per cent.                               8
  For coinage, instead of 10, suppose at most per cent.               20
  For _l.300_ laid out for tools, a mint, and house-rent,
    charge 3 per cent. upon the coinage of _l.10,000_,                 3
  Charges in all upon interest, coinage, &c. per cent.,               31

Which, with all the advantages above-mentioned, of the goodness of the
metal, the largeness of the coin, the deepness and fairness of the
impression, the assurance of the society confining itself to such a sum
as they undertake, or as the kingdom shall approve; and lastly, their
paying in gold or silver for all their coin returned upon their hands
without any defalcation, would be of mighty benefit to the kingdom; and,
with a little steadiness and activity, could, I doubt not, be easily

I would not in this scheme recommend the method of promissory notes,
after Mr. M'Culla's manner; but, as I have seen in old Irish coins, the
words CIVITAS DVBLIN, on one side, with the year of our Lord
and the Irish harp on the reverse.







     The arguments advanced in this tract are practically repetitions of
     those already given in previous pieces. Swift laid much stress on
     the people buying and wearing goods made in Ireland, since in that
     way the money would remain in the country. In this little tract he
     winds up with a special appeal to the women of Ireland.

       *       *       *       *       *

     The present text is based on that of the quarto edition (vol.
     viii.) of 1765, and compared with Faulkner's of 1772.

     [T. S.]


There was a treatise written about nine years ago, to persuade the
people of Ireland to wear their own manufactures.[119] This treatise was
allowed to have not one syllable in it of party or disaffection; but was
wholly founded upon the growing poverty of the nation, occasioned by the
utter want of trade in every branch, except that ruinous importation of
all foreign extravagancies from other countries. This treatise was
presented, by the grand jury of the city and county of Dublin, as a
scandalous, seditious, and factious pamphlet. I forget who was the
foreman of the city grand jury; but the foreman for the county was one
Doctor Seal, register to the Archbishop of Dublin, wherein he differed
much from the sentiments of his lord.[120] The printer[121] was tried
before the late Mr. Whitshed, that famous Lord chief-justice; who, on
the bench, laying his hand on his heart, declared, upon his salvation,
that the author was a Jacobite, and had a design to beget a quarrel
between the two nations.[122] In the midst of this prosecution, about
fifteen hundred weavers were forced to beg their bread, and had a
general contribution made for their relief, which just served to make
them drunk for a week; and then they were forced to turn rogues, or
strolling beggars, or to leave the kingdom.

The Duke of Grafton,[123] who was then Lieutenant, being perfectly
ashamed of so infamous and unpopular a proceeding, obtained from England
a _noli prosequi_ for the printer. Yet the grand jury had solemn thanks
given them from the Secretary of State.

I mention this passage (perhaps too much forgotten,) to shew how
dangerous it hath been for the best meaning person to write one syllable
in the defence of his country, or discover the miserable condition it is

And to prove this truth, I will produce one instance more; wholly
omitting the famous case of the Drapier, and the proclamation against
him, as well as the perverseness of another jury against the same Mr.
Whitshed, who was violently bent to act the second part in another

About two years ago, there was a small paper printed, which was called,
"A Short View of the State of Ireland," relating the several causes
whereby any country may grow rich, and applying them to Ireland.[125]
Whitshed was dead, and consequently the printer was not troubled. Mist,
the famous journalist, happened to reprint this paper in London, for
which his press-folks were prosecuted for almost a twelve-month; and,
for aught I know, are not yet discharged.[126]

This is our case; insomuch, that although I am often without money in my
pocket, I dare not own it in some company, for fear of being thought

But, since I am determined to take care that the author of this paper
shall not be discovered (following herein the most prudent practice of
the Drapier,) I will venture to affirm, that the three seasons wherein
our corn hath miscarried, did no more contribute to our present misery,
than one spoonful of water thrown upon a rat already drowned would
contribute to his death; and that the present plentiful harvest,
although it should be followed by a dozen ensuing, would no more restore
us, than it would the rat aforesaid to put him near the fire, which
might indeed warm his fur coat, but never bring him back to life.

The short of the matter is this: The distresses of the kingdom are
operating more and more every day, by very large degrees, and so have
been doing for above a dozen years past.

If you demand from whence these distresses have arisen, I desire to ask
the following question:

If two-thirds of any kingdom's revenue be exported to another country,
without one farthing of value in return; and if the said kingdom be
forbidden the most profitable branches of trade wherein to employ the
other third, and only allowed to traffic in importing those commodities
which are most ruinous to itself[127]; how shall that kingdom stand?

If this question were formed into the first proposition of an
hypothetical syllogism, I defy the man born in Ireland, who is now in
the fairest way of getting a collectorship, or a cornet's post, to give
a good reason for denying it.

Let me put another case. Suppose a gentleman's estate of two hundred
pounds a year should sink to one hundred, by some accident, whether by
an earthquake, or inundation, it matters not: and suppose the said
gentleman utterly hopeless and unqualified ever to retrieve the loss;
how is he otherwise to proceed in his future economy, than by reducing
it on every article to one half less, unless he will be content to fly
his country, or rot in jail? This is a representation of Ireland's
condition; only with one fault, that it is a little too favourable.
Neither am I able to propose a full remedy for this, that shall ever be
granted, but only a small prolongation of life, until God shall
miraculously dispose the hearts of our neighbours, our kinsmen, our
fellow-protestants, fellow-subjects, and fellow rational creatures, to
permit us to starve without running further in debt. I am informed that
our national debt (and God knows how we wretches came by that
fashionable thing a national debt) is about two hundred and fifty
thousand pounds; which is at least one-third of the whole kingdom's
rents, after our absentees and other foreign drains are paid, and about
fifty thousand pounds more than all the cash.

It seems there are several schemes for raising a fund to pay the
interest of this formidable sum (not the principal, for this is allowed
impossible). The necessity of raising such a fund, is strongly and
regularly pleaded, from the late deficiencies in the duties and customs.
And is it the fault of Ireland that these funds are deficient? If they
depend on trade, can it possibly be otherwise, while we have neither
liberty to trade, nor money to trade with; neither hands to work, nor
business to employ them, if we had? Our diseases are visible enough both
in their causes and effects; and the cures are well known, but
impossible to be applied.

If my steward comes and tells me, that my rents are sunk so low, that
they are very little more than sufficient to pay my servants their
wages; have I any other course left than to cashier four in six of my
rascally footmen, and a number of other varlets in my family, of whose
insolence the whole neighbourhood complains? And I should think it
extremely severe in any law, to force me to maintain a household of
fifty servants, and fix their wages, before I had offered my rent-roll
upon oath to the legislators.

To return from digressing: I am told one scheme for raising a fund to
pay the interest of our national debt, is, by a further duty of forty
shillings a tun upon wine. Some gentlemen would carry this matter much
further, by raising it to twelve pounds; which, in a manner, would
amount to a prohibition: thus weakly arguing from the practice of

I have often taken notice, both in print and in discourse, that there is
no topic so fallacious, either in talk or in writing, as to argue how we
ought to act in Ireland, from the example of England, Holland, France,
or any other country, whose inhabitants are allowed the common rights
and liberties of humankind. I could undertake to name six or seven of
the most uncontrolled maxims in government, which are utterly false in
this kingdom.

As to the additional duty on wine, I think any person may deliver his
opinion upon it, until it shall have passed into a law; and till then, I
declare mine to be positively against it.

First, Because there is no nation yet known, in either hemisphere, where
the people of all conditions are more in want of some cordial to keep up
their spirits, than in this of ours. I am not in jest; and if the fact
will not be allowed me, I shall not argue it.

Secondly, It is too well and generally known, that this tax of forty
shillings additional on every tun of wine, (which will be double, at
least, to the home consumer) will increase equally every new session of
Parliament, until, perhaps, it comes to twelve pounds.

Thirdly, Because, as the merchants inform me, and as I have known many
the like instances in England, this additional tax will more probably
lessen this branch of the revenue, than increase it. And therefore Sir
John Stanley, a commissioner of the customs in England, used to say,
that the House of Commons were generally mistaken in matters of trade,
by an erroneous opinion that two and two make four. Thus, if you should
lay an additional duty of one penny a pound on raisins or sugar, the
revenue, instead of rising, would certainly sink; and the consequence
would only be, to lessen the number of plum-puddings, and ruin the

Fourthly, I am likewise assured by merchants, that upon this additional
forty shillings, the French will at least equally raise their duties
upon all commodities we export thither.

Fifthly, If an original extract of the exports and imports be true, we
have been gainers, upon the balance, by our trade with France, for
several years past; and, although our gain amounts to no great sum, we
ought to be satisfied, since we are no losers, with the only consolation
we are capable of receiving.

Lastly, The worst consequence is behind. If we raise the duty on wine to
a considerable height, we lose the only hold we have of keeping among us
the few gentlemen of any tolerable estates. I am confident there is
hardly a gentleman of eight hundred pounds a year and upwards, in this
kingdom, who would balance half an hour to consider whether he should
live here or in England, if a family could be as cheaply maintained in
the one as the other. As to eatables, they are as cheap in many fine
counties of England, as in some very indifferent ones here; or, if there
be any difference, that vein of thrift and prudence in economy, which
passes there without reproach, (and chiefly in London itself,) would
amply make up the difference. But the article of French wine is hardly
tolerable, in any degree of plenty, to a middling fortune; and this is
it, which, by growing habitual, wholly turns the scale with those few
landed men, disengaged from employments, who content themselves to live
hospitably with plenty of good wine in their own country, rather than in
penury and obscurity in another, with bad, or with none at all.

Having, therefore, as far as in me lies, abolished this additional duty
upon wine; for I am not under the least concern about paying the
interest of the national debt, but leave it, as in loyalty bound, wholly
to the wisdom of the honourable House of Commons; I come now to consider
by what methods we may be able to put off and delay our utter undoing as
long as it is possible.

I never have discoursed with any reasonable man upon this subject, who
did not allow that there was no remedy left us, but to lessen the
importation of all unnecessary commodities as much as it was possible;
and likewise either to persuade our absentees to spend their money at
home, which is impossible; or tax them at five shillings in the pound
during their absence, with such allowances, upon necessary occasions, as
it shall be thought convenient: or, by permitting us a free trade, which
is denied to no other nation upon earth. The three last methods are
treated by Mr. Prior, in his most useful treatise, added to his list of

It is to gratify the vanity, and pride, and luxury of the women, and of
the young fops who admire them, that we owe this insupportable
grievance, of bringing in the instruments of our ruin. There is annually
brought over to this kingdom near ninety thousand pounds worth of silk,
whereof the greater part is manufactured. Thirty thousand pounds more is
expended in muslin, holland, cambric, and calico. What the price of lace
amounts to, is not easy to be collected from the custom-house book,
being a kind of goods that takes up little room, and is easily run; but,
considering the prodigious price of a woman's head-dress, at ten,
twelve, twenty pounds a yard, must be very great. The tea, rated at
seven shillings per pound, comes to near twelve thousand pounds; but,
considering it as the common luxury of every chambermaid, sempstress,
and tradesman's wife, both in town and country, however they come by it,
must needs cost the kingdom double that sum. Coffee is somewhere above
seven thousand pounds. I have seen no account of the chocolate, and some
other Indian or American goods. The drapery imported is about
four-and-twenty thousand pounds. The whole amounts (with one or two
other particulars) to one hundred and fifty thousand pounds. The
lavishing of all which money is just as prudent and necessary, as to see
a man in an embroidered coat, begging out of Newgate in an old shoe.

I allow that the thrown and raw silk is less pernicious, because we have
some share in the manufacture: but we are not now in circumstances to
trifle. It costs us above forty thousand pounds a-year; and if the
ladies, till better times, will not be content to go in their own
country shifts, I wish they may go in rags.

Let them vie with each other in the fineness of their native linen:
their beauty and gentleness will as well appear, as if they were covered
over with diamonds and brocade.

I believe no man is so weak, as to hope or expect that such a
reformation can be brought about by a law. But a thorough hearty,
unanimous vote, in both houses of Parliament, might perhaps answer as
well: every senator, noble or plebeian, giving his honour, that neither
himself, nor any of his family, would, in their dress, or furniture of
their houses, make use of anything except what was of the growth and
manufacture of this kingdom; and that they would use the utmost of their
power, influence, and credit, to prevail on their tenants, dependants,
and friends, to follow their example.








     Perhaps in no literature is there to be found a piece of writing in
     any sense comparable to this "Modest Proposal." Written,
     apparently, in a light and comic vein, it might deceive the casual
     reader into the belief that Swift had achieved a joke. It has the
     air of a smiling and indifferent _raconteur_ amusing an
     after-dinner table. In truth, however, this piece of writing is a
     terrible indictment made by an advocate speaking against the result
     of a tyranny of power which, through wicked stupidity or complacent
     indifference, had afflicted a people almost to extinction. The
     restraint of the writer evinced in this tract, is the more
     remarkable, when we remember that he was Ireland's foremost
     patriot, that he had been her champion for liberty and
     independence, and that an indignation filled him at all times,
     lacerating his heart, against the cruelty and oppression and
     wretchedness of humanity generally. Here, he sits down and writes
     as calmly as if composing an ordinary sermon, and proposes, in cold
     blood, to alleviate the poverty of the Irish people by the sale of
     their children as table food for the rich. He even goes into
     calculations as to cost of breeding, and shows how a mother might
     earn eight shillings a year on each child, by disposing of its
     carcass for ten shillings. Of the million and a half people who
     inhabit the country, he assumes that there are 200,000 who beget
     children; of these about 30,000 are able to provide for their
     offspring, but the balance of 170,000 must inevitably become a
     burden. What is to become of them? Many schemes have been proposed
     to meet their case, but not one of them has answered. Trade and
     agriculture gave them no opportunity, since the trade of the
     country was almost at a standstill, and land was now either too
     dear to keep or too poor to cultivate. At the time of Swift's
     writing Ireland had passed through three frightful years of famine.
     Corn had become so dear that riots occurred at the ports where what
     corn remained was being exported. The land, as Swift wrote to Pope
     (August 11th, 1729) was in every place strewn with beggars. The
     poor labourer, had work been found for him, was too weak in body to
     undertake it. Thousands had already died of starvation and the
     diseases consequent on hunger. Those that managed to exist did so
     in filth, and dying every day, as Swift wrote on another occasion,
     "and rotting, by cold and famine, and filth and vermin."

     No, there was only one way out of the difficulty, and that was to
     have these poor people breed children, which they could profitably
     dispose of for food. Let them fatten their offspring as best they
     could and sell them dead or alive for cooking. The irony of the
     proposition may sound appalling to us in this century, but Swift
     was not exaggerating the distress of his day. Even Primate Boulter,
     who was certainly the last man to overstate an Irish case, sent
     such reports as gave the English Government anxiety. To Swift it
     was no time for polite speeches and calm proposals. He had already
     given them in abundance. Now was the time for something merry and
     with laughter:

       "I may storm and rage in vain;
       It but stupifies your brain.
       But with raillery to nettle,
       Set your thoughts upon their mettle."

     It was in this spirit that the "Modest Proposal" was written. Swift
     concludes with a final touch by telling us that he has nothing to
     gain personally by his suggestion, since his "youngest child is
     nine and his wife past child-bearing."

       *       *       *       *       *

     The text of the present edition is that of the original issue
     collated with that given by Faulkner.

     [T. S.]



For preventing the




From ~being a Burthen~ to

Their Parents or Country,


For making them Beneficial to the


       *       *       *       *       *

By Dr. Swift.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Dublin_, Printed by _S. Harding_:

_London_, Reprinted; and sold by _J. Roberts_ in _Warwick-lane_, and
the Pamphlet-Shops.




It is a melancholy object to those, who walk through this great town, or
travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads, and
cabin-doors, crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three,
four, or six children, _all in rags_, and importuning every passenger
for an alms. These mothers instead of being able to work for their
honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in strolling, to
beg sustenance for their helpless infants, who, as they grow up, either
turn thieves for want of work, or leave their dear Native Country to
fight for the Pretender in Spain,[129] or sell themselves to the

I think it is agreed by all parties, that this prodigious number of
children, in the arms, or on the backs, or at the heels of their
mothers, and frequently of their fathers, is in the present deplorable
state of the kingdom, a very great additional grievance; and therefore
whoever could find out a fair, cheap and easy method of making these
children sound useful members of the commonwealth would deserve so well
of the public, as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the

But my intention is very far from being confined to provide only for
the children of professed beggars, it is of a much greater extent, and
shall take in the whole number of infants at a certain age, who are born
of parents in effect as little able to support them, as those who demand
our charity in the streets.

As to my own part, having turned my thoughts, for many years, upon this
important subject, and maturely weighed the several schemes of other
projectors, I have always found them grossly mistaken in their
computation. It is true a child, just dropped from its dam, may be
supported by her milk for a solar year with little other nourishment, at
most not above the value of two shillings, which the mother may
certainly get, or the value in scraps, by her lawful occupation of
begging, and it is exactly at one year old that I propose to provide for
them, in such a manner, as, instead of being a charge upon their
parents, or the parish, or wanting food and raiment for the rest of
their lives, they shall, on the contrary, contribute to the feeding and
partly to the clothing of many thousands.

There as likewise another great advantage in my scheme, that it will
prevent those voluntary abortions, and that horrid practice of women
murdering their bastard children, alas, too frequent among us,
sacrificing the poor innocent babes, I doubt, more to avoid the expense,
than the shame, which would move tears and pity in the most savage and
inhuman breast.

The number of souls in this kingdom being usually reckoned one million
and a half,[130] of these I calculate there may be about two hundred
thousand couple whose wives are breeders, from which number I subtract
thirty thousand couples, who are able to maintain their own children,
although I apprehend there cannot be so many under the present
distresses of the kingdom, but this being granted, there will remain an
hundred and seventy thousand breeders. I again subtract fifty thousand
for those women who miscarry, or whose children die by accident, or
disease within the year. There only remain an hundred and twenty
thousand children of poor parents annually born: The question therefore
is, how this number shall be reared, and provided for, which, as I have
already said, under the present situation of affairs, is utterly
impossible by all the methods hitherto proposed, for we can neither
employ them in handicraft, or agriculture; we neither build houses, (I
mean in the country) nor cultivate land: they can very seldom pick up a
livelihood by stealing till they arrive at six years old, except where
they are of towardly parts, although, I confess they learn the rudiments
much earlier, during which time, they can however be properly looked
upon only as _probationers_, as I have been informed by a principal
gentleman in the County of Cavan, who protested to me, that he never
knew above one or two instances under the age of six, even in a part of
the kingdom so renowned for the quickest proficiency in that art.

I am assured by our merchants, that a boy or a girl, before twelve years
old, is no saleable commodity, and even when they come to this age, they
will not yield above three pounds, or three pounds and half-a-crown at
most on the Exchange, which cannot turn to account either to the parents
or the kingdom, the charge of nutriment and rags having been at least
four times that value.

I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will
not be liable to the least objection.

I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in
London,[131] that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a
most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted,
baked, or boiled, and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a
fricassee, or a ragout.

I do therefore humbly offer it to public consideration, that of the
hundred and twenty thousand children, already computed, twenty thousand
may be reserved for breed, whereof only one fourth part to be males,
which is more than we allow to sheep, black-cattle, or swine, and my
reason is that these children are seldom the fruits of marriage, a
circumstance not much regarded by our savages, therefore one male will
be sufficient to serve four females. That the remaining hundred thousand
may at a year old be offered in sale to the persons of quality, and
fortune, through the kingdom, always advising the mother to let them
suck plentifully in the last month, so as to render them plump, and fat
for a good table. A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for
friends, and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will
make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt will
be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.

I have reckoned upon a medium, that a child just born will weigh 12
pounds, and in a solar year if tolerably nursed increaseth to 28 pounds.

I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for
landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem
to have the best title to the children.

Infants' flesh will be in season throughout the year, but more plentiful
in March, and a little before and after, for we are told by a grave
author an eminent French physician, that fish being a prolific diet,
there are more children born in Roman Catholic countries about nine
months after Lent, than at any other season; therefore reckoning a year
after Lent, the markets will be more glutted than usual, because the
number of Popish infants, is at least three to one in this kingdom, and
therefore it will have one other collateral advantage by lessening the
number of Papists among us.

I have already computed the charge of nursing a beggar's child (in which
list I reckon all cottagers, labourers, and four-fifths of the farmers)
to be about two shillings _per annum_, rags included, and I believe no
gentleman would repine to give ten shillings for the carcass of a good
fat child, which, as I have said will make four dishes of excellent
nutritive meat, when he hath only some particular friend, or his own
family to dine with him. Thus the Squire will learn to be a good
landlord, and grow popular among his tenants, the mother will have eight
shillings net profit, and be fit for work till she produces another

Those who are more thrifty (as I must confess the times require) may
flay the carcass; the skin of which, artificially dressed, will make
admirable gloves for ladies, and summer boots for fine gentlemen.

As to our City of Dublin, shambles may be appointed for this purpose, in
the most convenient parts of it, and butchers we may be assured will not
be wanting, although I rather recommend buying the children alive, and
dressing them hot from the knife, as we do roasting pigs.

A very worthy person, a true lover of his country, and whose virtues I
highly esteem, was lately pleased, in discoursing on this matter, to
offer a refinement upon my scheme. He said, that many gentlemen of this
kingdom, having of late destroyed their deer, he conceived that the want
of venison might be well supplied by the bodies of young lads and
maidens, not exceeding fourteen years of age, nor under twelve, so great
a number of both sexes in every country being now ready to starve, for
want of work and service: and these to be disposed of by their parents
if alive, or otherwise by their nearest relations. But with due
deference to so excellent a friend, and so deserving a patriot, I cannot
be altogether in his sentiments; for as to the males, my American
acquaintance assured me from frequent experience, that their flesh was
generally tough and lean, like that of our schoolboys, by continual
exercise, and their taste disagreeable, and to fatten them would not
answer the charge. Then as to the females, it would, I think with humble
submission, be a loss to the public, because they soon would become
breeders themselves: And besides, it is not improbable that some
scrupulous people might be apt to censure such a practice, (although
indeed very unjustly) as a little bordering upon cruelty, which, I
confess, hath always been with me the strongest objection against any
project, however so well intended.

But in order to justify my friend, he confessed that this expedient was
put into his head by the famous Psalmanazar,[132] a native of the
island Formosa, who came from thence to London, above twenty years ago,
and in conversation told my friend, that in his country when any young
person happened to be put to death, the executioner sold the carcass to
persons of quality, as a prime dainty, and that, in his time, the body
of a plump girl of fifteen, who was crucified for an attempt to poison
the emperor, was sold to his Imperial Majesty's Prime Minister of State,
and other great Mandarins of the Court, in joints from the gibbet, at
four hundred crowns. Neither indeed can I deny, that if the same use
were made of several plump young girls in this town, who, without one
single groat to their fortunes, cannot stir abroad without a chair, and
appear at the playhouse, and assemblies in foreign fineries, which they
never will pay for, the kingdom would not be the worse.

Some persons of a desponding spirit are in great concern about that vast
number of poor people, who are aged, diseased, or maimed, and I have
been desired to employ my thoughts what course may be taken, to ease the
nation of so grievous an encumbrance. But I am not in the least pain
upon that matter, because it is very well known, that they are every day
dying, and rotting, by cold, and famine, and filth, and vermin, as fast
as can be reasonably expected. And as to the younger labourers they are
now in almost as hopeful a condition. They cannot get work, and
consequently pine away for want of nourishment, to a degree, that if at
any time they are accidentally hired to common labour, they have not
strength to perform it; and thus the country and themselves are happily
delivered from the evils to come.

I have too long digressed, and therefore shall return to my subject. I
think the advantages by the proposal which I have made are obvious and
many, as well as of the highest importance.

For first, as I have already observed, it would greatly lessen the
number of Papists, with whom we are yearly over-run, being the principal
breeders of the nation, as well as our most dangerous enemies, and who
stay at home on purpose with a design to deliver the kingdom to the
Pretender, hoping to take their advantage by the absence of so many good
Protestants, who have chosen rather to leave their country, than stay at
home, and pay tithes against their conscience, to an Episcopal

Secondly, The poorer tenants will have something valuable of their own,
which by law may be made liable to distress, and help to pay their
landlord's rent, their corn and cattle being already seized, and _money
a thing unknown_.

Thirdly, Whereas the maintenance of an hundred thousand children, from
two years old, and upwards, cannot be computed at less than ten
shillings a piece _per annum_, the nation's stock will be thereby
increased fifty thousand pounds _per annum_, besides the profit of a new
dish, introduced to the tables of all gentlemen of fortune in the
kingdom, who have any refinement in taste, and the money will circulate
among ourselves, the goods being entirely of our own growth and

Fourthly, The constant breeders, besides the gain of eight shillings
sterling _per annum_, by the sale of their children, will be rid of the
charge of maintaining them after the first year.

Fifthly, This food would likewise bring great custom to taverns, where
the vintners will certainly be so prudent as to procure the best
receipts for dressing it to perfection, and consequently have their
houses frequented by all the fine gentlemen, who justly value themselves
upon their knowledge in good eating; and a skilful cook, who understands
how to oblige his guests will contrive to make it as expensive as they

Sixthly, This would be a great inducement to marriage, which all wise
nations have either encouraged by rewards, or enforced by laws and
penalties. It would increase the care and tenderness of mothers toward
their children, when they were sure of a settlement for life, to the
poor babes, provided in some sort by the public to their annual profit
instead of expense. We should see an honest emulation among the married
women, which of them could bring the fattest child to the market, men
would become as fond of their wives, during the time of their pregnancy,
as they are now of their mares in foal, their cows in calf, or sows when
they are ready to farrow, nor offer to beat or kick them (as it is too
frequent a practice) for fear of a miscarriage.

Many other advantages might be enumerated: For instance, the addition of
some thousand carcasses in our exportation of barrelled beef; the
propagation of swine's flesh, and improvement in the art of making good
bacon, so much wanted among us by the great destruction of pigs, too
frequent at our tables, which are no way comparable in taste, or
magnificence to a well-grown, fat yearling child, which roasted whole
will make a considerable figure at a Lord Mayor's feast, or any other
public entertainment. But this, and many others I omit being studious of

Supposing that one thousand families in this city, would be constant
customers for infants' flesh, besides others who might have it at
merry-meetings, particularly weddings and christenings, I compute that
Dublin would take off annually about twenty thousand carcasses, and the
rest of the kingdom (where probably they will be sold somewhat cheaper)
the remaining eighty thousand.

I can think of no one objection, that will possibly be raised against
this proposal, unless it should be urged that the number of people will
be thereby much lessened in the kingdom. This I freely own, and was
indeed one principal design in offering it to the world. I desire the
reader will observe, that I calculate my remedy _for this one
individual Kingdom of Ireland, and for no other that ever was, is, or,
I think, ever can be upon earth_. Therefore let no man talk to me of
other expedients: _Of taxing our absentees at five shillings a pound: Of
using neither clothes, nor household furniture, except what is of our
own growth and manufacture: Of utterly rejecting the materials and
instruments that promote foreign luxury: Of curing the expensiveness of
pride, vanity, idleness, and gaming in our women: Of introducing a vein
of parsimony, prudence and temperance: Of learning to love our Country,
wherein we differ even from_ LAPLANDERS, _and the inhabitants
of_ TOPINAMBOO:[134] _Of quitting our animosities and factions,
nor act any longer like the Jews, who were murdering one another at the
very moment their city was taken: Of being a little cautious not to sell
our country and consciences for nothing:[135] Of teaching landlords to
have at least one degree of mercy toward their tenants. Lastly of
putting a spirit of honesty, industry and skill into our shopkeepers,
who, if a resolution could now be taken to buy only our native goods,
would immediately unite to cheat and exact upon us in the price, the
measure, and the goodness, nor could ever yet be brought to make one
fair proposal of just dealing, though often and earnestly invited to

Therefore I repeat, let no man talk to me of these and the like
expedients, till he hath at least some glimpse of hope, that there will
ever be some hearty and sincere attempt to put them in practice.

But as to myself, having been wearied out for many years with offering
vain, idle, visionary thoughts, and at length utterly despairing of
success, I fortunately fell upon this proposal, which as it is wholly
new, so it hath something solid and real, of no expense and little
trouble, full in our own power, and whereby we can incur no danger in
_disobliging_ ENGLAND. For this kind of commodity will not
bear exportation,[137] the flesh being of too tender a consistence, to
admit a long continuance in salt, _although perhaps I could name a
country, which would be glad to eat up our whole nation without it_.

After all I am not so violently bent upon my own opinion, as to reject
any offer, proposed by wise men, which shall be found equally innocent,
cheap, easy and effectual. But before something of that kind shall be
advanced in contradiction to my scheme, and offering a better, I desire
the author, or authors will be pleased maturely to consider two points.
First, as things now stand, how they will be able to find food and
raiment for an hundred thousand useless mouths and backs. And secondly,
there being a round million of creatures in human figure, throughout
this kingdom, whose whole subsistence put into a common stock, would
leave them in debt two millions of pounds sterling adding those, who are
beggars by profession, to the bulk of farmers, cottagers and labourers
with their wives and children, who are beggars in effect. I desire those
politicians, who dislike my overture, and may perhaps be so bold to
attempt an answer, that they will first ask the parents of these
mortals, whether they would not at this day think it a great happiness
to have been sold for food at a year old, in the manner I prescribe, and
thereby have avoided such a perpetual scene of misfortunes, as they have
since gone through, by the oppression of landlords, the impossibility of
paying rent without money or trade, the want of common sustenance, with
neither house nor clothes to cover them from the inclemencies of the
weather, and the most inevitable prospect of entailing the like, or
greater miseries upon their breed for ever.

I profess in the sincerity of my heart that I have not the least
personal interest in endeavouring to promote this necessary work, having
no other motive than the _public good of my country, by advancing our
trade, providing for infants, relieving the poor, and giving some
pleasure to the rich_. I have no children, by which I can propose to get
a single penny; the youngest being nine years old, and my wife past



     This "Answer" forms an excellent continuation of the "Modest
     Proposal." It is in an entirely different vein, but is, in its own
     way, an admirable example of Swift's strength in handling a public
     question. The English government had been offering every facility
     to French officers for recruiting their army from Ireland. The
     "Craftsman" made some strong remarks on this, and Primate Boulter,
     in his letter to the Duke of Newcastle, under date October 14th,
     1730, told his Grace, "that after consulting with the Lords
     Justices on the subject he found that they apprehend there will be
     greater difficulties in this affair than at first offered." He
     enters into the difficulties to be overcome in order to act in
     consonance with the wishes of his Majesty, and promises that
     "effectual care shall be taken that none of the officers who are
     come hither, suffer on this account" (Letter, pp. 26-27, vol. ii.,
     Dublin, edit. 1770). Swift uses the matter for his own purposes and
     ironically welcomes this chance for the depopulation of Ireland.
     "When our island is a desert, we will send all our raw material to
     England, and receive from her all our manufactured articles. A
     leather coinage will be all we want, separated, as we shall then
     be, from all human kind. We shall have lost all; but we may be left
     in peace, and we shall have no more to tempt the plunderer." Scott
     styles this "Answer" a masterpiece.

       *       *       *       *       *

     The text of this edition is based on that given by Faulkner in the
     ninth volume of his edition of Swift issued in 1772.

     [T. S.]



I detest reading your papers, because I am not of your principles, and
because I cannot endure to be convinced. Yet I was prevailed on to
peruse your Craftsman of December the 12th, wherein I discover you to be
as great an enemy of this country, as you are of your own. You are
pleased to reflect on a project I proposed, of making the children of
Irish parents to be useful to the public instead of being
burdensome;[139] and you venture to assert, that your own scheme is more
charitable, of not permitting our Popish natives to be listed in the
service of any foreign prince.

Perhaps, sir, you may not have heard of any kingdom so unhappy as this,
both in their imports and exports. We import a sort of goods, of no
intrinsic value, which costeth us above forty thousand pounds a year to
dress, and scour, and polish them, which altogether do not yield one
penny advantage;[140] and we annually export above seven hundred
thousand pounds a year in another kind of goods, for which we receive
not one single farthing in return; even the money paid for the letters
sent in transacting this commerce being all returned to England. But
now, when there is a most lucky opportunity offered to begin a trade,
whereby this nation will save many thousand pounds a year, and England
be a prodigious gainer, you are pleased, without a call, officiously and
maliciously to interpose with very frivolous arguments.

It is well known, that about sixty years ago the exportation of live
cattle from hence to England was a great benefit to both kingdoms, until
that branch of traffic was stopped by an act of Parliament on your side,
whereof you have had sufficient reason to repent.[141] Upon which
account, when another act passed your Parliament, forbidding the
exportation of live men to any foreign country, you were so wise to put
in a clause, allowing it to be done by his Majesty's permission, under
his sign manual,[142] for which, among other great benefits granted to
Ireland, we are infinitely obliged to the British legislature. Yet this
very grace and favour you, Mr. D'Anvers, whom we never disobliged, are
endeavouring to prevent; which, I will take upon me to say, is a
manifest mark of your disaffection to his Majesty, a want of duty to the
ministry, and a wicked design of oppressing this kingdom, and a
traitorous attempt to lessen the trade and manufacture of England.

Our truest and best ally, the Most Christian King,[143] hath obtained
his Majesty's licence, pursuant to law, to export from hence some
thousand bodies of healthy, young, living men, to supply his Irish
regiments. The King of Spain, as you assert yourself, hath desired the
same civility, and seemeth to have at least as good a claim. Supposing
then that these two potentates will only desire leave to carry off six
thousand men between them to France and Spain; then, by computing the
maintenance of a tall, hungry Irishman, in food and clothes, to be only
at five pounds a head, here will be thirty thousand pounds per annum
saved clear to the nation; for they can find no other employment at
home, beside begging, robbing, or stealing. But, if thirty, forty, or
fifty thousand (which we could gladly spare) were sent on the same
errand, what an immense benefit must it be to us! And if the two
princes, in whose service they were, should happen to be at war with
each other, how soon would those recruits be destroyed! Then what a
number of friends would the Pretender lose, and what a number of Popish
enemies all true Protestants get rid of! Add to this, that then, by such
a practice, the lands of Ireland, that want hands for tillage, must be
employed in grazing, which would sink the price of wool, raw hides,
butter, and tallow, so that the English might have them at their own
rates, and in return send us wheat to make our bread, barley to brew our
drink, and oats for our houses, without any labour of our own.

Upon this occasion, I desire humbly to offer a scheme, which, in my
opinion, would best answer the true interests of both kingdoms: For
although I bear a most tender filial affection to England, my dear
native country, yet I cannot deny but this noble island hath a great
share in my love and esteem; nor can I express how much I desire to see
it flourish in trade and opulence, even beyond its present happy

The profitable land of this kingdom is, I think, usually computed at
seventeen millions of acres, all which I propose to be wholly turned to
grazing. Now, it is found by experience, that one grazier and his family
can manage two thousand acres. Thus sixteen millions eight hundred
thousand acres may be managed by eight thousand four hundred families;
and the fraction of two hundred thousand acres will be more than
sufficient for cabins, out-houses, and potatoe-gardens; because it is to
be understood that corn of all sorts must be sent to us from England.

These eight thousand four hundred families may be divided among the four
provinces, according to the number of houses in each province; and
making the equal allowance of eight to a family, the number of
inhabitants will amount to sixty-seven thousand two hundred souls. To
these we are to add a standing army of twenty thousand English; which,
together with their trulls, their bastards, and their horse-boys, will,
by a gross computation, very near double the count, and be very
sufficient for the defence and grazing of the kingdom, as well as to
enrich our neighbours, expel popery, and keep out the Pretender. And,
lest the army should be at a loss for business, I think it would be very
prudent to employ them in collecting the public taxes for paying
themselves and the civil list.

I advise, that all the owners of these lands should live constantly in
England, in order to learn politeness, and qualify themselves for
employments; but, for fear of increasing the natives in this island,
that an annual draught, according to the number born every year, be
exported to whatever prince will bear the carriage, or transplanted to
the English dominions on the American continent, as a screen between his
Majesty's English subjects and the savage Indians.

I advise likewise, that no commodity whatsoever, of this nation's
growth, should be sent to any other country except England, under the
penalty of high treason; and that all the said commodities shall be sent
in their natural state; the hides raw, the wool uncombed, the flax in
the stub; excepting only fish, butter, tallow, and whatever else will be
spoiled in the carriage. On the contrary, that no goods whatsoever shall
be exported hither, except from England, under the same penalty: that
England should be forced, at their own rates, to send us over clothes
ready made, as well as shirts and smocks to the soldiers and their
trulls; all iron, wooden, and earthen ware, and whatever furniture may
be necessary for the cabins of graziers; with a sufficient quantity of
gin, and other spirits, for those who, can afford to be drunk on

As to the civil and ecclesiastical administration, which I have not yet
fully considered, I can say little; only, with regard to the latter, it
is plain, that the article of paying tithe for supporting speculative
opinions in religion, which is so insupportable a burden to all true
Protestants, and to most churchmen, will be very much lessened by this
expedient; because dry cattle pay nothing to the spiritual hireling,
any more than imported corn; so that the industrious shepherd and
cowherd may sit every man under his own blackberry-bush, and on his own
potato-bed, whereby this happy island will become a new Arcadia.

I do likewise propose, that no money shall be used in Ireland except
what is made of leather, which likewise shall be coined in England, and
imported; and that the taxes shall be levied out of the commodities we
export to England, and there turned into money for his Majesty's use;
and the rents to landlords discharged in the same manner. This will be
no manner of grievance, for we already see it very practicable to live
without money, and shall be more convinced of it every day. But whether
paper shall still continue to supply that defect, or whether we shall
hang up all those who profess the trade of bankers, (which latter I am
rather inclined to,) must be left to the consideration of wiser

That which maketh me more zealously bent upon this scheme, is my desire
of living in amity with our neighbouring brethren; for we have already
tried all other means without effect, to that blessed end: and, by the
course of measures taken for some years past, it should seem that we are
all agreed in the point.

This expedient will be of great advantage to both kingdoms, upon several
accounts: for, as to England, they have a just claim to the balance of
trade on their side with the whole world: and therefore our ancestors
and we, who conquered this kingdom for them, ought, in duty and
gratitude, to let them have the whole benefit of that conquest to
themselves; especially when the conquest was amicably made without
bloodshed, by a stipulation between the Irish princes and Henry II.; by
which they paid him, indeed, not equal homage with what the electors of
Germany do to the emperor, but very near the same that he did to the
King of France for his French dominions.

In consequence of this claim from England, that kingdom may very
reasonably demand the benefit of all our commodities in their natural
growth, to be manufactured by their people, and a sufficient quantity of
them for our use to be returned hither fully manufactured.

This, on the other side, will be of great benefit to our inhabitants
the graziers; when time and labour will be too much taken up in manuring
their ground, feeding their cattle, shearing their sheep, and sending
over their oxen fit for slaughter; to which employments they are turned
by nature, as descended from the Scythians, whose diet they are still so
fond of. So Virgil describeth it:--

  Et lac concretum cum sanguine bibit equino;

Which, in English, is bonnyclabber[144] mingled with the blood of
horses, as they formerly did, until about the beginning of the last
century luxury, under the form of politeness, began to creep in, they
changed the blood of horses for that of their black cattle, and, by
consequence, became less warlike than their ancestors.

Although I proposed that the army should be collectors of the public
revenues, yet I did not thereby intend that those taxes should be paid
in gold or silver; but in kind, as all other rent: For, the custom of
tenants making their payments in money, is a new thing in the world,
little known in former ages, nor generally practised in any nation at
present, except this island and the southern parts of Britain. But, to
my great satisfaction, I foresee better times; the ancient manner
beginneth to be now practised in many parts of Connaught, as well as in
the county of Cork; where the squires turn tenants to themselves, divide
so many cattle to their slaves, who are to provide such a quantity of
butter, hides, or tallow, still keeping up their number of cattle; and
carry the goods to Cork, or other port towns, and then sell them to the
merchants. By which invention there is no such thing as a ruined farmer
to be seen; but the people live with comfort on potatoes and
bonnyclabber, neither of which are vendible commodities abroad.






     JOHN CARTERET, EARL GRANVILLE, succeeded to the Carteret
     barony at the early age of five years. He was the son of George,
     the first Baron Carteret, and was born in 1690. He was educated at
     Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, from which latter
     place, as Swift puts it, "he carried away more Greek, Latin, and
     philosophy than properly became a person of his rank." In the House
     of Lords Carteret was known as a strong adherent of the Protestant
     succession, and joined the Sunderland party on the split of the
     Whigs in 1717. As ambassador extraordinary to the Court of Sweden
     he was eminently successful, being the instrument by which, in
     1720, peace was established between Sweden, Prussia, and Hanover.
     Later, he served in a similar capacity with Earl Stanhope and Sir
     Robert Sutton at the Congress of Cambray.

     In 1721 he was appointed Secretary of State of the southern
     province, but although a member of the Walpole administration, he
     intrigued with the King against Walpole, and attempted to form a
     party in opposition to that minister. He ingratiated himself in the
     King's favour by means of his knowledge of the German language (for
     George knew no English), and obtained the support of Carleton,
     Roxburghe, Cadogan, and the Countess of Darlington. Walpole,
     however, was too strong for him. He managed to get Carteret to
     Ireland as Lord Lieutenant, and the Duke of Newcastle took up the
     office held by him in England. The condition of Ireland at this
     time was such as to cause grave anxiety to the English government.
     Carteret was sent ostensibly to a post of great importance, though,
     in reality, to be out of Walpole's way. For an account of
     Carteret's government during the agitation against Wood's
     halfpence, the reader is referred to the sixth volume of the
     present edition.

     During the King's absence from England in 1723, Carteret had been
     one of the lords justices of the country, and in 1725, when George
     was again away, he was again appointed to this office. George,
     however, died on his way to Hanover; but, on the accession of
     George II., Carteret continued to hold high office. He was
     re-appointed to the Irish Lord Lieutenancy in 1727, and it was
     during this second term that he was criticised for the conduct
     Swift vindicates in the following tract.

     The Dean had a great admiration both for the scholarship and temper
     of Carteret. The admiration was mutual, for Carteret often
     consulted with Swift on important matters, and, though he dared not
     appoint the Drapier to any position of importance, he took occasion
     to assist the Drapier's friends. At the time of the proclamation
     against the Drapier's fourth letter, the Dean, writes Scott,
     "visited the Castle, and having waited for some time without seeing
     the Lord Lieutenant, wrote upon one of the windows of the chamber
     of audience these lines:

       'My very good lord, 'tis a very hard task,
       For a man to wait here, who has nothing to ask.'

     Under which Carteret wrote the following happy reply:

       'My very good Dean, there are few who come here,
       But have something to ask, or something to fear.'"

     To Carteret's politic government of Ireland was mainly due the
     peaceful condition which prevailed amidst all the agitation roused
     by bad management and wretchedness. In a letter to Swift, written
     many years later (March, 1737), Carteret writes: "The people ask me
     how I governed Ireland, I say that I pleased Dr. Swift." And Swift
     confessed (in a letter to Gay, November 19th, 1730) that Carteret
     "had a genteeler manner of binding the chains of the kingdom than
     most of his predecessors." It was to Carteret that Swift made his
     well-known remark, on an occasion of a visit, "What, in God's name,
     do you do here? Get back to your own country, and send us our
     boobies again."

     Swift was well aware that Carteret had not the power to make the
     changes in Ireland necessary for its well-being. Such changes could
     come only from the government in England, and as this was
     implacable, Carteret was but an instrument in its hands. Swift was
     therefore compelled to rest content with obtaining what favours he
     could for those friends of his who he knew deserved advancement,
     and he allowed no occasion to slip by without soliciting in their

     Richard Tighe (who had managed to injure Sheridan in his
     chaplaincy), with a number of the more violent members of the Whigs
     in Ireland, took up Carteret's conduct, attempted, by means of
     their interpretation of the Lord Lieutenant's promotions, to injure
     him with the government, and accused him of advancing individuals
     who were enemies of the government. Swift took up the charge in his
     usual ironical manner, and wrote the Vindication which follows.

     Carteret, it may be added here, was dismissed from his office in
     1730, and joined Pulteney in a bitter struggle against Walpole,
     which culminated in his famous resolution, presented to the House
     of Lords, desiring that the King should remove Walpole from his
     presence and counsels for ever. Carteret failed, but Walpole was
     compelled to resign in 1742. The rest of Carteret's career bears no
     relation to Irish affairs.

       *       *       *       *       *

     The present text is founded on that of the original London edition
     printed in 1730, collated with the Dublin edition of the same date.
     They differ in many minor details from that given by Scott in 1824.

     [T. S.]






Lord _C----T_,



Of favouring none but



       *       *       *       *       *

By the Reverend Dr, _S----T_.

       *       *       *       *       *


Printed for T. WARNER at the _Black-Boy_ in _Pater-Noster-Row_.

(Price _6d._)


In order to treat this important subject with the greatest fairness and
impartiality, perhaps it may be convenient to give some account of his
Excellency in whose life and character there are certain particulars,
which might give a very just suspicion of some truth in the accusation
he lies under.

He is descended from two noble, ancient, and most loyal families, the
Carterets and the Granvilles. Too much distinguish'd, I confess, for
what they acted, and what they suffer'd in defending the former
Constitution in Church and State, under King Charles the Martyr; I mean
that very Prince, on account of whose martyrdom "a Form of Prayer, with
Fasting," was enjoined, by Act of Parliament, "to be used on the 30th
day of January every year, to implore the mercies of God, that the guilt
of that sacred and innocent blood, might not be visited on us or our
posterity," as we may read at large in our Common Prayer Books. Which
day hath been solemnly kept, even within the memory of many men now

His Excellency, the present Lord, was educated in the University of
Oxford,[145] from whence, with a singularity scarce to be justified, he
carried away more Greek, Latin, and philosophy, than properly became a
person of his rank, indeed much more of each than most of those who are
forced to live by their learning, will be at the unnecessary pains to
load their heads with.

This was the rock he split on, upon his first appearance in the world,
and just got clear of his guardians. For, as soon as he came to town,
some bishops, and clergymen, and other persons most eminent for learning
and parts, got him among them, from whom though he were fortunately
dragged by a lady and the Court, yet he could never wipe off the stain,
nor wash out the tincture of his University acquirements and

To this another misfortune was added; that it pleased God to endow him
with great natural talents, memory, judgment, comprehension, eloquence,
and wit. And, to finish the work, all these were fortified even in his
youth, with the advantages received by such employments as are best
fitted both to exercise and polish the gifts of nature and education;
having been Ambassador in several Courts when his age would hardly allow
him to take a degree, and made principal Secretary of State, at a period
when, according to custom, he ought to have been busied in losing his
money at a chocolate-house, or in other amusements equally laudable and
epidemic among persons of honour.

I cannot omit another weak side in his Excellency, for it is known, and
can be proved upon him, that Greek and Latin books might be found every
day in his dressing-room, if it were carefully searched; and there is
reason to suspect, that some of the said books have been privately
conveyed to him by Tory hands. I am likewise assured, that he hath been
taken in the very fact of reading the said books, even in the midst of a
session, to the great neglect of public affairs.[146]

I own there may be some grounds for this charge, because I have it from
good hands, that when his Excellency is at dinner with one or two
scholars at his elbows, he grows a most unsupportable, and
unintelligible companion to all the fine gentlemen round the table.

I cannot deny that his Excellency lies under another great disadvantage.
For, with all the accomplishments above-mentioned, adding that of a most
comely and graceful person, and during the prime of youth, spirits, and
vigor, he hath in a most unexemplary manner led a regular domestic life,
discovers a great esteem, and friendship, and love for his lady, as well
as a true affection for his children; and when he is disposed to admit
an entertaining evening companion, he doth not always enough reflect
whether the person may possibly in former days have lain under the
imputation of a Tory; nor at such times do the natural or affected fears
of Popery and the Pretender make any part of the conversation; I
presume, because neither Homer, Plato, Aristotle, nor Cicero have made
any mention of them.

These I freely acknowledge to be his Excellency's failings: Yet I think
it is agreed by philosophers and divines, that some allowance ought to
be given to human infirmity, and the prejudices of a wrong education.

I am well aware how much my sentiments differ from the orthodox opinion
of one or two principal patriots, (at the head of whom I name with
honour Pistorides.[147]) For these have decided the matter directly
against me, by declaring that no person who was ever known to lie under
the suspicion of one single Tory principle, or who had been once seen at
a great man's levee in the worst of times,[148] should be allowed to
come within the verge of the Castle; much less to bow in the
antechamber, appear at the assemblies, or dance at a birth-night.
However, I dare assert, that this maxim hath been often controlled, and
that on the contrary a considerable number of early penitents have been
received into grace, who are now an ornament, happiness, and support to
the nation.

Neither do I find any murmuring on some other points of greater
importance, where this favourite maxim is not so strictly observed.

To instance only in one. I have not heard that any care hath hitherto
been taken to discover whether Madam Violante[149] be a Whig or Tory in
her principles, or even that she hath ever been offered the oaths to the
Government; on the contrary I am told that she openly professes herself
to be a high-flyer, and it is not improbable, by her outlandish name she
may also be a Papist in her heart; yet we see this illustrious and
dangerous female openly caressed by principal persons of both parties,
who contribute to support her in a splendid manner, without the least
apprehensions from a grand jury, or even from Squire Hartley Hutcheson
himself, that zealous prosecutor of hawkers and libels.[150] And as
Hobbes wisely observes, so much money being equivalent to so much power,
it may deserve considering with what safety such an instrument of power
ought to be trusted in the hands of an alien, who hath not given any
legal security for her good affection to the government.

I confess, there is one evil which I could wish our friends would think
proper to redress. There are many Whigs in this Kingdom of the
old-fashioned stamp, of whom we might make very good use; They bear the
same loyalty with us, to the Hanoverian family, in the person of King
George II.; the same abhorrence of the Pretender, with the consequent of
Popery and slavery; and the same indulgence to tender consciences; but
having nothing to ask for themselves, and consequently the more leisure
to think for the public, they are often apt to entertain fears, and
melancholy prospects concerning the state of their country, the decay of
trade, the want of money, the miserable condition of the people, with
other topics of like nature, all which do equally concern both Whig and
Tory, who if they have anything to lose must be equally sufferers.
Perhaps one or two of these melancholy gentlemen will sometimes venture
to publish their thoughts in print: Now I can by no means approve our
usual custom of cursing and railing at this species of thinkers under
the names of Tories, Jacobites, Papists, libellers, rebels, and the

This was the utter ruin of that poor, angry, bustling, well-meaning
mortal Pistorides, who lies equally under the contempt of both parties,
with no other difference than a mixture of pity on one side, and of
aversion on the other.

How hath he been pelted, pestered, and pounded by one single wag, who
promiseth never to forsake him living or dead![151]

I was much pleased with the humour of a surgeon in this town, who having
in his own apprehension, received some great injustice from the Earl of
Galway,[152] and despairing of revenge, as well as relief, declared to
all his friends that he had set apart a hundred guineas to purchase the
Earl's carcase from the sexton, whenever it should die; to make a
skeleton of the bones, stuff the hide, and shew them for threepence; and
thus get vengeance for the injuries he had suffered by the owner.

Of the like spirit too often is that implacable race of wits, against
whom there is no defence but innocence, and philosophy: Neither of
which is likely to be at hand; and therefore the wounded have nowhere to
fly for a cure, but to downright stupidity, a crazed head, or a
profligate contempt of guilt and shame.

I am therefore sorry for that other miserable creature Traulus,[153] who
although of somewhat a different species, yet seems very far to outdo
even the genius of Pistorides, in that miscarrying talent of railing
without consistency or discretion, against the most innocent persons,
according to the present situation of his gall and spleen. I do not
blame an _honest_ gentleman for the bitterest invectives against one to
whom he professeth the greatest friendship; provided he acts in the
dark, so as not to be discovered. But in the midst of caresses, visits,
and invitations, to run into the streets, or to as public a place, and
without the least pretended excitement, sputter out the basest and
falsest accusations; then to wipe his mouth, come up smiling to his
friend, shake him by the hand, and tell him in a whisper, it was "all
for his service;" this proceeding, I am bold to think a great failure in
prudence; and I am afraid lest such a practitioner, with a body so open,
so foul, and so full of sores, may fall under the resentment of an
incensed political surgeon, who is not in much renown for his mercy upon
great provocation: who without waiting for his death, will flay, and
dissect him alive, and to the view of mankind lay open all the
disordered cells of his brain, the venom of his tongue, the corruption
of his heart, and spots and flatuses of his spleen--And all this for

In such a case what a scene would be laid open! and to drop my metaphor
what a character of our mistaking friend might an angry enemy draw and
expose! particularizing that unnatural conjunction of vices and follies,
so inconsistent with each other in the same breast: Furious and fawning,
scurrilous and flattering, cowardly and provoking, insolent and abject;
most profligately false, with the strongest professions of sincerity,
positive and variable, tyrannical and slavish.

I apprehend that if all this should be set out to the world by an angry
Whig of the old stamp, the unavoidable consequence must be a confinement
of our friend for some months more to his garret, and thereby depriving
the public for so long a time, and in so important a juncture, of his
useful talents in their service, while he is fed like a wild beast
through a hole; but I hope with a special regard to the quantity and
quality of his nourishment.

In vain would his excusers endeavour to palliate his enormities, by
imputing them to madness:[155] Because, it is well known, that madness
only operates by inflaming and enlarging the good or evil dispositions
of the mind: For the curators of Bedlam assure us, that some lunatics
are persons of honour, truth, benevolence, and many other virtues, which
appear in their highest ravings, although after a wild incoherent
manner; while others on the contrary, discover in every word and action
the utmost baseness and depravity of human minds; which infallibly they
possessed in the same degree, although perhaps under a better
regulation, before their entrance into that academy.

But it may be objected, that there is an argument of much force to
excuse the overflowings of that zeal, which our friend shews or means
for our cause. And it must be confessed, that the easy and smooth
fluency of his elocution bestowed on him by nature, and cultivated by
continual practice, added to the comeliness of his person, the harmony
of his voice, the gracefulness of his manner, and the decency of his
dress, are temptations too strong for such a genius to resist upon any
public occasion of making them appear with universal applause: And if
good men are sometimes accused of loving their jest better than their
friend, surely to gain the reputation of the first orator in the
kingdom, no man of spirit would scruple to lose all the friends he had
in the world.

It is usual for masters to make their boys declaim on both sides of an
argument; and as some kinds of assemblies are called the schools of
politics, I confess nothing can better improve political school-boys,
than the art of making plausible or implausible harangues, against the
very opinion for which they resolve to determine.

So Cardinal Perron after having spoke for an hour to the admiration of
all his hearers, to prove the existence of God; told some of his
intimates that he could have spoken another hour, and much better, to
prove the contrary.

I have placed this reasoning in the strongest light, that I think it
will bear; and have nothing to answer, but that allowing it as much
weight as the reader shall please, it hath constantly met with ill
success in the mouth of our friend, whether for want of good luck, or
good management I suspend my judgment.

To return from this long digression. If persons in high stations have
been allowed to choose mistresses, without regard even to difference in
religion, yet never incurred the least reflection on their loyalty or
their Protestantism; shall the chief governor of a great kingdom be
censured for choosing a companion, who may formerly have been suspected
for differing from the orthodox in some speculative opinions of persons
and things, which cannot affect the fundamental principles of a sound

But let me suppose a very possible case. Here is a person sent to govern
Ireland, whose unfortunate weak side it happens to be, for several
reasons above-mentioned, that he hath encouraged the attendance of one or
two gentlemen distinguished for their taste, their wit, and their
learning; who have taken the oaths to his Majesty, and pray heartily for
him: Yet because they may perhaps be stigmatized as _quondam_ Tories by
Pistorides and his gang; his Excellency must be forced to banish them
under the pain and peril of displeasing the zealots of his own party;
and thereby be put into a worse condition than every common good-fellow;
who may be a sincere Protestant, and a loyal subject, and yet rather
choose to drink fine ale at the Pope's head, than muddy at the King's.

Let me then return to my supposition. It is certain, the high-flown
loyalists in the present sense of the word, have their thoughts, and
studies, and tongues so entirely diverted by political schemes, that
the zeal of their principles hath eaten up their understandings; neither
have they time from their employments, their hopes, and their hourly
labours for acquiring new additions of merit, to amuse themselves with
philological converse, or speculations which are utterly ruinous to all
schemes of rising in the world: What must then a great man do whose ill
stars have fatally perverted him to a love, and taste, and possession of
literature, politeness, and good sense? Our thorough-sped republic of
Whigs, which contains the bulk of all hopers, pretenders, expecters and
professors, are, beyond all doubt, most highly useful to princes, to
governors, to great ministers, and to their country, but at the same
time, and by necessary consequence, the most disagreeable companions to
all who have that unfortunate turn of mind peculiar to his Excellency,
and perhaps to five or six more in a nation.

I do not deny it possible, that an original or proselyte favourer of the
times, might have been born to those useless talents which in former
ages qualified a man to be a poet, or a philosopher. All I contend for
is, that where the true genius of party once enters, it sweeps the house
clean, and leaves room for many other spirits to take joint possession,
till the last state of that man is exceedingly better than the first.

I allow it a great error in his Excellency that he adheres so
obstinately to his old unfashionable academic education: Yet so perverse
is human nature, that the usual remedies for this evil in others, have
produced a contrary effect in him; to a degree, that I am credibly
informed, he will, as I have already hinted, in the middle of a session
quote passages out of Plato, and Pindar at his own table to some
book-learned companion, without blushing, even when persons of great
stations are by.

I will venture one step further; which is, freely to confess, that this
mistaken method of educating youth in the knowledge of ancient learning
and language, is too apt to spoil their politics and principles; because
the doctrine and examples of the books they read, teach them lessons
directly contrary in every point to the present practice of the world:
And accordingly, Hobbes most judiciously observes, that the writings of
the Greeks and Romans made young men imbibe opinions against absolute
power in a prince, or even in a first minister, and to embrace notions
of liberty and property.

It hath been therefore a great felicity to these kingdoms, that the
heirs to titles and large estates, have a weakness in their eyes, a
tenderness in their constitutions, are not able to bear the pain and
indignity of whipping; and as the mother rightly expresses it, could
never take to their book; yet are well enough qualified to sign a
receipt for half a year's rent, to put their names (_rightly spelt_) to
a warrant, and to read pamphlets against religion and high-flying;
whereby they fill their niches, and carry themselves through the world
with that dignity which best becomes a senator, and a squire.[156]

I could heartily wish his Excellency would be more condescending to the
genius of the kingdom he governs, to the condition of the times, and to
the nature of the station he fills. Yet if it be true, what I have read
in old English story-books, that one Agesilaus (no matter to the bulk of
my readers, whether I spell the names right or wrong) was caught by the
parson of the parish, riding on a hobby-horse with his children; that
Socrates a heathen philosopher, was found dancing by himself at
fourscore; that a king called Cæsar Augustus (or some such name) used to
play with boys; whereof some might possibly be sons of Tories; and, that
two great men called Scipio and Lælius, (I forget their Christian names,
and whether they were poets or generals,) often played at duck and drake
with smooth stones on a river. Now I say, if these facts be true (and
the book where I found them is in print) I cannot imagine why our most
zealous patriots may not a little indulge his Excellency, in an
infirmity which is not morally evil, provided he gives no public scandal
(which is by all means to be avoided) I say, why he may not be indulged
twice a week to converse with one or two particular persons, and let him
and them con over their old exploded readings together, after mornings
spent in hearing and prescribing ways and means from and to his most
obedient politicians, for the welfare of the kingdom; although the said
particular person or persons may not have made so public a declaration
of their political faith in all its parts, as the business of the nation
requires. Still submitting my opinion to that happy majority, which I am
confident is always in the right; by whom the liberty of the subject
hath been so frequently, so strenuously, and so successfully asserted;
who by their wise counsels have made commerce to flourish, money to
abound, inhabitants to increase, the value of lands and rents to rise;
and the whole island put on a new face of plenty and prosperity.

But in order to clear his Excellency, more fully from this accusation of
shewing his favours to high-flyers, Tories, and Jacobites; it will be
necessary to come to particulars.

The first person of a Tory denomination to whom his Excellency gave any
marks of his favour, was Doctor Thomas Sheridan.[157] It is to be
observed, that this happened so early in his Excellency's government, as
it may be justly supposed he had not been informed of that gentleman's
character upon so dangerous an article. The Doctor being well known and
distinguished, for his skill and success in the education of youth,
beyond most of his profession for many years past, was recommended to
his Excellency on the score of his learning, and particularly for his
knowledge in the Greek tongue, whereof it seems his Excellency is a
great admirer, although for what reasons I could never imagine. However
it is agreed on all hands, that his lordship was too easily prevailed on
by the Doctor's request, or indeed rather from the bias of his own
nature, to hear a tragedy acted in that unknown language by the Doctor's
lads,[158] which was written by some heathen author, but whether it
contained any Tory or High-Church principles, must be left to the
consciences of the boys, the Doctor, and his Excellency: The only
witnesses in this case, whose testimonies can be depended upon.

It seems, his Excellency (a thing never to be sufficiently wondered at)
was so pleased with his entertainment, that some time after he gave the
Doctor a church living to the value of almost one hundred pounds a year,
and made him one of his chaplains, from an antiquated notion, that good
schoolmasters ought to be encouraged in every nation, professing
civility and religion. Yet his Excellency did not venture to make this
bold step without strong recommendations from persons of undoubted
principles, fitted to the times; who thought themselves bound in
justice, honour, and gratitude, to do the Doctor a good office in return
for the care he had taken of their children, or those of their
friends.[159] Yet the catastrophe was terrible: For, the Doctor in the
height of his felicity and gratitude, going down to take possession of
his parish, and furnished with a few led-sermons, whereof as it is to be
supposed the number was very small, having never served a cure in the
Church; he stopped at Cork to attend on his bishop; and going to church
on the Sunday following, was according to the usual civility of country
clergymen, invited by the minister of the parish to supply the pulpit.
It happened to be the first of August[160]; and the first of August
happened that year to light upon a Sunday: And it happened that the
Doctor's text was in these words; "Sufficient unto the day is the evil
thereof;" and lastly it happened, that some one person of the
congregation, whose loyalty made him watchful upon every appearance of
danger to his Majesty's person and Government, when service was over,
gave the alarm. Notice was immediately sent up to town, and by the zeal
of one man[161] of no large dimensions of body or mind, such a clamour
was raised, that we in Dublin could apprehend no less than an invasion
by the Pretender, who must be landed in the South. The result was, that
the Doctor must be struck out of the chaplains' list, and appear no more
at the Castle; yet, whether he were then, or be at this day, a Whig or a
Tory, I think is a secret; only it is manifest, that he is a zealous
Hanoverian, at least in poetry,[162] and a great adorer of the present
Royal Family through all its branches. His friends likewise assert, that
he had preached this same sermon often, under the same text; that not
having observed the words till he was in the pulpit, and had opened his
notes; as he is a person a little abstracted, he wanted presence of mind
to change them: And that in the whole sermon there was not a syllable
relating to Government or party, or to the subject of the day.

In this incident there seems to have been an union of events, that will
probably never happen again to the end of the world, or at least like
the grand conjunction in the heavens, which I think they say can arrive
but once in twenty thousand years.

The second gentleman (if I am right in my chronology) who under the
suspicion of a Tory, received some favour from his Excellency, is Mr.
James Stopford[163]; very strongly recommended by the most eminent Whig
in England, on the account of his learning, and virtue, and other
accomplishments. He had passed the greatest part of his youth in close
study, or in travelling; and was neither not at home, or not at leisure
to trouble his thoughts about party; which I allow to be a great
omission; though I cannot honestly place him in the list of Tories, and
therefore think his Excellency may be fairly acquitted for making him
Vicar of Finglass, worth about one hundred and fifty pounds a year.

The third is Doctor Patrick Delany.[164] This divine lies under some
disadvantage; having in his youth received many civilities from a
certain person then in a very high station here,[165] for which reason I
doubt the Doctor never drank his confusion since: And what makes the
matter desperate, it is now too late; unless our inquisitors will be
content with drinking confusion to his memory. The aforesaid eminent
person who was a judge of all merit but party, distinguished the Doctor
among other juniors in our University, for his learning, virtue,
discretion, and good sense. But the Doctor was then in too good a
situation at his college, to hope or endeavour at a better
establishment, from one who had no power to give it him.

Upon the present Lord-Lieutenant's coming over, the Doctor was named to
his Excellency by a friend,[166] among other clergy of distinction, as
persons whose characters it was proper his Excellency should know: And
by the truth of which the giver would be content to stand or fall in his
Excellency's opinion; since not one of those persons were in particular
friendship with the gentleman who gave in their names. By this and some
other incidents, particularly the recommendation of the late Archbishop
of Dublin,[167] the Doctor became known to his Excellency; whose fatal
turn of mind toward heathenish and outlandish books and languages,
finding, as I conceive a like disposition in the Doctor, was the cause
of his becoming so domestic, as we are told he is, at the Castle of

Three or four years ago, the Doctor grown weary of an academic life,
for some reasons best known to the managers of the discipline in that
learned society (which it may not be for their honour to mention[168])
resolved to leave it, although by the benefit of the pupils, and his
senior-fellowship with all its perquisites, he received every year
between nine hundred and a thousand pounds.

And a small northern living, in the University's donation, of somewhat
better than hundred pounds a year, falling at the same time with the
Chancellorship of Christ-Church, to about equal the value, in the gift
of his Excellency, the Doctor ventured into the world in a very scanty
condition, having squandered away all his annual income in a manner,
which although perhaps proper enough for a clergyman without a family,
will not be for the advantage of his character to discover either on the
exchange, or at a banker's shop.

About two months ago, his Excellency gave the Doctor a prebend in St.
Patrick's Cathedral; which being of near the same value with either of
the two former, will add a third part to his revenues, after he shall
have paid the great incumbrances upon it; so that he may now be said to
possess of Church preferments in scattered tithes, three hundred pounds
a year, instead of the like sum of infallible rents from a senior
fellowship with the offices annexed; beside the advantage of a free
lodging, and some other easements.

But since the Doctor hath not in any of his writings, his sermons, his
actions, his discourse, or his company, discovered one single principle
of either Whig or Tory; and that the Lord Lieutenant still continues to
admit him; I shall boldly pronounce him _ONE OF US_: but like a new
free-mason, who hath not yet learned all the dialect of the mystery.
Neither can he justly be accused of any Tory doctrines, except perhaps
some among those few, with which that wicked party was charged, during
the height of their power; but have been since transferred for the most
solid reasons, to the whole body of our firmest friends.

I have now done with the clergy; And upon the strictest examination have
not been able to find above one of that order, against whom any party
suspicion can lie, which is the unfortunate gentleman, Doctor Sheridan,
who by mere chance-medley shot his own fortune dead with a single text.

As to the laity I can hear of but one person of the Tory stamp, who
since the beginning of his Excellency's government, did ever receive any
solid mark of his favour; I mean Sir Arthur Acheson,[169] reported to be
an acknowledged Tory, and what is almost as bad, a scholar into the
bargain. It is whispered about as a certain truth, that this gentleman
is to have a grant of a certain barrack upon his estate, within two
miles of his own house; for which the Crown is to be his tenant, at the
rent of sixty pounds _per annum_; he being only at the expense of about
five hundred pounds, to put the house in repair, build stables, and
other necessaries. I will place this invidious mark of beneficence,
conferred on a Tory, in a fair light, by computing the costs and
necessary defalcations; after which it may be seen how much Sir Arthur
will be annually a clear gainer by the public, notwithstanding his
unfortunate principles, and his knowledge in Greek and Latin.

  For repairs, &c. _500l._ the interest whereof _per ann._ 30 0 0
  For all manner of poultry to furnish the troopers,
    but which the said troopers must be at the
    labour of catching, valued _per ann._                   5 0 0
  For straggling sheep,                                     8 0 0
  For game destroyed five miles round,                      6 0 0
                                                           49 0 0

  Rent paid to Sir Arthur,        60 0 0
    Deduct                        49 0 0
    Remains clear,                11 0 0

Thus, if Sir Arthur Acheson shall have the good fortune to obtain a
grant of this barrack, he will receive net profit annually from the
Crown ELEVEN pounds sterling to help him in entertaining the officers,
and making provisions for his younger children.

It is true, there is another advantage to be expected, which may fully
compensate the loss of cattle and poultry; by multiplying the breed of
mankind, and particularly of good Protestants, in a part of the Kingdom
half depopulated by the wild humour among the farmers there, of leaving
their country. But I am not so skilful in arithmetic, as to compute the

I have reckoned one _per cent._ below the legal interest for the money
that Sir Arthur must expend, and valued the damage in the other articles
very moderately. However, I am confident he may with good management be
a saver at least; which is a prodigious instance of moderation in our
friends toward a professed Tory, whatever merit he may pretend by the
unwillingness he hath shewn to make his Excellency uneasy in his

Thus I have with the utmost impartiality collected every single favour,
(further than personal civilities) conferred by his Excellency on
Tories, and reputed Tories, since his first arrival hither to this
present 13th day of April, in the year of our Lord 1730, giving all
allowance possible to the arguments on the other side of the question.

       *       *       *       *       *

  And the account will stand thus.

Disposed of preferments and employments to Tories, or reputed Tories, by
his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant in about the space of six years.

  To Doctor Thomas Sheridan in a rectory near
    Kinsale, _per ann._                            100 0 0
  To Sir Arthur Acheson, Baronet, a barrack,
    _per ann._                                      11 0 0
                                                   111 0 0

Give me leave now to compute in gross the value of the favours done by
his Excellency to the true friends of their King and Country, and of the
Protestant religion.

It is to be remembered, that although his Excellency cannot be properly
said to bestow bishoprics, commands in the army, the place of a judge,
or commissioner in the revenue, and some others; yet they are, for the
most part, disposed upon his recommendation, except where the persons
are immediately sent from England by their interest at Court, for which
I have allowed large defalcations in the following accounts. And it is
remarkable that the only considerable station conferred on a reputed
Tory since his present Excellency's government was of this latter kind.

And indeed it is but too remarkable, that in a neighbouring nation,
(where that dangerous denomination of men is incomparably more numerous,
more powerful, and of consequence more formidable) real Tories can often
with much less difficulty obtain very high favours from the Government,
than their reputed brethren can arrive to the lowest in ours. I observe
this with all possible submission to the wisdom of their policy, which,
however, will not I believe, dispute the praise of vigilance with ours.

                    WHIG Account.

  To persons promoted to bishoprics, or removed
    to more beneficial ones, computed
    _per ann._                                    10050 0 0
  To civil employments,                            9030 0 0
  To military commands,                            8436 0 0
                                                  27516 0 0

                   TORY Account.

  To Tories                                         111 0 0
  Balance                                         27405 0 0

I shall conclude with this observation. That, as I think, the Tories
have sufficient reason to be fully satisfied with the share of trust,
and power, and employments which they possess under the lenity of the
present Government; so, I do not find how his Excellency can be justly
censured for favouring none but High-Church, high-fliers, termagants,
Laudists, Sacheverellians, tip-top-gallant-men, Jacobites, tantivies,
anti-Hanoverians, friends to Popery and the Pretender, and to arbitrary
power, disobligers of England, breakers of DEPENDENCY, inflamers of
quarrels between the two nations, public incendiaries, enemies to the
King and Kingdoms, haters of TRUE Protestants, laurelmen, Annists,
complainers of the Nation's poverty, Ormondians, iconoclasts,
anti-Glorious-memorists, white-rosalists, tenth-a-Junians, and the like:
when by a fair state of the account, the balance, I conceive, plainly
lies on the other side.[170]







     In volume three of the present edition two tracts are given
     relating to attempts made by the bishops of Ireland for enlarging
     their powers. These tracts are entitled: "On the Bill for the
     Clergy's residing on their Livings," and "Considerations upon two
     Bills, sent down from the House of Lords and the House of Commons
     in Ireland relating to the Clergy of Ireland" (pp. 249-272). The
     bills which Swift argued against were evidently intended to give
     the bishops further powers and increased opportunities for making
     money. (The matter is gone into at length in the notes prefixed to
     the above reprints.) The bishops sought rights which would enable
     them to obtain large powers in letting leases, and their eagerness
     to get such powers, coupled with the efforts they expended, showed
     that they had less regard for the Church's interest than for their

     In the present tract Swift, with his usual assumption of grave
     consideration of an important question, but in reality with cutting
     irony, proposes to dispose of all the Church lands for a lump sum,
     give the bishops their full just share, including the amount of
     fines for possible renewals of leases, and, at the same time, pay
     off the national debt with the money that remains. With an air of
     strict seriousness he solemnly computes the exact sums obtainable,
     and impartially divides the amounts with accurate care. Then, with
     a dig at the strangers England was continually sending to Irish
     preferments, among whom he counts himself, he concludes by saying
     that although the interests of such cannot be expected to be those
     of the country to which they have been translated, yet he, as one
     of them, is quite willing, and indeed feels himself in duty bound
     "to consult the interest of people among whom I have been so well
     received. And if I can be any way instrumental toward contributing
     to reduce this excellent proposal into a law ... my sincere
     endeavours to serve this Church and kingdom will be rewarded."

       *       *       *       *       *

     The text of this pamphlet is based on that given at the end of the
     volume containing the first edition of "Considerations upon two
     Bills," etc., published in 1732.

     [T. S.]


The debts contracted some years past for the service and safety of the
nation, are grown so great, that under our present distressed condition
by the want of trade, the great remittances to pay absentees, regiments
serving abroad, and many other drains of money, well enough known and
felt; the kingdom seems altogether unable to discharge them by the
common methods of payment: And either a poll or land tax would be too
odious to think of, especially the latter, because the lands, which have
been let for these ten or dozen years past, were raised so high, that
the owners can, at present, hardly receive any rent at all. For, it is
the usual practice of an Irish tenant, rather than want land, to offer
more for a farm than he knows he can be ever able to pay, and in that
case he grows desperate, and pays nothing at all. So that a land-tax
upon a racked estate would be a burthen wholly insupportable.

The question will then be, how these national debts can be paid, and how
I can make good the several particulars of my proposal, which I shall
now lay open to the public.

The revenues of their Graces and Lordships the Archbishops and Bishops
of this kingdom (excluding the fines) do amount by a moderate
computation to _36,800l._ _per ann._ I mean the rents which the
bishops receive from their tenants. But the real value of those lands
at a full rent, taking the several sees one with another, is reckoned
to be at least three-fourths more, so that multiplying _36,800l._ by
four, the full rent of all the bishops' lands will amount to
_147,200l._ _per ann._ from which subtracting the present rent
received by their lordships, that is _36,800l._ the profits of the
lands received by the first and second tenants (who both have great
bargains) will rise to the sum of _110,400l._ _per ann._ which lands,
if they were to be sold at twenty-two years' purchase, would raise a
sum of _2,428,800l._ reserving to the Bishops their present rents,
only excluding fines.[171]

Of this sum I propose, that out of the one-half which amounts to
_1,214,400l._ so much be applied as will entirely discharge the debts of
the nation, and the remainder laid up in the treasury, to supply
contingencies, as well as to discharge some of our heavy taxes, until
the kingdom shall be in a better condition.

But whereas the present set of bishops would be great losers by this
scheme for want of their fines, which would be hard treatment to such
religious, loyal and deserving personages, I have therefore set apart
the other half to supply that defect, which it will more than
sufficiently do.

A bishop's lease for the full term, is reckoned to be worth eleven
years' purchase, but if we take the bishops round, I suppose, there may
be four years of each lease elapsed, and many of the bishops being well
stricken in years, I cannot think their lives round to be worth more
than seven years' purchase; so that the purchasers may very well afford
fifteen years' purchase for the reversion, especially by one great
additional advantage, which I shall soon mention.

This sum of _2,428,800l._ must likewise be sunk very considerably,
because the lands are to be sold only at fifteen years' purchase, and
this lessens the sum to about _1,656,000l._ of which I propose twelve
hundred thousand pounds to be applied partly for the payment of the
national debt, and partly as a fund for future exigencies, and the
remaining _456,000l._ I propose as a fund for paying the present set of
bishops their fines, which it will abundantly do, and a great part
remain as an addition to the public stock.

Although the bishops round do not in reality receive three fines
a-piece, which take up 21 years, yet I allow it to be so; but then I
will suppose them to take but one year's rent, in recompense of giving
them so large a term of life, and thus multiplying _36,800l._ by 3 the
product will be only _110,400l._ so that above three-fourths will remain
to be applied to public use.

If I have made wrong computations, I hope to be excused, as a stranger
to the kingdom, which I never saw till I was called to an employment,
and yet where I intend to pass the rest of my days; but I took care to
get the best information I could, and from the most proper persons;
however, the mistakes I may have been guilty of, will very little affect
the main of my proposal, although they should cause a difference of one
hundred thousand pounds more or less.

These fines, are only to be paid to the bishop during his incumbency in
the same see; if he changeth it for a better, the purchasers of the
vacant see lands, are to come immediately into possession of the see he
hath left, and both the bishop who is removed, and he who comes into his
place, are to have no more fines, for the removed bishop will find his
account by a larger revenue; and the other see will find candidates
enough. For the law maxim will here have place, that _caveat_, &c. I
mean the persons who succeed may choose whether they will accept or no.

As to the purchasers, they will probably be tenants to the see, who are
already in possession, and can afford to give more than any other

I will further explain myself. If a person already a bishop, be removed
into a richer see, he must be content with the bare revenues, without
any fines, and so must he who comes into a bishopric vacant by death:
And this will bring the matter sooner to bear; which if the Crown shall
think fit to countenance, will soon change the present set of bishops,
and consequently encourage purchasers of their lands. For example, If a
Primate should die, and the gradation be wisely made, almost the whole
set of bishops might be changed in a month, each to his great advantage,
although no fines were to be got, and thereby save a great part of that
sum which I have appropriated towards supplying the deficiency of fines.

I have valued the bishops' lands two years' purchase above the usual
computed rate, because those lands will have a sanction from the King
and Council in England, and be confirmed by an Act of Parliament here;
besides, it is well known, that higher prices are given every day, for
worse lands, at the remotest distances, and at rack rents, which I take
to be occasioned by want of trade, when there are few borrowers, and the
little money in private hands lying dead, there is no other way to
dispose of it but in buying of land, which consequently makes the owners
hold it so high.

Besides paying the nation's debts, the sale of these lands would have
many other good effects upon the nation; it will considerably increase
the number of gentry, where the bishops' tenants are not able or willing
to purchase; for the lands will afford an hundred gentlemen a good
revenue to each; several persons from England will probably be glad to
come over hither, and be the buyers, rather than give thirty years'
purchase at home, under the loads of taxes for the public and the poor,
as well as repairs, by which means much money may be brought among us,
and probably some of the purchasers themselves may be content to live
cheap in a worse country, rather than be at the charge of exchange and
agencies, and perhaps of non-solvencies in absence, if they let their
lands too high.

This proposal will also multiply farmers, when the purchasers will have
lands in their own power, to give long and easy leases to industrious

I have allowed some bishoprics of equal income to be of more or less
value to the purchaser, according as they are circumstanced. For
instance, The lands of the primacy and some other sees, are let so low,
that they hardly pay a fifth penny of the real value to the bishop, and
there the fines are the greater. On the contrary, the sees of Meath and
Clonfert, consisting, as I am told, much of tithes, those tithes are
annually let to the tenants without any fines. So the see of Dublin is
said to have many fee-farms which pay no fines, and some leases for
lives which pay very little, and not so soon nor so duly.

I cannot but be confident, that their Graces my Lords the Archbishops,
and my Lords the Bishops will heartily join in this proposal, out of
gratitude to his late and present Majesty, the best of Kings, who have
bestowed such high and opulent stations, as well as in pity to this
country which is now become their own; whereby they will be instrumental
towards paying the nation's debts, without impoverishing themselves,
enrich an hundred gentlemen, as well as free them from dependence, and
thus remove that envy which is apt to fall upon their Graces and
Lordships from considerable persons, whose birth and fortunes rather
qualify them to be lords of manors, than servile dependants upon
Churchmen however dignified or distinguished.

If I do not flatter myself, there could not be any law more popular than
this; for the immediate tenants to bishops, being some of them persons
of quality, and good estates, and more of them grown up to be gentlemen
by the profits of these very leases, under a succession of bishops,
think it a disgrace to be subject both to rents and fines, at the
pleasure of their landlords. Then the bulk of the tenants, especially
the dissenters, who are our loyal Protestant brethren, look upon it both
as an unnatural and iniquitous thing that bishops should be owners of
land at all; (wherein I beg to differ from them) being a point so
contrary to the practice of the Apostles, whose successors they are
deemed to be, and who although they were contented that land should be
sold, for the common use of the brethren, yet would not buy it
themselves, but had it laid at their feet, to be distributed to poor

I will add one word more, that by such a wholesome law, all the
oppressions felt by under-tenants of Church leases, which are now laid
on by the bishops would entirely be prevented, by their Graces and
Lordships consenting to have their lands sold for payment of the
nation's debts, reserving only the present rent for their own plentiful
and honourable support.

I beg leave to add one particular, that, when heads of a Bill (as I find
the style runs in this kingdom) shall be brought in for forming this
proposal into a law; I should humbly offer that there might be a power
given to every bishop (except those who reside in Dublin) for applying
one hundred acres of profitable land that lies nearest to his palace, as
a demesne for the conveniency of his family.

I know very well, that this scheme hath been much talked of for some
time past, and is in the thoughts of many patriots, neither was it
properly mine, although I fell readily into it, when it was first
communicated to me.

Though I am almost a perfect stranger in this kingdom, yet since I have
accepted an employment here, of some consequence as well as profit, I
cannot but think myself in duty bound to consult the interest of a
people, among whom I have been so well received. And if I can be any way
instrumental towards contributing to reduce this excellent proposal into
a law which being not in the least injurious to England, will, I am
confident, meet with no opposition from that side, my sincere endeavours
to serve this Church and kingdom will be well rewarded.


A. B. agent for J. S. comes to desire J. S. to sign an assignment of a
lease in order to be registered for the security of _38l._ J. S. asks
A. B. to show him the lease A. B. says he left it at home. J. S. asks the
said A. B. how many years of the lease are unexpired? what rent the
tenant pays, and how much below the rack value? and what number of acres
there are upon the farm? To each of which questions the agent A. B.
answers categorically, that he cannot tell, and that he did not think J.
would ask him such questions. The said A. B. was asked how he came two
years after the lease was assigned, and not sooner, to have it
registered. A. B. answers, that he could not sue till the assignment.

Query, Whether the said agent A. B. made any one answer like a man of







     Like many of Swift's satirical writings the title of this tract is
     no indication to its subject-matter. Whatever "abuses, corruptions
     and enormities" may have been rife in the city of Dublin in Swift's
     time, the pamphlet which follows certainly throws no light on them.
     It is in no sense a social document. But it is a very amusing and
     excellent piece of jeering at the fancied apprehensions that were
     rife about the Pretender, the "disaffected" people, and the
     Jacobites. It is aimed at the Whigs, who were continually using the
     party cries of "No Popery," "Jacobitism," and the other cognate
     expressions to distress their political opponents. At the same
     time, these cries had their effects, and created a great deal of
     mischief. The Roman Catholics, in particular, were cruelly treated
     because of the anxiety for the Protestant succession, and among the
     lower tradesmen, for whom such cries would be of serious meaning, a
     petty persecution against their Roman Catholic fellow-tradesmen
     continually prevailed. Monck Mason draws attention to some curious
     instances. (See his "History of St. Patrick's Cathedral," p. 399,
     note y.)

     In the "Journals of the Irish House of Commons" (vol. ii., p. 77)
     is the record of a petition presented in the year 1695, by the
     Protestant porters of the city of Dublin, against one Darby Ryan,
     "a papist and notoriously disaffected." This Ryan was complained of
     for employing those of his own persuasion and affection to carry a
     cargo of coals he had bought, to his own customers. The petitioners
     complained that they, Protestants, were "debased and hindered from
     their small trade and gains." Another set of petitioners was the
     drivers of hackney coaches. They complained that, "before the late
     trouble, they got a livelihood by driving coaches in and about the
     city of Dublin, but since that time, so many papists had got
     coaches, and drove them with such ordinary horses, that the
     petitioners could hardly get bread.... They therefore prayed the
     house that none but Protestant hackney-coachmen may have liberty to
     keep and drive hackney-coaches." Swift may have had these instances
     in his mind when he urges that the criers who cry their wares in
     Dublin should be True Protestants, and should give security to the
     government for permission to cry.

     In a country where such absurd complaints could be seriously
     presented, and as seriously considered, a genuine apprehension must
     have existed. The Whigs in making capital out of this existing
     feeling stigmatized their Tory opponents as High Churchmen, and
     therefore very little removed from Papists, and therefore
     Jacobites. Of course there were no real grounds for such epithets,
     but they indulged in them nevertheless, with the addition of
     insinuations and suggestions--no insinuation being too feeble or
     too far-fetched so long as it served.

     Swift, writing in the person of a Whig, affects extreme anxiety for
     the most ridiculous of signs, and finds a Papist, or a Jacobite,
     or a disaffected person, in the least likely of places. The tract,
     in this light, is a really amusing piece. Swift takes the
     opportunity also to hit Walpole, under a pretended censure of his
     extravagance, corruption, and avarice.

       *       *       *       *       *

     The text here given of this tract is based on that of the original
     edition issued in Dublin in 1732. The last paragraph, however, does
     not appear in that edition, and is reprinted here from Scott.

     [T. S.]




_Abuses, Corruptions,_




City of _DUBLIN_.


_Dublin_: Printed in the Year 1732.

Nothing is held more commendable in all great cities, especially the
metropolis of a kingdom, than what the French call the police; by which
word is meant the government thereof, to prevent the many disorders
occasioned by great numbers of people and carriages, especially through
narrow streets. In this government our famous City of Dublin is said to
be very defective, and universally complained of. Many wholesome laws
have been enacted to correct those abuses, but are ill executed; and
many more are wanting, which I hope the united wisdom of the nation
(whereof so many good effects have already appeared this session) will
soon take into their most profound consideration.

As I have been always watchful over the good of mine own country, and
particularly for that of our renowned city, where (_absit invidia_) I
had the honour to draw my first breath[173]; I cannot have a minute's
ease or patience to forbear enumerating some of the greatest enormities,
abuses, and corruptions, spread almost through every part of Dublin; and
proposing such remedies as, I hope, the legislature will approve of.

The narrow compass to which I have confined myself in this paper, will
allow me only to touch at the most important defects, and such as I
think seem to require the most speedy redress.

And first, perhaps there was never known a wiser institution than that
of allowing certain persons of both sexes, in large and populous cities,
to cry through the streets many necessaries of life; it would be endless
to recount the conveniences which our city enjoys by this useful
invention, and particularly strangers, forced hither by business, who
reside here but a short time; for, these having usually but little
money, and being wholly ignorant of the town, might at an easy price
purchase a tolerable dinner, if the several criers would pronounce the
names of the goods they have to sell, in any tolerable language. And
therefore till our law-makers shall think it proper to interpose so far
as to make these traders pronounce their words in such terms, that a
plain Christian hearer may comprehend what is cried, I would advise all
new comers to look out at their garret windows, and there see whether
the thing that is cried be tripes or flummery, butter-milk or cow-heels.
For, as things are now managed, how is it possible for an honest
countryman, just arrived, to find out what is meant, for instance, by
the following words, with which his ears are constantly stunned twice a
day, "Mugs, jugs and porringers, up in the garret, and down in the
cellar." I say, how is it possible for any stranger to understand that
this jargon is meant as an invitation to buy a farthing's worth of milk
for his breakfast or supper, unless his curiosity draws him to the
window, or till his landlady shall inform him. I produce this only as
one instance, among a hundred much worse, I mean where the words make a
sound wholly inarticulate, which give so much disturbance, and so little

The affirmation solemnly made in the cry of herrings, is directly
against all truth and probability, "Herrings alive, alive here." The
very proverb will convince us of this; for what is more frequent in
ordinary speech, than to say of some neighbour for whom the passing-bell
rings, that he is dead as a herring. And, pray how is it possible, that
a herring, which as philosophers observe, cannot live longer than one
minute, three seconds and a half out of water, should bear a voyage in
open boats from Howth to Dublin, be tossed into twenty hands, and
preserve its life in sieves for several hours. Nay, we have witnesses
ready to produce, that many thousands of these herrings, so impudently
asserted to be alive, have been a day and a night upon dry land. But
this is not the worst. What can we think of those impious wretches, who
dare in the face of the sun, vouch the very same affirmative of their
salmon, and cry, "Salmon alive, alive;" whereas, if you call the woman
who cries it, she is not ashamed to turn back her mantle, and shew you
this individual salmon cut into a dozen pieces. I have given good advice
to these infamous disgracers of their sex and calling, without the least
appearance of remorse, and fully against the conviction of their own
consciences. I have mentioned this grievance to several of our parish
ministers, but all in vain; so that it must continue until the
government shall think fit to interpose.

There is another cry, which, from the strictest observation I can make,
appears to be very modern, and it is that of sweethearts,[174] and is
plainly intended for a reflection upon the female sex, as if there were
at present so great a dearth of lovers, that the women instead of
receiving presents from men, were now forced to offer money, to purchase
sweethearts. Neither am I sure, that the cry doth not glance at some
disaffection against the government; insinuating, that while so many of
our troops are engaged in foreign service, and such a great number of
our gallant officers constantly reside in England, the ladies are forced
to take up with parsons and attorneys: But, this is a most unjust
reflection, as may soon be proved by any person who frequents the
Castle, our public walks, our balls and assemblies, where the crowds of
_toupees_[175] were never known to swarm as they do at present.

There is a cry, peculiar to this City, which I do not remember to have
been used in London, or at least, not in the same terms that it has been
practised by both parties, during each of their power; but, very
unjustly by the Tories. While these were at the helm, they grew daily
more and more impatient to put all true Whigs and Hanoverians out of
employments. To effect which, they hired certain ordinary fellows, with
large baskets on their shoulders, to call aloud at every house, "Dirt to
carry out;" giving that denomination to our whole party, as if they
would signify, that the kingdom could never be cleansed, till we were
swept from the earth like rubbish. But, since that happy turn of times,
when we were so miraculously preserved by just an inch, from Popery,
slavery, massacre, and the Pretender, I must own it prudence in us,
still to go on with the same cry, which hath ever since been so
effectually observed, that the true political dirt is wholly removed,
and thrown on its proper dunghills, there to corrupt, and be no more
heard of.

But, to proceed to other enormities: Every person who walks the streets,
must needs observe the immense number of human excrements at the doors
and steps of waste houses, and at the sides of every dead wall; for
which the disaffected party have assigned a very false and malicious
cause. They would have it, that these heaps were laid there privately by
British fundaments, to make the world believe, that our Irish vulgar do
daily eat and drink; and, consequently, that the clamour of poverty
among us, must be false, proceeding only from Jacobites and Papists.
They would confirm this, by pretending to observe, that a British anus
being more narrowly perforated than one of our own country; and many of
these excrements upon a strict view appearing copple crowned, with a
point like a cone or pyramid, are easily distinguished from the
Hibernian, which lie much flatter, and with lest continuity. I
communicated this conjecture to an eminent physician, who is well versed
in such profound speculations; and at my request was pleased to make
trial with each of his fingers, by thrusting them into the anus of
several persons of both nations, and professed he could find no such
difference between them as those ill-disposed people allege. On the
contrary, he assured me, that much the greater number of narrow cavities
were of Hibernian origin. This I only mention to shew how ready the
Jacobites are to lay hold of any handle to express their malice against
the government. I had almost forgot to add, that my friend the physician
could, by smelling each finger, distinguish the Hibernian excrement from
the British, and was not above twice mistaken in an hundred experiments;
upon which he intends very soon to publish a learned dissertation.

There is a diversion in this City, which usually begins among the
butchers, but is often continued by a succession of other people,
through many streets. It is called the COSSING of a dog; and I may
justly number it among our corruptions. The ceremony is this: A strange
dog happens to pass through a flesh-market; whereupon an expert butcher
immediately cries in a loud voice, and the proper tone, "Coss, coss,"
several times: The same word is repeated by the people. The dog, who
perfectly understands the terms of art, and consequently the danger he
is in, immediately flies. The people, and even his own brother animals
pursue; the pursuit and cry attend him perhaps half a mile; he is well
worried in his flight, and sometimes hardly escapes. This, our
ill-wishers of the Jacobite kind, are pleased to call a persecution; and
affirm, that it always falls upon dogs of the Tory principle. But, we
can well defend ourselves, by justly alleging that when they were
uppermost, they treated our dogs full as inhumanly: As to my own part,
who have in former times often attended these processions, although I
can very well distinguish between a Whig and Tory dog, yet I never
carried my resentments very far upon a party principle, except it were
against certain malicious dogs, who most discovered their malice against
us in the _worst of times_.[176] And, I remember too well, that in the
wicked ministry of the Earl of Oxford, a large mastiff of our party
being unmercifully cossed, ran, without thinking, between my legs, as I
was coming up Fishamble Street; and, as I am of low stature, with very
short legs, bore me riding backwards down the hill, for above two
hundred yards: And, although I made use of his tail for a bridle,
holding it fast with both my hands, and clung my legs as close to his
sides as I could, yet we both came down together into the middle of the
kennel; where after rolling three or four times over each other, I got
up with much ado, amid the shouts and huzzas of a thousand malicious
Jacobites: I cannot, indeed, but gratefully acknowledge, that for this
and many other services and sufferings, I have been since more than

This adventure may, perhaps, have put me out of love with the diversions
of cossing, which I confess myself an enemy to, unless we could always
be sure of distinguishing Tory dogs; whereof great numbers have since
been so prudent, as entirely to change their principles, and are now
justly esteemed the best worriers of their former friends.

I am assured, and partly know, that all the chimney-sweepers' boys,
where Members of Parliament chiefly lodge, are hired by our enemies to
skulk in the tops of chimneys, with their heads no higher than will just
permit them to look round; and at the usual hours when members are going
to the House, if they see a coach stand near the lodging of any loyal
member, they call "Coach, coach," as loud as they can bawl, just at the
instant when the footman begins to give the same call. And this is
chiefly done on those days, when any point of importance is to be
debated. This practice may be of very dangerous consequence. For, these
boys are all hired by enemies to the government; and thus, by the
absence of a few members for a few minutes, a question may be carried
against the true interest of the kingdom, and very probably, not without
any eye toward the Pretender.

I have not observed the wit and fancy of this town, so much employed in
any one article, as that of contriving variety of signs to hang over
houses, where punch is to be sold. The bowl is represented full of
punch, the ladle stands erect in the middle, supported sometimes by one,
and sometimes by two animals, whose feet rest upon the edge of the bowl.
These animals are sometimes one black lion, and sometimes a couple;
sometimes a single eagle, and sometimes a spread one, and we often meet
a crow, a swan, a bear, or a cock, in the same posture.

Now, I cannot find how any of these animals, either separate, or in
conjunction, are properly speaking, either fit emblems or
embellishments, to advance the sale of punch. Besides, it is agreed
among naturalists, that no brute can endure the taste of strong liquor,
except where he hath been used to it from his infancy: And,
consequently, it is against all the rules of hieroglyph, to assign those
animals as patrons, or protectors of punch. For, in that case, we ought
to suppose, that the host keeps always ready the real bird, or beast,
whereof the picture hangs over his door, to entertain his guest; which,
however, to my knowledge, is not true in fact. For not one of those
birds is a proper companion for a Christian, as to aiding and assisting
in making the punch. For the birds, as they are drawn upon the sign, are
much more likely to mute, or shed their feathers into the liquor. Then,
as to the bear, he is too terrible, awkward, and slovenly a companion to
converse with; neither are any of them at all, handy enough to fill
liquor to the company: I do, therefore, vehemently suspect a plot
intended against the Government, by these devices. For, although the
spread-eagle be the arms of Germany, upon which account it may possibly
be a lawful Protestant sign; yet I, who am very suspicious of fair
outsides, in a matter which so nearly concerns our welfare, cannot but
call to mind, that the Pretender's wife is said to be of German birth:
And that many Popish Princes, in so vast an extent of land, are reported
to excel both at making and drinking punch. Besides, it is plain, that
the spread-eagle exhibits to us the perfect figure of a cross, which is
a badge of Popery. Then, as to the cock, he is well known to represent
the French nation, our old and dangerous enemy. The swan, who must of
necessity cover the entire bowl with his wings, can be no other than the
Spaniard, who endeavours to engross all the treasures of the Indies to
himself. The lion is indeed, the common emblem of Royal power, as well
as the arms of England; but to paint him black, is perfect Jacobitism,
and a manifest type of those who blacken the actions of the best
Princes. It is not easy to distinguish, whether the other fowl painted
over the punch-bowl, be a crow or raven? It is true, they have both been
held ominous birds; but I rather take it to be the former; because it is
the disposition of a crow, to pick out the eyes of other creatures; and
often even of Christians, after they are dead; and is therefore drawn
here, with a design to put the Jacobites in mind of their old practice,
first to lull us asleep, (which is an emblem of Death) and then to blind
our eyes, that we may not see their dangerous practices against the

To speak my private opinion, the least offensive picture in the whole
set, seems to be the bear; because he represents _ursa major_, or the
Great Bear, who presides over the North, where the Reformation first
began, and which, next to Britain, (including Scotland and the north of
Ireland) is the great protector of the Protestant religion. But,
however, in those signs where I observe the bear to be chained, I can't
help surmising a Jacobite contrivance, by which these traitors hint an
earnest desire of using all true Whigs, as the predecessors did the
primitive Christians; I mean, to represent us as bears, and then halloo
their Tory dogs to bait us to death.

Thus I have given a fair account of what I dislike, in all those signs
set over those houses that invite us to punch: I own it was a matter
that did not need explaining, being so very obvious to the most common
understanding. Yet, I know not how it happens, but methinks there seems
a fatal blindness, to overspread our corporeal eyes, as well as our
intellectual; and I heartily wish, I may be found a false prophet; for,
these are not bare suspicions, but manifest demonstrations.

Therefore, away with those Popish, Jacobite, and idolatrous gew-gaws.
And I heartily wish a law were enacted, under severe penalties, against
drinking any punch at all. For nothing is easier, than to prove it a
disaffected liquor. The chief ingredients, which are brandy, oranges,
and lemons, are all sent us from Popish countries; and nothing remains
of Protestant growth but sugar and water. For, as to biscuit, which
formerly was held a necessary ingredient, and is truly British, we find
it is entirely rejected.

But I will put the truth of my assertion, past all doubt: I mean, that
this liquor is by one important innovation, grown of ill example, and
dangerous consequence to the public. It is well known, that, by the true
original institution of making punch, left us by Captain Ratcliffe, the
sharpness is only occasioned by the juice of lemons, and so continued
till after the happy Revolution. Oranges, alas! are a mere innovation,
and in a manner but of yesterday. It was the politics of Jacobites to
introduce them gradually: And, to what intent? The thing speaks itself.
It was cunningly to shew their virulence against his sacred Majesty King
William, of ever glorious and immortal memory. But of late, (to shew how
fast disloyalty increaseth) they came from one or two, and then to three
oranges; nay, at present we often find punch made all with oranges, and
not one single lemon. For the Jacobites, before the death of that
immortal Prince, had, by a superstition, formed a private prayer, that,
as they squeezed the orange, so might that Protestant King be squeezed
to death[177]: According to that known sorcery described by Virgil,

  Limus ut hic durescit, et hæc ut cera liquescit, &c.
                                             [Ecl. viii. 80.]

And, thus the Romans, when they sacrificed an ox, used this kind of
prayer. "As I knock down this ox, so may thou, O Jupiter, knock down our
enemies." In like manner, after King William's death, whenever a
Jacobite squeezed an orange, he had a mental curse upon the "glorious
memory," and a hearty wish for power to squeeze all his Majesty's
friends to death, as he squeezed that orange, which bore one of his
titles, as he was Prince of Orange. This I do affirm for truth; many of
that faction having confessed it to me, under an oath of secrecy; which,
however, I thought it my duty not to keep, when I saw my dear country in
danger. But, what better can be expected from an impious set of men, who
never scruple to drink _confusion_ to all true Protestants, under the
name of Whigs? a most unchristian and inhuman practice, which, to our
great honour and comfort, was never charged upon us, even by our most
malicious detractors.

The sign of two angels, hovering in the air, and with their right hands
supporting a crown, is met with in several parts of this city; and hath
often given me great offence: For, whether by the unskilfulness, or
dangerous principles of the painters, (although I have good reasons to
suspect the latter) those angels are usually drawn with such horrid
countenances, that they give great offence to every loyal eye, and equal
cause of triumph to the Jacobites being a most infamous reflection upon
our most able and excellent ministry.

I now return to that great enormity of our city cries; most of which we
have borrowed from London. I shall consider them only in a political
view, as they nearly affect the peace and safety of both kingdoms; and
having been originally contrived by wicked Machiavels, to bring in
Popery, slavery, and arbitrary power, by defeating the Protestant
Succession, and introducing the Pretender, ought, in justice, to be here
laid open to the world.

About two or three months after the happy Revolution, all persons who
possessed any employment, or office, in Church or State, were obliged by
an Act of Parliament, to take the oaths to King William and Queen Mary:
And a great number of disaffected persons, refusing to take the said
oaths, from a pretended scruple of conscience, but really from a spirit
of Popery and rebellion, they contrived a plot, to make the swearing to
those Princes odious in the eyes of the people. To this end, they hired
certain women of ill fame, but loud shrill voices, under pretence of
selling fish, to go through the streets, with sieves on their heads, and
cry, "Buy my soul, buy my soul;" plainly insinuating, that all those who
swore to King William, were just ready to sell their souls for an
employment. This cry was revived at the death of Queen Anne, and, I
hear, still continues in London, with great offence to all true
Protestants; but, to our great happiness, seems to be almost dropped in

But, because I altogether contemn the displeasure and resentment of
high-fliers, Tories, and Jacobites, whom I look upon to be worse even
than professed Papists, I do here declare, that those evils which I am
going to mention, were all brought in upon us in the _worst of times_,
under the late Earl of Oxford's administration, during the four last
years of Queen Anne's reign. _That wicked minister was universally known
to be a Papist in his heart. He was of a most avaricious nature, and is
said to have died worth four millions, sterl.[178] besides his vast
expenses in building, statues, gold plate, jewels, and other costly
rarities. He was of a mean obscure birth, from the very dregs of the
people, and so illiterate, that he could hardly read a paper at the
council table. I forbear to touch at his open, profane, profligate life;
because I desire not to rake into the ashes of the dead, and therefore
I shall observe this wise maxim:_ De mortuis nil nisi bonum.

This flagitious man, in order to compass his black designs, employed
certain wicked instruments (which great statesmen are never without) to
adapt several London cries, in such a manner as would best answer his
ends. And, whereas it was upon grounds grievously suspected, that all
places at Court were sold to the highest bidder: Certain women were
employed by his emissaries, to carry fish in baskets on their heads, and
bawl through the streets, "Buy my fresh places." I must, indeed, own
that other women used the same cry, who were innocent of this wicked
design, and really sold their fish of that denomination to get an honest
livelihood; but the rest, who were in the secret, although they carried
fish in their sieves or baskets, to save appearances; yet they had
likewise, a certain sign, somewhat resembling that of the free-masons,
which the purchasers of places knew well enough, and were directed by
the women whither they were to resort, and make their purchase. And, I
remember very well, how oddly it looked, when we observed many gentlemen
finely dressed, about the Court end of the town, and as far as York
Buildings, where the Lord Treasurer Oxford dwelt, calling the women who
cried "Buy my fresh places," and talking to them in the corner of a
street, after they understood each other's sign: But we never could
observe that any fish was bought.

Some years before the cries last mentioned, the Duke of Savoy was
reported to have made certain overtures to the Court of England, for
admitting his eldest son by the Duchess of Orleans's daughter, to
succeed to the Crown, as next heir, upon the Pretender's being rejected,
and that son was immediately to turn Protestant. It was confidently
reported, that great numbers of people disaffected to the then
illustrious but now Royal House of Hanover, were in those measures.
Whereupon another set of women were hired by the Jacobite leaders, to
cry through the whole town, "Buy my Savoys, dainty Savoys, curious
Savoys." But, I cannot directly charge the late Earl of Oxford with this
conspiracy, because he was not then chief Minister. However, the wicked
cry still continues in London, and was brought over hither, where it
remains to this day, and in my humble opinion, a very offensive sound to
every true Protestant, who is old enough to remember those dangerous

During the Ministry of that corrupt and Jacobite earl above-mentioned,
the secret pernicious design of those in power, was to sell Flanders to
France; the consequence of which, must have been the infallible ruin of
the States-General, and would have opened the way for France to obtain
that universal monarchy, after which they have so long aspired; to which
the British dominions must next, after Holland, have been compelled to
submit, and the Protestant religion would be rooted out of the world.

A design of this vast importance, after long consultation among the
Jacobite grandees, with the Earl of Oxford at their head, was at last
determined to be carried on by the same method with the former; it was
therefore again put in practice; but the conduct of it was chiefly left
to chosen men, whose voices were louder and stronger than those of the
other sex. And upon this occasion, was first instituted in London, that
famous cry of "FLOUNDERS." But the criers were particularly
directed to pronounce the word "Flaunders," and not "Flounders." For,
the country which we now by corruption call Flanders, is in its true
orthography spelt Flaunders, as may be obvious to all who read old
English books. I say, from hence begun that thundering cry, which hath
ever since stunned the ears of all London, made so many children fall
into fits, and women miscarry; "Come buy my fresh flaunders, curious
flaunders, charming flaunders, alive, alive, ho;" which last words can
with no propriety of speech be applied to fish manifestly dead, (as I
observed before in herrings and salmon) but very justly to ten
provinces, which contain many millions of living Christians. And the
application is still closer, when we consider that all the people were
to be taken like fishes in a net; and, by assistance of the Pope, who
sets up to be the universal Fisher of Men, the whole innocent nation,
was, according to our common expression, to be "laid as flat as a

I remember, myself, a particular crier of flounders in London, who
arrived at so much fame for the loudness of his voice, that he had the
honour to be mentioned upon that account, in a comedy. He hath
disturbed me many a morning, before he came within fifty doors of my
lodging. And although I were not in those days so fully apprized of the
designs, which our common enemy had then in agitation, yet, I know not
how, by a secret impulse, young as I was, I could not forbear conceiving
a strong dislike against the fellow; and often said to myself, "This cry
seems to be forged in the Jesuits' school. Alas, poor England! I am
grievously mistaken if there be not some Popish Plot at the bottom." I
communicated my thoughts to an intimate friend, who reproached me with
being too visionary in my speculations: But, it proved afterwards, that
I conjectured right. And I have often since reflected, that if the
wicked faction could have procured only a thousand men, of as strong
lungs as the fellow I mentioned, none can tell how terrible the
consequences might have been, not only to these two Kingdoms, but over
all Europe, by selling Flanders to France. And yet these cries continue
unpunished, both in London and Dublin, although I confess, not with
equal vehemency or loudness, because the reason for contriving this
desperate plot, is, to our great felicity, wholly ceased.

It is well known, that the majority of the British House of Commons in
the last years of Queen Anne's reign, were in their hearts directly
opposite to the Earl of Oxford's pernicious measures; which put him
under the necessity of bribing them with salaries. Whereupon he had
again recourse to his old politics. And accordingly, his emissaries were
very busy in employing certain artful women of no good life or
conversation, (as it was fully proved before Justice Peyton) to cry that
vegetable commonly called celery, through the town. These women differed
from the common criers of that herb, by some private mark which I could
never learn; but the matter was notorious enough, and sufficiently
talked of, and about the same period was the cry of celery brought over
into this kingdom. But since there is not at this present, the least
occasion to suspect the loyalty of our criers upon that article, I am
content that it may still be tolerated.

I shall mention but one cry more, which hath any reference to politics;
but is indeed, of all others the most insolent, as well as treasonable,
under our present happy Establishment. I mean that of turnups; not of
turnips, according to the best orthography, but absolutely turnups.
Although this cry be of an older date than some of the preceding
enormities, for it began soon after the Revolution; yet was it never
known to arrive at so great a height, as during the Earl of Oxford's
power. Some people, (whom I take to be private enemies) are, indeed, as
ready as myself to profess their disapprobation of this cry, on pretence
that it began by the contrivance of certain old procuresses, who kept
houses of ill-fame, where lewd women met to draw young men into vice.
And this they pretend to prove by some words in the cry; because, after
the crier had bawled out, "Turnups, ho, buy my dainty turnups," he would
sometimes add the two following verses:--

  "Turn up the mistress, and turn up the maid,
  And turn up the daughter, and be not afraid."

This, say some political sophists, plainly shews that there can be
nothing further meant in this infamous cry, than an invitation to
lewdness, which indeed, ought to be severely punished in all
well-regulated Governments; but cannot be fairly interpreted as a crime
of State. But, I hope, we are not so weak and blind to be deluded at
this time of day, with such poor evasions. I could, if it were proper,
demonstrate the very time when those two verses were composed, and name
the author, who was no other than the famous Mr. Swan, so well known for
his talent at quibbling, and was as virulent a Jacobite as any in
England. Neither could he deny the fact, when he was taxed for it in my
presence by Sir Harry Button-Colt, and Colonel Davenport, at the Smyrna
coffee-house, on the 10th of June, 1701. Thus it appears to a
demonstration, that those verses were only a blind to conceal the most
dangerous designs of that party, who from the first years after the
happy Revolution, used a cant way of talking in their clubs after this
manner: "We hope, to see the cards shuffled once more, and another king
TURN UP trump:" And, "When shall we meet over a dish of
TURNUPS?" The same term of art was used in their plots against
the government, and in their treasonable letters writ in ciphers, and
deciphered by the famous Dr. Wallis, as you may read in the trials of
those times. This I thought fit to set forth at large, and in so clear
a light, because the Scotch and French authors have given a very
different account of the word TURNUP, but whether out of
ignorance or partiality I shall not decree; because I am sure, the
reader is convinced by my discovery. It is to be observed, that this cry
was sung in a particular manner by fellows in disguise, to give notice
where those traitors were to meet, in order to concert their villainous

I have no more to add upon this article, than an humble proposal, that
those who cry this root at present in our streets of Dublin, may be
compelled by the justices of the peace, to pronounce turnip, and not
turnup; for, I am afraid, we have still too many snakes in our bosom;
and it would be well if their cellars were sometimes searched, when the
owners least expect it; for I am not out of fear that _latet anguis in

Thus, we are zealous in matters of small moment, while we neglect those
of the highest importance. I have already made it manifest, that all
these cries were contrived in the _worst of times_, under the ministry
of that desperate statesman, Robert, late Earl of Oxford, and for that
very reason ought to be rejected with horror, as begun in the reign of
Jacobites, and may well be numbered among the rags of Popery and
treason: Or if it be thought proper, that these cries must continue,
surely they ought to be only trusted in the hands of true Protestants,
who have given security to the government.

[Having already spoken of many abuses relating to signposts, I cannot
here omit one more, because it plainly relates to politics; and is,
perhaps, of more dangerous consequence than any of the city cries,
because it directly tends to destroy the succession. It is the sign of
his present Majesty King George the Second, to be met with in many
streets; and yet I happen to be not only the first, but the only,
discoverer of this audacious instance of Jacobitism. And I am confident,
that, if the justices of the peace would please to make a strict
inspection, they might find, in all such houses, before which those
signs are hung up in the manner I have observed, that the landlords were
malignant Papists, or, which is worse, notorious Jacobites. Whoever
views those signs, may read, over his Majesty's head, the following
letters and ciphers, G. R. II., which plainly signifies George, King the
Second, and not King George the Second, or George the Second, King; but
laying the point after the letter G, by which the owner of the house
manifestly shews, that he renounces his allegiance to King George the
Second, and allows him to be only the second king, _inuendo_, that the
Pretender is the first king; and looking upon King George to be only a
kind of second king, or viceroy, till the Pretender shall come over and
seize the kingdom. I appeal to all mankind, whether this be a strained
or forced interpretation of the inscription, as it now stands in almost
every street; whether any decipherer would make the least doubt or
hesitation to explain it as I have done; whether any other Protestant
country would endure so public an instance of treason in the capital
city from such vulgar conspirators; and, lastly, whether Papists and
Jacobites of great fortunes and quality may not probably stand behind
the curtain in this dangerous, open, and avowed design against the
government. But I have performed my duty; and leave the reforming of
these abuses to the wisdom, the vigilance, the loyalty, and activity of
my superiors.][179]





     This piece, included by Sir Walter Scott for the first time among
     Swift's writings, was, in the opinion of that editor, indisputably
     the work of the Dean of St. Patrick's. The present editor sees no
     reason to disagree with this judgement, and it is therefore
     reprinted here. The original issue of 1733, printed by Faulkner
     contained also Swift's "Petition of the Footmen in and about
     Dublin," and had a lengthy advertisement of the Complete Works of
     Swift which Faulkner was, at that time, projecting. It is
     difficult, however, to understand why the tract was not included in
     later editions of Swift's complete works. Sir Walter Scott puts
     forward an explanation suggested by Dr. Barrett, who believed the
     reason to have been, that this "_jeu d'esprit_ might be interpreted
     as casting a slur on an hospital erected upon Lazors-Hill, now on
     the Donny-Brook road near Dublin, for the reception of persons
     afflicted with incurable maladies." The reason seems a poor one,
     though it may have been as Dr. Barrett states. A better argument
     might be found from the style and subject matter of the tract
     itself. The style is strongly Swift's, and the subject of such an
     hospital must certainly have occupied Swift's thoughts at this
     time, since he left his fortune for the erection of a similar

       *       *       *       *       *

     The text of the present edition is based on that of the volume
     issued by Faulkner in 1733, compared with the Dublin reprint of the
     following year.

     [T. S.]




To make an

Hospital for Incurables,


Universal Benefit to all His Majesty's Subjects.

       *       *       *       *       *

Humbly addressed to the Rt. Hon. the Lord ----, the Rt. Hon. Sir ----, and
to the Rt. Hon. ----, Esq;

       *       *       *       *       *

To which is added,

A Petition of the Footmen in and about _Dublin_.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Fæcunda Culpæ Secula!_--Hor.

       *       *       *       *       *

Printed at _LONDON_: And,


Printed by _GEORGE FAULKNER_, and Sold at his Shop in _Essex Street_,
opposite to the _Bridge_, and by _G. Risk_, _G. Ewing_ and _W. Smith_,
Booksellers in _Dame-Street_, 1733.

There is not any thing which contributes more to the reputation of
particular persons, or to the honour of a nation in general, than
erecting and endowing proper edifices, for the reception of those who
labour under different kinds of distress. The diseased and unfortunate
are thereby delivered from the misery of wanting assistance; and others
are delivered from the misery of beholding them.

It is certain, that the genius of the people of England is strongly
turned to public charities; and to so noble a degree, that almost in
every part of this great and opulent city, and also in many of the
adjacent villages, we meet with a great variety of hospitals, supported
by the generous contributions of private families, as well as by the
liberality of the public. Some for seamen worn out in the service of
their country, and others for infirm disabled soldiers; some for the
maintenance of tradesmen decayed, and others for their widows and
orphans; some for the service of those who linger under tedious
distempers, and others for such as are deprived of their reason.

But I find, upon nice inspection, that there is one kind of charity
almost totally disregarded, which, nevertheless, appears to me of so
excellent a nature, as to be at present more wanted, and better
calculated for the ease, quietness, and felicity of this whole kingdom,
than any other can possibly be. I mean an hospital for incurables.

I must indeed confess, that an endowment of this nature would prove a
very large and perpetual expense. However, I have not the least
diffidence, that I shall be able effectually to convince the world that
my present scheme for such an hospital is very practicable, and must be
very desirable by every one who hath the interest of his country, or his
fellow-creatures, really at heart.

It is observable, that, although the bodies of human creatures be
affected with an infinite variety of disorders, which elude the power of
medicine, and are often found to be incurable, yet their minds are also
overrun with an equal variety, which no skill, no power, no medicine,
can alter or amend. And I think, that, out of regard to the public peace
and emolument, as well as the repose of many pious and valuable
families, this latter species of incurables ought principally to engage
our attention and beneficence.

I believe an Hospital for such Incurables will be universally allowed
necessary, if we only consider what numbers of absolute incurables every
profession, rank, and degree, would perpetually produce, which, at
present, are only national grievances, and of which we can have no other
effectual method to purge the kingdom.

For instance; let any man seriously consider what numbers there are of
incurable fools, incurable knaves, incurable scolds, incurable
scribblers, (besides myself,) incurable coxcombs, incurable infidels,
incurable liars, incurable whores, in all places of public resort:--not
to mention the incurably vain, incurably envious, incurably proud,
incurably affected, incurably impertinent, and ten thousand other
incurables, which I must of necessity pass over in silence, lest I
should swell this essay into a volume. And without doubt, every
unprejudiced person will agree, that, out of mere Christian charity, the
public ought to be eased as much as possible of this troublesome and
intolerable variety of incurables.

And first, Under the denomination of incurable fools, we may reasonably
expect, that such an hospital would be furnished with considerable
numbers of the growth of our own universities; who, at present, appear
in various professions in the world, under the venerable titles of
physicians, barristers, and ecclesiastics.

And as those ancient seminaries have been, for some years past,
accounted little better than nurseries of such sort of incurables, it
should seem highly commendable to make some kind of provision for them;
because it is more than probable, that, if they are to be supported by
their own particular merit in their several callings, they must
necessarily acquire but a very indifferent maintenance.

I would not, willingly, be here suspected to cast reflections on any
order of men, as if I thought that small gains from the profession of
any art or science, were always an undoubted sign of an equally small
degree of understanding; for I profess myself to be somewhat inclined to
a very opposite opinion, having frequently observed, that at the bar,
the pulse, and the pulpit, those who have the least learning or sense to
plead, meet generally with the largest share of promotions and profit:
of which many instances might be produced; but the public seems to want
no conviction in this particular.

Under the same denominations we may further expect a large and
ridiculous quantity of old rich widows; whose eager and impatient
appetites inflame them with extravagant passions for fellows of a very
different age and complexion from themselves; who purchase contempt and
aversion with good jointures; and being loaded with years, infirmities,
and probably ill humour, are forced to bribe into their embraces such
whose fortunes and characters are equally desperate.

Besides, our collection of incurable fools would receive an incredible
addition from every one of the following articles.

From young extravagant heirs; who are just of a competent age to become
the bubbles of jockeys, sportsmen, gamesters, bullies, sharpers,
courtesans, and such sort of honourable pickpockets.

From misers; who half starve themselves to feed the prodigality of their
heirs, and who proclaim to the world how unworthy they are of possessing
estates, by the wretched and ridiculous methods they take to enjoy them.

From contentious people, of all conditions; who are content to waste the
greatest part of their own fortunes at law, to be the instruments of
impoverishing others.

From those who have any confidence in profession of friendship, before
trial; or any dependence on the fidelity of a mistress.

From young illiterate squires, who travel abroad to import lewdness,
conceit, arrogance, vanity, and foppery; of which commodities there
seems to be so great an abundance at home.

From young clergymen; who contrive, by matrimony, to acquire a family,
before they have obtained the necessary means to maintain one.

From those who have considerable estates in different kingdoms, and yet
are so incurably stupid as to spend their whole incomes in this.

These, and several other articles which might be mentioned, would afford
us a perpetual opportunity of easing the public, by having an hospital
for the accommodation of such incurables; who, at present, either by the
over-fondness of near relations, or the indolence of the magistrates,
are permitted to walk abroad, and appear in the most crowded places of
this city, as if they were indeed reasonable creatures.

I had almost forgot to hint, that, under this article, there is a modest
probability that many of the clergy would be found properly qualified
for admittance into the hospital, who might serve in the capacity of
chaplains, and save the unnecessary expense of salaries.

To these fools, in order succeed such as may justly be included under
the extensive denomination of incurable knaves; of which our several
Inns of Court would constantly afford us abundant supplies.

I think indeed, that, of this species of incurables, there ought to be a
certain limited number annually admitted; which number, neither any
regard to the quiet or benefit of the nation, nor any other charitable
or public-spirited reason, should tempt us to exceed; because, if all
were to be admitted on such a foundation, who might be reputed incurable
of this distemper; and if it were possible for the public to find any
place large enough for their reception; I have not the least doubt, that
all our Inns, which are at this day so crowded, would in a short time be
emptied of their inhabitants; and the law, that beneficial craft, want
hands to conduct it.

I tremble to think what herds of attorneys, solicitors, pettifoggers,
scriveners, usurers, hackney-clerks, pickpockets, pawn-brokers, jailors,
and justices of the peace, would hourly be driven to such an hospital;
and what disturbance it might also create in several noble and wealthy

What unexpected distress might it prove to several men of fortune and
quality, to be suddenly deprived of their rich stewards, in whom they
had for many years reposed the utmost confidence, and to find them
irrecoverably lodged among such a collection of incurables!

How many orphans might then expect to see their guardians hurried away
to the hospital; and how many greedy executors find reason to lament the
want of opportunity to pillage!

Would not Exchange Alley have cause to mourn for the loss of its
stock-jobbers and brokers; and the Charitable Corporation for the
confinement of many of its directors?

Might not Westminster-Hall, as well as all the gaming-houses in this
great city, be entirely unpeopled; and the professors of art in each of
those assemblies become useless in their vocations, by being deprived of
all future opportunity to be dishonest?

In short, it might put the whole kingdom into confusion and disorder;
and we should find that the entire revenues of this nation would be
scarce able to support so great a number of incurables, in this way, as
would appear qualified for admission into our hospital.

For if we only consider how this kingdom swarms with quadrille-tables,
and gaming-houses, both public and private; and also how each of those
houses, as well as Westminster-Hall aforesaid, swarms with knaves who
are anxious to win, or fools who have anything to lose; we may be soon
convinced how necessary it will be to limit the number of incurables,
comprehended under these titles, lest the foundation should prove
insufficient to maintain any others besides them.

However, if, by this Scheme of mine, the nation can be eased of twenty
or thirty thousand such incurables, I think it ought to be esteemed
somewhat beneficial, and worthy of the attention of the public.

The next sort for whom I would gladly provide, and who for several
generations have proved insupportable plagues and grievances to the good
people of England, are those who may properly be admitted under the
character of incurable scolds.

I own this to be a temper of so desperate a nature, that few females can
be found willing to own themselves anyway addicted to it; and yet, it
is thought that there is scarce a single parson, 'prentice, alderman,
squire, or husband, who would not solemnly avouch the very reverse.

I could wish, indeed, that the word scold might be changed for some more
gentle term, of equal signification; because I am convinced, that the
very name is as offensive to female ears, as the effects of that
incurable distemper are to the ears of the men; which, to be sure, is

And that it hath been always customary to honour the very same kind of
actions with different appellations, only to avoid giving offence, is
evident to common observation.

For instance: How many lawyers, attorneys, solicitors, under-sheriffs,
intriguing chambermaids, and counter-officers, are continually guilty of
extortion, bribery, oppression, and many other profitable knaveries, to
drain the purses of those with whom they are any way concerned! And yet,
all these different expedients to raise a fortune, pass generally under
the milder names of fees, perquisites, vails, presents, gratuities, and
such like; although, in strictness of speech, they should be called
robbery, and consequently be rewarded with a gibbet.

Nay, how many honourable gentlemen might be enumerated, who keep open
shop to make a trade of iniquity; who teach the law to wink whenever
power or profit appears in her way; and contrive to grow rich by the
vice, the contention, or the follies of mankind; and who, nevertheless,
instead of being branded with the harsh-sounding names of knaves,
pilferers, or public oppressors, (as they justly merit,) are only
distinguished by the title of justices of the peace; in which single
term, all those several appellations are generally thought to be

But to proceed. When first I determined to prepare this Scheme for the
use and inspection of the public, I intended to examine one whole ward
in this city, that my computation of the number of incurable scolds
might be more perfect and exact. But I found it impossible to finish my
progress through more than one street.

I made my first application to a wealthy citizen in Cornhill,
common-council-man for his ward; to whom I hinted, that if he knew e'er
an incurable scold in the neighbourhood, I had some hope to provide for
her in such a manner, as to hinder her from being further troublesome.
He referred me with great delight to his next-door friend; yet whispered
me, that, with much greater ease and pleasure, he could furnish me out
of his own family ----; and begged the preference.

His next-door friend owned readily that his wife's qualifications were
not misrepresented, and that he would cheerfully contribute to promote
so useful a scheme; but positively asserted, that it would be of small
service to rid the neighbourhood of one woman, while such multitudes
would remain all equally insupportable.

By which circumstance I conjectured, that the quantity of these
incurables in London, Westminster, and Southwark, would be very
considerable; and that a generous contribution might reasonably be
expected for such an hospital as I am recommending.

Besides, the number of these female incurables would probably be very
much increased by additional quantities of old maids; who, being wearied
with concealing their ill-humour for one-half of their lives, are
impatient to give it full vent in the other. For old maids, like old
thin-bodied wines, instead of growing more agreeable by years, are
observed, for the most part, to become intolerably sharp, sour, and

Under this denomination also, we may expect to be furnished with as
large a collection of old bachelors, especially those who have estates,
and but a moderate degree of understanding. For, an old wealthy
bachelor, being perpetually surrounded with a set of flatterers,
cousins, poor dependents, and would-be heirs, who for their own views
submit to his perverseness and caprice, becomes insensibly infected with
this scolding malady, which generally proves incurable, and renders him
disagreeable to his friends, and a fit subject for ridicule to his

As to the incurable scribblers, (of which society I have the honour to
be a member,) they probably are innumerable; and, of consequence, it
will be absolutely impossible to provide for one-tenth part of their
fraternity. However, as this set of incurables are generally more
plagued with poverty than any other, it will be a double charity to
admit them on the foundation; a charity to the world, to whom they are a
common pest and nuisance; and a charity to themselves, to relieve them
from want, contempt, kicking, and several other accidents of that
nature, to which they are continually liable.

Grub-street itself would then have reason to rejoice, to see so many of
its half-starved manufacturers amply provided for; and the whole tribe
of meagre incurables would probably shout for joy, at being delivered
from the tyranny and garrets of printers, publishers, and booksellers.

What a mixed multitude of ballad-writers, ode-makers, translators,
farce-compounders, opera-mongers, biographers, pamphleteers, and
journalists, would appear crowding to the hospital; not unlike the
brutes resorting to the ark before the deluge! And what an universal
satisfaction would such a sight afford to all, except pastry-cooks,
grocers, chandlers, and tobacco-retailers, to whom alone the writings of
those incurables were anyway profitable!

I have often been amazed to observe, what a variety of incurable
coxcombs are to be met with between St. James's and Limehouse, at every
hour of the day; as numerous as Welsh parsons, and equally contemptible.
How they swarm in all coffeehouses, theatres, public walks, and private
assemblies; how they are incessantly employed in cultivating intrigues,
and every kind of irrational pleasure; how industrious they seem to
mimic the appearance of monkeys, as monkeys are emulous to imitate the
gestures of men: And from such observations, I concluded, that to
confine the greatest part of those incurables, who are so many living
burlesques of human nature, would be of eminent service to this nation;
and I am persuaded that I am far from being singular in that opinion.

As for the incurable infidels and liars, I shall range them under the
same article, and would willingly appoint them the same apartment in the
hospital; because there is a much nearer resemblance between them, than
is generally imagined.

Have they not an equal delight in imposing falsities on the public; and
seem they not equally desirous to be thought of more sagacity and
importance than others? Do they not both report what both know to be
false; and both confidently assert what they are conscious is most
liable to contradiction?

The parallel might easily be carried on much further, if the intended
shortness of this essay would admit it. However, I cannot forbear taking
notice, with what immense quantities of incurable liars his Majesty's
kingdoms are overrun; what offence and prejudice they are to the public;
what inconceivable injury to private persons; and what a necessity there
is for an hospital, to relieve the nation from the curse of so many

This distemper appears almost in as many different shapes, as there are
persons afflicted with it; and, in every individual, is always beyond
the power of medicine.

Some lie for their interest; such as fishmongers, flatterers, pimps,
lawyers, fortune-hunters, and fortune-tellers; and others lie for their
entertainment, as maids, wives, widows, and all other tea-table

Some lie out of vanity, as poets, painters, players, fops, military
officers, and all those who frequent the levees of the great: and others
lie out of ill nature, as old maids, &c.

Some lie out of custom, as lovers, coxcombs, footmen, sailors,
mechanics, merchants, and chambermaids; and others lie out of
complaisance or necessity, as courtiers, chaplains, &c. In short, it
were endless to enumerate them all, but this sketch may be sufficient to
give us some small imperfect idea of their numbers.

As to the remaining incurables, we may reasonably conclude, that they
bear at least an equal proportion to those already mentioned; but with
regard to the incurable whores in this kingdom, I must particularly
observe, that such of them as are public, and make it their profession,
have proper hospitals for their reception already, if we could find
magistrates without passions, or officers without an incurable itch to a
bribe. And such of them as are private, and make it their amusement, I
should be unwilling to disturb, for two reasons.

First, Because it might probably afflict many noble, wealthy, contented,
and unsuspecting husbands, by convincing them of their own dishonour,
and the unpardonable disloyalty of their wives: And, secondly, Because
it will be for ever impossible to confine a woman from being guilty of
any kind of misconduct, when once she is firmly resolved to attempt it.

From all which observations, every reasonable man must infallibly be
convinced, that an hospital for the support of these different kinds of
incurables, would be extremely beneficial to these kingdoms. I think,
therefore, that nothing further is wanting, but to demonstrate to the
public, that such a Scheme is very practicable; both by having an
undoubted method to raise an annual income, at least sufficient to make
the experiment, (which is the way of founding all hospitals,) and by
having also a strong probability, that such an hospital would be
supported by perpetual benefactions; which, in very few years, might
enable us to increase the number of incurables to nine-tenths more than
we can reasonably venture on at first.

       *       *       *       *       *

_A Computation of the Daily and Annual Expenses of an Hospital, to be
erected for Incurables._

                                                                  Per day.

  Incurable fools, are almost infinite; however, at
  first, I would have only twenty thousand admitted;
  and, allowing to each person but one shilling per
  day for maintenance, which is as low as possible, the
  daily expense for this article will be                            £1000

  Incurable knaves, are, if possible, more numerous,
  including foreigners, especially Irishmen. Yet I
  would limit the number of these to about thirty
  thousand; which would amount to                                    1500

  Incurable scolds, would be plentifully supplied
  from almost every family in the kingdom. And indeed,
  to make this hospital of any real benefit, we
  cannot admit fewer, even at first, than thirty thousand,
  including the ladies of Billingsgate and Leadenhall
  market, which is                                                   1500

  The incurable scribblers, are undoubtedly a very
  considerable society, and of that denomination I
  would admit at least forty thousand; because it is
  to be supposed, that such incurables will be found
  in greatest distress for a daily maintenance. And
  if we had not great encouragement to hope, that
  many of that class would properly be admitted
  among the incurable fools, I should strenuously intercede
  to have ten or twenty thousand more added.
  But their allowed number will amount to                            2000

  Incurable coxcombs, are very numerous; and,
  considering what numbers are annually imported
  from France and Italy, we cannot admit fewer than
  ten thousand, which will be                                         500

  Incurable infidels, (as they affect to be called)
  should be received into the hospital to the number
  of ten thousand. However, if it should accidentally
  happen to grow into a fashion to be believers, it is
  probable, that the great part of them would, in a
  very short time, be dismissed from the hospital, as
  perfectly cured. Their expense would be                             500

  Incurable liars, are infinite in all parts of the kingdom;
  and, making allowance for citizens' wives,
  mercers, prentices, news-writers, old maids, and
  flatterers, we cannot possibly allow a smaller number
  than thirty thousand, which will amount to                         1500

  The incurable envious, are in vast quantities
  throughout this whole nation. Nor can it reasonably
  be expected that their numbers should lessen, while
  fame and honours are heaped upon some particular
  persons, as the public reward of their superior
  accomplishments, while others, who are equally excellent,
  in their own opinions, are constrained to
  live unnoticed and contemned. And, as it would
  be impossible to provide for all those who are possessed
  with this distemper, I should consent to admit
  only twenty thousand at first, by way of experiment,
  amounting to                                                       1000

  Of the incurable vain, affected, and impertinent,
  I should at least admit ten thousand; which number
  I am confident will appear very inconsiderable, if
  we include all degrees of females, from the duchess
  to the chambermaid; all poets, who have had a little
  success, especially in the dramatic way, and all
  players, who have met with a small degree of approbation.
  Amounting only to                                                   500

By which plain computation it is evident, that two hundred thousand
persons will be daily provided for, and the allowance for maintaining
this collection of incurables may be seen in the following account.

                                                                  Per day.
  _For the Incurable_
  Fools, being           20,000 at one shilling each               £1000
  Knaves                 30,000          ditto                      1500
  Scolds                 30,000                                     1500
  Scribblers             40,000                                     2000
  Coxcombs               10,000                                      500
  Infidels               10,000                                      500
  Liars                  30,000                                     1500

  _For the Incurably_
  Envious                20,000                                     1000
  Vain                   10,000                                      500
                        _______                                   ______
  Total maintained,     200,000                   Total expense, £10,000

                                                    M. Th. H.
  From whence it appears, that the daily expense
  will amount to such a sum, as in 365
  days comes to                                     £3,650,000

And I am fully satisfied that a sum, much greater than this, may easily
be raised, with all possible satisfaction to the subject, and without
interfering in the least with the revenues of the crown.

In the first place, a large proportion of this sum might be raised by
the voluntary contribution of the inhabitants.

The computed number of people in Great Britain is very little less than
eight millions; of which, upon a most moderate computation, we may
account one half to be incurables. And as all those different
incurables, whether acting in the capacity of friends, acquaintances,
wives, husbands, daughters, counsellors, parents, old maids, or old
bachelors, are inconceivable plagues to all those with whom they happen
to be concerned; and as there is no hope of being eased of such plagues,
except by such an hospital, which by degrees might be enlarged to
contain them all: I think it cannot be doubted, that at least three
millions and an half of people, out of the remaining proportion, would
be found both able and desirous to contribute so small a sum as twenty
shillings _per annum_, for the quiet of the kingdom, the peace of
private families, and the credit of the nation in general. And this
contribution would amount to very near our requisite sum.

Nor can this by any means be esteemed a wild conjecture; for where is
there a man of common sense, honesty, or good-nature, who would not
gladly propose even a much greater sum to be freed from a scold, a
knave, a fool, a liar, a coxcomb conceitedly repeating the compositions
of others, or a vain impertinent poet repeating his own?

In the next place, it may justly be supposed, that many young noblemen,
knights, squires, and extravagant heirs, with very large estates, would
be confined in our hospital. And I would propose, that the annual income
of every particular incurable's estate should be appropriated to the use
of the house. But, besides these, there will undoubtedly be many old
misers, aldermen, justices, directors of companies, templars, and
merchants of all kinds, whose personal fortunes are immense, and who
should proportionably pay to the hospital.

Yet, lest, by being here misunderstood, I should seem to propose an
unjust or oppressive Scheme, I shall further explain my design.

Suppose, for instance, a young nobleman, possessed of ten or twenty
thousand pounds _per annum_, should accidentally be confined there as an
incurable: I would have only such a proportion of his estate applied to
the support of the hospital, as he himself would spend if he were at
liberty. And, after his death, the profits of the estate should
regularly devolve to the next lawful heir, whether male or female.

And my reason for this proposal is; because considerable estates, which
probably would be squandered away among hounds, horses, whores,
sharpers, surgeons, tailors, pimps, masquerades, or architects, if left
to the management of such incurables; would, by this means, become of
some real use, both to the public and themselves. And perhaps this may
be the only method which can be found to make such young spendthrifts of
any real benefit to their country.

And although the estates of deceased incurables might be permitted to
descend to the next heirs, the hospital would probably sustain no great
disadvantage; because it is very likely that most of these heirs would
also gradually be admitted under some denomination or other; and
consequently their estates would again devolve to the use of the

As to the wealthy misers, &c., I would have their private fortunes
nicely examined and calculated; because, if they were old bachelors, (as
it would frequently happen,) their whole fortunes should then be
appropriated to the endowment; but, if married, I would leave two-thirds
of their fortunes for the support of their families; which families
would cheerfully consent to give away the remaining third, if not more,
to be freed from such peevish and disagreeable governors.

So that, deducting from the two hundred thousand incurables the forty
thousand scribblers, who to be sure would be found in very bad
circumstances; I believe, among the remaining hundred and sixty thousand
fools, knaves, and coxcombs, so many would be found of large estates and
easy fortunes, as would at least produce two hundred thousand pounds
_per annum_.

As a further addition to our endowment, I would have a tax upon all
inscriptions and tombstones, monuments and obelisks, erected to the
honour of the dead, or on porticoes and trophies, to the honour of the
living; because these will naturally and properly come under the article
of lies, pride, vanity, &c.

And if all inscriptions throughout this kingdom were impartially
examined, in order to tax those which should appear demonstrably false
or flattering, I am convinced that not one-fifth part of the number
would, after such a scrutiny, escape exempted.

Many an ambitious turbulent spirit would then be found, belied with the
opposite title of "lover of his country"; and many a Middlesex justice,
as improperly described, "sleeping in hope of salvation."

Many an usurer, discredited by the appellations of "honest and frugal";
and many a lawyer, with the character of conscientious and "equitable."

Many a British statesman and general, decaying, with more honour than
they lived; and their dusts distinguished with a better reputation than
when they were animated.

Many dull parsons, improperly styled eloquent; and as many stupid
physicians, improperly styled learned.

Yet, notwithstanding the extensiveness of a tax upon such monumental
impositions, I will count only upon twenty thousand, at five pounds
_per annum_ each, which will amount to one hundred thousand pounds

To these annuities, I would also request the Parliament of this nation
to allow the benefit of two lotteries yearly; by which the hospital
would gain two hundred thousand pounds clear. Nor can such a request
seem any way extraordinary, since it would be appropriated to the
benefit of fools and knaves, which is the sole cause of granting one for
this present year.

In the last place, I would add the estate of Richard Norton, Esq.;[180]
and, to do his memory all possible honour, I would have his statue
erected in the very first apartment of the hospital, or in any other
which might seem more apt. And, on his monument, I would permit a long
inscription, composed by his dearest friends, which should remain
tax-free for ever.

From these several articles, therefore, would annually arise the
following sums.

                                                           M. Th. H.
                                                            P. Ann.

  From the voluntary contribution,                        £3,500,000
  From the estates of the incurables,                        200,000
  By the tax upon tombstones, monuments,
   &c. (that of Richard Norton, Esq. always
   excepted,)                                                100,000
  By two annual lotteries,                                   200,000
  By the estate of Richard Norton, Esq.                        6,000
                                                   Total, £4,006,000[181]
  And the necessary sum for the hospital being            £3,650,000
  There will remain annually over and above,                 356,000

Which sum of _356,000l._ should be applied towards erecting the
building, and answer accidental expenses, in such a manner as should
seem most proper to promote the design of the hospital. But the whole
management of it should be left to the skill and discretion of those who
are to be constituted governors.

It may, indeed, prove a work of some small difficulty to fix upon a
commodious place, large enough for a building of this nature. I should
have thoughts of attempting to enclose all Yorkshire, if I were not
apprehensive that it would be crowded with so many incurable knaves of
its own growth, that there would not be the least room left for the
reception of any others; by which accident, our whole project might be
retarded for some time.

Thus have I set this matter in the plainest light I could, that every
one may judge of the necessity, usefulness, and practicableness of this
Scheme: and I shall only add a few scattered hints, which, to me, seem
not altogether unprofitable.

I think the prime minister for the time being ought largely to
contribute to such a foundation; because his high station and merits
must of necessity infect a great number with envy, hatred, lying, and
such sort of distempers; and, of consequence, furnish the hospital
annually with many incurables.

I would desire that the governors appointed to direct this hospital,
should have (if such a thing were possible) some appearance of religion,
and belief in God; because those who are to be admitted as incurable
infidels, atheists, deists, and freethinkers, most of which tribe are
only so out of pride, conceit, and affectation, might perhaps grow
gradually into believers, if they perceived it to be the custom of the
place where they lived.

Although it be not customary for the natives of Ireland to meet with any
manner of promotion in this kingdom, I would, in this respect, have that
national prejudice entirely laid aside; and request, that, for the
reputation of both kingdoms, a _large_ apartment in the hospital may be
fitted up for Irishmen particularly, who, either by knavery, lewdness,
or fortune-hunting, should appear qualified for admittance; because
their numbers would certainly be very considerable.

I would further request, that a father, who seems delighted at seeing
his son metamorphosed into a fop, or a coxcomb, because he hath
travelled from London to Paris; may be sent along with the young
gentleman to the hospital, as an old fool, absolutely incurable.

If a poet hath luckily produced anything, especially in the dramatic
way, which is tolerably well received by the public, he should be sent
immediately to the hospital; because incurable vanity is always the
consequence of a little success. And, if his compositions be ill
received, let him be admitted as a scribbler.

And I hope, in regard to the great pains I have taken, about this
Scheme, that I shall be admitted upon the foundation, as one of the
scribbling incurables. But, as an additional favour, I entreat, that I
may not be placed in an apartment with a poet who hath employed his
genius for the stage; because he will kill me with repeating his own
compositions: and I need not acquaint the world, that it is extremely
painful to bear any nonsense--except our own.

My private reason for soliciting so early to be admitted is, because it
is observed that schemers and projectors are generally reduced to
beggary; but, by my being provided for in the hospital, either as an
incurable fool or a scribbler, that discouraging observation will for
once be publicly disproved, and my brethren in that way will be secure
of a public reward for their labours.

It gives me, I own, a great degree of happiness, to reflect, that
although in this short treatise the characters of many thousands are
contained, among the vast variety of incurables; yet, not any one person
is likely to be offended; because, it is natural to apply ridiculous
characters to all the world, except ourselves. And I dare be bold to
say, that the most incurable fool, knave, scold, coxcomb, scribbler, or
liar, in this whole nation, will sooner enumerate the circle of their
acquaintance as addicted to those distempers, than once imagine
_themselves_ any way qualified for such an hospital.

I hope, indeed, that our wise legislature will take this project into
their serious consideration; and promote an endowment, which will be of
such eminent service to multitudes of his Majesty's unprofitable
subjects, and may in time be of use to _themselves_ and their posterity.

       *       *       *       *       *

  From my Garret in Moorfields, Aug. 20, 1733.



_The Humble Petition of the Footmen in and about the City of Dublin._


     Swift may have written the following mock petition by way of satire
     against the many absurd petitions which were presented at the time
     to the Irish House of Commons, and of which two examples were
     quoted in the note to a previous tract. If coal-porters and
     hackney-coachmen might address the Honourable House, why not

       *       *       *       *       *

     The present text is based on that found at the end of Swift's
     "Serious and Useful Scheme to make an Hospital for Incurables,"
     issued by George Faulkner in 1733. Faulkner reprinted this volume
     in 1734.

     [T. S.]


_The Humble Petition of the Footmen in and about the City of Dublin._

_Humbly Sheweth_,

That your Petitioners are a great and numerous society, endowed with
several privileges, time out of mind.

That certain lewd, idle, and disorderly persons, for several months
past, as it is notoriously known, have been daily seen in the public
walks of this City, habited sometimes in green coats, and sometimes in
laced, with long oaken cudgels in their hands, and without swords, in
hopes to procure favour, by that advantage, with a great number of
ladies who frequent those walks, pretending and giving themselves out to
be true genuine Irish footmen. Whereas they can be proved to be no
better than common toupees,[182] as a judicious eye may soon discover by
their awkward, clumsy, ungenteel gait and behaviour, by their
unskilfulness in dress, even with the advantage of wearing our habits,
by their ill-favoured countenances, with an air of impudence and dulness
peculiar to the rest of their brethren; who have not yet arrived at that
transcendent pitch of assurance. Although, it may be justly apprehended,
that they will do so in time, if these counterfeits shall happen to
succeed in their evil design, of passing for real footmen, thereby to
render themselves more amiable to the ladies.

Your petitioners do further allege, that many of the said counterfeits,
upon a strict examination, have been found in the very act of strutting,
swearing, staring, swaggering, in a manner that plainly shewed their
best endeavours to imitate us. Wherein, although they did not succeed,
yet by their ignorant and ungainly way of copying our graces, the utmost
indignity was endeavoured to be cast upon our whole profession.

Your Petitioners do therefore make it their humble request, that this
Honourable House, (to many of whom your Petitioners are nearly allied)
will please to take this grievance into your most serious consideration:
Humbly submitting, whether it would not be proper, that certain officers
might, at the public charge, be employed to search for, and discover all
such counterfeit footmen, and carry them before the next Justice of
Peace; by whose warrant, upon the first conviction, they should be
stripped of their coats, and oaken ornaments, and be set two hours in
the stocks. Upon the second conviction, besides stripping, be set six
hours in the stocks, with a paper pinned on their breast signifying
their crime, in large capital letters, and in the following words. "A. B.
commonly called A. B. Esq.; a toupee, and a notorious impostor, who
presumed to personate a true Irish footman."

And for any further offence the said toupee shall be committed to
Bridewell, whipped three times, forced to hard labour for a month, and
not be set at liberty, till he shall have given sufficient security for
his good behaviour.

Your Honours will please to observe with what lenity we propose to treat
these enormous offenders, who have already brought such a scandal on our
honourable calling, that several well-meaning people have mistaken them
to be of our Fraternity; in diminution to that credit and dignity
wherewith we have supported our station, as we always did, in the _worst
of times_.[183] And we further beg leave to remark, that this was
manifestly done with a seditious design, to render us less capable of
serving the public in any great employments, as several of our
Fraternity, as well as our ancestors have done.

We do therefore humbly implore your Honours, to give necessary orders
for our relief, in this present exigency, and your Petitioners (as in
duty bound) shall ever pray, &c.

  Dublin, 1733.







     Swift here argues that a holder of an office under the government
     cannot, of necessity, be an honest representative of the people.
     There were two candidates before the freemen for the suffrages of
     the City, one, Lord Mayor French, and the other Mr. John Macarrell.
     The latter was an office-holder; he was Register to the Barracks,
     and received his salary from the government. It was not to be
     expected that he would vote against his employer, be he never so
     honest a man. Swift openly informs the freemen that the Drapier is
     against this man. The Lord Mayor was elected.

       *       *       *       *       *

     The text of this "Advice" is based on that given in the eighth
     volume of Swift's Collected Works, issued in 1746. The Forster
     Collection contains a made-up booklet of pp. 196-205, taken from a
     volume of one of the collected editions.

     [T. S.]


Those few writers, who, since the death of Alderman Burton, have
employed their pens in giving advice to our citizens, how they should
proceed in electing a new representative for the next sessions, having
laid aside their pens, I have reason to hope, that all true lovers of
their country in general, and particularly those who have any regard for
the privileges and liberties of this great and ancient city, will think
a second, and a third time, before they come to a final determination
upon what person they resolve to fix their choice.

I am told, there are only two persons who set up for candidates; one is
the present Lord Mayor,[184] and the other, a gentleman of good esteem,
an alderman of the city, a merchant of reputation, and possessed of a
considerable office under the crown.[185] The question is, which of
these two persons it will be most for the advantage of the city to
elect? I have but little acquaintance with either, so that my inquiries
will be very impartial, and drawn only from the general character and
situation of both.

In order to this, I must offer my countrymen and fellow-citizens some
reasons why I think they ought to be more than ordinarily careful, at
this juncture, upon whom they bestow their votes.

To perform this with more clearness, it may be proper to give you a
short state of our unfortunate country.

We consist of two parties: I do not mean Popish and Protestant, High and
Low Church, Episcopal and Sectarians, Whig and Tory; but of these
English who happen to be born in this kingdom, (whose ancestors reduced
the whole nation under the obedience of the English crown,) and the
gentlemen sent from the other side to possess most of the chief
employments here. This latter party is very much enlarged and
strengthened by the whole power in the church, the law, the army, the
revenue, and the civil administration deposited in their hands;
although, out of political ends, and to save appearances, some
employments are still deposited (yet gradually in a smaller number) to
persons born here; this proceeding, fortified with good words and many
promises, is sufficient to flatter and feed the hopes of hundreds, who
will never be one farthing the better, as they might easily be
convinced, if they were qualified to think at all.

Civil employments of all kinds have been for several years past, with
great prudence, made precarious, and during pleasure; by which means the
possessors are, and must inevitably be, for ever dependent; yet those
very few of any consequence, which are dealt with so sparing a hand to
persons born among us, are enough to keep hope alive in great numbers,
who desire to mend their condition by the favour of those in power.

Now, my dear fellow-citizens, how is it possible you can conceive, that
any person, who holds an office of some hundred pounds a year, which may
be taken from him whenever power shall think fit, will, if he should be
chosen a member for any city, do the least thing, when he sits in the
house, that he knows or fears may be displeasing to those who gave him
or continue him in that office? Believe me, these are no times to expect
such an exalted degree of virtue from mortal men. Blazing stars are much
more frequently seen than such heroical worthies. And I could sooner
hope to find ten thousand pounds by digging in my garden, than such a
phoenix, by searching among the present race of mankind.

I cannot forbear thinking it a very erroneous, as well as modern maxim
of politics, in the English nation, to take every opportunity of
depressing Ireland; whereof an hundred instances may be produced in
points of the highest importance, and within the memory of every
middle-aged man; although many of the greatest persons among that party
which now prevails, have formerly, upon that article, much differed in
their opinion from their present successors.

But so the fact stands at present. It is plain that the court and
country party here, (I mean in the House of Commons,) very seldom agree
in anything but their loyalty to his present Majesty, their resolutions
to make him and his viceroy easy in the government, to the utmost of
their power, under the present condition of the kingdom. But the persons
sent from England, who (to a trifle) are possessed of the sole executive
power in all its branches, with their few adherents in possession who
were born here, and hundreds of expectants, hopers, and promissees, put
on quite contrary notions with regard to Ireland. They count upon a
universal submission to whatever shall be demanded; wherein they act
safely, because none of themselves, except the candidates, feel the
least of our pressures.

I remember a person of distinction some days ago affirmed in a good deal
of mixed company, and of both parties, that the gentry from England, who
now enjoy our highest employments of all kinds, can never be possibly
losers of one farthing by the greatest calamities that can befall this
kingdom, except a plague that would sweep away a million of our hewers
of wood and drawers of water, or an invasion that would fright our
grandees out of the kingdom. For this person argued, that while there
was a penny left in the treasury, the civil and military list must be
paid; and that the Episcopal revenues, which are usually farmed out at
six times below the real value, could hardly fail. He insisted farther,
that as money diminished, the price of all necessaries for life must of
consequence do so too, which would be for the advantage of all persons
in employment, as well as of my lords the bishops, and to the ruin of
everybody else. Among the company there wanted not men in office,
besides one or two expectants; yet I did not observe any of them
disposed to return an answer; but the consequences drawn were these:
That the great men in power sent hither from the other side, were by no
means upon the same foot with his Majesty's other subjects of Ireland;
they had no common ligament to bind them with us; they suffered not with
our sufferings; and if it were possible for us to have any cause of
rejoicing, they could not rejoice with us.

Suppose a person, born in this kingdom, shall happen by his services for
the English interest to have an employment conferred on him worth four
hundred pounds a year; and that he hath likewise an estate in land worth
four hundred pounds a year more; suppose him to sit in Parliament; then,
suppose a land-tax to be brought in of five shillings a pound for ten
years; I tell you how this gentleman will compute. He hath four hundred
pounds a year in land: the tax he must pay yearly is one hundred pounds;
by which, in ten years, he will pay only a thousand pounds. But if he
gives his vote against this tax, he will lose four thousand pounds by
being turned out of his employment, together with the power and
influence he hath, by virtue or colour of his employment; and thus the
balance will be against him three thousand pounds.

I desire, my fellow-citizens, you will please to call to mind how many
persons you can vouch for among your acquaintance, who have so much
virtue and self-denial as to lose four hundred pounds a year for life,
together with the smiles and favour of power, and the hopes of higher
advancement, merely out of a generous love of his country.

The contentions of parties in England are very different from those
among us. The battle there is fought for power and riches; and so it is
indeed among us: but whether a great employment be given to Tom or to
Peter, they were both born in England, the profits are to be spent
there. All employments (except a very few) are bestowed on the natives;
they do not send to Germany, Holland, Sweden, or Denmark, much less to
Ireland, for chancellors, bishops, judges, or other officers. Their
salaries, whether well or ill got, are employed at home: and whatever
their morals or politics be, the nation is not the poorer.

The House of Commons in England have frequently endeavoured to limit the
number of members, who should be allowed to have employments under the
Crown. Several acts have been made to that purpose, which many wise men
think are not yet effectual enough, and many of them are rendered
ineffectual by leaving the power of re-election. Our House of Commons
consists, I think, of about three hundred members; if one hundred of
these should happen to be made up of persons already provided for,
joined with expecters, compliers easy to be persuaded, such as will give
a vote for a friend who is in hopes to get something; if they be merry
companions, without suspicion, of a natural bashfulness, not apt or able
to look forwards; if good words, smiles, and caresses, have any power
over them, the larger part of a second hundred may be very easily
brought in at a most reasonable rate.

There is an Englishman[186] of no long standing among us, but in an
employment of great trust, power, and profit. This excellent person did
lately publish, at his own expense, a pamphlet printed in England by
authority, to justify the bill for a general excise or inland duty, in
order to introduce that blessed scheme among us. What a tender care must
such an English patriot for Ireland have of our interest, if he should
condescend to sit in our Parliament! I will bridle my indignation.
However, methinks I long to see that mortal, who would with pleasure
blow us all up at a blast: but he duly receives his thousand pounds a
year; makes his progresses like a king; is received in pomp at every
town and village where he travels,[187] and shines in the English

I will now apply what I have said to you, my brethren and
fellow-citizens. Count upon it, as a truth next to your creed, that no
one person in office, of which he is not master for life, whether born
here or in England, will ever hazard that office for the good of this
country. One of your candidates is of this kind, and I believe him to be
an honest gentleman, as the word honest is generally understood. But he
loves his employment better than he doth you, or his country, or all the
countries upon earth. Will you contribute and give him city security to
pay him the value of his employment, if it should be taken from him,
during his life, for voting on all occasions with the honest country
party in the House?--although I must question, whether he would do it
even upon that condition.

Wherefore, since there are but two candidates, I entreat you will fix on
the present Lord Mayor. He hath shewn more virtue, more activity, more
skill, in one year's government of the city, than a hundred years can
equal. He hath endeavoured, with great success, to banish frauds,
corruptions, and all other abuses from amongst you.

A dozen such men in power would be able to reform a kingdom. He hath no
employment under the Crown; nor is likely to get or solicit for any: his
education having not turned him that way. I will assure for no man's
future conduct; but he who hath hitherto practised the rules of virtue
with so much difficulty in so great and busy a station, deserves your
thanks, and the best return you can make him; and you, my brethren, have
no other to give him, than that of representing you in Parliament. Tell
me not of your engagements and promises to another: your promises were
sins of inconsideration, at best; and you are bound to repent and annul
them. That gentleman, although with good reputation, is already engaged
on the other side. He hath four hundred pounds a year under the Crown,
which he is too wise to part with, by sacrificing so good an
establishment to the empty names of virtue, and love of his country. I
can assure you, the DRAPIER is in the interest of the present
Lord Mayor, whatever you may be told to the contrary. I have lately
heard him declare so in public company, and offer some of these very
reasons in defence of his opinion; although he hath a regard and esteem
for the other gentleman, but would not hazard the good of the city and
the kingdom for a compliment.

The Lord Mayor's severity to some unfair dealers, should not turn the
honest men among them against him. Whatever he did, was for the
advantage of those very traders, whose dishonest members he punished. He
hath hitherto been above temptation to act wrong; and therefore, as
mankind goes, he is the most likely to act right as a representative of
your city, as he constantly did in the government of it.








The office of Recorder to this city being vacant by the death of a very
worthy gentleman,[188] it is said, that five or six persons are
soliciting to succeed him in the employment. I am a stranger to all
their persons, and to most of their characters; which latter, I hope,
will at this time be canvassed with more decency than it sometimes
happeneth upon the like occasions. Therefore, as I am wholly impartial,
I can with more freedom deliver my thoughts how the several persons and
parties concerned ought to proceed in electing a Recorder for this great
and ancient city.

And first, as it is a very natural, so I can by no means think it an
unreasonable opinion, that the sons or near relations of Aldermen, and
other deserving citizens, should be duly regarded as proper competitors
for an employment in the city's disposal, provided they be equally
qualified with other candidates; and provided that such employments
require no more than common abilities, and common honesty. But in the
choice of a Recorder, the case is entirely different. He ought to be a
person of good abilities in his calling; of an unspotted character; an
able practitioner; one who hath occasionally merited of this city
before; he ought to be of some maturity in years; a member of
Parliament, and likely to continue so; regular in his life; firm in his
loyalty to the Hanover succession; indulgent to tender consciences; but,
at the same time, a firm adherer to the established church. If he be
such a one who hath already sat in Parliament, it ought to be inquired
of what weight he was there; whether he voted on all occasions for the
good of his country; and particularly for advancing the trade and
freedom of this city; whether he be engaged in any faction, either
national or religious; and, lastly, whether he be a man of courage, not
to be drawn from his duty by the frown or menaces of power, nor capable
to be corrupted by allurements or bribes.--These, and many other
particulars, are of infinitely more consequence, than that single
circumstance of being descended by a direct or collateral line from any
Alderman, or distinguished citizen, dead or alive.

There is not a dealer or shopkeeper in this city, of any substance,
whose thriving, less or more, may not depend upon the good or ill
conduct of a Recorder. He is to watch every motion in Parliament that
may the least affect the freedom, trade, or welfare of it.

In this approaching election, the commons, as they are a numerous body,
so they seem to be most concerned in point of interest; and their
interest ought to be most regarded, because it altogether dependeth upon
the true interest of the city. They have no private views; and giving
their votes, as I am informed, by balloting, they lie under no awe, or
fear of disobliging competitors. It is therefore hoped that they will
duly consider, which of the candidates is most likely to advance the
trade of themselves and their brother-citizens; to defend their
liberties, both in and out of Parliament, against all attempts of
encroachment or oppression. And so God direct them in the choice of a
Recorder, who may for many years supply that important office with
skill, diligence, courage, and fidelity. And let all the people say,





     The "badging" of beggars was a favourite scheme of Swift's for the
     better regulation of the many who infested the city of Dublin as
     tramps and idlers. While many of these were really deserving
     persons, there were a great many also who made the business of
     begging a profession. Eleven years before this tract was printed
     Swift wrote to Archbishop King on the same subject, as will be seen
     from the letter quoted in the note on pages 326-327.

       *       *       *       *       *

     The present text is based on the original edition of 1737 collated
     with that given by Sir Walter Scott.

     [T. S.]











       *       *       *       *       *


Printed for T. COOPER at the _Globe_ in _Pater Noster Row_.


Price Six Pence.

It hath been a general complaint, that the poor-house, especially since
the new Constitution by Act of Parliament, hath been of no benefit to
this city, for the ease of which it was wholly intended. I had the
honour to be a member of it many years before it was new modelled by the
legislature, not from any personal regard, but merely as one of the two
deans, who are of course put into most commissions that relate to the
city; and I have likewise the honour to have been left out of several
commissions upon the score of party, in which my predecessors, time out
of mind, have always been members.

The first commission was made up of about fifty persons, which were the
Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Sheriffs, and some few other citizens; the
Judges, the two Archbishops, the two Deans of the city, and one or two
more gentlemen. And I must confess my opinion, that the dissolving the
old commission, and establishing a new one of nearly three times the
number, have been the great cause of rendering so good a design not only
useless, but a grievance instead of a benefit to the city. In the
present commission all the city clergy are included, besides a great
number of 'squires, not only those who reside in Dublin, and the
neighbourhood, but several who live at a great distance, and cannot
possibly have the least concern for the advantage of the city.

At the few general meetings that I have attended since the new
Establishment, I observed very little was done, except one or two Acts
of extreme justice, which I then thought might as well have been
spared: and I have found the Court of Assistants usually taken up in
little brangles about coachmen, or adjusting accounts of meal and small
beer; which, however necessary, might sometimes have given place to
matters of much greater moment, I mean some schemes recommended to the
General Board, for answering the chief ends in erecting and establishing
such a poor-house, and endowing it with so considerable a revenue: and
the principal end I take to have been that of maintaining the poor and
orphans of the city, where the parishes are not able to do it; and
clearing the streets from all strollers, foreigners, and sturdy beggars,
with which, to the universal complaint and admiration, Dublin is more
infested since the Establishment of the poor-house, than it was ever
known to be since its first erection.

As the whole fund for supporting this hospital is raised only from the
inhabitants of the city, so there can be hardly any thing more absurd,
than to see it mis-employed in maintaining foreign beggars and bastards,
or orphans, whose country landlords never contributed one shilling
towards their support. I would engage, that half this revenue, if
employed with common care, and no very great degree of common honesty,
would maintain all the real objects of charity in this city, except a
small number of original poor in every parish, who might, without being
burthensome to the parishioners, find a tolerable support.

I have for some years past applied myself to several Lord Mayors, and to
the late Archbishop of Dublin[189], for a remedy to this evil of foreign
beggars; and they all appeared ready to receive a very plain proposal, I
mean, that of badging the original poor of every parish, who begged in
the streets;[190] that the said beggars should be confined to their own
parishes; that, they should wear their badges well sewn upon one of
their shoulders, always visible, on pain of being whipped and turned out
of town; or whatever legal punishment may be thought proper and
effectual. But, by the wrong way of thinking in some clergymen, and the
indifference of others, this method was perpetually defeated, to their
own continual disquiet, which they do not ill deserve; and if the
grievance affected only them, it would be of less consequence, because
the remedy is in their own power. But all street-walkers, and
shopkeepers bear an equal share in this hourly vexation.

I never heard more than one objection against this expedient of badging
the poor, and confining their walks to their several parishes. The
objection was this: What shall we do with the foreign beggars? Must they
be left to starve? I answered, No; but they must be driven or whipped
out of town; and let the next country parish do as they please; or
rather after the practice in England, send them from one parish to
another, until they reach their own homes. By the old laws of England
still in force, and I presume by those of Ireland, every parish is bound
to maintain its own poor; and the matter is of no such consequence in
this point as some would make it, whether a country parish be rich or
poor. In the remoter and poorer parishes of the kingdom, all necessaries
for life proper for poor people are comparatively cheaper; I mean
butter-milk, oatmeal, potatoes, and other vegetables; and every farmer
or cottager, who is not himself a beggar, can sometimes spare a sup or a
morsel, not worth the fourth part of a farthing, to an indigent
neighbour of his own parish, who is disabled from work. A beggar native
of the parish is known to the 'squire, to the church minister, to the
popish priest, or the conventicle teachers, as well as to every farmer:
he hath generally some relations able to live, and contribute something
to his maintenance. None of which advantages can be reasonably expected
on a removal to places where he is altogether unknown. If he be not
quite maimed, he and his trull, and litter of brats (if he hath any) may
get half their support by doing some kind of work in their power, and
thereby be less burthensome to the people. In short, all necessaries of
life grow in the country, and not in cities, and are cheaper where they
grow; nor is it equal, that beggars should put us to the charge of
giving them victuals, and the carriage too.

But, when the spirit of wandering takes him, attended by his female, and
their equipage of children, he becomes a nuisance to the whole country:
he and his female are thieves, and teach the trade of stealing to their
brood at four years old; and if his infirmities be counterfeit, it is
dangerous for a single person unarmed to meet him on the road. He
wanders from one county to another, but still with a view to this town,
whither he arrives at last, and enjoys all the privileges of a Dublin

I do not wonder that the country 'squires should be very willing to send
up their colonies; but why the city should be content to receive them,
is beyond my imagination.

If the city were obliged by their charter to maintain a thousand
beggars, they could do it cheaper by eighty _per cent._ a hundred miles
off, than in this town, or any of its suburbs.

There is no village in Connaught, that in proportion shares so deeply in
the daily increasing miseries of Ireland, as its capital city; to which
miseries there hardly remained any addition, except the perpetual swarms
of foreign beggars, who might be banished in a month without expense,
and with very little trouble.

As I am personally acquainted with a great number of street beggars, I
find some weak attempts to have been made in one or two parishes to
promote the wearing of badges; and my first question to those who ask an
alms, is, _Where is your badge?_ I have in several years met with about
a dozen who were ready to produce them, some out of their pockets,
others from under their coat, and two or three on their shoulders, only
covered with a sort of capes which they could lift up or let down upon
occasion. They are too lazy to work, they are not afraid to steal, nor
ashamed to beg; and yet are too proud to be seen with a badge, as many
of them have confessed to me, and not a few in very injurious terms,
particularly the females. They all look upon such an obligation as a
high indignity done to their office. I appeal to all indifferent people,
whether such wretches deserve to be relieved. As to myself, I must
confess, this absurd insolence hath so affected me, that for several
years past, I have not disposed of one single farthing to a street
beggar, nor intend to do so, until I see a better regulation; and I have
endeavoured to persuade all my brother-walkers to follow my example,
which most of them assure me they do. For, if beggary be not able to
beat out pride, it cannot deserve charity. However, as to persons in
coaches and chairs, they bear but little of the persecution we suffer,
and are willing to leave it entirely upon us.

To say the truth, there is not a more undeserving vicious race of human
kind than the bulk of those who are reduced to beggary, even in this
beggarly country. For, as a great part of our publick miseries is
originally owing to our own faults (but, what those faults are I am
grown by experience too wary to mention) so I am confident, that among
the meaner people, nineteen in twenty of those who are reduced to a
starving condition, did not become so by what lawyers call the work of
GOD, either upon their bodies or goods; but merely from their
own idleness, attended with all manner of vices, particularly
drunkenness, thievery, and cheating.

Whoever enquires, as I have frequently done, from those who have asked
me an alms; what was their former course of life, will find them to have
been servants in good families, broken tradesmen, labourers, cottagers,
and what they call decayed house-keepers; but (to use their own cant)
reduced by losses and crosses, by which nothing can be understood but
idleness and vice.

As this is the only Christian country where people contrary to the old
maxim, are the poverty and not the riches of the nation, so, the
blessing of increase and multiply is by us converted into a curse; and,
as marriage hath been ever countenanced in all free countries, so we
should be less miserable if it were discouraged in ours, as far as can
be consistent with Christianity. It is seldom known in England, that the
labourer, the lower mechanick, the servant, or the cottager thinks of
marrying until he hath saved up a stock of money sufficient to carry on
his business; nor takes a wife without a suitable portion; and as seldom
fails of making a yearly addition to that stock, with a view of
providing for his children. But, in this kingdom, the case is directly
contrary, where many thousand couples are yearly married, whose whole
united fortunes, bating the rags on their backs, would not be sufficient
to purchase a pint of butter-milk for their wedding supper, nor have any
prospect of supporting their _honourable state_, but by service, or
labour, or thievery. Nay, their _happiness_ is often deferred until they
find credit to borrow, or cunning to steal a shilling to pay their
Popish priest, or infamous couple-beggar. Surely no miraculous portion
of wisdom would be required to find some kind of remedy against this
destructive evil, or at least, not to draw the consequences of it upon
our decaying city; the greatest part whereof must of course in a few
years become desolate, or in ruins.

In all other nations, that are not absolutely barbarous, parents think
themselves bound by the law of nature and reason to make some provision
for their children; but the reasons offered by the inhabitants of
Ireland for marrying is, that they may have children to maintain them
when they grow old and unable to work.

I am informed that we have been for some time past extremely obliged to
England for one very beneficial branch of commerce: for, it seems they
are grown so gracious as to transmit us continually colonies of beggars,
in return of a million of money they receive yearly from hence. That I
may give no offence, I profess to mean real English beggars in the
literal meaning of the word, as it is usually understood by protestants.
It seems, the Justices of the Peace and parish officers in the western
coasts of England, have a good while followed the trade of exporting
hither their supernumerary beggars, in order to advance the English
Protestant interest among us; and, these they are so kind to send over
_gratis_, and duty free. I have had the honour more than once to attend
large cargoes of them from Chester to Dublin: and I was then so ignorant
as to give my opinion, that our city should receive them into
_bridewell_, and after a month's residence, having been well whipped
twice a day, fed with bran and water, and put to hard labour, they
should be returned honestly back with thanks as cheap as they came: or,
if that were not approved of, I proposed, that whereas one English man
is allowed to be of equal intrinsic value with twelve born in Ireland,
we should in justice return them a dozen for one, to dispose of as they
pleased. But to return.

As to the native poor of this city, there would be little or no damage
in confining them to their several parishes. For instance; a beggar of
the parish of St. Warborough's,[191] or any other parish here, if he be
an object of compassion, hath an equal chance to receive his proportion
of alms from every charitable hand; because the inhabitants, one or
other, walk through every street in town, and give their alms, without
considering the place, wherever they think it may be well disposed of:
and these helps, added to what they get in eatables by going from house
to house among the gentry and citizens, will, without being very
burthensome, be sufficient to keep them alive.

It is true, the poor of the suburb parishes will not have altogether the
same advantage, because they are not equally in the road of business and
passengers: but here it is to be considered, that the beggars there have
not so good a title to publick charity, because most of them are
strollers from the country, and compose a principal part of that great
nuisance, which we ought to remove.

I should be apt to think, that few things can be more irksome to a city
minister, than a number of beggars which do not belong to his district,
whom he hath no obligation to take care of, who are no part of his
flock, and who take the bread out of the mouths of those, to whom it
properly belongs. When I mention this abuse to any minister of a
city-parish, he usually lays the fault upon the beadles, who he says are
bribed by the foreign beggars; and, as those beadles often keep
ale-houses, they find their account in such customers. This evil might
easily be remedied, if the parishes would make some small addition to
the salaries of a beadle, and be more careful in the choice of those
officers. But, I conceive there is one effectual method, in the power of
every minister to put in practice; I mean, by making it the interest of
all his own original poor, to drive out intruders: for, if the
parish-beggars were absolutely forbidden by the minister and
church-officers, to suffer strollers to come into the parish, upon pain
of themselves not being permitted to beg alms at the church-doors, or at
the houses and shops of the inhabitants; they would prevent interlopers
more effectually than twenty beadles.

And, here I cannot but take notice of the great indiscretion in our
city-shopkeepers, who suffer their doors to be daily besieged by crowds
of beggars, (as the gates of a lord are by duns,) to the great disgust
and vexation of many customers, whom I have frequently observed to go to
other shops, rather than suffer such a persecution; which might easily
be avoided, if no foreign beggars were allowed to infest them.

Wherefore, I do assert, that the shopkeepers, who are the greatest
complainers of this grievance, lamenting that for every customer, they
are worried by fifty beggars, do very well deserve what they suffer,
when a 'prentice with a horse-whip is able to lash every beggar from the
shop, who is not of the parish, and does not wear the badge of that
parish on his shoulder, well fastened and fairly visible; and if this
practice were universal in every house to all the sturdy vagrants, we
should in a few weeks clear the town of all mendicants, except those who
have a proper title to our charity: as for the aged and infirm, it would
be sufficient to give them nothing, and then they must starve or follow
their brethren.

It was the city that first endowed this hospital, and those who
afterwards contributed, as they were such who generally inhabited here;
so they intended what they gave to be for the use of the city's poor.
The revenues which have since been raised by parliament, are wholly paid
by the city, without the least charge upon any other part of the
kingdom; and therefore nothing could more defeat the original design,
than to misapply those revenues on strolling beggars, or bastards from
the country, which bear no share in the charges we are at.

If some of the out-parishes be overburthened with poor, the reason must
be, that the greatest part of those poor are strollers from the country,
who nestle themselves where they can find the cheapest lodgings, and
from thence infest every part of the town, out of which they ought to be
whipped as a most insufferable nuisance, being nothing else but a
profligate clan of thieves, drunkards, heathens, and whore-mongers,
fitter to be rooted out of the face of the earth, than suffered to levy
a vast annual tax upon the city, which shares too deep in the public
miseries, brought on us by the oppressions we lye under from our
neighbours, our brethren, our countrymen, our fellow protestants, and
fellow subjects.

Some time ago I was appointed one of a committee to inquire into the
state of the workhouse; where we found that a charity was bestowed by a
great person for a certain time, which in its consequences operated
very much to the detriment of the house: for, when the time was elapsed,
all those who were supported by that charity, continued on the same foot
with the rest of the foundation; and being generally a pack of
profligate vagabond wretches from several parts of the kingdom,
corrupted all the rest; so partial, or treacherous, or interested, or
ignorant, or mistaken are generally all recommenders, not only to
employments, but even to charity itself.

I know it is complained, that the difficulty of driving foreign beggars
out of the city is charged upon the _bellowers_ (as they are called) who
find their accounts best in suffering those vagrants to follow their
trade through every part of the town. But this abuse might easily be
remedied, and very much to the advantage of the whole city, if better
salaries were given to those who execute that office in the several
parishes, and would make it their interest to clear the town of those
caterpillars, rather than hazard the loss of an employment that would
give them an honest livelyhood. But, if that would fail, yet a general
resolution of never giving charity to a street beggar out of his own
parish, or without a visible badge, would infallibly force all vagrants
to depart.

There is generally a vagabond spirit in beggars, which ought to be
discouraged and severely punished. It is owing to the same causes that
drove them into poverty; I mean, idleness, drunkenness, and rash
marriages without the least prospect of supporting a family by honest
endeavours, which never came into their thoughts. It is observed, that
hardly one beggar in twenty looks upon himself to be relieved by
receiving bread or other food; and they have in this town been
frequently seen to pour out of their pitcher good broth that hath been
given them, into the kennel; neither do they much regard clothes, unless
to sell them; for their rags are part of their tools with which they
work: they want only ale, brandy, and other strong liquors, which cannot
be had without money; and, money as they conceive, always abounds in the

I had some other thoughts to offer upon this subject. But, as I am a
desponder in my nature, and have tolerably well discovered the
disposition of our people, who never will move a step towards easing
themselves from any one single grievance; it will be thought, that I
have already said too much, and to little or no purpose; which hath
often been the fate, or fortune of the writer,

                                                      J. SWIFT.

  April 22,




     The text of this short paper is taken from Deane Swift's edition,
     which was followed by Sir Walter Scott.

     [T. S.]


We have been amused, for at least thirty years past, with numberless
schemes, in writing and discourse, both in and out of Parliament, for
maintaining the poor, and setting them to work, especially in this city:
most of which were idle, indigested, or visionary; and all of them
ineffectual, as it has plainly appeared by the consequences. Many of
those projectors were so stupid, that they drew a parallel from Holland
to England, to be settled in Ireland; that is to say, from two countries
with full freedom and encouragement for trade, to a third where all kind
of trade is cramped, and the most beneficial parts are entirely taken
away. But the perpetual infelicity of false and foolish reasoning, as
well as proceeding and acting upon it, seems to be fatal to this

For my own part, who have much conversed with those folks who call
themselves merchants, I do not remember to have met with a more ignorant
and wrong-thinking race of people in the very first rudiments of trade;
which, however, was not so much owing to their want of capacity, as to
the crazy constitution of this kingdom, where pedlars are better
qualified to thrive than the wisest merchants. I could fill a volume
with only setting down a list of the public absurdities, by which this
kingdom has suffered within the compass of my own memory, such as could
not be believed of any nation, among whom folly was not established as a
law. I cannot forbear instancing a few of these, because it may be of
some use to those who shall have it in their power to be more cautious
for the future.

The first was, the building of the barracks; whereof I have seen above
one-half, and have heard enough of the rest, to affirm that the public
has been cheated of at least two-thirds of the money raised for that
use, by the plain fraud of the undertakers.

Another was the management of the money raised for the Palatines; when,
instead of employing that great sum in purchasing lands in some remote
and cheap part of the kingdom, and there planting those people as a
colony, the whole end was utterly defeated.

A third is, the insurance office against fire, by which several thousand
pounds are yearly remitted to England, (a trifle, it seems, we can
easily spare,) and will gradually increase until it comes to a good
national tax: for the society-marks upon our houses (under which might
properly be written, "The Lord have mercy upon us!") spread faster and
farther than the colony of frogs.[192] I have, for above twenty years
past, given warning several thousand times to many substantial people,
and to such who are acquainted with lords and squires, and the like
great folks, to any of whom I have not the honour to be known: I
mentioned my daily fears, lest our watchful friends in England might
take this business out of our hands; and how easy it would be to prevent
that evil, by erecting a society of persons who had good estates, such,
for instance, as that noble knot of bankers, under the style of "Swift
and Company." But now we are become tributary to England, not only for
materials to light our own fires, but for engines to put them out; to
which, if hearth-money be added, (repealed in England as a grievance,)
we have the honour to pay three taxes for fire.

A fourth was the knavery of those merchants, or linen-manufacturers, or
both, when, upon occasion of the plague at Marseilles, we had a fair
opportunity of getting into our hands the whole linen-trade of Spain;
but the commodity was so bad, and held at so high a rate, that almost
the whole cargo was returned, and the small remainder sold below the
prime cost.

So many other particulars of the same nature crowd into my thoughts,
that I am forced to stop; and the rather because they are not very
proper for my subject, to which I shall now return.

Among all the schemes for maintaining the poor of the city, and setting
them to work, the least weight has been laid upon that single point
which is of the greatest importance; I mean, that of keeping foreign
beggars from swarming hither out of every part of the country; for,
until this be brought to pass effectually, all our wise reasonings and
proceedings upon them will be vain and ridiculous.

The prodigious number of beggars throughout this kingdom, in proportion
to so small a number of people, is owing to many reasons: to the
laziness of the natives; the want of work to employ them; the enormous
rents paid by cottagers for their miserable cabins and potatoe-plots;
their early marriages, without the least prospect of establishment; the
ruin of agriculture, whereby such vast numbers are hindered from
providing their own bread, and have no money to purchase it; the mortal
damp upon all kinds of trade, and many other circumstances, too tedious
or invidious to mention.

And to the same causes we owe the perpetual concourse of foreign beggars
to this town, the country landlords giving all assistance, except money
and victuals, to drive from their estates those miserable creatures they
have undone.

It was a general complaint against the poor-house, under its former
governors, "That the number of poor in this city did not lessen by
taking three hundred into the house, and all of them recommended under
the minister's and churchwardens' hands of the several parishes": and
this complaint must still continue, although the poor-house should be
enlarged to contain three thousand, or even double that number.

The revenues of the poor-house, as it is now established, amount to
about two thousand pounds a-year; whereof two hundred allowed for
officers, and one hundred for repairs, the remaining seventeen hundred,
at four pounds a-head, will support four hundred and twenty-five
persons. This is a favourable allowance, considering that I subtract
nothing for the diet of those officers, and for wear and tear of
furniture; and if every one of these collegiates should be set to work,
it is agreed they will not be able to gain by their labour above
one-fourth part of their maintenance.

At the same time, the oratorial part of these gentlemen seldom vouchsafe
to mention fewer than fifteen hundred or two thousand people, to be
maintained in this hospital, without troubling their heads about the
fund. * * * *




I have been lately looking over the advertisements in some of your
Dublin newspapers, which are sent me to the country, and was much
entertained with a large list of denominations of lands, to be sold or
let. I am confident they must be genuine; for it is impossible that
either chance or modern invention could sort the alphabet in such a
manner as to make those abominable sounds; whether first invented to
invoke or fright away the devil, I must leave among the curious.

If I could wonder at anything barbarous, ridiculous, or absurd, among
us, this should be one of the first. I have often lamented that
Agricola, the father-in-law of Tacitus, was not prevailed on by that
petty king from Ireland, who followed his camp, to come over and
civilize us with a conquest, as his countrymen did Britain, where
several Roman appellations remain to this day, and so would the rest
have done, if that inundation of Angles, Saxons, and other northern
people, had not changed them so much for the worse, although in no
comparison with ours. In one of the advertisements just mentioned, I
encountered near a hundred words together, which I defy any creature in
human shape, except an Irishman of the savage kind, to pronounce;
neither would I undertake such a task, to be owner of the lands, unless
I had liberty to humanize the syllables twenty miles round. The
legislature may think what they please, and that they are above copying
the Romans in all their conquests of barbarous nations; but I am
deceived, if anything has more contributed to prevent the Irish from
being tamed, than this encouragement of their language, which might be
easily abolished, and become a dead one in half an age, with little
expense, and less trouble.

How is it possible that a gentleman who lives in those parts where the
_town-lands_ (as they call them) of his estate produce such odious
sounds from the mouth, the throat, and the nose, can be able to repeat
the words without dislocating every muscle that is used in speaking, and
without applying the same tone to all other words, in every language he
understands; as it is plainly to be observed not only in those people of
the better sort who live in Galway and the Western parts, but in most
counties of Ireland?

It is true, that, in the city parts of London, the trading people have
an affected manner of pronouncing; and so, in my time, had many ladies
and coxcombs at Court. It is likewise true, that there is an odd
provincial cant in most counties in England, sometimes not very pleasing
to the ear; and the Scotch cadence, as well as expression, are offensive
enough. But none of these defects derive contempt to the speaker:
whereas, what we call the _Irish brogue_ is no sooner discovered, than
it makes the deliverer in the last degree ridiculous and despised; and,
from such a mouth, an Englishman expects nothing but bulls, blunders,
and follies. Neither does it avail whether the censure be reasonable or
not, since the fact is always so. And, what is yet worse, it is too well
known, that the bad consequence of this opinion affects those among us
who are not the least liable to such reproaches, farther than the
misfortune of being born in Ireland, although of English parents, and
whose education has been chiefly in that kingdom.

I have heard many gentlemen among us talk much of the great convenience
to those who live in the country, that they should speak Irish. It may
possibly be so; but I think they should be such who never intend to
visit England, upon pain of being ridiculous; for I do not remember to
have heard of any one man that spoke Irish, who had not the accent upon
his tongue easily discernible to any English ear.

But I have wandered a little from my subject, which was only to propose
a wish that these execrable denominations were a little better suited to
an English mouth, if it were only for the sake of the English lawyers;
who, in trials upon appeals to the House of Lords, find so much
difficulty in repeating the names, that, if the plaintiff or defendant
were by, they would never be able to discover which were their own
lands. But, besides this, I would desire, not only that the appellations
of what they call _town-lands_ were changed, but likewise of larger
districts, and several towns, and some counties; and particularly the
seats of country-gentlemen, leaving an _alias_ to solve all difficulties
in point of law. But I would by no means trust these alterations to the
owners themselves; who, as they are generally no great clerks, so they
seem to have no large vocabulary about them, nor to be well skilled in
prosody. The utmost extent of their genius lies in naming their country
habitation by a hill, a mount, a brook, a burrow, a castle, a bawn, a
ford, and the like ingenious conceits. Yet these are exceeded by others,
whereof some have contrived anagramatical appellations, from half their
own and their wives' names joined together: others only from the lady;
as, for instance, a person whose wife's name was Elizabeth, calls his
seat by the name of _Bess-borow_. There is likewise a famous town, where
the worst iron in the kingdom is made, and it is called _Swandlingbar_:
the original of which name I shall explain, lest the antiquaries of
future ages might be at a loss to derive it. It was a most witty conceit
of four gentlemen, who ruined themselves with this iron project. _Sw._
stands for _Swift_,[193] _And_, for _Sanders_, _Ling_ for _Davling_ and
_Bar._ for _Barry_. Methinks I see the four loggerheads sitting in
consult, like _Smectymnuus_, each gravely contributing a part of his own
name, to make up one for their place in the ironwork; and could wish
they had been hanged, as well as undone, for their wit. But I was most
pleased with the denomination of a town-land, which I lately saw in an
advertisement of Pue's paper: "This is to give notice, that the lands of
_Douras, alias_ WHIG-_borough_," &c. Now, this zealous proprietor,
having a mind to record his principles in religion or loyalty to future
ages, within five miles round him, for want of other merit, thought fit
to make use of this expedient: wherein he seems to mistake his account;
for this distinguishing term, whig, had a most infamous original,
denoting a man who favoured the fanatic sect, and an enemy to kings, and
so continued till this idea was a little softened, some years after the
Revolution, and during a part of her late Majesty's reign. After which
it was in disgrace until the Queen's death, since which time it hath
indeed flourished with a witness: But how long will it continue so, in
our variable scene, or what kind of mortal it may describe, is a
question which this courtly landlord is not able to answer; and
therefore he should have set a date on the title of his borough, to let
us know what kind of a creature a whig was in that year of our Lord. I
would readily assist nomenclators of this costive imagination, and
therefore I propose to others of the same size in thinking, that, when
they are at a loss about christening a country-seat, instead of
straining their invention, they would call it _Booby-borough_,
_Fool-brook_, _Puppy-ford_, _Coxcomb-hall_, _Mount-loggerhead_,
_Dunce-hill_; which are innocent appellations, proper to express the
talents of the owners. But I cannot reconcile myself to the prudence
of this lord of WHIG-_borough_, because I have not yet heard, among the
Presbyterian squires, how much soever their persons and principles are
in vogue, that any of them have distinguished their country abode by the
name of _Mount-regicide_, _Covenant-hall_, _Fanatic-hill_,
_Roundhead-bawn_, _Canting-brook_, or _Mont-rebel_, and the like; because
there may probably come a time when those kind of sounds may not be so
grateful to the ears of the kingdom. For I do not conceive it would be a
mark of discretion, upon supposing a gentleman, in allusion to his name,
or the merit of his ancestors, to call his house _Tyburn-hall_.

But the scheme I would propose for changing the denominations of land
into legible and audible syllables, is by employing some gentlemen in
the University; who, by the knowledge of the Latin tongue, and their
judgment in sounds, might imitate the Roman way, by translating those
hideous words into their English meanings, and altering the termination
where a bare translation will not form a good cadence to the ear, or be
easily delivered from the mouth. And, when both those means happen to
fail, then to name the parcels of land from the nature of the soil, or
some peculiar circumstance belonging to it; as, in England, _Farn-ham_,
_Oat-lands_, _Black-heath_, _Corn-bury_, _Rye-gate_, _Ash-burnham_,
_Barn-elms_, _Cole-orton_, _Sand-wich_, and many others.

I am likewise apt to quarrel with some titles of lords among us, that
have a very ungracious sound, which are apt to communicate mean ideas to
those who have not the honour to be acquainted with their persons or
their virtues, of whom I have the misfortune to be one. But I cannot
pardon those gentlemen who have gotten titles since the judicature of
the peers among us has been taken away, to which they all submitted with
a resignation that became good Christians, as undoubtedly they are.
However, since that time, I look upon a graceful harmonious title to be
at least forty _per cent._ in the value intrinsic of an Irish peerage;
and, since it is as cheap as the worst, for any Irish law hitherto
enacted in England to the contrary, I would advise the next set, before
they pass their patents, to call a consultation of scholars and musical
gentlemen, to adjust this most important and essential circumstance. The
Scotch noblemen, though born almost under the north pole, have much more
tunable appellations, except some very few, which I suppose were given
them by the Irish along with their language, at the time when that
kingdom was conquered and planted from hence; and to this day retain the
denominations of places, and surnames of families, as all historians

I should likewise not be sorry, if the names of some bishops' sees were
so much obliged to the alphabet, that upon pronouncing them we might
contract some veneration for the order and persons of those reverend
peers, which the gross ideas sometimes joined to their titles are very
unjustly apt to diminish.





APRIL 24TH, 1736.


     Writing to Sheridan, under date April 24th, 1736, in a letter
     written partly by herself and partly by Swift, Mrs. Whiteway,
     Swift's housekeeper, refers to the occasion of this speech in the
     following words:

     "The Drapier went this day to the Tholsel[195] as a merchant, to
     sign a petition to the government against lowering the gold, where
     we hear he made a long speech, for which he will be reckoned a
     Jacobite. God send hanging does not go round." (Scott's edition,
     vol. xviii., p. 470. 1824.)

     The occasion for this agitation against the lowering of the gold
     arose thus. Archbishop Boulter had, for a long time, been much
     concerned about the want of small silver in Ireland. The subject
     seemed to weigh on him greatly, since he refers to it again and
     again in his correspondence with Carteret, Newcastle, Dorset, and
     Walpole. On May 25th, 1736, he wrote to Walpole to inform him that
     the Lord Lieutenant had taken with him to England "an application
     from the government for lowering the gold made current here, by
     proclamation, and raising the foreign silver." Silver, being
     scarce, bankers and tradesmen were accustomed to charge a premium
     for the changing of gold, as much as sixpence and sevenpence in the
     pound sterling being obtained. (See Boulter's "Letters," vol. ii.,
     p. 122. Dublin, 1770.)

     There was no question about the benefit of Boulter's scheme in the
     minds of the two Houses of Commons and Lords: Swift, however,
     opposed it vehemently, because he thought the advantage to be
     obtained by this lowering of the gold would accrue to the
     absentees. In 1687 James had issued a proclamation by which an
     English shilling was made the equivalent of thirteen pence in
     Ireland, and an English guinea to twenty-four shillings. Primate
     Boulter's object (gained by the proclamation of the order on
     September 29th, 1737) was to reduce the value of the guinea from
     twenty-three shillings (at which it then stood) to _£1 2s. 9d._
     Swift, thinks Monck Mason, considered the absentees would benefit
     by this "from the circumstances of the reserved rents, being
     expressed in the imaginary coin, called a pound, but actually paid
     in guineas, when the value of guineas was lowered, it required a
     proportionately greater number to make up a specific sum" ("History
     of St. Patrick's," p. 401, note c.)

     Swift, as he wrote to Sheridan, "battled in vain with the duke and
     his clan." He thought it "just a kind of settlement upon England of
     £25,000 a year for ever; yet some of my friends," he goes on to
     say, "differ from me, though all agree that the absentees will be
     just so much gainers." (Letter of date May 22nd, 1737.)

     In a note to Boulter's letter to the Duke of Newcastle (September
     29th, 1737) the editor of those letters (Ambrose Phillips) remarks:
     "Such a spirit of opposition had been raised on this occasion by
     Dean Swift and the bankers, that it was thought proper to lodge at
     the Primate's house, an extraordinary guard of soldiers." This,
     probably, was after the open exchange of words between Boulter and
     Swift. The Primate had accused Swift of inflaming the minds of the
     people, and hinted broadly that he might incur the displeasure of
     the government. "I inflame them!" retorted Swift, "had I but lifted
     my finger, they would have torn you to pieces." The day of the
     proclaiming of the order for the lowering of the gold was marked by
     Swift with the display of a black flag from the steeple of St.
     Patrick's, and the tolling of muffled bells, a piece of conduct
     which Boulter called an insult to the government.

     It is _à propos_ to record here the revenge Swift took on Boulter
     for the accusation of inflaming the people. The incident was put by
     him into the following verse:

       "At Dublin's high feast sat primate and dean,
       Both dressed like divines, with hand and face clean:
       Quoth Hugh of Armagh, 'the mob is grown bold.'
       'Ay, ay,' quoth the Dean, 'the cause is old gold.'
       'No, no,' quoth the primate, 'if causes we sift,
       The mischief arises from witty Dean Swift.'
       The smart one replies, 'There's no wit in the case;
       And nothing of that ever troubled your grace.
       Though with your state sieve your own motions you s--t,
       A Boulter by name is no bolter of wit.
       It's matter of weight, and a mere money job;
       But the lower the coin, the higher the mob.
       Go to tell your friend Bob and the other great folk,
       That sinking the coin is a dangerous joke.
       The Irish dear joys have enough common sense,
       To treat gold reduced like Wood's copper pence.
       It's pity a prelate should die without law;
       But if I say the word--take care of Armagh!"

     With the lowering of the gold the Primate imported £2,000 worth of
     copper money for Irish consumption. Swift was most indignant at
     this, and his protest, printed by Faulkner, brought that publisher
     before the Council, and gave Swift a fit of "nerves." (MS. Letter,
     March 31st, 1737, to Lord Orrery, quoted by Craik in Swift's
     "Life," vol. ii., p. 160.) Swift's objection against the copper was
     due to the fact that it was not minted in Ireland. "I quarrel not
     with the coin, but with the indignity of its not being coined
     here." (Same MS. Letter.)

     Among the pamphlets in the Halliday collection in the Royal Irish
     Academy, Dublin, is a tract with the following title:

     "Reasons why we should not lower the Coins now Current in this
     Kingdom ... Dublin: Printed and Sold by E. Waters in Dame-street."

     At the end of this tract is printed Swift's speech to "an Assembly
     of above one Hundred and fifty eminent persons who met at the Guild
     Hall, on Saturday the 24th April, 1736, in order to draw up their
     Petition, and present it to his grace the Lord Lieutenant against
     lowering said Coin." It is from this tract that the present text
     has been taken. The editor is obliged to Sir Henry Craik's "Life of
     Swift" for drawing attention to this hitherto uncollected piece.

     [T. S.]


I beg you will consider and very well weigh in your hearts, what I am
going to say and what I have often said before. There are several bodies
of men, among whom the power of this kingdom is divided--1st, The
Lord-Lieutenant, Lords Justices and Council; next to these, my Lords the
Bishops; there is likewise my Lord Chancellor, and my Lords the Judges
of the land--with other eminent persons in the land, who have
employments and great salaries annexed. To these must be added the
Commissioners of the Revenue, with all their under officers: and lastly,
their honours of the Army, of all degrees.

Now, Gentlemen, I beg you again to consider that none of these persons
above named, can ever suffer the loss of one farthing by all the
miseries under which the kingdom groans at present. For, first, until
the kingdom be entirely ruined, the Lord-Lieutenant and Lords Justices
must have their salaries. My Lords the Bishops, whose lands are set at a
fourth part value, will be sure of their rents and their fines. My Lords
the Judges and those of other employments in the country must likewise
have their salaries. The gentlemen of the revenue will pay themselves,
and as to the officers of the army, the consequence of not paying them
is obvious enough. Nay, so far will those persons I have already
mentioned be from suffering, that, on the contrary, their revenues being
no way lessened by the fall of money, and the price of all commodities
considerably sunk thereby, they must be great gainers. Therefore,
Gentlemen, I do entreat you that as long as you live, you will look on
all persons who are for lowering the gold, or any other coin, as no
friends to this poor kingdom, but such, who find their private account
in what will be detrimental to Ireland. And as the absentees are, in
the strongest view, our greatest enemies, first by consuming above
one-half of the rents of this nation abroad, and secondly by turning the
weight, by their absence, so much on the Popish side, by weakening the
Protestant interest, can there be a greater folly than to pave a bridge
of gold at your own expense, to support them in their luxury and vanity
abroad, while hundreds of thousands are starving at home for want of



I hope you will come and take a drink of my ale. I always brew with my
own bear. I was at your large Toun's house, in the county of Fermanegh.
He has planted a great many oak trees, and elm trees round his lough:
And a good warrent he had, it is kind father for him, I stayd with him a
week. At breakfast we had sometimes sowins, and sometimes stirrabout,
and sometimes fraughauns and milk; but his cows would hardly give a drop
of milk. For his head had lost the pachaun. His neighbour Squire Dolt is
a meer buddaugh. I'd give a cow in Conaught you could see him. He keeps
none but garrauns, and he rides on a soogaun with nothing for his bridle
but gadd. In that, he is a meer spaulpeen, and a perfect Monaghan, and a
Munster Croch to the bargain. Without you saw him on Sunday you would
take him for a Brogadeer and a spaned to a carl did not know had to draw
butter. We drank balcan and whisky out of madders. And the devil a
niglugam had but a caddao. I wonder your cozen does na learn him better
manners. Your cousin desires you will buy him some cheney cups. I
remember he had a great many; I wonder what is gone with them. I
coshered on him for a week. He has a fine staggard of corn. His dedy has
been very unwell. I was sorry that anything ayl her father's child.

Firing is very dear thereabout. The turf is drawn tuo near in Kislers;
and they send new rounds from the mines, nothing comes in the Cleeves
but stock. We had a sereroar of beef, and once a runy for dinner.


A. Them aples is very good.

B. I cam _again_ you in that.

A. Lord I was bodderd t'other day with that prating fool, Tom.

B. Pray, how does he _get_ his health?

A. He's often very _unwell_.

B. [I] hear he was a great pet of yours.

A. Where does he live?

B. Opposite the red Lyon.

A. I think he behaved very ill the last sessions.

B. That's true, but I cannot forbear loving his father's child: Will you
take a glass of my ale?

A. No, I thank you, I took a drink of small beer at home before I came

B. I always brew with my own bear: You have a country-house: Are you [a]

A. Yes, I have planted a great many oak trees and ash trees, and some
elm trees round a lough.

B. And so a good warrant you have: It is kind father for you.

A. And what breakfast do you take in the country?

B. Sometimes stirabout, and in sumer we have the best frauhaurg in all
the county.

A. What kind of man is your neighbour Squire Dolt?

B. Why, a meer Buddogh. He sometimes coshers with me; and once a month I
take a pipe with him, and we shot it about for an hour together.

A. I hear he keeps good horses.

B. None but garrauns, and I have seen him often riding on a sougawn. In
short, he is no better than a spawlpien; a perfect Marcghen. When I was
there last, we had nothing but a medder to drink out of; and the devil a
nighigam but a caddao. Will you go see him when you come unto our

A. Not _without_ you go with me.

B. Will you lend me your snuff-box?

A. Do you make good cheese and butter?

B. Yes, when we can get milk; but our cows will never keep a drop of
milk without a Puckaun.


                                              Deanery House,
                                                 July 5, 1736.


As I had the honour of receiving some part of my education in your
university, and the good fortune to be of some service to it while I had
a share of credit at court, as well as since, when I had very little or
none, I may hope to be excused for laying a case before you, and
offering my opinion upon it.

Mr. Dunkin,[198] whom you all know, sent me some time ago a memorial
intended to be laid before you, which perhaps he hath already done. His
request is, that you would be pleased to enlarge his annuity at present,
and that he may have the same right, in his turn, to the first church
preferment, vacant in your gift, as if he had been made a fellow,
according to the scheme of his aunt's will; because the absurdity of the
condition in it ought to be imputed to the old woman's ignorance,
although her intention be very manifest; and the intention of the
testator in all wills is chiefly regarded by the law. What I would
therefore propose is this, that you would increase his pension to one
hundred pounds a-year, and make him a firm promise of the first church
living in your disposal, to the value of two hundred pounds a-year, or
somewhat more. This I take to be a reasonable medium between what he
hath proposed in his memorial, and what you allow him at present.

I am almost a perfect stranger to Mr. Dunkin, having never seen him
above twice, and then in mixed company, nor should I know his person if
I met him in the streets.

But I know he is a man of wit and parts; which if applied properly to
the business of his function, instead of poetry, (wherein it must be
owned he sometimes excels,) might be of great use and service to him.

I hope you will please to remember, that, since your body hath received
no inconsiderable benefaction from the aunt, it will much increase your
reputation, rather to err on the generous side toward the nephew.

These are my thoughts, after frequently reflecting on the case under all
its circumstances; and so I leave it to your wiser judgments.

I am, with true respect and esteem, reverend and worthy Sirs,

Your most obedient and most humble servant,

                                                JON. SWIFT.


                                 Deanery House, Dublin,
                                         August 15, 1737.


I received from you, some weeks ago, the honour of my freedom, in a
silver box, by the hands of Mr. Stannard; but it was not delivered to me
in as many weeks more; because, I suppose, he was too full of more
important business. Since that time, I have been wholly confined by
sickness, so that I was not able to return you my acknowledgment; and it
is with much difficulty I do it now, my head continuing in great
disorder. Mr. Faulkner will be the bearer of my letter, who sets out
this morning for Cork.

I could have wished, as I am a private man, that, in the instrument of
my freedom, you had pleased to assign your reasons for making choice of
me. I know it is a usual compliment to bestow the freedom of the city on
an archbishop, or lord-chancellor, and other persons of great titles,
merely on account of their stations or power: but a private man, and a
perfect stranger, without power or grandeur, may justly expect to find
the motives assigned in the instrument of his freedom, on what account
he is thus distinguished. And yet I cannot discover, in the whole
parchment scrip, any one reason offered. Next, as to the silver box,
there is not so much as my name upon it, nor any one syllable to show it
was a present from your city. Therefore I have, by the advice of
friends, agreeable with my opinion, sent back the box and instrument of
freedom by Mr. Faulkner, to be returned to you; leaving to your choice
whether to insert the reasons for which you were pleased to give me my
freedom, or bestow the box upon some more worthy person whom you may
have an intention to honour, because it will equally fit everybody.

     I am, with true esteem and gratitude,
       Your most obedient and obliged servant,
                                          JON. SWIFT.



                                                    April 19, 1739.

I heartily recommend to your very Worshipful Society, the Reverend Mr.
William Dunkin,[199] for the living of Colrane, vacant by the death of
Dr. Squire. Mr. Dunkin is a gentleman of great learning and wit, true
religion, and excellent morals. It is only for these qualifications that
I recommend him to your patronage; and I am confident that you will
never repent the choice of such a man, who will be ready at any time to
obey your commands. You have my best wishes, and all my endeavours for
your prosperity: and I shall, during my life, continue to be, with the
truest respect and highest esteem,

                 Worthy Sirs,
         Your most obedient, and most humble servant,
                                                JON. SWIFT.


                                                 Jan. 9, 1739-40

Whereas the bearer served me the space of one year, during which time he
was an idler and a drunkard, I then discharged him as such; but how far
his having been five years at sea may have mended his manners, I leave
to the penetration of those who may hereafter choose to employ him.

                                                   JON. SWIFT.


                                                January 28, 1741.

Whereas my infirmities of age and ill-health have prevented me to
preside in the chapters held for the good order and government of my
cathedral church of St. Patrick, Dublin, in person: I have, by a legal
commission, made and appointed the very reverend Doctor John Wynne,
præcentor of the said cathedral, to be sub-dean in my stead and absence.
I do hereby ratify and confirm all the powers delegated to the said Dr.
Wynne in the said Commission.

And I do hereby require and request the very reverend sub-dean not to
permit any of the vicars-choral, choristers, or organists, to attend or
assist at any public musical performances, without my consent, or his
consent, with the consent of the chapter first obtained.

And whereas it hath been reported, that I gave a licence to certain
vicars to assist at a club of fiddlers in Fishamble Street, I do hereby
declare that I remember no such licence to have been ever signed or
sealed by me; and that if ever such pretended licence should be
produced, I do hereby annul and vacate the said licence. Intreating my
said sub-dean and chapter to punish such vicars as shall ever appear
there, as songsters, fiddlers, pipers, trumpeters, drummers,
drum-majors, or in any sonal quality, according to the flagitious
aggravations of their respective disobedience, rebellion, perfidy, and

I require my said sub-dean to proceed to the extremity of expulsion, if
the said vicars should be found ungovernable, impenitent, or
self-sufficient, especially Taberner, Phipps, and Church, who, as I am
informed, have, in violation of my sub-dean's and chapter's order in
December last, at the instance of some obscure persons unknown, presumed
to sing and fiddle at the club above mentioned.

My resolution is to preserve the dignity of my station, and the honour
of my chapter; and, gentlemen, it is incumbent upon you to aid me, and
to show who and what the Dean and Chapter of Saint Patrick's are.

                           Signed by me,
                             JONATHAN SWIFT
                                 Dean of St. Patrick's.

  Witnesses present,

To the very Reverend Doctor John Wynne, sub-dean of the Cathedral church
of Saint Patrick, Dublin, and to the reverend dignitaries and
prebendaries of the same.




     In April, 1727, Swift paid his last visit to England. The visit
     paid by him to Walpole, already referred to, resulted in nothing,
     though it cannot, on that account, be argued that Swift's open
     friendship for, and even support of, Pulteney and Bolingbroke was
     owing to his failure with Walpole. Swift pleaded with Walpole for
     Ireland and Ireland only, as his letter to Peterborough amply
     testifies. It had nothing to do with the political situation in
     England. The explanation for this sympathy is most likely found in
     Sir Henry Craik's suggestion that Swift humoured the pretences of
     his friends that they were of the party that maintained the
     national virtues, resisted corruption, and defended liberty against
     arbitrary power. To Pulteney Swift always wrote reminding him that
     the country looked to him as its saviour, and he wrote in a similar
     vein to Bolingbroke and Pope. The "Craftsman" had been founded by
     Pulteney and Bolingbroke (a curious companionship when one
     remembers the past lives of these two men) for the express purpose
     of bringing low Walpole's political power. It began by exposing the
     tricks of "Robin" and continued to lay bare the cunning and wiles
     of the "Craftsman" at the head of the government of the country.
     Both Pulteney and Bolingbroke wrote regularly, and the former
     displayed a journalistic power quite extraordinary.

     The letter which follows was written by Swift when in London on the
     occasion of his last visit; but a note in Craik's "Life of Swift"
     (vol. ii., pp. 166-167) is very interesting as showing that Swift
     did certainly give hints for some of the subjects for discussion. I
     take the liberty to transcribe this note in full. Sir Henry Craik
     thinks it more than likely that Swift may have suggested, during
     his last visit to London, some of the lines on which Bolingbroke
     and Pulteney worked. In the note he adds:

     "This finds some confirmation, from the following heads of a Tract,
     which I have found in a memorandum in Swift's handwriting. The
     memorandum belongs to Mr. Frederick Locker [now dead], who kindly
     permitted me to use his papers, the same which came from Theophilus
     Swift into Scott's possession. But the interest of this memorandum
     escaped Scott's notice."


     "Every little fellow who has a vote now corrupted.

     "An arithmetical computation, how much spent in election of
     Commons, and pensions and foreign courts: how then can our debts be

     "No fear that gentlemen will not stand and serve without Pensions,
     and that they will let the Kingdom be invaded for want of fleets
     and armies, or bring in Pretender, etc.

     "How K(ing) will ensure his own interest as well as the Publick: he
     is now forced to keep himself bare, etc., at least, late King was.

     "Perpetual expedients, stop-gaps, etc., at long run must terminate
     in something fatal, as it does in private estates.

     "There may be probably 10,000 landed men in England fit for
     Parliament. This would reduce Parliament to consist of real landed
     men, which is full as necessary for Senates as for Juries. What do
     the other 9,000 do for want of pensions?

     " ... In private life, virtue may be difficult, by passions,
     infirmities, temptations, want of pence, strong opposition, etc.
     But not in public administration: there it makes all things easy.

     "Form the Scheme. Suppose a King of England would resolve to give
     no pension for party, etc., and call a Parliament, perfectly free,
     as he could.

     "What can a K. reasonably ask that a Parliament will refuse? When
     they are resty, it is by corrupt ministers, who have designs
     dangerous to the State, and must therefore support themselves by
     bribing, etc.

     "Open, fair dealing the best.

     "A contemptuous character of Court art. How different from true
     politics. For, comparing the talents of two professions that are
     very different, I cannot but think, that in the present sense of
     the word Politician, a common sharper or pickpocket, has every
     quality that can be required in the other, and accordingly I have
     personally known more than half a dozen in their hour esteemed
     equally to excell in both."

       *       *       *       *       *

     The present text is based on that given in the eighth volume of the
     quarto issue of Swift's Works published in 1765.

     [T. S.]




Although, in one of your papers, you declare an intention of turning
them, during the dead season of the year, into accounts of domestic and
foreign intelligence; yet I think we, your correspondents, should not
understand your meaning so literally, as if you intended to reject
inserting any other paper, which might probably be useful for the
public. Neither, indeed, am I fully convinced that this new course you
resolve to take will render you more secure than your former laudable
practice, of inserting such speculations as were sent you by several
well-wishers to the good of the kingdom; however grating such notices
might be to some, who wanted neither power nor inclination to resent
them at your cost. For, since there is a direct law against spreading
false news, if you should venture to tell us in one of the Craftsmen
that the Dey of Algiers had got the toothache, or the King of Bantam had
taken a purge, and the facts should be contradicted in succeeding
packets; I do not see what plea you could offer to avoid the utmost
penalty of the law, because you are not supposed to be very gracious
among those who are most able to hurt you.

Besides, as I take your intentions to be sincerely meant for the public
service, so your original method of entertaining and instructing us will
be more general and more useful in this season of the year, when people
are retired to amusements more cool, more innocent, and much more
reasonable than those they have left; when their passions are subsided
or suspended; when they have no occasions of inflaming themselves, or
each other; where they will have opportunities of hearing common sense,
every day in the week, from their tenants or neighbouring farmers, and
thereby be qualified, in hours of rain or leisure, to read and consider
the advice or information you shall send them.

Another weighty reason why you should not alter your manner of writing,
by dwindling to a newsmonger, is because there is no suspension of arms
agreed on between you and your adversaries, who fight with a sort of
weapons which have two wonderful qualities, that they are never to be
worn out, and are best wielded by the weakest hands, and which the
poverty of our language forceth me to call by the trite appellations of
scurrility, slander, and Billingsgate. I am far from thinking that these
gentlemen, or rather their employers, (for the operators themselves are
too obscure to be guessed at) should be answered after their own way,
although it were possible to drag them out of their obscurity; but I
wish you would enquire what real use such a conduct is to the cause they
have been so largely paid to defend. The author of the three first
Occasional Letters, a person altogether unknown, hath been thought to
glance (for what reasons he best knows) at some public proceedings, as
if they were not agreeable to his private opinions. In answer to this,
the pamphleteers retained on the other side are instructed by their
superiors, to single out an adversary whose abilities they have most
reason to apprehend, and to load himself, his family, and friends, with
all the infamy that a perpetual conversation in Bridewell, Newgate, and
the stews could furnish them; but, at the same time, so very unluckily,
that the most distinguishing parts of their characters strike directly
in the face of their benefactor, whose idea presenting itself along with
his guineas perpetually to their imagination, occasioned this desperate

But, allowing this heap of slander to be truth, and applied to the
proper person; what is to be the consequence? Are our public debts to be
the sooner paid; the corruptions that author complains of to be the
sooner cured; an honourable peace, or a glorious war the more likely to
ensue; trade to flourish; the Ostend Company to be demolished;
Gibraltar and Port Mahon left entire in our possession; the balance of
Europe to be preserved; the malignity of parties to be for ever at an
end; none but persons of merit, virtue, genius, and learning to be
encouraged? I ask whether any of these effects will follow upon the
publication of this author's libel, even supposing he could prove every
syllable of it to be true?

At the same time, I am well assured, that the only reason of ascribing
those papers to a particular person, is built upon the information of a
certain pragmatical spy of quality, well known to act in that capacity
by those into whose company he insinuates himself; a sort of persons
who, although without much love, esteem, or dread of people in present
power, yet have too much common prudence to speak their thoughts with
freedom before such an intruder; who, therefore, imposes grossly upon
his masters, if he makes them pay for anything but his own conjectures.

It is a grievous mistake in a great minister to neglect or despise, much
more to irritate men of genius and learning. I have heard one of the
wisest persons in my time observe, that an administration was to be
known and judged by the talents of those who appeared their advocates in
print. This I must never allow to be a general rule; yet I cannot but
think it prodigiously unfortunate, that, among the answerers, defenders,
repliers, and panegyrists, started up in defence of present persons and
proceedings, there hath not yet arisen one whose labours we can read
with patience, however we may applaud their loyalty and good will. And
all this with the advantages of constant ready pay, of natural and
acquired venom, and a grant of the whole fund of slander, to range over
and riot in as they please.[201]

On the other side, a turbulent writer of Occasional Letters, and other
vexatious papers, in conjunction perhaps with one or two friends as bad
as himself, is able to disconcert, tease, and sour us whenever he
thinks fit, merely by the strength of genius and truth; and after so
dexterous a manner, that, when we are vexed to the soul, and well know
the reasons why we are so, we are ashamed to own the first, and cannot
tell how to express the other. In a word, it seems to me that all the
writers are on one side, and all the railers on the other.

However, I do not pretend to assert, that it is impossible for an ill
minister to find men of wit who may be drawn, by a very valuable
consideration, to undertake his defence; but the misfortune is, that the
heads of such writers rebel against their hearts; their genius forsakes
them, when they would offer to prostitute it to the service of
injustice, corruption, party rage, and false representations of things
and persons.

And this is the best argument I can offer in defence of great men, who
have been of late so very unhappy in the choice of their
paper-champions; although I cannot much commend their good husbandry, in
those exorbitant payments of twenty and sixty guineas at a time for a
scurvy pamphlet; since the sort of work they require is what will all
come within the talents of any one who hath enjoyed the happiness of a
very bad education, hath kept the vilest company, is endowed with a
servile spirit, is master of an empty purse, and a heart full of malice.

But, to speak the truth in soberness; it should seem a little hard,
since the old Whiggish principle hath been recalled of standing up for
the liberty of the press, to a degree that no man, for several years
past, durst venture out a thought which did not square to a point with
the maxims and practices that then prevailed: I say, it is a little hard
that the vilest mercenaries should be countenanced, preferred, rewarded,
for discharging their brutalities against men of honour, only upon a
bare conjecture.

If it should happen that these profligates have attacked an innocent
person, I ask what satisfaction can their hirers give in return? Not all
the wealth raked together by the most corrupt rapacious ministers, in
the longest course of unlimited power, would be sufficient to atone for
the hundredth part of such an injury.

In the common way of thinking, it is a situation sufficient in all
conscience to satisfy a reasonable ambition, for a private person to
command the forces, the laws, the revenues of a great kingdom, to
reward and advance his followers and flatterers as he pleases, and to
keep his enemies (real or imaginary) in the dust. In such an exaltation,
why should he be at the trouble to make use of fools to sound his
praises, (because I always thought the lion was hard set, when he chose
the ass for his trumpeter) or knaves to revenge his quarrels, at the
expense of innocent men's reputations?

With all those advantages, I cannot see why persons, in the height of
power, should be under the least concern on account of their reputation,
for which they have no manner of use; or to ruin that of others, which
may perhaps be the only possession their enemies have left them.
Supposing times of corruption, which I am very far from doing, if a
writer displays them in their proper colours, does he do anything worse
than sending customers to the shop? "Here only, at the sign of the
Brazen Head, are to be sold places and pensions: beware of counterfeits,
and take care of mistaking the door."

For my own part, I think it very unnecessary to give the character of a
great minister in the fulness of his power, because it is a thing that
naturally does itself, and is obvious to the eyes of all mankind; for
his personal qualities are all derived into the most minute parts of his
administration. If this be just, prudent, regular, impartial, intent
upon the public good, prepared for present exigencies, and provident of
the future; such is the director himself in his private capacity: If it
be rapacious, insolent, partial, palliating long and deep diseases of
the public with empirical remedies, false, disguised, impudent,
malicious, revengeful; you shall infallibly find the private life of the
conductor to answer in every point; nay, what is more, every twinge of
the gout or gravel will be felt in their consequences by the community.
As the thief-catcher, upon viewing a house broke open, could immediately
distinguish, from the manner of the workmanship, by what hand it was

It is hard to form a maxim against which an exception is not ready to
start up: So, in the present case, where the minister grows enormously
rich, the public is proportionably poor; as, in a private family, the
steward always thrives the fastest when his lord is running out.

       *       *       *       *       *
       *       *       *       *       *


Regoge[203] was the thirty-fourth emperor of Japan, and began his reign
in the year 341 of the Christian era, succeeding to Nena,[204] a
princess who governed with great felicity.

There had been a revolution in that empire about twenty-six years
before, which made some breaches in the hereditary line; and Regoge,
successor to Nena, although of the royal family, was a distant
relation. There were two violent parties in the empire, which began in
the time of the revolution above mentioned; and, at the death of the
Empress Nena, were in the highest degree of animosity, each charging the
other with a design of introducing new gods, and changing the civil
constitution. The names of these two parties were Husiges and
Yortes.[205] The latter were those whom Nena, the late empress, most
favoured towards the end of her reign, and by whose advice she governed.

The Husige faction, enraged at their loss of power, made private
applications to Regoge during the life of the empress; which prevailed
so far, that, upon her death, the new emperor wholly disgraced the
Yortes, and employed only the Husiges in all his affairs. The Japanese
author highly blames his Imperial Majesty's proceeding in this affair;
because, it was allowed on all hands, that he had then a happy
opportunity of reconciling parties for ever by a moderating scheme. But
he, on the contrary, began his reign by openly disgracing the principal
and most popular Yortes, some of which had been chiefly instrumental in
raising him to the throne. By this mistaken step he occasioned a
rebellion; which, although it were soon quelled by some very surprising
turns of fortune, yet the fear, whether real or pretended, of new
attempts, engaged him in such immense charges, that, instead of clearing
any part of that prodigious debt left on his kingdom by the former war,
which might have been done by any tolerable management, in twelve years
of the most profound peace; he left his empire loaden with a vast
addition to the old encumbrance.

This prince, before he succeeded to the empire of Japan, was king of
Tedsu,[206] a dominion seated on the continent, to the west side of
Japan. Tedsu was the place of his birth, and more beloved by him than
his new empire; for there he spent some months almost every year, and
thither was supposed to have conveyed great sums of money, saved out of
his Imperial revenues.

There were two maritime towns of great importance bordering upon
Tedsu:[207] Of these he purchased a litigated title; and, to support it,
was forced not only to entrench deeply on his Japanese revenues, but to
engage in alliances very dangerous to the Japanese empire.[208]

Japan was at that time a limited monarchy, which some authors are of
opinion was introduced there by a detachment from the numerous army of
Brennus, who ravaged a great part of Asia; and, those of them who fixed
in Japan, left behind them that kind of military institution, which the
northern people, in ensuing ages, carried through most parts of Europe;
the generals becoming kings, the great officers a senate of nobles, with
a representative from every centenary of private soldiers; and, in the
assent of the majority in these two bodies, confirmed by the general,
the legislature consisted.

I need not farther explain a matter so universally known; but return to
my subject.

The Husige faction, by a gross piece of negligence in the Yortes, had so
far insinuated themselves and their opinions into the favour of Regoge
before he came to the empire, that this prince firmly believed them to
be his only true friends, and the others his mortal enemies.[209] By
this opinion he governed all the actions of his reign.

The emperor died suddenly, in his journey to Tedsu; where, according to
his usual custom, he was going to pass the summer.

This prince, during his whole reign, continued an absolute stranger to
the language, the manners, the laws, and the religion of Japan; and
passing his whole time among old mistresses, or a few privadoes, left
the whole management of the empire in the hands of a minister, upon the
condition of being made easy in his personal revenues, and the
management of parties in the senate. His last minister,[210] who
governed in the most arbitrary manner for several years, he was thought
to hate more than he did any other person in Japan, except his only
son, the heir to the empire. The dislike he bore to the former was,
because the minister, under pretence that he could not govern the senate
without disposing of employments among them, would not suffer his master
to oblige one single person, but disposed of all to his own relations
and dependants. But, as to that continued and virulent hatred he bore to
the prince his son, from the beginning of his reign to his death, the
historian hath not accounted for it, further than by various
conjectures, which do not deserve to be related.

The minister above mentioned was of a family not contemptible, had been
early a senator, and from his youth a mortal enemy to the Yortes. He had
been formerly disgraced in the senate, for some frauds in the management
of a public trust.[211] He was perfectly skilled, by long practice, in
the senatorial forms; and dexterous in the purchasing of votes, from
those who could find their accounts better in complying with his
measures, than they could probably lose by any tax that might be charged
on the kingdom. He seemed to fail, in point of policy, by not concealing
his gettings, never scrupling openly to lay out vast sums of money in
paintings, buildings, and purchasing estates; when it was known, that,
upon his first coming into business, upon the death of the Empress Nena,
his fortune was but inconsiderable. He had the most boldness, and the
least magnanimity that ever any mortal was endowed with. By enriching
his relations, friends, and dependants, in a most exorbitant manner, he
was weak enough to imagine that he had provided a support against an
evil day. He had the best among all false appearances of courage, which
was a most unlimited assurance, whereby he would swagger the boldest men
into a dread of his power, but had not the smallest portion of
magnanimity, growing jealous, and disgracing every man, who was known to
bear the least civility to those he disliked. He had some small
smattering in books, but no manner of politeness; nor, in his whole
life, was ever known to advance any one person, upon the score of wit,
learning, or abilities for business. The whole system of his ministry
was corruption; and he never gave bribe or pension, without frankly
telling the receivers what he expected from them, and threatening them
to put an end to his bounty, if they failed to comply in every

A few months before the emperor's death, there was a design concerted
between some eminent persons of both parties, whom the desperate state
of the empire had united, to accuse the minister at the first meeting of
a new chosen senate, which was then to assemble according to the laws of
that empire. And it was believed, that the vast expense he must be at in
choosing an assembly proper for his purpose, added to the low state of
the treasury, the increasing number of pensioners, the great discontent
of the people, and the personal hatred of the emperor; would, if well
laid open in the senate, be of weight enough to sink the minister, when
it should appear to his very pensioners and creatures that he could not
supply them much longer.

While this scheme was in agitation, an account came of the emperor's
death, and the prince his son,[212] with universal joy, mounted the
throne of Japan.

The new emperor had always lived a private life, during the reign of his
father; who, in his annual absence, never trusted him more than once
with the reins of government, which he held so evenly that he became too
popular to be confided in any more. He was thought not unfavourable to
the Yortes, at least not altogether to approve the virulence wherewith
his father proceeded against them; and therefore, immediately upon his
succession, the principal persons of that denomination came, in several
bodies, to kiss the hem of his garment, whom he received with great
courtesy, and some of them with particular marks of distinction.

The prince, during the reign of his father, having not been trusted with
any public charge, employed his leisure in learning the language, the
religion, the customs, and disposition of the Japanese; wherein he
received great information, among others, from Nomptoc[213], master of
his finances, and president of the senate, who secretly hated Lelop-Aw,
the minister; and likewise from Ramneh[214], a most eminent senator;
who, despairing to do any good with the father, had, with great
industry, skill, and decency, used his endeavour to instil good
principles into the young prince.

Upon the news of the former emperor's death, a grand council was
summoned of course, where little passed besides directing the ceremony
of proclaiming the successor. But, in some days after, the new emperor
having consulted with those persons in whom he could chiefly confide,
and maturely considered in his own mind the present state of his
affairs, as well as the disposition of his people, convoked another
assembly of his council; wherein, after some time spent in general
business, suitable to the present emergency, he directed Lelop-Aw to
give him, in as short terms as he conveniently could, an account of the
nation's debts, of his management in the senate, and his negotiations
with foreign courts: Which that minister having delivered, according to
his usual manner, with much assurance and little satisfaction, the
emperor desired to be fully satisfied in the following particulars.

Whether the vast expense of choosing such members into the senate, as
would be content to do the public business, were absolutely necessary?

Whether those members, thus chosen in, would cross and impede the
necessary course of affairs, unless they were supplied with great sums
of money, and continued pensions?

Whether the same corruption and perverseness were to be expected from
the nobles?

Whether the empire of Japan were in so low a condition, that the
imperial envoys, at foreign courts, must be forced to purchase
alliances, or prevent a war, by immense bribes, given to the ministers
of all the neighbouring princes?

Why the debts of the empire were so prodigiously advanced, in a peace of
twelve years at home and abroad?

Whether the Yortes were universally enemies to the religion and laws of
the empire, and to the imperial family now reigning?

Whether those persons, whose revenues consist in lands, do not give
surer pledges of fidelity to the public, and are more interested in the
welfare of the empire, than others whose fortunes consist only in money?

And because Lelop-Aw, for several years past, had engrossed the whole
administration, the emperor signified, that from him alone he expected
an answer.

This minister, who had sagacity enough to cultivate an interest in the
young prince's family, during the late emperor's life, received early
intelligence from one of his emissaries of what was intended at the
council, and had sufficient time to frame as plausible an answer as his
cause and conduct would allow. However, having desired a few minutes to
put his thoughts in order, he delivered them in the following manner.

       *       *       *       *       *


"Upon this short unexpected warning, to answer your Imperial Majesty's
queries I should be wholly at a loss, in your Majesty's august presence,
and that of this most noble assembly, if I were armed with a weaker
defence than my own loyalty and integrity, and the prosperous success of
my endeavours.

"It is well known that the death of the Empress Nena happened in a most
miraculous juncture; and that, if she had lived two months longer, your
illustrious family would have been deprived of your right, and we should
have seen an usurper upon your throne, who would have wholly changed the
constitution of this empire, both civil and sacred; and although that
empress died in a most opportune season, yet the peaceable entrance of
your Majesty's father was effected by a continual series of miracles.
The truth of this appears by that unnatural rebellion which the Yortes
raised, without the least provocation, in the first year of the late
emperor's reign, which may be sufficient to convince your Majesty, that
every soul of that denomination was, is, and will be for ever, a
favourer of the Pretender, a mortal enemy to your illustrious family,
and an introducer of new gods into the empire. Upon this foundation was
built the whole conduct of our affairs; and, since a great majority of
the kingdom was at that time reckoned to favour the Yortes faction, who,
in the regular course of elections, must certainly be chosen members of
the senate then to be convoked; it was necessary, by the force of money,
to influence elections in such a manner, that your Majesty's father
might have a sufficient number to weigh down the scale on his side, and
thereby carry on those measures which could only secure him and his
family in the possession of the empire. To support this original plan I
came into the service: But the members of the senate, knowing themselves
every day more necessary, upon the choosing of a new senate, I found the
charges to increase; and that, after they were chosen, they insisted
upon an increase of their pensions; because they well knew that the work
could not be carried on without them: And I was more general in my
donatives, because I thought it was more for the honour of the crown,
that every vote should pass without a division; and that, when a debate
was proposed, it should immediately be quashed, by putting the question.

"Sir, The date of the present senate is expired, and your Imperial
Majesty is now to convoke a new one; which, I confess, will be somewhat
more expensive than the last, because the Yortes, from your favourable
reception, have begun to reassume a spirit whereof the country had some
intelligence; and we know the majority of the people, without proper
management, would be still in that fatal interest. However, I dare
undertake, with the charge only of four hundred thousand sprangs,[215]
to return as great a majority of senators of the true stamp, as your
Majesty can desire. As to the sums of money paid in foreign courts, I
hope, in some years, to ease the nation of them, when we and our
neighbours come to a good understanding. However, I will be bold to say,
they are cheaper than a war, where your Majesty is to be a principal.

"The pensions, indeed, to senators and other persons, must needs
increase, from the restiveness of some, and scrupulous nature of others;
and the new members, who are unpractised, must have better
encouragement. However, I dare undertake to bring the eventual charge
within eight hundred thousand sprangs. But, to make this easy, there
shall be new funds raised, of which I have several schemes ready,
without taxing bread or flesh, which shall be referred to more pressing

"Your Majesty knows it is the laudable custom of all Eastern princes, to
leave the whole management of affairs, both civil and military, to their
viziers. The appointments for your family, and private purse, shall
exceed those of your predecessors: You shall be at no trouble, further
than to appear sometimes in council, and leave the rest to me: You shall
hear no clamour or complaints: Your senate shall, upon occasions,
declare you the best of princes, the father of your country, the arbiter
of Asia, the defender of the oppressed, and the delight of mankind.

"Sir, Hear not those who would most falsely, impiously, and maliciously
insinuate, that your government can be carried on without that
wholesome, necessary expedient, of sharing the public revenue with your
faithful deserving senators. This, I know, my enemies are pleased to
call bribery and corruption. Be it so: But I insist, that without this
bribery and corruption, the wheels of government will not turn, or at
least will be apt to take fire, like other wheels, unless they be
greased at proper times. If an angel from heaven should descend, to
govern this empire upon any other scheme than what our enemies call
corruption, he must return from whence he came, and leave the work

"Sir, It is well known we are a trading nation, and consequently cannot
thrive in a bargain where nothing is to be gained. The poor electors,
who run from their shops, or the plough, for the service of their
country, are they not to be considered for their labour and their
loyalty? The candidates, who, with the hazard of their persons, the loss
of their characters, and the ruin of their fortunes, are preferred to
the senate, in a country where they are strangers, before the very lords
of the soil; are they not to be rewarded for their zeal to your
Majesty's service, and qualified to live in your metropolis as becomes
the lustre of their stations?

"Sir, If I have given great numbers of the most profitable employments
among my own relations and nearest allies, it was not out of any
partiality, but because I know them best, and can best depend upon them.
I have been at the pains to mould and cultivate their opinions. Abler
heads might probably have been found, but they would not be equally
under my direction. A huntsman, who hath the absolute command of his
dogs, will hunt more effectually than with a better pack, to whose
manner and cry he is a stranger.

"Sir, Upon the whole, I will appeal to all those who best knew your
royal father, whether that blessed monarch had ever one anxious thought
for the public, or disappointment, or uneasiness, or want of money for
all his occasions, during the time of my administration? And, how happy
the people confessed themselves to be under such a king, I leave to
their own numerous addresses; which all politicians will allow to be the
most infallible proof how any nation stands affected to their

       *       *       *       *       *

Lelop-Aw, having ended his speech and struck his forehead thrice against
the table, as the custom is in Japan, sat down with great complacency of
mind, and much applause of his adherents, as might be observed by their
countenances and their whispers. But the Emperor's behaviour was
remarkable; for, during the whole harangue, he appeared equally
attentive and uneasy. After a short pause, His Majesty commanded that
some other counsellor should deliver his thoughts, either to confirm or
object against what had been spoken by Lelop-Aw.


                                                       Oct. 15, 1730.

A pamphlet was lately sent me, entitled, "A Letter from the Right
Honourable Sir R. W. to the Right Honourable W. P. Esq; occasioned by the
late Invectives on the King, her Majesty, and all the Royal Family." By
these initial letters of our names, the world is to understand that you
and I must be meant. Although the letter seems to require an answer, yet
because it appears to be written rather in the style and manner used by
some of your pensioners, than your own, I shall allow you the liberty to
think the same of this answer, and leave the public to determine which
of the two actors can better personate their principals. That frigid and
fustian way of haranguing wherewith your representer begins, continues,
and ends his declamation, I shall leave to the critics in eloquence and
propriety to descant on; because it adds nothing to the weight of your
accusations, nor will my defence be one grain the better by exposing its

I shall therefore only remark upon this particular, that the frauds and
corruptions in most other arts and sciences, as law, physic (I shall
proceed no further) are usually much more plausibly defended than in
that of politics; whether it be, that by a kind of fatality the
vindication of a corrupt minister is always left to the management of
the meanest and most prostitute writers; or whether it be, that the
effects of a wicked or unskilful administration, are more public,
visible, pernicious and universal. Whereas the mistakes in other
sciences are often matters that affect only speculation; or at worst,
the bad consequences fall upon few and private persons. A nation is
quickly sensible of the miseries it feels, and little comforted by
knowing what account it turns to by the wealth, the power, the honours
conferred on those who sit at the helm, or the salaries paid to their
penmen; while the body of the people is sunk into poverty and despair. A
Frenchman in his wooden shoes may, from the vanity of his nation, and
the constitution of that government, conceive some imaginary pleasure in
boasting the grandeur of his monarch, in the midst of his own slavery;
but a free-born Englishman, with all his loyalty, can find little
satisfaction at a minister overgrown in wealth and power from the lowest
degree of want and contempt; when that power or wealth are drawn from
the bowels and blood of the nation, for which every fellow-subject is a
sufferer, except the great man himself, his family, and his pensioners.
I mean such a minister (if there hath ever been such a one) whose whole
management hath been a continued link of ignorance, blunders, and
mistakes in every article besides that of enriching and aggrandizing

For these reasons the faults of men, who are most trusted in public
business, are, of all others, the most difficult to be defended. A man
may be persuaded into a wrong opinion, wherein he hath small concern:
but no oratory can have the power over a sober man against the
conviction of his own senses: and therefore, as I take it, the money
thrown away on such advocates might be more prudently spared, and kept
in such a minister's own pocket, than lavished in hiring a corporation
of pamphleteers to defend his conduct, and prove a kingdom to be
flourishing in trade and wealth, which every particular subject (except
those few already excepted) can lawfully swear, and, by dear experience
knows, to be a falsehood.

Give me leave, noble sir, in the way of argument, to suppose this to be
your case; could you in good conscience, or moral justice, chide your
paper-advocates for their ill success in persuading the world against
manifest demonstration? Their miscarriage is owing, alas! to want of
matter. Should we allow them to be masters of wit, raillery, or
learning, yet the subject would not admit them to exercise their
talents; and, consequently, they can have no recourse but to impudence,
lying, and scurrility.

I must confess, that the author of your letter to me hath carried this
last qualification to a greater height than any of his fellows: but he
hath, in my opinion, failed a little in point of politeness from the
original which he affects to imitate. If I should say to a prime
minister, "Sir, you have sufficiently provided that Dunkirk should be
absolutely demolished and never repaired; you took the best advantages
of a long and general peace to discharge the immense debts of the
nation; you did wonders with the fleet; you made the Spaniards submit to
our quiet possession of Gibraltar and Portmahon; you never enriched
yourself and family at the expense of the public."--Such is the style of
your supposed letter, which however, if I am well informed, by no means
comes up to the refinements of a fishwife in Billingsgate. "You never
had a bastard by Tom the waterman; you never stole a silver tankard; you
were never whipped at the cart's tail."

In the title of your letter, it is said to be "occasioned by the late
invectives on the King, her Majesty, and all the Royal Family:" and the
whole contents of the paper (stripped from your eloquence) goes on upon
a supposition affectedly serious, that their Majesties, and the whole
Royal Family, have been lately bitterly and publicly inveighed against
in the most enormous and treasonable manner. Now, being a man, as you
well know, altogether out of business, I do sometimes lose an hour in
reading a few of those controversial papers upon politics, which have
succeeded for some years past to the polemical tracts between Whig and
Tory: and in this kind of reading (if it may deserve to be so called)
although I have been often but little edified, or entertained, yet hath
it given me occasion to make some observations. First, I have observed,
that however men may sincerely agree in all the branches of the Low
Church principle, in a tenderness for dissenters of every kind, in a
perfect abhorrence of Popery and the Pretender, and in the most firm
adherence to the Protestant succession in the royal house of Hanover;
yet plenty of matter may arise to kindle their animosities against each
other from the various infirmities, follies, and vices inherent in

Secondly, I observed, that although the vulgar reproach which charges
the quarrels between ministers, and their opposers, to be only a
contention for power between those who are in, and those who would be in
if they could; yet as long as this proceeds no further than a scuffle of
ambition among a few persons, it is only a matter of course, whereby the
public is little affected. But when corruptions are plain, open, and
undisguised, both in their causes and effects, to the hazard of a
nation's ruin, and so declared by all the principal persons and the bulk
of the people, those only excepted who are gainers by those corruptions:
and when such ministers are forced to fly for shelter to the throne,
with a complaint of disaffection to majesty against all who durst
dislike their administration: such a general disposition in the minds of
men, cannot, I think, by any rules of reason, be called the "clamour of
a few disaffected incendiaries," gasping[217] after power. It is the
true voice of the people; which must and will at last be heard, or
produce consequences that I dare not mention.

I have observed thirdly, that among all the offensive printed papers
which have come to my hand, whether good or bad, the writers have taken
particular pains to celebrate the virtues of our excellent King and
Queen, even where these were, strictly speaking, no part of the subject:
nor can it be properly objected that such a proceeding was only a blind
to cover their malice towards you and your assistants; because to
affront the King, Queen, or the Royal Family, as it would be directly
opposite to the principles that those kind of writers have always
professed, so it would destroy the very end they have in pursuit. And it
is somewhat remarkable, that those very writers against you, and the
regiment you command, are such as most distinguish themselves upon all,
or upon no occasions, by their panegyrics on their prince; and, as all
of them do this without favour or hire, so some of them continue the
same practice under the severest prosecution by you and your janizaries.

You seem to know, or at least very strongly to conjecture, who those
persons are that give you so much weekly disquiet. Will you dare to
assert that any of these are Jacobites, endeavour to alienate the hearts
of the people, to defame the prince, and then dethrone him (for these
are your expressions) and that I am their patron, their bulwark, their
hope, and their refuge? Can you think I will descend to vindicate myself
against an aspersion so absurd? God be thanked, we have had many a
change of ministry without changing our prince: for if it had been
otherwise, perhaps revolutions might have been more frequent. Heaven
forbid that the welfare of a great kingdom, and of a brave people,
should be trusted with the thread of a single subject's life; for I
suppose it is not yet in your view to entail the ministryship in your
family. Thus I hope we may live to see different ministers and different
measures, without any danger to the succession in the royal Protestant
line of Hanover.

You are pleased to advance a topic, which I could never heartily approve
of in any party, although they have each in their turn advanced it while
they had the superiority. You tell us, "It is hard that while every
private man shall have the liberty to choose what servants he pleaseth,
the same privilege should be refused to a king." This assertion, crudely
understood, can hardly be supported. If by servants be only meant those
who are purely menial, who provide for their master's food and clothing,
or for the convenience and splendour of his family, the point is not
worth debating. But the bad or good choice of a chancellor, a secretary,
an ambassador, a treasurer, and many other officers, is of very high
consequence to the whole kingdom; so is likewise that amphibious race of
courtiers between servants and ministers; such as the steward,
chamberlain, treasurer of the household and the like, being all of the
privy council, and some of the cabinet, who according to their talents,
their principles, and their degree of favour, may be great instruments
of good or evil, both to the subject and the prince; so that the
parallel is by no means adequate between a prince's court and a private
family. And yet if an insolent footman be troublesome in the
neighbourhood; if he breaks the people's windows, insults their
servants, breaks into other folk's houses to pilfer what he can find,
although he belong to a duke, and be a favourite in his station, yet
those who are injured may, without just offence, complain to his lord,
and for want of redress get a warrant to send him to the stocks, to
Bridewell, or to Newgate, according to the nature and degree of his
delinquencies. Thus the servants of the prince, whether menial or
otherwise, if they be of his council, are subject to the enquiries and
prosecutions of the great council of the nation, even as far as to
capital punishment; and so must ever be in our constitution, till a
minister can procure a majority even of that council to shelter him;
which I am sure you will allow to be a desperate crisis under any party
of the most plausible denomination.

The only instance you produce, or rather insinuate, to prove the late
invectives against the King, Queen, and Royal Family, is drawn from that
deduction of the English history, published in several papers by the
_Craftsman_; wherein are shewn the bad consequences to the public, as
well as to the prince, from the practices of evil ministers in most
reigns, and at several periods, when the throne was filled by wise
monarchs as well as by weak. This deduction, therefore, cannot
reasonably give the least offence to a British king, when he shall
observe that the greatest and ablest of his predecessors, by their own
candour, by a particular juncture of affairs, or by the general
infirmity of human nature, have sometimes put too much trust in
confident, insinuating, and avaricious ministers.

Wisdom, attended by virtue and a generous nature, is not unapt to be
imposed on. Thus Milton describes Uriel, "the sharpest-sighted spirit in
heaven," and "regent of the sun," deceived by the dissimulation and
flattery of the devil, for which the poet gives a philosophical reason,
but needless here to quote.[218] Is anything more common, or more
useful, than to caution wise men in high stations against putting too
much trust in undertaking servants, cringing flatterers, or designing
friends? Since the Asiatic custom of governing by prime ministers hath
prevailed in so many courts of Europe, how careful should every prince
be in the choice of the person on whom so great a trust is devolved,
whereon depend the safety and welfare of himself and all his subjects.
Queen Elizabeth, whose administration is frequently quoted as the best
pattern for English princes to follow, could not resist the artifices of
the Earl of Leicester, who, although universally allowed to be the most
ambitious, insolent, and corrupt person of his age, was yet her
greatest, and almost her only favourite: (his religion indeed being
partly puritan and partly infidel, might have better tallied with
present times) yet this wise queen would never suffer the openest
enemies of that overgrown lord to be sacrificed to his vengeance; nor
durst he charge them with a design of introducing Popery or the Spanish

How many great families do we all know, whose masters have passed for
persons of good abilities, during the whole course of their lives, and
yet the greatest part of whose estates have sunk in the hands of their
stewards and receivers; their revenues paid them in scanty portions, at
large discount, and treble interest, though they did not know it; while
the tenants were daily racked, and at the same time accused to their
landlords of insolvency. Of this species are such managers, who, like
honest Peter Waters, pretend to clear an estate, keep the owner
penniless, and, after seven years, leave him five times more in debt,
while they sink half a plum into their own pockets.

Those who think themselves concerned, may give you thanks for that
gracious liberty you are pleased to allow them of "taking vengeance on
the ministers, and there shooting their envenomed arrows." As to myself;
I neither owe you vengeance, nor make use of such weapons: but it is
your weakness, or ill fortune, or perhaps the fault of your
constitution, to convert wholesome remedies into poison; for you have
received better and more frequent instructions than any minister of your
age and country, if God had given you the grace to apply them.

I dare promise you the thanks of half the kingdom, if you will please to
perform the promise you have made of suffering the _Craftsman_ and
company, or whatever other "infamous wretches and execrable villains"
you mean, to take their vengeance only on your own sacred ministerial
person, without bringing any of your brethren, much less the most remote
branch of the Royal Family, into the debate. This generous offer I
suspected from the first; because there were never heard of so many, so
unnecessary, and so severe prosecutions as you have promoted during your
ministry, in a kingdom where the liberty of the press is so much
pretended to be allowed. But in reading a page or two, I found you
thought it proper to explain away your grant; for there you tell us,
that "these miscreants" (meaning the writers against you) "are to
remember that the laws have ABUNDANTLY LESS generous, less mild
and merciful sentiments" than yourself, and into their secular hands the
poor authors must be delivered to fines, prisons, pillories, whippings,
and the gallows. Thus your promise of impunity, which began somewhat
jesuitically, concludes with the mercy of a Spanish inquisitor.

If it should so happen that I am neither "abettor, patron, protector,"
nor "supporter" of these imaginary invectives "against the King, her
Majesty, or any of the Royal Family," I desire to know what
satisfaction I am to get from you, or the creature you employed in
writing the libel which I am now answering? It will be no excuse to
say, that I differ from you in every particular of your political
reason and practise; because that will be to load the best, the
soundest, and most numerous part of the kingdom with the denominations
you are pleased to bestow upon me, that they are "Jacobites, wicked
miscreants, infamous wretches, execrable villains, and defamers of the
King, Queen, and all the Royal Family," and "guilty of high treason."
You cannot know my style; but I can easily know your works, which are
performed in the sight of the sun. Your good inclinations are
visible; but I begin to doubt the strength of your credit, even at
court, that you have not power to make his Majesty believe me the
person which you represent in your libel: as most infallibly you have
often attempted, and in vain, because I must otherwise have found it
by the marks of his royal displeasure. However, to be angry with you
to whom I am indebted for the greatest obligation I could possibly
receive, would be the highest ingratitude. It is to YOU I owe that
reputation I have acquired for some years past of being a lover of my
country and its constitution: to YOU I owe the libels and scurrilities
conferred upon me by the worst of men, and consequently some degree of
esteem and friendship from the best. From YOU I learned the skill of
distinguishing between a patriot and a plunderer of his country: and
from YOU I hope in time to acquire the knowledge of being a loyal,
faithful, and useful servant to the best of princes, King George the
Second; and therefore I can conclude, by your example, but with
greater truth, that I am not only with humble submission and respect,
but with infinite gratitude, Sir, your most obedient and most obliged

                                                    W. P.


  Acheson, Sir Arthur, 246.

  Alberoni's expedition, 207.

  Allen, Joshua, Lord, his attack on Swift, 168, 169, 175, 176, 236, 237;
    account of, 175.

  America, emigration from Ireland to, 120.

  Arachne, fable of, 21.

  Ballaquer, Carteret's secretary, 242.

  Bank, proposal for a national, in Ireland, 27, 31, 38, 42, 43;
    subscribers to the, 49-51.

  Barbou, Dr Nicholas, 69.

  Barnstaple, the chief market for Irish wool, 18.

  Beggars in Ireland, 70;
    Proposal for giving Badges to, 323-335;
    reason for the number of, 341.

  Birch, Colonel John, 6.

  Bishops, Swift's proposal to sell the lands of the, 252 _et seq._

  Bladon, Colonel, 23.

  Bolingbroke, Lord, his contributions to the "Craftsman," 219, 375, 377.

  Boulter, Archbishop, his scheme for lowering the gold coinage, 353;
    opposed by Swift, 353, 354.

  Browne, Sir John, his "Scheme of the money matters of Ireland," 66;
    Swift's answer to his "Memorial," 109-116.

  Burnet, William, 121.

  Carteret, John, Lord, 227;
    Swift's Vindication of, 229-249.

  Coinage, McCulla's proposal about, 179-190;
    Swift's counter-proposal, 183.

  Coining, forbidden in Ireland, 88, 134.

  Compton, Sir Spencer, 387.

  Corn, imported into Ireland from England, 17.

  "Cossing," explained, 271.

  Cotter, ballad upon, 23.

  "Craftsman," the, 219, 375, 397, 399.

  Davenport, Colonel, 280.

  Delany, Dr. Patrick, 244.

  Dublin, thieves and roughs in, 56;
    Examination of certain Abuses, etc, in, 263-282;
    Advice to the Freemen of, in the Choice of
    a Member of Parliament, 311-316;
    Considerations in the Choice of a Recorder of, 319, 320.

  Dunkin, Rev. William, Swift's efforts in behalf of, 364, 368.

  Dutton-Colt, Sir Harry, 280.

  Elliston, Ebenezer, Last Speech of, 56 _et seq._

  Esquire, the title of, 49.

  Footmen, Petition of the, 307.

  French, Humphry, Lord Mayor of Dublin, 310, 311.

  French army, recruited in Ireland, 218, 220.

  Frogs, propagation of, in Ireland, 340.

  Galway, Earl of, 235.

  Grafton, Duke of, 194.

  Grimston, Lord, his "Lawyer's Fortune, or Love in a Hollow Tree," 24.

  Gwythers, Dr., introduces frogs into Ireland, 340.

  Hanmer, Sir Thomas, 387.

  Hospital for Incurables, Scheme for a, 283-303.

  Hutcheson, Hartley, 234.

  Injured Lady, Story of the, 97-103;
    Answer to the, 107-109.

  Ireland, the Test Act in, 2, 5 _et seq._;
    exportation of wool from, forbidden, 17, 18, 110, 111, 157, 158;
    absentee landlords, 25, 69, 71, 101, 162;
    Sheridan's account of the state of, 26-30;
    proposal for establishing a National Bank in, 31, 38, 42, 43;
    maxims controlled in, 65;
    poverty of, 25, 66, 87, 89, 90, 122;
    increase of rents in, 67, 163;
    begging and thieving in, 70;
    Short view of the State of, 83-91;
    importation of cattle into England prohibited, 86, 100, 110, 221;
    encouragement of the linen manufactures in, 102, 158;
    luxury and extravagance among the women in, 124, 139, 198, 199, 219;
    condition of the roads in, 130;
    bad management of the bogs in, 131;
    dishonesty of tradesmen in, 142, 147;
    the National Debt of, 196;
    famine in, 203;
    population of, 208;
    persecution of Roman Catholics in, 263.

  Irish brogue, the, 346.

  Irish eloquence, 361.

  Irish language, proposal to abolish the, 133.

  Irish peers, titles of, 349.

  Japan, Account of the Court and Empire of, 382-391.

  King, Archbishop, 21, 119, 136, 244, 326.

  Lindsay, Robert, 259.

  Linen trade in Ireland, the, 88, 102, 158.

  Littleton, Sir Thomas, 7.

  Lorrain, Paul, ordinary of Newgate, 34.

  Macarrell, John, 310, 311.

  McCulla's Project about halfpence, 179-190.

  Manufactures, Irish, Proposal for the Universal use of, 17-30;
    Proposal that all Ladies should appear constantly in, 193-199.
    _See also_ "Woollen Manufactures."

  Mar, Earl of, 164.

  Maxwell, Henry, his pamphlets in favour of a bank in Ireland, 38.

  Mist, Nathaniel, 194.

  National Debt, Proposal to pay off the, 251-258.

  Navigation Act, the effect of, in Ireland, 66, 86.

  Norton, Richard, 301.

  "Orange, the squeezing of the," 275.

  Penn, William, 120.

  Perron, Cardinal, anecdote of, 238.

  Peterborough, Lord, letter of Swift to, April 28, 1726, 154-156.

  Phipps, Sir Constantine, 244.

  "Pistorides" (Richard Tighe), 233, 235.

  Poor, Considerations about maintaining the, 339-342.

  Poyning's Law, 103, 105.

  Psalmanazar, George, his Description of the Island of Formosa, 211.

  Pulteney, William, the "Craftsman" founded by, 219, 375;
    "Answer of, to Robert Walpole," 392-400.

  Quilca, life at, 74, 75-77.

  Rents, raising of, in Ireland, 163.

  Roads, in Ireland, condition of the, 130.

  Roman Catholics, legislation against, 5;
    petty persecution of, in Ireland, 263.

  Rowley, Hercules, his pamphlets against
    the establishment of a bank in Ireland, 38.

  Savoy, Duke of, 277.

  Scotland, description of, 97, 98.

  Scots in Sweden, 9.

  Scottish colonists in Ulster, 104.

  Sheridan, Dr. Thomas, 74;
    his account of the state of Ireland, 26-30;
    given a chaplaincy by Carteret, 232, 241;
    anecdote of Carteret, related by, 232;
    informed against by Tighe, 233, 242.

  Stanley, Sir John, Commissioner of Customs, 197.

  Stannard, Eaton, elected Recorder of Dublin, 319, 366.

  Stopford, Dr. James, Bishop of Cloyne, 243.

  Street cries explained, 268-270, 275-281.

  Swan, Mr., 280.

  Swandlingbar, origin of the name of, 347.

  Swearer's Bank, the, 41.

  Swift, Godwin, 347.

  Swift, Jonathan, the freedom of the City of Dublin conferred on, 168;
    his speech on the occasion, 169-172;
    confesses the authorship of the "Drapier's Letters," 171;
    born in Dublin, 267;
    his opposition to Archbishop Boulter, 353, 354;
    his speech on the lowering of the coin, 357;
    his efforts in behalf of Mr. Dunkin, 364-368;
    receives the freedom of the City of Cork, 367;
    appoints Dr. Wynne Sub-dean of St. Patrick's, 370.

  Temple, Sir William, his comparison of Holland and Ireland, 164.

  Test Act, in Ireland, 2, 5 _et seq._

  Thompson, Edward, Commissioner of the Revenue in Ireland, 315.

  Tickell, T., 242.

  Tighe, Richard, informs against Sheridan, 74, 233, 242;
    attacks Carteret, 228;
    ridiculed as "Pistorides," 233, 235.

  "Traulus" (Lord Allen), 176, 236.

  Trees, planting of, in Ireland, 132.

  Violante, Madam, 234.

  Wallis, Dr., 280.

  Walpole, Sir Robert, interview of Swift with, in 1726, 153;
    his views on Ireland, 154;
    satire on, 276;
    his literary assistants, 379, 393 _et seq._;
    character of, 384 _et seq._

  Waters, Edward, Swift's printer, 171, 193.

  Whitshed, Lord Chief Justice, 14, 86, 115, 129, 171, 193, 194.

  Wine, proposed tax on, 196, 197.

  Wool, Irish, exportation of,
    forbidden by law, 17, 18, 110, 111, 157, 158;
    effect of the prohibition on England, 160.

  Woollen manufactures, Irish people should use their own, 137 _et seq._;
    Observations on the case of the, 147-150.

  Wynne, Rev. Dr. John, Sub-dean of St. Patrick's, 370.


[1] "Unpublished Letters of Swift," edited by Dr. Birkbeck Hill, 1899.

[2] Mr. Murray's MSS., quoted by Craik.

[3] It appeared almost impossible for Swift to see the injustice of this
test clause. In reality, it had been the outcome of the legislation
against the Irish Roman Catholics. In 1703 the Irish parliament had
passed a bill by which it was enacted, "that all estates should be
equally divided among the children of Roman Catholics, notwithstanding
any settlements to the contrary, unless the persons to whom they were to
descend, would qualify, by taking the oaths prescribed by government,
and conform to the established church" (Crawford's "History of Ireland,"
1783, vol. ii., p. 256). The bill was transmitted to England, for
approval there, at a time when Anne was asking the Emperor for his
indulgence towards the Protestants of his realms. This placed the Queen
in an awkward position, since she could hardly expect indulgence from a
Roman Catholic monarch towards Protestants when she, a Protestant
monarch, was persecuting Roman Catholics. To obviate this dilemma, the
Queen's ministers added a clause to the bill, "by which all persons in
Ireland were rendered incapable of any employment under the crown, or,
of being magistrates in any city, who, agreeably to the English test
act, did not receive the sacrament as prescribed by the Church of
England" (_ibid._). Under this clause, of course, came all the
Protestant Dissenters, including the Presbyterians "from the north." The
bill so amended passed into law; but its iniquitous influence was a
disgrace to the legislators of the day, and his advocacy of it, however
much he was convinced of its expediency, proves Swift a short-sighted
statesman wherever the enemies of the Church of England were concerned.
[T. S.]

[4] Colonel John Birch (1616-1691) was of Lancashire. Swift calls him
"of Herefordshire," because he had been appointed governor of the city
of Hereford, after he had captured it by a stratagem, in 1654. Devotedly
attached to Presbyterian principles, Birch was a man of shrewd business
abilities and remarkable oratorical gifts. On the restoration of Charles
II., in which he took a prominent part on account of Charles's
championship of Presbyterianism, Birch held important business posts. He
sat in parliament for Leominster and Penrhyn, and his plans for the
rebuilding of London after the Great Fire, though they were not adopted,
were yet such as would have been extremely salutary had they been
accepted. Of his eloquence, Burnet says: "He was the roughest and
boldest speaker in the house, and talked in the language and phrases of
a carrier, but with a beauty and eloquence, that was always acceptable."
The reference to the carrier is purposely made, since Birch did not hide
the fact that he had once pursued that occupation. Swift was twenty-four
years of age when Birch died, so that he must have been a very young man
when he heard Birch make the remark he quotes. [T. S.]

[5] Sir Thomas Littleton (1647?-1710) was chosen Speaker of the English
House of Commons by the junto in 1698. Onslow, in a note to Burnet's
"History," speaks of the good work he did as treasurer of the navy.
Macky describes him as "a stern-looked man, with a brown complexion,
well shaped" (see "Characters"). At the time of Swift's writing the
above letter, Littleton was member for Portsmouth. [T. S.]

[6] Viscount Molesworth, in his "Considerations for promoting the
Agriculture of Ireland" (1723), pointed out, that even with the added
expense of freight, it was cheaper to import corn from England, than to
grow it in Ireland itself. [T. S.]

[7] Mr. Lecky points out that in England, after the Revolution, the
councils were directed by commercial influence. At that time there was
an important woollen industry in England which, it was feared, the
growing Irish woollen manufactures would injure. The English
manufacturers petitioned for their total destruction, and the House of
Lords, in response to the petition, represented to the King that "the
growing manufacture of cloth in Ireland, both by the cheapness of all
sorts of necessaries of life, and goodness of materials for making all
manner of cloth, doth invite your subjects of England, with their
families and servants, to leave their habitations to settle there, to
the increase of the woollen manufacture in Ireland, which makes your
loyal subjects in this kingdom very apprehensive that the further growth
of it may greatly prejudice the said manufacture here." The Commons went
further, and suggested the advisability of discouraging the industry by
hindering the exportation of wool from Ireland to other countries and
limiting it to England alone. The Act of 10 and 11 Will. III. c. 10,
made the suggestion law and even prohibited entirely the exportation of
Irish wool anywhere. Thus, as Swift puts it, "the politic gentlemen of
Ireland have depopulated vast tracts of the best land, for the feeding
of sheep." See notes to later tracts in this volume on "Observations on
the Woollen Manufactures" and "Letter on the Weavers." [T. S.]

[8] That Swift did not exaggerate may be gathered from the statute
books, and, more immediately, from Hely Hutchinson's "Commercial
Restraints of Ireland" (1779), Arthur Dobbs's "Trade and Improvement of
Ireland," Lecky's "History of Ireland," vols. i. and ii., and Monck
Mason's notes in his "History of St. Patrick's Cathedral," p. 320 _et
seq._ [T. S.]

[9] Barnstaple was, at that time, the chief market in England for Irish
wool. [T. S.]

[10] In 1726, Swift presented some pieces of Irish manufactured silk to
the Princess of Wales and to Mrs. Howard. In sending the silk to Mrs.
Howard he wrote also a letter in which he remarked: "I beg you will not
tell any parliament man from whence you had that plaid; otherwise, out
of malice, they will make a law to cut off all our weavers' fingers."
[T. S.]

[11] This last sentence is as the original edition has it. In Faulkner's
first collected edition and in the fifth volume of the "Miscellanies"
(London, 1735), the following occurs in its place: "I must confess, that
as to the former, I should not be sorry if they would stay at home; and
for the latter, I hope, in a little time we shall have no occasion for

Swift knew what he was advising when he suggested that the people of
Ireland should not import their goods from England. He was well aware
that English manufactures were not really necessary. Sir William Petty
had, a half century before, pointed out that a third of the manufactures
then imported into Ireland could be produced by its own factories,
another third could as easily and as cheaply be obtained from countries
other than England, and "consequently, that it was scarce necessary at
all for Ireland to receive any goods of England, and not convenient to
receive above one-fourth part, from thence, of the whole which it
needeth to import" ("Polit. Anatomy of Ireland," 1672). [T. S.]

[12] Faulkner and the "Miscellanies" (London, 1735) print, instead of,
"as any prelate in Christendom," the words, "as if he had not been born
among us." The Archbishop was Dr. William King, with whom Swift had had
much correspondence. See "Letters" in Scott's edition (1824).

Dr. William King, who succeeded Narcissus Marsh as Archbishop of Dublin
in March, 1702-3. Swift had not always been on friendly terms with King,
but, at this time, they were in sympathy as to the wrongs and grievances
of Ireland. King strongly supported the agitation against Wood's
halfpence, but later, when he attempted to interfere with the affairs of
the Deanery of St. Patrick's, Swift and he came to an open rupture. See
also volume on the Drapier's Letters, in this edition. [T. S.]

[13] Faulkner and the "Miscellanies" of 1735 print this amount as "three
thousand six hundred." This was the sum paid by the lord-lieutenant to
the lords-justices, who represented him in the government of Ireland.
The lord-lieutenant himself did not then, as the viceroy of Ireland does
now, take up his residence in the country. Although in receipt of a
large salary, he only came to Dublin to deliver the speeches at the
openings of parliament, or on some other special occasion. [T. S.]

[14] The Dublin edition of this pamphlet has a note stating that Cotter
was a gentleman of Cork who was executed for committing a rape on a
Quaker. [T. S.]

[15] Said to be Colonel Bladon (1680-1746), who translated the
Commentaries of Cæsar. He was a dependant of the Duke of Marlborough, to
whom he dedicated this translation. [T. S.]

[16] Lord Grimston. William Luckyn, first Viscount Grimston (1683-1756),
was created an Irish peer with the title Baron Dunboyne in 1719. The
full title of the play to which Swift refers, is "The Lawyer's Fortune,
or, Love in a Hollow Tree." It was published in 1705. Swift refers to
Grimston in his verses "On Poetry, a Rhapsody." Pope, in one of his
satires, calls him "booby lord." Grimston withdrew his play from
circulation after the second edition, but it was reprinted in Rotterdam
in 1728 and in London in 1736. Dr. Johnson told Chesterfield a story
which made the Duchess of Marlborough responsible for this London
reprint, which had for frontispiece the picture of an ass wearing a
coronet. [T. S.]

[17] The original edition prints "ministers" instead of "chief
governors." [T. S.]

[18] In 1720 Bishop Nicholson of Derry, writing to the Archbishop of
Canterbury, describes the wretched condition of the towns and the
country districts, and the misery of their population:

"Our trade of all kind is at a stand, insomuch as that our most eminent
merchants, who used to pay bills of _1,000l._ at sight, are hardly able
to raise _100l._ in so many days. Spindles of yarn (our daily bread) are
fallen from _2s. 6d._ to _15d._, and everything also in proportion.
Our best beef (as good as I ever ate in England) is sold under _3/4d._ a
pound, and all this not from any extraordinary plenty of commodities,
but from a perfect dearth of money. Never did I behold even in Picardy,
Westphalia, or Scotland, such dismal marks of hunger and want as
appeared in the countenances of most of the poor creatures I met with on
the road." (Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 6116, quoted by Lecky.) [T. S.]

[19] The "absentee" landlord was an evil to Ireland on which much has
been written. It was difficult to keep the country in order when the
landed proprietors took so little interest in their possessions as to do
nothing but exact rents from their tenants and spend the money so
obtained in England. Two, and even three, hundred years before Swift's
day "absenteeism" had been the cause of much of the rebellion in Ireland
which harassed the English monarchs, who endeavoured to put a stop to
the evil by confiscating the estates of such landlords. Acts were passed
by Richard II. and Henry VIII. to this effect; but in later times, the
statutes were ignored and not enforced, and the Irish landlord, in
endeavours to obtain for himself social recognition and standing in
England which, because of his Irish origin, were denied him, remained in
England indulging himself in lavish expenditure and display. The
consequences of this were the impoverishment of his estates and their
eventual management by rack-renters. These rack-renters, whose only
interest lay in squeezing money out of the impoverished tenants, became
the bane of the agricultural holder.

Unfortunately, the spirit of "absenteeism" extended itself to the
holders of offices in Ireland, and even the lord-lieutenant rarely took
up his residence in Dublin for any time longer than necessitated by the
immediate demands of his installation and speech-making, although he
drew his emoluments from the Irish revenues. In the "List of Absentees"
instances are given where men appointed to Irish offices would land on
Saturday night, receive the sacrament on Sunday, take the oath in court
on Monday morning, and be on their way back to England by Monday

It has been calculated that out of a total rental of £1,800,000, as much
as 33-1/3 per cent. was sent out of the country. [T. S.]

[20] Sheridan, in the sixth number of "The Intelligencer," contributes
an account of the state of Ireland, written to the text, "O patria! O
divûm domus!"

"When I travel through any part of this unhappy kingdom, and I have now
by several excursions made from Dublin, gone through most counties of
it, it raises two passions in my breast of a different kind; an
indignation against those vile betrayers and insulters of it, who
insinuate themselves into favour, by saying, it is a rich nation; and a
sincere passion for the natives, who are sunk to the lowest degree of
misery and poverty, whose houses are dunghills, whose victuals are the
blood of their cattle, or the herbs in the field; and whose clothing, to
the dishonour of God and man, is nakedness. Yet notwithstanding all the
dismal appearances, it is the common phrase of our upstart race of
people, who have suddenly sprang up like the dragon's teeth among us,
_That Ireland was never known to be so rich as it is now_; by which, as
I apprehend, they can only mean themselves, for they have skipped over
the channel from the vantage ground of a dunghill upon no other merit,
either visible or divineable, than that of not having been born among

"This is the modern way of planting Colonies--Et ubi solitudinem
faciunt, id Imperium vocant. When those who are so unfortunate to be
born here, are excluded from the meanest preferments, and deemed
incapable of being entertained even as common soldiers, whose poor
stipend is but four pence a day. No trade, no emoluments, no
encouragement for learning among the natives, who yet by a perverse
consequence are divided into factions, with as much violence and
rancour, as if they had the wealth of the Indies to contend for. It puts
me in mind of a fable which I read in a monkish author. He quotes for it
one of the Greek mythologists that once upon a time a colony of large
dogs (called the Molossi) transplanted themselves from Epirus to Ætolia,
where they seized those parts of the countries, most fertile in flesh of
all kinds, obliging the native dogs to retire from their best kennels,
to live under ditches and bushes, but to preserve good neighbourhood and
peace; and finding likewise, that the Ætolian dogs might be of some use
in the low offices of life, they passed a decree, that the natives
should be entitled to the short ribs, tops of back, knuckle-bones, and
guts of all the game, which they were obliged by their masters to run
down. This condition was accepted, and what was a little singular, while
the Molossian dogs kept a good understanding among themselves, living in
peace and luxury, these Ætolian curs were perpetually snarling,
growling, barking and tearing at each other's throats: Nay, sometimes
those of the best quality among them, were seen to quarrel with as much
rancour for a rotten gut, as if it had been a fat haunch of venison. But
what need we wonder at this in dogs, when the same is every day
practised among men?

"Last year I travelled from Dublin to Dundalk, through a country
esteemed the most fruitful part of the kingdom, and so nature intended
it. But no ornaments or improvements of such a scene were visible. No
habitation fit for gentlemen, no farmers' houses, few fields of corn,
and almost a bare face of nature, without new plantations of any kind,
only a few miserable cottages, at three or four miles' distance, and one
Church in the centre between this city and Drogheda. When I arrived at
this last town, the first mortifying sight was the ruins of several
churches, battered down by that usurper, Cromwell, whose fanatic zeal
made more desolation in a few days, than the piety of succeeding
prelates or the wealth of the town have, in more than sixty years,
attempted to repair.

"Perhaps the inhabitants, through a high strain of virtue, have, in
imitation of the Athenians, made a solemn resolution, never to rebuild
those sacred edifices, but rather leave them in ruins, as monuments, to
perpetuate the detestable memory of that hellish instrument of
rebellion, desolation, and murder. For the Athenians, when Mardonius had
ravaged a great part of Greece, took a formal oath at the Isthmus, to
lose their lives rather than their liberty, to stand by their leaders to
the last, to spare the cities of such barbarians as they conquered. And
what crowned all, the conclusion of their oath was, We will never repair
any of the Temples, which they have burned and destroyed, lest they may
appear to posterity as so many monuments of these wicked barbarians.
This was a glorious resolution; and I am sorry to think, that the
poverty of my countrymen will not let the world suppose, they have acted
upon such a generous principle; yet upon this occasion I cannot but
observe, that there is a fatality in some nations, to be fond of those
who have treated them with the least humanity. Thus I have often heard
the memory of Cromwell, who has depopulated, and almost wholly destroyed
this miserable country, celebrated like that of a saint, and at the same
time the sufferings of the royal martyr turned into ridicule, and his
murder justified even from the pulpit, and all this done with an intent
to gain favour, under a monarchy; which is a new strain of politics that
I shall not pretend to account for.

"Examine all the eastern towns of Ireland, and you will trace this
horrid instrument of destruction, in defacing of Churches, and
particularly in destroying whatever was ornamental, either within or
without them. We see in the several towns a very few houses scattered
among the ruins of thousands, which he laid level with their streets;
great numbers of castles, the country seats of gentlemen then in being,
still standing in ruin, habitations for bats, daws, and owls, without
the least repairs or succession of other buildings. Nor have the country
churches, as far as my eye could reach, met with any better treatment
from him, nine in ten of them lying among their graves and God only
knows when they are to have a resurrection. When I passed from Dundalk
where this cursed usurper's handy work is yet visible, I cast mine eyes
around from the top of a mountain, from whence I had a wide and a waste
prospect of several venerable ruins. It struck me with a melancholy, not
unlike that expressed by Cicero in one of his letters which being much
upon the like prospect, and concluding with a very necessary reflection
on the uncertainty of things in this world, I shall here insert a
translation of what he says: 'In my return from Asia, as I sailed from
Ægina, towards Megara, I began to take a prospect of the several
countries round me. Behind me was Ægina; before me Megara; on the right
hand the Piræus; and on the left was Corinth; which towns were formerly
in a most flourishing condition; now they lie prostrate and in ruin.

"'Thus I began to think with myself: Shall we who have but a trifling
existence, express any resentment, when one of us either dies a natural
death, or is slain, whose lives are necessarily of a short duration,
when at one view I beheld the carcases of so many great cities?' What if
he had seen the natives of those free republics, reduced to all the
miserable consequences of a conquered people, living without the common
defences against hunger and cold, rather appearing like spectres than
men? I am apt to think, that seeing his fellow creatures in ruin like
this, it would have put him past all patience for philosophic

"As for my own part, I confess, that the sights and occurrences which I
had in this my last journey, so far transported me to a mixture of rage
and compassion, that I am not able to decide, which had the greater
influence upon my spirits; for this new cant, of a rich and flourishing
nation, was still uppermost in my thoughts; every mile I travelled,
giving me such ample demonstrations to the contrary. For this reason, I
have been at the pains to render a most exact and faithful account of
all the visible signs of riches, which I met with in sixty miles' riding
through the most public roads, and the best part of the kingdom. First,
as to trade, I met nine cars loaden with old musty, shrivelled hides;
one car-load of butter; four jockeys driving eight horses, all out of
case; one cow and calf driven by a man and his wife; six tattered
families flitting to be shipped off to the West Indies; a colony of a
hundred and fifty beggars, all repairing to people our metropolis, and
by encreasing the number of hands, to encrease its wealth, upon the old
maxim, that people are the riches of a nation, and therefore ten
thousand mouths, with hardly ten pair of hands, or hardly any work to
employ them, will infallibly make us a rich and flourishing people.
Secondly, Travellers enough, but seven in ten wanting shirts and
cravats; nine in ten going bare foot, and carrying their brogues and
stockings in their hands; one woman in twenty having a pillion, the rest
riding bare backed: Above two hundred horsemen, with four pair of boots
amongst them all; seventeen saddles of leather (the rest being made of
straw) and most of their garrons only shod before. I went into one of
the principal farmer's houses, out of curiosity, and his whole furniture
consisted of two blocks for stools, a bench on each side the fire-place
made of turf, six trenchers, one bowl, a pot, six horn spoons, three
noggins, three blankets, one of which served the man and maid servant;
the other the master of the family, his wife and five children; a small
churn, a wooden candlestick, a broken stick for a pair of tongs. In the
public towns, one third of the inhabitants walking the streets bare
foot; windows half built up with stone, to save the expense of glass,
the broken panes up and down supplied by brown paper, few being able to
afford white; in some places they were stopped with straw or hay.
Another mark of our riches, are the signs at the several inns upon the
road, viz. In some, a staff stuck in the thatch, with a turf at the end
of it; a staff in a dunghill with a white rag wrapped about the head; a
pole, where they can afford it, with a besom at the top; an oatmeal cake
on a board at the window; and, at the principal inns of the road, I have
observed the signs taken down and laid against the wall near the door,
being taken from their post to prevent the shaking of the house down by
the wind. In short, I saw not one single house, in the best town I
travelled through, which had not manifest appearances of beggary and
want. I could give many more instances of our wealth, but I hope these
will suffice for the end I propose.

"It may be objected, what use it is of to display the poverty of the
nation, in the manner I have done. I answer, I desire to know for what
ends, and by what persons, this new opinion of our flourishing state has
of late been so industriously advanced: One thing is certain, that the
advancers have either already found their own account, or have been
heartily promised, or at least have been entertained with hopes, by
seeing such an opinion pleasing to those who have it in their power to

"It is no doubt a very generous principle in any person to rejoice in
the felicities of a nation, where themselves are strangers or
sojourners: But if it be found that the same persons on all other
occasions express a hatred and contempt of the nation and people in
general, and hold it for a maxim--'That the more such a country is
humbled, the more their own will rise'; it need be no longer a secret,
why such an opinion, and the advantages of it are encouraged. And
besides, if the bayliff reports to his master, that the ox is fat and
strong, when in reality it can hardly carry its own legs, is it not
natural to think, that command will be given, for a greater load to be
put upon it?" [T. S.]

[21] This was a project for the establishment of a national bank for
Ireland. Swift ridiculed the proposal (see p. 31), no doubt, out of
suspicion of the acts of stock-jobbers and the monied interests which
were enlisted on the side of the Whigs. His experience, also, of the
abortive South Sea Schemes would tend to make his opposition all the
stronger. But the plans for the bank were not ill-conceived, and had
Swift been in calmer temper he might have seen the advantages which
attached to the proposals. [T. S.]

[22] Thus in original edition. In Faulkner and the "Miscellanies" of
1735 the words are, "altogether imaginary." [T. S.]

[23] The motto round a crown piece, which was the usual price of
permits. [_Orig. edit._]

[24] The Dean of St. Patrick's. [F.]

[25] Paul Lorrain, who was appointed ordinary of Newgate in 1698,
compiled numerous confessions and dying speeches of prisoners condemned
to be hanged. A letter to Swift, from Pope and Bolingbroke, dated
December, 1725, mentions him as "the great historiographer," and Steele,
in the "Tatler" and "Spectator," refers to "Lorrain's Saints." Lorrain
attended some famous criminals to the scaffold, including Captain Kidd
and Jack Sheppard. [T. S.]

[26] The following is an account of the proceedings of both the houses
of the Irish parliament upon the subject of this proposed bank.

In the year 1720, James, Earl of Abercorn, Gustavus, Viscount Boyne, Sir
Ralph Gore, Bart., Oliver St. George, and Michael Ward, Esqs., in behalf
of themselves and others, presented a petition to his Majesty for a
charter of incorporation, whereby they might be established as a bank,
under the name and title of the Bank of Ireland. They proposed to raise
a fund of £500,000 to supply merchants, etc., with money at five per
cent., and agreed to contribute £50,000 to the service of government in
consideration of their obtaining a charter. In their petition they
state, that "the raising of a million for that purpose is creating a
greater fund than the nation can employ." Soon after the above-mentioned
petition was lodged, a second application was made by Lord Forbes and
others, who proposed raising a million for that purpose, and offered to
discharge "the £50,000 national debt of that kingdom, in five years from
the time they should obtain a charter." The latter application, being
subsequent in point of date, was withdrawn, Lord Forbes and his friends
having acquainted the Lord-lieutenant that, "rather than, by a
competition, obstruct a proposal of so general advantage, they were
willing to desist from their application." The former was accordingly
approved of, and the King, on the 29th of July, 1721, issued letters of
Privy Seal, directing that a charter of incorporation should pass the
Great Seal of Ireland. ("Comm. Journ.," vol. iii, Appendix ix, page cc,

When the parliament of Ireland met, on the 12th of September following,
the Duke of Grafton, lord lieutenant, in his speech from the throne,
communicated the intention of his Majesty to both houses, and concluded
by saying, "As this is a matter of general and national concern, his
Majesty leaves it to the wisdom of Parliament to consider what
advantages the public may receive by erecting a bank, and in what manner
it may be settled upon a safe foundation, so as to be beneficial to the
kingdom." The commons, in their address, which was voted unanimously on
the 14th, expressed their gratitude for his Majesty's goodness and royal
favour in directing a commission to establish a bank, and on the 21st
moved for the papers to be laid before them; they even, on the 29th,
agreed to the following resolution of the committee they had appointed,
"that the establishment of a bank upon a solid and good foundation,
under proper regulations and restrictions, will contribute to restoring
of credit, and support of the trade and manufacture of the kingdom;"
but, when the heads of a bill for establishing the bank came to be
discussed, a strenuous opposition was raised to it. On the 9th of
December Sir Thomas Taylor, chairman of the committee to whom the matter
had been referred, reported "that they had gone through the first
enacting paragraph, and disagreed to the same." Accordingly, the
question being proposed and put, the house (after a division, wherein
there appeared 150 for the question and 80 against it) voted that "they
could not find any safe foundation for establishing a public bank," and
resolved that an address, conformable to this resolution, should be
presented to the lord-lieutenant. (Comm. Journ., vol. iii, pp.

The proceedings of the House of Lords resembled that of the Commons; on
the 8th of November they concurred with the resolution of their
committee, which was unfavourable to the establishment of a bank. A
protest was, however, entered, signed by four temporal and two spiritual
peers, and when an address to his Majesty, grounded on that resolution,
was proposed, a long debate ensued, which occupied two days. On the 9th
December a list of the subscriptions was called for, and on the 16th
they resolved, that if any lord, spiritual or temporal, should attempt
to obtain a charter to erect a bank, "he should be deemed a contemnor of
the authority of that house, and a betrayer of the liberty of his
country." They ordered, likewise, that this resolution should be
presented by the chancellor to the lord lieutenant. ("Lord's Journal,"
vol. ii, pp. 687-720.) _Monck Mason's "Hist. St. Patrick's Cathedral_,"
p. 325, note 3. [T. S.]

[27] The title, Esquire, according to a high authority, was anciently
applied "to the younger sons of nobility and their heirs in the
immediate line, to the eldest sons of knights and their heirs, to the
esquire of the knights and others of that rank in his Majesty's service,
and to such as had eminent employment in the Commonwealth, and were not
knighted, such as judges, sheriffs, and justices of the peace during
their offices, and some others. But now," says Sir Edward Walker, "in
the days of Charles I., the addition is so increased, that he is a very
poor and inconsiderable person who writes himself less."

Accordingly, most of the signatures for shares in the projected National
Bank of Ireland, were dignified with the addition of Esquire, which,
added to the obscurity of the subscribers, incurs the ridicule of our
author in the following treatise. [S.]


A true and exact account of the nobility, gentry, and traders, of the
kingdom of Ireland, who, upon mature deliberation, are of opinion, that
the establishing a bank upon real security, would be highly for the
advantage of the trade of the said kingdom, and for increasing the
current species of money in the same. Extracted from the list of the
subscribers to the Bank of Ireland, published by order of the
commissioners appointed to receive subscriptions.


  Archbishops   0
  Marquisses    0
  Earls         0
  Viscounts     3
  Barons        1
  Bishops       2
  French Baron  1

N. B.: The temporal Lords of Ireland are 125, the Bishops 22. In all 147,
exclusive of the aforesaid French Count.


  Baronets      1
  Knights       1

N. B. Total of baronets and knights in Ireland uncertain; but in common
computation supposed to be more than two.

Members of the House of Commons--41. One whereof reckoned before amongst
the two knights.

N. B. Number of Commoners in all 300.

Esquires not Members of Parliament--37

N. B. There are at least 20 of the said 37 Esquires whose names are
little known, and whose qualifications as Esqrs. are referred to the king
at arms; and the said king is desired to send to the publisher hereof a
true account of the whole number of such real or reputed Esqrs. as are to
be found in this kingdom.


  Deans         1
  Arch-Deacons  2
  Rectors       3
  Curates       2

N. B. Of this number one French dean, one French curate, and one

Officers not members of Parliament--16

N. B. Of the above number 10 French; but uncertain whether on whole or
half pay, broken, or of the militia.


  Ladies        1
  Widows        3  whereof one qualified to be deputy-governor.
  Maidens       4

N. B. It being uncertain in what class to place the eight female
subscribers, whether in that of nobility, gentry, &c. it is thought
proper to insert them here betwixt the officers and traders.


               { Dublin    1  a Frenchman.
  Aldermen of  { Cork      1
               { Limerick  1
                 Waterford 0
                 Drogheda  0
                 &c.       0

Merchants 29, _viz._ 10 French, of London 1, of Cork 1, of Belfast 1.

N. B. The place of abode of three of the said merchants, _viz._ of
London, Cork and Belfast, being mentioned, the publisher desires to know
where the rest may be wrote to, and whether they deal in wholesale or
retail, _viz._

Master dealers, &c. 59, cashiers 1, bankers 4, chemist 1, player 1,
Popish vintner 1, bricklayer 1, chandler 1, doctors of physic 4,
chirurgeons 2, pewterer 1, attorneys 4 (besides one esq. attorney before
reckoned), Frenchmen 8, but whether pensioners, barbers, or markees,
uncertain. As to the rest of the M----rs, the publisher of this paper,
though he has used his utmost diligence, has not been able to get a
satisfactory account either as to their country, trade or profession.

N. B. The total of men, women and children in Ireland, besides Frenchmen,
is 2,000,000. Total of the land of Ireland acres 16,800,000. (Vide
Reasons for a Bank, &c.)

Quære, How many of the said acres are in possession of 1 French baron, 1
French dean, 1 French curate, 1 French alderman, 10 French merchants, 8
Messieurs Frances, 1 esq. projector, 1 esq. attorney, 6 officers of the
army, 8 women, 1 London merchant, 1 Cork merchant, 1 Belfast merchant,
18 merchants whose places of abode are not mentioned, 1 cashier, 4
bankers, 1 gentleman projector, 1 player, 1 chemist, 1 Popish vintner, 1
bricklayer, 1 chandler, 4 doctors of physic, 2 chirurgeons, 1 pewterer,
4 gentlemen attorneys, besides 28 gentleman dealers, yet unknown, _ut

Dublin: Printed by John Harding in Molesworth's Court, in Fishamble
Street. (_Reprinted from original broadside, n.d._)

[29] In the capacity of a postillion, no doubt. [T. S.]

[30] Which means that she kept an eating-house or restaurant, and became
eventually a bankrupt. [T. S.]

[31] The livery of a footman. [T. S.]

[32] As a constable. [T. S.]

[33] An innkeeper. [T. S.]

[34] This paragraph is printed as given by Faulkner in ed. 1735, vol.
iv. [T. S.]

[35] See note on Paul Lorrain, p. 34. It was the duty of the Ordinary of
a prison to compose such dying speeches. [T. S.]

[36] His parents were Dissenters, and gave him a good education. [T. S.]

[37] Sir Henry Craik remarks on this title: "In modern language this
might well have been entitled, 'The theories of political economy proved
to have no application to Ireland.'" The word "controlled" is used in
the now obsolete sense of "confuted." [T. S.]

[38] Sir John Browne, in his "Scheme of the Money Matters of Ireland"
(Dublin, 1729), calculated that the total currency, including paper, was
about £914,000, but the author of "Considerations on Seasonable Remarks"
stated that the entire currency could not be more than £600,000. Browne
was no reliable authority; he is the writer to whom Swift wrote a reply.
See p. 122. [T. S.]

[39] See "A Short View of the State of Ireland," p. 86. [T. S.]

[40] Lecky refers to a remarkable letter written by an Irish peer in the
March of 1702, and preserved in the "Southwell Correspondence" in the
British Museum, in which the writer complains that the money of the
country is almost gone, and the poverty of the towns so great that it
was feared the Court mourning for the death of William would be the
final blow. (Lecky, vol. i., p. 181, 1892 ed.). [T. S.]

[41] Those of Charles II. and James II. in which, for political reasons
on the part of the Crown, Ireland was peculiarly favoured. [S.]

[42] This was Dr. Nicholas Barbou, the friend of John Asgill and author
of two works on trade and money. After the Great Fire of London he
speculated largely in building, and greatly assisted in making city
improvements. He was the founder of fire insurance in England and was
active in land and bank speculations. He died in 1698, leaving a will
directing that none of his debts should be paid. [T. S.]

[43] The beggars of Ireland are spoken of by Bishop Berkeley. But Arthur
Dobbs, in the second part of his "Essay on Trade," published in 1731,
gives a descriptive picture of the gangs who travelled over Ireland as
professional paupers. In the 2,295 parishes, there was in each an
average of at least ten beggars carrying on their trade the whole year
round; the total number of these wandering paupers he puts down at over
34,000. Computing 30,000 of them able to work, and assuming that each
beggar could earn _4d._ a day in a working year of 284 days, he
calculates that their idleness is a loss to the nation of £142,000. (Pp.
444-445 of Thom's reprint; Dublin, 1861) [T. S.]

[44] See Swift's terrible satire on the "Modest Proposal for preventing
Children of Poor People from being a burthen." [T. S.]

[45] A small country village about seven miles from Kells. [T. S.]

[46] Esther Johnson. [T. S.]

[47] Stella's companion and Swift's housekeeper. [T. S.]

[48] See Swift's "Directions to Servants." [T. S.]

[49] By Acts 18 Charles II c. 2, and 32 Charles II c. 2, enacted in 1665
and 1680, the importation into England from Ireland of all cattle,
sheep, swine, beef, pork, bacon, mutton, cheese and butter, was
absolutely prohibited. The land of Ireland being largely pasture land
and England being the chief and nearest market, these laws practically
destroyed the farming industry. The pernicious acts were passed on
complaint from English land proprietors that the competition from Irish
cattle had lowered their rents in England. "In this manner," says Lecky,
"the chief source of Irish prosperity was annihilated at a single blow."
[T. S.]

[50] The original Navigation Act treated Ireland on an equal footing
with England. The act, however, was succeeded in 1663 by that of 15
Charles II c. 7, in which it was declared that no European articles,
with few exceptions, could be imported into the colonies unless they had
been loaded in English-built vessels at English ports. Nor could goods
be brought from English colonies except to English ports. By the Acts 22
and 23 of Charles II. c. 26 the exclusion of Ireland was confirmed, and
the Acts 7 and 8 of Will. III. c. 22, passed in 1696, actually
prohibited any goods whatever from being imported to Ireland direct from
the English colonies. These are the reasons for Swift's remark that
Ireland's ports were of no more use to Ireland's people "than a
beautiful prospect to a man shut up in a dungeon." [T. S.]

[51] See note on page 137 of vol. vi of this edition. "The Drapier's
Letters." [T. S.]

[52] Lecky quotes from the MSS. in the British Museum, from a series of
letters written by Bishop Nicholson, on his journey to Derry, to the
Archbishop of Canterbury. The quotation illustrates the truth of Swift's
remark. "Never did I behold," writes Nicholson, "even in Picardy,
Westphalia, or Scotland, such dismal marks of hunger and want as
appeared in the countenances of the poor creatures I met with on the
road." In the "Intelligencer" (No. VI, 1728) Sheridan wrote: "The poor
are sunk to the lowest degrees of misery and poverty--their houses
dunghills, their victuals the blood of their cattle, or the herbs of the
field." Of the condition of the country thirty years later, the most
terrible of pictures is given by Burdy in his "Life of Skelton": "In
1757 a remarkable dearth prevailed in Ireland.... Mr. Skelton went out
into the country to discover the real state of his poor, and travelled
from cottage to cottage, over mountains, rocks, and heath.... In one
cabin he found the people eating boiled prushia [a weed with a yellow
flower that grows in cornfields] by itself for their breakfast, and
tasted this sorry food, which seemed nauseous to him. Next morning he
gave orders to have prushia gathered and boiled for his own breakfast,
that he might live on the same sort of food with the poor. He ate this
for one or two days; but at last his stomach turning against it, he set
off immediately for Ballyshannon to buy oatmeal for them.... One day,
when he was travelling in this manner through the country, he came to a
lonely cottage in the mountains, where he found a poor woman lying in
child-bed with a number of children about her. All she had, in her weak,
helpless condition to keep herself and her children alive, was blood and
sorrel boiled up together. The blood, her husband, who was a herdsman,
took from the cattle of others under his care, for he had none of his
own. This was a usual sort of food in that country in times of scarcity,
for they bled the cows for that purpose, and thus the same cow often
afforded both milk and blood.... They were obliged, when the carriers
were bringing the meal to Pettigo, to guard it with their clubs, as the
people of the adjacent parishes strove to take it by force, in which
they sometimes succeeded, hunger making them desperate." (Burdy's Life
of Skelton. "Works," vol. i, pp. lxxx-lxxxii.) [T. S.]

[53] See on this subject the agitation against Wood's halfpence in the
volume dealing with "The Drapier's Letters." [T. S.]

[54] Faulkner and Scott print this word "irony," but the original
edition has it as printed in the text. [T. S.]

[55] The original edition has this as "Island." Scott and the previous
editors print it as in the text. Iceland is, no doubt, referred to.
[T. S.]

[56] Bishop Nicholson, quoted by Lecky, speaks of the miserable hovels
in which the people lived, and the almost complete absence of clothing.
[T. S.]

[57] Hely Hutchinson, in his "Commercial Restraints of Ireland" (Dublin,
1779; new edit. 1888) points out that the scheme proposed by the
government, and partly executed, by directing a commission under the
great seal for receiving voluntary subscriptions in order to establish a
bank, was a scheme to circulate paper without money. This and Wood's
halfpence seem to have been the nearest approach made at the time for
supplying what Swift here calls "the running cash of the nation." [T. S.]

[58] England.

[59] Scotland and Ireland.

[60] The Irish Sea.

[61] The Roman Wall.

[62] The Scottish Highlanders. [T. S]

[63] Charles I, who was delivered by the Scotch into the hands of the
Parliamentary party. [T. S]

[64] See note to "A Short View of the State of Ireland." [T. S.]

[65] The King of England. [T. S.]

[66] The Lord-Lieutenant. [T. S.]

[67] The English Government filled all the important posts in Ireland
with individuals sent over from England. See "Boulter's Letters" on this
subject of the English rule. [T. S.]

[68] See notes to "A Short View of the State of Ireland," on the
Navigation Acts and the acts against the exportation of cattle. [T. S.]

[69] The laws against woollen manufacture. [T. S.]

[70] Absentees and place-holders. [T. S.]

[71] The spirit of opposition and enmity to England, declared by the
Scottish Act of Security, according to Swift's view of the relations
between the countries, left no alternative but an union or a war. [S.]

[72] The Act of Union between England and Scotland. [T. S.]

[73] The reference here is to the linen manufactories of Ireland which
were being encouraged by England. [T. S.]

[74] Swift here refers to the sentiment, largely predominant in
Scotland, for the return of the Stuarts. [T. S.]

[75] Alliances with France. [T. S.]

[76] Alluding to the 33rd Henry VIII, providing that the King and his
successors should be kings imperial of both kingdoms, on which the
enemies of Irish independence founded their arguments against it. [S.]
Scott cannot be correct in this note. The allusion is surely to the
enactments known as Poyning's Law. See vol. vi., p. 77 (note) of this
edition of Swift's works. [T. S.]

[77] Disturbances excited by the Scottish colonists in Ulster. [S.]

[78] The subjugation of Scotland by Cromwell. [S.]

[79] That is to say, to interpret Poyning's law in the spirit in which
it was enacted, and give to Ireland the right to make its own laws.
[T. S.]

[80] Free trade and the repeal of the Navigation Act. [T. S.]

[81] Office-holders should not be absentees. [T. S.]

[82] That the land laws of Ireland shall be free from interference by
England, and the produce of the land free to be exported to any place.
[T. S.]

[83] The laws prohibiting the importation of live cattle into England,
and the restrictions as to the woollen industry, were the ruin of those
who held land for grazing purposes. [T. S.]

[84] The Act of 10 and 11 William III., cap. 10, was the final blow to
the woollen industry of Ireland. It was enacted in 1699, and prohibited
the exportation of Irish wool to any other country. In the fifth letter
of Hely Hutchinson's "Commercial Restraints of Ireland" (1779) will be
found a full account of the passing of this Act and its consequences.
[T. S.]

[85] Edward Waters and John Harding, the printers of Swift's pamphlets.
See volume on "The Drapier's Letters." [T. S.]

[86] The text here given is that of the original manuscript in the
Forster Collection at South Kensington, collated with that given by
Deane Swift in vol. viii. of the 4to edition of 1765. [T. S.]

[87] The letter was written in reply to a letter received from Messrs.
Truman and Layfield. [T. S.]

[88] Dr. William King, Archbishop of Dublin. [T. S.]

[89] Swift betrays here a lamentable knowledge of the geography of this
part of America. Penn, however, may have known no better. [T. S.]

[90] William Burnet, at this time the Governor of Massachusetts, was the
son of Swift's old enemy, Bishop Burnet. [T. S.]

[91] Burnet quarrelled with the Assembly of Massachusetts and New
Hampshire because they would not allow him a fixed salary. The Assembly
attempted to give him instead a fee on ships leaving Boston, but the
English Government refused to allow this. [T. S.]

[92] The original MS. on which this text is based does not contain the
passage here given in brackets. [T. S.]

[93] Swift is here supported by Arthur Dobbs, who in his "Essays on
Trade," pt. ii. (1731) gives as one of the conditions prejudicial to
trade, the luxury of living and extravagance in food, dress, furniture,
and equipage by the Irish well-to-do. He describes it "as one of the
principal sources of our national evils." His remedy was a tax on
expensive dress, and rich equipage and furniture. [T. S.]

[94] The text of this tract is based on that given by Deane Swift in the
eighth volume of his edition of Swift's works published in quarto in
1765. [T. S.]

[95] This refers to Whitshed. [T. S.]

[96] The Fourth. See vol. vi. of present edition. [T. S.]

[97] Some ten years after Swift wrote the above, the roads of Ireland
were thought to be so good as to attract Whitefield's attention. Lecky
quotes Arthur Young, who found Irish roads superior to those of England.
(Lecky's "Ireland," vol. i., p. 330, 1892 ed.) [T. S.]

[98] Lecky (vol. i., pp. 333-335, 1892 edit.) gives a detailed account
of the destruction of the fine woods in Ireland which occurred during
the forty years that followed the Revolution. The melancholy sight of
the denuded land drew the attention of a Parliamentary Commission
appointed to inquire into the matter. The Act of 10 Will. III. 2, c. 12
ordered the planting of a certain number of trees in every county,
"but," remarks Lecky, "it was insufficient to counteract the destruction
which was due to the cupidity or the fears of the new proprietors."
[T. S.]

[99] Swift always distinguished between the Irish "barbarians" and the
Irish who were in reality English settlers in Ireland. Swift, for once,
is in accord with the desires of the English Government, who wished to
eradicate the Irish language. His friend the Archbishop of Dublin and
his own college, that of Trinity, were in favour of keeping the language
alive. (See Lecky's "Ireland," vol. i., pp. 331-332.) [T. S.]

[100] See Swift's "Proposal for the Universal Use of Irish
Manufactures." [T. S.]

[101] See Swift's "Proposal for the Universal Use of Irish
Manufactures." [T. S.]

[102] The text here given is that of Scott read by the "Miscellaneous
Pieces" of 1789. The "Observations" were written, probably, in 1729.
[T. S.]

[103] Monck Mason has an elaborate note on this subject ("Hist. of St.
Patrick's Cathedral," pp. 320-321, ed. 1819), which is well worth
reprinting here, since it is an excellent statement of facts, and is
fully borne out by Hely Hutchinson's account in his "Commercial
Restraints of Ireland," to which reference has already been made:

"In the year 1698 a bill was introduced into the English Parliament,
grounded upon complaints, that the woollen manufacture in Ireland
prejudiced the staple trade of England; the matter terminated at last in
an address to the King, wherein the commons 'implored his majesty's
protection and favour on this matter, and that he would make it his
royal care, and enjoin all those whom he employed in Ireland, to use
their utmost diligence, to hinder the exportation of wool from Ireland
(except it be imported into England), and for the discouraging the
woollen manufacture, and increasing the linen manufacture of Ireland.'
Accordingly, on the 16th July, the King wrote a letter of instructions
to the Earl of Galway, in which the following passage appears: 'The
chief thing that must be tried to be prevented, is, that the Irish
parliament takes no notice of what has passed in this here, and that you
make effectual laws for the linen manufacture, and discourage as far as
possible the woollen.'--The Earl of Galway and the other justices
convened the parliament on the 27th of September; in their speech, they
recommended a bill for the encouragement of the manufactures of linen
and hemp, 'which,' say they, 'will be found more advantageous to this
kingdom than the woollen manufacture, which, being the settled trade of
England from whence all foreign markets are supplied, can never be
encouraged here.' The house of commons so far concurred with the lords
justices' sentiments as to say, in their address of thanks, that they
would heartily endeavour to establish the linen manufacture, and to
render the same useful to England, and 'we hope,' they add, 'to find
such a temperament, with respect to the woollen trade here, that the
same may not be injurious to England' ('Cont. Rapin's Hist.,' p. 376).
'And they did,' says Mr. Smith, 'so far come into a temperament in this
case, as, hoping it would be accepted by way of compromise, to lay a
high duty of ... upon all their woollen manufacture exported; under
which, had England acquiesced, I am persuaded it would have been better
for the kingdom in general. But the false notion of a possible monopoly,
made the English deaf to all other terms of accommodation; by which
means they lost the horse rather than quit the stable' ('Memoirs of
Wool,' vol. ii., p. 30). The duties imposed by the Irish parliament, at
this time, upon the export of manufactured wool, was four shillings on
the value of twenty shillings of the old drapery, and two shillings upon
the like value of the new, except friezes. But this concurrence of the
people of Ireland seemed rather to heighten the jealousy between the two
nations, by making the people of England imagine the manufactures of
Ireland were arrived at a dangerous pitch of improvement, since they
could be supposed capable of bearing so extravagant a duty: accordingly,
in the next following year, the English parliament passed an Act (10-11
William III: cap. 10), that no person should export from Ireland wool or
woollen goods, except to England or Wales, under high penalties, such
goods to be shipped only from certain ports in Ireland, and to certain
ports in England: But this was not the whole grievance; the old duties
upon the import of those commodities, whether raw or manufactured, into
Great Britain, were left in the same state as before, which amounted
nearly to a prohibition; thus did the English, although they had not
themselves any occasion for those commodities, prohibit, nevertheless,
their being sent to any other nation.

"The discouragement of the woollen manufacture of Ireland, affected
particularly the English settlers there, for the linen was entirely in
the hands of the Scotch, who were established in Ulster, and the Irish
natives had no share in either. It is stated in a pamphlet, entitled, 'A
Discourse concerning Ireland, etc. in answer to the Exon and Barnstaple
petitions,' printed 1697-8, that there were then, in the city and
suburbs of Dublin, 12,000 English families, and throughout the nation,
50,000, who were bred to trades connected with the manufacture of wool,
'who could no more get their bread in the linen manufacture, than a
London taylor by shoe-making.'

"Mr. Walter Scott says ('Life of Swift,' p. 278) that the Irish woollen
manufacture produced an annual million, but this is not the fact; Mr.
Dobbs in his 'Essay on the Trade of Ireland,' informs us, from the
custom-house books, that in the year 1697 (which immediately preceded
the year in which the address above-mentioned was transmitted to the
king) the total value of Irish woollen exports, of all sorts, was only
_£23,614 9s. 6d._, and in 1687, when they were at the highest, they
did not exceed _£70,521 14s. 0d._ It moreover appears, that the
greater part of these exports were of a sort which did not interfere
with the trade of England, _£56,415 16s. 0d._ was in friezes, and
_£2,520 18s. 0d._ coarse stockings, the rest consisted in serges and
other stuffs of the new drapery, which affected not the trade of England
generally, but only the particular interests of Exeter and its
neighbourhood, and a very few other inconsiderable towns.

"But, whatever injury was intended, little prejudice was done to
Ireland, except what followed immediately after the passing of this Act.
It appears from Mr. Dobbs's pamphlet, that, a few years after, four
times the quantity of woollen goods were shipped in each year,
clandestinely, than had ever been exported, legally, before: moreover,
the Irish vastly increased their manufactures for home consumption, and
learned to make fine cloth from Spanish wool: it was only to England
itself that any disadvantage redounded; many manufacturers who were
unsettled by this measure, passed over to Germany, Spain, and to Rouen
and other parts of France, 'from these beginnings they have, in many
branches, so much improved the woollen manufactures of France, as to vie
with the English in foreign markets.--Upon the whole, those nations may
be justly said to have deprived Britain of millions since that time,
instead of the thousands Ireland might possibly have made.'--What Mr.
Dobbs has here asserted, relative to the removal of the manufacturers,
has been confirmed by another tract, 'Letter from a Clothier a Member of
Parliament,' printed in 1731, which informs us that, for some years
after, the English seemed to engross all the woollen trade, 'but this
appearance of benefit abated, as the foreign factories, raised on the
ruin of the Irish, acquired strength': he shows too, that the
importation of unmanufactured wool from Ireland to England had been
gradually decreasing since that time, which was probably on account of
the increase of the illicit trade to foreign parts, towards the
encouragement of which the duties, or legal transportation, served to
act as a bounty of 36 per cent. 'So true it is, that England can never
fall into measures for unreasonably cramping the industry of the people
of Ireland, without doing herself the greatest prejudice.'" (Note g, pp.
320-321). [T. S.]

[104] The causes for absenteeism are thus noted by Lecky ("Hist. of
Ireland," p. 213, vol. i., ed. 1892): "The very large part of the
confiscated land was given to Englishmen who had property and duties in
England, and habitually lived there. Much of it also came into the
market, and as there was very little capital in Ireland, and as
Catholics were forbidden to purchase land, this also passed largely into
the hands of English speculators. Besides, the level of civilization was
much higher in England than in Ireland. The position of a Protestant
landlord, living in the midst of a degraded population, differing from
him in religion and race, had but little attraction, the political
situation of the country closed to an Irish gentleman nearly every
avenue of honourable ambition, and owing to a long series of very
evident causes, the sentiment of public duty was deplorably low. The
economical condition was not checked by any considerable movement in the
opposite direction, for after the suppression of the Irish manufactures
but few Englishmen, except those who obtained Irish offices, came to

The amount of the rent obtained in Ireland that was spent in England is
estimated elsewhere by Swift to have been at least one-third. In 1729,
Prior assessed the amount at £627,000. In the Supplement to his "List of
Absentees," Prior gives eight further "articles" by which money was
"yearly drawn out of the Kingdom." See the "Supplement," pp. 242-245 in
Thone's "Collection of Tracts," Dublin, 1861. [T. S.]

[105] John Erskine, Earl of Mar, has elsewhere been characterized by
Swift as "crooked; he seemed to me to be a gentleman of good sense and
good nature." The great rebellion of 1715, for which Mar was
responsible, was stirred up by him in favour of the Pretender, and
succeeded so far as to bring the Chevalier to Scotland. The Duke of
Argyll, however, fought his forces, and though the victory remained
undecided, Mar was compelled to seek safety in France. The rebellion
caused so much disturbance in every part of the British Isles that
Ireland suffered greatly from bad trade. [T. S.]

[106] Joshua, Lord Allen. See note on p. 175. [T. S.]

[107] See page 60 of vol. iii. of the present edition. [T. S.]

[108] Chief Justice Whitshed. [T. S.]

[109] See page 14. [T. S.]

[110] Edward Waters. [T. S.]

[111] See pages 96, 235-6, of vol. vi. of present edition. [T. S.]

[112] The person here intimated, Joshua, Lord Allen (whom Swift
elsewhere satirizes under the name of Traulus), was born in 1685. He is
said to have been a weak and dissipated man; and some particulars are
recorded by tradition concerning his marriage with Miss Du Pass (whose
father was clerk of the secretary of state's office in James the
Second's reign, and died in India in 1699), which do very little honour
either to his heart or understanding.

It is reported, that being trepanned into a marriage with this lady, by
a stratagem of the celebrated Lionel, Duke of Dorset, Lord Allen
refused, for some time, to acknowledge her as his wife. But the lady,
after living some time in close retirement, caused an advertisement to
be inserted in the papers, stating the death of a brother in the East
Indies, by which Miss Margaret Du Pass had succeeded to a large fortune.
Accordingly, she put on mourning, and assumed an equipage conforming to
her supposed change of fortune. Lord Allen's affairs being much
deranged, he became now as anxious to prove the marriage with the
wealthy heiress, as he had formerly been to disown the unportioned
damsel; and succeeded, after such opposition as the lady judged
necessary to give colour to the farce. Before the deceit was discovered,
Lady Allen, by her good sense and talents, had obtained such ascendance
over her husband, that they ever afterwards lived in great harmony.

Lord Allen was, at the time of giving offence to Swift, a
privy-counsellor; and distinguished himself, according to Lodge, in the
House of Peers, by his excellent speeches for the benefit of his
country. He died at Stillorgan, 1742. [S.]

Swift did not allow Lord Allen to rest with this "advertisement." In the
poem entitled "Traulus," Allen is gibbetted in some lively rhymes. He
calls him a "motley fruit of mongrel seed," and traces his descent from
the mother's side (she was the sister of the Earl of Kildare) as well as
the father's (who was the son of Sir Joshua Allen, Lord Mayor of Dublin
in 1673):

  "Who could give the looby such airs?
  Were they masons, were they butchers?

         *       *       *       *       *

  This was dexterous at the trowel,
  That was bred to kill a cow well:
  Hence the greasy clumsy mien
  In his dress and figure seen;
  Hence the mean and sordid soul,
  Like his body rank and foul;
  Hence that wild suspicious peep,
  Like a rogue that steals a sheep;
  Hence he learnt the butcher's guile,
  How to cut your throat and smile;
  Like a butcher doomed for life
  In his mouth to wear a knife;
  Hence he draws his daily food
  From his tenants' vital blood."

[T. S.]

[113] See note on page 66 of vol. vi. of present edition. The patent to
Lord Dartmouth, granting him the right to coin copper coins, provided
that he should give security to redeem these coins for gold or silver on
demand. John Knox obtained this patent and Colonel Moore acquired it
from Knox after the Revolution. [T. S.]

[114] Of ten pence in every two shillings. [F.]

[115] But M'Culla hath still _30l._ per cent. by the scheme, if they be
returned. [F.]

[116] Faulkner's edition adds here: "For the benefit of defrauding the
crown never occurreth to the public, but is wholly turned to the
advantage of those whom the crown employeth." [T. S.]

[117] See page 89 of vol. vi. of present edition. [T. S.]

[118] 1: Faulkner's edition adds here: "it being a matter wholly out
of my trade." [T. S.]

[119] See "A Proposal for the Universal Use of Irish Manufactures," p.
19. [T. S.]

[120] See Swift's letter to Archbishop King on the weavers, p. 137.
[T. S.]

[121] Edward Waters. [T. S.]

[122] See note prefixed to pamphlet on p. 15. [T. S.]

[123] See notes on pp. 6, 7, 8 and 73 of vol. vi. of present edition.
[T. S.]

[124] See Appendix V. in vol. vi. of present edition. [T. S.]

[125] See page 81. [T. S.]

[126] Nathaniel Mist was the publisher of the "Weekly Journal," for
which Defoe wrote many important papers. The greater part of his career
as a printer was spent in trials and imprisonments for the "libels"
which appeared in his journal. This was largely due to the fact that his
weekly newspaper became the recognized organ of Jacobites and
"High-fliers." From 1716 to 1728 he was a pretty busy man with the
government, and finally was compelled to go to France to escape from
prosecution. In France he joined Wharton, but his "Journal" still
continued to be issued until September 21st of the year 1728, which was
the date of the last issue. On the 28th of the same month, however,
appeared its continuation under the title, "Fog's Weekly Journal," and
this was carried on by Mist's friends. Mist died in 1737. [T. S.]

[127] See notes on pp. 158-159. [T. S.]

[128] "Observations on the Precedent List: Together with a View of the
Trade of Ireland, and the Great Benefits which accrue to England
thereby; with some hints for the further improvement of the same."
Dublin, second edition, 1729. Reprinted in Thom's "Tracts and Treatises
of Ireland," 1861, vol. ii. [T. S]

[129] A reference to Alberoni's expedition in aid of the Jacobites made
several years before Swift wrote. [T. S.]

[130] Sir W. Petty gives the population of Ireland as about one million,
two hundred thousand ("Pol. Arithmetic," 1699). [T. S.]

[131] This is probably a Swiftian plausibility to give an air of truth
to his remarks. Certain parts of America were at that time reputed to be
inhabited by cannibals. [T. S.]

[132] This anecdote is taken from the Description of the Island of
Formosa by that very extraordinary impostor George Psalmanazar, who for
some time passed himself for a native of that distant country. He
afterwards published a retractation of his figments, with many
expressions of contrition, but containing certain very natural
indications of dislike to those who had detected him. The passage
referred to in the text is as follows: "We also eat human flesh, which
I am now convinced is a very barbarous custom, though we feed only upon
our open enemies, slain or made captive in the field, or else upon
malefactors legally executed; the flesh of the latter is our greatest
dainty, and is four times dearer than other rare and delicious meat. We
buy it of the executioner, for the bodies of all public capital
offenders are his fees. As soon as the criminal is dead, he cuts the
body in pieces, squeezes out the blood, and makes his house a shambles
for the flesh of men and women, where all people that can afford it come
and buy. I remember, about ten years ago, a tall, well-complexioned,
pretty fat virgin, about nineteen years of age, and tire-woman to the
queen, was found guilty of high treason, for designing to poison the
king; and accordingly she was condemned to suffer the most cruel death
that could be invented, and her sentence was, to be nailed to a cross,
and kept alive as long as possible. The sentence was put in execution;
when she fainted with the cruel torment, the hangman gave her strong
liquors, &c. to revive her; the sixth day she died. Her long sufferings,
youth, and good constitution, made her flesh so tender, delicious, and
valuable, that the executioner sold it for above eight tallies; for
there was such thronging to this inhuman market, that men of great
fashion thought themselves fortunate if they could purchase a pound or
two of it." Lond. 1705, p. 112. [S.]

[133] The English government had been making concessions to the
Dissenters, and, of course, Swift satirically alludes here to the
arguments used by the government in the steps they had taken. But the
truth of the matter, Swift hints, was, that those who desired to abolish
the test were more anxious for their pockets than their consciences.
[T. S.]

[134] The inhabitants of a district of Brazil supposed to be savages,
making the name synonymous with savage ignorance. [T. S.]


  "Remove me from this land of slaves,
  Where all are fools, and all are knaves,
  Where every fool and knave is bought,
  Yet kindly sells himself for nought."

(_From Swift's note-book, written while detained at Holyhead in
September, 1727._) [T. S.]

[136] All these are proposals advocated, of course, by Swift himself, in
previous pamphlets and papers. [T. S.]

[137] So that there would be no danger of an objection from England that
the English were suffering from Irish competition. [T. S.]

[138] This was the celebrated periodical founded by Pulteney, after he
had separated himself from Walpole, to which Bolingbroke contributed his
famous letters of an Occasional Writer. The journal carried on a
political war against Walpole's administration, and endeavoured to bring
about the establishment of a new party, to consist of Tories and the
Whigs who could not agree with Walpole's methods. Caleb D'Anvers was a
mere name for a Grub Street hack who was supposed to be the writer. But
Walpole had no difficulty in recognizing the hand of Bolingbroke, and
his reply to the first number of the Occasional Writer made Bolingbroke
wince. [T. S.]

[139] The "Modest Proposal." See page 207. [T. S.]

[140] Referring to the silks, laces, and dress of the extravagant women.
See pp. 139, 198, 199. [T. S.]

[141] The chief source of income in Ireland came from the pasture lands
on which cattle were bred. The cattle were imported to England. The
English landlords, however, taking alarm, discovered to the Crown that
this importation of Irish cattle was lowering English rents. Two Acts
passed in 1665 and 1680 fully met the wishes of the landlords, and
ruined absolutely the Irish cattle trade. Prevented thus from breeding
cattle, the Irish turned to the breeding of sheep, and established, in a
very short time, an excellent trade in wool. How England ruined this
industry also may be seen from note on p. 158. [T. S.]

[142] Alluding to the facilities afforded for the recruiting of the
French army in Ireland. [T. S.]

[143] The King of France. [T. S.]

[144] Buttermilk. The quotation from Virgil aptly applies to the food of
the Irish peasants, who, in the words of Skelton, bled their cattle and
boiled their blood with sorrel to make a food. [T. S.]

[145] At Christ Church. See note prefixed to this tract. [T. S.]

[146] Sheridan, in his life of Swift, gives an instance of this which is
quoted by Scott. Carteret had appointed Sheridan one of his domestic
chaplains, and the two would often spend hours together, or, in company
with Swift, exchanging talk and knowledge. When Sheridan had one of the
Greek tragedies performed by the scholars of the school he kept,
Carteret wished to read the play over with him before the performance.
At this reading Sheridan was surprised at the ease with which his patron
could translate the original, and, asking him how he came to know it so
well, Carteret told him "that when he was envoy in Denmark, he had been
for a long time confined to his chamber, partly by illness, and partly
by the severity of the weather; and having but few books with him, he
had read Sophocles over and over so often as to be almost able to repeat
the whole _verbatim_, which impressed it ever after indelibly on his
memory." [T. S.]

[147] This refers to Richard Tighe, the gentleman who informed on poor
Sheridan for preaching from the text on the anniversary of King George's
accession, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." It was on this
information that Sheridan lost his living. Swift never afterwards missed
an opportunity to ridicule Tighe, and he has lampooned that individual
in several poems. In "The Legion Club" Swift calls him Dick Fitzbaker,
alluding to his descent from one of Cromwell's contractors, who supplied
the army with bread. [T. S.]

[148] "The worst of times" was the expression used by the Whigs when
they referred to Oxford's administration in the last four years of Queen
Anne's reign. [T. S.]

[149] A famous rope-dancer of that time. [H.]

[150] A justice of the peace, who afterwards gave Swift farther
provocation. It was Hutcheson who signed Faulkner's committal to prison
for printing "A New Proposal for the Better Regulation and Improvement
of Quadrille," a pamphlet which Swift did not write, but which had his
favour. A jeering insinuation was made against the famous Sergeant
Bettesworth, whom Swift had already lampooned, and Bettesworth
complained to the House of Commons. Hutcheson aided Bettesworth in this
prosecution, causing Swift to be roused to a strong indignation against
such unconstitutional proceedings.

  "Better we all were in our graves,
  Than live in slavery to slaves."

These are the lines beginning one of his more trenchant lampoons against
the magistrate. [T. S.]

[151] "The beast who had kicked him" is the expression Swift uses for
Tighe in writing to Sheridan in a letter on September 25th, 1725. In
that letter Swift urges Sheridan to revenge, and promises him his help.
[T. S.]

[152] The word is spelt "Galloway" in the original edition. The earldom
of Galway became extinct in 1720. For an account of the earl, see note
on p. 20 of volume v. of this edition. [T. S.]

[153] Joshua, Lord Allen. See p. 175 [T. S.]

[154] Swift's poem entitled "Traulus" was published at this price, and
gives in rhyme much the same matter as is here given in prose. See p.
176. [T. S.]

[155] Lord Allen was reputed to be wrong in his head. When Swift was
once asked to excuse him for his conduct on the plea that he was mad,
Swift replied: "I know that he is a madman; and, if that were all, no
man living could commiserate his condition more than myself; but, sir,
he is a madman possessed by the devil. I renounce him." (See Scott's
"Life of Swift," p. 365.) [T. S.]

[156] The reader may compare what is stated in these two paragraphs with
the same opinion expressed by the author in "The Public Spirit of the
Whigs." [S.]

[157] See notes on pp. 74, 232. [T. S.]

[158] See note on p. 232. [T. S.]

[159] Mr. Tickell and Mr. Ballaquer. Tickell was Addison's biographer,
and a friend and correspondent of Swift. He was no mean poet, and though
Pope did not care for him Swift did. Tickell was Secretary to the Lords
Justices of Ireland, and Ballaquer Secretary to Carteret. [T. S.]

[160] The day of the anniversary of the accession of George I. In his
"History of Solomon the Second" Swift censures his friend strongly for
his indiscretion. [T. S.]

[161] The Richard Tighe afore-mentioned. [T. S.]

[162] Sheridan wrote a poem displeasing to Swift, which Swift thus
animadverts on in the "History of the Second Solomon": "Having lain many
years under the obloquy of a high Tory and a Jacobite, upon the present
Queen's birthday, he [Dr. Sheridan] writ a song to be performed before
the government and those who attended them, in praise of the Queen and
King, on the common topics of her beauty, wit, family, love of England,
and all other virtues, wherein the King and the royal children were
sharers. It was very hard to avoid the common topics. A young collegian
who had done the same job the year before, got some reputation on
account of his wit. Solomon would needs vie with him, by which he lost
the esteem of his old friends the Tories, and got not the least interest
with the Whigs, for they are now too strong to want advocates of that
kind; and, therefore, one of the lords-justices reading the verses in
some company, said, 'Ah, doctor, this shall not do.' His name was at
length in the title-page; and he did this without the knowledge or
advice of one living soul, as he himself confesseth." [T. S.]

[163] Dr. Stopford, Bishop of Cloyne, one of Swift's intimate friends.
Stopford always acknowledged that he owed his advancement entirely to
Swift's kindness. He wrote an elegant Latin tribute to Swift, given by
Scott in an appendix to the "Life." With Delany and others he was one of
Swift's executors.

[164] Delany was a ripe scholar and much esteemed by Swift, though the
latter had occasion to rebuke him for attempting to court favour with
the Castle people, and for an attack on the "Intelligencer," a journal
which Swift and Sheridan had started. Delany, however, was a little
jealous of Sheridan's favour with the Dean. He was afterwards Chancellor
of St Patrick's, and wrote a life of Swift. [T. S.]

[165] Sir Constantine Phipps, Lord Chancellor of Ireland when Queen Anne
died. [_Orig. Note._]

[166] Swift himself. [T. S.]

[167] Dr. William King, who died a year or so before Swift wrote. [T. S.]

[168] In 1724, two under-graduates were expelled from Trinity College
for alleged insolence to the provost. Dr. Delany espoused their cause
with such warmth that it drew upon him very inconvenient consequences,
and he was at length obliged to give satisfaction to the college by a
formal acknowledgment of his offence. [S.]

[169] A very good friend of Swift, at whose place at Gosford, in the
county of Antrim, Swift would often stay for months together. The
reference here is to the project for converting a large house, called
Hamilton's Bawn, situated about two miles from Sir Arthur Acheson's
seat, into a barrack. The project gave rise to Swift's poem, entitled,
"The Grand Question Debated," given by Scott in vol. xv., p. 171. [T. S.]

[170] Most of these expressions explain themselves. "Termagants" was
applied to resisters, as used in the old morality plays. "Iconoclasts,"
the name given to those who defaced King William's statue.
"White-rosalists," given to those who wore the Stuart badge on the 10th
of June, the day of the Pretender's birthday. [T. S.]

[171] By fines is meant the increase made in rents on the occasion of
renewals of leases. [T. S.]

[172] This document was copied by Sir Walter Scott from Dr. Lyon's
papers. It is indorsed, "Queries for Mr. Lindsay," and "21st Nov., 1730,
Mr. Lindsay's opinion concerning Mr. Gorman, in answer to my queries."
Mr. Lindsay's answer was:

"I have carefully perused and considered this case, and am clearly of
opinion, that the agent has not made any one answer like a man of
business, but has answered very much like a true agent.

"Nov. 21, 1730. Robert Lindsay."

[173] Swift was born at No. 7, Hoey's Court, near the Castle grounds.
[T. S.]

[174] A sort of sugar-cakes in the shape of hearts. [F.]

[175] A new name for a modern periwig with a long black tail, and for
its owner; now in fashion, Dec. 1, 1733. [F.]

[176] Referring to the last four years of Anne's reign, when Harley was
minister. The expression was a Whig one. [T. S.]

[177] "The squeezing of the orange" was literally a toast among the
disaffected in the reign of William III. [S.]

[178] The author's meaning is just contrary to the literal sense in the
character of Lord Oxford; while he is in truth sneering at the splendour
of Houghton, and the supposed wealth of Sir Robert Walpole. [S.]

[179] The paragraph here printed in square brackets did not appear in
the original Dublin edition of 1732. [T. S.]

[180] Was a gentleman of a very large estate, and left it to the poor
people of England, to be distributed amongst them annually, as the
Parliament of Great Britain, his executors, should think proper. [F.]

[181] 4,060,000 in 1734 and 4,600,000 in edition of 1733. To make the
total agree with the division below it, the item against Richard Norton
has been altered from 60,000 to 6,000. [T. S.]

[182] See note on page 269. [T. S.]

[183] See note on page 271. [T. S.]

[184] Humphry French, Lord Mayor of Dublin for the year 1732-3, was
elected to succeed Alderman Samuel Burton. [F.]

[185] John Macarrell, Register of the Barracks, shortly after this date
elected to the representation of Carlingford. [F.]

[186] Edward Thompson, member of parliament for York, and a Commissioner
of the Revenue in Ireland. [F.]

[187] Mr. Thompson was presented with the freedom of several
corporations in Ireland. [F.]

[188] Upon the death of Mr. Stoyte, Recorder of the City of Dublin, in
the year 1733, several gentlemen declared themselves candidates to
succeed him; upon which the Dean wrote the above paper, and Eaton
Stannard, Esq. (a gentleman of great worth and honour, and very knowing
in his profession) was elected [F.]

[189] Dr. William King. [T. S.]

[190] The following, from Deane Swift's edition, given by Sir Walter
Scott in his edition of Swift's works, refers to this "very plain
proposal." It is evidently written by Swift, and is dated, as from the
Deanery House, September 26th, 1726, almost eleven years before the
above tract was issued:

"DEANERY-HOUSE, _Sept. 26, 1726._

"The continued concourse of beggars from all parts of the kingdom to
this city, having made it impossible for the several parishes to
maintain their own poor, according to the ancient laws of the land,
several lord mayors did apply themselves to the lord Archbishop of
Dublin, that his grace would direct his clergy, and his churchwardens of
the said city, to appoint badges of brass, copper, or pewter, to be worn
by the poor of the several parishes. The badges to be marked with the
initial letters of the name of each church, and numbered 1, 2, 3, etc.,
and to be well sewed and fastened on the right and left shoulder of the
outward garment of each of the said poor, by which they might be
distinguished. And that none of the said poor should go out of their own
parish to beg alms; whereof the beadles were to take care.

"His grace the lord Archbishop, did accordingly give his directions to
the clergy; which, however, have proved wholly ineffectual, by the
fraud, perverseness, or pride of the said poor, several of them openly
protesting 'they will never submit to wear the said badges.' And of
those who received them, almost every one keep them in their pockets, or
hang them in a string about their necks, or fasten them under their
coats, not to be seen, by which means the whole design is eluded; so
that a man may walk from one end of the town to another, without seeing
one beggar regularly badged, and in such great numbers, that they are a
mighty nuisance to the public, most of them being foreigners.

"It is therefore proposed, that his grace the lord Archbishop would
please to call the clergy of the city together, and renew his directions
and exhortations to them, to put the affair of badges effectually in
practice, by such methods as his grace and they shall agree upon. And I
think it would be highly necessary that some paper should be pasted up
in several proper parts of the city, signifying this order, and
exhorting all people to give no alms except to those poor who are
regularly badged, and only while they are in the precincts of their own
parishes. And if something like this were delivered by the ministers in
the reading-desk two or three Lord's-days successively, it would still
be of further use to put this matter upon a right foot. And that all who
offend against this regulation shall be treated as vagabonds and sturdy
beggars." [T. S.]

[191] Spelt now St. Warburgh's. [T. S.]

[192] About the beginning of the eighteenth century, Dr. Gwythers, a
physician, and fellow of the University of Dublin, brought over with him
a parcel of frogs from England to Ireland, in order to propagate their
species in that kingdom, and threw them into the ditches of the
University Park; but they all perished. Whereupon he sent to England for
some bottles of the frog-spawn, which he threw into those ditches, by
which means the species of frogs was propagated in that kingdom.
However, their number was so small in the year 1720, that a frog was
nowhere to be seen in Ireland, except in the neighbourhood of the
University Park: but within six or seven years after, they spread
thirty, forty, or fifty miles over the country; and so at last, by
degrees, over the whole country. [D. S.]

[193] Swift's uncle, Godwin Swift, for whose memory he had no special
regard, seems to have been concerned in this ingenious anagram and
unfortunate project. [S.]

[194] This reproach has been certainly removed since the Dean
flourished; for the titles of the Irish peerages of late creation have
rather been in the opposite extreme, and resemble, in some instances,
the appellatives in romances and novels.

Thomas O'Brien MacMahon, an Irish author, quoted by Mr. Southey in his
Omniana, in a most angry pamphlet on "The Candour and Good-nature of
Englishmen," has the following diverting passage, which may serve as a
corollary to Swift's Tract:--"You sent out the children of your
princes," says he, addressing the Irish, "and sometimes your princes in
person, to enlighten this kingdom, then sitting in utter darkness,
(meaning England) and how have they recompensed you? Why, after
lawlessly distributing your estates, possessed for thirteen centuries or
more, by your illustrious families, whose antiquity and nobility, if
equalled by any nation in the world, none but the immutable God of
Abraham's chosen, though, at present, wandering and afflicted people,
surpasses: After, I say, seizing on your inheritances, and flinging them
among their Cocks, Hens, Crows, Rooks, Daws, Wolves, Lions, Foxes, Rams,
Bulls, Hoggs, and other beasts and birds of prey, or vesting them in the
sweepings of their jails, their Small-woods, Do-littles, Barebones,
Strangeways, Smarts, Sharps, Tarts, Sterns, Churls, and Savages; their
Greens, Blacks, Browns, Greys and Whites; their Smiths, Carpenters,
Brewers, Bakers, and Taylors; their Sutlers, Cutlers, Butlers, Trustlers
and Jugglers; their Norths, Souths, and Wests; their Fields, Rows,
Streets, and Lanes; their Toms-sons, Dicks-sons, Johns-sons, James-sons,
Wills-sons, and Waters-sons; their Shorts, Longs, Lows, and Squabs;
their Parks, Sacks, Tacks, and Jacks; and, to complete their ingratitude
and injustice, they have transported a cargo of notorious traitors to
the Divine Majesty among you, impiously calling them the Ministers of
God's Word." [S.]

[195] The Tholsel, where criminals for the city were tried, and where
proclamations, etc., were posted. It was invariably called the Touls'el
by the lower class. [S.]

[196] This and the following piece were, according to Sir Walter Scott,
found among the collection of Mr. Smith. The examples of English
blunders which Scott also reprints were given by Sheridan by way of
retaliation to these specimens of Irish blunders noted by Swift. [T. S.]

[197] This specimen of Irish-English, or what Swift condemned as such,
is taken from an unfinished copy in the Dean's handwriting, found among
Mr. Lyons's papers. [S.]

[198] See note on p. 368. [T. S.]

[199] Dunkin was one of Swift's favourites, to judge by the efforts
Swift made on his behalf. Writing to Alderman Barber (17th January,
1737-38), Swift speaks of him as "a gentleman of much wit and the best
English as well as Latin poet in this kingdom." Several of Dunkin's
poems were printed in Scott's edition of Swift's works, but his
collected works were issued in 1774. Dunkin was educated at Trinity
College, Dublin. [T. S.]

[200] The "Occasional Writer's" Letters are printed in Lord
Bolingbroke's Works. [N.]

[201] Sir Robert Walpole was by no means negligent of his literary
assistants. But, unfortunately, like an unskilful general, he confided
more in the number than the spirit or discipline of his forces. Arnall,
Concanen, and Henley, were wretched auxiliaries; yet they could not
complain of indifferent pay, since Arnall used to brag, that, in the
course of four years, he had received from the treasury, for his
political writings, the sum of _£10,997 6s. 8d._ [S.]

[202] The authority for considering this "Account" to be the work of
Swift is Mr. Deane Swift, the editor of the edition of 1765 of Swift's
works. It is included in the eighth volume of the quarto edition issued
that year. Burke also seems to have had no doubt at all about the
authorship. Referring to the Dean's disposition to defend Queen Anne and
to ridicule her successor, he says, "it is probable that the pieces in
which he does it ('Account of the Court of Japan,' and 'Directions for
making a Birth-day Song') were the occasion of most of the other
posthumous articles having been so long withheld from the publick."
Undoubtedly, there is much in this piece that savours of Swift's method
of dealing with such a subject; but that could easily be imitated by a
clever reader of "Gulliver." The style, however, in which it is written
is not distinctly Swift's.

At the time this tract was written (1728) the Tory party was anxiously
hoping that the accession of George II. would see the downfall of
Walpole. But the party was doomed to a bitter disappointment. Walpole
not only maintained but added to the power he enjoyed under George I. By
what means this was accomplished the writer of this piece attempts to
hint. Sir Walter Scott thinks the piece was probably left imperfect,
"when the crisis to which the Tories so anxiously looked forward
terminated so undesirably, in the confirmation of Walpole's power."
[T. S.]

[203] King George. [S.]

[204] Queen Anne. [S.]

[205] Whigs and Tories. Anagrams of Huigse and Toryes. [T. S.]

[206] Hanover. Anagrams for Deuts = Deutsch = German. [T. S.]

[207] Bremen and Lubeck. [S.]

[208] The quadruple alliance, usually accounted the most impolitic step
in the reign of George I., had its rise in his anxiety for his
continental dominions. [S.]

[209] Through all the reign of George I., the Whigs were in triumphant
possession of the government. [S.]

[210] Sir Robert Walpole [S.]

[211] When secretary at war, Walpole received £500 from the contractors
for forage; and although he alleged that it was a sum due to a third
party in the contract, and only remitted through his hands, he was voted
guilty of corruption, expelled the House, and sent to the Tower, by the
Tory Parliament. [S.]

[212] King George II. [S.]

[213] Sir Spencer Compton, Speaker of the House of Commons. [S.]

[214] Sir Thomas Hanmer. [S.]

[215] About a million sterling. [D. S.]

[216] This piece is included here on the authority of Mr. Deane Swift,
and was accepted by Sir Walter Scott on the same authority. The writing
is excellent and bears every mark of Swift's hand. In the note to the
"Letter to the Writer of the Occasional Paper" was included the heads of
a paper which Swift suggested, found by Sir H. Craik. The present
"Answer" may serve as further evidence of Sir H. Craik's suggestion that
Swift may have assisted Pulteney and Bolingbroke on more than one

The present text is that of the 1768 quarto edition. [T. S.]

[217] "Gasping," 1768; "grasping," Nichols, 1801. [T. S.]


  "For neither man nor angel can discern
  Hypocrisy--the only evil that walks
  Invisible, except to God alone,
  By His permissive will, through heaven and earth,
  And oft, though Wisdom wake, Suspicion sleeps
  At Wisdom's gate, and to Simplicity
  Resigns her charge, while Goodness thinks no ill
  Where no ill seems."--

 _Paradise Lost_, Book III., 682-689. [T. S.]



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