The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Jonathan Swift to Charles Mordaunt - 1

FEBRUARY, 1710-11.

I ENVY none of the queen's subjects so much as those who are abroad; and I desire to know, whether, as great a soul as your lordship has, you did not observe your mind to open and enlarge, after you were some leagues at sea, and had left off breathing party air. I am apt to think this schism in politicks has cloven our understandings, and left us but just half the good sense that blazed in our actions: and we see the effect it has had upon our wit and learning, which are crumbled into pamphlets and penny papers. The October club, which was in its rudiments when your lordship left us, is now growing up to be a party by itself, and begins to rail at the ministry as much as the whigs do, but from topicks directly contrary. I am sometimes talked into frights, and told that all is ruined; but am immediately cured when I see any of the ministry; not from the satisfaction they give me in any one point, but because I see them so perfectly easy, and I believe they could not be so if they had any fear at heart. My comfort is, they are persons of great abilities, and they are engaged in a good cause. And what is one very good circumstance, as I told three of them the other day, they seem heartily to love one another, in spite of the scandal of inconstancy which court friendships lie under. And I can affirm to your lordship, they heartily love you too; which I take to be a great deal more than when they assure you so themselves: for even statesmen will sometimes discover their passions, especially their good ones.

Here is a pamphlet come out, called A Letter to Jacob Banks, showing that the liberty of Sweden was destroyed by the principle of passive obedience. I know not whether his quotation be fair, but the piece is shrewdly written; and in my opinion, not to be answered, otherwise than by disclaiming that sort of passive obedience which the tories are charged with. This dispute would soon be ended, if the dunces who write on each side, would plainly tell us what the object of this passive obedience is in our country: for, I dare swear, nine in ten of the whigs will allow it to be the legislature, and as many of the tories deny it to the prince alone; and I hardly ever saw a whig and tory together, whom I could not immediately reconcile on that article, when I made them explain themselves.

My lord, the queen knew what she did, when she sent your lordship to spur up a dull northern court: yet, I confess, I had rather have seen that activity of mind and body employed in conquering another kingdom, or the same over again. I am,

My lord, &c.