The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From Jonathan Swift to Thomas Sheridan - 24

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DUBLIN, MAY 15, 1736.

MRS. Whiteway and I were fretting, raging, storming, and fuming, that you had not sent a letter since you got to your Caban (for the V consonant was anciently a B) I mean Cavan: but however, we mingled pity; for we feared you had run away from school, and left the key under the door. We were much disappointed, that the spring and beginning of summer had not introduced the muses, and that your now walkable roads had not roused your spirits. We are here the happiest people in the universe; we have a year and a half before the club will meet to be revenged farther on the clergy, who never offended them; and in England their parliament are following our steps, only with two or three steps for our one. It is well you have done with the church, but pray take care to get money, else in a year or two more they will forbid all Greek and Latin schools, as popish and jacobite. I took leave of the duke and duchess to day. He has prevailed on us to make a promise to bestow upon England 25,000l. a year for ever, by lowering the gold coin, against the petition of all the merchants, shopkeepers, &c. to a man. May his own estate be lowered the other forty parts, for we now lose by all gold two and a half per cent. He will be a better (that is to say a worse) man by 60,000l. than he was when he came over; and the nation; better (that is to say worse) by above half a million; beside the worthy method he hath taken in disposal of employments in church and state. Here is a cursed long libel running about in manuscript on the legion club; it is in verse, and the foolish town imputes it to me. There were not above thirteen abused (as it is said) in the original; but others have added more, which I never saw; though I have once read the true one, What has Fowlbrother[1] done to provoke you? I either never heard, or have forgot your provocations; but he was a fellow I have never been able to endure. If it can be done, I will have it printed; and the title shall be, "Upon a certain bookseller (or printer) in Utopia." — Mrs. Whiteway will be here to morrow, and she will answer your sincere, open hearted letter very particularly; for which I will now leave room. So adieu for one night.

"I am most sincerely obliged to you for all the civil things yoou have said to me, and of me to the dean. I found the good effects of them this day; when I waited on him, he received me with great good humour, said something had happened since he saw me last, that had convinced him of my merit; that he was sorry he had treated me with so little distinction, and that hereafter I should not be put upon the foot of an humble companion, but treated like a lady of wit and learning, and fortune; that if he could prevail on Dr. Sheridan to part with his wife, he would make her his friend, his nurse, and the manager of his family. I approved entirely of his choice, and at the same time expressed my fears, that it would be impossible for you to think of living without her; this is all that sticks with me. But considering the friendship you express to me for the dean, I hope you will be persuaded to consider his good rather than your own; and send her up immediately; or else it will put him to the expense of giving three shillings and four pence for a wife; and he declares that the badness of pay of his tithes, since the resolutions of the parliament of Ireland, puts this out of his power."

I could not guess why you were so angry at Fowlbrother; till Mrs. Whiteway, who you find is now with me, said it was for publishing some works of yours and mine like a rogue: which is so usual to their trade, that I now am weary of being angry with it. I go on, to desire that Mrs. Donaldson[2] will let me know what I owe her, not in justice but generosity. If you could find wine and victuals, I could be glad to pass some part of the summer with you, if health would permit me; for I have some club enemies, that would be glad to shoot me, and I do not love to be shot: it is a death I have a particular aversion to. But I shall henceforth walk with servants well armed, and have ordered them to kill my killers; however I would have them be the beginners. I will do what I can with Mr. Richardson, who (money excepted) is a very honest man. How is your breathing? As to myself, my life and health are not worth a groat. How shall we get wine to your cabin? I can spare some; and am preparing diaculum to save my skin as far as Cavan; and even, to Belturbet[3]. Pray God preserve you!

I am, &c.

  1. Fairbrother. See the letter by Dr. Swift and Mrs. Whiteway, p. 258, and the subsequent part of this.
  2. An innkeeper at Cavan.
  3. Mr. Richardson's rectory.