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if he does not prevail; but with regard to wit, I am afraid none of Swift's papers will be found equal to those by which Addison opposed him. . .
Early in the next year he published a Proposal for correcting, improving, and ascertaining the English Tongue, in a Letter to the Earl of Oxford; written with. out much knowledge of the general nature of language, and without any accurate enquiry into the history of other tongues. The certainty and stability which, contrary to all experience, he thinks attainable, he proposes to secure by instituting an academy ; the decrees of which every man would have been willing, and many would have been proud to disobey, and which, being re
newed by successive elections, would in a short time have differed from itself.
He wrote the same year a Letter to the October Club, a nuinber of Tory Gentlemen sent from the country to Parlialiament, who formed themselves into a club, to the number of about a hundred, and met to animate the zeal and raise the expectations of each other. They thought, with great reason, that the Ministers were losing opportunities; that sufficient use was not made of the general ardour of the nation; they called loudly for more changes, and stronger efforts; and demanded the punishment of part, and the dismission of the rest, of those whom they considered as publick robbers.
Their eagerness was not gratified by the Queen, or by Harley. The Queen was probably slow because she was afraid, and Harley was flow because he was doubtful; he was a Tory only by neceffity, or for convenience; and when he had power in his hands, had no settled purpose for which he should employ it; forced to gratify'to a certain degree the Tories who supported him, but unwilling to make his reconcilement to the Whigs utterly desperate, he corresponded at once with the two expectants of the Crown, and kept, as has been observed, the succession undetermined. Not knowing what to do, he did nothing; and with the fate of a double-dealer, at last he lost his power, but kept his enemies.
Swift seems to have concurred in opinion with the October Club; but it was not in his power to quicken the tardiness of Harley, whom he stimulated as much as he could, but with little effect. He that knows not whither to go, is in no hafte to move. Harley, who was perhaps not quick by nature, became yet more flow by irresolution; and was content to hear that dilatoriness lamented as natural, which he applauded in himfelf as politick.
Without the Tories, however, nothing could be done; and as they were not to be gratified, they must be appeased; and the conduct of the Minister, if it could not be vindicated, was to be plaufibiy excused.
Swift now attained the zenith of his political importance": he published (1712) the Conduct of the Allies, ten days before the Parliament affembled. The purpose was to persuade the nation to a peace, and never had any writer more success. The people, who had been amused with bonfires and triumphal procesfions, and looked with idolatry on the General and his friends, who, as they thought, had made England the arbitress of nations, were confounded between fhame and rage, when they found that mine's -' bad been exhausted, and millions destroyed, to secure the Dutch or aggrandife the Emperor, without any advantage to ourselves ; that we had been bribing our neighbours to fight