Jonathan Swift’s Hoax of 1722 upon Ebenezor Elliston

  • George P. Mayhew


While examining some Dublin newspapers from the period 1719–22 I lately came upon additional information which may be useful to readers of Dr. Daniel L. McCue’s recent scholarly account of ‘A Newly Discovered Broadsheet of Swift’s Last Speech and Dying Words of Ebenezor Elliston’.1 In addition to Swift’s parody, the three other sources of information about Ebenezor Elliston, the victim of Swift’s hoax of 1722, have hitherto been: ‘The Last Farewell of Ebenezer Elliston To This Transitory World’, an autobiographical Dublin broadsheet of 1722 preserved now in Archbishop Marsh’s Library, Dublin, and printed by Professor Herbert Davis as an appendix (pp. 363–7) to volume IX of his edition of Swift’s Prose Works; 2 George Faulkner’s headnote to Swift’s broadsheet as published in the 1735 Dublin edition of Swift’s Works;3 and a note appended to the same piece by Thomas Sheridan, the younger, in his 1784 edition of Swift’s Works.4 These last two pieces of information were accepted without question and have been merely paraphrased or summarized by such later editors of Swift’s works as John Nichols, who mistakenly attributed Sheridan’s note to Faulkner, by Sir Walter Scott, and by Temple Scott.5


Criminal Psychology Decent People Deterrent Threat Invidious Comparison Prose Work 
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  1. Irvin Ehrenpreis, ‘Swift’s April Fool for a Bibliophile’, Book-Collector, vol. II (1953), pp. 205–8.Google Scholar
  2. John T. Gilbert, Calendar of Ancient Records of Dublin, (Dublin, 1898), vol. VII, p. 130.Google Scholar
  3. F. Elrington Ball (ed.), The Correspondence of Jonathan Swift, D.D., (London, 1914), vol. III, p. 131.Google Scholar
  4. Herbert Davis (ed.), The Drapier’s Letters (Oxford, 1935), p. 37.Google Scholar
  5. Sir Harold Williams (ed.), The Poems of Jonathan Swift, (Oxford, 1937), vol. I, p. 273.Google Scholar
  6. George Sherburn (ed.), The Correspondence of Alexander Pope, (Oxford, 1956), vol. II, p. 71.Google Scholar
  7. John T. Gilbert, A History of the City of Dublin, (Dublin, 1861), vol. I, p. 265.Google Scholar
  8. J. C. Maxwell, ‘Demigods and Pickpockets: The Augustan Myth in Swift and Rousseau’, in Scrutiny, vol. XI (1942), pp. 34–39.Google Scholar

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© Macmillan & Co. Ltd. 1967

Authors and Affiliations

  • George P. Mayhew

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