To put it simply, party politics in England during the 18th century were practiced in two different camps – Tory and Whig. Globally, the differences of opinion between the two were based on three key topics – (1) the origin of government, (2) the position of the Church in society and (3) the role England was to play in Europe. Thus, the Tories were the high-church party, which upheld the divine rights of kings, defended Anglican orthodoxy and negotiated the peace treaty of Utrecht that ended the Spanish War. The Whigs were the low-church party, supported the theory of contract between rulers and ruled, and decried the Utrecht treaty, which they attempted to block through their majority in the House of Lords. The early ministry of William III was predominantly Tory but it was gradually replaced by the Whigs. Later on, Queen Anne dismissed some Whig ministers, replaced them with Tories and created new Tory peers in order to stop the War of the Spanish Succession. From 1714 on, the Whigs gained in influence and the governments of Walpole and Pelham called themselves “Whigs”.
[...] Swift knew how to rise above personal interest and above the political struggles of the times in defence of what he considered a just cause. It is very difficult to judge what exactly Swift was in politics. The majority of his texts have a political purpose but to what extent can we say that this purpose was his? Swift frequently adjusted their scope and we can find many writings in defence of the Whigs and as much in defence of the Tories. [...]
[...] Would he, then, use irony and satire in his private correspondence just as he did in his public writings, to allude to himself, to his position within the Church, and to his own political pretensions? Where the letter ends and where the text degenerates into something else is difficult to say. Therefore, if we were to reach a first conclusion, we could say that J. Swift was a political, religious and literary turncoat who struggled for a better position according to popular fashion but not without an awareness of the absurdity and futility of the situation. [...]
[...] When literature becomes an art, it rises above human-made literary genres and above political strifes, and it also seeks the universal above human-confectioned religions. J. Swift most probably saw himself as one capable of rising above republic of dogs” in order to comment upon it with virulence. “Satire is a sort of glass”. Swift became its holder and behind the glass, the battles of the times have not always been J. Swift's battles. A considerable number of them have turned into ridicule. [...]
[...] Swift was inconsistent in his political and religious allegiances but tried to avoid extremism and misinterpretation of political and religious doctrines. Despotism was an inadmissible extreme no matter from which side it came and it is those extremes that he satirised in his A Tale of a Tub. J. Swift was neither a Whig nor a Tory. W. M. Thackeray's essay on Swift gets probably close enough to the way Swift perceived his own political battles. Even though it has been frequently criticised, it partly uncovers the reasons that lie at the core of many of Swift's writings: “Swift's seems to me to be as good a name to point a moral or adorn a tale of ambition, as any hero's that ever lived and failed [ . [...]
[...] Jonathan Swift, Correspondence, Edited by Harold Williams volumes, Oxford: Clarendon Press 65, support CD-ROM Jonathan Swift, On brotherly love The Works of Jonathan Swift, Volume IV: Swift's Writings on Religion and the Church (Volume Bohn's Standard Library (ed. Temple Scott), Project Gutenberg electronic edition by Terry Gilliland pg Jonathan Swift, Sentiments of a Church-of-England (1708), The Works of Jonathan Swift, Volume IV: Swift's Writings on Religion and the Church (Volume Bohn's Standard Library (ed. Temple Scott), Project Gutenberg electronic edition by Terry Gilliland (www.gutenberg.org) pg Jonathan Swift, discourse of the contests and dissensions between the nobles and commons in Athens and Rome” (1701), The Battle of the Books and Other Shorter Pieces (ed. [...]
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