The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 15/Journal to Stella – Letter 54

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London, Oct. 28, 1712.

I HAVE been in physick this month, and have been better these three weeks. I stop my physick, by the doctor's orders, till he sends me farther directions. DD grows politician, and longs to hear the peace is proclaimed. I hope we shall have it soon, for the Dutch are fully humbled; and Prior is just come over from France for a few days; I suppose upon some important affair. I saw him last night, but had no private talk with him. Stocks rise upon his coming. As for my stay in England, it cannot be long now, so tell my friends. The parliament will not meet till after Christmas, and by that time the work I am doing will be over, and then nothing shall keep me. I am very much discontented at Parvisol, about neglecting to sell my horses, &c.

Lady Masham is not yet brought to bed; but we expect it daily. I dined with her to day. Lord Bolingbroke returned about two months ago, and Prior about a week; and goes back (Prior I mean) in a few days. Who told you of my snuffbox and pocket? Did I? I had a letter to day from Dr. Coghil, desiring me to get Raphoe for dean Sterne, and the deanery for myself. I shall indeed, I have such obligations to Sterne. But, however, if I am asked who will make a good bishop, I shall name him before any body. Then comes another letter, desiring I would recommend a provost, supposing that Pratt (who has been here about a week) will certainly be promoted; but I believe he will not. I presented Pratt to lord treasurer, and truly young Molyneux would have had me present him too; but I directly answered him I would not, unless he had business with him. He is the son of one Mr. Molyneux of Ireland. His father wrote a book[1]; I suppose you know it. Here is the duke of Marlborough going out of England (Lord knows why) which causes many speculations. Some say he is conscious of guilt, and dare not stand it. Others think he has a mind to fling an odium on the government, as who should say, that one, who has done such great services to his country, cannot live quietly in it, by reason of the malice of his enemies. I have helped to patch up these people together once more. God knows how long it may last. I was to day at a trial between lord Lansdown and lord Carteret, two friends of mine. It was in the Queen's Bench, for about six thousand a year (or nine, I think.) I sat under lord chief justice Parker, and his pen falling down, I reached it up. He made me a low bow; and I was going to whisper him, that I had done good for evil; for he would have taken mine from me. I told it lord treasurer and Bolingbroke. Parker would not have known me, if several lords on the bench, and in the court, bowing, had not turned every body's eyes, and set them a whispering. I owe the dog a spite, and will pay him in two months at farthest, if I can. So much for that. But you must have chat, and I must say every sorry thing that comes into my head. They say the queen will stay a month longer at Windsor. These devils of Grub street rogues, that write the Flying Post and Medley in one paper, will not be quiet. They are always mauling lord treasurer, lord Bolingbroke, and me. We have the dog under prosecution, but Bolingbroke is not active enough; but I hope to swinge him. He is a Scotch rogue, one Ridpath. They get out upon bail, and write on. We take them again, and get fresh bail; so it goes round. They say some learned Dutchman has wrote a book, proving, by civil law, that we do them wrong by this peace; but I shall show, by plain reason, that we have suffered the wrong, and not they. I toil like a horse, and have hundreds of letters still to read: and squeeze a line our of each, or at least the seeds of a line. Strafford goes back to Holland in a day or two, and I hope our peace is very near. I have about thirty pages more to write (that is to be extracted) which will be sixty in print. It is the most troublesome part of all, and I cannot keep myself private, though I stole into a room up two pair of stairs, when I came from Windsor; but my present man has not yet learned his lesson of denying me discreetly.

30. The duchess of Ormond found me out to day, and made me dine with her. Lady Masham is still expecting. She has had a cruel cold. I could not finish my letter last post for the soul of me. Lord Bolingbroke has had my papers these six weeks, and done nothing to them. Is Tisdall yet in the world? I propose writing controversies, to get a name with posterity. The duke of Ormond will not be over these three or four days. I design to make him join with me in settling all right among our people. I have ordered the duchess to let me have an hour with the duke at his first coming, to give him a true state of persons and things. I believe the duke of Shrewsbury will hardly be declared your governor yet; at least, I think so now; but resolutions alter very often. Duke Hamilton gave me a pound of snuff to day, admirable good. I wish DD had it, and Ppt too, if she likes it. It cost me a quarter of an hour of his politicks, which I was forced to hear. Lady Orkney is making me a writing table of her own contrivance, and a bed nightgown. She is perfectly kind, like a mother. I think the devil was in it the other day, that I should talk to her of an ugly squinting cousin of hers, and the poor lady herself, you know, squints like a dragon. The other day we had a long discourse with her about love; and she told us a saying of her sister Fitzharding, which I thought excellent, that in men, desire begets love, and in women, love begets desire. We have abundance of our old criers still hereabouts. I hear every morning your women with the old satin and taffata, &c. the fellow with old coats, suits or cloaks. Our weather is abominable of late. We have not two tolerable days in twenty. I have lost money again at ombre, with lord Orkney and others; yet, after all, this year I have lost but three and twenty shillings, so that, considering card money, I am no loser.

Our society hath not yet renewed their meetings. I hope we shall continue to do some good this winter; and lord treasurer promises the academy for reforming our language shall soon go forward. I must now go hunt those dry letters for materials. You will see something very notable, I hope. So much for that. God Almighty bless you.

  1. The Case of Ireland's being bound by Acts of Parliament in England stated, published in 1698, in octavo.