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The cafe was thus:
difpofed I did, with the utmost application, and defiring to lay all my credit upon it, defire Mr. Harley (as he then was called) to fhew you mercy *. He faid," he would, and wholly upon my ac"count: that he would appoint you a day to "fee 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 another time. I told him, and defired my Lord Chancellor and Lord Bolingbroke to be witneffes, that I would never fpeak for or against you as long as I lived; only I would, and that it was ftill my opinion, you should have mercy till you gave further provocations. This is the history of what you think. fit to call, in the spirit of infulting, "their laughing at me:" and you may do it fecurely; for, by the most inhu man dealings, you have wholly put it out of my power, as a Chriftian, to do you the least ill office. Next I defire to know, whether the greateft fervices ever done by one man to another, may not have the fame turn as properly applied to them? And, once more, fuppofe they did laugh at me, I afk whether my inclinations to
See above, pp. 360, 361.
+ Lord Harcourt.
serve you merit to be rewarded by the vileft treatment, whether they fucceeded or no? If your interpretation were true, I was laughed at only for your fake; which, I think, is going pretty far to ferve 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 defired 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 affirmed, or faid, I would not give you fatisfaction; you might then have wreaked your revenge with fome colour of justice. I have feveral times affured Mr. Addifon, and fifty others, "that I had not the least hand in writing any of "those papers; and that I had never exchanged "one fyllable with the fuppofed Author in my "life, that I can remember, nor even feen 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 fome printers used to bring me their papers in manufcript, I abfolutely forbid them to give any hints against Mr. Addison and you, and fome others; and have frequently ftruck out reflections upon you in
It is clear that Swift all along alludes to Oldifworth as the Author of the Examiner. Steele, on the contrary, fets out on the fuppofition that thofe papers were ftill the production of Swift and Mrs. Manley.
particular, and fhould (I believe) have done it ftill, if I had not wholly left off troubling myfelf about those kind of things.
I proteft, I never faw any thing more liable to exception, than every part is of the letter you were pleased to write me. You plead, "that I do not, in mine to Mr. Addison, in di"rect terms, fay I am not concerned with the "Examiner." And is that an excufe for the most savage injuries in the world a week before? How far you can prevail with the Guardian, I fhall not trouble myfelf to enquire; and am more concerned how you will clear your own honour and confcience than my reputation. I fhall hardly lofe one friend by what you *
I know not any
at me for any
laugh abfurdity of yours. There are folecifms 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 "of what I accufe him, how fhall I be able to "make him fatisfaction? and how do I know "but he may be entirely innocent? If he was 66 laughed at only because he folicited for me, is "that fufficient reafon for me to fay the vileft 66 things of him in print, under my hand, with"out any provocation? and how do I know but
*Here the manuscript is torn. See p. 363.
"he may be in the right, when he fays I was 66 kept in my employment at his interpofition? "If he never once reflected on me the leaft 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 "Chriftian and a clergyman?" I am, Sir, your moft obedient humble fervant, JON. SWIFT.
To Dr. SwIFT.
Bloomsbury, May 26, 1713.
HAVE received yours, and find it is im
poffible for a man to judge in his own cafe. For an allufion to you, as one under the imputation of helping the Examiner *, and owning I was reftrained out of refpect to you, you tell Addison, under your hand, "you think me the
* When the curious reader has confidered what is forcibly alledged in the notes on the new edition of the TATLER ut fupra, he will probably be convinced of three things: 1. That STEELE'S efranged friend was really an accomplice of the Examiner, and an actual writer in that Paper long after the time commonly fuppofed; 2. That STEELE was not guilty of that ingratitude to Mr. Harley, of which he has been accused; and, 3. That the difagreement 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! The publisher of this volume will be happy if, by any little endeavour of his, the wreath of fame which they have so justly obtained should bloom more brightly.
❝ vileft of mankind," and bid him tell me so. I am obliged to you for any kind things faid in my behalf to the Treasurer; and affure you, when you were in Ireland, you were the conftant fubject 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 firft man in the nation. This pofition, I know, will ever obftruct my way in the world; and I have conquered my defires accordingly. I have refolved to content myself with what I can get by my own induftry, and the improvement of a small eftate, without being anxious whether I am ever in a Court again or not. I do affure you, I do not fpeak this calmly, after the ill ufage 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 fo paffionately 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 fervant, RICH. STEELE. I know no party; but the truth of the quef tion is what I will fupport as well as I can, when any man I honour is attacked.