The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 15/Journal to Stella – Letter 43

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London, March 8, 1711-12.

I CARRIED my forty-second letter in my pocket till evening, and then put it in the general post. I went in the morning to see lord treasurer, who had taken physick, and was drinking his broth. I had been with the secretary before, to recommend a friend, one Dr. Freind, to be physician general; and the secretary promised to mention it to the queen. I can serve every body but myself[1]. Then I went to court, and carried lord keeper and the secretary to dine with lord Masham, when we drank the queen and lord treasurer with every health, because this was the day of his stabbing. Then I went and played pools at picquet with lady Masham and Mrs. Hill; won ten shillings, gave a crown to the box and came home. I met at my lodgings a letter from Jo, with a bit annexed from Ppt. What Jo asks is entirely out of my way; and I take it for a foolish whim in him. Besides, I know not who is to give a patent: if the duke of Ormond, I would speak to him; but good security is all; and to think that I would speak to lord treasurer for any such matter at random, is a jest. Did I tell you of a race of rakes, called the Mohocks, that play the devil about this town every night, slit people's noses, and bid them, &c? Night, sirrahs, and love Pdfr. Night, MD.

9. I was at court to day, and no body invited me to dinner, except one or two whom I did not care to dine with; so I dined with Mrs. Vanhomrigh. Young Davenant was telling us at court how he was set upon by the Mohocks, and how they ran his chair through with a sword. It is not safe being in the streets at night for them. The bishop of Salisbury's son[2] is said to be of the gang. They are all whigs; and a great lady sent to me, to speak to her father and to lord treasurer, to have a care of them, and to be careful likewise of myself: for she heard they had malicious intentions against the ministers, and their friends. I know not whether there be any thing in this, though others are of the same opinion. The weather still continues very fine and frosty. I walked in the park this evening, and came home early to avoid the Mohocks. Lord treasurer is better. Night, my own two dearest MD.

10. I went this morning again to lord treasurer, who is quite recovered; and I staid till he went out. I dined with a friend in the city, about a little business of printing; but not my own. You must buy a small twopenny pamphlet, called, Law is a bottomless Pit[3]. It is very prettily written, and there will be a second part. The commons are very slow in bringing in their bill to limit the press, and the pamphleteers make good use of their time; for there come out three or four every day. Well, but is not it time methinks to have a letter from MD: it is now six weeks since I had your number 26. I can assure you I expect one before this goes; and I will make shorter days journals than usual, cause I hope to fill up a good deal of this side with my answer. Our fine weather lasts yet, but grows a little windy. We shall have rain soon, I suppose. Go to cards, sirrahs, and I to sleep. Night, MD.

11. Lord treasurer has lent the long letter I writ him to Prior[4]; and I can't get Prior to return it. I want to have it printed, and to make up this academy for the improvement of our language. Faith, we never shall improve it so much as FW[5] has done; shall we? No, faith, our richer Gengridge. I dined privately with my friend Lewis, and then went to see Ned Southwell, and talked with him about Walls' business, and Mrs. South's. The latter will be done; but his own not. Southwell tells me, that it must be laid before lord treasurer, and the nature of it explained, and a great deal of clutter, which is not worth the while; and may be, lord treasurer won't do it at last; and it is as Walls says himself, not above forty shillings a year difference. You must tell Walls this, unless he would have the business a secret from you; in that case only say, I did all I could with Ned Southwell, and it cannot be done; for it must be laid before lord treasurer, &c. who will not do it; and besides, it is not worth troubling his lordship. So night, my two dear little MD.

12. Here is the devil and all to do with these Mohocks. Grub street papers about them fly like lightning, and a list printed of near eighty put into several prisons, and all a lie; and I begin almost to think there is no truth, or very little, in the whole story. He that abused Davenant, was a drunken gentleman; none of that gang. My man tells me that one of the lodgers heard in a coffeehouse, publickly, that one design of the Mohocks was upon me, if they could catch me; and though I believe nothing of it, I forbear walking late, and they have put me to the charge of some shillings already. I dined to day with lord treasurer, and two gentlemen of the Highlands of Scotland; yet very polite men. I sat there till nine, and then went to lord Masham's, where lord treasurer followed me, and we sat till twelve; and I came home in a chair, for fear of the Mohocks; and I have given him warning of it too. Little Harrison, whom I sent to Holland, is now actually made queen's secretary at the Hague. It will be in the Gazette to morrow. It is worth twelve hundred pounds a year.

Here is a young fellow has writ some Sea Eclogues, Poems of Mermen, resembling pastorals and shepherds, and they are very pretty, and the thought is new. Mermen are he mermaids; Tritons, natives of the sea. Do you understand me? I think to recommend him to our society to morrow. His name is Diaper[6]. P on him, I must do something for him, and get him out of the way. I hate to have any new wits rise; but when they do rise, I would encourage them: but they tread on our heels, and thrust us off the stage. Night, dearest MD.

13. You would laugh to see our printer constantly attending our society after dinner, and bringing us whatever new thing he has printed, which he seldom fails to do; yet he had nothing to day. Lord Lansdown, one of our society, was offended at a passage in this day's Examiner, which, he thinks, reflects on him, as I believe it does, though in a mighty civil way. It is only that his underlings cheat; but that he is a very fine gentleman every way, &c. Lord Orrery was president to day; but both our dukes were absent. Brother Wyndham recommended Diaper to the society. I believe we shall make a contribution among ourselves, which I don't like. Lord treasurer has yet done nothing for us; but we shall try him soon. The company parted early; but Freind, and Prior, and I, sat a while longer, and reformed the state, and found fault with the ministry. Prior hates his commission of the customs, because it spoils his wit. He says he dreams of nothing but cockets, and dockets, and drawbacks, and other jargon, words of the customhouse. Our good weather went away yesterday, and the nights are now dark, and I came home before ten. Night, my dearest sirrahs.

14. I have been plagued this morning with solicitors, and with no body more than my brother, Dr. Freind, who must needs have me to get old Dr. Lawrence, the physician general, turned cut and himself in. He has argued with me so long upon the reasonableness of it, and I am fully convinced it is very unreasonable; and so I would tell the secretary, if I had not already made him speak to the queen. Besides, I know not but my friend Dr. Arbuthnot, would be content to have it himself, and I love him ten times better than Freind. What's all this to you? but I must talk of things as they happen in the day, whether you know any thing of them or not. I dined in the city, and, coming back, one parson Richardson[7] of Ireland, overtook me. He was here last summer, upon a project of converting the Irish, and printing Bibles, &c. in that language, and is now returned to pursue it on. He tells me, Dr. Coghill came last night to town. I will send to see how he does to morrow. He gave me a letter from Walls about his old business. Night, dearest MD.

15. I had intended to be early with the secretary this morning, when my man admitted up stairs one Mr. Newcomb, an officer, who brought me a letter from the bishop of Clogher, with four lines added by Mr. Ashe, all about that Newcomb. I think, indeed, his case is hard; but God knows whether I shall be able to do him any service. People will not understand: I am a very good second; but I care not to begin a recommendation, unless it be for an intimate friend. However, I will do what I can. I missed the secretary, and then walked to Chelsea, to dine with the dean of Christchurch[8], who was engaged to lord Orrery, with some other Christchurch men. He made me go with him, whether I would or not; for they have this long time admitted me a Christchurch man. Lord Orrery, generally every winter, gives his old acquaintance of that college a dinner. There were nine clergymen at table, and four laymen. The dean and I soon left them; and after a visit or two, I went to lord Masham's, and lord treasurer, Arbuthnot, and I, sat till twelve. And now I am come home, and got to bed. I came a foot, but had my man with me. Lord treasurer advised me not to go in a chair, because the Mohocks, insult chairs more than they do those on foot. They think there is some mischievous design in those villains. Several of them, lord treasurer told me, are actually taken up. I heard, at dinner, that one of them was killed last night. We shall know more in a little time. I do not like them as to men.****

16. This morning, at the secretary's, I met general Ross, and recommended Newcomb's case to him, who promises to join with me in working up the duke of Ormond to do something for him. Lord Winchelsea told me to day at court, that two of the Mohocks caught a maid of old lady Winchelsea's, at the door of their house in the park, with a candle, and had just lighted out somebody. They cut all her face, and beat her without any provocation. I hear my friend Lewis has got a Mohock in one of the messenger's hands. The queen was at church to day, but was carried in an open chair. She has got an ugly cough, Arbuthnot, her physician, says. I dined with Crowe, late governor of Barbados; an acquaintance of Stearn's. After dinner I asked him, whether he had heard of Stearn? Here he is, said he, at the door in a coach: and in came Stearn. He has been here this week. He is buying a captainship, in his cousin Stearn's regiment. He told me, he left Jemmy Leigh playing at cards with you. He is to give 800 guineas for his commission. I suppose you know all this better than I. How shall I have room to answer your letter when I get it, I am gone so far already? Night, dearest rogues.

17. Dr. Sacheverell came this morning, to give me thanks for getting his brother an employment. It was but six or seven weeks since I spoke to lord treasurer for him. Sacheverell brought Trap along with him. We dined together at my printer's, and I sate with them till seven. I little thought, and I believe so did he, that ever I should be his solicitor to the present ministry, when I left Ireland. This is the seventh I have now provided for since I came, and can do nothing for myself. I don't care; I shall have ministries and other people, obliged to me. Trap is a coxcomb, and the other is not very deep; and their judgment in things of wit and sense, is miraculous. The second part of Law is a bottomless Pit is just now printed, and better, I think, than the first. Night, my two dear saucy little rogues.

18. There is a proclamation out against the Mohocks. One of those that are taken, is a baronet. I dined with poor Mrs. Wesley, who is returning to the Bath. Mrs. Percival's youngest daughter has got the smallpox, but will do well. I walked this evening in the park, and met Prior, who made me go home with him, where I staid till past twelve, and could not get a coach, and was alone, and was afraid enough of the Mohocks. I will do so no more, though I got home safe. Prior and I were talking discontentedly of some managements, that no more people are turned out, which gets lord treasurer many enemies: but whether the fault be in him, or the queen, I know not; I doubt, in both. Young women, it is now seven weeks since I received your last; but I expect one next packet, to fill the rest of this paper; but, if it don't come, I'll do without it: so I wish you good luck at ombre with the dean. Night, ****

19. Newcomb came to me this morning, and I went to the duke of Ormond to speak for him; but the duke was just going out to take the oaths for general. The duke of Shrewsbury is to be lord lieutenant of Ireland. I walked with Domville and Ford to Kensington, where we dined, and it cost me above a crown. I don't like it, as my man said. It was very windy walking. I saw there lord Masham's children. The youngest, my nephew, I fear, has got the king's evil; the other two are daughters of three and four years old. The gardens there are mighty fine. I passed the evening at lord Masham's, with lord treasurer and Arbuthnot, as usual, and we staid till past one; but I had my man to come with me, and at home I found three letters; one from one Fetherston, a parson, with a postscript of Tisdall's to recommend him. And Fetherston, whom I never saw, has been so kind as to give me a letter of attorney, to recover a debt for him: another from lord Abercorn, to get him the dukedom of Châtelleraut from the king of France; in which I will do what I can, for his pretensions are very just: the third, I warrant you, from our MD. It is a great stir this, of getting a dukedom from the king of France: but it is only to speak to the secretary, and get the duke of Ormond to engage in it, and mention the case to lord treasurer, &c. and this I shall do. Night, dearest little MD.

20. I was with the duke of Ormond this morning, about lord Abercorn, Dr. Freind, and Newcomb. Some will do, and some will not do: that's wise, mistresses. The duke of Shrewsbury is certainly to be your governor. I will go in a day or two, and give the duchess joy, and recommend the archbishop of Dublin to her. I writ to the archbishop, some months ago, that it would be so: and told him I would speak a good word for him to the duchess; and he says he has a great respect for her, &c. I made our society change their house, and we met together at the Star and Garter in the Pall mall. Lord Arran was president. The other dog was so extravagant in his bills, that for four dishes and four, first and second course, without wine or desert, he charged twenty-one pounds, six shillings, and eightpence, to the duke of Ormond. We design, when all have been presidents this turn, to turn it into a reckoning of so much a head; but we shall break up when the session ends. Night, dearest.

21, Morning. Now I will answer MD's letter, N. 27; you that are adding to your numbers, and grumbling, had made it 26, and then altered it to 27. I believe it is above a month since your last; yes, it is above seven weeks since I had your last: but I ought to consider that this was twelve days right [writing], so that makes it pretty even. O, the sorry jades, with their excuses of a fortnight at Baligall, seeing their friends, and landlord running away. O what a trouble and a bustle! No if you will have it. I am not dean of Wells, nor know any thing of being so; nor is there any thing in the story; and that's enough. It was not Roper sent that news: Roper is my humble slave. Yes, I heard of your resolves, and that Burton was embroiled. Stratford spoke to me in his behalf; but I said I hated the rascal. Poor Catherine gone to Wales? But she will come back again, I hope. I would see her in my journey, if she were near the road; and bring her over. Joe is a fool; that sort of business is not at all in my way, pray put him off it. People laugh when I mention it. Beg your pardon, mistress: I am glad you like the apron: no harm, I hope. And so MD wonders she has not a letter all the day; she will have it soon. Ths deuce he is! married to that vengeance! Men are not to be believed. I don't think her a fool. Who would have her? Dilly will be governed like an ass; and she will govern like a lion. Is not that true, Ppt? Why, Sterne told me he left you at ombre with Leigh; and yet you never saw him. I know nothing of his wife being here: It may cost her a —— (I don't like to write that word plain). He is a little in doubt about buying his commission. Yes, I will bring you over all the little papers I can think on. I thought I sent you, by Leigh, all that were good at that time. The author of the Sea Eclogues sent books to the society yesterday, and we gave him guineas a piece; and, may be, will do farther from him (for him, I mean). So the bishop of Clogher, and lady, were your guests for a night or two. Why Ppt you are grown a great gamester and company keeper. I did say to myself, when I read those names, just what you guess; and you clear up the matter wonderfully. You may converse with those two nymphs if you please, but —— take me if ever I do. Yes, faith, it is delightful to hear that Ppt is every way Ppt now, in health and looks and all. Pray God keep her so, many, many, many years. The session, I doubt, will not be over till the end of April; however, I shall not wait for it, if the ministry will let me go sooner. I wish I were just now in my little garden at Laracor. I would set out for Dublin early on Monday, and bring you an account of my young trees, which you are better acquainted with than the ministry, and so am I. O, now you have got number 41, have you so? Why perhaps I forgot, and kept it to next post in my pocket: I have done such tricks. My cold is better, but not gone. I want air and riding. Hold your tongue, you Ppt about colds at Moor park! the case is quite different. I will do what you desire me for Tisdall, when I next see lord Anglesey. Pray give him my service. The weather is warm these three or four days, and rainy. I am to dine to day with Lewis and Darteneuf at Somers's, the clerk of the kitchen at court. Darteneuf loves good bits and good sups. Good morrow, little sirrahs. At night. I dined, as I said; and it cost me a shilling for a chair. It has rained all day, and is very warm. Lady Masham's young son, my nephew, is very ill; and she is sick with grief. I pity her mightily. I am got home early, and going to write to the bishop of Clogher, but have no politicks to send him. Night, my own two dearest saucy dear ones.

22. I am going into the city this morning with a friend about some business; so I will immediately seal up this, and keep it in my pocket till evening, and then put it in the post. The weather continues warm and gloomy. I have heard no news since I went to bed, so can say no more. Pray send *** ** *** **** that I may have time to write to ***** about it. I have here underneath given order[9] for forty shillings to Mrs. Brent, which you will send to Parvisol. Farewell, dearest dear MD and love Pdfr dearly. Farewell, MD, MD, MD, &c. there, there, there, there, there, and there, and there again.

  1. Dr. Swift was at this period in expectation of the deanery of Wells, which had been void from Feb. 4, when Dr. William Graham, dean of Wells, prebendary of Durham, and clerk of the closet to the queen, died at Hampton court. The deanery was given to Dr. Matthew Brailsford, chaplain to the duke of Newcastle.
  2. Thomas Burnet, esq., then at the Temple, afterward consul at Lisbon, and at last one of the justices of the common pleas.
  3. Or, "The History of John Bull," written by Dr. Arbuthnot, but printed with Swift's works.
  4. Concerning the English language.
  5. FW, seems here to mean either Swift or Stella.
  6. John Diaper, of Baliol College, Oxford.
  7. John Richardson, rector of Annult, alias Belturbet, and chaplain to the duke of Ormond.
  8. Dr. Atterbury.
  9. This is cut off.