The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 15/Journal to Stella – Letter 62

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London, March 21, 1712-13.

I GAVE your letter in this night. I dined with lord treasurer to day, and find he has been at a meeting at lord Halifax's house with four principal whigs; but he is resolved to begin a speech against them when the parliament sits; and I have begged that the ministry may have a meeting on purpose to settle that matter, and let us be the attackers; and I believe it will come to something, for the whigs intend to attack the ministers: and if, instead of that, the ministers attack the whigs, it will be better: and farther, I believe we shall attack them on those very points they intend to attack us. The parliament will be again prorogued for a fortnight, because of Passion week. I forgot to tell you, that Mr. Griffin has given Ppt's brother a new employment, about ten pounds a year better than his former; but more remote and consequently cheaper. I wish I could have done better, and hope that you will take what can be done in good part, and that Ppt's brother will not dislike it. Night, dearest MD.

22. I dined to day with lord steward[1]. There Frank Annesley (a parliament-man) told me he had heard, that I had wrote to my friends in Ireland to keep firm to the whig interest; for that lord treasurer would certainly declare for it after the peace. Annesley said twenty people had told him this. You must know this is what they endeavour to report of lord treasurer, that he designs to declare for the whigs; and a Scotch fellow has wrote the same to Scotland; and his meeting with those lords gives occasion to such reports. Let me henceforth call lord treasurer Eltee, because possibly my letters may be opened. Pray remember Eltee. You know the reason. L. T. and Eltee are pronounced the same way. Stay, it is now five weeks since I had a letter from MD. I allow you six. You see why I cannot come over the beginning of April; but as hope saved it is not Pdfr's fault. Whoever has to do with this ministry can fix no time: but, as hope saved, it is not Pdfr's fault. ****

23. I dined to day at sir Thomas Hanmer's by an old appointment: there was the duke of Ormond, and lord and lady Orkney. I left them at six. Every body is as sour as vinegar. I endeavour to keep a firm friendship between the duke of Ormond and Eltee. You know who Eltee is (or have you forgot already?) I have great designs, if I can compass them; but delay is rooted in Eltee's heart; yet the fault is not altogether there, that things are no better. Here is the cursedest libel in verse come out that ever was seen, called the Ambassadress[2]; it is very dull too; it has been printed three or four different ways, and is handed about, but not sold. It abuses the queen horribly. The Examiner[3] has cleared me to day of being author of his paper, and done it with great civilities to me. I hope it will stop people's mouths; if not, they must go on and be hanged, I care not. 'Tis terrible rainy weather. I'll go sleep. Night, dearest MD.

24. It rained all this day, and ruined me in coachhire. I went to colonel Disney, who is past danger. Then I visited lord keeper, who was at dinner; but I would not dine with him, but drove to lord treasurer (Eltee I mean); paid the coachman and went in; but he dined abroad: so I was forced to call the coachman again, and went to lord Bolingbroke's. He dined abroad too; and at lord Dupplin's I alighted, and by good luck got a dinner there, and then went to the Latin play at Westminster school, acted by the boys; and lord treasurer (Eltee I mean again) honoured them with his presence. Lady Masham's eldest son, about two years old, is ill, and I am afraid will not live: she is full of grief, and I pity and am angry with her. Four shillings to day in coach-hire; faith, it won't do. Our peace will certainly be ready by Thursday fortnight; but our plenipotentiaries were to blame, that it was not done already. They thought their powers were not full enough to sign the peace, unless every prince was ready, which cannot yet be; for Spain has no minister yet at Utrecht; but now ours have new orders. Night, MD.

25. Weather worse than ever; terrible rain all day, but I was resolved I would spend no more money. I went to an auction of pictures with Dr. Pratt, and there met the duke of Beaufort, who promised to come with me to court, but did not. So a coach I got, and went to court, and did some little business there, but was forced to go home; for you must understand I take a little physick over night, which works me next day. Lady Orkney is my physician. It is hiera picra two spoonfuls, devilish stuff! I thought to have dined with Eltee, but would not, merely to save a shilling; but I dined privately with a friend, and played at ombre, and won six shillings. Here are several people of quality lately dead of the smallpox. I have not yet seen miss Ashe, but hear she is well. The bishop of Clogher has bought abundance of pictures, and Dr. Pratt has got him very good pennyworths. I can get no walks, the weather is so bad. Is it so with you? Night, dear MD.

26. Though it was shaving day, head and beard, yet I was out early to see lord Bolingbroke, and talk over affairs with him; and then I went to the duke of Ormond and so to court, where the ministers did not come, because the parliament was prorogued till this day fortnight. We had terrible rain and hail to day. Our society met this day, but I left them before seven, and went to sir Andrew Fountaine, and played at ombre with him and sir Thomas Clarges till ten, and then went to sir Thomas Hanmer. His wife, the duchess of Grafton, left us after a little while, and I staid with him about an hour upon some affairs, &c. Lord Bolingbroke left us at the society before I went; for there is an express from Utrecht, but I know not yet what it contains; only I know the ministers expect the peace will be signed in a week, which is a week before the session. Night, MD.

27. Parnell's poem is mightily esteemed; but poetry sells ill. I am plagued with that **** poor Harrison's mother; you would laugh to see how cautious I am of paying her the 100l. I received for her son from the treasury. I have asked every creature I know, whether I may do it safely; yet durst not venture, till my lord keeper assured me there was no danger. Yet I have not paid her, but will in a day or two: though I have a great mind to stay till Ppt sends me her opinion, because Ppt is a great lawyer. I dined to day with a mixture of people at a Scotchman's, who made the invitation to Mr. Lewis and me, and has some design upon us, which we know very well. I went afterward to see a famous moving picture, and I never saw any thing so pretty. You see a sea ten inches wide, a town at the other end, and ships sailing in the sea, and discharging their cannon. You see a great sky with moon and stars, &c. I am a fool. Night, dear MD.

28. I had a mighty levee to day. I deny myself to every body, except about half a dozen, and they were all here, and Mr. Addison was one. I had chocolate twice, which I don't like. Our rainy weather continues. Coach-hire goes deep. I dined with Eltee and his Saturday company, as usual, and could not get away till nine. Lord Peterborow was making long harangues, and Eltee kept me in spite. Then I went to see the bishop of Ossory, who had engaged me in the morning; he is going to Ireland. The bishop of Killaloe and Tom Leigh were with us. The latter had wholly changed his style by seeing how the bishops behaved themselves; and he seemed to think me one of more importance than I really am. I put the ill conduct of the bishops about the first-fruits, with relation to Eltee and me, strongly upon Killaloe, and showed how it had hindered me from getting a better thing for them, called the crown rents, which the queen had promised. He had nothing to say, but was humble, and desired my interest in that and some other things. This letter is half done in a week; I believe you will have it next. Night, MD.

29. I have been employed in endeavouring to save one of your junior fellows[4], who came over here for a dispensation from taking orders, and, in soliciting it, has run out his time, and now his fellowship is void, if the college pleases, unless the queen suspends the execution, and gives him time to take orders. I spoke to all the ministers yesterday about it; but they say the queen is angry, and thought it was a trick to deceive her; and she is positive, and so the man must be ruined, for I cannot help him. I never saw him in my life; but the case was so hard, I could not forbear interposing. Your government recommended him to the duke of Ormond, and he thought they would grant it; and by the time it was refused, the fellowship by rigour is forfeited. I dined with Dr. Arbuthnot (one of my brothers) at his lodgings in Chelsea, and was there at chapel; and the altar put me in mind of Tisdall's outlandish mould at your hospital for the soldiers. I was not at court to day, and I hear the queen was not at church. Perhaps the gout has seized her again. Terrible rain all day. Have you such weather? Night, MD.

30. Morning. I was naming some time ago, to a certain person, another certain person, that was very deserving, and poor and sickly; and the other, that first certain person, gave me a hundred pounds, to give the other, which I have not yet done. The person who is to have it, never saw the giver, nor expects one farthing, nor has the least knowledge or imagination of it; so I believe it will be a very agreeable surprise; for I think it is a handsome present enough. At night I dined in the city, at Pontack's, with lord Dupplin[5] and some others. We were treated by one colonel Cleland, who has a mind to be governor of Barbadoes, and is laying these long traps for me and others, to engage our interest for him. He is a true Scotchman. I paid the hundred pounds this evening, and it was a great surprise to the receiver. We reckon the peace is now signed, and that we shall have it in three days. I believe it is pretty sure. Night, MD.

31. I thought to day onPpt when she told me she supposed I was acquainted with the steward, when I was giving myself airs of being at some lord's house. Sir Andrew Fountaine invited the bishop of Clogher and me, and some others, to dine where he did; and he carried us to the duke of Kent's, who was gone out of town; but the steward treated us nobly, and showed us the fine pictures, &c. I have not yet seen miss Ashe. I wait till she has been abroad, and taken the air. This evening lady Masham, Dr. Arbuthnot, and I, were contriving a lie for to morrow, that Mr. Noble[6] who was hanged last Saturday, was recovered by his friends, and then seized again by the sheriff, and is now in a messenger's hands at the Black Swan in Holborn. We are all to send to our friends, to know whether they have heard any thing of it, and so we hope it will spread. However, we shall do our endeavours; nothing shall be wanting on our parts, and leave the rest to fortune. Night, MD.

April 1. We had no success in our story, though I sent my man to several houses, to inquire among the footmen, without letting him into the secret; but I doubt my colleagues did not contribute as they ought. Parnell and I dined with Dartineuf to day. You have heard of Dartineuf: I have told you of Dartineuf. After dinner we all went to lord Bolingbroke's, who had desired me to dine with him; but I would not, because I heard it was to look over a dull poem of one parson Trap, upon the peace. The Swedish envoy told me to day at court, that he was in great apprehensions about his masters and indeed we are afraid that prince[7] is dead among those Turkish dogs. I prevailed on lord Bolingbroke to invite Mr. Addison to dine with him on Good Friday. I suppose we shall be mighty mannerly. Addison is to have a play on Friday in Easter week: 'tis a tragedy, called Cato; I saw it unfinished some years ago. Did I tell you, that Steele has begun a new daily paper, called the Guardian[8]: they say good for nothing. I have not seen it. Night, dear MD.

2. I was this morning with lord Bolingbroke, and he tells me a Spanish courier is just come, with the news that the king of Spain has agreed to every thing that the queen desires; and the duke d'Ossuna has left Paris, in order to his journey to Utrecht. I was prevailed on to come home with Trap, and read his poem, and correct it; but it was good for nothing. While I was thus employed, sir Thomas Hanmer came up to my chamber, and balked me of a journey he and I intended this week to lord Orkney's, at Cliffden; but he is not well, and his physician will not let him undertake such a journey. I intended to dine with lord treasurer; but going to see colonel Disney, who lives with general Withers, I liked the general's little dinner so well, that I staid and took share of it, and did not go to lord treasurer till six, where I found Dr. Sacheverell, who told us, that the bookseller had given him 100l. for his sermon[9], preached last Sunday, and intended to print 30000; I believe he will be confoundedly bit, and will hardly sell above half. I have fires still, though April is begun, against my old maxim; but the weather is wet and cold. I never saw such a long run of ill weather in my life. Night, dear MD.

3. I was at the queen's chapel to day, but she was not there. Mr. St. John, lord Bolingbroke's brother, came this day at noon with an express from Utrecht, that the peace is signed by all the ministers there, but those of the emperor, who will likewise sign in a few days, so that now the great work is in effect done, and I believe it will appear a most excellent peace for Europe, particularly for England. Addison and I, and some others, dined with lord Bolingbroke, and sate with him till twelve. We were very civil, but yet when we grew warm, we talked in a friendly manner of party. Addison raised his objections, and lord Bolingbroke answered them with great complaisance. Addison began lord Somers's health, which went about; but I bid him not name lord Wharton's, for I would not pledge it; and I told lord Bolingbroke frankly, that Addison loved lord Wharton as little as I did: so we laughed, &c. Well, but you are glad of the peace, you Ppt the trimmer, are not you? As for DD I don't doubt her. Why, now, if I did not think Ppt had been a violent tory, and DD the greater whig of the two! It is late. Night, MD.

4. This Passion week, people are so demure, especially this last day, that I told Dilly, who called here, that I would dine with him, and so I did, faith; and had a small shoulder of mutton of my own bespeaking. It rained all day. I came home at seven, and have never stirred out, but have been reading Sacheverell's long dull sermon, which he sent me. It is the first sermon since his suspension is expired; but not a word in it upon the occasion, except two or three remote hints. The bishop of Clogher has been sadly bit by Tom Ashe, who sent him a pun, which the bishop had made, and designed to send to him, but delayed it; and lord Pembroke and I made sir Andrew Fountaine write it to Tom. I believe I told you of it in my last; it succeeded right, and the bishop was wondering to lord Pembroke how he and his brother could hit on the same thing. I'll go to bed soon, for I must be at church by eight to morrow, Easter day. Night, dear MD.

5. Warburton wrote to me two letters about a living of one Foulkes, who is lately dead in the county of Meath. My answer is, that before I received the first letter, general Gorge had recommended a friend of his to the duke of Ormond, which was the first time I heard of its vacancy, and it was the provost told me of it. I believe verily that Foulkes was not dead when Gorge recommended the other: for Warburton's last letter said, that Foulkes was dead the day before the date. This has prevented me from serving Warburton, as I would have done, if I had received early notice enough. Pray say or write this to Warburton, to justify me to him. I was at church at eight this morning, and dressed and shaved after I came back, but was too late at court; and lord Abingdon had like to have snapped me for dinner, and I believe will fall out for refusing him: but I hate dining with him, and I dined with a private friend, and took two or three good walks; for it was a very fine day, the first we have had a great while. Remember, was Easter day a fine day with you? I have sat with lady Worsley till now. Night, MD.

6. I was this morning at ten at the rehearsal of Mr. Addison's play, called Cato, which is to be acted on Friday. There were not above half a score of us to see it. We stood on the stage, and it was foolish enough to see the actors prompted every moment, and the poet directing them; and the drab that acts Cato's daughter[10] out in the midst of a passionate part, and then calling out, "What's next?" The bishop of Clogher was there too; but he stood privately in a gallery. I went to dine with lord treasurer, but he was gone to Wimbledon, his daughter Caermarthen's country seat, seven miles off. So I went back, and dined privately with Mr. Addison, whom I had left to go to lord treasurer. I keep fires yet; I am very extravagant. I sate this evening with sir Andrew Fountaine, and we amused ourselves with making ifs for Dilly. It is rainy weather again; never saw the like. This letter shall go to morrow; remember young women, it is seven weeks since your last, and I allow you but five weeks; but you have been galloping in the country to Swanton's. Pray tell Swanton I had his letter, but cannot contrive how to serve him. If a governor were to go over, I would recommend him as far as lay in my power, but I can do no more; and you know all employments in Ireland, at least almost all, are engaged in reversions. If I were on the spot, and had credit with a lord lieutenant, I would very heartily recommend him; but employments here are no more in my power than the monarchy itself Night, dear MD.

7. Morning. I have had a visiter here, that has taken up my time. I have not been abroad, you may be sure; so I can say nothing to day, but that I love MD better than ever, if possible. I will put this in the postoffice; so I say no more. I write by this post to the dean, but it is not above two lines; and one enclosed to you, but that enclosed to you is not above three lines, and then one enclosed to the dean, which he must not have, but upon condition of burning it immediately after reading, and that before your eyes; for there are some things in it I would not have liable to accident. You shall only know in general, that it is an account of what I have done to serve him in his pretensions on these vacancies, &c. But he must not know that you know so much. Don't this perplex you? what care I? But love Pdfr. Farewell, dearest MD, FW, Me, Lele.

  1. Earl Poulet.
  2. It was entitled, The British Ambassadress's Speech to the French King. For publishing it Mr. William Hart, the printer of the Flying Post, was tried in the court of Queen's Bench, June 27, 1713, and sentenced to stand twice in the pillory, to pay a fine of 50l. to her majesty, to be imprisoned two years, and till he should pay the said fine; and to find sufficient sureties for his good behaviour during life.
  3. In the original Examiner, vol. iii, no. 35, the passage is as follows: "They have been a long time laying a load upon a gentleman of the first character for learning, good sense, wit, and more virtues, than even they can set off and illustrate by all the opposition and extremes of vice, which are the compounds of their party. He is indeed fully accomplished to be mortally hated by them, and they needed not to charge him with writing the Examiner, as if that were a sufficient revenge; in which they show as little judgment as truth. I here pronounce him clear of that imputation; and, out of pure regard to justice, strip myself of all the honour that lucky untruth did this paper, reserving to myself the entertaining reflection, that I was once taken for a man, who has a thousand other recommendations, beside the malice of the worst men, to make him loved and esteemed by the best: This is the second time I have humoured that party, by publickly declaring who is not the author of the Examiner. I will lend them no more light, because they do not love it. I could only wish, that their invectives against that gentleman had been considerable enough to call forth his publick resentments; and I stand amazed at their folly, in provoking so much ruin to their party. Their intellectuals must be as stupid as their consciences, not to dread the terrours of his pen, though they met him with all that spite to his person, which they ever expressed against his order."
  4. Mr. Charles Grattan, afterward master of the freeschool at Enniskillen, founded by Erasmus Smythe, esq.
  5. Then one of the tellers of the exchequer.
  6. Richard Noble, an attorney at New Inn, executed at Kingston, for the murder of John Sayer, esq., whose wife, the daughter of admiral Nevill, he had seduced from her husband. In bishop Fleetwood's Works, p. 657, is a sermon on the death of Mr. Noble, printed without his name.
  7. Charles the Twelfth.
  8. That paper began to be published on Thursday, March 12, 1712-13.
  9. His (Sacheverell's) sermon, preached at St. Saviour's church, in Southwark, of which he was one of the chaplains, on Luke xxiii, 34, on occasion of the expiration of the three years silence imposed upon him by the house of lords, in consequence of his impeachment in 1709. The sermon was published under the title of The Christian Triumph, or the duty of praying for our enemies. In April, 1713, he was presented by the queen to the rectory of St. Andrew's, Holborn, which had been held in commendam by Dr. Thomas Manningham, with the bishoprick of Chichester.
  10. Mrs. Oldfield.