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The case was thus : I did, with the utmost application, and defiring to lay all my credit upon it, defire Mr. Harley (as be then was called) to fhew you mercy *. He said, “ he would, and wholly upon my ac“ count: that he would appoint you a day to “ see him : that he would not expect you should “ quit any friend or principle.” Some days after, he told me, “ he had appointed you a day, " and you had not kept it;" upon which he reproached me, as engaging for more than I could answer; and advised me to more caution ano. ther time. I told him, and desired my Lord Chancellor up and Lord Bolingbroke to be witnefses, that I would never speak for or against you as long as I lived; only I would, and that it was still my opinion, you should have mercy till you gave further provocations. This is the history of what you think fit to call, in the fpirit of insulting, “ their laughing at me :" and you may do it securely; for, by the most inhu. man dealings, you have wholly put it out of my power, as a Christian, to do you the least ill office. Next I defire to know, whether the greatest services ever done by one man to another, may not have the same turn as properly applied to them? And, once more, suppose they did laugh at me, I ask whether my inclinations to
* See above, pp. 360, 361.
+ Lord Harcourt.
ferve you merit to be rewarded by the vileft treatment, whether they succeeded or no? If your interpretation were true, I was laughed at only for your fake; which, I think, is going pretty far to serve a friend. As to the letter I complain of, I appeal to your most partial friends, whether you ought not either to have asked, or written to me, or desired to have been informed by a third hand, whether I were any way concerned in writing the Examiner? And, if I had shuffled, or answered indirectly, or affirined, or said, I would not give you satisfaction ; you might then have wreaked your revenge with some colour of justice. I have several times affured Mr. Addison, and fifty others, " that I had not the least hand in writing any of “ those papers ; and that I had never exchanged “ one syllable with the supposed Author * in my “ life, that I can remember, nor even seen him “ above twice, and that in mixed company, in
a place where he came to pay his attendance.” One thing more I must observe to you, that, a year or two ago, when some printers used to bring me their papers in manuscript, I absolutely forbid them to give any hints against Mr. Addison and you, and some others; and have frequently struck out reflections upon you in
* It is clear that Swift all along alludes to Oldisworth as the Author of the Examiner. Steele, on the contrary, sets out on the supposition that those papers were still the production of Swift and Mrs. Manley,
particular, and should (I believe) have done it still, if I had not wholly left off troubling myself about those kind of things.
I protest, I never saw any thing more liable to exception, than every part is of the letter you were pleased to write me.
to write me. You plead, o that I do not, in mine to Mr. Addison, in di“rect terms, say I am not concerned with the « Examiner.” And is that an excuse for the most savage injuries in the world a week before? How far you can prevail with the Guardian, I shall not trouble myself to enquire; and am more concerned how you will clear your own honour and conscience than my reputation. I Thall hardly lose one friend by what you I know not any
absurdity of yours. There are folecisms in morals as well as in languages; and to which of the virtues you will reconcile your conduct to me, is past my imagination. Be pleased to put these questions to yourself: “ If Dr. Swift be entirely innocent "s of what I accuse him, how shall I be able to " make him fatisfaction and how do I know “ but he niay be entirely innocent? If he was “ laughed at only because he solicited for me, is " that sufficient reason for me to say the vileft “ things of him in print, under my hand, with“out any provocation and how do I know but
at me for any
* Here the manuscript is torn. See p. 363.
“ he may be in the right, when he says I was
kept in my employment at his interpofition? " If he never once rejected on me the least in
any paper, and hath hindered many others “ from doing it, how can I juftify myself, for “ endeavouring in mine to ruin his credit as a “ Christian and a clergyman?” I am, Sir, your most obedient humble servant, JON, Swift.
To Dr. Swift.
Bloomsbury, May 26, 1713. HAVE received yours, and find it is im
possible for a man to judge in his own case. For an allusion to you, as one under the imputation of helping the Examiner *, and owning I was restrained out of respect to you, you tell Addison, under your hand, you think me the
* When the curious reader has considered what is forcibly ala Jedged in the notes on the new edition of the Tatler ut supra, he will probably be convinced of three things: 1. That STEELE's estranged friend was really an accomplice of the Examiner, and an actual writer in that Paper long after the time commonly supposed; 2. That Steele was not guilty of that ingratitude to Mr. Harley, of which he has been accused; and, 3. That the disagreement of two fuch men as Swift and STEELE is a melancholy proof of the lengths to which party madness will carry even the best of men.—But peace be to the manes of them both I The publisher of this volume will be happy if, by any little ene deavour of his, the wreath of fame which they have so justly obtained hould bloom more brightly.
“ vileft of mankind,” and bid hiin tell me so. I am obliged to you for any kind things said in my behalf to the Treasurer; and assure you, when you were in Ireland, you were the con. ftant subject of my talk to men in power at that time. As to the vileft of mankind, it would be a glorious world if I were : for I would not conceal my thoughts in favour of an injured man, though all the powers on earth gainsaid it, to be made the first man in the nation. This position, I know, will ever obstruct my way in the world; and I have conquered my defires ac. cordingly. I have resolved to content myself with what I can get by my own industry, and the improvement of a small estate, without be. ing anxious whether I am ever in a Court again or not. I do assure you, I do not speak this calmly, after the ill usage in your letter to Addison, out of terror of your wit, or my Lord Treasurer's power; but pure kindness to the agreeable qualities I once so passionately delighted in, in you. You know, I know nobody, but one that talked after you, could tell « Addison had bridled me in point of party." This was ill hinted, both with relation to him, and, Sir, your most obedient humble servant,
Rich. STEELE. I know no party; but the truth of the question is what I will support as well as I can, when any man I honour is attacked.