[The following paragraphs are extracted from Sir Walter Scott's Preface to his Life and Works of Swift, in nineteen volumes, 8vo, of which the first edition appeared in 1814, and the second in 1824. The Refere ences in the present volume are to the edition of 1824.]

No Author in the British language has enjoyed the extensive popularity of the celebrated Dean of St Patrick's. Neither the local and temporary nature of the subjects on which his pen was frequently engaged, nor other objections of a more positive nature, have affected the brilliancy of his reputation. In spite of the antiquated and unpopular nature of his politics,-in spite of the misanthropical and indelicate tone of some of his writings, and the trifling character of others,—the vivid and original power of his genius has supported him in the general opinion, to an extent only equalled by his friend Pope, and far surpassing any other of those geniuses who flourished in the Augustan age of Queen Anne.



Yet, of all authors, perhaps, who ever wrote, Swift appears to have been the most inattentive to literary reputation, and to have flung from him his numerous productions, with the least interest in their future fate. The valuable and laborious edition of Mr Nichols, was the first which presented to the public any thing resembling a complete collection of Swift's works; and, unquestionably, those who peruse it must admire the labour and accuracy of the editor. It has nevertheJess been generally understood, that fugitive pieces of the Dean of St Patrick's, letters and anecdotes throwing light on his remarkable history and character, still remain excluded from this ample collection; and, above all, that a distinct and combined account of his life, selected from the various sources afforded by his contradictory biographers and commentators, continued to be a desideratum.

In the Biographical Memoir, it has been the object of the Editor to condense the information afforded by Mr Sheridan, Lord Orrery, Dr Delany, Deane Swift, Dr Johnson, and others, into one distinct and comprehensive narrative.


bishop King—His intimacy with the Ministers—The

services which he renders to them— Project for im-

proving the English Language-His protection of

Literary Characters-Difficulties attending his church

preferment—He is made Dean of St Patrick's—And

returns to Ireland,


Sect. IV.–Swift takes possession of his Deanery-Is

recalled to England to reconcile Harley and St John

- Increases in favour with Oxford- Engages again in

Political controversy— Writes the Public Spirit of

the Whigs—A reward offered for discovery of the

Author— The dissensions of the Ministers increase-

Swift retires to the Country— Writes Thoughts on

the Present State of Affairs-_ Writes to Lord Oxford

on his being displaced-And retires to Ireland on the

Queen's Death—His reception- His Society—The

interest he displayed in the misfortunes of his Friends, 152

Sect. V.- Swift's first acquaintance with Miss Van-

homrigh-She follows him to Ireland—Swift's Mar-

riage with Stella—Death of Miss Vanhomrigh-Poem

of Cadenus and Vanessa—Swift's Studies during his

retirement from 1714 to 1720— His system of Life

and Amusements—Engages in Irish Politics—His

Proposal for Encouragement of Irish Manufactures-

and other Tracts—Drapier's Letters—Swift's subse-

quent popularity,


Sect. VI.-Swift retires to Quilca—His friendship for

Sheridan-He visits England— Has an audience of

Walpole-Becomes known at the Prince of Wales's

Court-Returns to Ireland, and publishes Gulliver's

Travels—He revisits England— And is recalled by

Stella's indisposition—Her death-Swift breaks with

the Court and Minister-His writings on Irish

affairs—He quarrels with Lord Allen-Is intimate

with Carteret_A letter is forged in his name to the

Queen - His Miscellaneous Prose Writings about

this period— His Poems - His residence at Gossford

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