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THE “ History of the Four Last Years of the Queen,” has been unaccountably decried ; though a work of undoubted merit. It has even been supposed to be spurious, though every paragraph it contains is a sufficient voucher for its authenticity. It is repeatedly mentioned by our Author, in various parts: of his writings *. He has called it" his GRAND business t;" and thought it “ THE BEST WORK HE HAD EVER WRITTEN." As far as it extends, it is indeed a masterly performance; and will be deemed a valuable acquisition to future historians. Deriving his intelligence, at that remarkable era, from the fountainhead, Swift could not be mistaken in the facts which he relates. He had ready access to every requisite source of information; and his manly fortitude must have placed him far above the necessity of wilful misrepresentation. Professedly an advocate
• See Dr. Swift's Preface to the History; and see also particularly sir Thomas Hanmer's very honourable testimony; who, having perused the manuscript, returned it with a very few observations, “ which," he says, were as many as I could see occasion for ; though, I do assure you, I read with the same strictness and ill-nature as in the former part.” N. Journal to Stella, Feb. 27, 1719-11. N.
for the tories, to the whigs he was an avowed, a formidable opponent. In his Journal to Stella (the more valuable for discovering his unreserved sentiments) he frequently laments the necessity of displacing the duke of Marlborough; and declares, though he loved not the man, he had prevented many hard things being said against him. And the favours he obtained from the ministry for the men of wit among the adverse party are too notorious to be enlarged on *.
His earnestuess to communicate this history to the publick is evident in many of his letters. In a letter to Mr. Pope, Jan. 10, 1721-2, he expresses himself very strongly on the subject; and was digesting them into order t. In 1736, it was actually intended for the press; and in April, 1738, the Dean expressed his dissatisfaction at the publication being so long delayed. Whatever
* See the Dean's Preface. N.
+ These papers some years after were brought finished by the Dean into England, with an intention to publish them. But lord Bolingbroke, on whose judgment he relied, dissuaded him from that design. He told the Dean, there were several facts he knew to be false, and that the whole was so much in the spirit of party-writing, that though it might have made a seasonable pamphlet in the time of the administration, it was a dishonour to just history. It is to be observed, that the treasurer Oxford was the hero of the story. The Dean would do nothing against his friend's judgment, yet it extremely chagrined him; and he told a common friend, that since lord Bolingbroke did not approve his history, he would cast it into the fire, though it was the best work he had ever wriiten. However, it did not undergo this fate, and is said to be yet in being.
WARBURTON. Lord Bolingbroke, in a letter to sir William Wyndham, expresses his opinion of this work as very partial and defective.BOWLES.