Jonathan Swift.

The works of Jonathan Swift .. (Volume 15) online

. (page 21 of 25)
Online LibraryJonathan SwiftThe works of Jonathan Swift .. (Volume 15) → online text (page 21 of 25)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


paft fuccefs, I begin to hope, that in about ten
more, I may eftablifh a right of hearing from
you once a-quarter. The gout neither clears my

head,.



CORRESPONDENCE. 357

head, nor warms my imagination j and I am
afhamed to own to you, how near the truth I
kept, in the defcription of what paffed by my
bed-fide, in the reading of your letter. The fcene
was really fuch as I painted it j and the com-
pany was much better than you feem to think
it. "When I, who pafs a great part, very much
the greateft, of my life alone, faliy forth into the
world, I am very far from expecting to improve
myfelf by the converfation I find there; and itill
farther from caring one jot for what paffcs there.
In fhort, I am no longer the bubble you knew
me ; and therefore, when I mingle in fociety, h
is purely for my amufement. If mankind divert
me (and I defy them to give me your diftemper,
the fpleen) it is all I expect or afk of them. By
this iincere confeifion you may perceive, that
your great mafters of reafon are not "for my
turn; their thorough bafs benumbs my faculties.
I feek the fiddle, or the flute, fomething to raife,
or fomething to calm my fpirits agreeably ; gay
flights, or foothing images. I do not diflike a
fellow, whofe imagination runs away with him,
and who has wit enough to be half mad ; nor
him, who atones for a fcanty imagination, by an
ample fund of oddnefs and fingularity. If good
fenfe, and great knowledge, prevail a little too
much in any character, I defire there may be
at leaft fome latent ridicule, which may be called
forth upon occafion, and render the perfon a
tolerable companion. By this fketcli, you may

judge



358 DEANSWIF T's

judge of my acquaintance. The dead friends,
with whom I pafs my time, you know. The liv-
ing ones are of the fame fort, and therefore few.

I pafs over that part of your letter, which is a
kind of an elegy on a departed minifter * ; and I
promife you folemnly, neither to mention him,
nor think of him more, till I come to do him
juftice in an hiftory of the firft twenty years of
this century, which I believe I fliall write, if I
live three or four years longer. But I muft take
a little more notice of the paragraph which fol-
lows. The verfes I fent you are very bad, be-
caufe they are not very good : Mediocribus ejje
poetis non dii non homines, &c. N I did not fend
them to be admired ; and you would do them
too much honour, if you criticifed them. Pope
took the beft parry ; for he faid not one word
to me about them. All I defire of you, is, to con-
fider them as a proof, that you have never been
out of my thoughts, though you have been fo
long out of my fight ; and if I remember you.
upon paper for the future, it fhall be in profe.

I muft, on this occafion, fet you right, as to
an opinion, which I (hould be very forry to have
you entertain concerning me. The term efprli
forty in Englifli, Free-thinker, is, according to
my obfervation, ufually applied to them, whom
I looked upon to be the pefts of fociety ; becaufe
their endeavours are directed to loofen the bands
of it, and to take at leaft one curb out of the

mouth,

* The Earl of Oxford, whc died in June 1724.



CORRESPONDENCE.



359



mouth of that wild beaft, man, when it would
be well if he was checked by half a fcore others.
Nay, they go farther. Revealed religion is a
lofty and pompous ftructure, creeled clofe to the
humbb and plain building of natural religion.
Some have objected to you, who are the archi-
tects, et les concierges, (we want that word in Erf-
glifli) of the former, to you who build, or at
leaft repair the houfe, and who fhew the rooms,
that, to ftrengthen fome parts of your own
building, you (hake, and even flip the foundation
of the other. And between you and I, Mi*
Dean, this charge may be juftified in fever.il in-
ftances \ but ftill your intention is not to demo-
lifh : Whereas the efpritfort, or the free-thinker,
is fet upon pulling down your houfe about your
ears ; that if he was let alone, he would deftroy
the other for being fo near it, and mingle both,
in one common ruin. I, therefore, not only dif-
own, but deteft this character. If, indeed, by
efprit fort, or free- thinker, you only mean a
man, who makes-a free ufe of his reafon, who
fearches after truth without paffion or prejudice,
and adheres inviolably to it, you mean a wife
and honeft man, and fuch an one as I labour to
be. The faculty of dilHnguifhing between right
and wrong, true and falfe, which we call reafon,
or common fcnfe, which is given to every man by
our bountiful Creator, and which moft men lofe
by neglect, is the light of the mind, and ought to
guide all operations of it. To abandon this rule,

and



3 6o D E A N S W I F T's

and to guide our thoughts by any other, is full a$
abfurd, as it would be, if you flioulcl put out your
eyes, and borrow even the beft ftaff that ever was
in the family of the ftaffs, when you fet out upon
one of your dirty journies. Such free-thinkers
as thefe, I am fure you cannot, even in your
apoftolical capacity, difapprove : For fmce the
truth of the Divine revelation of Chriftianity is
as evident, as matters of fact, on the belief of
which fo much depends, ought to be, and agree-
able to all our ideas of juftice, thefe free-thinkers
muft needs be Chriftians, on the .beft foundation ;
on that, which St Paul himfelf eftablifhed, I
think it was St Paul, Omnia probate t quod botium
eft tenete.

But you have a further fecurity from thefe
free-thinkers, I do not fay a better, and it is this :
The perfons I am defcribing, think for themfelves,
and to themfelves. Should they unhappily not
be convinced by your arguments, yet .they will
certainly think it their duty, not to diftuvb the
peace of the world, by oppofing you *. The
i peace

* Not with (landing the declarations made by Lord Roline-
broke in this letter, he left his writings againft relirion to
Mr Mallet, with a view to their being publilhed, as appears by
his will ; and with a pofitive and direct injunction, to publifh



them, as appears by a letter from M



Vifcount Cornbury, now in the Bri (h Mufeum. We have



therefore his Lordfnip's own authority
of the pefts of fociety, even if the opin
vanced againft religion, are true ; for
dire&ed to loofsn the band of it, and



Mallet to Lord Hyde,



o fay, that he was one
ons, which he has acl-
s endeavour is certainly
o take at leaft one curb



CORRESPONDENCE. 361

peace and happinefs of mankind is the great aim
of thefe free-thinkers ; and, therefore, as thofe
among them, who remain incredulous, will not
oppofe you, fo thofe, whom reafon, enlightened
by grace, has made believers, may be forry, and
may exprefs their farrow, as I have done, to fee
religion perverted to purpofes, fo contrary to her
true intention, and firft defign. Can a good
Chriftian behold the miniiters of the meek and
humble Jefus, exercilmg an infolent and crutl
ufurpation over their brethren ? Or the meflcn-
gers of peace and good news, fctting all mankind
VOL. XV. H h together

out of the mouth of tint wild beaft, man. Exprefsly to direct
the publication of writings, which, he believe;], \vf".:! 1 uibv.rt
the morals and the happinefs of fociety, at a f. is \ ' .-I he
could derive no private advantage fi s per-

haps an al of vvickednefs more purely diabolical, tban ;my hi-
therto upon record i'.i the hiftory of any ^; v Mal'ct
had a pecuniary teiriptulion to afTaffinaie the morals ai.d happi-
ncfs of his country, at Bolingbroke's indication : His crime there-
fore is not equally a proof of natural cL-piavit;-, though it is iin-
poffible to fuppofe he lu :l leii, co-ividion of the mifchief he was
doing; and it is a!fo in-.poffihle to fuppofe, that he could fe-
rioufly think any obligation to print Boiingbroke's infidelity, in
copfeqnenre of his injunction, equivalent to the obligation he
\va<; under to fnp,refs it, arifing from l! . ';, as a
man, he ovvd to human nature.

The paragraph in Lord Bolingbroke's will, by which. I is
writings are bequeathed to Mallet; the letttr, which Lord
Corubury wrote to Mallet, upon hearing he was about to pu-
Ki:h the letters, including thofe on Sacred Hiffory, and MalL-t's
anfwer, are, for the reader's fatisfaftir.n, printed at the end of
this co'.kftion. Lord Cornbury's letter is a monument, that
will do more honour to his memory, than all that mere wit or
valour has atchieved fince the world bejan.



362 DEAN SWIFT's

together by the ears ? Or that religion, which
breathes charity and univerfal benevolence, fpill-
ing more blood, upon reflection, and by fyftem,
than the moft barbarous Heathen ever did, in the
heat of aftion, and fury of conqueft ? Can he
behold all this without an holy indignation, and
not be criminal ? Nay, when he turns his eyes
from thofe tragical fcenes, and confiders the ordi-
nary tenour of things, do you not think he will be
fhocked to obferve metaphyfics fubftituted to the
theory, and ceremony to the practice of moralty ?

I make no doubt but you are by this time
abundantly convinced of my orthodoxy, and that
you will name me no more in the fame breath
with Spinofa, whofe fyftem of one infinite fub-
ftance I defpife and abhor, as I have a right to
do, becaufe I am able to fhew why I defpife and
abhor it.

You defire me to return home ; and you pro-
mife me, in that cafe, to come to London, loaden.
with your travels. I am forry to tell you, that
London is, in my apprehenfion, as little likely as
Dublin to be our place of rendezvous. The rea-
fons for this apprehenfion I pafs over ; but 1 can-
not agree to what you advance with the air of a
maxim, that exile is the greateft punilament to
men of virtue, becaufe virtue confifts in loving
our country. Examine the nature of this love,
from whence it arifes, how it is nourifhed, what
the bounds and rneafures of it are ; and that, you
will difcover, hpw far it is virtue, and where it

becomes



CORRESPONDENCE. 363

becomes fimplicity, prejudice, folly, and even
enthunafm. A virtuous man in exile, may pro-
perly enough be ftilejd unfortunate, but he can-
not be culled unhappy. You remember the rea-
fon which Brutus gave, becaufe, wherever he
goes, he carries his virtue with him. There is a
certain bulky volume, .which grows daily, and
the title of which muft, I think, be Noftfs Gallic^.
There you may perhaps one day or other lee a
diiTertation upon this fubject : And to return you
threatening for threatening, you fhall be forced
to read it out, though you yawn from the firft to-
the laft page.

The word Ireland was ftruck out of the paper
you mention ; that is, to fatisfy your curiofity,
and to kindle it a-new, I will tell you, that this
anecdote, which I know not how you came by,
is neither the only one, nor the moft confiderable
one of the fame kind. The perfon you are fo in-
qui:iuve about *, returns into England the latter
end of October. She has fo great a-mind to fee
you, that I am not fure fhe will not undertake -a
journey to Dublin. It is not fo far from Lon-
don to Dublin, as from Spain to Padua j and
you are as well worth feeing as Livy. But I had
much rather you would leave the humid climate,
and the dull company, in which, according to
your account, a man might grow old between
twenty and thirty. Set your foot on that con*
tinent j I dare promife, that you will, in a fort-
II h 2 night,

* His Lordihip's fecond wife, a French Ludy.



364 DEAN SWIFT's

night, have gone back the terv years you lament
fo much, and be returned to that age, at which
I left you. With what pleafure fliould I hear
you inter vina fugatn Stella tnoerere froterva ?
Adieu.



LETTER CCCXXVII.

EDWARD EARL OF OXFORD TO DR SWIFT.

GOOD MR DEAN, Wimpole, Nov. 2, 1724.

THERE has nothing of late given me fo
much real trouble and uneafinefs, as my
having fo long deferred writing to you, to make
my acknowledgements for your moft kind letter ;
and to allure you, that I took every part of your
obliging letter, in the manner you would wifh me
to do : I muft fay, that amidft my grief and con-
cern, it gave me a fecret pleafure to find, that I
was thought of by you ; and, what was a great
addition, that you ftill retained the fame thoughts
and fentiments of my dear father, and that you
had not laid afide the defign you once entertain-
ed, of tranfmitting his name and ftory to pofte-
rity. I did delay writing fome time, becaufe I
was in great hopes I (hould have been able to
have given you a much more fatisfaclory account
than I am now able to give, notwithstanding the
fearch I have made in anfwer to your queftion,
** If he had left any memoirs behind him " 1 fup-

pofe



CORRESPONDENCE. 365

pofe you mean in relation to himfelf. I have not
yet been able to find any among his papers in
town. This, with fome other affairs, drew the
time into the length it is ; but I aflure you, if I
have the fatisfaction to hear from you again, (as I
hope I mall), I will be more punctual in my re-
turns ; for I will allow nobody to value and eiteem
you more than I do.

There is certainly a very great number of ma-
terials for a hiftory, a vaft collection of letters
and other papers, a great deal may be ' fupplied
elfevvhere : But give me leave to fay, that if you
do not come into England, nothing can be done ;
it will not be poifible to do any tiling to purpofc.
Without this view, there would be no body more
welcome to me than yourfelf ; you mould live in
your own way, and do juft what was moft agree-
able to you : I have houfes enough, you ihall
take your choice : I muft with earneftnefs repeat
it to you again, that I beg you will think of this^
matter frrioufly.

As to what you mention of the piclure, I have
often heard my father fky, that he did defiga
to fit for you, but did not : I fhall certainly take
care that you (hall have a picture, and a good,
one. Pray let me know what fixe you would
have it of: If you ddign it mould fit any parti-
cular place, you muft fend me the exacl: meaiine
of the place.

Your fitter *, as you ufed to call her, is much
H h 3 yoiu-

* Lady Oxford.



366 DEAN S W I F T's

your fervant ; fhe has been at the Bath for fome
time ; fhe is better than whn fhe went. I fup-
pofe you hear fometimes from our friend Mr
Pope J . He has taken another voyage into Homer-
land *, as Gay calls it ; I wifli he may make an
advantageous voyage of it.

I doubt you will fay, that fince I was fo long
before I began to write, that, now I have begun,
I do not know when to end ; I will therefore tell
you, that I am, with great truth, Sir, your mort
obedient humble fervant, OXFORD.

I defire your acceptance of a ring, a fmall re-
membrance of my father. How lhall I fend it
you ?



LETTER CCCXXVIII. f

DR SWIFT TO DR SHERIDAN.

Jan. 25, 1725.

I HAVE a packet of letters, which I intended
to fend by Molly, who hath been ftopt three
days by the bad weather j but now I will fend
them by the poft to-morrow, to Kells, and in-
clofed to Mr Tickell | ; there is one to you, and
one to James Stopford.

I

Tranflation of the Odyfley.
f This teems to be written from Qnilca.
J Thomas Tickell, Efq; a very ingenious poet, fecretnry to
tie Lords Juflices of Ireland.



CORRESPONDENCE. 367

I can do no work this terrible weather ; which
hath put us all feventy times out of patience.
I have been deaf nine days, and am now pretty
well recovered again.

Pray defire Mr Stanton *, and Worral f, to
continue giving themfelves fome trouble with Mr
Pratt J ; but let it fucceed or not, I hope I fhall
be eafy.

Mrs Johnfon fwears it will rain till Michael-
mas. She is fo pleafed with her pick-ax, that
fhe wears it fattened to her girdle, on her left
fide, in balance with her watch. The lake is
ftrangely overflown, and we- are defperate about
turf, being forced to buy it three miles off: And
Mrs Johnfon (God help her !) gives you many a
curfe. Your mafon is come, but cannot yet
work upon your garden. Neither can I agree
with him about the great wall. For the reft-, vide
the letter you will have on Monday, if Mr Tic-
kell ufes you well.

The news of this country is, that the maid you
fent down, John Farrelly's fifter, is married ;
but the portion and fettlement are yet a fecret.
The cows here never give milk on mid-fummer-
eve .

You would wonder, what carking and caring
there is among us, for fmall beer, and lean mut-
ton,

* Dr Stanton, a Matter in Chancery.
f The Rev. Mi- John Worral, the Dean's Vicar.
J Deputy Vice-treafurer of lrd;inci.

Being the time maids go out to try pranks about their
facet-hearts. Hati'lcf.



3 68 D E A N S W I F T ' s

ton, and ftarved lamb, and flopping gaps, and
driving cattle from the corn. In that we are all
to-be-Dingleyed.

The ladies room fmokes ; the raindrops from r
the fkies into the kitchen ; our fervants eat and
drink like the devil, and pray for rain, which
entertains them at cards and fleep ; which are
irmch lighter than fpades, fledges and crows.
Their maxim is,

Eat like a Turk,

Sleep like a dormoufe ;

Be laft.at work,

At victuals foremoft. '

Which is all at prefent ; hoping you and your
good family are well, as we, &c. are all at this
prefent writing, &c.

Robin has juft carried out a load of bread and
cold meat for breakfaft. This is their way ; .but
nov a cloud hangs over them, for fear it fhould
hold up, and the clouds blow off.

I write on till Molly comes in for the letter.
O, what a draggle-tail will fhe be before fhe gets
to Dublin'! I wilh Ihe may not happen to fall
upon her back by the way.

I affirm againft Ariftotle, that cold and rain,
congregate homogenes ; for "they gather together
you and your crew, at whifr, punch and claret.
Happy weather for Mrs Man, Betty, and Stop-
ford, and all true lovers of cards and lazinefs.

c 'ki-



CORRESPONDENCE. 369

The bleffings of a country- lift.

Far from our debtors,
No Dublin letters,
No: feen by our betters.

The plagues of a country- life.

A companion with news,
A great want of fhoes ;
Eat lean meat, or chufe
A church without pews.
Our horfes aftray,
. No ftraw, oats, or hay ;
December in May,
Our boys run away,
All fervants at play,

Molly fends for the letter.



LETTER CCCXXIX.

TO MRS PRATT.

MADAM, March 18, 1724-5.

MRS FITZMORRICE did the unkindeft
thing fhe could imagine ; fhe fends an
open note by a fervant, (for fhe was too much a
prnde to write me a letter), directing me to en-
quire for one Howard, mafter of a fhip, who

had



370 DEANSWIF T's

had brought over a fcreen to me, from Mrs
Pratt. Away I ran to the cuftom-houfe, where
they told me the {hip was expefted every day :
But the 'God of winds, in confederacy with Mrs
Fitzmorrice, to teaze me, kept the fliip at leaft a
month longer, and left me miferable, in a rtate
of impatience, between hope and fear, worfe
than a lady who apprehends her cloaths will
not be ready againft the birth-day.

I will not move your good-nature, by repre-
fenting how many reftlefs days and nights I have
pafled, with what dreams my fleep hath been di-
fturbed, when I fometimes faw the fhip finking,
and my fcreen floating in the fea, and the mer-
maids ftruggling which of them ihould get it. At
laft Mr Medlicott *, whofe heart inclines him to
pity the diftrefied, gave me notice of its fafe arri-
val. He interpofed his authority ; and, over-
ruling the tedious forms of the cuftom-houfe,
fent me my fcreen to 'the deanry : Where it was
immediately opened, on Tuefday the i6th inftant,
three minutes, feven feconds, after four o'clock,
the day being fair, but fo me what windy, the fun
in Aries, and the moon within thirty-nine hours
eight feconds and a half of being full. AH which
I find, by confulting Ptolemy, to be fortunate
incidents, and that, with due care, my fcreen
\vill efcape the mops of the houfemaid, and the
greafy hands of the footmen.

At the opening of the fcreen, juft after dinner,
fome company of both fexes were prefent. The

ladies

* One of the Commiflioners of the Cuftoms.



CORRESPONDENCE. 371

ladies were full of malice, and the men of envy,
while I v/as very affecledly crum. But all agreed,
that nothing fhewed a better judgment, than to
know how to make a proper prefent:, and that no
prefenL could be more judiciuufly chofen. For
no man in this kingdom wanted a fcreen fo much
as myfelf : And, beiides, fince I had left the
world, it was very kind to fend the world to me.
As for my own part, I confefs I never expected
to be flickered by the world, when I have been
fo long endeavouring to fhelter Tnyfelf from it.
See how ill you beftow your favours, when you
meet with nothing but complaints and reproaches,
Inftead of acknowledgments, for thinking, in the
midft of Courts, upon an abfent infignificant
man, buried in obfcurity. But I know it is as
hard to give thanks, as to take them : Therefore
I (hall fay no more, than that I receive your ac-
ceptable prefent, juft as I am fure you defire I
fhould. But I cannot promife that it will add
one jot to the love and efteem I have for you ;
bocaufe it is impoffible for me to be more than I
have always been,

MADAM,

Your's, &c.



LET



372 D E A N S W I F T's



LETTER CCCXXX.

TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE LORD CARTERET
LORJ) LIEUTENANT OF IRELAND.

MY LORD, Deanry-loiijt, April 17, 1725,

I HAVE been fo long affliaed with a deaf -
nefs, and at prefent with a giddinefs in my
head, (both old diftempers) that I have not been
able to attend your Excellency and my Lady
Carteret, as my inclination and duty oblige r^e;
and I am now haftening into the country, to try
what exercife, and better air, will do towards my
recovery. Not knowing how long I may be ab-
fent, or how foon you may think fit to leave this
kingdom, I take this occafion of returning your
Excellency, .and my Lady Carteret, my moft
humble acknowledgements, for your great civilities
towards me, which I wifh it were in my power
to deferve.

I have only one humble requeft to make to
your Excellency, which I had in my heart ever
fince you were nominated Lord Lieutenant ; and
it is in favour of Mr Sheridan. I beg you will
take your time for beftowing on him fome
church-living, to the value of 150!. per annum.
He is agreed on all hands, to have done more
public fervice, by many degrees, in the education
of lads, than any five of his vocation ; and has
much more learning, than ufually falls to the fhare
i of



CORRESPONDENCE. 373

of thofe who profefs teaching, being perfectly
ikilled in the Greek, as well as Latin tongue,
and acquainted with all the ancient writers, in
poetry, philofophy, and hiftory. He is a man
of good fenfe, modefty, and virtue. His great-
eft fault is a wife and four children, for which
there is no excufe, but that a wife is thought ne-
ceflary to a fchoolmafter. His conftitution is fo
weak, that, in a few years, he muft give up his
bufinefs ; and probably muft ftarve, without Tome
preferment, for which he is an ill folicitor. My
Lord Bifhop of Elphin, hath promifed to re-
commend this requeft to your Excellency. And
I hope you will pleafe to believe, that it proceeds
wholly from juftice and humanity, for he is nei-
ther a dependent nor relation of mine.

I humbly take my leave, and remain, with the
utmoft refpecl,

MY LORD, &c.



LETTER CCCXXXI.

DR SWIFT TO DR SHERIDAN.



June 28, 1725.

YOU run out of your time fo merrily, that
you are forced to anticipate it, like a
young heir, that fpends his fortune fafter than
it comes in : For your letter is dated to-morrow,
June 29, and God knows when it was writ, or
VOL. XV. I i what



374 DEAN S W I F T's

what Saturday you mean : But I fuppofe it is the
next; and therefore your own mare, and Dr
Swift's horfe or mare, or fome other horfe or
mare, with your own mare aforefaid, ihall fet
out on Wednefday next, which will be June 30 ;
and fo they will have two nights refr, if you be-
gin your journey on Saturday. You are an un-
lucky devil^to get a li-ving the furtheft iu the
kingdom fiom Qnilca *. If it be worth two
hundred pounds a- year, my Lord i.iemennnt
hath but barely kept his word ; for the ofher
fifty muft go in a curate and vifitation-charges,
and proxes (proxies I mean). If you are under
the Bifliop of Corke f, he is a capricious gentle-
man : But you muft flatter him monftrouily,
upon his learning and his writings ; that you have
read his book againft Toland, a hundred times ;
and his fermons, (if he' has printed any) have
been always your model, Sec. be not difappoint-
ed, if your living does not anfwer the Turn. Get
letters of recommendation to the Bifhop, and
principal clergy, and to your neighbouring par-


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 21 23 24 25

Online LibraryJonathan SwiftThe works of Jonathan Swift .. (Volume 15) → online text (page 21 of 25)