The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 14/Letter: Pope to Swift - 2

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JUNE 20, 1716.

I CANNOT suffer a friend to cross the Irish seas, without bearing a testimony from me of the constant esteem and affection I am both obliged and inclined to have for you. It is better he should tell you than I, how often you are in our thoughts and in our cups, and how I learn to sleep less[1], and drink more, whenever you are named among us. I look upon a friend in Ireland as upon a friend in the other world, whom (popishly speaking) I believe constantly well-disposed toward me, and ready to do me all the good he can, in that state of separation, though I hear nothing from him, and make addresses to him but very rarely. A protestant divine cannot take it amiss that I treat him in the same manner with my patron saint.

I can tell you no news, but what you will not sufficiently wonder at, that I suffer many things as an author militant: whereof in your days of probation, you have been a sharer, or you had not arrived to that triumphant state you now deservedly enjoy in the church. As for me, I have not the least hopes of the cardinalate, though I suffer for my religion in almost every weekly paper. I have begun to take a pique at the psalms of David, if the wicked may be credited, who have printed a scandalous one[2] in my name[3]. This report I dare not discourage too much, in a prospect I have at present of a post under the marquis de Langallerre[4], wherein if I can but do some signal service against the pope, I may be considerably advanced by the Turks, the only religious people I dare confide in. If it should happen hereafter that I should write for the holy law of Mahomet, I hope it may make no breach between you and me; every one must live, and I beg you will not be the man to manage the controversy against me. The church of Rome I judge (from many modern symptoms, as well as ancient prophecies) to be in a declining condition[5]; that of England will in a short time be scarce able to maintain her own family; so churches sink as generally as banks in Europe, and for the same reason; that religion and trade, which at first were open and free, have been reduced into the management of companies, and the roguery of directors.

I do not know why I tell you all this, but that I always loved to talk to you; but this is not the time for any man to talk to the purpose. Truth is a kind of contraband commodity which I would not venture to export, and therefore the only thing tending that dangerous way which I shall say, is, that I am and always will be with the utmost sincerity,

Yours, &c.

  1. Alluding to his constant custom of sleeping after dinner.
  2. In Curll's collection.
  3. It is observable that he doth not deny his being the writer of them.
  4. One who made a noise then, as count Bonneval has done since.
  5. These words are remarkable. What would he have said, if he had seen what has happened in France? and what is likely to happen, by the diffusion of learning and science, in all the other catholick countries of Europe? such events are stupendous; Non hæc sine numine Divum eveniunt.