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The E-Sylum:  Volume 5, Number 12, March 17, 2002, Article 12

FEATURED WEB SITE

  In honor of St. Patrick's day, this week's featured web page
  is from The National Cathedral and Collegiate Church of
  Saint Patrick (Dublin), which mentions Jonathan Swift's
  connection to numismatic history:

  "Swift is most famous throughout the world as a writer, and
  in particular as the author of Gulliver's Travels. Gulliver's
  Travels was written after his appointment as dean of the
  cathedral and was published in 1726.  Although now thought
  by many to be a book for children, it is in fact a political satire.
  The book was an immediate success, the first print selling out
  in a week.  It soon became available all over Europe,
  translated into various languages.

  Shortly before this another of Swift's writings had greatly
  heightened his profile in Ireland.  In 1725 the English
  Government had proposed to impose a debased copper
  coinage on Ireland; certain individuals including Mr. Wood,
  the manufacturer of the coins, stood to make a large profit.
  There was an immediate outcry against the proposal but
  repeated representations from politicians and public figures
  in Ireland proved of no avail.   Swift entered the controversy
  with a series of letters written under the name of J.B. Drapier.
  With a mixture of scorn, satire and economic sense, the
  Drapier poured ridicule on the proposed coinage.

  The Drapier Letters raised the prospect that English goods
  might be boycotted.  Walpole?s government was very uneasy
  at the growing agitation and the new Lord-Lieutenant,
  Carteret, offered a reward of 300 to discover the name of
  the author of the letters.   Although everyone knew Swift was
  the author no-one would come forward and name him. A
  government charge against the publisher of "scandalous
  seditious libel" collapsed when the jury refused eight times
  to return a guilty verdict.

  Finally, due to the huge popular clamour raised by the letters
  the proposal had to be withdrawn. Swift became recognised
  as a great national hero and patriot and in 1729 was
  rewarded with the freedom of the city of Dublin."

  http://www.stpatrickscathedral.ie/writings.htm

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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