Read APPENDIX of The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift‚ Vol. IV, free online book, by Jonathan Swift, on



“THE following manuscript was literally copied from the printed original found in the library of Dr. J. Swift, Dean of St Patrick’s, Dublin, in the year 1745.  The marginal notes and parodies were written by the Dean’s own hand, except such as are distinguished with this mark [O/] with which I am only chargeable.  Witness my hand, this 25th day of February, 1745.  WILLIAM DUNKIN.

“N.B. ­The original was by me presented to his excellency Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, lord lieutenant general and general governor of Ireland.  W.D.”

The manuscript to which Dr. Dunkin refers is in the library of Trinity College, Dublin.  The present text is taken from a transcript which is at the South Kensington Museum, and which appears to be the identical transcript used by Nichols for his reprint in the quarto edition, vol. xiv.  At the end of this MS. is the following note: 

“The above was written from the manuscript mentioned in the first page, now in the hands of Nicholas Coyne, Esq., being the only copy in the kingdom of Ireland; he having purchased the original, and afterwards generously given it to his friend Dr. Dunkin, finding the doctor extremely uneasy at the disappointment the Earl of Chesterfield was like to meet with, as he had promised the earl to attend the auction, and procure it for him at any price; and is now transcribed by Neale Molloy, of Dublin, Esq’r, by the favour of the said Nicholas Coyne, his brother-in-law; and sent by him to his kinsman, and dear friend, Charles Molloy, of London, Esq’re.

Dublin, 26th, of May, 1748.”

The “Epistle Dedicatory” to Princess Anne, in Dr. Gibbs’s volume, has also been annotated, chiefly by Dr. Dunkin; but as these are mostly too filthy to be published, I have omitted the few notes by Swift, which consist merely of marginalia corrections of words and a few satirical interpolations of no great consequence.  I have corrected Dr. Gibbs’s text by the original edition of his “Paraphrase” (1701).  The corrections were necessary, since the transcript could not be absolutely relied on.



On “The first Fifteen Psalms of David, translated into Lyric Verse:  Proposed as an Essay, supplying the Perspicuity and Coherence according to the Modern Art of Poetry; not known to have been attempted before in any Language.  With a Preface containing some Observations of the great and general Defectiveness of former Versions in Greek, Latin, and English.  By Dr. [James] Gibbs.  London:  printed by J. Mathews, for John Hartley, over-against Gray’s-Inn, in Holborn.  MDCCI.”



(1)I warn the reader that Comparing the different state of the this is a lie, both here righteous and the wicked, both in this and all over the book; and the next world.> for these are not Psalms
of David, but of Dr.

1 Thrice happy he! that does refuse. (2) But I suppose with
     With impious (2) sinners to combine; pious sinners a man may
   Who ne’er their wicked way pursues, combine safely enough
     And does the scorner’s seat(3)_decline_
                                               (3)What part of speech
                                               is it?

2 But still to learn, and to obey (4) All. 
     The Law of God is his delight;
   In that employs himself all day, (5) A man must have
     And reads and thinks thereon at(4) some time to sleep; so
        night.(5) that I will change the
                                               verse thus: 
                                                “And thinks and dreams
                                                  thereon all night.”

3 For as a tree, whose spreading root (6) Look ye; you must
     By some prolific stream is fed, thin the boughs at the
   Produces (6) fair and timely fruit, top, or your fruit will
     And numerous boughs adorn its head:  be neither fair or
   Whose (7) very leaves, tho’ storms descend, timely. 
     In lively verdure still appear
                                               (7) Why, what other part
   Whose (7) very leaves, tho’ storms descend, of a tree appears in lively. 
     In lively verdure still appear; verdure, beside the
   Such blessings always shall attend leaves? 
     The man that does the Lord revere.  These very leaves on
                                                    which you penn’d
                                                  Your woeful stuff, may
                                                       serve for squibs: 
                                                  Such blessings always
                                                        shall attend
                                                  The madrigals of Dr.

4 Like chaff with every wind disperst:(1) (1) “Disp_u_rst,”
                  [rhyming with “curst”] Pronounce this like a

6 And these to punishment may go. (2) (2) If they please.

["The above may serve for a tolerable specimen of Swift’s remarks.  The whole should be given, if it were possible to make them intelligible, without copying the version which is ridiculed; a labour for which our readers would scarcely thank us.  A few detached stanzas, however, with the Dean’s notes on them, shall be transcribed.”  Thus writes Scott; but I have added a great many more, which deserve reprinting, if only for their humour. [T.S.]]



 (1) I do not believe
that ever kings enteredr> 1 Why do the heathen nations rise, into plots and
And in mad tumults join! confederacies against
the reign of God
2 Confederate kings vain plots (1) devise
Against the Almighty’s reign: 
His Royal Title they deny, (2) What word does
Whom God appointed Christ; that plural number
belong to?
3 Let us reject their (2) laws, they cry,
Their binding force resist.

7 And thus to Him was pleased to say, (3) An excellent drug-
     As I His words declare; (3) german.

9 But those, that do thy laws refuse, (4) After a man is
      In pieces thou shalt break; broken in pieces,
    And with an iron sceptre bruise (4) ’tis no great matter
      Their disobedient (5) neck. to have his neck

(5) Neak.

10 Ye earthly kings, the caution hear; (6) Rulers must learn
      Ye rulers, learn the same; (6) it, but kings may only
                                               hear it.

11 Serve God with reverence, and with fear(7)
      His joyful praise proclaim; (7) Very proper to make a
                                               joyful proclamation with

12 Confess the Son, and own His (8) reign, (8) Of Blackmore’s
      Ere He to wrath inclines; reign. 
    And, so resenting your disdain,
      Confound your vain designs:  (9) (9) You with his lines

For should the madness of His foes (1) (1) For should the foes
Th’ avenging God incense, of David’s ape
Happy are they that can repose Provoke his grey
In Him their confidence. (2) goose quills,
Happy are they that
can escape
The vengeance of
his pills.

(2) Admirably reasoned
andand connected!


When he fled from his son Absalom.> To Dr. Gibbs, ex aqua
                                               in ignem.

4 When to the Lord for help I cry, (3) Sec_o_ure. 
     He hears me from the Throne on high;
                                               (4) By this I think it
5 And thus I sleep and wake secure, (3) is clear that he cries
     Guarded by His almighty Power. (4) in his sleep.

6 No fears shall then my soul depress, Depre_a_se, Lo_a_rd,
     Though thus my enemies increase; Scotice.

7 And (5) therefore, now arise, O Lord, (5) He desires God’s
     And graciously thy help afford:  help, because
                                               he is not afraid of
                                               his enemies; others,
                                               I think, usually
                                               desire it when they
                                               are afraid.

8 And thus (6) to grant a sure defence, (6) The doctor hath a
     Belongs to God’s (7) omnipotence; mighty affection for the
                                               particle thus:  he uses
                                               it four times in this
                                               Psalm, and 100 times in
                                               other places, and
                                               always wrong.

(7)(7) That is as much as to say, he that can do all things can defend a man; which I take to be an undoubted truth.


Reproving and admonishing his enemies>.  Not to burlesque
                                               his Psalms.

1 As Thou hast always taken care A pretty phrase! 
     My sufferings to remove.

2 But you, my frail (1) malicious foes, (1) Are they malicious
     Who do my power despise; out of frailty, or frail
   Vainly how long will ye oppose, out of malice? 
     And (2) falsely calumnize!
                                               (2) That is, they say
                                               false things

I will discover the doctor’s secret of making the coherence and connection, in the Psalms that he brags of in his title and preface:  he lays violent hands on certain particles,(such as and, when, since, for, but, thus, so, &c.) and presses them to his service on all occasions sore against their wills, and without any regard whether the sense will admit them or no.

3 Since those alone the Lord has blest, (3) ’Tis plain the doctor
     That do from sin refrain; never requested to be a
   He therefore grants what I request, (3) poet. 
     And hears when I (4) complain: 

(4) If your requests be
granted, why do you

But of Thy face to us do Thou What is it, to
The favour still dispense; dispense the favour
of his face?

7 Then shall my soul with more divine (5) I have heard of a
     And solid joys abound, crown or garland of corn,
   Than they with stores of corn and wine, but a crown of wine is
     Those earthly riches, crown’d:  (5) new, and can hardly be
                                               explained, unless we
                                               suppose the wine to be
                                               in icicles.

8 And thus confiding, Lord, in thee (6) And yet, to shew I
     I take my calm repose; (6) tell no fibs,
   For thou each night protectest me Thou hast left me in
     From all my (7) treacherous foes thrall
                                                 To Hopkins, eke, and
                                                         Doctor Gibbs
                                               The vilest rogue of all.

(7) Aye, and open foes
too; or his repose would
not be very calm.


1 O Lord, receive my fervent prayer, (1) I suppose he
     Relieve my soul opprest with care, thought it would be
   And hear my loud (1) complaint; heard the better for
                                               being loud.
                                                [Greek:  Oion aento mega
                                                kekraigenai kai ochlaeson
                                                einai.] ­LUC.  TIM.,

2 On Thee alone I can rely,
     Do Thou, my God, to whom I fly,
   My sad (2) petition grant:  (2) My poor petition. 
                                               Ay, a sad one indeed.

5 They on thy favour can’t rely, (3) Such vile poetry. 
     That practice such iniquity, (3) What is the meaning of
   For Thou wilt punish those that word, such, in
                                               this place?

6 That do malicious lies (4) invent, (4) Malicious lines. 
     And would to death the innocent
   By treacherous means (5) expose. (5) By doggrel rhimes.

8 Lord, in Thy Laws (6) direct my ways, (6) He perseveres ­not
     Since those my watchful foe surveys, that he values the Laws,
   And make me persevere:  but because his foes
                                               watch him.  A good

9 They flatter to destroy: 

10 But let, O Lord, the vengeance due (7) Horrid rhimes. 
    Those in their horrid crimes (7) pursue, (8) Def_o_y. 
      Who do Thy power defy:  (8)


Penitently complaining of his sufferings.  By this translator.

I Thy heavy hand restrain, (9) (9) Thy heavy hand
     With mercy, Lord, correct; restrain;
   Do not, (1) as if in high disdain, Have mercy, Dr. Gibbs: 
     My helpless soul reject:  Do not, I pray thee,
                                                        paper stain
2 For how shall I sustain With rhymes retail’d in
  (2)Those ills, which now I bear! dribbs. 
  My vitals are consumed with pain,
  (3)My soul oppress’d with care:  (1)That bit is a most
                                               glorious botch.
                                               (2)The squeaking of a

(3)To listen to
thy doggrel.

5 For in the silent grave, } Very true all that. 
     When there I lie obscure,
   No gracious favours I can have,
     Nor magnify Thy power: 

6 Lord, I have pray’d in (1) vain (1)The doctor must
     So long, so much opprest; mean himself, for I hope
   My very (2) cries increase my pain, David never thought so. 
     And tears prevent my rest;
                                               (2)Then he’s a dunce
7 These do my sight impair, for crying. 
     My flowing eyes decay,
   While to my enemies I fear
     Thus (3) to become a prey. (3)That is, he is afraid
                                               of becoming a prey to his
                                               enemies while his eyes
                                               are sore.

8 But, ye vain forces! fly, (4) (4)Fl_o_y. 
     For God, Whom I adore, Why then does he
                                               tell us just before that
                                               he has prayed in vain,
                                               and is afraid of becoming
                                               a prey to his enemies?

9 My impious foes does still destroy,
     When I His aid implore.

10 O Lord, by Thy fierce hand repell’d,
     With sudden shame retire (5) A very proper word
                                               for a man that is repell’d
                                               by a fierce hand.


When unjustly persecuted,(6) and accused of (6) By Doctor Gibbs. treachery against King Saul.

I O Lord my God, since I repose (7) By chance.  My trust in Thee alone, (7)

   Save and defend me from my foes,
      That furiously come on:  (8) (8) Advance.

2 Lest, like a ravenous lion, they What sort of lions are
     My captive soul devour, they that devour souls?

4 If I’ve not spared him though he’s grown(9) (9) Gro_u_n. 
     My causeless (1) enemy,
                                               (1) If he be grown his
                                               causeless enemy I presume
                                               he is no longer guiltless.

5 Then let my life, and future (2) crown (2) He gives a thing
     Become to him a prey:  before he has it, and
                                               gives it to him that has
                                               it already; for Saul is
                                               the person meant.

6 But, Lord, thy kind assistance (1) lend, (1) But why lend?
     Arise in my defence; Does he design to return
   According to Thy laws, (2) contend it back when he has done
     For injured innocence:  with it?

(2) Profane rascal! he makes it a struggle and contention between God and the wicked.

7 That all the nations, that oppose, (3) (3) Opp_a_use. 
     May then confess Thy power: 
   Therefore assert my righteous cause,
     That they may Thee adore:  (4) (4) Ado_u_re.

8 For equal judgment, Lord, to Thee (5) Yet in the very
     The nations (5) all submit; verse before he tells of
   Be therefore (6) merciful to me. nations that oppose
     And my just soul acquit:  (7)
                                               (6) Because all nations
                                               submit to God, therefore
                                               God must be merciful to
                                               Dr. Gibbs.

(7) Of what?

9 Destroy the wicked in their plots:  Poor David never could
     The just with blessings crown:  acquit
   For all the ways and secret thoughts (8) A criminal like thee,
     Of both to Thee are known.  Against his Psalms who
                                               couldst commit
                                               Such wicked poetry.

(8) Thots.

10 Thus by God’s gracious providence (9) (9) Observe the
     I’m still preserved secure, (1) connection. 
   Who all the good and just defends (1) Sec__re
     With a resistless (2) power.
                                               (2) That’s right, doctor;
                                               but then there will
                                               be no contending, as
                                               you desired a while ago.

’Tis wonderful that
Should save thee from the
Who hast in numbers
without sense
Burlesqued the holy

11 All men He does with justice view, (1) That’s no great
     And their iniquity mark of viewing them
   With direful vengeance can pursue, with justice.  God has
     Or patiently (1) pass by:  wiser ends for passing by
                                               His vengeance on the
                                               wicked, you profane

13 For He the artillery directs, What’s that charge? it
     The sudden charge ordains, must allude to a charge
                                               of gunpowder, or it is

15 Lo! now th’inflictions (2) they design’d (2) Ay, but what sort of
     By others to be borne, things are these
   Even all the mischiefs (3) in their mind inflictions? 
     Do on themselves return:  (4)
                                               (3) If the mischiefs be
                                               in their mind, what need
                                               they return on
                                               themselves? are they not
                                               there already?

(4) Ret_o_rn.

16 By their own treachery betray’d (5) Pills
     To the same ills, (5) that they
   Invented, and with those essay’d (6) Rich. 
     To make the poor (6) their prey: 
                                               Does this verse end
                                               according to the more
                                               modern art of poetry, as
                                               the author speaks in his

17 O Lord, how glorious are the ways Do not these verses end
     Of Thy good Providence! very sublimely? 
   Thou, Lord, Whose blessed Name I
     True justice dost dispense


1 The mighty powers, that celebrate That’s a lie; for if
     Thy endless praises, can’t relate they
   The glory they in Heaven survey:  can survey it they can
                                               easily relate it.

2 Young helpless infants at the breast Young younglings. 
     Their great Creator have confest, [The italics are
   And in their weakness spoke Thy pow’r, Swift’s.] This stanza
                                               is just upon the purlieus
                                               between sense and

4 Lord, what is wretched (7) man, I cry, (7) A very proper epithet
Or all his sinful progeny, for those who are scarce
  That thou to them dost prove so kind! inferior to angels.

5 To honour Thou dost them prefer, A fine cadence that. 
     To angels scarce inferior,

6 They over all Thy works command: 

7 The flocks and herds o’er every field (1) That’s a lie, for
     To their just lords obedience yield, sometimes they trespass
   And all (1) in full subjection stand:  on other men’s grounds.

8 O’er all the birds, that mount the air, (2) App__r. 
     And fish, that in the floods appear,(2)
   Man bears an arbitrary sway:  Those, I think, are
                                               not very many:  they are
                                               caught, but till then we
                                               have no great sway over


3 Confounded at the sight of Thee (3) The doctor’s mistaken;
     My foes are put to flight; (3) for, when people are
                                               confounded, they cannot

4 Thus thou, great God of equity, (4) Against Sternhold
     Dost still assert my right. (4) and Hopkins.

6 Insulting foes, how long can ye (5) b_o_st. 
     Of ruin’d cities boast! (5) Blunderings, Siccorrige
   Your plunderings now as well as they meo periculo
.  That’s a
     Are in oblivion lost:  lie, for Gibbs remembers

7 But God eternally remains (6) (6) That’s false and
     Fixt in His throne on high, profane; God is not fixed

8 And to the world from thence ordains (7) Did anybody ever
     Impartial equity:(7) hear of partial equity?

9 And for their injured souls extend That extending a refuge,
     A refuge most secure. is pretty.

12 He hears the injured poor, and then i.e. is angry at their
     Does all their cries resent. cries.

13 And thus consider still, O Lord, (8) Nothing is restored
     The justice of my cause; but what has been taken
   Who often hast my life (8) restor’d away; so that he has been
     From death’s devouring jaws:  often raised from the
                                               dead, if this be true.

15 The heathen nations are dismay’d (9) (9) We heard a while
     They’re all to ruin brought, ago their very names were
   For in the treacherous nets, they laid, dead, now (it seems)
     Ev’n they themselves are caught:  they’re only dismay’d.

16 Lo, thus the Lord to execute
     True judgment still inclines; This is profane, as if
                                               it were only an
                                               inclination in God to be


1 Lord, why in times of deep distress If the woes require aid
     Dost Thou from us retire, it is to increase them,
   When dismal woes our souls oppress, they cannot require it
     And Thy kind aid require! against themselves.

2 The wicked do with lawless pride (1) (1) Proide.  Pronounce
     The helpless persecute; it like the Scotch. 
   But let them be themselves destroy’d,
     And fall in their pursuit:  Ay, let them!

3 For still they triumph, when success I cannot crock this
     Does their designs attend, stave. 
   And then their ways, who thus oppress,
     Profanely they commend: 

5 And from the barbarous (2) paths they tread,(2) The author should
     No acts of Providence first have premised what
   Can e’er oblige them to recede, sort of paths were
     Or stop (3) their bold offence; properly barbarous.  I
                                               suppose they must be
                                               very deep and dirty, or
                                               very rugged and stony;
                                               both which I myself
                                               have heard travellers
                                               call barbarous roads.

(3) Which is the way to stop an offence?  Would you have it stopped like a bottle, or a thief?  For what end? is it to catch a louse, better lay wait for the rich by half.

8 And for the poor in secret they
     Do treacherously lay wait: 
                                               As a lion observes with
9 As hungry lions do their prey watchful eyes, just so a
     Observe with watchful eyes, wicked man surprises
   So heedless innocents would they with sudden force ­a very
     With sudden force surprise; just simile. 
   And then, like lions merciless, They surprise them like
     Their trembling souls devour; lions, but then they devour
   And thus the helpless do oppress (4) devour them [like] lions. 
     When captives to their power;

(4) This line is dry
nonsense or false grammar
and will bear no jest.

13 no more No mo_u_r.  Pronounce
                [rhyming with pow’r.] this like my lady’s

14 deserts Des_a_rts.  Pronounce
               [rhyming with hearts.] this like my lady’s


1 come on, Come un.  Pronounce
                 [rhyming with shun.] this like a

The force of his argument
lies here:  he does
3 For if the Power, in which they trust, not fear his enemies,
Should fail, how helpless are the just! because if God’s power
should fail he has no

6 And on their impious heads will pour (1) A shower of snares
     Of snares (1) and flames a dismal shower; on a man’s head would
   And this their bitter cup must be do wonderful execution.
     (2) To drink to all eternity:  However, I grant it is a
                                               scurvy thing enough to
                                               swallow them.

(2) To taste the doctor’s


1 O Lord, some help for me provide, He can confide in but
     For in but few I can confide, few because all are. 
   All men are so perfidious grown; perfidious.  Smoke

2 True mutual kindness they pretend, Did ever any man
                                               pretend mutual
                                               kindness to another?

3 But God those flatterers will confound, Qu:  whether flatterers
     That with abusive lies abound, usually abound with
   And proudly boast their vicious ways, abusive lies?

4 That say, with our deceitful tongues If they say thus they
                                               are silly flatterers.

6 And since He thus was pleased to say, That comparison is
     Like gold refined from base alloy, well applied. 
   His promise never can deceive; (3)
                                               (3) Deceive.  Pronounce
                                               this like a beau.

7 And therefore will their cause assert, Examine well the grammar
     Who thus are pure and true of heart, and sense and the
   And save them from the enemy; elegance of this

8 For, when th’ ungodly meet success, Here the author separates
     The wicked more and more increase,(1) the wicked from
   And proudly all their foes defy. the ungodly.

(1) Incr_ess_.


1 How long wilt Thou neglect, A civil question that! 
     O Lord, to hear me pray!

3 Attend, and hear my cries, Mind me, Sir! 
     Some comfort now disclose,
   E’er grief has shut my weeping eyes Which would be nonsense,
     In death’s obscure repose:  put in prose.

4 Lest my proud enemy,
     If now my trust should fail,
   And those that persecute me cry;
     See, thus we still prevail:  A pretty speech that!


1 Hence virtue in the world declines, Without question virtue
     And all men vicious grow. declines with a vengeance
                                               when all men
                                               grow vicious.

2 And see who would His being own, What other way is
     And Him, as God, adore:  there of adoring?

3 (2) But they were all perverted grown, (2) But they were all
     Polluted all with blood, perverted grown,
   And other impious crimes; not one In spite of Dr. Gibbs
     Was either just (3) or good. his blood: 
                                               Of all his impious
                                                     rhimes not one
                                               Was either just or good.

(3) For a man (it seems)
may be good and not

4 Are they so stupid (4) then, said (5) God, (4) The fault was not_
     Who thus My (6) saints devour! that they devoured__
   These (7) crimes have they not understood, saints,_ but that they
     Nor thought upon My power! were stupid. 
                                               Qu:  Whether stupidity
                                               makes men devour saints,
                                               or devouring saints
                                               makes a man stupid?  I
                                               believe the latter,
                                               because they may be apt
                                               to lie heavy in one’s

(5) Clod.

(6) Strains.

(7) Rhimes.

7 (1) O, that His aid we now might have (1) And O that every
     From Sion’s holy hill, parish clerk,
   That God the captive just would save, Who hums what Brady cribs
     And glad all Israel.  From Hopkins, would read
                                                    this work,
                                               And glad the
                                                 heart with Gibbs.


Representing the character of a good man.  And a bad poet.

2 Sincere, and just, who never lie;_

3 And so their neighbour ne’er deceive, How so?

5 All those that lead a life like this (2) And so the doctor
     Shall reign in everlasting bliss. (2) now may kiss !


Fiddling Impudent Nauseous Illiterate Scoundrel oolish dle onsensical gnorant cot

II- Proposal for Preventing the further Growth of Popery

  “Insani sanus nomen ferat, aequus iniqui,
  Ultra quam satîs est, virtutem si petat ipsam.”

  HOR.  Epis. v.

This “Proposal,” which has not been included in the editions of Swift’s Works issued by Scott, Faulkner, or Hawkesworth, appeared originally, but in a shorter form, in the “Tatler” (N, September 4th, 1710).  In this form the whole of the first portion, from the beginning to the paragraph commencing “The Church thermometer,” is omitted, as are also the last paragraphs of the essay, including the “Advertisement.”  The text of the present reprint I have taken from the “Miscellanies,” vol. viii., 1745 (pp. 217-229).  In all modern editions of the “Tatler” this paper is ascribed to Addison; but the style and the subject are so characteristic of Swift that, although I am not in a position to say definitely that it is by him, I think it deserves a place in the form of an Appendix.  The date of its appearance in the “Tatler” is somewhat against Swift having written it, since he was at that time on his way to London; and of the few contributions he sent to the “Tatler” it is agreed by all editors that the first is the paper on the same subject as the letter to the Lord High Treasurer, which appeared in N (September 28th, 1710).


PROPOSAL Having, with great sorrow of heart, observed the increase of Popery among us of late years, and how ineffectual the penal laws and statutes of this realm have been, for near forty years last past, towards reclaiming that blind and deluded people from their errors, notwithstanding the good intentions of the legislators, and the pious and unwearied labours of the many learned divines of the Established Church, who have preached to them without ceasing, although hitherto without success: 

Having also remarked, in his Grace’s speech to both Houses of Parliament, most kind offers of his Grace’s good offices towards obtaining such further laws as shall be thought necessary towards bringing home the said wandering sheep into the fold of the Church, as also a good disposition in the parliament to join in the laudable work, towards which every good Protestant ought to contribute at least his advice:  I think it a proper time to lay before the public a scheme which was writ some years since, and laid by to be ready on a fit occasion.

That, whereas the several penal laws and statutes now in being against Papists, have been found ineffectual, and rather tend to confirm, than reclaim men from their errors, as calling a man coward, is a ready way to make him fight; It is humbly proposed,

I. That the said penal laws and statutes against Papists, except the law of Gavelkind, and that which disqualifies them for places, be repealed, abrogated, annulled, destroyed, and obliterated, to all intents and purposes.

II.  That, in the room of the said penal laws and statutes, all ecclesiastical jurisdiction be taken from out of the hands of the clergy of the established Church, and the same be vested in the several popish archbishops, bishops, deans and arch-deacons; nevertheless so as such jurisdiction be exercised over persons of the Popish religion only.

III.  That a Popish priest shall be settled by law in each and every parish in Ireland.

IV.  That the said Popish priest shall, on taking the oath of allegiance to his majesty, be entitled to a tenth part or tithe of all things tithable in Ireland, belonging to the papists, within their respective parishes, yet so as such grant of tithes to such Popish priests, shall not be construed, in law or equity, to hinder the Protestant clergyman of such parish from receiving and collecting his tithes in like manner as he does at present.

V. That, in case of detention or subtraction of tithes by any Papist, the parish priest do have his remedy at law in any of his majesty’s courts, in the same manner as now practised by the clergy of the Established Church; together with all other ecclesiastical dues.  And, for their further discovery to vex their people at law, it might not be amiss to oblige the solicitor-general, or some other able king’s counsel, to give his advice, or assistance to such priests gratis, for which he might receive a salary out of the Barrack Fund, Military Contingencies, or Concordatum; having observed the exceedings there better paid than of the army, or any other branch of the establishment; and I would have no delay in payment in a matter of this importance.

VI.  That the archbishops and bishops have power to visit the inferior clergy, and to extort proxies, exhibits, and all other perquisites usual in Popish and Protestant countries.

VII.  That the convocation having been found, by long experience, to be hurtful to true religion, be for ever hereafter abolished among Protestants.

VIII.  That, in the room thereof, the Popish archbishops, bishops, priests, deans, arch-deacons, and proctors, have liberty to assemble themselves in convocation, and be impowered to make such canons as they shall think proper for the government of the Papists in Ireland: 

IX.  And that, the secular arm being necessary to enforce obedience to ecclesiastical censure, the sheriffs, constables, and other officers, be commanded to execute the decrees and sentences of the said popish convocation, with secrecy and dispatch, or, in lieu thereof, they may be at liberty to erect an inquisition, with proper officers of their own.

X. That, as Papists declare themselves converts to the Established Church, all spiritual power over them shall cease.

XI.  That as soon as any whole parish shall renounce the Popish religion, the priest of such parish shall, for his good services, have a pension of L200 per ann. settled on him for life, and that he be from such time exempt from preaching and praying, and other duties of his function, in like manner as protestant divines, with equal incomes, are at present.

XII.  That each bishop, so soon as his diocese shall become protestants, be called, My Lord, and have a pension of two thousand pounds per annum during life.

XIII.  That when a whole province shall be reclaimed, the archbishop shall be called His Grace, and have a pension of three thousand pounds per ann. during life, and be admitted a member of his majesty’s most honourable privy council.

The good consequences of this scheme, (which will execute itself without murmurings against the government) are very visible:  I shall mention a few of the most obvious.

I. The giving the priest a right to the tithe would produce law-suits and wrangles; his reverence, being entituled to a certain income at all events, would consider himself as a legal incumbent, and behave accordingly, and apply himself more to fleecing than feeding his flock; his necessary attendance on the courts of justice would leave his people without a spiritual guide; by which means protestant curates, who have no suits about tithes, would be furnished with proper opportunities for making converts, which is very much wanted.

II.  The erecting a spiritual jurisdiction amongst them would, in all probability, drive as many out of that communion, as a due execution of such jurisdiction hath hitherto drove from amongst ourselves.

III.  An inquisition would still be a further improvement, and most certainly would expedite the conversion of Papists.

I know it may be objected to this scheme, and with some shew of reason, that, should the Popish princes abroad pursue the same methods, with regard to their protestant subjects, the Protestant interest in Europe would thereby be considerably weakened:  but as we have no reason to suspect Popish counsels will ever produce so much moderation, I think the objection ought to have but little weight.

A due execution of this scheme will soon produce many converts from Popery; nevertheless, to the end may it be known, when they shall be of the true Church, I have ordered a large parcel of ecclesiastical or Church thermometers to be made, one of which is to be hung up in each parish church, the description and use of which take as follows, in the words of the ingenious Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq.

The Church thermometer, which I am now to treat of, is supposed have been invented in the reign of Henry the Eighth, about the time when that religious prince put some to death for owning the Pope’s supremacy, and others for denying transubstantiation.  I do not find, however, any great use made of this instrument till it fell into the hand of a learned and vigilant priest or minister, (for he frequently wrote himself both the one and the other) who was some time Vicar of Bray.  This gentleman lived in his vicarage to a good old age; and after having seen several successions of his neighbouring clergy either burnt or banished, departed this life with the satisfaction of having never deserted his flock, and died Vicar of Bray.  As this glass was first designed to calculate the different degrees of heat in religion, as it raged in Popery, or as it cooled, and grew temperate in the Reformation, it was marked at several distances, after the manner our ordinary thermometer is to this day, viz. extreme hot sultry hot, very hot, hot, warm, temperate, cold, just freezing, frost, hard frost, great frost, extreme cold.

It is well known, that Torricellius, the inventor of the common weather-glass, made the experiment of a long tube which held thirty-two foot of water; and that a more modern virtuoso finding such a machine altogether unwieldly and useless, and considering that thirty-two inches of quicksilver weighed as much as so many foot of water in a tube of the same circumference, invented that sizeable instrument which is now in use.  After this manner, that I might adapt the thermometer I am now speaking of to the present constitution of our Church, as divided into High and Low, I have made some necessary variations both in the tube and the fluid it contains.  In the first place I ordered a tube to be cast in a planetary hour, and took care to seal it hermetically, when the sun was in conjunction with Saturn.  I then took the proper precautions about the fluid, which is a compound of two different liquors; one of them a spirit drawn out of a strong heady wine; the other a particular sort of rock-water, colder than ice, and clearer than crystal.  The spirit is of a red, fiery colour, and so very apt to ferment, that, unless it be mingled with a proportion of the water, or pent up very close, it will burst the vessel that holds it, and fly up in a fume and smoke.  The water, on the contrary, is of such a subtile, piercing cold, that, unless it be mingled with a proportion of the spirits, it will sink almost through every thing it is put into, and seems to be of the same nature as the water mentioned by Quintus Curtius, which says the historian, could be contained in nothing but in the hoof, or (as the Oxford Manuscript has it) the skull of an ass.  The thermometer is marked according to the following figure, which I set down at length, not only to give my reader a clear idea of it, but also to fill up my paper.


The reader will observe, that the Church is placed in the middle point of the glass between Zeal and Moderation, the situation in which she always flourishes, and in which every good Englishman wishes her, who is a friend to the constitution of his country.  However, when it mounts to Zeal, it is not amiss; and, when it sinks to Moderation, it is still in admirable temper.  The worst of it is, that when once it begins to rise, it has still an inclination to ascend, insomuch that it is apt to climb from Zeal to Wrath, and from Wrath to Persecution, which often ends in Ignorance, and very often proceeds from it.  In the same manner it frequently takes its progress through the lower half of the glass; and, when it has a tendency to fall, will gradually descend from Moderation to Lukewarmness, and from Lukewarmness to Infidelity, which very often terminates in Ignorance, and always proceeds from it.

It is a common observation, that the ordinary thermometer will be affected by the breathing of people who are in the room where it stands, and indeed it is almost incredible to conceive how the glass I am now describing, will fall by the breath of the multitude crying Popery; or, on the contrary, how it will rise when the same multitude (as it sometimes happens) cry out in the same breath, The Church is in Danger.

As soon as I have finished this my glass, and adjusted it to the above-mentioned scale of religion, that I might make proper experiments with it, I carried it under my cloak to several coffee-houses, and other places of resort, about this great city.  At Saint James’s Coffee-house the liquor stood at Moderation; but at Will’s, to my extreme surprise, it subsided to the very lowest mark of the glass.  At the Grecian it mounted but just one point higher; at the Rainbow it still ascended two degrees; Child’s fetched it up to Zeal, and other adjacent coffee-houses to Wrath.

It fell in the lower half of the glass as I went further into the City, till at length it settled at Moderation, where it continued all the time I stayed about the Change, as also whilst I passed by the Bank.  And here I cannot but take notice, that, through the whole course of my remarks, I never observed my glass to rise at the same time that the stocks did.

To complete the experiment, I prevailed upon a friend of mine, who works under me in the occult sciences, to make a progress with my glass through the whole Island of Great Britain; and, after his return, to present me with a register of his observations.  I guessed beforehand at the temper of several places he passed through, by the characters they have had time out of mind.  Thus that facetious divine, Dr. Fuller, speaking of the town of Banbury near a hundred years ago, tells us, it was a place famous for cakes and zeal, which I find by my glass is true to this day, as to the latter part of his description; though I must confess, it is not in the same reputation for cakes that it was in the time of that learned author; and thus of other places.  In short, I have now by me, digested in an alphabetical order, all the counties, corporations, and boroughs in Great Britain, with their respective tempers, as they stand related to my thermometer.  But this I shall keep to myself, because I would by no means do any thing that may seem to influence any ensuing election.

The point of doctrine which I would propagate by this my invention, is the same which was long ago advanced by that able teacher Horace, out of whom I have taken my text for this discourse:  We should be careful not to over-shoot ourselves in the pursuits even of virtue.  Whether zeal or moderation be the point we aim at, let us keep fire out of the one, and frost out of the other.  But, alas! the world is too wise to want such a precaution.  The terms High-Church and Low-Church, as commonly used, do not so much denote a principle, as they distinguish a party.  They are like words of battle, they have nothing to do with their original signification, but are only given out to keep a body of men together, and to let them know friends from enemies.

I must confess I have considered, with some attention, the influence which the opinions of these great national sects have upon their practice; and do look upon it as one of the unaccountable things of our times, that multitudes of honest gentlemen, who entirely agree in their lives, should take it in their heads to differ in their religion.

I shall conclude this paper with an account of a conference which happened between a very excellent divine (whose doctrine was easy, and formerly much respected) and a lawyer.

And behold a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

He said unto him, What is written in the law?  How readest thou?

And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right; this do, and thou shalt live.

But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

And Jesus answering, said; A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

And by chance there came down a certain priest that way; and, when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was; and, when he saw him, he had compassion on him.

And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine; and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

And on the morrow, when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him, and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

And he said, He that shewed mercy on him.  Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.  Luke to 38.


There is now in the press a proposal for raising a fund towards paying the National Debt by the following means:  The author would have commissioners appointed to search all the public and private libraries, booksellers shops and warehouses, in this kingdom, for such books as are of no use to the owner, or to the public, viz. all comments on the Holy Scriptures, whether called sermons, creeds, bodies of divinity, tomes of casuistry, vindications, confutations, essays, answers, replies, rejoinders, or sur-rejoinders, together with all other learned treatises and books of divinity, of what denomination or class soever; as also all comments on the laws of the land, such as reports, law-cases, decrees, guides for attorneys and young clerks, and, in fine, all the books now in being in this kingdom (whether of divinity, law, physic, metaphysics, logics or politics) except the pure text of the Holy Scriptures, the naked text of the laws, a few books of morality, poetry, music, architecture, agriculture, mathematics, merchandise and history; the author would have the aforesaid useless books carried to the several paper-mills, there to be wrought into white paper, which, to prevent damage or complaints, he would have performed by the commentators, critics, popular preachers, apothecaries, learned lawyers, attorneys, solicitors, logicians, physicians, almanac-makers, and others of the like wrong turn of mind; the said paper to be sold, and the produce applied to discharge the National Debt; what should remain of the said debt unsatisfied, might be paid by a tax on the salaries or estates of bankers, common cheats, usurers, treasurers, embezzelers of public money, general officers, sharpers, pensioners, pick-pockets, &c.


The rencontre with Serjeant Bettesworth, to which reference has already been made in the note prefixed to “The Presbyterians’ Plea of Merit,” is further illustrated by the Resolution which the inhabitants of the Liberty of St. Patrick’s passed, and which they presented to the Dean.  Bettesworth, as a note in the thirteenth volume of Swift’s works (1762) states, “engaged his footman and two ruffians to attend him, in order to secure the dean wherever they met him, until he had gratified his resentment either by maiming or stabbing him.”  Accordingly, he went directly to the deanery, and hearing the Dean was at a friend’s house (Rev. Mr. John Worrall’s in Big Ship Street), followed him thither, charged him with writing the said verses, but had not courage enough to put his bloody design in execution.  However, as he had the assurance to relate this affair to several noblemen and gentlemen, the inhabitants of the Liberty of St. Patrick’s waited upon the Dean, and presented the following paper, signed by above thirty of them, in the name of themselves, and the rest of their neighbourhood: 

“We the inhabitants of the Liberty of the Dean and Chapter of St Patrick’s Dublin, and the neighbourhood of the same, having been informed, by universal report, that a certain man of this city hath openly threatened, and sworn before many hundred people, as well persons of quality as others, that he resolves upon the first opportunity, by the help of several ruffians, to murder or maim the Reverend the Dean of St. Patrick, our neighbour, benefactor, and the head of the Liberty of St Patrick, upon a frivolous unproved suspicion of the said Dean’s having written some lines in verse reflecting on the said man.

“Therefore, we, the said inhabitants of the said Liberty, and in the neighbourhood thereof, from our great love and respect to the said Dean, to whom the whole kingdom hath so many obligations, as well as we of the Liberty, do unanimously declare, that we will endeavour to defend the life and limbs of the said Dean against the said man, and all his ruffians and murderers, as far as the law will allow, if he or any of them presume to come into the said Liberty with any wicked malicious intent against the house, or family, or person, or goods of the said Dean.  To which we have cheerfully, sincerely, and heartily set our hands.”

Swift, at the time of receiving this Resolution lay very ill in bed, and was unable to receive the deputation in person.  He, however, dictated the following reply: 


“I receive, with great thankfulness, these many kind expressions of your concern for my safety, as well as your declared resolution to defend me (as far as the laws of God and man will allow) against all murderers and ruffians, who shall attempt to enter into the liberty with any bloody or wicked designs upon my life, my limbs, my house, or my goods.  Gentlemen, my life is in the hand of God, and whether it may be cut off by treachery or open violence, or by the common way of other men; as long as it continueth, I shall ever bear a grateful memory for this favour you have shewn, beyond my expectation, and almost exceeding my wishes.

“The inhabitants of the liberty, as well as those of the neighbourhood, have lived with me in great amity for near twenty years; which I am confident will never diminish during my life.  I am chiefly sorry, that by two cruel disorders of deafness and giddiness, which have pursued me for four months, I am not in condition either to hear, or to receive you, much less to return my most sincere acknowledgements, which in justice and gratitude I ought to do.  May God bless you and your families in this world, and make you for ever happy in the next.”

The poem itself to which Bettesworth took exception is herewith reprinted, as well as three others occasioned by the Bettesworth action.


  “An inundation, says the fable,
  Overflow’d a farmer’s barn and stable;
  Whole ricks of hay and sacks of corn
  Were down the sudden current borne;
  While things of heterogeneous kind
  Together float with tide and wind. 
  The generous wheat forgot its pride,
  And sail’d with litter side by side;
  Uniting all, to shew their amity,
  As in a general calamity. 
  A ball of new-dropp’d horse’s dung,
  Mingling with apples in the throng,
  Said to the pippin plump and prim,
  ‘See brother, how we apples swim.’ 
    Thus Lamb, renown’d for cutting corns,
  An offer’d fee from Radcliff scorns,
  ’Not for the world ­we doctors, brother,
  Must take no fees of one another.’ 
  Thus to a dean some curate sloven
  Subscribes, ‘Dear sir, your brother loving.’ 
  Thus all the footmen, shoeboys, porters,
  About St James’s cry, ‘We courtiers.’ 
  Thus Horace in the house will prate,
  ‘Sir, we, the ministers of state.’ 
  Thus at the bar the booby Bettesworth,
  Though half a crown o’erpays his sweat’s worth;
  Who knows in law nor text nor margent,
  Calls Singleton his brother sergeant.
  And thus fanatic saints, though neither in
  Doctrine nor discipline our brethren,
  Are brother Protestants and Christians,
  As much as Hebrews and Philistines: 
  But in no other sense, than nature
  Has made a rat our fellow-creature. 
  Lice from your body suck their food;
  But is a louse your flesh and blood? 
  Though born of human filth and sweat, it
  As well may say man did beget it. 
  And maggots in your nose and chin
  As well may claim you for their kin. 
    Yet critics may object, why not? 
  Since lice are brethren to a Scot: 
  Which made our swarm of sects determine
  Employments for their brother vermin. 
  But be they English, Irish, Scottish,
  What Protestant can be so sottish,
  While o’er the church these clouds are gathering,
  To call a swarm of lice his brethren? 
    “As Moses, by divine advice,
  In Egypt turn’d the dust to lice;
  And as our sects, by all descriptions,
  Have hearts more harden’d than Egyptians;
  As from the trodden dust they spring,
  And, turn’d to lice, infest the king: 
  For pity’s sake, it would be just,
  A rod should turn them back to dust. 
    Let folks in high or holy stations
  Be proud of owning such relations;
  Let courtiers hug them in their bosom,
  As if they were afraid to lose ’em: 
  While I, with humble Job, had rather
  Say to corruption ­’Thou ‘rt my father.’ 
  For he that has so little wit
  To nourish vermin, may be bit.”


  “In your indignation what mercy appears. 
  While Jonathan’s threaten’d with loss of his ears;
  For who would not think it a much better choice,
  By your knife to be mangled than rack’d with your voice. 
  If truly you [would] be revenged on the parson,
  Command his attendance while you act your farce on;
  Instead of your maiming, your shooting, or banging,
  Bid Povey secure him while you are haranguing. 
  Had this been your method to torture him, long since,
  He had cut his own ears to be deaf to your nonsense.”



  To the Tune of “Derry Down."

    “Jolley boys of St Kevan’s, St Patrick’s, Donore,
  And Smithfield, I’ll tell you, if not told before,
  How Bettesworth, that booby, and scoundrel in grain,
  Has insulted us all by insulting the Dean. 
        Knock him down, down, down, knock him down.

  “The Dean and his merits we every one know,

But this skip of a lawyer, where the de’il did he grow? 
How greater his merit at Four Courts or House,
Than the barking of Towzer, or leap of a louse! 

                                                                    Knock him down, &c.

  “That he came from the Temple, his morals do show;

But where his deep law is, few mortals yet know: 
His rhetoric, bombast, silly jests, are by far
More like to lampooning, than pleading at bar. 

                                                                    Knock him down, &c.

  “This pedlar, at speaking and making of laws,

Has met with returns of all sorts but applause;
Has, with noise and odd gestures, been prating some years,
What honester folk never durst for their ears. 

                                                                    Knock him down, &c.

  “Of all sizes and sorts, the fanatical crew

Are his brother Protestants, good men and true;
Red hat, and blue bonnet, and turban’s the same,
What the de’il is’t to him whence the devil they came. 

                                                                    Knock him down, &c.

  “Hobbes, Tindal, and Woolston, and Collins, and Nayler,

And Muggleton, Toland, and Bradley the tailor,
Are Christians alike; and it may be averr’d,
He’s a Christian as good as the rest of the herd. 

                                                                    Knock him down, &c.

  “He only the rights of the clergy debates;

Their rights! their importance!  We’ll set on new rates
On their tithes at half-nothing, their priesthood at less;
What’s next to be voted with ease you may guess. 

                                                                    Knock him down, &c.

  “At length his old master, (I need not him name,)

To this damnable speaker had long owed a shame;
When his speech came abroad, he paid him off clean,
By leaving him under the pen of the Dean. 

                                                                    Knock him down, &c.

  “He kindled, as if the whole satire had been

The oppression of virtue, not wages of sin: 
He began, as he bragg’d, with a rant and a roar;
He bragg’d how he bounced, and he swore how he swore.

                                                                    Knock him down, &c.

  “Though he cringed to his deanship in very low strains,

To others he boasted of knocking out brains,
And slitting of noses, and cropping of ears,
While his own ass’s zags were more fit for the shears. 

                                                                    Knock him down, &c.

  “On this worrier of deans whene’er we can hit,

We’ll shew him the way how to crop and to slit;
We’ll teach him some better address to afford
To the dean of all deans, though he wears not a sword. 

                                                                    Knock him down, &c.

  “We’ll colt him through Kevan, St Patrick’s, Donore,

And Smithfield, as rap was ne’er colted before;
We’ll oil him with kennel, and powder him with grains,
A modus right fit for insulters of deans. 

                                                                    Knock him down, &c.

  “And, when this is over, we’ll make him amends,

To the Dean he shall go; they shall kiss and be friends: 
But how?  Why, the Dean shall to him disclose
A face for to kiss, without eyes, ears, or nose. 

                                                                    Knock him down, &c.

  “If you say this is hard on a man that is reckon’d

That sergeant-at-law whom we call Kite the Second,
You mistake; for a slave, who will coax his superiors,
May be proud to be licking a great man’s posteriors

                                                                    Knock him down, &c.

  “What care we how high runs his passion or pride? 

Though his soul he despises, he values his hide;
Then fear not his tongue, or his sword, or his knife;
He’ll take his revenge on his innocent wife. 

                  Knock him down, down, down, keep him down.”


“Dear Dick, pr’ythee tell by what passion you move? 
The world is in doubt whether hatred or love;
And, while at good Cashel you rail with such spite,
They shrewdly suspect it is all but a bite. 
You certainly know, though so loudly you vapour,
His spite cannot wound who attempted the Drapier. 
Then, pr’ythee, reflect, take a word of advice;
And, as your old wont is, change sides in a trice: 
On his virtues hold forth; ’tis the very best way;
And say of the man what all honest men say. 
But if, still obdurate, your anger remains,
If still your foul bosom more rancour contains,
Say then more than they, nay, lavishly flatter;
’Tis your gross panegyrics alone can bespatter;
For thine, my dear Dick, give me leave to speak plain,
Like very foul mops, dirty more than they clean.”

The letter to the Earl of Dorset, containing Swift’s version of the story is as follows: 

“January, 1734.


“It has been my great misfortune that since your grace’s return to this kingdom I have not been able to attend you, as my duty and gratitude for your favours as well as the honour of having been so many years known to you obliged me to do.  I have been pursued by two old disorders, a giddiness and deafness, which used to leave me in three or four weeks, but now have continued four months.  Thus I am put under a necessity to write what I would rather have chosen to say in your grace’s presence.

“On Monday last week towards evening there came to the deanery one Mr. Bettesworth; who, being told by the servants that I was gone to a friend’s house, went thither to inquire for me, and was admitted into the street parlour.  I left my company in the back room and went to him.  He began with asking me ’whether I were the author of certain verses wherein he was reflected on.’  The singularity of the man, in his countenance, manner, action, style, and tone of voice, made me call to mind that I had once seen him about two or three years ago at Mr. Ludlow’s country-house.  But I could not recollect his name; and of what calling he might be I had never heard.  I therefore desired to know who and what he was; said ’I had heard of some such verses, but knew no more.’  He then signified to me ’that he was a serjeant-at-law and a member of parliament.’  After which he repeated the lines that concerned him with great emphasis; said ’I was mistaken in one thing, for he assured me he was no booby, but owned himself to be a coxcomb.’  However, that being a point of controversy wherein I had no concern, I let it drop.  As to the verses, he insisted, ’that by his taste and skill in poetry he was as sure I wrote them as if he had seen them fall from my pen.’  But I found the chief weight of his argument lay upon two words that rhymed to his name, which he knew could come from none but me.  He then told me ’that, since I would not own the verses, and that since he could not get satisfaction by any course of law, he would get it by his pen, and show the world what a man I was.’  When he began to grow over-warm and eloquent I called in the gentleman of the house from the room adjoining; and the serjeant, going on with less turbulence, went away.  He had a footman in the hall during all his talk, who was to have opened the door for one or more fellows, as he has since reported; and likewise that he had a sharp knife in his pocket, ready to stab or maim me.  But the master and mistress of the house, who knew his character and could hear every word from the room they were in, had prepared a sufficient defence in such a case, as they afterward told me.  He has since related to five hundred persons of all ranks about five hundred falsehoods of this conversation, of my fears and his own brutalities, against all probability as well as fact; and some of them, as I have been assured, even in the presence of your grace.  His meanings and his movements were indeed peevish enough, but his words were not.  He threatened me with nothing but his pen, yet owned he had no pretence to wit.  And indeed I am heartily glad for his own sake that he proceeded no farther, for the least uproar would have called his nearest neighbours first to my assistance, and next to the manifest danger of his life; and I would not willingly have even a dog killed upon my account.  Ever since he has amused himself with declaring in all companies, especially before bishops and lords and members of parliament, his resolutions for vengeance and the several manners by which he will put it in execution.

“It is only to the advice of some judicious friends that your grace owes the trouble of this letter; for though I may be dispirited enough by sickness and years, yet I have little reason to apprehend any danger from that man; and those who seem to have most regard for my safety are no more apprehensive than myself, especially such as best know his character; for his very enemies and even his ridiculers, who are of the two by far the greater number, allow him to be a peaceable man in all things except his words, his rhetorical actions, his looks, and his hatred to the clergy; which however are all known by abundance of experience to be perfectly harmless, and particularly as to the clergy.  I do not doubt but, if he will be so good to continue steadfast in his principles and practices, he may at proper junctures contribute very much to the honour and interests of that reverend body, as well as employ and improve the wit of many young gentlemen in the city, the university, and the rest of the kingdom.

“What I have said to your grace is only meant as a poor endeavour to preserve myself in your good opinion and in the continuance of your favour.  I am, with the highest respect, etc.”


IV-A True and Faithful Narrative of what passed in London


WILLIAM WHISTON (1667-1752), born at Norton, Leicestershire, was educated at Tamworth School and Clare College, Cambridge.  He resigned the living at Lowestoft, presented to him by his patron and friend, Bishop Moore, of Norwich, on accepting the Professorship of Mathematics, vacated by Sir Isaac Newton.  He was a profound scholar and mathematician, but obtained a somewhat harassing fame by his propagation of Arianism.  Indeed, his public lectures and sermons, as well as his publications vindicating his attitude, forced the authorities to deprive him of his lectureship, and expel him from the university.  In 1717 Whiston founded a Society for Promoting Primitive Christianity, and its meetings were held at his house in Cross Street, Hatton Garden.  But the society lived only for two years.  In that curious medley, “Memoirs of the Life of Mr. William Whiston, by himself,” we are told that he had a model made of the original Tabernacle of Moses from his own plans, and toured the country giving lectures on the coming of the Messiah, the restoration of the Jews to their own country, and the rebuilding of the Temple according to the model.  The Millennium he foretold would commence in 1766.

He wrote a prodigious number of tracts, pamphlets, commentaries, and biblical expositions in support of his particular view of Christianity; but the works for which he is now remembered are his astronomical and mechanical papers and his well-known translation of Josephus’s “History of the Jews.”

The pamphlet which follows is written in ridicule of Whiston’s prophetic pronouncements.  Scott ascribes its authorship to Swift; but the “Miscellanies” of 1747 and Hawkesworth in the edition of 1766 of Swift’s Works place it in the list of “Contents,” with other pieces, under the heading, “By Mr. Pope and Mr. Gay.”

The present text is practically that given by Scott, which is based on that in the third edition of the “Miscellanies” of 1732.



What passed in London, during the General Consternation
of all Ranks and Degrees of Mankind

  FRIDAY last.

On Tuesday the 13th of October, Mr. Whiston held his lecture, near the Royal Exchange, to an audience of fourteen worthy citizens, his subscribers and constant hearers.  Besides these, there were five chance auditors for that night only, who had paid their shillings a-piece.  I think myself obliged to be very particular in this relation, lest my veracity should be suspected; which makes me appeal to the men who were present; of which number I myself was one.  Their names are,

  Henry Watson, Haberdasher
  George Hancock, Druggist
  John Lewis, Dry-Salter.
  William Jones, Corn-Chandler.
  Henry Theobald, Watchmaker
  James Peters, Draper
  Thomas Floyer, Silver-Smith.
  John Wells, Brewer
  Samuel Greg, Soap-Boiler
  William Cooley, Fish-monger
  James Harper, Hosier
  Robert Tucker, Stationer
  George Ford, Iron-monger
  Daniel Lynch, Apothecary.

Mr. Whiston began by acquainting us, that (contrary to his advertisement) he thought himself in duty and conscience obliged to change the subject matter of his intended discourse.  Here he paused, and seemed, for a short space, as it were, lost in devotion and mental prayer; after which, with great earnestness and vehemence, he spake as follows: 

“Friends and fellow-citizens, all speculative science is at an end:  the period of all things is at hand; on Friday next this world shall be no more.  Put not your confidence in me, brethren; for to-morrow morning, five minutes after five, the truth will be evident; in that instant the comet shall appear, of which I have heretofore warned you.  As ye have heard, believe.  Go hence, and prepare your wives, your families, and friends, for the universal change.”

At this solemn and dreadful prediction, the whole society appeared in the utmost astonishment:  but it would be unjust not to remember, that Mr. Whiston himself was in so calm a temper, as to return a shilling a-piece to the youths, who had been disappointed of their lecture, which I thought, from a man of his integrity, a convincing proof of his own faith in the prediction.

As we thought it a duty in charity to warn all men, in two or three hours the news had spread through the city.  At first, indeed, our report met with but little credit; it being, by our greatest dealers in stocks, thought only a court artifice to sink them, that some choice favourites might purchase at a lower rate; for the South Sea, that very evening, fell five per cent., the India, eleven, and all the other funds in proportion.  But, at the Court end of the town, our attestations were entirely disbelieved, or turned into ridicule; yet nevertheless the news spread everywhere, and was the subject matter of all conversation.

That very night, (as I was credibly informed) Mr. Whiston was sent for to a great lady, who is very curious in the learned sciences, and addicted to all the speculative doubts of the most able philosophers; but he was not now to be found; and since, at other times, he has been known not to decline that honour, I make no doubt he concealed himself to attend the great business of his soul:  but whether it was the lady’s faith, or inquisitiveness, that occasioned her to send, is a point I shall not presume to determine.  As for his being sent for to the secretary’s office by a messenger, it is now known to be a matter notoriously false, and indeed at first it had little credit with me, that so zealous and honest a man should be ordered into custody, as a seditious preacher, who is known to be so well-affected to the present happy establishment.

’Twas now I reflected, with exceeding trouble and sorrow, that I had disused family prayers for above five years, and (though it has been a custom of late entirely neglected by men of any business or station) I determined within myself no longer to omit so reasonable and religious a duty.  I acquainted my wife with my intentions:  But two or three neighbours having been engaged to sup with us that night, and many hours being unwarily spent at cards, I was prevailed upon by her to put it off till the next day; she reasoning, that it would be time enough to take off the servants from their business (which this practice must infallibly occasion for an hour or two every day) after the comet had made its appearance.

Zachery Bowen, a Quaker, and my next neighbour, had no sooner heard of the prophecy, but he made me a visit.  I informed him of everything I had heard, but found him quite obstinate in his unbelief; for, said he, be comforted, friend, thy tidings are impossibilities; for, were these things to happen, they must have been foreseen by some of our brethren.  This indeed (as in all other spiritual cases with this set of people) was his only reason against believing me; and, as he was fully persuaded that the prediction was erroneous, he in a very neighbourly manner admonished me against selling my stock at the present low price, which, he said, beyond dispute, must have a rise before Monday, when this unreasonable consternation should be over.

But on Wednesday morning (I believe to the exact calculation of Mr. Whiston) the comet appeared; for, at three minutes after five by my own watch, I saw it.  He indeed foretold, that it would be seen at five minutes after five; but, as the best watches may be a minute or two too slow, I am apt to think his calculation just to a minute.

In less than a quarter of an hour, all Cheapside was crowded with a vast concourse of people, and notwithstanding it was so early, it is thought that, through all that part of the town, there was not man, woman, or child, except the sick or infirm, left in their beds.  From my own balcony, I am confident, I saw several thousands in the street, and counted at least seventeen, who were upon their knees, and seemed in actual devotion.  Eleven of them, indeed, appeared to be old women of about fourscore; the six others were men in advanced life, but (as I could guess) two of them might be under seventy.

It is highly probable, that an event of this nature may be passed over by the greater historians of our times, as conducing very little or nothing to the unravelling and laying open the deep schemes of politicians, and mysteries of state; for which reason, I thought it might not be unacceptable to record the facts, which, in the space of three days, came to my knowledge, either as an eye-witness, or from unquestionable authorities; nor can I think this narrative will be entirely without its use, as it may enable us to form a more just idea of our countrymen in general, particularly in regard to their faith, religion, morals, and politics.

Before Wednesday noon, the belief was universal, that the day of judgment was at hand, insomuch, that a waterman of my acquaintance told me, he counted no less than one hundred and twenty-three clergymen, who had been ferried over to Lambeth before twelve o’clock:  these, it is said, went thither to petition, that a short prayer might be penned, and ordered, there being none in the service upon that occasion.  But, as in things of this nature, it is necessary that the council be consulted, their request was not immediately complied with; and this I affirm to be the true and only reason, that the churches were not that morning so well attended, and is in noways to be imputed to the fears and consternation of the clergy, with which the freethinkers have since very unjustly reproached them.

My wife and I went to church, (where we had not been for many years on a week-day,) and, with a very large congregation, were disappointed of the service.  But (what will be scarce credible) by the carelessness of a ’prentice, in our absence, we had a piece of fine cambric carried off by a shop-lifter:  so little impression was yet made on the minds of those wicked women!

I cannot omit the care of a particular director of the Bank; I hope the worthy and wealthy knight will forgive me, that I endeavour to do him justice; for it was unquestionably owing to Sir Gilbert Heathcote’s sagacity, that all the fire-offices were required to have a particular eye upon the Bank of England.  Let it be recorded to his praise, that in the general hurry, this struck him as his nearest and tenderest concern; but the next day in the evening, after having taken due care of all his books, bills, and bonds, I was informed, his mind was wholly turned upon spiritual matters; yet, ever and anon, he could not help expressing his resentment against the Tories and Jacobites, to whom he imputed that sudden run upon the Bank, which happened on this occasion.

A great man (whom at this time it may not be prudent to name) employed all the Wednesday morning to make up such an account, as might appear fair, in case he should be called upon to produce it on the Friday; but was forced to desist, after having for several hours together attempted it, not being able to bring himself to a resolution to trust the many hundred articles of his secret transactions upon paper.

Another seemed to be very melancholy, which his flatterers imputed to his dread of losing his power in a day or two; but I rather take it, that his chief concern was the terror of being tried in a court, that could not be influenced, and where a majority of voices could avail him nothing.  It was observed, too, that he had but few visitors that day.

This added so much to his mortification, that he read through the first chapter of the book of Job, and wept over it bitterly; in short, he seemed a true penitent in everything but in charity to his neighbour.  No business was that day done in his counting-house.  It is said too, that he was advised to restitution, but I never heard that he complied with it, any farther than in giving half-a-crown a-piece to several crazed and starving creditors, who attended in the outward room.

Three of the maids of honour sent to countermand their birth-day clothes; two of them burnt all their collections of novels and romances, and sent to a bookseller’s in Pall-Mall to buy each of them a Bible, and Taylor’s “Holy Living and Dying.”  But I must do all of them the justice to acknowledge, that they shewed a very decent behaviour in the drawing-room, and restrained themselves from those innocent freedoms, and little levities, so commonly incident to young ladies of their profession.  So many birth-day suits were countermanded the next day, that most of the tailors and mantua makers discharged all their journeymen and women.  A grave elderly lady of great erudition and modesty, who visits these young ladies, seemed to be extremely shocked by the apprehensions, that she was to appear naked before the whole world; and no less so, that all mankind was to appear naked before her; which might so much divert her thoughts, as to incapacitate her to give ready and apt answers to the interrogatories that might be made her.  The maids of honour, who had both modesty and curiosity, could not imagine the sight so disagreeable as was represented; nay, one of them went so far as to say, she perfectly longed to see it; for it could not be so indecent, when everybody was to be alike; and they had a day or two to prepare themselves to be seen in that condition.  Upon this reflection, each of them ordered a bathing-tub to be got ready that evening, and a looking-glass to be set by it.  So much are these young ladies, both by nature and custom, addicted to cleanly appearance.

A west-country gentleman told me, he got a church-lease filled up that morning for the same sum which had been refused for three years successively.  I must impute this merely to accident:  for I cannot imagine that any divine could take the advantage of his tenant in so unhandsome a manner, or that the shortness of the life was in the least his consideration; though I have heard the same worthy prelate aspersed and maligned since, upon this very account.

The term being so near, the alarm among the lawyers was inexpressible, though some of them, I was told, were so vain as to promise themselves some advantage in making their defence, by being versed in the practice of our earthly courts.  It is said, too, that some of the chief pleaders were heard to express great satisfaction, that there had been but few state trials of late years.  Several attorneys demanded the return of fees that had been given the lawyers; but it was answered, the fee was undoubtedly charged to their client, and that they could not connive at such injustice, as to suffer it to be sunk in the attorneys’ pockets.  Our sage and learned judges had great consolation, insomuch as they had not pleaded at the bar for several years; the barristers rejoiced in that they were not attorneys, and the attorneys felt no less satisfaction, that they were not pettifoggers, scriveners, and other meaner officers of the law.

As to the army, far be it from me to conceal the truth.  Every soldier’s behaviour was as undismayed, and undaunted, as if nothing was to happen; I impute not this to their want of faith, but to their martial disposition; though I cannot help thinking they commonly accompany their commands with more oaths than are requisite, of which there was no remarkable diminution this morning on the parade in St James’s Park.  But possibly it was by choice, and on consideration, that they continued this way of expression, not to intimidate the common soldiers, or give occasion to suspect, that even the fear of damnation could make any impression upon their superior officers.  A duel was fought the same morning between two colonels, not occasioned (as was reported) because the one was put over the other’s head; that being a point, which might, at such a juncture, have been accommodated by the mediation of friends; but as this was upon the account of a lady, it was judged it could not be put off at this time, above all others, but demanded immediate satisfaction.  I am apt to believe, that a young officer, who desired his surgeon to defer putting him into a salivation till Saturday, might make this request out of some opinion he had of the truth of the prophecy; for the apprehensions of any danger in the operation could not be his motive, the surgeon himself having assured me, that he had before undergone three severe operations of the like nature with great resignation and fortitude.

There was an order issued, that the chaplains of the several regiments should attend their duty; but as they were dispersed about in several parts of England, it was believed, that most of them could not be found, or so much as heard of, till the great day was over.

Most of the considerable physicians, by their outward demeanour, seemed to be unbelievers; but at the same time, they everywhere insinuated, that there might be a pestilential malignancy in the air, occasioned by the comet, which might be armed against by proper and timely medicines.  This caution had but little effect; for as the time approached, the Christian resignation of the people increased, and most of them (which was never before known) had their souls more at heart than their bodies.

If the reverend clergy shewed more concern than others, I charitably impute it to their great charge of souls; and what confirmed me in this opinion was, that the degrees of apprehension and terror could be distinguished to be greater or less, according to their ranks and degrees in the church.

The like might be observed in all sorts of ministers, though not of the Church of England; the higher their rank, the more was their fear.

I speak not of the Court for fear of offence; and I forbear inserting the names of particular persons, to avoid the imputation of slander; so that the reader will allow the narrative must be deficient, and is therefore desired to accept hereof rather as a sketch, than a regular circumstantial history.

I was not informed of any persons, who shewed the least joy; except three malefactors, who were to be executed on the Monday following, and one old man, a constant church-goer, who being at the point of death, expressed some satisfaction at the news.

On Thursday morning there was little or nothing transacted in ’Change-alley; there were a multitude of sellers, but so few buyers, that one cannot affirm the stocks bore any certain price except among the Jews; who this day reaped great profit by their infidelity.  There were many who called themselves Christians, who offered to buy for time; but as these were people of great distinction, I choose not to mention them, because in effect it would seem to accuse them both of avarice and infidelity.

The run upon the Bank is too well known to need a particular relation:  for it never can be forgotten, that no one person whatever (except the directors themselves, and some of their particular friends and associates) could convert a bill all that day into specie; all hands being employed to serve them.

In the several churches of the city and suburbs, there were seven thousand two hundred and forty-five, who publicly and solemnly declared before the congregation, that they took to wife their several kept-mistresses, which was allowed as valid marriage, the priest not having time to pronounce the ceremony in form.

At St Bride’s church in Fleet-street, Mr. Woolston, (who writ against the miracles of our Saviour,) in the utmost terrors of conscience, made a public recantation.  Dr. Mandeville (who had been groundlessly reported formerly to have done the same,) did it now in good earnest at St James’s gate; as did also at the Temple Church several gentlemen, who frequent coffeehouses near the bar.  So great was the faith and fear of two of them, that they dropped dead on the spot; but I will not record their names, lest I should be thought invidiously to lay an odium on their families and posterity.

Most of the players, who had very little faith before, were now desirous of having as much as they could, and therefore embraced the Roman Catholic religion:  the same thing was observed of some bawds, and ladies of pleasure.

An Irish gentleman out of pure friendship came to make me a visit, and advised me to hire a boat for the ensuing day, and told me, that unless I gave earnest for one immediately, he feared it might be too late; for his countrymen had secured almost every boat upon the river, as judging, that, in the general conflagration, to be upon the water would be the safest place.

There were two lords, and three commoners, who, out of scruple of conscience, very hastily threw up their pensions, as imagining a pension was only an annual retaining bribe.  All the other great pensioners, I was told, had their scruples quieted by a clergyman or two of distinction, whom they happily consulted.

It was remarkable, that several of our very richest tradesmen of the city, in common charity, gave away shillings and sixpences to the beggars who plied about the church doors; and at a particular church in the city, a wealthy church-warden with his own hands distributed fifty twelve-penny loaves to the poor, by way of restitution for the many great and costly feasts, which he had eaten of at their expense.

Three great ladies, a valet-de-chambre, two lords, a customhouse-officer, five half-pay captains, and a baronet, (all noted gamesters,) came publicly into a church at Westminster, and deposited a very considerable sum of money in the minister’s hands; the parties, whom they had defrauded, being either out of town, or not to be found.  But so great is the hardness of heart of this fraternity, that among either the noble or vulgar gamesters, (though the profession is so general,) I did not hear of any other restitution of this sort.  At the same time I must observe, that (in comparison of these) through all parts of the town, the justice and penitence of the highwaymen, housebreakers, and common pickpockets, was very remarkable.

The directors of our public companies were in such dreadful apprehensions, that one would have thought a parliamentary inquiry was at hand; yet so great was their presence of mind, that all the Thursday morning was taken up in private transfers, which by malicious people was thought to be done with design to conceal their effects.

I forbear mentioning the private confessions of particular ladies to their husbands; for as their children were born in wedlock, and of consequence are legitimate, it would be an invidious task to record them as bastards; and particularly after their several husbands have so charitably forgiven them.

The evening and night through the whole town were spent in devotions both public and private; the churches for this one day were so crowded by the nobility and gentry, that thousands of common people were seen praying in the public streets.  In short, one would have thought the whole town had been really and seriously religious.  But what was very remarkable, all the different persuasions kept by themselves, for as each thought the other would be damned, not one would join in prayer with the other.

At length Friday came, and the people covered all the streets; expecting, watching, and praying.  But as the day wore away, their fears first began to abate, then lessened every hour, at night they were almost extinct, till the total darkness, that hitherto used to terrify, now comforted every freethinker and atheist.  Great numbers went together to the taverns, bespoke suppers, and broke up whole hogsheads for joy.  The subject of all wit and conversation was to ridicule the prophecy, and rally each other.  All the quality and gentry were perfectly ashamed, nay, some utterly disowned that they had manifested any signs of religion.

But the next day even the common people, as well as their betters, appeared in their usual state of indifference.  They drank, they whored, they swore, they lied, they cheated, they quarrelled, they murdered.  In short, the world went on in the old channel.

I need not give any instances of what will so easily be credited; but I cannot omit relating, that Mr. Woolston advertised in that very Saturday’s Evening Post, a new Treatise against the Miracles of our Saviour; and that the few who had given up their pensions the day before, solicited to have them continued:  which as they had not been thrown up upon any ministerial point, I am informed was readily granted.