Swift as an Ecclesiastical Statesman

  • J. C. Beckett


The sincerity of Swift’s religion has been a matter of controversy from his own day to ours. The gibe of his contemporary, Smedley, that he
  • … might a bishop be in time

  • Did he believe in God

echoes the tradition that it was Queen Anne’s pious horror of A Tale of a Tub which prevented Swift’s elevation to the episcopal bench. This interpretation of Swift’s religious position has been elaborated by later writers and as elaborately confuted. But final decision in such a dispute is impossible. The evidence of what a man really believed is bound to be of such a nature that our interpretation of it will depend upon our estimate of the man himself; and in fact all the writers on Swift’s personal religion have, consciously, or unconsciously, approached the subject with their minds made up.1


Political Influence Regium Donum Supreme Power Civil Power Ecclesiastical Authority 
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Copyright information

© Macmillan & Co. Ltd. 1967

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. C. Beckett

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