The “badging” of beggars was a favourite scheme of Swift’s for the better regulation of the many who infested the city of Dublin as tramps and idlers. While many of these were really deserving persons, there were a great many also who made the business of begging a profession. Eleven years before this tract was printed Swift wrote to Archbishop King on the same subject, as will be seen from the letter quoted in the note on pages 326-327.
* * * * *
The present text is
based on the original edition of 1737 collated
with that given by Sir Walter Scott.
PARISHES of DUBLIN.
DEAN of St. PATRICK’s
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Printed for T. COOPER at the Globe in Pater Noster Row.
Price Six Pence.
It hath been a general complaint, that the poor-house, especially since the new Constitution by Act of Parliament, hath been of no benefit to this city, for the ease of which it was wholly intended. I had the honour to be a member of it many years before it was new modelled by the legislature, not from any personal regard, but merely as one of the two deans, who are of course put into most commissions that relate to the city; and I have likewise the honour to have been left out of several commissions upon the score of party, in which my predecessors, time out of mind, have always been members.
The first commission was made up of about fifty persons, which were the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Sheriffs, and some few other citizens; the Judges, the two Archbishops, the two Deans of the city, and one or two more gentlemen. And I must confess my opinion, that the dissolving the old commission, and establishing a new one of nearly three times the number, have been the great cause of rendering so good a design not only useless, but a grievance instead of a benefit to the city. In the present commission all the city clergy are included, besides a great number of ’squires, not only those who reside in Dublin, and the neighbourhood, but several who live at a great distance, and cannot possibly have the least concern for the advantage of the city.