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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Jonathan Swift to Abigail Masham - 1

AUG. 7, 1714.

I HAD the honour of a letter from your ladyship a week ago; and, the day after, came the unfortunate news of the queen's death, which made it altogether unseasonable, as perhaps it may be still, to give your ladyship this kind of trouble. Although my concern be as great as that of any other good subject, for the loss of so excellent a princess; yet I can assure you, madam, it is little to what I suffer upon your ladyship's particular account. As you excel in the several duties of a tender mother, a true friend, and a loving wife; so you have been the best and most faithful servant to your mistress, that ever any sovereign had. And although you have not been rewarded suitably to your merits, I doubt not but God will make it up to you in another life, and to your children and posterity in this. I cannot go about to comfort your ladyship in your great affliction, otherwise than by begging you to make use of your own piety, and your own wisdom, of both which you have so great a share. You are no longer a servant; but you are still a wife, a mother, and a friend; and you are bound in conscience to take care of your health, in order to acquit yourself of these duties, as well as you did of the other, which is now at an end.

I pray God to support your ladyship, under so great a share of load, in this general calamity: and remain, with the greatest respect and truth, madam,

Your ladyship's most obedient

and most obliged servant.

I most heartily thank your ladyship for the favourable expressions and intentions in your letter, written at a time when you were at the height of favour and power.