PRIOR. Indeed, Mr. Dean, I cannot but allow there is too much Truth in many of your Attacks and Abuses of our unfortunate Countrymen; and yet I am tempted to return to my old Reveries, and to think, notwithstanding all their Disadvantages, if I had lived ten Years longer in Ireland, I shou'd have been able to have made vast Alterations among them for the better.
SWIFT. No, Tom, not if you had lived longer than Methuselah. Consider, Man, tho' there are Remedies for the Sick, and Helps for the Dying, there are none for the Dead; and in that Light, I have been used to consider Ireland of a long Time. But prithee, Tom, let me know the whole of your Scheme; What wou'd you have done?
PRIOR. Why, if you will hear me calmly, Mr. Dean, I will give you a fair Account of what I wou'd have attempted at least, and to open all my Heart to you, that was one of the main Subjects I called at your Tomb to talk to you on, to see if we could get any of these Crawlers on the Earth to attempt it, by oar artfully suggesting it to him. In short, my Project was, by procuring greater and more numerous Subscriptions, and by extending and enlarging the Plan of the Dublin Society, to have promoted more than ever the general Good of the Kingdom.
SWIFT. You might as well Talk to most People, of the general Good of Japan. I have told you already they have no Notions of such Things: Their Thoughts, their Taste, their Passions have another Turn. Did you expect to get more from those, who think too much is given already? Why, Man, do you forget the Pains, the Application, the Time, and the Expence, it cost an old Gentleman of our Acquaintance, to procure the first Subscriptions? Recollect also, that after such plain, visible, good Effects were seen by the whole Kingdom, what Numbers of those, who seemed to subscribe with Zeal, withdrew their Subscriptions; and then consider what Success you could have of obtaining larger and more numerous Contributions.
PRIOR. I am but too sensible, there would be some Difficulty in it, Mr. Dean; but, cold and dead as most Men are, to all great and generous Attempts to serve us, I know by Experience, that there are yet left in Ireland a few chosen Spirits, who wou'd have concurr'd in such a Design, and who had Hearts and Fortunes suited to the Task, and almost equal to the Burthen. But happen what would, I am sure, I should have got some reasonable additional Subsidies; and though possibly they would have been too small to answer my Purpose; yet, still, I should at least, have pav'd the Way for some happier Man who would have come after me; and I should have the Comfort to think, that my too eager Zeal to serve others, and disserve myself, could not give great Offence; especially, as Men are not likely to meet Impertinences of this Kind, every Day. This I am confident of, that the Use and Advantage which that Society, (blessed be God) has been of to Ireland, will secure a large adventitious Fund to her hereafter; and tho' by the Arts of evil Men, it may be damped, or dropped for some Years, there never will be wanting, worthy Spirits in the rising Generation, who will remember how happily, that Society was set up and supported, by a few active Gentlemen; and, that it may be restored again, and an adequate Fund provided for it, by the same Resolution and Zeal. But, after all, Mr. Dean, I make little Question (if I had lived, to apply for larger Subscriptions) I should not have been disappointed; and, if I had succeeded, Ireland should have had Cause to remember my good Fortune.
SWIFT. Alas! Tom, your Hopes were over-heated, I fear; though there are many Squanderers, there are few Givers in Ireland and even among those few, the greater Part instead of giving their Benefactions while they live, and can see them well applied; are laid in their Graves, before their Donations are of use to the Living; for People only bestow their Substance to others, as they do their old Cloathes to their Servants, when they can use them no longer. This, makes me fear, Tom, you would have got in few Contributions, among our own Countrymen. Alas! Tom, we seem to keep our Repentance for the Time past, and our Charity for the Future; but the poor present Time, is sacrificed to the meanest Avarice, the falsest Pleasures, or, the lowest Ambition; without any Care of the general Welfare of our Country, or one social Wish for the Happiness of our People.
PRIOR. I allow all this would hold true, if the great and admirable Effects of the Society's Praemiums, did not make it highly probable, that I should have prevailed with several of our worthiest Countrymen, to have assisted so great and so successful an Undertaking. When Men see they have it in their Power, if they will join together, to deliver their Country from all its calamitous Distresses; and to be themselves the Sources of infinite Blessings to Millions yet unborn, their Hands rebell against their Hearts, and even Misers learn to be bounteous. I am not ignorant, how much Men are under the Influence of their lowest and poorest Passions, yet still I am of Opinion, as Stingy as they generally are, if they evidently saw, where they could do much Good by their Benefactions, we should have more of them in the World than we have.
SWIFT. I doubt, Tom, you mistake that Matter egregiously, for nine Tenths of our Donations, I fear, proceed more from our Vanity than our Virtue. Numbers give, as our great Master tells us, to be seen of Men; and for that Reason, probably, it is, that there are so few secret Corbans offered up to Heaven, and not to the World; and if this be so, 'tis plain, that People give more for the Ostentation of having given, than the good they hope to get done by it, and therefore you must have met with few generous Subscribers.
PRIOR. I cannot approve of your Thoughts on this Point, nay, on the contrary, I am confident most People give for the heavenly Joy of giving, and the seeing much Good likely to be the Consequence of their Bounty; and from the same Way of Thinking, where there is little Hope of such Consequences, Men give more coldly and illiberally. I will also add, that the perceiving, how unskilfully (and therefore unsuccessfully) many bestow their Alms, is the Death of Charity, and the great Obstacle to generous Donations in others. It grieves me to say, that I have often observed, that too few give with Judgment.
Perdere multi sciunt, donare pauci.
And Numbers, through an ill concerted generosity, do not half the Good they might do, if they appropriated their Gifts with proper Skill, and knew the happy Art of giving. But giving largely to the Dublin Society, has not one Objection against it, and answers every End the human Soul can ask for, when it scatters the Dung of the Earth, to enrich the World. You well know, Dean, to give even to an useful Purpose, which ends with the Occasion that calls for it, falls short of those Charities, which extends their Views to future Ages; and therefore, to assist Societies, that are contriving for the Welfare of Nations, is a nobler Donation, than relieving private Wants that die away with the Person relieved. I will go yet further, Mr. Dean, since I have touch'd on this Topick, and assert, that to give, where Virtue and Industry are the Consequence of the Benefaction, you must allow is of higher Use, than relieving Distresses, which have been occasioned by Vice or Extravagance, and may probably end in them. Nay, to give under such Conditions, as must inevitably draw in others, to join in your Charity, and enlarge your Hopes of serving Mankind, is of the greatest Use; as it brings in Crowds to co-operate with you, and vastly out-do your Benefactions; and to give to a Plan of Charity, which is as likely to encrease as a River, the farther it goes, is of yet greater Service, than to give where their Subscription Ends like a Shower of Rain, in watering the Earth for a Moment, and vanishes with the next Sun. Lastly, to give to a few, and yet to make Numbers industrious and laborious, in Hopes of receiving your Bounty, though they never obtain it, is of yet more Weight and Importance; and this is plainly the Case of all Praemiums, where they are faithfully distributed. Now, all these Considerations accompany every Subscription to my enlarged Plan, and thence I was apt to flatter myself I should be successful, if I had liv'd to apply for them.
SWIFT. Well, I shall drop any Dispute on that Point: But, pray, Tom, be a little more minute in explaining your Views, and let me know if you had many large additional Subscriptions, how would you have applied them?
PRIOR. Why, I cannot enter into a long Detail of every Particular, but I would in General, have doubled the Praemiums of most of the Articles, which the Society has yet promoted, and in some of the most important Improvements and Manufactures, I would have trebled them. By this Means, it is hardly credible, what a Progress we should make, in all those Subjects of Husbandry and manual Arts in a few Years; and how we should work up the Industry and Skill of our People, by every Incentive that Profit or Glory could give them. I formerly reckoned up many Articles which I may probably seem tedious in repeating now, but you will make Allowances for my Fondness and Folly, as you know Mr. Dean; a Lover would as soon be tired with dwelling on the Praises of his Mistress, as I can be with naming the Things, or the Methods by which I flattered myself I could have served poor Ireland. The reflecting on them made my Life pleasant to me when upon Earth, and the Remembrance of them, sweetens my Grave to me; and therefore, though you may think them but Dreams, allow me the Pleasure of repeating them. I say, then, with the highest Joy of Heart, that the enlarging and improving our neglected Tillage, the encouraging and heightening our old decaying Manufactures, and the setting up new ones should have been the great Care of my Life, and the extending the Force and Use of the Society, when thus advanced to its Manhood, beyond what the Weakness and Inexperience of its infantine State could perform. I would have nursed up Crowds of Orphan Arts, and as they grew up, and could shift for themselves, I would have wean'd them, and brought a new Succession of others in their Place, as far as the Narrowness of the Fund would allow me. I would have brought over foreign Workmen of all Trades and Professions; I would have set up Glass Manufactures of all Kinds near our Collieries; I would have established our Earthen-Ware in the most effectual Manner, and if possible (by bringing over Hands from Birmingham) I would have improved our Hard-ware to such a Degree of Perfection as to stop that terrible Drain of our Cash. I had also designed to allow large Encouragements to bring over Foreigners for improving our Silk and Thread Bone-lace for enlarging our Paper and Sugar Business, which would be a Saving of many thousand Pounds every Year to Ireland.
SWIFT. Here is a fine Bundle of Hopes for a Man in Despair to live comfortably on! But pray now Tom, have you done reckoning up all your mighty Projects to make Ireland another Utopia? I am almost at the End of my Patience, for to say Truth, Tom, the List of the Ships in Homer's Iliad is not more tedious.
PRIOR. Why, Mr. Dean, to teize you as little as I can, I will drop a Number of others, and only touch cursorily on the Advancement of our Silk Manufactures of every Kind, as well as our Tapestry. I would have encouraged our Salt-works, and our Ship-building, and I would have set on Foot a Society, to have set up and directed our Fisheries both in the North and South Coasts of this Island. If I durst take in smaller Matters, I would have set up an experimental Farm and Garden, and in Time allowed a Salary for a Professor in Agriculture, which Columella you know so much laments the Want of, and I would have given an yearly Praemium of 100 l. for the best annual Invention in Arts and Husbandry, as much for the best Book yearly in any of the Sciences, and the same for the best English Poem; as Nations are apt to judge of each other's Genius and Talents (I will not say how justly) by the Performances they produce this Way. Nay, Mr. Dean, I would have advis'd a Praemium of at least 100 l. annually, to be given by the Society for the best Picture, and also, as much for the best Piece of Sculpture, or Statue; as these two Arts have ever been consider'd as the chief Marks and Characteristics of a polite and sensible Nation, and have always flourish'd where ever Arts or Learning have been encouraged. I had Thoughts of stopping the vast drain of our People to America, by hiring Ships which trade thither, to bring back every Irishman gratis, who disliked the Country, and would rail at it when he got Home. Nay, I had even Thoughts of printing a Collection in Folio, of all the best Irish Pamphlets, or at least, of all the best Hints in them, relating to the Service of our Country. I would have done my utmost to have gotten the best and noblest Members of the Society (as great and good Men communicate Virtue to their Friends as the Loadstone invigorates the Needle it touches) to have petitioned the Parliament for sumptuary Laws, for Hospitals in every County Town, for establishing a national Bank, for illuminating our Coasts, with Light-houses as carefully as our Streets with Lamps; for applying to his Majesty for a Mint for our Copper and Silver Coinage, and also for hardening it to prevent its wearing; as well as for forming Canals for assisting our inland Navigation, and for working up our Collieries, and opening those hidden Treasures our Mines. I would have promoted by judicious Praemiums.——
SWIFT. Hold! Stop! Where is the Man going? Are you sailing in Quest of the North-West Passage to make a short Cut to Wealth and Trade of your own imagining? You boddered me enough with many of these Articles already, and do you expect I can be as little tired with them as you are? Whenever you enter upon this Subject, you run on, Head foremost, like a mad Hound on the Road, without minding what's before you; weak Men, I find, tho' they cannot Think without Talking, can Talk without Thinking. Was there ever such a Hodge-Podge of Reveries, mustered up by a living Author, to say nothing of a dead one, that should have a little more Sense? Why there is not in all Bedlam, a Man so absurdly distracted by an Over-load of Projects. You are a sweet Politician indeed, Tom, and just as fit to conquer Nations as to mend them. What enthusiastical Delusions stuff thy Noddle? Will you never remember mundus vult vadere quo vult and be satisfied to leave the World to him that made it, and Kingdoms to those he has appointed to govern them? These high flown Whims of yours, are just as practicable, as Archimedes his moving the Earth out of its Place, and it provokes me to hear such impossible Projects declaim'd on by such a Visionary, such a Stockjobber in Politicks!
PRIOR. You try my Temper too far, I neither can nor will bear your insolent contemptuous Way of conversing, or your opprobrious provoking Language. If you attack my favourite Foible with such Acrimony, you must expect I will not spare some of yours: As for your sneering at my Politicks, I own I never was a Politician, nor did I ever set up for one. I had too rational an Head, I thank Heaven, and too honest an Heart, to allow me to make any great Progress that Way. And now, Mr. Dean, I must tell you very frankly, I never saw or heard any eminent Proofs of your extraordinary Skill as a Politician, except a vast Crowd of Pamphlets; And what are they but the mere Cobwebs of Politicks, that owe their Birth to the House being neglected, and are all swept away when it is clean'd? You was a pretty good Patriot, but you had so much of the Politician, the next to taking Care of others, you loved to take Care of yourself, and all possible Care too. You kept a good Byass on your Bowl to get near the Jack at long run and secure a Mitre; and tho' when you were disappointed, you furiously attack'd the Ministry and pleaded your Country's Cause with due Resentment; yet even then, your Revenge when over-tired, slept like an Hare with its Eyes open, that while you watch'd for the publick Good, you should not overlook your own. Besides, let me tell you Dean, if you will be taunting, that if the political Secrets of the latter End of the Queen's Reign were detected, you would be found as rank a Jacobite as many Authors in those Days represented you to the World.
SWIFT. I think you have borrowed some of their sort of Spite, for you seem to be in a great Fury with little Reason for it. But I must tell you, Sir, though those Authors were ever mistaken when they called me a Jacobite, I never was in the wrong when I called them Fools. As for your political Secrets, let me be allowed to set you right, for I assure you there are no such Things in England. Men are such sievish leaky Mortals there, that they can't conceal even their own Rogueries; for political Secrets told to Britons, tho' under Vows of Secrecy, are like Bonds for great Sums seal'd in private, but Judgment is soon enter'd up in the public Offices; and all the World knows in a trice what has pass'd. As for the kind Hints those Writers Honoured me with, I assure you, Sir, I despised them as sincerely as your Anger now. Their Talents were incapable of hurting any but themselves, and therefore I forgave them, as the Law pardons Children and Ideots. It is true, where their Spite appeared very invenom'd, I took other Measures; for then, as the Statute speaks of Boys, Malitia suplet aetatem (Malice supplies their Want of Age) and I pepper'd them off notwithstanding their Folly, to frighten silly Scribblers from playing with such edg'd Tools again. But after all, what were their Works against me, but a mere hot Hash of cold Meat, of fifty half read political Authors, and unknown common-place Party-Writers, mix'd up with common Reports, and a few insipid lifeless Scraps of their own tasteless Trash and factious Venom.
PRIOR. We that are dead and love Truth, know that most Books, and especially Party Books are made like their Paper of old Scraps and Rags pickt up here and there; but however, their Works in those Days pleased the World, had an infinite number of Applauders, and made you sufficiently jealous of the Talents of their Authors.
SWIFT. I jealous! I detest, I renounce the Thought! I was never jealous of any Man but my self, lest I should fall short of that Glory, which I knew I had gained, and feared I might lose again. I ever judg'd when a Man has wrote a good Book, he should Stop as Jupiter did when he begot Hercules, left his next Production, should be found vastly beneath the former; and therefore I was as suspicious of my scribling Temper, as Physicians say an over-fed Glutton should be of his Finger's Ends. But I scorn'd my Antagonists too much, to be jealous of them, or even to be Angry with them; for tho' they abused me very Generally and very Grosly, my chief Delight was, that they never reviled me so much as when I was in my greatest Glory, as Dogs never are so apt to Bark at the Moon, as when she is at the Full. Besides, let me tell you, testy Sir, with the old Poet Nomina mille, mille nocendi Artes. 'Tis so easy to be malicious, and at the same time so mean, that true Worth never Triumphs so eminently over its Enemies, as when they expose their Weakness and Envy by reviling it. It is true, many Scriblers busied themselves with Criticising and Decrying my Works; but they were so far from disturbing me, I made the best Use of them, by improving my Productions; for Criticks to good Writers, are like their own Dust to Diamonds, good for nothing but just to polish them, and them only. I Jealous! No really, Sir, there was no Occasion for it; the very Wit of my Writings kept all the laughing Part of Mankind on my Side, and I never lived in any Times where reasoning was much regarded by the common Herd of Readers or Talkers.
PRIOR. A pretty Confession for an Author, Truly! and yet since you have stirred my Gall, I must tell you, that we may say of the brightest of your Writings, what I said in one of my Exercises at School of Mr. Cowlry.
With all the Graces, all the Faults of Wit, You both adorn'd and blemisht all you writ.
I am sure you had often such a quick running hand way of thinking, that you frequently left your meaning behind you. But I am not angry enough to make any severe Remarks of my own, on the numerous Tracts you gave the World; but there was one Objection every one agreed in, and that was your banishing Divinity out of all your Compositions, and indeed out of your Conversation; so that it should seem Mr. Dean, if I am such a wretched Politician as you say, I may as fairly and more truly tell you, that you have not shewn your self a very able Divine.
SWIFT. I smile at the Weakness of the Objection, but I am quite delighted with the Malice of it. Let me tell you, Sir, I had something else to do with my Divinity, than filling Pamphlets with it to make madmen Merry, and wisemen Sick. There is a Decency, or shall I rather say a Chastity in Writing or Thinking on such exalted Subjects, that great Minds are apt to Cherish, which keeps them Cautious and Diffident, where weak Men are as bold and as rash (to use an homely Phrase) as a blind Mare in a Mire. I have known many silly Preachers, and paperscull'd Writers in my Time, that were troubled with the Divinity Squirt, and were forc'd to print, or to be tormented with the Cholick, or foul themselves; and so they exposed their Nakedness to the World, with all their Rhapsodies of dreaming Thoughts, borrowed Sense, and hearsay Learning. I was none of those High Dutch Inkshiters as somebody calls them; and instead of sending my Religion to the Press to make other Men frantick, I kept mine at home to keep my self Sober. As to the rest of your Objection, Sir, I must confess I did not talk much of Divinity, nor did I love to hear others bring it into Conversation; for it was always my Opinion, that tho' Divinity and Piety are at home in the Church and the Closet, yet every where else they are used as Strangers, and should be treated with the highest Respect and Ceremony. The Practice Men have fallen into, of over-writing and over-talking themselves on such Subjects, has done and is doing such harm in the World, that I wonder it has not been hist out of it; but there are some Persons so fond of haranguing, declaiming and setting out their Noise to the Crowd, that if they wrote on Geometry or Algebra, they would flourish and use Tropes and Figures to shew their Parts and their Eloquence, and so in spite of all Advice and Experience, Divinity and Religion must be bother'd out of their Senses by Praters and Scriblers and half Thinkers.
But prithee Tom, let my Divinity alone. Why should you strive to vex me by throwing Dirt at me now, tho' you know I was never disturbed by such impotent Petulance, when I was above Ground; or else I had Revilers enough to make me as Sick of Ireland, after all the Service I had done it by my Pen, as ever King William was of England, after he had delivered it by his Sword. But let us put an End to this ugly Brawl, which even the Passion and Impudence of the living might blush at. It is a shame Tom, for old Friends to Quarrel for such miserable Trifles, and for the dead to grow so angry at them; puts us in as bad a Light, as the half-witted Fools that are still crawling on the Earth. Prithee be calm and cool as the Grave ought to make you, and let us agree to drop this fit of ill Humour, and I shall make you a Proposal that I hope will give you the highest Pleasure. If you will lay aside your Resentment for my abusing your Schemes, I will offer you one, that if ever it comes to be embraced, will make Ireland one of the fortunate Islands.
PRIOR. Make me Master of that important Secret, and convince me of its being probable and practicable, and my anger is over in an Instant, like an Infant's. Dear Dean, you rejoyce my Heart with the very hint you have dropt, and let me beg of you to communicate the whole to me.
SWIFT. Why my Scheme is entirely bottom'd on that happy one of your Society's Premiums but so completely secur'd from my old Objection of the narrowness and uncertainty of its Fund, as to make the force of the Engine quite equal to the Work 'tis designed for. No one can have an higher Opinion than I of the salutary Effects, which publick and honorary Rewards have on the human Mind; and above all, when the Society's Fund does not depend on Charities given by Scraps and casual Helps quite inadequate to her extended Views, but on the publick Faith, and the great Source of all our Supplies the national Bounty, and the Zeal, the Generosity, the good Sense of our Irish Representatives. It is as shameful to see a Kingdom depending on private Contributions, as a Ballysarius begging of a common Soldier. The King thought so when he extended his royal Munificence to us, and tho' he cannot help all, or do all; he has shewn us he desires it, and would gladly spur us on to Exert ourselves, and be more generally Active and Busy. This illustrious Example makes me confident, that if in imitation of his Majesty, the Parliament should resolve to assist us; it would be the noblest and quickest Method of relieving all our Wants, and banishing Indolence and Misery for ever from Ireland.
PRIOR. I embrace the lucky Thought, and hope if it be followed, it may be for ever Propitious to this poor Kingdom. I remember he that first introduced that obvious, but happy Scheme of Premiums; used often to declare that the Method of Private Subscriptions was but a mere transitory Shift to set up with, and give a Proof of what Effects they would produce; but that Parliamentary Aids were the only adequate Funds we could thrive by. I often used to tell him my Fears, that such Assistances were not to be hoped for, and I own I have some Doubt, that there are some Objections against such extraordinary Helps now.
SWIFT. I know them as well as you, Tom, but there are none take my Word for it, but what are surmountable by the Spirit and Honour of an Irish Parliament. I dare pawn all that is dear to me among Men, that if our Senators will Vote 4000 l. per Ann. to the Society, that is 1000 l. to each of the Provinces, to encourage Tillage, enliven every Art and Manufacture, promote every Good, and remove every Evil among us; we should before the End of this Century, be as much the Envy of our Neighbouring Nations, as we are now their Contempt. As they would inspect over the Distribution of all they gave, there can be no fear of Misapplication, or the low Tricks of Jobbing; and as a Tax either on Deals or Wines, on Paper or Stampt-paper, News-papers, or Almanacks; on Plays, Musick-Meetings, Assemblies, on Lands sold, on Swords or Jewels worn on our Crowds of useless Servants or thoughtless Travellers, would most of them furnish us with sufficient Funds. I can see nothing to prevent so blessed a Purpose. I remember an illustrious Friend of ours used to say, it would be no bad Way, if in all future Parliaments, every Member should be obliged to add to the present Oaths he takes, one plain one, that he would do his utmost to promote the Manufactures of this Country, the Industry of the People, and to secure Bread and Fire at Home to the miserable Poor. But if the present Parliament should give a Vote of Credit for 4000 l. a Year to the Society, it would make such an Oath quite unnecessary, and they would enable them by that single Measure to give all our Affairs a new Face, and put us at once in the happiest Situation that Activity and Affluence could procure us.
PRIOR. I have such a Confidence in the Concurrence of Men of all Parties in so glorious a Design, that I begin to look already on this Affair as certain and settled. There are such Crowds of sincere and hearty Friends to their Country in that honourable Assembly, that I fully persuade my self, they will never grudge so small a Sum to this plain and evident Method of laying the Foundation on which the Prosperity of Ireland may stand for ever. We should then see prodigious Changes for the better, and no more hear such complaining in our Streets of no Trade, no Arts or Artists, or Encouragement for them in Ireland. This depends on ourselves and the Spirit and Votes of our own generous Commons, who will be bless'd by Posterity for thus making their Zeal, the great Source of Wealth, Industry, Plenty and Peace amongst us. Indeed, when I consider how shameful it wou'd be, if, through any undue Influence we should want every Support in our Power to give our People to enliven, enrich, or distinguish our Country; I grow almost Confident of such a blessed Assistance. This is helping our Families, our Dependants, our Tenants and Fellow-Citizens, the present and future Generations. Every Acre the Society would by this means improve (and they would improve Millions) would be so much additional Wealth to the Kingdom; every Art they set up; every manual Trade they encourage, will be a new strength to us, and will spread themselves as fast thro' the Kingdom as our Rivers do their vital Juices thro' our Plains.
SWIFT. Well, Tom, I am glad our Disputes are at an End, that I have pleased you at last, and made you entirely prefer my Methods of assisting the Society to your own. It is certain, a Vote of Parliament has often set up useful Manufactures here, and this will be but a general one, for the setting up all. Nor is there any Cause to doubt of this publick Bounty, for tho' private Men are penurious, Nations are generous, and the publick Money is so easily raised, is paid by so many, and hurts so few, that even a Parliament of Misers might be Charitable. Every body is well disposed to bestow bounteously out of his Neighbour's Purse, to good Purposes, tho' he may be close enough or cautious enough, to save his own; and at the same Time, the Publick is certainly the proper and natural Guardian of its own Wants and Interests. In short, Tom, the Thing is so manifest and self-evident, that I dare pronounce the Day is coming, when Votes to set on foot such Undertakings, proposed by skilful Artists, and to encourage publick Works, will be as common as Addresses to the King, and Congratulations to our Lord Lieutenants. As we ought to give to Ireland, and to help our poor Country as well as his Majesty; and as no Money given by any People, can be productive, of so much and so general a Good to all, as this 4000 l. per Ann.; as it will be manag'd by such clean Hands, and such clear Heads and faithful Hearts, as it will be directed by an Industry that never slackens, and by a Society which by the King's Goodness to us, can never die, I am sure we shall not be denied it. This is really the truest and noblest Use of Riches, for to give and relieve Thousands, is the best View on which we can either gather or disperse them, and above all when the Charity begins at home, and helps and makes happy our wanting Brethren. This Design must give the highest Joy to the Parliament, which supports and enforces it, for it is certainly a vast Pleasure to a Patriot any way to assist in alleviating and assisting the Wants of his indigent Countrymen; but how much must his Joy be encreas'd, and what must he feel, who bestows Knowledge, Virtue and Industry, to Millions of his Fellow-Citizens? To give to such noble Ends, seems to be transcending the Limits of Humanity, and wou'd look like usurping on the Power of Heaven, if the Creator had not transform'd it, to a Kind of Homage to himself.
PRIOR. Dear Dean, I forgive you any Trifle that offended me in our Dialogue, and I thank you from my Soul for this happy Expedient to serve our Country so evidently and effectually. If once our Representatives will let us feel and know, that Industry in Ireland, shall never be unrewarded, nor Arts neglected, we shall soon learn that in so fertile a Country, no Man who has Hands and will use them, can ever want either the Necessaries or Conveniences of Life. This Help from our Parliament wou'd turn in a little Time our Desarts into Gardens, our Famines into Plenty, our Herdsmen into Farmers, our Beggars into Labourers, our Villages of starving Cottagers, into Towns swarming with Artists, and our Beasts into Men; nay every Hill wou'd be cultivated, every Valley ornamented, and our Lands as much improv'd as our Roads.
SWIFT. What hindered our former Parliaments from taking such Measures, I will not pretend to Guess, but why they in the Days of our Ancestors, shou'd Vote such Funds to our Civil and Military Establishments, and such Pittances, such Nothings, to the Ease, the Well-being, the Happiness and Honour of the Nation, is hard to say, and parhaps, Tom, if we were living in those Days not very safe. It is a Comfort our People are in no such Danger now, under such a Senate and such a Governor, nor shall we be any more in danger of Jobbing away our Country for private Views, or sacrificing the general Welfare of a whole People to the Pride or the Power, the Gain, Avarice or Ambition, of half a Dozen over-grown Men. But there is one Thing, Tom, I must mention, as almost as usefull to the Happiness of Ireland, as the Parliament's Assistance, and that is that in every County, great City, and large manufacturing Towns, Societies shou'd be form'd with Subscriptions from all who compose them, for setting up Premiums for such Improvements, in all the manual Arts, as they find they want most to set forward. But as I think you mention'd this already, and seem as zealous to see it promoted as I am, I shall not enlarge on it as fully as it deserves. All I shall hint at is, that 50 l. or 60 l. or at most 100 l. a Year thus applied, wou'd have amazing Effects thro' the Nation, as it wou'd remove all those Wants, and set up those Arts, which wou'd most affect their particular Circumstances, and which the Dublin Society, cou'd not so immediately attend to, in its general View of assisting all. As soon as the most necessary Things were fully provided for, such Societies wou'd go on to others, and thus in Time, wou'd find their own Estates and Neighbourhoods, largely repaying by their Improvements, the Care and the Expence of the Subscribers. The maritime Counties, wou'd soon among other Things set up Fisheries, and the Inland Counties, wou'd promote either Tillage or Mines, or usefull Manufactures; and by this means, all the great Drains of our Health and our Wealth, our Blood and our Spirits, wou'd be cut off, and our natural Strength wou'd encrease with our Labour. Thus in Process of Time, this Kingdom wou'd be the Happiest, instead of being the most Distrest of all Lands, and wou'd be as Rich as she wants to be, provided always, dear Tom, that like some good-natur'd thriving Merchants I have known, we do not resolve to be bound for our elder Brother's Debts.
PRIOR. I think such Societies in every County, or every considerable County, wou'd be a nobel Addition to our Parliamentary Bounties; and I trust in the Providence of him who governs the World, and the Goodness of those whom he has appointed as his Substitutes over these Nations, we shall not want these Blessings long. But we will if you please, Mr. Dean, drop this Subject at the present; and now we have talk'd over so many of these Particulars relating to the Welfare of Ireland, I wou'd fain speak on other interesting Topicks, which also occasion'd my paying this Visit to you. The first is to canvass over calmly and candidly all the Arguments for or against a Union of this Kingdom, with Great Britain. I am assured by all the Ghosts I have met with of late, that this is a Design, which in due Time is surely to be brought about one way or other. The second is the violent and ill-judg'd Brigues and Feuds, between some of our most considerable People; who tear our Country in Pieces, like Caesar and Pompey, because one cannot bear an Equal, nor the other a Superior, in the Government. In the 3d Place, I want to settle clearly, whether any of the Money that was charged to the Account of our Barracks, was carried out of the Kingdom by some strange Accident or other. When we have fully discussed this, I wou'd in the last place talk to you, in as free a Manner, as two such Friends to Ireland shou'd do; how well our Senate has formerly maintained, and is likely now to maintain its undoubted Right of disposing of the Redundancies of the Treasury, and taking Care that the People's Money, be laid out for the Service of themselves and the Nation.
SWIFT. I am quite pleased with your Proposal; but stay, I see they are lighting up Candles for Morning Service. Ah, Tom, if the Prayers of the Living were as Sincere and as Ardent as those of the Dead, what an altered World wou'd this be? Here is the Curate and three old Women coming to Church; what think you if for fear of frighting Fools, we laid by these winding Sheets in my Tomb, and walk'd in Fresco, in the Deanery-Garden, and enjoy'd this bright Morn.
PRIOR. With all my Heart. I have a Budget of Anecdotes, and a deal of Law and Politicks, to entertain you with. Oh this poor Kingdom! this unthinking People grieve my Soul!
SWIFT. Dear Tom, most Men scarce begin to Think, till they're summoned to die, and that I fear must be the Case of Ireland, unless the Parliament helps us. Allons! to my old dear Garden——lead the Way! without sans Ceremony, as Jodolet says in the play.