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“ other subject, through all art or na“ ture, could have produced Tindal for « a profound author, or furnished him " with readers? It is the wise choice « of the subject that alone aderns and “ distinguishes the writer. For had an “ hundred such pens as these been em"sployed on the side of religion, they <s would have immediately sunk into 66 silence and oblivion.”. .
The reasonableness of a Tcf is not hard to be proved; but perhaps it must be allowed that the proper test has not been chosen.
The attention paid to the papers published under the name of Bickerstof, induced Steele, when he projected the Tatler, to assume an appellation which
had already gained poffefiion of the reader's notice.
In the year following he wrote a Project for the Advancement of Religion, addressed to Lady Berkley; by whose kindness it is not unlikely that he was advanced to his benefices. To this project, which is formed with great purity of intention, and displayed with spriteliness and elegance, it can only be objected, that, like many projects, it is, if not generally imprácticable, yet evidently hopeless, as it supposes more zeal, concord, and perseverance, than a view of mankind gives reason for expecting.
He wrote likewise this year a Vindication of Bickerfaff; and an explanation of an Ancient Prophecy, which, though not
B.4. . com- completed in all its parts, cannot be read without amazement.
Soon after began the busy and important part of Swift's life. He was employed (1710) by the Primate of Ireland to solicit the Queen for a remission of the First Fruits and Twentieth Parts to the Irish Clergy. With this purpose he had recourse to Mr. Harley, to whoin he was mentioned as a man neglected and oppressed by the last ministry, be. cause he had refused to co-operate with some of their schemes. What he had refused, has never been told; what he had suffered was, I suppose, the exclufion from a bishoprick by the remonstrances of Sharpe, whom he describes as ibe harmless tool of others hate, and
whom he represents as afterwards suing for pardon.
Harley's designs and situation were such as made him glad of an auxiliary so well qualified for his service; he therefore soon admitted him to familia. rity, whether ever to confidence fome have made a doubt; but it would have been difficult to excite his zeal without persuading him that he was trusted, and not very easy to delude him by false persuasions.
He was certainly admitted to those meetings in which the first hints and original plan of action are supposed to have been formed ; and was one of the fixteen Ministers, or agents of the Ministry, who met weekly at each other's houses, and were united by the name of Brother.
of Being not immediately considered as ani obdurate Tory, he conversed indiscriminately with all the wits, and was yet the friend of Steele; who, in the Tailer, which began in 1710, confesses the advantages of Iris conversation, and mentions fomething contributed by him to his paper. But he was now immerging into political controversy; for the same year produced the Exeminer, of whichi Swift wrote thirty-three papers. In argument he may be allowed to have the advantage; for where a wide system of conduct, and the whole of a publick character, is laid open to enquiry, the accuser having the choice of facts, must be very unskilful 3 .