The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 19/From Jonathan Swift to Henrietta Howard - 6

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SEPT. 1, 1726.

BEING perpetually teased with the remembrance of you, by the sight of your ring on my finger, my patience at last is at an end; and, in order to be revenged, I have sent you a piece of Irish plaid, made in imitation of the Indian, wherein our workmen are grown so expert, that, in this kind of stuff, they are said to excel that which comes from the Indies; and because our ladies are too proud to wear what is made at home, the workman is forced to run a gold thread through the middle, and sell it as Indian. But I ordered him to leave out that circumstance, that you may be clad in Irish stuff, and in my livery. But I beg you will not tell any parliament man from whence you had that plaid; otherwise, out of malice, they will make a law to cut off all our weavers' fingers. I must likewise tell you, to prevent your pride, my intention is to use you very scurvily; for my real design is, that when the princess asks you where you got that fine nightgown, you are to say, that it is an Irish plaid sent you by the dean of St. Patrick's; who, with his most humble duty to her royal highness, is ready to make her such another present, at the terrible expense of eight shillings and threepence per yard, if she will descend to honour Ireland with receiving and wearing it. And in recompense I, who govern the vulgar, will take care to have her royal highnesses health drunk by five hundred weavers, as an encourager of the Irish manufactory. And I command you to add, that I am no courtier, nor have any thing to ask. May all courtiers imitate me in that! I hope the whole royal family about you is in health. Dr. Arbuthnot lately mortified me with an account of a great pain in your head. I believe no head that is good for any thing is long without some disorder, at least that is the best argument I had for any thing that is good in my own.

I pray God preserve you; and I entreat you to believe that I am, with great respect, madam, your most obedient and most obliged servant,

  1. An answer to this letter, dated Nov. 1726, is printed in vol. XII, p. 211.