TWO NEW WORKS BY JONATHAN SWIFT, 1754
(SWIFT, Jonathan) [DELANY, Patrick]. Observations upon Lord Orrery’s Remarks on the Life and Writings of Dr. Jonathan Swift. Dublin: Robert Main, 1754. Small octavo, modern three-quarter brown speckled calf, raised bands, red morocco spine label, marbled boards. $850.
First edition of this defense of Swift’s moral character and clarification of his relationship with his eight-year-old student, “Stella,” appended to which are two new works by Swift “never before publish’d.”
“Containing several singular anecdotes relating to the character and conduct of that great genius, and the most deservedly celebrated Stella,” this defense of Swift’s good character by Patrick Delany, Dean of Down, was “intended to vindicate Swift from some of Orrery’s insinuations. [It is] well written, and [the] only account of Swift by one who had known him in the full force of his intellect” (DNB). John Boyle, Earl of Orrery, in his best-selling Remarks on the Life and Writings of Dr. Jonathan Swift (1751), had created a mystery and controversy surrounding Swift’s relationship, as tutor, with eight-year-old Hester Johnson, whom Swift nicknamed “Stella.” Without confirmation, Orrery had claimed that Swift and Stella were secretly married in 1716. Swift’s friend and admirer Patrick Delany (whom Swift called the “most eminent preacher we have”), however, rather than debunk the claim, chose not to contradict Orrery: “Your account of [Swift’s] marriage, is, I am satisfied, true.” Two new works by Swift, “excellent in their kind [and] never before publish’d,” appear at the end of this volume: “A Treatise on Good-Manners and Good-Breeding” and “Verses to a Friend Who Had Been Much Abused in Many Inveterate Libels.” Also published in London the same year. Teerink 1343.
An extremely good copy, with only faint dampstains to top edge margin and bottom corner.