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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IX. From Steele and Addison to Pope and Swift.

IV. Swift

§ 9. The Brothers’ Club

Swift had now attained a position of great importance, and the authority he possessed and the respect shown him gave him much pleasure. He often used his power in the service of humble friends as well as of persons of more social consequence. “This, I think, I am bound to do, in honour to my conscience,” he says, “to use of my little credit toward helping forward men of worth in the world.” To literary men, he was specially helpful. The Brothers’ club, which had been founded in 1711, to advance conversation and friendship, included St. John and other ministers, Swift, Arbuthnot and Prior. The club does not seem to have lasted beyond 1713, but its members frequently called each other “brother” in later years. With regard to his own promotion, Swift felt that he should be asked rather than ask. Recognition of his services was, no doubt, to some extent, delayed by the wish of ministers to keep him at hand to assist them; but the main difficulty was the suspicion as to his orthodoxy, an argument which had considerable weight with the queen. Oxford was kind to him; “mighty kind,” says Swift; “less of civility but more of interest!”