The time chosen for the proposal for the establishment of a National Bank in Ireland was not a happy one. It was made in 1720 when the “Bubbles” had burst and found thousands ruined and pauperized. Swift, always an enemy to schemes of any kind, classed that of the bank with the rest of the “Bubbles,” and, although the plan itself was a real effort to relieve Ireland, and might have effected its purpose, the terror of the “Bubbles” was sufficient to wreck it.
It required very little
from Swift to insure its rejection, and
rejected it was by the Irish legislature, before whose
consideration it was brought.
* * * * *
Some doubt seems to obtain as to the authenticity of this “Essay on English Bubbles,” which, in the words of Sir Walter Scott, may “be considered as introductory to the other” tracts on the Bank Project. This essay, however, appears in the edition of 1720 of “The Swearer’s Bank,” and, although it is not included in the “Miscellanies” of 1722, it is accepted by Faulkner in his collected edition of Swift’s works. The present text is based on that prefixed to the edition of “The Swearer’s Bank,” 1720.
BY THOMAS HOPE, ESQ.
To the Right Reverend, Right Honourable, and Right Worshipful, and to the Reverend, Honourable, and Worshipful, &c. Company of Stockjobbers; whether Honest or Dishonest, Pious or Impious, Wise or Otherwise, Male or Female, Young or Old, One with another, who have suffered Depredation by the late Bubbles: Greeting.
Having received the following scheme from Dublin, I give you the earliest notice, how you may retrieve the DECUS ET TUTAMEN, which you have sacrificed by permits in bubbles. This project is founded on a Parliamentary security, besides, the devil is in it, if it can fail, since a dignitary of the Church is at the head on’t. Therefore you, who have subscribed to the stocking insurance, and are out at the heels, may soon appear tight about the legs. You, who encouraged the hemp manufacture, may leave the halter to rogues, and prevent the odium of felo de se. Medicinal virtues are here to be had without the expense and hazard of a dispensary: You may sleep without dreaming of bottles at your tail, and a looking-glass shall not affright you; and since the glass bubble proved as brittle as its ware, and broke together with itself the hopes of its proprietors, they may make themselves whole by subscribing to our new fund.