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This article examines the literary relationship between the Presbyterian James Arbuckle and the Anglican Jonathan Swift, arguing that Enlightenment praxis was frequently impolite, antagonistic, and rude. It draws on Michael Waner’s notion of a “counterpublic” to isolate the rude Enlightenment which evolved in Ireland in the late 1720s and 1730s. It further contends that the counterpublic developed new modes of polite and sociable living—which we term the Enlightenment—while attracting criticism and distrust from scholastic writers who feared it and wanted to control it. This tension lay at the heart of the Arbuckle-Swift fracas.