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THE PRINTER'S ADVERTISEMENT.
WHEN Dr. Swift was ar sir Arthur Acheson's, at Markethill, in the county of Armagh, an old gentleman was recommended to him, as being a remarkable cavalier in the reigns of Charles II, James II, and William III ; who had behaved with great loyalty and bravery in Scotland during the troubles of those reigns, but was neglected by the government, although he deserved great rewards from it. As he was reduced in his circumstances, Dr. Swift made him a handsome present; but said at the same time, “Sir, this trifle cannot support you long, and your “ friends may grow tired of you; therefore I would “ have you contrive some honest means of getting a “ sum of money, sufficient to put you into a way of “ life of supporting yourself with independency in
your old age.” To which captain Creichton (for that was the gentleman's name) answered, “ I have “ tired all my friends, and cannot expect any such “extraordinary favours.” Then Dr. Swift replied, “Sir, I have heard much of your adventures ; that
they are fresh in your memory; that you can “ tell them with great humour; and that you have “ taken memorandums of them in writing.” To which the captain said, “I have; but no one can “ understand them but myself.” Then Dr. Swift rejoined, “Sir, get your manuscripts, read them to me, and tell me none but genuine stories; and
« then I will place them in order for you, prepare “ them for the press, and endeavour to get you a “ subscription among my friends, as you may do “ among your own.” The captain soon after waited on the dean with his papers, and related many adventures to him; which the dean was so kind as to put in order of time, to correct the style, and make a small book of, entitled, The MEMOIRS OF CAPTAIN John Creichton. A subscription was immediately set on foot, by the dean's interest and recommendation, which raised for the captain above two hundred pounds, and made the remaining part of his life very happy and easy.
TO THE READER.
THE author of these Memoirs, captain John Creichton, is still alive, and resides in the northern part of this kingdom. He is a very honest and worthy man, but of the old stamp; and it is probable that some of his principles will not relish very well in the present disposition of the world. His memoirs are therefore to be received like a posthumous work, and as containing facts, which very few alive, except himself, can remember : upon which account, none of his generous subscribers are, in the least, answerable for many opinions, relating to the publick, both in church and state, which he seems to justify; and in the vindication of which, to the hazard of his life, and the loss of his fortune, he spent the most useful part of his days. Principles, as the world goes, are little more than fashion ; and the apostle tells us, that “ the fashion of this world passeth away." We read with pleasure the memoirs of several authors, whose party we disapprove, if they be written with nature and truth. Curious men are desirous to see what can be said on both sides ; and even the virulent flat relation of Ludlow, though written in the spirit of rage, prejudice, and vanity, does not want its advocates. This inclines me to think, that the memoirs of captain Creichton may not be unacceptable to the curious of erery party; because, from my knowledge of the man, and the testimony of several considerable persons, of different political denominations, I am confident, that he has not inserted one passage or circumstance, which he did not know, or, from the best intelligence he could get, believe to be true.
These Meinoirs are therefore offered to the world in their native simplicity. And it was not with little difficulty, that the author was persuaded by his friends to recollect and put them in order, chiefly for his own justification, and partly by the importunity of several eminent gentlemen, who had a mind that they should turn to some profit to the author.
The captain, having made over all his little estate to a beloved daughter, upon her marriage, on the condition of being entertained in her house for the small remainder of his life, has put it out of his own power, either to supply his incidental wants, to pay some long contracted debts, or to gratify his
generous nature in being farther useful to his family: on which accounts, he desires to return his most humble thanks to his worthy subscribers ; and hopes they will consider him no farther than as an honest, well meaning man, who, by his own personal courage and conduct, was able to distinguish himself, under many disadvantages, to a degree, that few private lives have been attended with so many singular and extraordinary
Beside the great simplicity in the style and manner of the author, it is a very valuable circumstance, that his plain relation corrects many mistaken passages in other historians, which have too long passed for truths; and whoever impartially compares both, will probably decide in the captain's favour: for, the memory of old men is seldom deceived, in what passed in their youth and vigour of age: and if he
has, at any time, happened to be mistaken in circumstances of time or place (with neither of which I can charge him) it was certainly against his will. Some of his own personal distresses and actions, which he has related, might be almost the subject of a tragedy.
Upon the whole, comparing great things to small, I know not any memoirs that more resemble those of Philip de Comines (which have received so universal approbation) than these of captain Creichton ; which are told in a manner equally natural, and with equal appearance of truth, although, I confess, upon affairs in a more obscure scene, and of less importance.