The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From Theophilus Bolton to Jonathan Swift - 1

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I SUPPOSE by this time you have been informed, that Mr. Dunkin[2] was ordained here last Thursday, and that your recommendations got the better of my prejudices to his unhappy genius; which, I hope will in some degree convince you, that your power over me is not yet quite worn out.

It is one of the greatest evils that attends those whom fortune has forsaken, that their friends forsake them too: and let me tell you, that your not seeing me the whole winter I was last in Dublin, was not a less mortification to me, than all the hard sayings of the great parliament orators. However, I must own your taking any occasion to write to me at all, has made some amends; for though you seem designedly to cover it, I think I perceive some little marks of that former kindness, which I once pleased myself to have had a share in with your lawyer friends. When I conversed with politicians, I learned, that it was not prudent to seem fond of what one most desires: for which reason, I would not tell you, that if this accident of your poetical friend should open a way to our frequent meeting together again, and being put upon the old foot, as when I was your subject at St. Patrick's[3], I should think myself the happiest man in the world; but this I will say, that if it falls out so, this last heavy period of my life will be much more tolerable than it is at present.

I am now wholly employed in digging up rocks, and making the way easier to my church; which if I can succeed in, I design to repair a very venerable old fabrick, that was built here in the time of our ignorant (as we are pleased to call them) ancestors. I wish this age had a little of their piety, though we gave up, instead of it, some of our immense erudition. What if you spent a fortnight here this summer? I have laid aside all my country politicks, sheriffs elections, feasts, &c. And I fancy, it would not be disagreeable to you, to see king Cormack's chapel, his bedchamber, &c. all built, beyond controversy, above eight hundred years ago, when he was king, as well as archbishop. I really intend to lay out a thousand pounds to preserve this old church; and I am sure, you would be of service to posterity, if you assisted me in the doing of it; at least, if you approved the design, you would give the greatest pleasure, I assure you, to your most affectionate and faithful humble servant,

  1. Dr. Theophilus Bolton.
  2. The reverend Mr. Dunkin, the author of several poetical pieces that have been well received.
  3. Dr. Bolton was rector of St. Werburgh's, and chancellor of the cathedral of St. Patrick's. He was made bishop of Clonfert, Sept. 12, 1722; translated to Elphin, April 16, 1724; and to Cashell, Jan. 6, 1729. He died in 1744.