A proverb on the laziness and lodgings of the servants: “The worse their sty—the longer they lie."
Two great holes in the wall of the ladies’ bed-chamber, just at the back of the bed, and one of them directly behind Mrs. Johnson’s pillow, either of which would blow out a candle in the calmest day.
Printed by S. HARDING, next Door to the Crown in Copper-Alley, 1727-8.
This tract, written and published towards the end of the year 1728, summarizes the disadvantages under which Ireland suffered at the time, and re-enforces the contention that these were mainly due to England’s jealousy and stupid indifference. Swift, however, does not lose sight of the fact that the people of Ireland also were somewhat to blame, though in a much less degree.
In Dublin, where tracts of this nature had now become almost commonplace and where official interference in their publication had been found unwise and even dangerous, the issue of the “Short View” was effected without any official comment. In England, however, where it was reprinted by Mist the journalist, it was otherwise. Its publication brought down a prosecution on Mist, who, no doubt, numbered this with the many others which were visited upon him. It is an important tract, to which many historians of Ireland have often referred.
* * * * *
The text of the present
edition is based on that of the first
edition and compared with that given by Sir Walter Scott.
THE STATE OF IRELAND.
I am assured that it hath for some time been practised as a method of making men’s court, when they are asked about the rate of lands, the abilities of tenants, the state of trade and manufacture in this Kingdom, and how their rents are paid, to answer, That in their neighbourhood all things are in a flourishing condition, the rent and purchase of land every day increasing. And if a gentleman happens to be a little more sincere in his representations, besides being looked on as not well affected, he is sure to have a dozen contradictors at his elbow. I think it is no manner of secret why these questions are so cordially asked, or so obligingly answered.
But since with regard to the affairs of this Kingdom, I have been using all endeavours to subdue my indignation, to which indeed I am not provoked by any personal interest, being not the owner of one spot of ground in the whole Island, I shall only enumerate by rules generally known, and never contradicted, what are the true causes of any country’s flourishing and growing rich, and then examine what effects arise from those causes in the Kingdom of Ireland.