Drapier's Letters

Jonathan Swift

upright=1.5|alt=A man sits on a throne with a document in his left hand. The document is also held by a woman crouching before him. The man's feet are on a man looking up. A woman is on the bottom left nursing one child and holding another. At the top of the scene are two cherubims holding a laurel crown. In the background is a cathedral. The caption is "Exegi Monumentum Ære perennius. Hor."|Title page of the 1735 Works. The author is in the Dean's chair receiving the thanks of Ireland. The motto reads, "I have made a monument more lasting than bronze." The word "Ære" means "bronze" or "metal" or "honor" or "air" in Latin and may be a pun on the Irish word for Ireland Éire so that a parallel meaning could mean "I have made a monument to Ireland Forever." Swift was familiar with the Irish language, and translated at least one poem by Carolan, "O'Rorke's Feast." The phrase comes from Horace's Carmina. Drapier's Letters is the collective name for a series of seven pamphlets written between 1724 and 1725 by the Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, Jonathan Swift, to arouse public opinion in Ireland against the imposition of a privately minted copper coinage that Swift believed to be of inferior quality. William Wood was granted letters patent to mint the coin, and Swift saw the licensing of the patent as corrupt. In response, Swift represented Ireland as constitutionally and financially independent of Britain in the Drapier's Letters. Since the subject was politically sensitive, Swift wrote under the pseudonym M. B., Drapier, to hide from retaliation.