The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Erasmus Lewis to Jonathan Swift - 6

JUNE 17, 1714.

I AM sorry to find by those, that have fresher advices from you than yours of the eleventh to me, that Parvisol's[1] conduct puts you under a necessity of changing the administration; for it will probably draw you to Ireland whether you will or not. However, I hope to see you at Bath three weeks hence, whatever happens. I meet with no man or woman, who pretend upon any probable grounds to judge who will carry the great point. [A] Our female friend told the [B] dragon, in her own house, last Thursday morning these words: "You never did the queen any service, nor are you capable of doing her any." He made no reply, but supped with her and [C] Mercurialis that night, at her own house. His revenge is not the less meditated for that. He tells the words clearly and distinctly to all mankind. Those, who range under his banner, call her ten thousand bitches and kitchen wenches. Those who hate him do the same. And from my heart I grieve, that she should give such a loose to her passion; for she is susceptible of true friendship, and has many social and domestick virtues. The great attorney[2], who made you the sham offer of the Yorkshire living, had a long conference with the dragon on Thursday, kissed him at parting, and cursed him at night. He went to the country yesterday; from whence some conjecture nothing considerable will be done soon. Lord Harley[3], and lady Harriot[4], went this morning to Oxford. He has finished all matters with lord Pelham[5], as far as can be done without an act of parliament. The composition was signed by the auditor, and Naylor, brother in law to Pelham. This day se'nnight lord Harley is to have the whole Cavendish estate, which is valued at ten thousand per annum, and has upon it forty thousand pounds worth of timber. But three of this ten thousand a year he had by the will. He remits to lord Pelham the twenty thousand pounds charged for lady Harriot's fortune on the Holles estate; and gives him some patches of land, that lie convenient to him, to the value of about twenty thousand pounds more. According to my computation, lord Harley gets by the agreement (if the timber is worth forty thousand pounds) one hundred and forty thousand pounds; and when the jointures fall in to him, will have sixteen thousand pounds a year. But the cant is, twenty-six thousand. Lord Pelham will really have twenty-six thousand pounds a year from the Newcastle family, which, with his paternal estate, will be twice as much as lord Harley's. The estate of the latter is judged to be in the best condition; and some vain glorious friends of ours say, it is worth more than the other's; but let that pass. Adieu.

  1. Parvisol was the dean's agent in Ireland. The dean's observations on the names marked A, B, C, are thus written on the blank part of the original letter. [A] "Mrs. Masham, who was the queen's favourite, fell out in a rage, reproaching lord Oxford very injuriously." [B] "The dragon, lord treasurer Oxford, so called by the dean by contraries; for he was the mildest, wisest, and best minister that over served a prince." [C] Lord Bolingbroke, called so by Mr. Lewis."
  2. Perhaps lord chancellor Harcourt.
  3. Edward, son to the lord treasurer Oxford.
  4. Wife of lord Harley.
  5. Afterward duke of Newcastle.