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In these remarks we have endeavoured to clear the fame of Lord Salisbury from the groundless imputations cast upon it by the biographers and admirers of Essex, Raleigh, and the Bacons. In the absence of all evidence to the contrary, it has been found an easy task to account for the failings and misfortunes of these eminent men by attributing them to the intrigues and the selfishness of Cecil. It has been presumed that, in the collection of his papers at Hatfield, proofs might be found to confirm these imputations, though Dr. Haynes, who edited a portion of them, had distinctly stated, more than a century ago, that the noble Lord, who gave him free access to these manuscripts and leave to publish them, had never desired him to suppress unfavourable statements, and was as far from requiring any such management of the character of his great ancestor, as his ancestor was from standing in need of it.' The remark is strictly true, whether applied to the father or the son; and historians may disabuse themselves of the notion, so freely indulged in, that the papers at Hatfield contain evidence unfavourable to the first Earl. The correspondence is full, minute, and explicit. It reveals the whole life of the man, velut in tabula, from day to day and from year to year, without interruption. No portion of it has been suppressed or mutilated to conceal awkward facts, or make the worse appear the better cause. So far from confirming the imputation of selfishness, envy, and secret intrigue in preventing the advancement of his rivals, real or supposed, the whole evidence points the other way. The letters addressed to Sir Robert by those who required his good offices, even when they had done little to deserve his kindness, the continual appeals made to his generosity by his political rivals, their friends, their relatives, and their associates, point him out as a man who was both gentle and forgiving, ready to interpose in behalf of those who needed his. interposition, open and accessible to pity. Elizabeth, towards the close of her reign, did not grow less exacting of obedience; she was not more inclined to overlook political offences-a severity which might well be forgiven, considering the numerous plots against her life and her reputation, the ingratitude of many, the conspiracies of not a few. If the closing years of her reign were free from bloodshed; if out of those who joined in the treason of Essex-and among them were the Earls of Rutland, Bedford, and Southampton, Lord Sandys, Lord Monteagle, Lord Cromwell, and a hundred and fifty more of the best blood of England-none forfeited their lives except the Earl and a few inferior agents, that result was due to the wisdom and moderation of Cecil. It was the same in the Gunpowder and other plots, during the reign of her successor-plots in which more were im


plicated than the Government thought good to divulge. For it was the character of this minister to discourage severity, and not drive the guilty to desperation by excluding them from all hope of repentance and forgiveness. If there is any exception to this remark, it is to be found in his treatment of the Roman Catholics, but even here his inclination to tolerance is remarkable. 'For the matter of priests,' he wrote to James, 'I condemn their doctrine, I detest their conversation, and I foresee the peril which the exercise of their function may bring to this island; only I confess that I shrink to see them die by dozens, when at the last gasp they come so near loyalty; only because I remember that mine own voice, amongst others, to the law [for their death] in Parliament was led by no other principle, than that they were absolute seducers of the people from temporal obedience.'



The world knew him merely as a statesman, and his abilities as a statesman few will deny. But he was not so exclusively a politician or a statesman as his father, 'He was a man,' as Dr. Birch justly remarks, of quicker parts, a more spirited writer and speaker than his father.' His correspondence shows that he had more wit and liveliness, and a more general and genial culture. Weighed down by the cares of State, brought up in more terrible times, Lord Burghley was seldom seen to smile. He never unbosomed himself until the gates of Theobalds were closed upon him. Then, in the companionship of his children, he found himself a child again, entering into their romps and amusements without a thought beyond them. But Robert, his son, though equally attached to his children, unbent himself more freely in the circle of his immediate friends; was warm, generous, and constant in his attachments, and sociable in his companionship; now drinking a friendly glass with Sir George Carew, now smoking with Sir Roger Ashton, the King's Chamberlain, a friendly pipe, in spite of The Counterblast against Tobacco.' But, to do adequate justice to his merits, to set his character in its true light, is the province of the biographer and historian, not of the reviewer. What is here said, and much more might be said, may possibly contribute to a juster estimate of this great statesman.

* Bruce, p. 34. From the Hatfield Papers.


ART. II.-The Life of Jonathan Swift. By John Forster. Volume the First. 1667-1711. London, 1875.

UR old friend Christopher North, in one of his convivial



sallies, altogether disclaimed being that faultless monster whom the world ne'er saw,' and claimed, on the contrary, to be a faulty monster, seen by all the world. That faulty monster Swift will now, we hope, be shown to all the world in his true dimensions, though he cannot be washed exactly white. Mr. Forster has some more than ordinary qualifications for the task he has set himself. He is not suspect' of Toryism, nor consumed with the zeal of retrospective Whiggism to the pitch of regarding apostasy from Godolphin to Harley, in the days of Queen Anne, as deserving a political auto da fe in those of Queen Victoria. He has spared neither time nor pains in research of documents and materials from all quarters; and brings in his present volume, and promises for his future volumes, much fresh information on points of Swift's career and character, which have hitherto been made matter of controversy rather than of careful investigation. And finally, he has that hearty liking' and 'generous admiration' for his subject, which he justly attributes to his great precursor Scott, and which are indispensably requisite to render biography a labour of love. That Swift was, in his sane and manly years, loveable, seems sufficiently proved by the fact that he was more or less loved, or liked, by every woman of intelligence, and every man of genius, with whom he came in personal contact and intercourse. He was loved in tragic earnest by poor Esther Johnson and poor Hester Vanhomrigh. He was loved by Pope, Gay, Steele, Congreve, Bolingbroke, Arbuthnot, Addison; and lastly, and posthumously, his memory is loved by Mr. Forster.*

Independently of 'evil times and evil tongues,' the sources of Swift's doubtful reputation, from his own days to ours, may be said to have been, in a manner, identical with those of his glory.

* Mr. Courtenay, in his 'Memoirs of Sir William Temple' (vol. ii. p. 243), drew from very narrow premises very broad conclusions as to the general unpopularity of Swift's manners with women. Of the offensive manners of Swift,' he says, 'and his consequent unpopularity with the ladies of the families in which he was intimate' [we will trouble any one to be intimate in families where he is unpopular with the ladies !], we can speak upon the authority of a daughter of his friend, the first Lord Bathurst: this lady was particularly disgusted with his habit of swearing.'


The occasional brusquerie and eccentricity of Swift's manners, especially in his later years, is not denied in any quarter. He could make himself disagreeable, but he could make himself exceedingly agreeable, both to men and to women. See Mr. Forster's volume, p. 226, and in other places, for the extraordinary social charm possessed by Swift in his better years.

His Tale of a Tub' was a declaration of war against half Christendom, and his 'Gulliver's Travels' little short of an indictment against all mankind. His political trophies were the depopularisation of Marlborough, the preparation of the public mind for the Peace of Utrecht, and the exasperation of Irish patriotism against English halfpence. A new Prometheus, he must be owned to have brought upon earth more heat than light, and his final misanthropy purveyed his own vultures for his own heart in exile.* It is, indeed, a passion which, if it does not begin in madness, almost certainly ends there.

The late great French critic, Sainte-Beuve, laid down, with immediate reference to Chateaubriand, the following canon of criticism, which is not less applicable to our present subject:

For me, literary production is not distinct-is, at any rate, not separable-from the producer, the man himself, and his individual organisation. I may find pleasure in a work, but it is difficult for me to pronounce a judgment on it, independently of all knowledge of the writer. I should be disposed to say-Such as the tree, such the fruit.

"In order to know a man-that is to say, to know something more about him than pure spirit-one cannot go to work in too many ways, or from too many sides. Till one has asked and answered to oneself a certain number of questions about an author, one is never sure of having completely seized his character. What were his religious views? How was he affected by natural scenery? What was his behaviour towards women?—what in money matters? Was he rich ?— was he poor? What was his regimen, his mode of living? Finally, what was his vice or weakness? since every man has one. None of the answers to these questions are immaterial in forming a judgment of an author, or even of his book,—unless, indeed, that book is a treatise of pure geometry.'

In no instance more distinctly than in that of our present subject is the character of the author traceable, in its main lines, to the character of the man. It might be said of Jonathan Swift as of John Bunyan-whom, by the way, he prized more highly than theologians of higher pretensions-that it was because he was such a man as he was he wrote as he did. What set the stamp of permanence on the writings of both was no study of form, no care of composition, but downright force of expression prompted by strength of purpose. Bunyan became a great author without knowing it, because he had a faith to propagate. Swift became a great author without caring about it, because he had passions to wreak, ambitions to gratify, and insights into

* Swift always regarded his Dublin deanery as an exile, and always refused to regard Ireland as his country, merely because he was 'dropped' there.

life, character, and opinion to bring out in forms which, however fantastic, however frequently repulsive, have won for themselves a permanent place in the modern mind, which they will no more lose with any generation of intelligent readers than the world will willingly let die' Pantagruel's history, or the Pilgrim's Progress.

In applying to Swift Sainte-Beuve's personal and, as he conceived it, physiological method of criticism, it would be necessary to start with the subject from birth, or even before it. A posthumous child, born of a mother labouring under a load of anxieties, much that was otherwise inexplicably morbid in Swift may be traceable to congenital sources, and the painfully dependent circumstances of his boyhood and youth.

His brief autobiography, reproduced in Mr. Forster's first chapter, and which stops at the epoch of Swift's final settlement in Ireland, begins by stating that the family of the Swifts are ancient in Yorkshire. After commemorating one or two notable members of that family, the writer comes to his paternal grandfather, Thomas Swift, whose services and sufferings in the cause of the First Charles obtained recognition and promise of preferment from the Second, then in exile, 'if ever God should restore him.' Thomas Swift's life ended, however, before Charles's exile, and 'Mr. Swift's merit,' observes his grandson, 'died with him.'

His father's marriage is recorded as follows by Swift, with a curious and characteristic mixture of pride in his mother's remote ancestry, and regret for his father's indiscreet' marriage :

'He married Mrs. Abigail Erick, of Leicestershire, descended from the most ancient family of the Ericks, who derive their lineage from Erick the forester, a great commander, who raised an army to oppose the invasion of William the Conqueror. This marriage

was on both sides very indiscreet, for his wife brought her husband little or no fortune; and his death happening suddenly, before he could make a sufficient provision for his family, his son, not then born [Swift himself], has often been heard to say, that he felt the consequences of that marriage, not only through the whole course of his education, but during the greatest part of his life.'

Swift's only prosperous relative settled in Ireland was an uncle, Godwin Swift, to whom, says Mr. Forster, as the acknowledged head of the family, Jonathan's [his father's] widow had turned naturally in her trouble. With exception of a small annuity of twenty pounds, which her husband had been enabled to purchase at their marriage, she was wholly dependent on this supposed wealthy relative, who took on himself the charge of the young Jonathan's schooling, and defrayed it in what seemed a


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