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The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, D. D., Volume IX; by Jonathan Swift

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Amongst other severities I have met with from some critics, the cruellest
for an old man is, that they will not let me be at quiet in my bed, but
pursue me to my very dreams. I must not dream but when they please, nor
upon long continued subjects, however visionary in their own natures;
because there is a manifest moral quite through them, which to produce as
a dream is improbable and unnatural. The pain I might have had from this
objection, is prevented by considering they have missed another, against
which I should have been at a loss to defend myself. They should have
asked me, whether the dreams I publish can properly be called
Lucubrations, which is the name I have given to all my papers, whether in
volumes or half-sheets: so manifest a contradiction _in terminis_, that I
wonder no sophister ever thought of it: But the other is a cavil. I
remember when I was a boy at school, I have often dreamed out the whole
passages of a day; that I rode a journey, baited, supped, went to bed,
and rose the next morning: and I have known young ladies who could dream
a whole contexture of adventures in one night large enough to make a
novel. In youth the imagination is strong, not mixed with cares, nor
tinged with those passions that most disturb and confound it, such as
avarice, ambition, and many others. Now as old men are said to grow
children again, so in this article of dreaming, I am returned to my
childhood. My imagination is at full ease, without care, avarice, or
ambition, to clog it; by which, among many others, I have this advantage
of doubling the small remainder of my time, and living four-and-twenty
hours in the day. However, the dream I am now going to relate, is as wild
as can well be imagined, and adapted to please these refiners upon sleep,
without any moral that I can discover.

"It happened that my maid left on the table in my bedchamber, one of her
story books (as she calls them) which I took up, and found full of
strange impertinences, fitted to her taste and condition; of poor
servants that came to be ladies, and serving-men of low degree, who
married kings' daughters. Among other things, I met this sage
observation, 'That a lion would never hurt a true virgin.' With this
medley of nonsense in my fancy I went to bed, and dreamed that a friend
waked me in the morning, and proposed for pastime to spend a few hours in
seeing the parish lions, which he had not done since he came to town; and
because they showed but once a week, he would not miss the opportunity. I
said I would humour him; though, to speak the truth, I was not fond of
those cruel spectacles; and if it were not so ancient a custom, founded,
as I had heard, upon the wisest maxims, I should be apt to censure the
inhumanity of those who introduced it." All this will be a riddle to the
waking reader, till I discover the scene my imagination had formed upon
the maxim, "That a lion would never hurt a true virgin." "I dreamed, that
by a law of immemorial time, a he-lion was kept in every parish at the
common charge, and in a place provided, adjoining to the churchyard:
that, before any one of the fair sex was married, if she affirmed herself
to be a virgin, she must on her wedding day, and in her wedding clothes,
perform the ceremony of going alone into the den, and stay an hour with
the lion let loose, and kept fasting four-and-twenty hours on purpose. At
a proper height, above the den, were convenient galleries for the
relations and friends of the young couple, and open to all spectators. No
maiden was forced to offer herself to the lion; but if she refused, it
was a disgrace to marry her, and every one might have liberty of calling
her a whore. And methought it was as usual a diversion to see the parish
lions, as with us to go to a play or an opera. And it was reckoned
convenient to be near the church, either for marrying the virgin if she
escaped the trial, or for burying the bones when the lion had devoured
the rest, as he constantly did."

To go on therefore with the dream: "We called first (as I remember) to
see St. Dunstan's lion, but we were told they did not shew to-day: From
thence we went to that of Covent-Garden, which, to my great surprise, we
found as lean as a skeleton, when I expected quite the contrary; but the
keeper said it was no wonder at all, because the poor beast had not got
an ounce of woman's flesh since he came into the parish. This amazed me
more than the other, and I was forming to myself a mighty veneration for
the ladies in that quarter of the town, when the keeper went on, and
said, He wondered the parish would be at the charge of maintaining a lion
for nothing. Friend, (said I) do you call it nothing, to justify the
virtue of so many ladies, or has your lion lost his distinguishing
faculty? Can there be anything more for the honour of your parish, than
that all the ladies married in your church were pure virgins? That is
true, (said he) and the doctor knows it to his sorrow; for there has not
been a couple married in our church since his worship has been amongst
us. The virgins hereabouts are too wise to venture the claws of the lion;
and because nobody will marry them, have all entered into vows of
virginity. So that in proportion we have much the largest nunnery in
the whole town. This manner of ladies entering into a vow of virginity,
because they were not virgins, I easily conceived; and my dream told me,
that the whole kingdom was full of nunneries, plentifully stocked from
the same reason.

"We went to see another lion, where we found much company met in the
gallery; the keeper told us, we should see sport enough, as he called it;
and in a little time, we saw a young beautiful lady put into the den, who
walked up towards the lion with all imaginable security in her
countenance, and looked smiling upon her lover and friends in the
gallery; which I thought nothing extraordinary, because it was never
known that any lion had been mistaken. But, however, we were all
disappointed, for the lion lifted up his right paw, which was the fatal
sign, and advancing forward, seized her by the arm, and began to tear it:
The poor lady gave a terrible shriek, and cried out, 'The lion is just, I
am no true virgin! Oh! Sappho, Sappho.' She could say no more, for the
lion gave her the _coup de grace_, by a squeeze in the throat, and she
expired at his feet. The keeper dragged away her body to feed the animal
when the company was gone, for the parish-lions never used to eat in
public. After a little pause, another lady came on towards the lion in
the same manner as the former; we observed the beast smell her with great
diligence, he scratched both her hands with lifting them to his nose, and
clapping a claw on her bosom, drew blood; however he let her go, and at
the same time turned from her with a sort of contempt, at which she was
not a little mortified, and retired with some confusion to her friends in
the gallery. Methought the whole company immediately understood the
meaning of this, that the easiness of the lady had suffered her to admit
certain imprudent and dangerous familiarities, bordering too much upon
what is criminal; neither was it sure whether the lover then present
had not some sharers with him in those freedoms, of which a lady can
never be too sparing.

"This happened to be an extraordinary day, for a third lady came into the
den, laughing loud, playing with her fan, tossing her head, and smiling
round on the young fellows in the gallery. However, the lion leaped on
her with great fury, and we gave her for gone; but on a sudden he let go
his hold, turned from her as if he were nauseated, then gave her a lash
with his tail; after which she returned to the gallery, not the least out
of countenance: and this, it seems, was the usual treatment of coquettes.

"I thought we had now seen enough, but my friend would needs have us go
and visit one or two lions in the city. We called at two or three dens
where they happened not to shew, but we generally found half a score
young girls, between eight and eleven years old, playing with each lion,
sitting on his back, and putting their hands into his mouth; some of them
would now and then get a scratch; but we always discovered, upon
examining, that they had been hoydening with the young apprentices. One
of them was calling to a pretty girl of about twelve years, that stood by
us in the gallery, to come down to the lion, and upon her refusal, said,
'Ah! Miss Betty, we could never get you to come near the lion, since you
played at hoop and hide with my brother in the garret.'

"We followed a couple, with the wedding-folks, going to the church of St.
Mary-Axe. The lady, though well stricken in years, extremely crooked and
deformed, was dressed out beyond the gaiety of fifteen; having jumbled
together, as I imagined, all the tawdry remains of aunts, godmothers, and
grandmothers, for some generations past: One of the neighbours whispered
me, that she was an old maid, and had the clearest reputation of any in
the parish. There is nothing strange in that, thought I, but was much
surprised, when I observed afterwards that she went towards the lion with
distrust and concern. The beast was lying down, but upon sight of her,
snuffed up his nose two or three times, and then giving the sign of
death, proceeded instantly to execution. In the midst of her agonies, she
was heard to name the words, 'Italy' and 'artifices,' with the utmost
horror, and several repeated execrations: and at last concluded, 'Fool
that I was, to put so much confidence in the toughness of my skin.'

"The keeper immediately set all in order again for another customer,
which happened to be a famous prude, whom her parents after long
threatenings, and much persuasion, had with the extremest difficulty
prevailed on to accept a young handsome goldsmith, that might have
pretended to five times her fortune. The fathers and mothers in the
neighbourhood used to quote her for an example to their daughters. Her
elbows were rivetted to her sides, and her whole person so ordered as to
inform everybody that she was afraid they should touch her. She only
dreaded to approach the lion, because it was a he one, and abhorred to
think an animal of that sex should presume to breathe on her. The sight
of a man at twenty yards distance made her draw back her head. She always
sat upon the farther corner of the chair, though there were six chairs
between her and her lover, and with the door wide open, and her little
sister in the room. She was never saluted but at the tip of her ear, and
her father had much ado to make her dine without her gloves, when there
was a man at table. She entered the den with some fear, which we took to
proceed from the height of her modesty, offended at the sight of so many
men in the gallery. The lion beholding her at a distance, immediately
gave the deadly sign; at which the poor creature (methinks I see her
still) miscarried in a fright before us all. The lion seemed to be
surprised as much as we, and gave her time to make her confession, 'That
she was four months gone, by the foreman of her father's shop, that this
was her third big belly;' and when her friends asked, why she would
venture the trial? she said, 'Her nurse assured her, that a lion would
never hurt a woman with child.'" Upon this I immediately waked, and could
not help wishing, that the deputy-censors of my late institution were
endued with the same instinct as these parish-lions were.

[Footnote 1:
"Manditque, trahitque
Molle pecus."
_Aeneid_, ix. 340-341.
"Devours and tears the peaceful flock."

[Footnote 2: _I.e._ 1710-11. [T.S.]]


_Ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes,
Emollit mores._ OVID.[2]


_From my own Apartment in Channel-Row, March 5_.

Those inferior duties of life which the French call _les petites
morales,_ or the smaller morals, are with us distinguished by the name of
good manners,[4] or breeding. This I look upon, in the general notion of
it, to be a sort of artificial good sense, adapted to the meanest
capacities, and introduced to make mankind easy in their commerce
with each other. Low and little understandings, without some rules of
this kind, would be perpetually wandering into a thousand indecencies and
irregularities in behaviour, and in their ordinary conversation fall into
the same boisterous familiarities that one observes amongst them, when a
debauch has quite taken away the use of their reason. In other instances,
it is odd to consider, that for want of common discretion the very end of
good breeding is wholly perverted, and civility, intended to make us
easy, is employed in laying chains and fetters upon us, in debarring us
of our wishes, and in crossing our most reasonable desires and
inclinations. This abuse reigns chiefly in the country, as I found to my
vexation, when I was last there, in a visit I made to a neighbour about
two miles from my cousin. As soon as I entered the parlour, they forced
me into the great chair that stood close by a huge fire, and kept me
there by force till I was almost stifled. Then a boy came in great hurry
to pull off my boots, which I in vain opposed, urging that I must return
soon after dinner. In the mean time the good lady whispered her eldest
daughter, and slipped a key into her hand. She returned instantly with
a beer glass half full of _aqua mirabilis_ and syrup of gillyflowers.
I took as much as I had a mind for; but Madam vowed I should drink it
off, (for she was sure it would do me good after coming out of the cold
air) and I was forced to obey, which absolutely took away my stomach.
When dinner came in, I had a mind to sit at a distance from the fire; but
they told me, it was as much as my life was worth, and set me with my
back just against it. Though my appetite was quite gone, I resolved to
force down as much as I could, and desired the leg of a pullet. "Indeed,
Mr. Bickerstaff," says the lady, "you must eat a wing to oblige me," and
so put a couple upon my plate. I was persecuted at this rate during the
whole meal. As often as I called for small beer, the master tipped the
wink, and the servant brought me a brimmer of October. Some time after
dinner, I ordered my cousin's man who came with me to get ready the
horses; but it was resolved I should not stir that night; and when I
seemed pretty much bent upon going, they ordered the stable door to be
locked, and the children hid away my cloak and boots. The next question
was, what I would have for supper? I said I never eat anything at
night, but was at last in my own defence obliged to name the first thing
that came into my head. After three hours spent chiefly in apology for my
entertainment, insinuating to me, "That this was the worst time of the
year for provisions, that they were at a great distance from any market,
that they were afraid I should be starved, and they knew they kept me to
my loss," the lady went, and left me to her husband (for they took
special care I should never be alone.) As soon as her back was turned,
the little misses ran backwards and forwards every moment; and constantly
as they came in or went out, made a curtsy directly at me, which in good
manners I was forced to return with a bow, and "Your humble servant
pretty Miss." Exactly at eight the mother came up, and discovered by the
redness of her face, that supper was not far off. It was twice as large
as the dinner, and my persecution doubled in proportion. I desired at
my usual hour to go to my repose, and was conducted to my chamber by the
gentleman, his lady, and the whole train of children. They importuned me
to drink something before I went to bed, and upon my refusing, at last
left a bottle of stingo, as they called it, for fear I should wake and be
thirsty in the night. I was forced in the morning to rise and dress
myself in the dark, because they would not suffer my kinsman's servant to
disturb me at the hour I had desired to be called. I was now resolved to
break through all measures to get away, and after sitting down to a
monstrous breakfast of cold beef, mutton, neats'-tongues, venison-pasty,
and stale beer, took leave of the family; but the gentleman would needs
see me part of my way, and carry me a short cut through his own grounds,
which he told me would save half a mile's riding. This last piece of
civility had like to have cost me dear, being once or twice in danger of
my neck, by leaping over his ditches, and at last forced to alight in the
dirt, when my horse, having slipped his bridle, ran away, and took us up
more than an hour to recover him again.

It is evident that none of the absurdities I met with in this visit
proceeded from an ill intention, but from a wrong judgment of
complaisance, and a misapplication of the rules of it. I cannot so easily
excuse the more refined critics upon behaviour, who having professed no
other study, are yet infinitely defective in the most material parts of
it. Ned Fashion has been bred all his life about Court, and understands
to a tittle all the punctilios of a drawing-room. He visits most of the
fine women near St. James's, and upon all occasions says the civilest and
softest things to them of any man breathing. To Mr. Isaac[5] he owes an
easy slide in his bow, and a graceful manner of coming into a room. But
in some other cases he is very far from being a well-bred person: He
laughs at men of far superior understanding to his own, for not being as
well dressed as himself, despises all his acquaintance that are not
quality, and in public places has on that account often avoided taking
notice of some of the best speakers in the House of Commons. He rails
strenuously at both Universities before the members of either, and never
is heard to swear an oath, or break in upon morality or religion, but in
the company of divines. On the other hand, a man of right sense has all
the essentials of good breeding, though he may be wanting in the forms of
it. Horatio has spent most of his time at Oxford. He has a great deal of
learning, an agreeable wit, and as much modesty as serves to adorn
without concealing his other good qualities. In that retired way of
living, he seems to have formed a notion of human nature, as he has found
it described in the writings of the greatest men, not as he is like to
meet with it in the common course of life. Hence it is, that he gives no
offence, that he converses with great deference, candour, and humanity.
His bow, I must confess, is somewhat awkward; but then he has an
extensive, universal, and unaffected knowledge, which makes some amends
for it. He would make no extraordinary figure at a ball; but I can
assure the ladies in his behalf, and for their own consolation, that he
has writ better verses on the sex than any man now living, and is
preparing such a poem for the press as will transmit their praises and
his own to many generations.

[Footnote 1: In the reprint of "The Tatler," volume v., this number was
called No. 20. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: _Epist. ex Ponto_, II. ix. 47-48.

"An understanding in the liberal arts
Softens men's manners."

[Footnote 3: _I.e._ 1710-11. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: Compare Swift's "Treatise on Good Manners and Good
Breeding." [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: A famous dancing-master in those days. [FAULKNER.] He died
in 1740. [T.S.]]


_O Lycida, vivi pervenimus, advena nostri,
(Quod numquam veriti sumus) ut possessor agelli
Diceret, Haec mea sunt, veteres migrate coloni._


_From my own Apartment in Channel-Row, March 14._

The dignity and distinction of men of wit is seldom enough considered,
either by themselves or others; their own behaviour, and the usage they
meet with, being generally very much of a piece. I have at this time in
my hands an alphabetical list of the _beaux esprits_ about this town,
four or five of whom have made the proper use of their genius, by gaining
the esteem of the best and greatest men, and by turning it to their own
advantage in some establishment of their fortunes, however unequal to
their merit; others satisfying themselves with the honour of having
access to great tables, and of being subject to the call of every man
of quality, who upon occasion wants one to say witty things for the
diversion of the company. This treatment never moves my indignation so
much, as when it is practised by a person, who though he owes his own
rise purely to the reputation of his parts, yet appears to be as much
ashamed of it, as a rich city knight to be denominated from the trade
he was first apprenticed to, and affects the air of a man born to his
titles, and consequently above the character of a wit, or a scholar. If
those who possess great endowments of the mind would set a just value
upon themselves, they would think no man's acquaintance whatsoever a
condescension, nor accept it from the greatest upon unworthy or
ignominious terms. I know a certain lord that has often invited a set
of people, and proposed for their diversion a buffoon player, and an
eminent poet, to be of the party; and which was yet worse, thought them
both sufficiently recompensed by the dinner, and the honour of his
company. This kind of insolence is risen to such a height, that I my self
was the other day sent to by a man with a title, whom I had never seen,
desiring the favour that I would dine with him and half a dozen of his
select friends. I found afterwards, the footman had told my maid below
stairs, that my lord having a mind to be merry, had resolved right or
wrong to send for honest Isaac. I was sufficiently provoked with the
message; however I gave the fellow no other answer, than that "I believed
he had mistaken the person, for I did not remember that his lord had ever
been introduced to me." I have reason to apprehend that this abuse hath
been owing rather to a meanness of spirit in men of parts, than to the
natural pride or ignorance of their patrons. Young students coming up
to town from the places of their education, are dazzled with the grandeur
they everywhere meet, and making too much haste to distinguish their
parts, instead of waiting to be desired and caressed, are ready to pay
their court at any rate to a great man, whose name they have seen in a
public paper, or the frontispiece of a dedication. It has not always been
thus: wit in polite ages has ever begot either esteem or fear. The hopes
of being celebrated, or the dread of being stigmatized, procured an
universal respect and awe for the persons of such as were allowed to have
the power of distributing fame or infamy where they pleased. Aretine had
all the princes of Europe his tributaries, and when any of them had
committed a folly that laid them open to his censure, they were forced by
some present extraordinary to compound for his silence; of which there is
a famous instance on record. When Charles the Fifth had miscarried
in his African expedition, which was looked upon as the weakest
undertaking of that great Emperor, he sent Aretine[4] a gold chain, who
made some difficulty of accepting it, saying, "It was too small a present
in all reason for so great a folly." For my own part, in this point I
differ from him, and never could be prevailed upon, by any valuable
consideration to conceal a fault or a folly since I first took the
censorship upon me.

Having long considered with my self the ill application that some make of
their talents, I have this day erected a Court of Alienation, by the
statutes of which the next a kin is empowered to _beg_ the parts and
understanding of any such person as can be proved, either by embezzling,
making a wrong use, or no use at all of the said parts and understanding,
not to know the true value thereof: who shall immediately be put out of
possession, and disqualified for ever; the said kinsman giving sufficient
security that he will employ them as the court shall direct. I have set
down under certain heads the several ways by which men prostitute and
abuse their parts, and from thence have framed a table of rules, whereby
the plaintiff may be informed when he has a good title to eject the
defendant. I may in a following paper give the world some account of the
proceedings of this court. I have already got two able critics for my
assessors upon the bench, who, though they have always exercised their
pens in taking off from the wit of others, have never pretended to
challenge any themselves, and consequently are in no danger of being
engaged in making claims, or of having any suits commence against them.
Every writer shall be tried by his peers, throughly versed in that point
wherein he pretends to excel; for which reason the jury can never consist
of above half the ordinary number. I shall in general be very tender how
I put any person out of his wits; but as the management of such
possessions is of great consequence to the world, I shall hold my self
obliged to vest the right in such hands as will answer the great purposes
they were intended for, and leave the former proprietors to seek their
fortune in some other way.

[Footnote 1: Called No. 24 in the reprint of "The Tatler," vol. v. [T.

[Footnote 2: _Eclogues_, ix. 2-4.

"O Lycidas,
We never thought, yet have we lived to see
A stranger seize our farm, and say, 'Tis mine,
Begone, ye old inhabitants."--C.R. KENNEDY.

[Footnote 3: _I.e._ 1710-11. Under date March 14th Swift writes to
Stella: "Little Harrison the 'Tatler' came to me, and begged me to
dictate a paper to him, which I was forced in charity to do." [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: Pietro Aretino (1492-1557), called "the scourge of Princes."
His prose is fiercely satirical, and his poetry as strongly obscene. His
works were condemned for their indecency and impiety. He received
numerous and valuable gifts from those who were afraid of his criticisms.
His sonnets, written to accompany engravings by Marc Antonio, from
designs by Giulio Romano (1524), largely contributed to his reputation
for obscenity. [T.S.]]


_Morte carent animae; semperque, priore relicta
Sede, novis domibus habitant vivuntque receptae.
Ipse ego (nam memini) Trojani tempore belli
Panthoides Euphorbus eram_--


_From my own Apartment, March 22._

My other correspondents will excuse me if I give the precedency to a
lady, whose letter, amongst many more, is just come to hand.


"I burn with impatience to know what and who you are. The curiosity of my
whole sex is fallen upon me, and has kept me waking these three nights. I
have dreamed often of you within this fortnight, and every time you
appeared in a different form. As you value my repose, tell me in which of
them I am to be

"Your admirer,


It is natural for a man who receives a favour of this kind from an
unknown fair, to frame immediately some idea of her person, which being
suited to the opinion we have of our own merit, is commonly as beautiful
and perfect as the most lavish imagination can furnish out. Strongly
possessed with these notions, I have read over Sylvia's billet; and
notwithstanding the reserve I have had upon this matter, am resolved to
go a much greater length, than I yet ever did, in making my self known to
the world, and, in particular, to my charming correspondent. In order to
it I must premise, that the person produced as mine in the play-house
last winter, did in nowise appertain to me. It was such a one however as
agreed well with the impression my writings had made, and served the
purpose I intended it for; which was to continue the awe and reverence
due to the character I was vested with, and, at the same time, to let my
enemies see how much I was the delight and favourite of this town. This
innocent imposture, which I have all along taken care to carry on, as
it then was of some use, has since been of singular service to me, and by
being mentioned in one of my papers, effectually recovered my egoity out
of the hands of some gentlemen who endeavoured to wrest it from me. This
is saying, in short, what I am not: what I am, and have been for many
years, is next to be explained. Here it will not be improper to remind
Sylvia, that there was formerly such a philosopher as Pythagoras, who,
amongst other doctrines, taught the transmigration of souls, which, if
she sincerely believes, she will not be much startled at the following

I will not trouble her, nor my other readers, with the particulars of all
the lives I have successively passed through since my first entrance into
mortal being, which is now many centuries ago. It is enough that I have
in every one of them opposed myself with the utmost resolution to the
follies and vices of the several ages I have been acquainted with, that I
have often rallied the world into good manners, and kept the greatest
princes in awe of my satire. There is one circumstance which I shall not
omit, though it may seem to reflect on my character, I mean that infinite
love of change which has ever appeared in the disposal of my existence.
Since the days of the Emperor Trajan, I have not been confined to the
same person for twenty years together; but have passed from one abode to
another, much quicker than the Pythagorean system generally allows. By
this means, I have seldom had a body to myself, but have lodged up and
down wherever I found a genius suitable to my own. In this manner I
continued, some time with the top wit of France, at another with that of
Italy, who had a statue erected to his memory in Rome. Towards the end of
the 17th century, I set out for England; but the gentleman I came over in
dying as soon as he got to shore, I was obliged to look out again for a
new habitation. It was not long before I met with one to my mind, for
having mixed myself invisibly with the _literati_ of this kingdom, I
found it was unanimously agreed amongst them, That nobody was endowed
with greater talents than Hiereus;[4] or, consequently, would be better
pleased with my company. I slipped down his throat one night as he was
fast asleep, and the next morning, as soon as he awaked, he fell to
writing a treatise that was received with great applause, though he had
the modesty not to set his name to that nor to any other of our
productions. Some time after, he published a paper of predictions,
which were translated into several languages, and alarmed some of the
greatest princes in Europe. To these he prefixed the name of Isaac
Bickerstaff, Esq; which I have been extremely fond of ever since, and
have taken care that most of the writings I have been concerned in should
be distinguished by it; though I must observe, that there have been many
counterfeits imposed upon the public by this means. This extraordinary
man being called out of the kingdom by affairs of his own, I resolved,
however, to continue somewhat longer in a country where my works had
been so well received, and accordingly bestowed myself with Hilario.[5]
His natural wit, his lively turn of humour, and great penetration into
human nature, easily determined me to this choice, the effects of which
were soon after produced in this paper, called "The Tatler." I know not
how it happened, but in less than two years' time Hilario grew weary of
my company, and gave me warning to be gone. In the height of my
resentment, I cast my eyes on a young fellow,[6] of no extraordinary
qualifications, whom, for that very reason, I had the more pride in
taking under my direction, and enabling him, by some means or other, to
carry on the work I was before engaged in. Lest he should grow too vain
upon this encouragement, I to this day keep him under due mortification.
I seldom reside with him when any of his friends are at leisure to
receive me, by whose hands, however, he is duly supplied. As I have
passed through many scenes of life, and a long series of years, I choose
to be considered in the character of an old fellow, and take care that
those under my influence should speak consonantly to it. This account, I
presume, will give no small consolation to Sylvia, who may rest assured,
that Isaac Bickerstaff is to be seen in more forms than she dreamt of;
out of which variety she may choose what is most agreeable to her fancy.
On Tuesdays, he is sometimes a black, proper, young gentleman, with a
mole on his left cheek. On Thursdays, a decent well-looking man, of a
middle stature, long flaxen hair, and a florid complexion. On Saturdays,
he is somewhat of the shortest, and may be known from others of that size
by talking in a low voice, and passing through the streets without much

[Footnote 1: No. 28 in the reprint of "The Tatler," vol. v. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: _Metamorphoses_, xv. 158-161.

"Nor dies the spirit, but new life repeats
In other forms, and only changes seats.
Ev'n I, who these mysterious truths declare,
Was once Euphorbus in the Trojan war."


[Footnote 3: I.e. 1710-11. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: Swift. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: Steele. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 6: Harrison. [T.S.]]

* * * * * *



The new ministry, which came into power on the fall of the able
administration of Godolphin in 1710, was the famous Oxford ministry
headed by Harley and St. John. The new leaders were well aware that they
would have to use all the means in their power not only to justify
themselves to the English nation, but successfully to defeat the strong
opposition which had such a man as Marlborough for its moving spirit. The
address to Queen Anne from the Commons, showing undoubted evidences of
St. John's hand, was the first employment of a means by which this
ministry hoped to appeal to the public. But this remarkable literary
effort had already been preceded by the establishment of a weekly
political paper, entitled "The Examiner," a few weeks before
Godolphin's fall. During the months of August, September, and
October, in which were issued twelve papers, Dr. Freind, Atterbury,
Prior and St. John, were the men employed to arouse the nation to a
necessary condition of discontent. Now that the ministry was in
power, the necessity for continuing these public appeals was felt to be
all the stronger; and Harley's shrewdness in selecting Swift to take
this important matter in hand shows his ability as a party leader.

The first number of "The Examiner" was issued on August 3rd, 1710,
and the paper was continued until July 26th, 1711. On December 6th,
1711, William Oldisworth revived it, and issued it weekly until December
18th, 1712, after which date it was published twice a week until
July 26th, 1714, though it occasionally happened that only one was
issued in a week. The last number was No. 19 of the sixth volume, so
that Oldisworth edited vols. ii., iii., iv., v., and what was published
of vol. vi. The death of the Queen put an end to the publication.

Swift was called to his work about the middle of October of 1710,
and his first paper appeared in No. 14. From that number to No. 45,
Swift continued with unabated zeal and with masterly effect to carry
out the policy of his friends. He also wrote a part of No. 46, and Nos.
16 and 21 of the third volume, which appeared on January 16th and
February 2nd, 1712-13. These two last numbers are not included in
the present volume; since they have been printed in the fifth volume
of this edition of Swift's works with the titles "An Appendix to the
Conduct of the Allies" and "The Vindication of Erasmus Lewis."

The appearance of "The Examiner" had brought an opposition paper into the
field, entitled "The Whig Examiner," a periodical that ably maintained
its party's stand in the face of St. John's attacks. But this paper only
lasted for five weeks, and when Swift took charge of the Tory organ, the
position of "The Examiner" was entirely altered. As Mr. Churton Collins
ably remarks: "It became a voice of power in every town and in every
hamlet throughout England. It was an appeal made, not to the political
cliques of the metropolis, but to the whole kingdom; and to the whole
kingdom it spoke.... No one who will take the trouble to glance at
Swift's contributions to 'The Examiner' will be surprised at their
effect. They are masterpieces of polemical skill. Every sentence--every
word--comes home. Their logic, adapted to the meanest capacity, smites
like a hammer. Their statements, often a tissue of mere sophistry and
assumption, appear so plausible, that it is difficult even for the cool
historian to avoid being carried away by them. At a time when party
spirit was running high, and few men stopped to weigh evidence, they must
have been irresistible." ("Jonathan Swift," 1893, p. 81.)

In his "Memoirs relating to that Change" (vol. v., p 384), Swift gives
the following explanation of the foundation of this paper. "Upon the rise
of this ministry the principal persons in power thought it necessary that
some weekly paper should be published, with just reflections upon former
proceedings, and defending the present measures of Her Majesty. This was
begun about the time of the Lord Godolphin's removal, under the name of
'The Examiner.' ... The determination was that I should continue it,
which I did accordingly for about eight months."

Gay remarks in his pamphlet, "The Present State of Wit, in a Letter to a
Friend in the Country," 1711: "'The Examiner' is a paper which all men,
who speak without prejudice, allow to be well writ. Though his subject
will admit of no great variety, he is continually placing it on so many
different lights, and endeavouring to inculcate the same thing by so many
beautiful changes of expressions, that men who are concerned in no party,
may read him with pleasure. His way of assuming the question in debate is
extremely artful; and his 'Letter to Crassus' [No. 28] is, I think, a
masterpiece.... I presume I need not tell you that 'The Examiner' carries
much the more sail as 'tis supposed to be writ by the direction, and
under the eye of some great persons who sit at the helm of affairs, and
is consequently looked on as a sort of public notice which way they are
steering us. The reputed author is Dr. S[wif]t, with the assistance
sometimes of Dr. Att[erbur]y and Mr. P[rio]r." With the fall of
Bolingbroke on the death of Queen Anne and the accession of George I.,
"The Examiner" collapsed. [T.S.]


NUMB. 14.[1]


--_Longa est injuria, longae
Ambages, sed summa sequar fastigia rerum_.[2]

It is a practice I have generally followed, to converse in equal freedom
with the deserving men of both parties; and it was never without some
contempt, that I have observed persons wholly out of employment, affect
to do otherwise: I doubted whether any man could owe so much to the side
he was of, though he were retained by it; but without some great point of
interest, either in possession or prospect, I thought it was the mark of
a low and narrow spirit.

It is hard, that, for some weeks past, I have been forced in my own
defence, to follow a proceeding that I have so much condemned in others.
But several of my acquaintance among the declining party, are grown so
insufferably peevish and splenetic, profess such violent apprehensions
for the public, and represent the state of things in such formidable
ideas, that I find myself disposed to share in their afflictions, though
I know them to be groundless and imaginary, or, which is worse, purely
affected. To offer them comfort one by one, would be not only an
endless, but a disobliging task. Some of them, I am convinced would be
less melancholy, if there were more occasion. I shall therefore, instead
of hearkening to further complaints, employ some part of this paper for
the future, in letting such men see, that their natural or acquired fears
are ill-grounded, and their artificial ones as ill-intended. That all
our present inconveniencies,[3] are the consequence of the very counsels
they so much admire, which would still have increased, if those had
continued: and that neither our constitution in Church or State, could
probably have been long preserved, without such methods as have been
lately taken.

The late revolutions at court, have given room to some specious
objections, which I have heard repeated by well-meaning men, just as they
had taken them up on the credit of others, who have worse designs. They
wonder the Queen would choose to change her ministry at this juncture,[4]
and thereby give uneasiness to a general who has been so long successful
abroad; and might think himself injured, if the entire ministry were not
of his own nomination. That there were few complaints of any consequence
against the late men in power, and none at all in Parliament; which on
the contrary, passed votes in favour of the chief minister. That if her
Majesty had a mind to introduce the other party, it would have been more
seasonable after a peace, which now we have made desperate, by spiriting
the French, who rejoice at these changes, and by the fall of our credit,
which unqualifies us for continuing the war. That the Parliament so
untimely dissolved,[5] had been diligent in their supplies, and dutiful
in their behaviour. That one consequence of these changes appears already
in the fall of the stocks: that we may soon expect more and worse: and
lastly, that all this naturally tends to break the settlement of the
Crown, and call over the Pretender.

These and the like notions are plentifully scattered abroad, by the
malice of a ruined party, to render the Queen and her administration
odious, and to inflame the nation. And these are what, upon occasion, I
shall endeavour to overthrow, by discovering the falsehood and absurdity
of them.

It is a great unhappiness, when in a government constituted like ours, it
should be so brought about, that the continuance of a war, must be for
the interest of vast numbers (peaceable as well as military) who would
otherwise have been as unknown as their original. I think our present
condition of affairs, is admirably described by two verses in Lucan,

_Hinc usura vorax, avidumque in tempore foenus,
Hinc concussa fides, et multis utile bellum_,[6]

which without any great force upon the words, may be thus translated,

"Hence are derived those exorbitant interests and annuities; hence those
large discounts for advances and prompt payment; hence public credit is
shaken, and hence great numbers find their profit in prolonging the war."

It is odd, that among a free trading people, as we take ourselves to be,
there should so many be found to close in with those counsels, who have
been ever averse from all overtures towards a peace. But yet there is no
great mystery in the matter. Let any man observe the equipages in this
town; he shall find the greater number of those who make a figure, to be
a species of men quite different from any that were ever known before the
Revolution, consisting either of generals and colonels, or of such whose
whole fortunes lie in funds and stocks: so that power, which according to
the old maxim, was used to follow land, is now gone over to money; and
the country gentleman is in the condition of a young heir, out of whose
estate a scrivener receives half the rents for interest, and hath a
mortgage on the whole, and is therefore always ready to feed his vices
and extravagancies while there is any thing left. So that if the war
continues some years longer, a landed man will be little better than a
farmer at a rack rent, to the army, and to the public funds.

It may perhaps be worth inquiring from what beginnings, and by what steps
we have been brought into this desperate condition: and in search of
this, we must run up as high as the Revolution.

Most of the nobility and gentry who invited over the Prince of Orange, or
attended him in his expedition, were true lovers of their country and its
constitution, in Church and State; and were brought to yield to those
breaches in the succession of the crown, out of a regard to the necessity
of the kingdom, and the safety of the people, which did, and could only,
make them lawful; but without intention of drawing such a practice into
precedent, or making it a standing measure by which to proceed in all
times to come; and therefore we find their counsels ever tended to keep
things as much as possible in the old course. But soon after, an under
set of men, who had nothing to lose, and had neither borne the burthen
nor heat of the day, found means to whisper in the king's ear, that the
principles of loyalty in the Church of England, were wholly inconsistent
with the Revolution.[7] Hence began the early practice of caressing
the dissenters, reviling the universities, as maintainers of arbitrary
power, and reproaching the clergy with the doctrines of divine-right,
passive obedience and non-resistance.[8] At the same time, in order to
fasten wealthy people to the new government, they proposed those
pernicious expedients of borrowing money by vast _premiums_, and at
exorbitant interest: a practice as old as Eumenes,[9] one of Alexander's
captains, who setting up for himself after the death of his master,
persuaded his principal officers to lend him great sums, after which they
were forced to follow him for their own security.

This introduced a number of new dexterous men into business and credit:
It was argued, that the war could not last above two or three campaigns,
and that it was easier for the subject to raise a fund for paying
interest, than to tax them annually to the full expense of the war.
Several persons who had small or encumbered estates, sold them, and
turned their money into those funds to great advantage: merchants, as
well as other moneyed men, finding trade was dangerous, pursued the same
method: But the war continuing, and growing more expensive, taxes were
increased, and funds multiplied every year, till they have arrived at the
monstrous height we now behold them. And that which was at first a
corruption, is at last grown necessary, and what every good subject must
now fall in with, though he may be allowed to wish it might soon have an
end; because it is with a kingdom, as with a private fortune, where every
new incumbrance adds a double weight. By this means the wealth of the
nation, that used to be reckoned by the value of land, is now computed by
the rise and fall of stocks: and although the foundation of credit be
still the same, and upon a bottom that can never be shaken; and though
all interest be duly paid by the public, yet through the contrivance and
cunning of stock-jobbers, there has been brought in such a complication
of knavery and cozenage, such a mystery of iniquity, and such an
unintelligible jargon of terms to involve it in, as were never known in
any other age or country of the world. I have heard it affirmed by
persons skilled in these calculations, that if the funds appropriated to
the payment of interest and annuities, were added to the yearly taxes,
and the four-shilling aid[10] strictly exacted in all counties of the
kingdom, it would very near, if not fully, supply the occasions of the
war, at least such a part, as in the opinion of very able persons, had
been at that time prudence not to exceed. For I make it a question,
whether any wise prince or state, in the continuance of a war, which was
not purely defensive, or immediately at his own door, did ever propose
that his expense should perpetually exceed what he was able to impose
annually upon his subjects? Neither if the war lasts many years longer,
do I see how the next generation will be able to begin another, which in
the course of human affairs, and according to the various interests and
ambition of princes, may be as necessary for them as it has been for us.
And had our fathers left us as deeply involved as we are like to leave
our children, I appeal to any man, what sort of figure we should have
been able to make these twenty years past. Besides, neither our enemies,
nor allies, are upon the same foot with us in this particular. France and
Holland, our nearest neighbours, and the farthest engaged, will much
sooner recover themselves after a war. The first, by the absolute power
of the prince who being master of the lives and fortunes of his subjects,
will quickly find expedients to pay his debts: and so will the other, by
their prudent administration, the greatness of their trade, their
wonderful parsimony, the willingness of their people to undergo all kind
of taxes, and their justice in applotting as well as collecting them. But
above all, we are to consider that France and Holland fight in the
continent, either upon, or near their own territories, and the greatest
part of the money circulates among themselves; whereas ours crosses the
sea either to Flanders, Spain, or Portugal, and every penny of it,
whether in specie or returns, is so much lost to the nation for ever.

Upon these considerations alone, it was the most prudent course
imaginable in the Queen, to lay hold of the disposition of the people for
changing the Parliament and ministry at this juncture, and extricating
herself, as soon as possible, out of the pupillage of those who found
their accounts only in perpetuating the war. Neither have we the least
reason to doubt, but the ensuing Parliament will assist her Majesty with
the utmost vigour,[11] till her enemies _again_ be brought to sue for
peace, and _again_ offer such terms as will make it both honourable and
lasting; only with this difference, that the Ministry perhaps will not
_again_ refuse them.[12]

_Audiet pugnas vitio parentum
Rara Juventus_.[13]

[Footnote 1: No. 13 in the reprint. The No. 13 (from Thursday, October
19, to Thursday, October 26, 1710) of the original is omitted from the
reprint, and the Nos. from 14 to 48 are slipped back one. No. 49 also
is omitted, and Nos. 50 to 52 slipped back two. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: Virgil, "Aeneid," i. 341-2.

"Her whole tale of wrong
'Twere tedious to relate. But I will give
The leading facts."--R. KENNEDY.

[Footnote 3: "The Observator" of Nov. 8th, commenting on this statement,
remarks: "All the inconveniences we labour under at present, are so far
from being the consequence of the counsels of the late ministry, that
they are visibly the consequence of those of the 'Examiner's' party,
who brought the nation to the brink of Popery and slavery, from which
they were delivered by the Revolution; and are pursuing the same
measures again," etc. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: See "Memoirs relating to that Change" (vol. v., pp. 359-90).
The Queen's action in dismissing her ministers and dissolving Parliament
in September was, even to Swift himself, a matter for wonder:
"I never remember," he writes to Stella (Sept. 20th, 1710), "such
bold steps taken by a Court." And Tindal, commenting on the change,
says: "So sudden and so entire a change in the ministry is scarce to be
found in our history, especially where men of great abilities had served
with such zeal and success." ("Hist. of England," iv. 192.) [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: Parliament was dissolved by proclamation on September 21st.

[Footnote 6: "Pharsalia," i. 181-2.

"Hence debt unthrifty, careless to repay,
And usury still watching for its day:
Hence perjuries in every wrangling court;
And war, the needy bankrupt's last resort,"

Lucan wrote "_et_ concussa," [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: Commenting on this passage, "The Observator" of Nov. 8th
remarked: "One would take the author to be some very great man, since
he speaks so contemptuously of both Houses of Parliament; for they
actually found those doctrines, as then preached up, to be inconsistent
with the Revolution, and declared it loudly to the world without
whispering." [T.S.]]

[Footnote 8: Writing to the Earl of Peterborough (Feb. 1710/1), Swift
refers to "a pamphlet come out, called 'A Letter to Jacob Banks,' showing
that the liberty of Sweden was destroyed by the principle of passive
obedience." The pamphlet was written by one W. Benson, and bore
the title, "A Letter to Sir J---- B----, By Birth a S----,... Concerning
the late Minehead doctrine," etc., 1711. "This dispute," says
Swift to Peterborough, "would soon be ended, if the dunces who write
on each side, would plainly tell us what the object of this passive
obedience is in our country." (Scott, vol. xv., p. 423.)

See also, on this matter, "Examiner," Nos. 34 and 40 _post_. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 9: Eumenes of Cardia was secretary to Alexander the Great, and
distinguished himself both as a statesman and general. He was killed
B.C. 316. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 10: The land tax at the time was four shillings in the pound.

[Footnote 11: In her speech to Parliament on Nov. 27th, 1710, Anne said:
"The carrying on the war in all its parts, but particularly in Spain,
with the utmost vigour, is the likeliest means, with God's blessing, to
procure a safe and honourable peace for us and all our allies, whose
support and interest I have truly at heart" ("Journals of House of
Lords," xix, 166).]

[Footnote 12: This is a dig at the Duke of Marlborough, for what the
Tories thought an unnecessarily harsh insistence on the inclusion of a
clause in the preliminaries of the Gertruydenberg Treaty, which it was
thought he must have known would be rejected by Louis. They suspected
Marlborough did this in order to keep the war going, and so permit
himself further opportunities for enriching himself. The treaty for
peace, carried on at Gertruydenberg in 1710, was discussed by Marlborough
and Townshend acting for England, the Marquis de Torcy acting for France,
and Buys and Vanderdussen for the States. Several conferences took place,
and preliminary articles were even signed, but the Allies demanded a
security for the delivering of Spain. This Louis XIV. refused to do, and
the conference broke up in July, 1710. See Swift's "Conduct of the Allies"
(vol. v., pp. 55-123). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 13: Horace, "Odes," I. ii. 23, 24.
"Our youth will hear, astonished at our crimes,
That Roman armies Romans slew;
Our youth, alas! will then be few."--A. MAYNWARING.

NUMB. 15.[1]


_E quibis hi vacuas implent sermonibus aures,
Hi narrata ferunt alio: mensuraque ficti
Crescit, et auditis aliquid novus adjicit autor,
Illic Credulitas, illic temerarius Error,
Vanaque Laetitia est, consternatique Timores,
Seditioque recens, dubioque autore susurri._[2]

I am prevailed on, through the importunity of friends, to interrupt the
scheme I had begun in my last paper, by an Essay upon the Art of
Political Lying. We are told, "the Devil is the father of lies, and was a
liar from the beginning"; so that beyond contradiction, the invention is
old: And which is more, his first essay of it was purely political,
employed in undermining the authority of his Prince, and seducing a third
part of the subjects from their obedience. For which he was driven down
from Heaven, where (as Milton expresseth it) he had been viceroy of a
great western province;[3] and forced to exercise his talent in inferior
regions among other fallen spirits, or poor deluded men, whom he still
daily tempts to his own sin, and will ever do so till he is chained in
the bottomless pit.

But though the Devil be the father of lies, he seems, like other great
inventors, to have lost much of his reputation, by the continual
improvements that have been made upon him.

Who first reduced lying into an art, and adapted it to politics, is not
so clear from history, though I have made some diligent enquiries: I
shall therefore consider it only according to the modern system, as it
has been cultivated these twenty years past in the southern part of our
own island.

The poets tell us, that after the giants were overthrown by the gods, the
earth in revenge produced her last offspring, which was Fame.[4] And the
fable is thus interpreted; that when tumults and seditions are quieted,
rumours and false reports are plentifully spread through a nation. So
that by this account, _lying_ is the last relief of a routed, earth-born,
rebellious party in a state. But here, the moderns have made great
additions, applying this art to the gaining of power, and preserving it,
as well as revenging themselves after they have lost it: as the same
instruments are made use of by animals to feed themselves when they are
hungry, and bite those that tread upon them.

But the same genealogy cannot always be admitted for _political lying;_ I
shall therefore desire to refine upon it, by adding some circumstances of
its birth and parents. A political lie is sometimes born out of a
discarded statesman's head, and thence delivered to be nursed and dandled
by the mob. Sometimes it is produced a monster, and _licked_ into shape;
at other times it comes into the world completely formed, and is spoiled
in the licking. It is often born an infant in the regular way, and
requires time to mature it: and often it sees the light in its full
growth, but dwindles away by degrees. Sometimes it is of noble birth; and
sometimes the spawn of a stock-jobber. _Here_, it screams aloud at the
opening of the womb; and _there_, it is delivered with a whisper. I know
a lie that now disturbs half the kingdom with its noise, which though too
proud and great at present to own its parents, I can remember in its
whisper-hood. To conclude the nativity of this monster; when it comes
into the world without a _sting_, it is still-born; and whenever it loses
its sting, it dies.

No wonder, if an infant so miraculous in its birth, should be destined
for great adventures: and accordingly we see it has been the guardian
spirit of a prevailing party for almost twenty years. It can conquer
kingdoms without fighting, and sometimes with the loss of a battle: It
gives and resumes employments; can sink a mountain to a mole-hill, and
raise a mole-hill to a mountain; has presided for many years at
committees of elections; can wash a blackamoor white; make a saint of an
atheist, and a patriot of a profligate; can furnish foreign ministers
with intelligence, and raise or let fall the credit of the nation. This
goddess flies with a huge looking-glass in her hands, to dazzle the
crowd, and make them see, according as she turns it, their ruin in their
interest, and their interest in their ruin. In this glass you will behold
your best friends clad in coats powdered with _flower-de-luces_[5] and
triple crowns; their girdles hung round with chains, and beads, and
wooden shoes: and your worst enemies adorned with the ensigns of liberty,
property, indulgence, and moderation, and a cornucopia in their hands.
Her large wings, like those of a flying-fish, are of no use but while
they are moist; she therefore dips them in mud, and soaring aloft
scatters it in the eyes of the multitude, flying with great swiftness;
but at every turn is forced to stoop in dirty way for new supplies.

I have been sometimes thinking, if a man had the art of the second sight
for seeing lies, as they have in Scotland for seeing spirits, how
admirably he might entertain himself in this town; to observe the
different shapes, sizes, and colours, of those swarms of lies which buzz
about the heads of some people, like flies about a horse's ears in
summer: or those legions hovering every afternoon in Popes-head Alley[6],
enough to darken the air; or over a club of discontented grandees, and
thence sent down in cargoes to be scattered at elections.

There is one essential point wherein a political liar differs from others
of the faculty; that he ought to have but a short memory, which is
necessary according to the various occasions he meets with every hour, of
differing from himself, and swearing to both sides of a contradiction, as
he finds the persons disposed, with whom he has to deal. In describing
the virtues and vices of mankind, it is convenient upon every article, to
have some eminent person in our eye, from whence we copy our description.
I have strictly observed this rule; and my imagination this minute
represents before me a certain great man[7] famous for this talent, to
the constant practice of which he owes his twenty years' reputation of
the most skilful head in England, for the management of nice affairs. The
superiority of his genius consists in nothing else but an inexhaustible
fund of political lies, which he plentifully distributes every minute he
speaks, and by an unparalleled generosity forgets, and consequently
contradicts the next half-hour. He never yet considered whether any
proposition were true or false, but whether it were convenient for the
present minute or company to affirm or deny it; so that if you think to
refine upon him, by interpreting every thing he says, as we do dreams by
the contrary, you are still to seek, and will find yourself equally
deceived, whether you believe him or no: the only remedy is to suppose
that you have heard some inarticulate sounds, without any meaning at all.
And besides, that will take off the horror you might be apt to conceive
at the oaths wherewith he perpetually tags both ends of every
proposition: though at the same time I think he cannot with any justice
be taxed for perjury, when he invokes God and Christ, because he has
often fairly given public notice to the world, that he believes in

Some people may think that such an accomplishment as this, can be of no
great use to the owner or his party, after it has been often practised,
and is become notorious; but they are widely mistaken: Few lies carry the
inventor's mark; and the most prostitute enemy to truth may spread a
thousand without being known for the author. Besides, as the vilest
writer has his readers, so the greatest liar has his believers; and it
often happens, that if a lie be believed only for an hour, it has done
its work, and there is no farther occasion for it. Falsehood flies, and
Truth comes limping after it; so that when men come to be undeceived, it
is too late, the jest is over, and the tale has had its effect: like a
man who has thought of a good repartee, when the discourse is changed, or
the company parted: or, like a physician who has found out an infallible
medicine, after the patient is dead.

Considering that natural disposition in many men to lie, and in
multitudes to believe, I have been perplexed what to do with that maxim,
so frequent in every body's mouth, that "Truth will at last prevail."
Here, has this island of ours, for the greatest part of twenty years,
lain under the influence of such counsels and persons, whose principle
and interest it was to corrupt our manners, blind our understandings,
drain our wealth, and in time destroy our constitution both in Church and
State; and we at last were brought to the very brink of ruin; yet by the
means of perpetual misrepresentations, have never been able to
distinguish between our enemies and friends. We have seen a great part of
the nation's money got into the hands of those, who by their birth,
education and merit, could pretend no higher than to wear our liveries;
while others,[8] who by their credit, quality and fortune, were only able
to give reputation and success to the Revolution, were not only laid
aside, as dangerous and useless; but loaden with the scandal of
Jacobites, men of arbitrary principles, and pensioners to France; while
Truth, who is said to lie in a well, seemed now to be buried there under
a heap of stones. But I remember, it was a usual complaint among the
Whigs, that the bulk of landed men was not in their interests, which some
of the wisest looked on as an ill omen; and we saw it was with the utmost
difficulty that they could preserve a majority, while the court and
ministry were on their side; till they had learned those admirable
expedients for deciding elections, and influencing distant boroughs by
_powerful motives_ from the city. But all this was mere force and
constraint, however upheld by most dexterous artifice and management:
till the people began to apprehend their properties, their religion, and
the monarchy itself in danger; then we saw them greedily laying hold on
the first occasion to interpose. But of this mighty change in the
dispositions of the people, I shall discourse more at large in some
following paper; wherein I shall endeavour to undeceive those deluded or
deluding persons, who hope or pretend, it is only a short madness in the
vulgar, from which they may soon recover. Whereas I believe it will
appear to be very different in its causes, its symptoms, and its
consequences; and prove a great example to illustrate the maxim I lately
mentioned, that "Truth" (however sometimes late) "will at last prevail."

[Footnote 1: No. 14 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: Ovid, "Metamorphoses," xii. 56-61.

"The troubled air with empty sounds they beat.
Intent to hear, and eager to repeat.
Error sits brooding there, with added train
Of vain Credulity, and Joys as vain:
Suspicion, with Sedition joined, are near,
And Rumours raised, and Murmurs mixed, and panic Fear."

[Footnote 3: "Paradise Lost," v. 708-710. Milton makes Satan say: "We
possess the quarters of the North," and places his throne in "the limits
of the North." By speaking of a _western_ province Swift intends Ireland,
then under the government of the Earl of Wharton. This paper may be read
in connection with the 23rd number of "The Examiner," and the "Short
Character of Wharton" (vol. v., pp. 1-28). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: Fama was said to be a daughter of Terra. See Virgil,
"Aeneid," iv. 173-178. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: A reply to the insinuations that the Tories were sympathetic
to France, and that the Whigs were the true patriots. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 6: The reprint has "Exchange Alley." [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: The Earl of Wharton. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 8: Refers to the Tories generally, and in particular to Sir
Thomas Osborne, Bart. (1631-1712), who was created Duke of Leeds in 1694.
In 1679, as Earl of Danby, he was impeached by the Commons, and
imprisoned in the Tower for five years. "He assisted greatly," says
Scott, "in the Revolution, yet continued a steady Tory, and avowed at
Sacheverell's trial, that, had he known the Prince of Orange designed
to assume the crown, he never would have drawn a sword for him."

NUMB. 16.[1]


---_medioque ut limite curras,
Icare, ait, moneo: ne si demissior ibis,
Unda gravet pennas, si celsior, ignis adurat._[2]

It must be avowed, that for some years past, there have been few things
more wanted in England, than such a paper as this ought to be; and such
as I will endeavour to make it, as long as it shall be found of any use,
without entering into the violences of either party. Considering the many
grievous misrepresentations of persons and things, it is highly
requisite, at this juncture, that the people throughout the kingdom,
should, if possible, be set right in their opinions by some impartial
hand, which has never been yet attempted: those who have hitherto
undertaken it, being upon every account the least qualified of all
human-kind for such a work.

We live here under a limited monarchy, and under the doctrine and
discipline of an excellent Church: We are unhappily divided into two
parties, both which pretend a mighty zeal for our religion and
government, only they disagree about the means.[3] The evils we must
fence against are, on one side, fanaticism and infidelity in religion;
and anarchy, under the name of a commonwealth, in government: on the
other side, popery, slavery, and the Pretender from France. Now to inform
and direct us in our sentiments, upon these weighty points; here are on
one side two stupid, illiterate scribblers, both of them fanatics by
profession; I mean the "Review"[4] and "Observator."[5] On the other side
we have an open Nonjuror,[6] whose character and person, as well as good
learning and sense, discovered upon other subjects, do indeed deserve
respect and esteem; but his "Rehearsal," and the rest of his political
papers, are yet more pernicious than those of the former two. If the
generality of the people know not how to talk or think, till they have
read their lesson in the papers of the week, what a misfortune is it that
their duty should be conveyed to them through such vehicles as those? For
let some gentlemen think what they please, I cannot but suspect, that the
two worthies I first mentioned, have in a degree done mischief among us;
the mock authoritative manner of the one, and the insipid mirth of the
other, however insupportable to reasonable ears, being of a level with
great numbers among the lowest part of mankind. Neither was the author of
the "Rehearsal," while he continued that paper, less infectious to many
persons of better figure, who perhaps were as well qualified, and much
less prejudiced, to judge for themselves.

It was this reason, that moved me to take the matter out of those rough,
as well as those dirty hands, to let the remote and uninstructed part of
the nation see, that they have been misled on both sides, by mad,
ridiculous extremes, at a wide distance on each side from the truth;
while the right path is so broad and plain, as to be easily kept, if they
were once put into it.

Further, I had lately entered on a resolution to take very little notice
of other papers, unless it were such, where the malice and falsehood, had
so great a mixture of wit and spirit, as would make them dangerous; which
in the present circle of scribbles, from twelvepence to a halfpenny, I
could easily foresee would not very frequently occur. But here again, I
am forced to dispense with my resolution, though it be only to tell my
reader, what measures I am like to take on such occasions for the future.
I was told that the paper called "The Observator," was twice filled last
week with remarks upon a late "Examiner."[7] These I read with the first
opportunity, and to speak in the news-writers' phrase, they gave me
occasion for many speculations. I observed with singular pleasure, the
nature of those things, which the owners of them, usually call _answers_;
and with what dexterity this matchless author had fallen into the whole
art and cant of them. To transcribe here and there three or four detached
lines of least weight in a discourse, and by a foolish comment mistake
every syllable of the meaning, is what I have known many of a superior
class, to this formidable adversary, entitle an "Answer."[8] This is what
he has exactly done in about thrice as many words as my whole discourse;
which is so mighty an advantage over me, that I shall by no means engage
in so unequal a combat; but as far as I can judge of my own temper,
entirely dismiss him for the future; heartily wishing he had a match
exactly of his own size to meddle with, who should only have the odds of
truth and honesty; which as I take it, would be an effectual way to
silence him for ever. Upon this occasion, I cannot forbear a short story
of a fanatic farmer who lived in my neighbourhood, and was so great a
disputant in religion, that the servants in all the families thereabouts,
reported, how he had confuted the bishop and all his clergy. I had then a
footman who was fond of reading the Bible, and I borrowed a comment for
him, which he studied so close, that in a month or two I thought him a
match for the farmer. They disputed at several houses, with a ring of
servants and other people always about them, where Ned explained his
texts so full and clear, to the capacity of his audience, and showed the
insignificancy of his adversary's cant, to the meanest understanding,
that he got the whole country of his side, and the farmer was cured of
his itch of disputation for ever after.

The worst of it is, that this sort of outrageous party-writers I have
above spoke of, are like a couple of make-bates, who inflame small
quarrels by a thousand stories, and by keeping friends at a distance
hinder them from coming to a good understanding, as they certainly would,
if they were suffered to meet and debate between themselves. For let any
one examine a reasonable honest man of either side, upon those opinions
in religion and government, which both parties daily buffet each other
about, he shall hardly find one material point in difference between
them. I would be glad to ask a question about two great men[9] of the
late ministry, how they came to be Whigs? and by what figure of speech,
half a dozen others, lately put into great employments, can be called
Tories? I doubt, whoever would suit the definition to the persons, must
make it directly contrary to what we understood it at the time of the

In order to remove these misapprehensions among us, I believe it will be
necessary upon occasion, to detect the malice and falsehood of some
popular maxims, which those idiots scatter from the press twice a week,
and draw an hundred absurd consequences from them.

For example, I have heard it often objected as a great piece of insolence
in the clergy and others, to say or hint that the Church was in danger,
when it was voted otherwise in Parliament some years ago: and the Queen
herself in her last speech, did openly condemn all such insinuations.[10]
Notwithstanding which, I did then, and do still believe, the Church has,
since that vote, been in very imminent danger; and I think I might then
have said so, without the least offence to her Majesty, or either of the
two Houses. The Queen's words, as near as I can remember, mentioned the
Church being in danger from her administration; and whoever says or
thinks that, deserves, in my opinion, to be hanged for a traitor. But
that the Church and State may be both in danger under the best princes
that ever reigned, and without the least guilt of theirs, is such a
truth, as a man must be a great stranger to history or common sense, to
doubt. The wisest prince on earth may be forced, by the necessity of his
affairs, and the present power of an unruly faction, or deceived by the
craft of ill designing men: One or two ministers, most in his confidence,
may _at first_ have good intentions, but grow corrupted by time, by
avarice, by love, by ambition, and have fairer terms offered them, to
gratify their passions or interests, from _one set of men_ than another,
till they are too far involved for a retreat; and so be forced to take
"seven spirits more wicked than themselves." This is a very possible
case; and will not "the last state of such men be worse than the first"?
that is to say, will not the public, which was safe at first, grow in
danger by such proceedings as these? And shall a faithful subject, who
foresees and trembles at the consequences, be called _disaffected_,
because he delivers his opinion, though the prince declares, as he justly
may, that the danger is not owing to his administration? Or, shall the
prince himself be blamed, when in such a juncture he puts his affairs
into other hands, with the universal applause of his people? As to the
vote against those who should affirm the Church was in danger, I think it
likewise referred to danger from or under the Queen's administration,
(for I neither have it by me, nor can suddenly have recourse to it;) but
if it were otherwise, I know not how it can refer to any dangers but what
were past, or at that time present; or how it could affect the future,
unless the senators were all _inspired_, or at least that majority which
voted it. Neither do I see any crime further than ill manners, to differ
in opinion from a majority of either or both Houses; and that ill
manners, I must confess I have been often guilty of for some years past,
though I hope I never shall again.

Another topic of great use to these weekly inflamers, is the young
Pretender[11] in France, to whom their whole party is in a high measure
indebted for all their greatness; and whenever it lies in their power,
they may perhaps return their acknowledgments, as out of their zeal for
frequent revolutions, they were ready to do to his supposed father:
which is a piece of secret history, that I hope will one day see the
light; and I am sure it shall, if ever I am master of it, without
regarding whose ears may tingle.[12] But at present, the word _Pretender_
is a term of art in their possession: A secretary of state cannot desire
leave to resign, but the Pretender is at bottom: the Queen cannot
dissolve a Parliament, but it is a plot to dethrone herself, and bring in
the Pretender. Half a score stock-jobbers are playing the knave in
Exchange-Alley, and there goes the Pretender with a sponge. One would be
apt to think they bawl out the Pretender so often, to take off the
terror; or tell so many lies about him, to slacken our caution, that when
he is really coming, _by their connivance_, we may not believe them; as
the boy served the shepherds about the coming of the wolf. Or perhaps
they scare us with the Pretender, because they think he may be like some
diseases, that come with a fright. Do they not believe that the Queen's
present ministry love her Majesty, at least as well as _some others_
loved the Church? And why is it not as great mark of disaffection now to
say the Queen is in danger, as it was some months ago to affirm the same
of the Church? Suppose it be a false opinion, that the Queen's right is
hereditary and indefeasible; yet how is it possible that those who hold
and believe that doctrine, can be in the Pretender's interest? His title
is weakened by every argument that strengthens hers. It is as plain as
the words of an Act of Parliament can make it, that her present Majesty
is heir to the survivor of the late King and Queen her sister. Is not
that an hereditary right? What need we explain it any further? I have
known an Article of Faith expounded in much looser and more general
terms, and that by an author whose opinions are very much followed by a
certain party.[13] Suppose we go further, and examine the word
_indefeasible_, with which some writers of late have made themselves so
merry: I confess it is hard to conceive, how any law which the supreme
power makes, may not by the same power be repealed: so that I shall not
determine, whether the Queen's right be indefeasible or no. But this I
will maintain, that whoever affirms it so, is not guilty of a crime. For
in that settlement of the crown after the Revolution, where her present
Majesty is named in remainder,[14] there are (as near as I can remember)
these remarkable words, "to which we bind ourselves and our posterity for
ever." Lawyers may explain this, or call them words of form, as they
please: and reasoners may argue that such an obligation is against the
very nature of government; but a plain reader, who takes the words in
their natural meaning, may be excused, in thinking a right so confirmed,
is _indefeasible_; and if there be an absurdity in such an opinion, he is
not to answer for it.

_P.S._ When this paper was going to the press, the printer brought me two
more _Observators_,[15] wholly taken up in my _Examiner_ upon lying,
which I was at the pains to read; and they are just such an answer, as
the two others I have mentioned. This is all I have to say on that

[Footnote 1: No. 15 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: Ovid, "Metamorphoses," viii. 203-5.

"My boy, take care
To wing your course along the middle air:
If low, the surges wet your flagging plumes;
If high, the sun the melting wax consumes."

[Footnote 3: See the pamphlets: "The Thoughts of an Honest Tory," 1710
[by Bp. Hoadly]; "Faults on both Sides ... by way of answer to
'The Thoughts of an Honest Tory,'" 1710 [by a Mr. Clements]; and
"Faults in the Fault-Finder: or, a Specimen of Errors in ... 'Faults
on Both Sides,'" 1710; etc., etc. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: "The Review" was edited by Daniel Defoe. He commenced
it on February 19th, 1703/4, as "A Weekly Review of the Affairs of
France"; but about this time it had lost much of its early spring and
verve. It was discontinued after June 11th, 1713. Gay thought,
speaking of "The Review," that Defoe was "a lively instance of
those wits, who, as an ingenious author says, will endure but one
skimming" ("Present State of Wit"). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: "The Observator" was founded by John Tutchin. The first
number was issued April 1st, 1702, and it appeared, with some intervals,
until July, 1712, though Tutchin himself died in 1707. For his
partisanship for Monmouth poor Tutchin came under the anger of Judge
Jeffreys, who sentenced him to several floggings. Pope's couplet in
the "Dunciad" has immortalized him:

"Earless on high stood unabashed De Foe,
And Tutchin flagrant from the scourge below."

[Footnote 6: This was the Rev. Charles Leslie, whose periodical, "The
Rehearsal," was avowedly Jacobite. The paper appeared from August
5th, 1704, until March 26th, 1709. In 1708-9 all the numbers were
republished in four volumes folio, with the title: "A View of the
Times, their Principles and Practices: in the First [Second, etc.]
Volume of the Rehearsals," and under the pseudonym "Philalethes."
Later he engaged in a controversy with Bishop Hoadly. See also
note on p. 354, vol. v.

Of Swift's use of the term "Nonjuror," "The Medley" (June 18th,
1711, No. 38) made the following remarks: "If he speaks of him with
relation to his party, there can be nothing so inconsistent as a Whig
and a Nonjuror: and if he talks of him merely as an author, all the
authors in the world are Nonjurors, but the ingenious divine who writ
'The Tale of a Tub' ... for he is the first man who introduced those
figures of rhetoric we call swearing and cursing in print." [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: "The Observator" for November 8th, 1710 (vol. ix., No. 85),
was filled with _more_ remarks on the fourteenth "Examiner." Presumably
the issue for November 4th, which is not accessible, commenced the
attack. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 8: A humorous specimen of this kind of an "Answer" was given by
Swift in No. 23 of "The Examiner," _post._ [T.S.]]

[Footnote 9: The Duke of Marlborough and Lord Godolphin, who commenced
their political career as Tories, and only became Whigs through the
necessity of identifying their own principles with that of the party
which supported their power. [S.]]

[Footnote 10: On December 6th, 1705, the House of Lords passed the
following resolution: "That the Church of England ... is now, by God's
blessing, under the happy reign of her Majesty, in a most safe and
flourishing condition; and that whoever goes about to suggest and
insinuate, that the Church is in danger under her Majesty's
administration, is an enemy to the Queen, the Church, and the Kingdom"
("Jls. of House of Lords," xviii. 43). On December 8th the House of
Commons, by a majority of 212 against 162, agreed to this resolution. In
her speech at the prorogation of Parliament on April 5th, 1710, the Queen
said: "The suppressing immorality ... is what I have always earnestly
recommended; ... but, this being an evil complained of in all times, it
is very injurious to take a pretence from thence, to insinuate that the
Church is in any danger from my administration" ("Jls. Of House of
Lords," xix. 145). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 11: James, Duke of Cornwall (1688-1766), known as the Chevalier
de St. George. At one time the belief was current that the wife of James
II. did not give birth to a child, and the "young Pretender" was supposed
to be a son of one Mary Grey (see note on p. 409 of vol. v. of present
edition of Swift's works). See also: "State-Amusements, Serious and
Hypocritical ... Birth of the Pretended Prince of Wales," 1711;
"Seasonable Queries relating to the Birth and Birthright of a Certain
Person," 1714; and other pamphlets. In the Act for the Succession to the
Crown (6 Ann. c. 41), he is styled, "the Pretended Prince of Wales."
History afterwards called him the "Old Pretender" to distinguish him from
Charles Edward, the "bonnie Prince Charlie," the Young Pretender. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 12: Swift kept his word. See "An Enquiry into ... the Queen's
Last Ministry," 1715 (Swift's Works, vol. v., p. 458 _sq._), and his
"History of the Four Last Years of the Queen," 1758. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 13: By Bishop Burnet in his "Exposition of the Thirty-Nine
Articles." [T.S.]]

[Footnote 14: The reference here is to the Bill of Rights (1 William and
Mary, Sess. 2, c. 2), where it is said: "And thereunto the said Lords
spiritual and temporal and Commons do, in the name of all the people
aforesaid, most humbly and faithfully submit themselves, their heirs and
posterities, for ever." In the recital in the Act of Settlement (12 and
13 W. III. c. 2) the words "for ever" are omitted. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 15: "The Observator" of November 11th and 15th (vol. ix., Nos.
86 and 87). In No. 86 "The Examiner" is given "a spiritual shove," and,
quoting his statement that a political liar "ought to have but a short
memory" to meet occasions "of differing from himself, and swearing to
both sides of a contradiction," adds, "the 'Examiner' has this essential
qualification of a political liar." It is amusing to find in the same
issue "The Observator" calling Jezebel a Tory, and Elijah and Naboth,
Whigs! [T.S.]]

NUMB. 17.[1]


_Qui sunt boni cives? Qui belli, qui domi de patria bene merentes, nisi
qui patriae beneficia meminerunt?_[2]

I will employ this present paper upon a subject, which of late hath very
much affected me, which I have considered with a good deal of
application, and made several enquiries about, among those persons who I
thought were best able to inform me; and if I deliver my sentiments with
some freedom, I hope it will be forgiven, while I accompany it with that
tenderness which so nice a point requires.

I said in a former paper (Numb. 14) that one specious objection to the
late removals at court, was the fear of giving uneasiness to a general,
who has been long successful abroad: and accordingly, the common clamour
of tongues and pens for some months past, has run against the baseness,
the inconstancy and ingratitude of the whole kingdom to the Duke of
M[arlborough], in return of the most eminent services that ever were
performed by a subject to his country; not to be equalled in history. And
then to be sure some bitter stroke of detraction against Alexander and
Caesar, who never did us the least injury. Besides, the people that read
Plutarch come upon us with parallels drawn from the Greeks and Romans,
who ungratefully dealt with I know not how many of their most deserving
generals: while the profounder politicians, have seen pamphlets, where
Tacitus and Machiavel have been quoted to shew the danger of too
resplendent a merit. Should a stranger hear these furious outcries of
ingratitude against our general, without knowing the particulars, he
would be apt to enquire where was his tomb, or whether he were allowed
Christian burial? not doubting but we had put him to some ignominious
death. Or, has he been tried for his life, and very narrowly escaped? has
he been accused of high crimes and misdemeanours? has the prince seized
on his estate, and left him to starve? has he been hooted at as he passed
the streets, by an ungrateful mob? have neither honours, offices nor
grants, been conferred on him or his family? have not he and they been
barbarously stripped of them all? have not he and his forces been ill
paid abroad? and does not the prince by a scanty, limited commission,
hinder him from pursuing his own methods in the conduct of the war?
has he no power at all of disposing commissions as he pleases? is he not
severely used by the ministry or Parliament, who yearly call him to a
strict account? has the senate ever thanked him for good success, and
have they not always publicly censured him for the least miscarriage?
Will the accusers of the nation join issue upon any of these particulars,
or tell us in what point, our damnable sin of ingratitude lies? Why, it
is plain and clear; for while he is commanding abroad, the Queen
dissolves her Parliament, and changes her ministry at home: in which
universal calamity, no less than two persons[3] allied by marriage to the
general, have lost their places. Whence came this wonderful sympathy
between the civil and military powers? Will the troops in Flanders refuse
to fight, unless they can have their own lord keeper, their own lord
president of the council, their own chief Governor of Ireland, and their
own Parliament? In a kingdom where the people are free, how came they to
be so fond of having their councils under the influence of their army, or
those that lead it? who in all well instituted states, had no commerce
with the civil power, further than to receive their orders, and obey them
without reserve.

When a general is not so popular, either in his army or at home, as one
might expect from a long course of success; it may perhaps be ascribed to
his wisdom, or perhaps to his complexion. The possession of some one
quality, or a defect in some other, will extremely damp the people's
favour, as well as the love of the soldiers. Besides, this is not an age
to produce favourites of the people, while we live under a Queen who
engrosses all our love, and all our veneration; and where, the only way
for a great general or minister, to acquire any degree of subordinate
affection from the public, must be by all marks of the most entire
submission and respect, to her sacred person and commands;[4] otherwise,
no pretence of great services, either in the field or the cabinet, will
be able to screen them from universal hatred.

But the late ministry was closely joined to the general, by friendship,
interest, alliance, inclination and opinion, which cannot be affirmed of
the present; and the ingratitude of the nation, lies in the people's
joining as one man, to wish, that such a ministry should be changed. Is
it not at the same time notorious to the whole kingdom, that nothing but
a tender regard to the general, was able to preserve that ministry so
long, till neither God nor man could suffer their continuance? Yet in the
highest ferment of things, we heard few or no reflections upon this great
commander, but all seemed unanimous in wishing he might still be at the
head of the confederate forces; only at the same time, in case he were
resolved to resign, they chose rather to turn their thoughts somewhere
else, than throw up all in despair. And this I cannot but add, in defence
of the people, with regard to the person we are speaking of, that in the
high station he has been for many years past, his real defects (as
nothing human is without them) have in a detracting age been very
sparingly mentioned, either in libels or conversation, and all his
successes very freely and universally applauded.

There is an active and a passive ingratitude; applying both to this
occasion, we may say, the first is, when a prince or people returns good
services with cruelty or ill usage: the other is, when good services are
not at all, or very meanly rewarded. We have already spoke of the former;
let us therefore in the second place, examine how the services of our
general have been rewarded; and whether upon that article, either prince
or people have been guilty of ingratitude?

Those are the most valuable rewards, which are given to us from the
certain knowledge of the donor, that they _fit our temper best:_ I shall
therefore say nothing of the title of Duke, or the Garter, which the
Queen bestowed [on] the general in the beginning of her reign; but I
shall come to more substantial instances, and mention nothing which has
not been given in the face of the world.[5] The lands of Woodstock, may,
I believe, be reckoned worth 40,000_l_. On the building of Blenheim
Castle 200,000_l_. have been already expended, though it be not yet near
finished. The grant of 5,000_l. per ann._ on the post-office, is richly
worth 100,000_l_. His principality in Germany may be computed at
30,000_l_. Pictures, jewels, and other gifts from foreign princes,
60,000_l_. The grant at the Pall-Mall, the rangership, &c. for want of
more certain knowledge, may be called 10,000,_l_. His own, and his
duchess's employments at five years value, reckoning only the known and
avowed salaries, are very low rated at 100,000_l_. Here is a good deal
above half a million of money, and I dare say, those who are loudest with
the clamour of ingratitude, will readily own, that all this is but a
trifle in comparison of what is untold.[6]

The reason of my stating this account is only to convince the world, that
we are not quite so ungrateful either as the Greeks or the Romans. And in
order to adjust this matter with all fairness, I shall confine myself to
the latter, who were much the more generous of the two. A victorious
general of Rome in the height of that empire, having entirely subdued his
enemy, was rewarded with the larger triumph; and perhaps a statue in the
Forum, a bull for a sacrifice, an embroidered garment to appear in: a
crown of laurel, a monumental trophy with inscriptions; sometimes five
hundred or a thousand copper coins were struck on occasion of the
victory, which doing honour to the general, we will place to his account;
and lastly, sometimes, though not very frequently, a triumphal arch.
These are all the rewards that I can call to mind, which a victorious
general received after his return from the most glorious expedition,
conquered some great kingdom, brought the king himself, his family and
nobles to adorn the triumph in chains, and made the kingdom either a
Roman province, or at best a poor depending state, in humble alliance to
that empire. Now of all these rewards, I find but two which were of real
profit to the general; the laurel crown, made and sent him at the charge
of the public, and the embroidered garment; but I cannot find whether
this last were paid for by the senate or the general: however, we will
take the more favourable opinion, and in all the rest, admit the whole
expense, as if it were ready money in the general's pocket. Now according
to these computations on both sides, we will draw up two fair accounts,
the one of Roman gratitude, and the other of British ingratitude, and set
them together in balance.


l. s. d.
Imprimis for frankincense and earthen pots
to burn it in 4 10 0
A bull for sacrifice 8 0 0
An embroidered garment 50 0 0
A crown of laurel 0 0 2
A statue 100 0 0
A trophy 80 0 0
A thousand copper medals value half pence
a piece 2 1 8
A triumphal arch 500 0 0
A triumphal car, valued as a modern coach 100 0 0
Casual charges at the triumph 150 0 0
Sum total 994 11 10


l. s. d.
Imprimis Woodstock 40,000 0 0
Blenheim 200,000 0 0
Post-office grant 100,000 0 0
Mildenheim 30,000 0 0
Pictures, jewels, &c. 60,000 0 0
Pall-Mall grant, &c. 10,000 0 0
Employments 100,000 0 0
Sum total[7] 540,000 0 0

This is an account of the visible profits on both sides; and if the Roman
general had any private perquisites, they may be easily discounted, and
by more probable computations, and differ yet more upon the balance; if
we consider, that all the gold and silver for safeguards and
contributions, also all valuable prizes taken in the war were openly
exposed in the triumph, and then lodged in the Capitol for the
public service.

So that upon the whole, we are not yet quite so bad at _worst_, as the
Romans were at _best_. And I doubt, those who raise this hideous cry of
ingratitude, may be mightily mistaken in the consequence they propose
from such complaints. I remember a saying of Seneca, _Multos ingratos
invenimus, plures facimus;_ "We find many ungrateful persons in the
world, but we _make_ more," by setting too high a rate upon our
pretensions, and under-valuing the rewards we receive. When unreasonable
bills are brought in, they ought to be taxed, or cut off in the middle.
Where there have been long accounts between two persons, I have known one
of them perpetually making large demands and pressing for payments, who
when the accounts were cast up on both sides, was found to be creditor
for some hundreds. I am thinking if a proclamation were issued out for
every man to send in his _bill of merits_, and the lowest price he set
them at, what a pretty sum it would amount to, and how many such islands
as this must be sold to pay them. I form my judgment from the practice of
those who sometimes happen to pay themselves, and I dare affirm, would
not be so unjust to take a farthing more than they think is due to their
deserts. I will instance only in one article. A lady of my
acquaintance,[8] appropriated twenty-six pounds a year out of her
allowance, for certain uses, which her woman received, and was to pay to
the lady or her order, as it was called for. But after eight years, it
appeared upon the strictest calculation, that the woman had paid but four
pound a year, and sunk two-and-twenty for her own pocket. It is but
supposing instead of twenty-six pound, twenty-six thousand, and by that
you may judge what the pretensions of _modern merit_ are, where it
happens to be its own paymaster.

[Footnote 1: No. 16 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: "Who are the good citizens? Who are they who--whether at
war or at home--deserve well of their country, but those who bear in
mind the benefits she has already conferred upon them?" [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: The Earl of Sunderland and Lord Godolphin. Sunderland was
succeeded by Dartmouth, in June, as Secretary of State, and Godolphin
returned his staff of treasurer in August, the office being placed in
commission. Sunderland and Godolphin were both related to Marlborough
by marriage. The former married Anne, and the son of the latter
Henrietta, daughters of the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: See "Memoirs relating to that Change" (Swift's Works, vol.
v., pp. 367-8). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: The Queen's Message, proposing to grant to the Duke of
Marlborough the Manor of Woodstock and Hundred of Wootton, was read
January 17th, 1704/5. A Bill carrying this proposal into effect was
introduced January 25th, and passed February 3rd. Blenheim House, erected
at the Queen's expense, was settled to go with the dukedom by a Bill
introduced in the House of Lords, which passed all its stages in the
Commons December 20th, 1706. The pension of L5,000 per annum upon the
revenue of the Post Office, granted by the Queen for her lifetime
in December, 1702--at a time when the Commons expressed their "trouble"
that they could not comply--was made perpetual by a Bill introduced
January 14th, 1706/7, passed January 18th, Royal Assent given January
28th (see "Journals of House of Commons," xiv. and xv.). [T.S.] ]

[Footnote 6: A broadside, printed in 1712, entitled, "The D----e and D---
-s of M----h's Loss; being an Estimate of their former Yearly Income,"
reckons the duke's emoluments at L54,825 per annum, and those of the
duchess at L7,500. In the second edition the following paragraph is

"The following sums have been rec'd since the year 1701:

"Receiv'd on Accompt of Bread and Bread-waggons L63,319 3 7
Receiv'd 10,000,_l_. by Annual Contingencies 100,000 0 0
Receiv'd by 2 and 1/2 _per cent_, from the
payment of Troops 460,062 6 7-3/4
623,381 10 2-3/4"

[Footnote 7: In the tenth number of "The Medley" (December 4th, 1710)
occurs the following: "'The Examiner,' having it in his thoughts to
publish the falsest, as well as the most impudent paper that ever was
printed, writ a previous discourse about lying, as a necessary
introduction to what was to follow. The first paper was the precept, and
the second was the example. By the falsest paper that ever was printed, I
mean the 'Examiner' Numb. 17, in which he pretends to give an account of
what the Duke of Marlborough has got by his services." The writer in the
"Medley," admitting even the correctness of the "Examiner's" sum of
L540,000, sets off against this the value of the several battles won by
the Duke, and "twenty seven towns taken, which being reckoned at
300,000_l_. a town (the price that Dunkirk was sold at before it was
fortified) amounts in all, throwing in the battles and the
fortifications, to 8,100,000_l_." The balance in favour of the Duke, and
presumably in justification of the gifts made him, gave a net result of
L7,560,000. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 8: The Duchess of Marlborough, who admitted that the comparison
was intended for herself, explained the matter thus: "At the Queen's
accession to the government, she ... desired me to take out of the
privy-purse 2,000_l_. a year, in order to some purchase for my advantage
... I constantly declined it; until the time, that, notwithstanding the
uncommon regard I had shown to Her Majesty's interest and honour in the
execution of my trusts, she was pleased to dismiss me from her service
... By the advice of my friends, I sent the Queen one of her own letters,
in which she had pressed me to take the 2,00_l_. a year; and I wrote at
the same time to ask Her Majesty whether she would allow me to charge in
the privy-purse accounts, which I was to send her, that yearly sum from
the time of the offer, amounting to 18,000_l_. Her Majesty was pleased to
answer, that I might charge it. This therefore I did" ("An Account of the
Conduct of ... Duchess of Marlborough," 1742, pp. 293-5). The Duchess of
Somerset and Mrs. Masham superseded the Duchess of Marlborough in
January, 1710/1. [T.S.]]

NUMB. 18.[1]


_Quas res luxuries in flagitus,... avaritia in rapinis, superbia in
contumeliis efficere potuisset; eas omnes sese hoc uno praetore per
triennium pertulisse aiebant_.[2]

When I first undertook this paper, I was resolved to concern myself only
with things, and not with persons. Whether I have kept or broken this
resolution, I cannot recollect; and I will not be at the pains to
examine, but leave the matter to those little antagonists, who may want a
topic for criticism. Thus much I have discovered, that it is in writing
as in building; where, after all our schemes and calculations, we are
mightily deceived in our accounts, and often forced to make use of any
materials we can find, that the work may be kept a going. Besides, to
speak my opinion, the things I have occasion to mention, are so closely
linked to persons, that nothing but Time (the father of Oblivion) can
separate them. Let me put a parallel case: Suppose I should complain,
that last week my coach was within an inch of overturning, in a smooth,
even way, and drawn by very gentle horses; to be sure, all my friends
would immediately lay the fault upon John,[3] because they knew, he then
presided in my coach-box. Again, suppose I should discover some
uneasiness to find myself, I knew not how, over head-and-ears in debt,
though I was sure my tenants paid their rents very well, and that I never
spent half my income; they would certainly advise me to turn off Mr.
Oldfox[4] my receiver, and take another. If, as a justice of peace, I
should tell a friend that my warrants and mittimuses were never drawn up
as I would have them; that I had the misfortune to send an honest man to
gaol, and dismiss a knave; he would bid me no longer trust Charles and
Harry,[5] my two clerks, whom he knew to be ignorant, wilful, assuming
and ill-inclined fellows. If I should add, that my tenants made me very
uneasy with their squabbles and broils among themselves; he would
counsel me to cashier Will Bigamy,[6] the seneschal of my manor. And
lastly, if my neighbour and I happened to have a misunderstanding about
the delivery of a message, what could I do less than strip and discard
the blundering or malicious rascal that carried it?[7]

It is the same thing in the conduct of public affairs, where they have
been managed with rashness or wilfulness, corruption, ignorance or
injustice; barely to relate the facts, at least, while they are fresh in
memory, will as much reflect upon the persons concerned, as if we had
told their names at length.

I have therefore since thought of another expedient, frequently practised
with great safety and success by satirical writers: which is, that of
looking into history for some character bearing a resemblance to the
person we would describe; and with the absolute power of altering, adding
or suppressing what circumstances we please, I conceived we must have
very bad luck, or very little skill to fail. However, some days ago in a
coffee-house, looking into one of the politic weekly papers; I found the
writer had fallen into this scheme, and I happened to light on that part,
where he was describing a person, who from small beginnings grew (as I
remember) to be constable of France, and had a very haughty, imperious
wife.[8] I took the author as a friend to our faction, (for so with great
propriety of speech they call the Queen and ministry, almost the whole
clergy, and nine parts in ten of the kingdom)[9] and I said to a
gentleman near me, that although I knew well enough what persons the
author meant, yet there were several particulars in the husband's
character, which I could not reconcile, for that of the lady was just and
adequate enough; but it seems I mistook the whole matter, and applied all
I had read to a couple of persons, who were not at that time in the
writer's thoughts.

Now to avoid such a misfortune as this, I have been for some time
consulting Livy and Tacitus, to find out a character of a _Princeps
Senatus,_ a _Praetor Urbanus,_ a _Quaestor Aerarius_, a _Caesari ab
Epistolis_, and a _Proconsul_;[10] but among the worst of them, I cannot
discover one from whom to draw a parallel, without doing injury to a
Roman memory: so that I am compelled to have recourse to Tully. But this
author relating facts only as an orator, I thought it would be best to
observe his method, and make an extract from six harangues of his against
Verres, only still preserving the form of an oration. I remember a
younger brother of mine, who deceased about two months ago, presented
the world with a speech of Alcibiades against an Athenian brewer:[11]
Now, I am told for certain, that in those days there was no ale in
Athens; and therefore that speech, or at least a great part of it, must
needs be spurious. The difference between me and my brother is this; he
makes Alcibiades say a great deal more than he really did, and I make
Cicero say a great deal less.[12] This Verres had been the Roman governor
of Sicily for three years; and on return from his government, the
Sicilians entreated Cicero to impeach him in the Senate, which he
accordingly did in several orations, from whence I have faithfully
translated and abstracted that which follows.

"MY LORDS,[13]

"A pernicious opinion hath for some time prevailed, not only at Rome, but
among our neighbouring nations, that a man who has money enough, though
he be ever so guilty, cannot be condemned in this place. But however
industriously this opinion be spread, to cast an odium on the Senate, we
have brought before your lordships Caius Verres, a person, for his life
and actions, already condemned by all men; but as he hopes, and gives
out, by the influence of his wealth, to be here absolved. In condemning
this man, you have an opportunity of belying that general scandal, of
redeeming the credit lost by former judgments, and recovering the love of
the Roman people, as well as of our neighbours. I have brought a man here
before you, my lords, who is a robber of the public treasure, an
overturner of law and justice, and the disgrace, as well as destruction,
of the Sicilian province: of whom, if you shall determine with equity and
due severity, your authority will remain entire, and upon such an
establishment as it ought to be: but if his great riches will be able to
force their way through that religious reverence and truth, which become
so awful an assembly, I shall, however, obtain thus much, that the defect
will be laid where it ought, and that it shall not be objected that the
criminal was not produced, or that there wanted an orator to accuse him.
This man, my lords, has publicly said, that those ought to be afraid of
accusations who have only robbed enough for their own support and
maintenance; but that _he_ has plundered sufficient to bribe numbers, and
that nothing is so high or so holy which money cannot corrupt. Take that
support from him, and he can have no other left. For what eloquence will
be able to defend a man, whose life has been tainted with so many
scandalous vices, and who has been so long condemned by the universal
opinion of the world? To pass over the foul stains and ignominy of his
youth, his corrupt management in all employments he has borne, his
treachery and irreligion, his injustice and oppression, he has left of
late such monuments of his villainies in Sicily, made such havoc and
confusion there, during his government, that the province cannot by any
means be restored to its former state, and hardly recover itself at all
under many years, and by a long succession of good governors. While this
man governed in that island, the Sicilians had neither the benefit of our
laws, nor their own, nor even of common right. In Sicily, no man now
possesses more than what the governor's lust and avarice have overlooked,
or what he was forced to neglect out of mere weariness and satiety of
oppression. Every thing where he presided, was determined by his
arbitrary will, and the best subjects he treated as enemies. To recount
his abominable debaucheries, would offend any modest ear, since so many
could not preserve their daughters and wives from his lust. I believe
there is no man who ever heard his name, that cannot relate his
enormities. We bring before you in judgment, my lords, a public robber,
an adulterer, a DEFILER OF ALTARS,[14] an enemy of religion, and of all
that is sacred; he sold all employments in Sicily of judicature,
magistracy, and trust, places in the council, and the priesthood itself,
to the highest bidder; and has plundered that island of forty millions of
sesterces. And here I cannot but observe to your lordships, in what
manner Verres passed the day: the morning was spent in taking bribes, and
selling employments, the rest of it in drunkenness and lust. His
discourse at table was scandalously unbecoming the dignity of his
station; noise, brutality, and obsceneness. One particular I cannot omit,
that in the high character of governor of Sicily, upon a solemn day, a
day set apart for public prayer for the safety of the commonwealth; he
stole at evening, in a chair, to a married woman of infamous
character,[15] against all decency and prudence, as well as against all
laws both human and divine. Didst thou think, O Verres, the government of
Sicily was given thee with so large a commission, only by the power of
that to break all the bars of law, modesty, and duty, to suppose all
men's fortunes thine, and leave no house free from thy rapine, or lust?

This extract, to deal ingenuously, has cost me more pains than I think it
is worth, having only served to convince me, that modern corruptions are
not to be paralleled by ancient examples, without having recourse to
poetry or fable. For instance, I never read in story of a law enacted to
take away the force of all laws whatsoever;[16] by which a man may safely
commit upon the last of June, what he would infallibly be hanged for if
he committed on the first of July; by which the greatest criminals may
escape, provided they continue long enough in power to antiquate their
crimes, and by stifling them a while, can deceive the legislature into an
amnesty, of which the enactors do not at that time foresee the
consequence. A cautious merchant will be apt to suspect, when he finds a
man who has the repute of a cunning dealer, and with whom he has old
accounts, urging for a general release. When I reflect on this
proceeding, I am not surprised, that those who contrived a parliamentary
sponge for their crimes, are now afraid of a new revolution sponge for
their money: and if it were possible to contrive a sponge that could only
affect those who had need of the other, perhaps it would not be ill

[Footnote 1: No. 17 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: Cicero, "In Q. Caec." i. 3: "They said that whatever luxury
could accomplish in the way of vice,... avarice in the way of plunder, or
arrogance in the way of insult, had all been borne by them for the last
three years, while this one man was praetor."--C.D. YONGE. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: John Churchill, Duke of Maryborough, who had been
Captain-General since 1702. He was dismissed from all his offices,
December 31st, 1711. The Duke of Ormonde was appointed Commander-in-Chief
on January 4th. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: Godolphin, Lord-Treasurer, nicknamed Volpone. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: Charles, Earl of Sunderland, and Henry Boyle (1670-1725),
were Secretaries of State. Boyle was created Lord Carleton in 1714.

[Footnote 6: William; Earl Cowper (1665-1723), was Lord Chancellor under
Godolphin's administration (1707-1710), and also in 1714-1718. The
"Biographia Britannica" (second edition, vol. iv., p. 389 _n_.) refers to
a story that Cowper went through an informal marriage in the early
part of his life with a Mrs. Elizabeth Culling, of Hungerfordbury Park.
Cowper's first wife was Judith, daughter of Sir Robert Booth, of London;
and after her death he married Mary Clavering. See also "Examiner,"
No. 23, _post_. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: Horatio Walpole, secretary to the English Embassy at the
treaty of Gertruydenberg. See Swift's accusation against him in "The
Conduct of the Allies" (vol. v of present edition). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 8: "The Medley" (Nos. 6 and 7, November 6th and 13th, 1710)
contains a "Story of the Marquiss D'Ancre and his Wife Galigai," from
the French of M. Le Vassor. The Marquis is there described as "the
greatest cheat in the whole world"; and "Galigai had the insolence
to say a thousand offensive things." The article was intended as a
reflection on Harley and Mrs. Masham; but Swift takes it as for the
Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. Certainly the character of Galigai
may with greater justice be applied to the Duchess. (See "Histoire
du regne de Louis XIII. par M. Michel Le Vassor.") Concino Concini,
Marechal D'Ancre, was born at Florence, and died in 1617.

[Footnote 9: "The Medley" was constantly deriding this alleged
proportion. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 10: "The Observator" for December 6th remarks: "If the
'Examiner' don't find better parallels for his _Princeps Senates, Praetor
Urbanus, Quaestor Aerarius_, and _Caesari ab Epistolis_, than he has done
for his Proconsul, Roger, the gentlemen he aims at may sleep without
disturbance." [T.S.]]

[Footnote 11: "The Whig Examiner" (No. 3, September 28th, 1710) prints a
speech alleged to have been made by Alcibiades in a contest with an
Athenian brewer named Taureas. The allusion was to the Westminster
election, when General Stanhope was opposed by a brewer named Thomas

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