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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From John Arbuthnot to Jonathan Swift - 5

JULY 24, 1714.

I SUPPOSE, you have read the account of St. Kilda. There is an officer there, who is a sort of tribunus plebis, whose office it is to represent the grievances of the people to the laird of McLeod, who is supposed to be their oppressor. He is bound to contradict the laird, till he gives him three strokes with a cane over the head, and then he is at liberty to submit. This I have done, and so has your friend Lewis. It has been said that we and the dean were the authors of all that has since happened, by keeping the dragon in, when there was an offer to lay down. I was told to my face, that what I said in this case went for nothing; that I did not care, if the great person's affairs went to entire ruin, so I could support the interests of the dragon; that I did not know the half of his proceedings. Particularly it was said, though I am confident it was a mistake, that he had attempted the removing her from the favour of a great person. In short, the fall of the dragon does not proceed altogether from his old friend, but from the great person, whom I perceive to be highly offended, by little hints that I have received. In short, the dragon has been so ill used, and must serve upon such terms for the future, if he should, that I swear I would not advise Turk, Jew, nor infidel, to be in that state. Come up to town, and I can tell you more. I have been but indifferently treated myself, by somebody at court, in small concerns. I cannot tell who it is. But mum for that. Adieu.