The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, D.D. - Volume 07 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 345 pages of information about The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, D.D..
his trade of a silk weaver, and became a gambler and burglar.  He was well known to the other gangs which infested Dublin, but his death did not act as a deterrent.  Swift, in composing Elliston’s pretended dying speech, gave it the flavour and character of authenticity in order to impose on the members of other gangs, and so successful was he in his intention, that the speech was accepted as the real expression of their late companion by the rest and had a most salutary effect.  Scott says it was “received as genuine by the banditti who had been companions of his depredations, who were the more easily persuaded of its authenticity as it contained none of the cant usual in the dying speeches composed for malefactors by the Ordinary or the ballad-makers.  The threat which it held out of a list deposited with a secure hand, containing their names, crimes, and place of rendezvous, operated for a long time in preventing a repetition of their villanies, which had previously been so common.”

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     The text of the present edition is based on that given by Faulkner
     in the fourth volume of his edition of Swift printed in Dublin in

     [T.  S.]


I am now going to suffer the just punishment for my crimes prescribed by the law of God and my country.  I know it is the constant custom, that those who come to this place should have speeches made for them, and cried about in their own hearing, as they are carried to execution; and truly they are such speeches that although our fraternity be an ignorant illiterate people, they would make a man ashamed to have such nonsense and false English charged upon him even when he is going to the gallows:  They contain a pretended account of our birth and family; of the fact for which we are to die; of our sincere repentance; and a declaration of our religion.[35] I cannot expect to avoid the same treatment with my predecessors.  However, having had an education one or two degrees better than those of my rank and profession;[36] I have been considering ever since my commitment, what it might be proper for me to deliver upon this occasion.

And first, I cannot say from the bottom of my heart, that I am truly sorry for the offence I have given to God and the world; but I am very much so, for the bad success of my villainies in bringing me to this untimely end.  For it is plainly evident, that after having some time ago obtained a pardon from the crown, I again took up my old trade; my evil habits were so rooted in me, and I was grown so unfit for any other kind of employment.  And therefore although in compliance with my friends, I resolve to go to the gallows after the usual manner, kneeling, with a book in my hand, and my eyes lift up; yet I shall feel no more devotion in my heart than I have observed

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