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

LORD PETERBOROW TO DR. SWIFT.


FOR THE REV. DR. SWIFT, BISHOP OF, OR DEAN OF, ETC.


SIR,
VIENNA, APRIL 8, 1711.
 


I HAVE often with pleasure reflected upon the glorious possibilities of the English constitution; but I must apply to politicks a French expression appropriated by them to beauty: there is a je ne sçai quoi among us, which makes us troublesome with our learning, disagreeable with our wit, poor with our wealth, and insignificant with our power.

I could never despise any body for what they have not, and am only provoked, when they make not the right use of what they have. This is the greatest mortification, to know the advantages we have by art and nature, and see them disappointed by self-conceit and faction. What patience could bear the disappointment of a good scheme by the October club?

I have with great uneasiness received imperfect accounts of disagreement among ourselves. The party we have to struggle with has strength enough to require our united endeavours. We should not attack their firm body like Hussars. Let the victory be secure before we quarrel for the spoils; let it be considered whether their yoke were easy, or their burden light. What! must there ever be in St. Stephen's chapel, a majority either of knaves or fools?

But seriously, I have long apprehended the effects of that universal corruption, which has been improved with so much care, and has so fitted us for the tyranny designed, that we are grown I fear insensible of slavery, and almost unworthy of liberty.

The gentlemen, who give you no other satisfaction in politicks than the appearances of ease and mirth, I wish I could partake with them in their good humour; but tockay itself has no effect upon me while I see affairs so unsettled; faction so strong, and credit so weak; and all services abroad under the utmost difficulties by past miscarriages, and present want of money; but we are told here, that in the midst of victory, orders are given to sound a parley, I will say a retreat. Give me leave to tell the churchman, that there is not in * * * * * *.

I have rid the resty horse you say they gave me, in ploughed lands, till I have made him tame, I wish they manage the dull jades as well at home, and get them forward either with a whip or spur. I depend much upon the three you mention[1]; if they remember me with kindness, I am theirs, by the two strongest ties, I love them, and hate their enemies.

Yet you seem to wish me other work. It is time the statesmen employ me in my own trade, not theirs. If they have nothing else for me to subdue, let me command against that rank whiggish puppetshow. Those junto pigmies, if not destroyed, will grow up to giants. Tell St. John, he must find me work in the old world or the new.

I find Mr. Harley forgets to make mention of the most important part of my letter to him; which was to let him know, that I expected immediately for one Dr. Swift, a lean bishoprick, or a fat deanery. If you happen to meet that gentleman at dinner, tell him, that he has a friend out of the way of doing him good, but that he would, if he could; whose name is

  1. Probably Harley, Harcourt, and Bolingbroke.