The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Charles Ford to Jonathan Swift - 1

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If Barber be not a very great blockhead, I shall soon send you a letter in print, in answer to your last: I hope it may be next post, for he had it on Sunday. I took care to blot the ees out of onely and the as out of scheame, which I suppose is the meaning of your question, whether I corrected it? I do not know any other alteration it wanted; and I made none except in one paragraph, that I changed the present to the past tense four times, and I am not sure I did right in it neither. There is so great a tenderness and regard shown all along to the ——[2], that I could have wished this expression had been out ["the uncertain timorous nature of the ——[2]"]. But there was no striking it out without quite spoiling the beauty of the passage: and as if I had been the author myself, I preferred beauty to discretion. I really think it is at least equal to any thing you have writ[3]; and I dare say it will do great service as matters stand at present.

The colonel[4] and his friends give the game for lost on their side; and I believe by next week we shall see lord Bolingbroke at the head of affairs. The bishop of Rochester is to be lord privy seal. They talk of several other alterations, as that my lord Trevor is to be president of the council; lord Abingdon, chamberlain: lord Anglesey, lord lieutenant of Ireland; that Mr. Bromley[5] is to go out, and a great many more in lesser employments. I fancy these reports are spread to draw in as many as they can to oppose the new scheme. I can hardly think any body will be turned out of the cabinet, except the treasurer and the privy seal[6]. Perhaps my lord Poulet[7] may lay down. Certainly the secretary may continue in, if he pleases, and I do not hear that he is disposed to resign, or that he is so attached to any minister, as to enter into their resentments. What has John of Bucks[8] done? and yet the report is very strong, that he is to be succeeded by my lord Trevor[9]. The duke of Shrewsbury was one out of eight or nine lords, that stood by my lord Bolingbroke yesterday, in the debate about the Spanish treaty, and spoke with a good deal of spirit. Is it likely he is to be turned out of all? The lords have made a representation to the queen, in which they desire her to surmount the insurmountable difficulties the Spanish trade lies under by the last treaty. It is thought there was a majority in the house to have prevented such a reflection upon the treaty, if they had come to a division. The clamour of the merchants, whig and tory, has been too great to have passed a vote in vindication of it, as it stands ratified. But my lord Anglesey and his squadron seemed willing to oppose any censure of it; and yet this representation was suffered to pass, nobody knows how. To day they are to take into consideration the queen's answer to their address, desiring to know who advised her to ratify the explanation of the three articles? She sent them word she thought there was little difference between that and what was signed at Utrecht. When they rise I will tell you what they have done. The last money bill was sent up yesterday; so that in all probability the parliament will be up in two or three days, and then we shall be entertained with court affairs. I hope you got mine last post, and one a fortnight ago. Will the change of the ministry affect Elwood? He is in pain about it. I am told the people of Ireland are making a strong opposition against the present provost.

The consideration of the queen's answer is deferred till to morrow. I am now with lord Guilford and three other commissioners of trade, who were examined to day at the bar of the house of lords. They are prodigiously pleased with what has been done. But I do not understand it well enough to give you an account of it. For the rapture they are in hinders them from explaining themselves clearly. I can only gather from their manner of discourse, that they are come off without censure.

  1. The year is omitted, but it should be 1714. This letter is endorsed, "Affairs go worse."
  2. 2.0 2.1 These blanks are thus in the original. Query, should the word be queen?
  3. Dr. Hawkesworth, in a note on this passage says, "It is not known that the dean published any thing at this time, except the "Free Thoughts." It is therefore probable that this tract was printing, or printed, when the dean suppressed it for the reasons mentioned before. The words, however, which Mr. Ford says he could have wished to have blotted out, but spared for the beauty of the passage, are not to be found in the copy printed in the dean's works; nor is it easy to determine where they originally stood." The tract, however, alluded to by Mr. Ford, we may venture to assert, was not the 'Free Thoughts;' but much more probably some pamphlet that was then actually published. N.
  4. Lord Oxford.
  5. Secretary for the northern provinces.
  6. Lord Dartmouth.
  7. Lord steward.
  8. John Sheffield, duke of Buckinghamshire.
  9. Lord chief justice of the common pleas.