In a country where such absurd complaints could be seriously presented, and as seriously considered, a genuine apprehension must have existed. The Whigs in making capital out of this existing feeling stigmatized their Tory opponents as High Churchmen, and therefore very little removed from Papists, and therefore Jacobites. Of course there were no real grounds for such epithets, but they indulged in them nevertheless, with the addition of insinuations and suggestions—no insinuation being too feeble or too far-fetched so long as it served.
Swift, writing in the person of a Whig, affects extreme anxiety for the most ridiculous of signs, and finds a Papist, or a Jacobite, or a disaffected person, in the least likely of places. The tract, in this light, is a really amusing piece. Swift takes the opportunity also to hit Walpole, under a pretended censure of his extravagance, corruption, and avarice.
* * * * *
The text here given
of this tract is based on that of the original
edition issued in Dublin in 1732. The last paragraph, however, does
not appear in that edition, and is reprinted here from Scott.
City of DUBLIN.
Dublin: Printed in the Year 1732.
Nothing is held more commendable in all great cities, especially the metropolis of a kingdom, than what the French call the police; by which word is meant the government thereof, to prevent the many disorders occasioned by great numbers of people and carriages, especially through narrow streets. In this government our famous City of Dublin is said to be very defective, and universally complained of. Many wholesome laws have been enacted to correct those abuses, but are ill executed; and many more are wanting, which I hope the united wisdom of the nation (whereof so many good effects have already appeared this session) will soon take into their most profound consideration.
As I have been always watchful over the good of mine own country, and particularly for that of our renowned city, where (absit invidia) I had the honour to draw my first breath; I cannot have a minute’s ease or patience to forbear enumerating some of the greatest enormities, abuses, and corruptions, spread almost through every part of Dublin; and proposing such remedies as, I hope, the legislature will approve of.