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him to the low condition of mankind, who are delighted with in treaty, solicitation, presents, and flattery. Yet is this impiety the smallest of which fuperftition is guilty. Commonly, it depresses the Deity far below the condition of mankind; and represents him as a capricious demon, who exercises his power without reason, and without humanity. And were that divine Being disposed to be offended at the vices and follies of filly mortals, who are his own workmanship; ill would it surely fare with the votaries of most popular fuperftitions. Nor would any of the human race merit his favour, but a very few, the philosophical theilts, who entertain, or rather indeed endeavour to entertain, suitable notions of his divine perfections : as the only persons, intitled to his compaffion and indulgence, would be the philosophical scoprics, a feat almoit equally rare, who, from a natural diffidence of their own capacity, suspend, or endeavour to fufpend, all judgment with regard to such sublime and such extraordinary subjects.
Such are the sentiments, such the doctrines contained in the Dialogues before us; and it is natural now, surely, to ask, what gratitude is due to Mr. Hume for this legacy to the public? If the principles which he has laboured with so much zeal and earneltness to eltablish be true, the wicked are set free from every restraint but that of the laws; the virtuous are robbed of their most substantial comforts; every generous ardor of the human mind is damped; the world we live in is a fatherless world; we are chained down to a life full of wretchedness and misery; and we have no hope beyond the grave.
Mr. Hume had been long floating on the boundless and pathless ocean of scepticism; it is natural, therefore, to imagine that, in the evening of his day, he would have been desirous of getting into some peaceful harbour; of breaching a pure air; of viewing a clear and unclouded sky, free from those unwholesome mists that hang over the gloomy regions of darkness and uncertainty; and of pafing through the closing scenes of life with tranquillity and pleasing hopes. But his love of paradox, his inordinate pursuit of literary fame, continued, whilst life continued; it is scarce possible, indeed, with the utmost ftretch of candour and charity, to assign any other motives for publishing what must shock the sense and virtue of his fellowmortals, or to reconcile it with the character of a good citizen, and a friend to mankind.
We know it will be said, that Mr. Hume, notwithstanding his principles, was a very benevolent and a very amiable man; we know he was, and are as ready to allow him all the praise he is intitled to, on account of his good qualities, as the warmest of his admirers. But, surely, it cannot be inferred from this, that principles have little or no effect on human conduct. A man, who is naturally of a cool dispassionate turn of mind ; of a ftudious disposition; whose education, fortune, and other ac
fide, may not hurt may, broured mam.. Hume's what
cidental circumstances, connect him with the upper ranks of life, máy not only have falhionable manners, be an agreeable companion, but may, by the miere force of natural temper, be a benevolent, good-humoured man, and act his part in life with great decency. But fuppose that Mr. Hume's principles are let loose among mankind; and generally adopted, what will then be the consequence? Will those who think they are to die like brutes, ever act like men ! Their language will be, let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die. When men are once led to believe that death puts a final period to their existence, and are set free from the idea of their being accountable creatures, what is left to restrain them from the gratification of their passions but the auihority of the laws ? But the best system of laws that can be formed by human wisdom, is far from being sufficient to prevent many of those evils which break in upon the peace, order, and welfare of society. A man may be a cruel husband, a cruel father, a domestic tyrant; he may seduce his neighbour's wife or his daughter, without having any thing to fear from the law; and if he takes pleasure in the gratification of his irregular appetites, is it to be supposed that he will not gratify them? What, indeed, is to restrain him?
But we leave it to our Readers to pursue these reflexions, into which we were , naturally led, and for which, we hope, we need make no apology. Mr. Hume's Dialogues cannot possibly hurt any man of a philosophical curn, or, indeed, any man of common sense; and it is only the high reputation which the Author of them has so juftly acquired by his other writings, and the influence of this reputation, that give them any claim to notice. They may serve, indeed, to confirm the giddy, the profligate, and the unprincipled in their prejudices against religion and virtue, but must be despised by every man who has the smallest grain of seriousness and refle&tion. No virtuous father will ever recommend them to the perusal of his son, except in point of composition, and every impartial judge must pronounce them unworthy of a writer of such distinguished abilities as Mr. Hume.
PAMPHILUS, a young man, who relates to HERMIPPUS the · conversation which paffed between Cleanthes, Philo, and Demea, concludes the Dialogues in the following manner. • Upon a serious review of the whole, says he, I cannot but think, that Philo's principles are more probable than Demea's ; but that those of Cleanthes approach still nearer to the truth.'Our Readers will make their own comment upon this, and with them we leave it.
Art. 18. A Supplement to Dr. Swifi's Works : Being a Collection
of Miscellanies in Prose and Verse; by the Dean, Dr. Delaney, Dr. Sheridan, Mrs. Johnson, and others, his intimate Friends. Vol. Il*. with Notes, and an Index by the Editor. Large 8vo. 6 s. Printed for Nichols, and sold by H. Payne, &c. 1779. IT is the province of true wit to cultivate the barren and
| beautify the deformed. Nor doth it stop here. Its plastic hand forms worlds of its own, and moulds them into whatever shape it pleaseth. It commands the deep abyss of vacuity itself; -calls up new and unknown creations, and (as the first Lord of this ideal empire beautifully expresses it)' gives to airy noe things a local habitation and a name. Few writers have better illuftrated this remark than Swift. He was a man of native genius. His fancy was inexhaustible. His conceptions were Jively and comprehensive : and he had the peculiar felicity of conveying them in language equally correct, free, and perspic cuous. His penetration was as quick as intuition : and he was indeed the critic of nature. The high rank he holds in the republic of letters was owing, not to the indulgence of the times in which he wrote, but entirely to his own incontestable merit. Nothing could suppress his genius. Nothing could hinder the world's seeing it. The opposition of an unrelenting party in church and state, and the personal enmity that was borne him by several of high rank and great influence, could not eclipse the lustre of his name, nor sink in the smallest degree, that authority in literature which he claimed, and the world granted, as his right. By such opposers, a genius of less force would have been totally crushed. But from him they were shaken, “ like dew-drops from a lion's mane.”
As his genius was of the first class, so were some of his virtues. He hath been accused of avarice, but with the same truth as he hath been accused of infidelity. In detached views, no man was more liable to be mistaken. Even his genius and good sense might be questioned, if we were only to read some passages of his writings. To judge fairly, and pronounce juftly of him, as a man, and as an author, we should examine the uniform tenor of his disposition and conduct, and the general nature and design of his productions. In the latter, he will appear great-and in the former, good-notwithstanding the puns and puerilities of the one, and the absurdities and inconsistencies of the other. We had before formed our opinion of Dean Swift. This Supplement to his works hath confirmed it. We have read it with particular satisfaction: and though many things might have been omitted, yet, on the whole, we
as of the rear for avarice, bi detached vic
• For a short account of the firit volume of this fupplemental col. lection, see Review, vol. Iv. p. 163,
think it a curious and valuable repository of critical observations and biographical anecdotes.
The industrious and ingenious Editor hath inserted several pieces in this collection, which, if not Swift's, bear so near a resemblance to his pen, that they were generally ascribed to him at the time of their first publication, or were at least supposed to have been written with his concurrence, and under his eye. The Narrative of the several Attempts which the Diflenters of Ireland have made for a Repeal of the Sacramental Teft,' beais strong internal marks of its author : Swift's hatred to the Dilsenters was indeed excessive. Doubtless his indignation transported him too far in his invectives against them. But he could not disguise his sentiments : and when he conceived an aversion, he generally expressed it in the most acrimonious terms. His personal and party prejudices made a capital part of his characteristic infirmities. He considered the Presbyterians-especially in Ireland, as a very formidable sect : and he thought it his duty, as an avowed friend of the Church of England, to keep a ftrict eye over their measures, and warn his friends, and the nation in general, of any inroads, which his jealousy conceived they might at any time make, on the prerogatives and constitution of the hierarchy. Of their abilities he entertained the most despicable opinion. But he thought they had a great deal of that low cunning which the wisest are not at all times properly guarded against. This idea was associated in his mind, fo conftantly with Presbyterianisın, that he never could speak or write about it, or whatever had connection with it, without a mixture of indignation and contempt. The person who is pointed out by name in this narrative, as the chief bero of the dislenting interest in Ireland, at the time when the pamphlet was written, was a celebrated preacher in Dublin, who distinguished himself by a Treatise on Episcopacy, and a dispute with Archbishop King. He was called Boyse, and was the father of Samuel Boyle, the poet-of unfortunate memory! .
This Supplement derives its chief value from the anecdotes which the Editor hath collected, to illustrate the character and writings of Dean Swift, and to throw light on some circumstances that would have remained obscure without them. We shall feleet some that may be deemed the most curious and entertaining-beginning with an anecdote of his filial piety.
• His moiher died in 1710, as appears by a memoranuum in one of the account books, which Dr. Swift always made up yearly, and on each page entered minucely all his receipts and expences in every month, beginning his year from November 1. He observer the fome method all his lifetime till his last illness. At the foot of that page, which includes his expences of the month of May, 1710, 20 che glebe house of Laracor, in the county of Meath, where he was then refident, are those remarkable words, which Thow, at the fame time, his filial piety, and the religious use which he thought it his A a 3
duty to make of that melancholy event. “ Mem. On W cdncsday, between seven and eight in the evening, May 10, 1710, I received a letter in my chamber at Laracor (Mr. Percival and jo. Beaumont being by) from Mrs.
F d ated May 9, with one is closed, sent by Mrs. Worral at Leicester to Mrs. --, giving an accoupe that my dear mother, Mrs. Abigail Swift, died inat morning, Mro. day, April 24, 1710, about ten o'clock, after a long sickness: bei: g ill all winter, and lame; and extremely ill about a month or six weeks before her death. I have now lost my barrier between me and death. God grant I may live to be as well prepared for it as I coo. fidently believe her to have been! If the way to heaven be through piety', truth, ju tice, and charity, she is there. T. S.”
He always treated his mother, during her life, with the utmost duty and affection; and the fomeumes caine to Ireland to viát him after his fettlement at Laracor. She lodged at Mr. Breoe's, the printer, in George's Lane, Dublin. She asked Mrs. Brent, the Jandlady, " Whether the could keep a fecret?” She replied, “ The could very well." Upon which the enjoined her not to make the mat:er public, which me was now going to communicate to her. "I have a spark in this town, that I carried on a correspondence with whilft I was in England. He will be here prefently to pay his ade dresses, for he haih heard by this time of my arrival. But I would nor have the matier known." Soon after this a rap was heard at the door, and Dr. Swist walked up stairs. Mrs. Brent retired: but after a little time the was called, and then Mrs. Swift iotroduced her to her son, and said, “ This is my spark, I wis telling you of. This is my lover: and indeed the only one I thall ever admit to pay their addieses to me.” The Doctor smiled at his mother's humour, and afterwards paid his duty to her every day, unsuspected by Mrs Brent, whom he invited fome years afterwards to take care of his family affairs, when he became Dean of Si. Patrick's: and when Mrs. Brent died, he continued her daughier, a poor widow, in the farme office.'
Mr. Nichols hath preserved a curious letter, addrcled by Alerman Faulkner (the celebrated Peter Paragraph of one of Foote's comedies) to the late Earl of Chesterfield. It contains fome striking anecdotes of Dean Swift, which his former biographers were unacquainted with. One of them respects Dr. Sacheverel; and seems to show in what light he was privately held by the persons who, in public, were the warmest partisans of his cause. Dr. Sacheverel, in consequence of a most impu. dent and inflammatory sermon, preached before the Lord Mayor, on Nov. 5, 1709, was impeached at the bar of the House of Lords, in the name of the Commons of Great Britain, for high crimes and misdemeanors, &c. Having been tried before the Lords, and found guilty, he was fiienced for the space of three years, -and his fermon was condemned to be burned by the hands of the common hangman, which sentence was rigidly executed.
When this affair was over (says Mr. Faulkner) the ministry cook very little notice of him, and created him with great indifference: but upon the Rectory of St. Andrew's, Holborn, being vacant, the