The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From John Arbuthnot to Jonathan Swift - 1


ST. JAMES'S, JUNE 12, 1714.

I AM glad your proud stomach is come down, and that you submit to write to your friends. I was of opinion, that if they managed you right, they might bring you to be even fond of an article in the Post-boy, or Flying-post. As for the present state of our court affairs, I thank God, I am almost as ignorant as you are, to my great ease and comfort. I have never inquired about any thing, since my lady Masham told the dragon[2], that she would carry no more messages, nor meddle nor make, &c. I do not know whether things were quite so bad when you went. The dragon manages this bill[3] pretty well; for you know that is his forte: and I believe, at the rate they go on, they will do mischief to themselves, and good to nobody else.

You know that Gay goes to Hanover, and my lord treasurer has promised to equip him. Monday is the day of departure; and he is now dancing attendance for money to buy him shoes, stockings, and linen. The duchess has turned him off[4], which I am afraid will make the poor man's condition worse, instead of better.

The dragon was with us on Saturday night last, after having sent us really a most excellent copy of verses. I really believe when he lays down, he will prove a very good poet. I remember the first part of his verses was complaining of ill usage; and at last he concludes,

"He that cares not to rule, will be sure to obey,
When summon'd by Arbuthnot, Pope, Parnell, and Gay."

Parnell has been thinking of going chaplain to my lord Clarendon; but they will not say whether he should or not. I am to meet our club at the Pall-mall coffeehouse, about one to day, where we cannot fail to remember you. The queen is in good health; much in the same circumstances with the gentleman I mentioned, in attendance upon her ministers for something she cannot obtain. My lord and my lady Masham, and lady Fair, remember you kindly; and none with more sincere respect than your affectionate brother, and humble servant,

  1. One of the sixteen.
  2. Lord treasurer Oxford.
  3. To prevent the growth of schism, and for the further security of the church of England, as by law established. It passed the house of lords June 13, 1714."
  4. The duchess of Monmouth, to whom he had been secretary.