The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Abigail Masham to Jonathan Swift - 1

JULY 29, 1714.

I OWN it looks unkind in me not to thank you, in all this time, for your sincere kind letter; but I was resolved to stay till I could tell you the queen had got so far the better of the dragon, as to take her power out of his hands. He has been the most ungrateful man to her, and to all his best friends, that ever was born. I cannot have so much time now to write all my mind, because my dear mistress is not well, and I think I may lay her illness to the charge of the treasurer, who, for three weeks together, was teasing and vexing her without intermission; and she could not get rid of him till Tuesday last, July 27th. I must put you in mind of one passage in your letter to me, which is, "I pray God send you wise and faithful friends to advise you at this time, when there are so great difficulties to struggle with." That is very plain and true; therefore will you, who have gone through so much, and taken more pains than any body, and given wise advice (if that wretched man had had sense enough and honesty to have taken it) I say, will you leave us and go into Ireland? No, it is impossible; your goodness is still the same, your charity and compassion for this poor lady, who has been barbarously used, would not let you do it. I know you take delight to help the distressed; and there cannot be a greater object than this good lady, who deserves pity. Pray, dear friend, stay here; and do not believe us all alike, to throw away good advice, and despise every body's understanding but their own. I could say a great deal upon the subject, but I must go to her, for she is not well. This comes to you by a safe hand, so that neither of us need be in any pain about it.

My lord and brother are in the country. My sister and girls are your humble servants.

  1. This lady's name was Hill. She was bedchamberwoman to the queen, and, in conjunction with Mr. Harley, afterward earl of Oxford, brought about the change in the ministry.