The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Erasmus Lewis to Jonathan Swift - 14


WHITEHALL, AUG. 10, 1714.


I NEVER differed from you in opinion, in any point so much, as in your proposal to accommodate matters between the dragon and his quondam friends. I will venture to go so far with you, as to say he contributed to his own disgrace, by his petitesses, more than they did, or ever had it in their power to do. But since they would admit of no terms of accommodation, when he offered to serve them in their own way, I had rather see his dead carcase, than that he should now tamely submit to those, who have loaded him with all the obloquy malice could suggest, and tongues utter. Have not Chartres[1], Brinsden[2], and all the runners, been employed to call him dog, villain, sot, and worthless? And shall he, after this, join them? To what end? I have great tenderness for lady ——[3], and think her best way is to retire and enjoy the comforts of a domestick life. But sure the earth has not produced such monsters as Mercurialis[4], and his companion[5], and the prelate[6]. The last openly avows he never had obligation to the dragon, and loads him with ten thousand crimes; though his greatest, in reality, was preferring him. But to come out of this rant; What should they be friends for? Cui bono? Are we in a dream? Is the queen alive again? Can the lady[7] hereafter make any figure, but a persona muta in a drama? If the dragon declares against the man of mercury, he may strike in with the tertium quid, that will probably arise; but with him he can never be otherwise than spurned and hated. The natural result of this is, that however I may, for my private satisfaction, desire to see you here, I cannot but think you should go to Ireland to qualify yourself, and then return hither, when the chaos will be jumbled into some kind of order. If the king keeps some tories in employment, the notion of whig and tory will be lost; but that of court and country will arise[8]. The regency has declared in favour of the whigs in Ireland. I believe Mr. Thomas will stand his ground. We shall be dissolved as soon as we have settled the civil list. We have no appearance that any attempt will be formed by the pretender.

  1. The infamous colonel Chartres, whose character and epitaph may be found in the works of Mr. Pope.
  2. He is said, by Mr. Boyer, in Political State, vol. III, for Jan. 1711-12, p. 52, to have been an oculist, and a private agent of lord Bolingbroke; and to have been employed by the government, in Jan. 1711-12, to attend on prince Eugene, when his highness arrived in England, in the beginning of that month.
  3. Masham.
  4. Lord Bolingbroke.
  5. Probably the lord chancellor Harcourt.
  6. The bishop of Rochester.
  7. Lady Masham.
  8. This is a remarkable prediction, which we have seen fulfilled.