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Crown, and kept, as has been obferved, the fucceffion undetermined. Not knowing what to do, he did nothing; and, with the fate of a double dealer, at last he loft his power, but kept his enemies.
Swift feems to have concurred in opinion with the "October Club;" but it was not in his power to quicken the tardiness of Harley, whom he ftimulated as much as he could, but with little effect. He that knows not whither to go, is in no hafte to move. Harley, who was perhaps not quick by nature, became yet more flow by irrefolution; and was content to hear that dilatorinefs lamented as natural, which he applauded in himself as politick.
Without the Tories, however, nothing could be done; and as they were not to be gratified, they must be appeased; and the conduct of the Minifter, if it could not be vindicated, was to be plaufibly excused.
Early in the next year he published a "Propofal "for correcting, improving, and afcertaining the "English Tongue," in a Letter to the Earl of Oxford; written without much knowledge of the general nature of language, and without any accurate enquiry into the hiftory of other tongues. The certainty and stability which, contrary to all experience, he thinks attainable, he propofes to fecure by inftituting an academy; the decrees of which every man would have been willing, and many would have been proud, to disobey, and which, being renewed by fucceffive elections, would in a fhort time have dif fered from itself.
Swift now attained the zenith of his political importance: he published (1712) the "Conduct of
those who addreffed him, he represents himself as fufficiently diligent; and defires to have others believe, what he probably believed himself, that by his interpofition many Whigs of merit, and among them Addifon and Congreve, were continued in their places. But every man of known influence has fo many pe titions which he cannot grant, that he muft neceflarily offend more than he gratifies, because the preference given to one affords all the reft reafon for complaint. "When I give away a place," faid Lewis XIV." I make an hundred discontented, and "one ungrateful,"
Much has been faid of the equality and independence which he preferved in his conversation with the Ministers, of the frankness of his remonftrances, and the familiarity of his friendship. In accounts of this kind a few fingle incidents are fet against the general tenour of behaviour. No man, however, can pay a more fervile tribute to the Great, than by fuffering his liberty in their prefence to aggrandize him in his own efteem. Between different ranks of the community there is neceffarily fome diftance: he who is called by his fuperior to pass the interval, may properly accept the invitation; but petulance and obtrufion are rarely produced by magnanimity; nor have often any nobler cause than the pride of importance, and the malice of inferiority. He who knows himfelf neceffary may fet, while that neceffity lafts, a high value upon himfelf; as, in a lower condition, a fervant eminently fkilful may be faucy; but he is faucy only because he is fervile. Swift appears to have preferved the kindnefs of the Great when they wanted him no longer; and therefore it
thut be allowed, that the childish freedom, to which he feems enough inclined, was overpowered by his better qualities.
His difinterestednefs had been likewife mentioned; a ftrain of heroifm, which would have been in his condition romantick and fuperfluous. Ecclefiaftical benefices, when they become vacant, must be given away; and the friends of Power may, if there be no inherent difqualification, reasonably expect them. Swift accepted (1713) the deanery of St. Patrick, the beft preferment that his friends could venture to give him. That Miniftry was in a great degree fupported by the Clergy, who were not yet reconciled to the author of the "Tale of a Tub," and would not with out much discontent and indignation have born to see him installed in an English Cathedral.
He refused, indeed, fifty pounds from Lord Oxford; but he accepted afterwards a draught of a thousand upon the Exchequer, which was intercepted by the Queen's death, and which he refigned, as he fays himself, "multa gemens, with many a 66 groan."
In the midst of his power and his politicks, he kept a journal of his vifits, his walks, his interviews with Minifters, and quarrels with his fervant, and tranfmitted it to Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Dingley, to whom he knew that whatever befel him was interefting, and no accounts could be too minute. Whether thefe diurnal trifles were properly expofed to eyes which had nevet received any pleasure from the prefence of the Dean, may be reasonably doubted: they have, however, fome odd attraction; the reader, finding frequent mention of names which he has been used to confider VOL. XI. с
as important, goes on in hope of information; and, as there is nothing to fatigue attention, if he is dif appointed he can hardly complain. It is eafy to perceive, from every page, that though ambition preffed Swift into a life of buftle, the with for a life of ease was always returning.
He went to take poffeffion of his deanery as foon as he had obtained it, but he was not fuffered to ftay in Ireland more than a fortnight before he was recalled to England, that he might reconcile Lord Oxford and Lord Bolingbroke, who began to look on one another with malevolence, which every day increafed, and which Bolingbroke appeared to retain in his last years.
Swift contrived an interview, from which they both departed difcontented: he procured a fecond, which only convinced him that the feud was irreconcileable: he told them his opinion, that all was loft. This denunciation was contradicted by Oxford; but Bolingbroke whifpered that he was right.
Before this violent diffenfion had shattered the Miniftry, Swift had published, in the beginning of the year (1714)," The publick Spirit of the Whigs," in answer to "The Crifis," a pamphlet for which Steele was expelled from the House of Commons. Swift was now fo far alienated from Steele, as to think him no longer entitled to decency, and therefore treats him fometimes with contempt, and fometimes with abhorrence.
In this pamphlet the Scotch were mentioned in terms fo provoking to that irritable nation, that, refolving "not to be offended with impunity," the Scotch Lords in a body demanded an audience of the
the Queen, and folicited reparation. A proclamation was iffued, in which three hundred pounds were offered for the difcovery of the author. From this ftorm he was, as he relates, "fecured by a "fleight;" of what kind, or by whofe prudence, is not known; and fuch was the increase of his reputation, that the Scottish "Nation applied again that "he would be their friend."
He was become fo formidable to the Whigs, that his familiarity with the Minifters was clamoured at in Parliament, particularly by two men, afterwards of great note, Aiflabie and Walpole.
But, by the difunion of his great friends, his importance and defigns were now at an end; and feeing his fervices at last useless, he retired about June (1714) into Berkshire, where, in the houfe of a friend, he wrote what was then fuppreffed, but has fince appeared under the title of "Free thoughts on the pre
"fent State of Affairs."
While he was waiting in his retirement for events which time or chance might bring to pafs, the death of the Queen broke down at once the whole fyftem of Tory Politicks; and nothing remained but to withdraw from the implacability of triumphant Whiggifm, and shelter himself in unenvied obfcurity.
The accounts of his reception in Ireland, given by Lord Orrery and Dr. Delany, are fo different, that the credit of the writers, both undoubtedly veracious, cannot be saved, but by fuppofing, what I think is true, that they speak of different times. When Delany fays, that he was received with refpect, he means for the first fortnight, when he came to take legal poffeffion; and when Lord Orrery tells that he was C 2 pelted