FREEMEN OF THE CITY OF DUBLIN,
IN THE CHOICE OF A MEMBER TO REPRESENT THEM IN PARLIAMENT.
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1733.
Swift here argues that a holder of an office under the government cannot, of necessity, be an honest representative of the people. There were two candidates before the freemen for the suffrages of the City, one, Lord Mayor French, and the other Mr. John Macarrell. The latter was an office-holder; he was Register to the Barracks, and received his salary from the government. It was not to be expected that he would vote against his employer, be he never so honest a man. Swift openly informs the freemen that the Drapier is against this man. The Lord Mayor was elected.
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The text of this “Advice” is based on that given in the eighth volume of Swift’s Collected Works, issued in 1746. The Forster Collection contains a made-up booklet of pp. 196-205, taken from a volume of one of the collected editions.
Those few writers, who, since the death of Alderman Burton, have employed their pens in giving advice to our citizens, how they should proceed in electing a new representative for the next sessions, having laid aside their pens, I have reason to hope, that all true lovers of their country in general, and particularly those who have any regard for the privileges and liberties of this great and ancient city, will think a second, and a third time, before they come to a final determination upon what person they resolve to fix their choice.
I am told, there are only two persons who set up for candidates; one is the present Lord Mayor, and the other, a gentleman of good esteem, an alderman of the city, a merchant of reputation, and possessed of a considerable office under the crown. The question is, which of these two persons it will be most for the advantage of the city to elect? I have but little acquaintance with either, so that my inquiries will be very impartial, and drawn only from the general character and situation of both.
In order to this, I must offer my countrymen and fellow-citizens some reasons why I think they ought to be more than ordinarily careful, at this juncture, upon whom they bestow their votes.
To perform this with more clearness, it may be proper to give you a short state of our unfortunate country.