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compromise between the Queen and her ministers; the former remaining resolute not to put a mitre-even an Irish mitre-on the head of Swift. This affair,' he says in one of his last letters to Stella, 'was carried with great difficulty, which vexes me. But they say here [in London] it is much to my reputation that I have made a bishop, in spite of all the world, to get the best deanery in Ireland.'

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In Jeffrey's Essay on Swift, republished from the Edinburgh Review,' some good indignation is expended on the monstrous greed of the new Dean of St. Patrick's, importuning a Ministry whom his writings had first floated, and kept afloat for years, in English public opinion, to pay the expenses (which he found would amount to about 10007.) incurred on his induction into his Irish deanery-the discharge of which, if thrown (as they were) on Swift himself, must involve him in debt, of which he had always a wise horror. We are reminded of the impeachment of the Ass, in the fable, before the High Court of Beasts, for having indulged-not, like the Beasts of high degree, in wholesale ovicide, but in a single sacrilegious nibble at the parson's glebe-grass.

It is a pleasing trait in the character of Addison, and a strong testimony to the personal qualities of Swift, that at the epoch of definitive Tory prostration and Whig triumph, on the accession of George I., Addison, whom that sudden shifting of the political scene replaced in office, hastened to intimate, through the Bishop of Derry, to Swift his wish to renew with him those former friendly relations which had been cooled to some considerable degree by party warfare. Swift met his old friend's overture in the spirit in which it was made, and, congratulating Addison on his new-fledged honours as Secretary of State, added, 'Three or four more such choices would gain more hearts in three weeks than the harsher measures of government in as many years.' Had Swift's change of party-colours under the Tory Ministry dishonoured him personally in the eyes of contemporaries, can it appear probable to candid readers that Addison, of all men, would have volunteered renewing their old habits of friendly correspondence?*

The unfortunate manner in which the opposite fates of Swift and Addison put and kept, in each instance, the wrong man in the wrong place was well hit off in the following few words

* The death of Addison,' says Sir W. Scott, in his Memoir of Swift, 'broke off their renewed correspondence, after some kind letters had been exchanged. Swift found a valuable successor in Tickell, the poet, surviving friend and literary executor of Addison. He was secretary to the Lords Justices of Ireland, an office of high trust, and he often employed the interest which it gave him in compliance with Swift's recommendations."


(referred to by Mr. Forster) of Sir James Mackintosh, 'What a good exchange of stations might have been made by Swift and Addison Addison would have made an excellent Dean, and Swift an admirable Secretary of State.'


In the career of the two great clerico-political humorists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries-Jonathan Swift and Sydney Smith-there are traits of resemblance worth noting. Of these the most salient one is that both wanted to be bishops, and that neither could ever completely realise what malign influence frustrated him of a mitre.*


However little Swift's enemies, lay or clerical, might be disposed to recognise his title to be considered a good Christian, he placed beyond doubt his title to boast himself a good ChurchHis ecclesiastical politics, notwithstanding (or including) his 'Tale of a Tub,' were, from first to last, those of a staunch and somewhat (politically) intolerant Anglican. His methods, indeed, of serving, or saving, the sacred institution, with whose interests he had come to identify those of his own ambition, might naturally be regarded by a religious queen, or represented to her by less religious councillors, as disqualifying Swift for the highest dignities of the Church. But in all his ecclesiastical politics, whether English or Irish, his efforts were bonâ fide devoted to ecclesiastical interests. Here, again, is a striking point of resemblance between the great Dean of St. Patrick's, in the eighteenth century, and the scarce less renowned, in his day and generation, Canon of St. Paul's, in the nineteenth. Each of them took up the cudgels for the Church in his different age and fashion, with a thoroughly congenial spirit of antagonism against its immediate assailants, the worst assailants being by each regarded as within its own pale. And to each (both being frustrate of mitres) these appeared naturally to be the reforming or rapacious members of the Irish or English Episcopal bench. Swift's, like Sydney Smith's, tracts on ecclesiastical subjects were mainly devoted to the defence of the inferior clergy against episcopal encroachments. Some passages in his Considerations,' written in 1731, on two bills carried by the Irish bishops through the (Irish) Upper House, but defeated (mainly by Swift's exposure of them) in the Commons, are such exact prototypes of Sydney Smith's

The late Lord Holland wrote to Sydney Smith, in 1809, 'I did not fail to remind Lord Grenville, that the only author to whom we both thought "Peter Plymley" could be compared in English, lost a bishopric for his wittiest performance; and I hoped that if we could discover the author, and had ever a bishopric in our gift, we should prove that Whigs were both more grateful and more liberal than Tories.' Mitres came to be in Whig gift, but not one for Peter Plymley.


'Letters to Archdeacon Singleton,' directed against the doings of the Ecclesiastical Commission of his day, that we cannot resist the temptation of placing them in juxtaposition. Swift's vehement deprecation of measures for multiplying a poor clergy, and his description (in terrorem of Irish landlords and farmers) of the 'little, hedge, contemptible, illiterate vicar, from twenty to fifty pounds a-year, the son of a weaver, pedlar, tailor, or miller,' at once recall to recollection Sydney Smith's portraiture of the parson of the future after the carrying out of the Church-reform scheme of Bishop Blomfield and the Ecclesiastical Commission of 1840. He painted that parson in unforgettable traits, as

' obese, dumpy, neither ill-natured nor good-natured, neither learned nor ignorant, striding over the stiles to church, dusty and deliquescent, with a second-rate wife and four parochial children, full of catechism and bread-and-butter.'

But Swift's following suggestion is still more curiously anticipatory of the sarcastic incisiveness of our later humoristical Church-champion :

'Another clause should be that none of these twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty pounders may be suffered to marry, under the penalty of immediate deprivation, their marriages declared null, and their children bastards: for some desponding people take the kingdom to be in no condition of encouraging so numerous a breed of beggars.'

'Others would add a clause of indulgence, that these reduced divines may be permitted to follow any lawful ways of living, which will not call them too often or too far from their spiritual offices. For example: they may be lappers of linen, bailiffs of the manor; they may let blood, or apply plasters for three miles round; they may get a dispensation to hold the clerkship and sextonship of their own parish in commendam. Their wives and daughters may make shirts for the neighbourhood; or, if a barrack be near, for the soldiers; in linen counties they may card and spin, and keep a few looms in the house: they may let lodgings, and sell a pot of ale without doors, but not at home, unless to sober company, and at regular hours.'

Compare the above-cited passage of Swift with the following extract from Sydney Smith's Third Letter to Archdeacon Singleton :

The whole plan of the Bishop of London is a ptochogony-a generation of beggars. He purposes out of the spoils of the Cathedral to create a thousand livings, and to give to the thousand clergymen 130l. per annum each. A Christian bishop proposing, in cold blood, to create a thousand livings of 130l. per annum each!-to call into existence a thousand of the most unhappy men on the face of the earth-the sons of the poor, without hope, without the assistance of private fortune, chained to the soil, ashamed to live with their inferiors,

inferiors, unfit for the society of the better classes, and dragging about the English curse of poverty, without the smallest hope that they can ever shake it off! At present such livings are filled by young men who have better hopes-who have reason to expect good property-who look forward to a college or a family living-who are the sons of men of some substance, and hope to pass on to something better-who exist under the delusion of being hereafter Deans and Prebendaries—who are paid once by money, and three times by hope. Will the Bishop of London promise to the progeny of any of these thousand victims of the Holy Innovation that, if they behave well, one of them shall have his butler's place; another take care of the cedars and hyssops of his garden? Will he take their daughters for his nursery-maids? and may some of the sons of these "labourers of the vineyard" hope one day to ride the leaders from St. James's to Fulham? Here is hope-here is room for ambition-a field for genius, and a ray of amelioration! If these beautiful feelings of compassion are throbbing under the cassock of the Bishop, he ought. in common justice to himself to make them known.'

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It is due alike to Swift and Sydney Smith to say that both were exemplary in the performance of the duties annexed to their ecclesiastical dignities, and that both considered those duties to include something more than mere formal observances. Swift appears to have given much attention to the business of his cathedral, and at length to have surmounted the prejudices of his Archbishop (King) and the resistance of his Chapter, as the rectitude of his intentions, and his disinterested zeal for the Church, became more and more evident. He soon,' adds Sir Walter Scott, obtained such authority that what he proposed was seldom disputed.' To the like effect the late Dean Milman testifies with regard to Sydney Smith at St. Paul's: 'I find traces of him in every particular of Chapter affairs; and on every occasion when his hand appears, I find stronger reason for respecting his sound judgment, knowledge of business, and activity of mind; above all, the perfect fidelity of his stewardship.' Both Swift and Sydney Smith were large in their charities, though both (Swift to an extreme point of parsimony) strict in their economy. The source of that economy was the same in both a determined spirit of independence, struggling, at the outset, with narrow and adverse circumstances. Both were capable of acts of rare generosity, and both, as regarded personal bearing and oratorical powers, would have detracted nothing from the dignity of the episcopal bench, had they attained that object of their equal ambition. All this is incontestable; yet, when all has been said, the Tale of a Tub,' and the 'Letters of Peter Plymley,' somehow don't read episcopal. But we cannot doubt that many less worthy than Jonathan Swift, or Sydney

Smith, to wear mitres have 'exalted their mitred fronts in courts and parliaments,' whether in England or Ireland.

'Sydney Smith,' says Lord Houghton, in his pleasant little volume of 'Monographs,'' often spoke with much bitterness of the growing belief in three Sexes of Humanity-men, women, and clergymen; but for his part, he would not surrender his rightful share of interference in all the great human interests of his time.'

It needs,' says Lord Houghton, no argument to prove that susceptibilities on the score of irreverence increase in proportion to the prevalence of doubt and scepticism. When essential facts cease to be incontrovertible, they are no longer safe from the humour of contrasts and analogies. It is thus that the secular use of scriptural allusion was more frequent in the days of simple belief in inspiration than in our times of linguistic and historical criticism. Phrases and figures were then taken as freely out of sacred as out of classical literature, and even characters as gross and ludicrous as some of Fielding's clergy were not looked upon as a satire against the Church. Thus when Sydney Smith illustrated his objections to always living in the country by saying that "he was in the position of the personage who, when he entered a village, straightway he found an ass," or described the future condition of Mr. Croker as "disputing with the recording Angel as to the dates of his sins"-or drew a picture of Sir George Cornewall Lewis in Hades, " for ever and ever book-less, essay-less, pamphlet-less, grammar-less, in vain imploring the Bishop of London, seated aloft, for one little treatise on the Greek article-one smallest dissertation on the verb in μ," -it never occurred to him that he was doing anything more than taking the most vivid and familiar images as vehicles of his humour.'

There can be no question that the prevalence of doubt and scepticism' constrains the defenders of positive creeds to close their ranks, and desist from friendly chaffing at outposts with vedettes of the enemy. But is there not sometimes another effect of the prevalence of doubt and scepticism'? When these are in the air, are they not apt to infect, to a greater or less extent, the livelier spirits among the consecrated champions of orthodoxy? Voltaire calls Swift 'le Rabelais d'Angleterre,' and says of him, 'Il a l'honneur d'être prêtre, et de se moquer de tout, comme lui.' The incomparable irony of Swift'sArgument against abolishing Christianity' could only have found scope at a period when the audacity of unbelief might be considered as legitimatising the audacity of irony with which Swift encountered it. But it may be questioned whether a good deal of the spirit of the assailants does not animate such defenders, and whether the popular instinct is not, after all, right, which, even on the plea of saving the Ark from falling, will not have it so handled.


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