The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 1/Dedication
I Here present the world with the Life of Dr. Swift: a man, whose original genius, and uncommon talents, have raised him, in the general estimation, above all the writers of the age. But, from causes to be hereafter explained, his character as a man, has hitherto been very problematical; nor shall I find it easy, notwithstanding the most convincing proofs, to persuade mankind, that one who flourished in the beginning of this century, in times of great corruption, should afford in himself a pattern of such perfect virtue, as was rarely to be found in the annals of the ancient republick of Rome, when virtue was the mode. Yet if it can be shown that even at this day, when corruption seems to have arrived at its utmost pitch, when prostitution is openly avowed, and publick spirit turned into a jest; if in such times as these in fæce Romuli, there lives a man fully equal to Swift in all the moral virtues attributed to him; the improbability of the existence of such a character at a former period, will be much lessened. In the following history Swift has been represented as a man of the most disinterested principles, regardless of self, and constantly employed in doing good to others. In acts of charity and liberality, in proportion to his means, perhaps without an equal, in his days. A warm champion in the cause of liberty, and support of the English constitution. A firm patriot, in withstanding all attempts against his country, either by oppression, or corruption; and indefatigable in pointing out, and encouraging the means to render her state more flourishing. Of incorruptible integrity, inviolable truth, and steadiness in friendship. Utterly free from vice, and living in the constant discharge of all moral and christian duties. If, in these times, there should be found a man resembling him in all these points, it is fit the memorial of him, together with that of his immortal compeer, should be handed down to latest posterity: and that such a one does exist, will be acknowledged by all who have ever heard the universally revered name of Sir George Savile.
To him, therefore, is the following Life of a congenial patriot inscribed by its author; who has long admired his character, and been well acquainted with his worth, though a stranger to his person.
THE above was committed to the press some weeks before the much lamented death of the excellent man, to whom it was addressed; but the publication has by some accidents been deferred 'till now. That the author had no interested view in his choice of a patron (though he must ever regret the occasion) he has now an opportunity of showing, by letting the above Dedication remain in its original state, and thus consecrating to the memory of the dead, that tribute of praise, so justly due to the living.