The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 19/From George Faulkner to William Bowyer - 1


DUBLIN, OCT. 1, 1745.

THE bank note for one hundred guineas came safe to hand. Enclosed you have part of the "Advice to Servants." I wish I could get franks to send it in. Fix your day of publication, and I will wait until you are ready, that we may both come out the same day. I think the middle of November will do very well, as your city as well as Dublin, will be full at that time. I shall finish the volume with a Cantata[1] of the dean's, set to musick, which, in my opinion, will have a greater run with the lovers of harmony than any of the Corelli's, Vivaldi's, Purcell's, or Handel's pieces. When Arne, the famous composer, was last in Ireland, he made application to me for this cantata (which I could not then procure), to set it to musick: perhaps he may do it now, and bring it on the stage; which, if he does, will run more than the Beggar's Opera; and therefore I would have you get it engraved in folio, with scores for bass, &c., which will make it sell very well. I believe you might get something handsome for it from Rich, or the managers of Drury lane, for which I shall send you the original MS. I am thus particular, that you may have the profit to yourself, as you will have the trouble. I was in daily expectation, for six weeks, of going to London; but was prevented by many accidents I cannot say business, for I never had less, as Mr. Hitch well knows, having had no order from me for two months past. The Advice to Servants was never finished by the dean, and is consequently very incorrect; I believe you may see some Irishisms in it; if so, pray correct them. The dean's friends do not know the manner of an assignment, and desire you will send over the form. The story of the Injured Lady does not make above a sheet; and will vex your northern hardy neighbours more than the Publick Spirit of the Whigs, of which they complained to queen Anne. As you are famous for writing prefaces[2], pray help me to one for Advice to Servants, for which I have not yet printed the title. My best compliments to our friends, and should be obliged to Mr. Dodsley for the two letters; which you may send, under cover to Samuel Bindon, esq., at my house. I am whimsical, and send you the beginning of Advice, &c., and the remainder to Mr. Hitch, that you may print it immediately. I think it might be printed without the Injured Lady, as your volume will make the better figure with original pieces; but this I submit to your better judgment.

I long much to see London, although I have no other business than to visit my friends, and do them any service in my power; and if I can be useful to you in England or Ireland, pray let me know, and I will do it. I would not have you advertise until two or three days before you publish, in which I wish you all imaginable success; and am, dear sir,

Your faithful friend,

and obliged humble servant,

  1. Dr. Beattie, after censuring the practice of what he calls illicit imitation, observes, that "this abuse of a noble art did not escape the satire of Swift; who, though deaf to the charms of musick, was not blind to the absurdity of musicians. He recommended it to Dr. Echlin, an ingenious gentleman of Ireland, to compose a cantata in ridicule of this puerile mimickry. Here we have motions imitated, which are the most inharmonious, and the least connected with human affections, as the trotting, ambling, and galloping of Pegasus; and sounds the most unmusical, as crackling and snivelling, and rough roistering rustick roaring strains; the words high and deep have high and deep notes set to them; a series of short notes of equal lengths are introduced, to imitate shivering and shaking; an irregular rant of quick sounds, to express rumbling; a sudden rise of the voice, from a low to a high pitch, to denote flying above the sky, a ridiculous run of chromatick divisions on the words Celia dies; with other droll contrivances of a like nature. In a word, Swift's cantata may convince any person, that musick uniformly imitative would be ridiculous. I observe in passing, that the satire of this piece is levelled, not at absurd imitation only, but also at some other musical improprieties; such as the idle repetition of the same words, the running of long extravagant divisions upon one syllable, and the setting of words to musick that have no meaning."
  2. The preface prefixed to Mr. Faulkner's edition, which was omitted by Dr. Hawkesworth, is here annexed:
    "The following treatise of Directions to Servants was begun some years ago by the author, who had not leisure to finish and put it into proper order, being engaged in many other works of greater use to his country, as may be seen by most of his writings. But, as the author's design was to expose the villanies and frauds of servants to their masters and mistresses, we shall make no apology for its publication; but give it our readers in the same manner as we find it in the original, which may be seen in the printer's custody. The few tautologies that occur in the characters left unfinished, will make the reader look upon the whole as a rough draught, with several outlines only drawn. However, that there may appear no daubing or patchwork by other hands, it is thought most advisable to give it in the author's own words. It is imagined that he intended to make a large volume of this work; but, as time and health would not permit him, the reader may draw, from what is here exhibited, means to detect the many vices and faults to which people in that kind of low life are subject. If gentlemen would seriously consider this work, which is written for their instruction (although ironically), it would make them better economists, and preserve their estates and families from ruin. It may be seen by some scattered papers (wherein were given hints for a dedication and preface, and a list of all degrees of servants) that the author intended to have gone through all their characters. This is all that need be said as to this treatise, which can only be looked upon as a fragment.