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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Charles Davenant to Jonathan Swift - 1

WINDSOR, NOV. 3, 1713.

YOU have the character of employing, in good offices to others, the honour and happiness you have of being often with my lord treasurer. This use of your access to him is an uncommon instance of generosity, deserving the highest praises; for, most commonly, men are most apt to convert such advantages to their own single interest, without any regard of others; though, in my poor opinion, not so wisely. Acts of friendship create friends, even among strangers, that taste not of them; and in my experience, I hardly ever knew a man friendly in the course of his proceedings, but he was supported in the world; ingratitude being the vice, of which the generality of men are most ashamed to be thought guilty.

My son[2] and I have reasons to return you our thanks, for what you have already done of this kind in his favour, and we beg the continuance of it. Ministers of state have such multiplicity of business, that it is no wonder, if they forget low individuals; and in such a case, private persons must be beholden to some good natured man, to put those in power in mind of them: otherwise they may be forgotten, till old age overtakes them. Such well disposed remembrancers deserve access, familiarity, and interest with great men; and perhaps, they are the most useful servants they can countenance in their hours of leisure.

I need not tell you, that in point of time, he is above all pretenders to foreign business; that his affairs have now depended almost three years; that in the interim, it has gone very hard with him; and that he gave a very early instance of his zeal to the present administration. But what he builds his hopes most upon, is the promise my lord treasurer was pleased to make to the duke of Shrewsbury, just as his grace left Windsor, that a provision should be made for Mr. Davenant. We must entreat you to find some lucky moment of representing to my lord, that the young man is pressed by a nearer concern than that of making his fortune, and that lovers can hardly be persuaded to be as patient as other men. The duke has carried his mistress from him, and will not consent to make him happy, till he sees him in some way of being settled; in which how anxious any delay must be (possession depending upon it) he leaves you to judge, who have so well studied mankind, and who know, that love is a passion, in one of his age, much stronger than ambition. I beg your pardon for this long trouble, and am, sir,

Your most humble and most obedient servant,

  1. Inspector general of imports and exports. He died Nov. 6, 1714.
  2. Henry Davenant, esq., who had been employed in Germany as resident.