The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 12/From John Gay to Jonathan Swift - 23

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LONDON, MAY 19, 1732.

TO MORROW we set out for Amesbury, where I propose to follow your advice, of employing myself about some work against next winter. You seemed not to approve of my writing more fables. Those I am now writing, have a prefatory discourse before each of them, by way of epistle, and the morals, of them mostly are of the political kind; which makes them run into a greater length than those I have already published. I have already finished fifteen or sixteen; four or five more would make a volume of the same size as the first. Though this is a kind of writing that appears very easy, I find it is the most difficult of any that I ever undertook. After I have invented one fable, and finished it, I despair of finding out another; but I have a moral or two more, which I wish to write upon. I have also a sort of scheme to raise my finances by doing something for the stage: with this, and some reading, and a great deal of exercise, I propose to pass my summer. I am sorry it must be without you. Why cannot you come and saunter about the downs a horseback, in the autumn, to mark the partridges for me to shoot for your dinner? Yesterday I received your letter, and notwithstanding your reproaches of laziness, I was four or five hours about business, and did not spend a shilling in a coach or chair. I received a year's interest on your two bonds, which is 8l. I have four of my own. I have deposited all of them in the hands of Mr. Hoare, to receive the half year's interest at Michaelmas. The premium of the bonds is fallen a great deal since I bought yours. I gave very near 6l. on each bond, and they are now sold for about 50s. Every thing is very precarious, and I have no opinion of any of their publick securities; but, I believe, the parliament next year intend to examine the South sea scheme. I do not know, whether it will be prudent to trust our money there till that time. I did what I could to assist Mr. Ryves; and I am very glad that he has found justice. Lord Bathurst spoke for him, and was very zealous on bringing on his cause. The duchess intended to write in my last letter, but she set out all on a sudden, to take care of lord Drumlanrig[1], who was taken ill of the smallpox at Winchester school. He is now perfectly well recovered (for he had a favourable kind) to the great joy of our family. I think she ought, as she intends, to renew her correspondence with you at Amesbury. I was at Dawley on Sunday. Lady Bolingbroke continues in a very bad state of health, but still retains her spirits. You are always remembered there with great respect and friendship. Mrs. Pope is so worn out with old age, but without any distemper, that I look upon her life as very uncertain. Mr. Pope's state of health is much in the same way as when you left him. As for myself, I am often troubled with the colick. I have as much inattention, and have, I think, lower spirits than usual, which I impute to my having no one pursuit in life. I have many compliments to make you from the duke and duchess, and lords Bolingbroke, Bathurst, sir William Wyndham, Mr. Pulteney, Dr. Arbuthnot, Mr. Lewis, &c. Every one of them is disappointed in your not coming among us. I have not seen dean Berkeley, but have read his book[2], and like many parts of it; but in general think, with you, that it is too speculative, at least for me. Dr. Delany I have very seldom seen; he did not do me the honour to advise with me about any thing he has published. I like your thoughts upon these sort of writings; and I should have advised him, as you did, though I had lost his good opinion. I write in very great haste; for I have many things to do before I go out of town. Pray make me as happy as you can, and let me hear from you often. But I am still in hopes to see you, and will expect a summons one day or other to come to Bristol, in order to be your guide to Amesbury.

  1. Her son.
  2. Alciphron: or, The Minute Philosopher. Printed at London, in 1732, in two volumes 8vo.