He was born in Wareham, Massachusetts and moved with his parents to Lebanon, Connecticut. He completed preparatory studies and graduated from Yale College in 1778. He studied law, was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Windham.
He served in the State’s House of Representatives serving as speaker in 1792, and clerk of the house for four sessions. Swift represented Connecticut in the U.S. House from 1793 until 1797 as a Pro-Administration candidate to the Third Congress and as a Federalist to the Fourth Congress (March 4, 1793-March 3, 1797).
He resumed the practice of law at Windham, and engaged in literary pursuits. He served as secretary of the French mission in 1800. Swift was a judge of the Connecticut Supreme Court beginning in 1801 and served as the Chief Justice from 1806 to 1819. He was a member of the Hartford Convention in 1814-15, and a member of the State’s House of Representatives 1820-1822.
One might think that the Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court would know a thing or two about the law, and it was he who wrote, 6 years after the ratification of the US Constitution, A system of the laws of the state of Connecticut: in six books (1795) which says:
The people are considered as aliens, born in some foreign country, as inhabitants of some neighbouring state in the union, or natural born subjects, born within the state.
It is an established maxim, received by all political writers, that every person owes a natural allegiance to the government of that country in which he is born. Allegiance is defined to be a tie, that binds the subject to the state, and in consequence of his obedience, he is entitled to protection…
The children of aliens, born in this state, are considered as natural born subjects, and have the same rights with the rest of the citizens.
Pg. 163, 167