The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Erasmus Lewis to Jonathan Swift - 9

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SIR,
WHITEHALL, JULY 27, 1714.
 


I HAVE yours of the twenty-fifth. You judge very right; it is not the going out, but the manner, that enrages me. The queen has told all the lords the reasons of her parting with him, viz. that he neglected all business; that he was seldom to be understood; that when he did explain himself, she could not depend upon the truth of what he said; that he never came to her at the time she appointed; that he often came drunk; that lastly, to crown all, he behaved himself toward her with bad manners, indecency, and disrespect. Pudet hæc opprobria nobis, &c.

I am distracted with the thoughts of this, and the pride of the conqueror[1]. I would give the world I could go out of town to morrow; but the secretary says, I must not go till he returns, which will not be till the sixteenth of August, or perhaps the twenty-third; but I am in hopes I may go toward Bath the sixteenth.

The runners are already employed to go to all the coffeehouses. They rail to the pit of Hell. I am ready to burst for want of vent.

The stick[2] is yet in his hand, because they cannot agree who shall be the new commissioners. We suppose the blow will be given to night, or to morrow morning. The sterility of good and able men is incredible. When the matter is over, I will wait upon our she friend[3]. If she receives me as usual, I will propose to her, that I will serve where I do, provided I may be countenanced, and at full liberty to pay my duty to all the Harleian family in the same manner I used to do. If that is not allowed me in the utmost extent, consistent with my trust here, I will propose an employment in the revenues, or to go out without any thing; for I will not be debarred going to him. If she does not receive me as she used to do, I will never go again. I flatter myself she will be so friendly as to enter into the consideration of my private circumstances, and preserve her old goodness to me.

There is no seeing the dragon till he is out, and then I will know his thoughts about your coming to Brampton. I hear he goes out of town instantly to Wimple, and my lady to Brampton; that he will join her there, after a few days stay at Wimple. Adieu.

  1. Lord Bolingbroke.
  2. On the night of Tuesday, July 27, the day on which this letter is dated, a cabinet council was held (after the earl of Oxford had resigned the staff, which he did on that day) to consult what persons to put in commission for the management of the treasury. The number to be five. Sir William Wyndham, chancellor of the exchequer, was to be one; but they could not agree in the choice of the other four. Their debate about the matter lasted till near two o'clock in the morning, at which the queen being present, it raised a violent agitation in her spirits, which affected her head.
  3. Lady Masham.