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of a weak cause: my concern is not so much for my own reputation, as that of the republic of letters, which Mr. Partridge has endeavoured to wound through my sides. If men of public spirit must be superciliously treated for their ingenious attempts, how will true useful knowledge be ever advanced? I wish Mr. Partridge knew the thoughts which foreign universities have conceived of his ungenerous proceedings with me; but I am too tender of his reputation to publish them to the world. That spirit of envy and pride, which blasts so many rising geniuses in our nation, is yet unknown among professors abroad: the necessity of justifying myself will excuse my vanity, when I tell the reader, that I have near a hundred honorary letters from several parts of Europe (some as far as Muscovy) in praise of my performance, beside several others which, as I have been credibly informed, were opened in the post-office, and never sent me. It is true, the Inquisition in Portugal was pleased to burn my predictions, and condemn the author and the readers of them: but I hope, at the same time, it will be considered in how deplorable a state learning lies at present in that kingdom: and with the profoundest veneration for crowned heads, I will presume to add, that it a little concerned his majesty of Portugal to interpose his authority in behalf of a scholar and a gentleman, the subject of a nation with which he is now in so strict an alliance. But the other kingdoms and states of Europe have treated me with more candour and generosity. If I had leave to print the Latin letters transmitted to me from foreign parts, they would fill a volume, and be a full defence against all that Mr. Partridge, or his accomplices of the Portugal inquisition, will be ever able to object; who, by the way, are the only enemies my

1 Swift had predicted that the pope would die on the 11th of Sept., and it was reported by an ambassador that his book was actually burnt.

predictions have ever met with at home or abroad. But I hope I know better what is due to the honour of a learned correspondence in so tender a point. Yet some of those illustrious persons will perhaps excuse me for transcribing a passage or twol in my vindication. The most learned Monsieur Leibnitz thus addresses to me his third letter: "Illustrissimo Bickerstaffio astrologia instauratori", &c. Monsieur Le Clerc, quoting my predictions in a treatise he published last year, is pleased to say, Ita nuperimme Bickerstaffius magnum illud Anglia sidus. Another great professor writing of me has these words: "Bickerstafius nobilis Anglus, astrologorum hujusce sæculi facile princeps”. Signior Magliabecchi, the great duke's famous library keeper, spends almost his whole letter in compliments and praises. It is true, the renowned professor of astronomy at Utrecht seems to differ from me in one article; but it is after the modest manner that becomes a philosopher; as, pace tanti viri dixerim: and page 55, he seems to lay the error upon the printer (as indeed it ought), and says, vel forsan error typographi, cum alioquin Bickerstafius vir doctissimus, &c.

If Mr. Partridge had followed these examples in the controversy between us, he might have spared me the trouble of justifying myself in so public a manner. I believe no man is readier to own his errors than I, or more thankful to those who will please to inform him of them. But it seems, this gentleman, instead of encouraging the progress of his own art, is pleased to look

upon all attempts of that kind as an invasion of his province. He has been indeed so wise as to make no objection against the truth of my predictions, except in one single point relating to himself: and to demonstrate how much men are blinded by their own partiality, I do solemnly assure the reader, that he is the only person, from whom I ever heard that objection offered; which consideration alone, I think, will take off all its weight.

1 These ludicrous quotations are a burlesque of the style of Swift's old antagonist, Bentley (Nichols).

With my utmost endeavours I have not been able to trace above two objections ever made against the truth of my last year's prophecies: the first was of a Frenchman who was pleased to publish to the world " that the Cardinal de Noailles was still alive, notwithstanding the pretended prophecy of Monsieur Biquerstaffe”, but how far a Frenchman, a papist, and an enemy is to believed in his own cause, against an English Protestant who is true to the government, I shall leave to the candid and impartial reader.

The other objection is the unhappy occasion of this discourse, and relates to an article in my Predictions, which foretold the death of Mr. Partridge to happen on March 29, 1708. This he is pleased to contradict absolutely in the almanac he has published for the present year, and in that ungentlemanly manner (pardon the expression) as I have above related. In that work he very roundly asserts that he “is not only now alive, but was likewise alive upon that very 29th of March, when I had foretold he should die”. This is the subject of the present controversy between us; which I design to handle with all brevity, perspicuity, and calmness. In this dispute, I am sensible the eyes not only of England but of all Europe will be upon us: and the learned in every country will, I doubt not, take part on that side where they find most appearance of reason and truth.

Without entering into criticisms of chronology about the hour of his death, I shall only prove that Mr. Partridge is not alive. And my first argument is this: about a thousand gentlemen having bought his almanacs for this year merely to find what he said against me, at every line they read, they would lift up their eyes,


and cry out, betwixt rage and laughter, “they were sure

man alive ever writ such damned stuff as this”. Neither did I ever hear that opinion disputed, so that Mr. Partridge lies under a dilemma, either of disowning his almanac, or allowing himself to be no man alive. Secondly, Death is defined by all philosophers, a separation of the soul and body. Now it is certain, that the poor woman who has best reason to know, has gone about for some time into every alley in the neighbourhood, and sworn to the gossips that her husband had neither life nor soul in him. Therefore, if an uninformed carcase walks still about, and is pleased to call itself Partridge, Mr. Bickerstaff does not think himself any way answerable for that. Neither had the said carcase any right to beat the poor boy who happened to pass by it in the street, crying, a full and true account of Dr. Partridge's death", &c.

Thirdly, Mr. Partridge pretends to tell fortunes, and recover stolen goods; which all the parish says he must do by conversing with the devil and other evil spirits; and no wise man will ever allow he could converse personally with either till after he was dead.

Fourthly, I will plainly prove him to be dead, out of his own almanac for this year and from the very passage which he produces to make us think him alive. He there says, “he is not only now alive, but was also alive upon that very 29th of March which I foretold he should die on": by this he declares his opinion that a man may be alive now who was not alive a twelvemonth ago. And, indeed, there lies the sophistry of his argument. He dares not assert he was alive ever since that 29th of March, but that he “is now alive, and was so on that day". I grant the latter; for he did not die till night, as appears by the printed account of his death in a Letter to a Lord; and whether he be since revived

I leave the world to judge. This indeed is perfect cavilling, and I am ashamed to dwell any longer upon it.

Fifthly, I will appeal to Mr. Partridge himself whether it be probable I could have been so indiscreet to begin my predictions with the only falsehood that ever was pretended to be in them? and this in an affair at home where I had so many opportunities to be exact; and must have given such advantages against me to a person of Mr. Partridge's wit and learning, who, if he could possibly have raised one single objection more against the truth of my prophecies, would hardly have spared


And here I must take occasion to reprove the abovementioned writer of the relation of Mr. Partridge's death in a Letter to a Lord, who was pleased to tax me with a mistake of four whole hours in my calculation of that event. I must confess, this censure, pronounced with an air of certainty, in a matter that so nearly concerned me, and by a grave judicious author, moved me not a little. But though was at that time out of town, yet several of my friends, whose curiosity had led them to be exactly informed, (for as to my own part, having no doubt at all in the matter, I never once thought of it) assured me I computed to something under half an hour, which (I speak my private opinion) is an error of no very great magnitude that men should raise a clamour about it. I shall only say, it would not be amiss if that author would henceforth be more tender of other men's reputations as well as his own. It is well there were no more mistakes of that kind; if there had, I presume he would have told me of them with as little ceremony.

There is one objection against Mr. Partridge's death which I have sometimes met with, though indeed very slightly offered, that he still continues to write almanacs.

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