The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Jonathan Swift to William King - 10


LONDON, NOV. 28, 1710.

A DAY or two after I received your grace's letter, of the second instant, I dined with Mr. Southwell, who showed me the letter of the bishops to the duke of Ormond, and another letter from the bishop of Kildare to Mr. Southwell, to desire him to get the papers from me, which I shall send him as soon as I have looked them out. Mr. Southwell said, that a month or two hence, when the duke began to think of this journey, it would be time enough to solicit this affair. Upon this I told him frankly, that the queen had already granted the first-fruits, and that I had writ to your grace by Mr. Harley's directions, but that my letter did not reach you until your's was sent to the duke and him; and that therefore I thought it would be a very odd step to begin again. He said, he was glad it was done, and that he did not design to take any of the credit from me, &c. I told him sincerely, it was what I did not regard at all, and provided the church had the benefit, it was indifferent to me how it came about; and so we parted. I had told the duke of Ormond at first, that I would apply myself to Mr. Harley if his grace advised it, which he did; and I afterward told Mr. Southwell, that Mr. Harley had been very kind in promising his good offices: farther I durst not speak, being under an engagement of secrecy to Mr. Harley; and the whole thing was done before the duke was declared lord lieutenant. If your grace considers the time you sent me the paper, you will judge what dispatch was made; in two days after, I delivered a memorial I drew up to Mr. Harley; and in less than a fortnight he had treated the matter four times with the queen, and then told me she had granted it absolutely, as my memorial desired, but charged me to tell no man alive; and your grace may remember, that one of my letters ended with something as if I were limited, and would say more in a short time. In about a week after, I had leave to inform the primate and your grace, as I did in my letter of the 4th instant. It is to be considered, that the queen was all this while at Hampton Court or Windsor, so that I think the dispatch was very great. But indeed, I expected a letter would have been sent from the secretary's office, to signify this matter in due form; and so it will: but Mr. Harley had a mind first to bring me to the queen, for that and some other matters; and she came to town not a week ago, and was out of order one day when it was designed I should attend her, and, since, the parliament's beginning has taken her up: but in a few days, Mr. Harley tells me he will introduce me. This I tell your grace in confidence, only to satisfy you in particular, why the queen has not yet sent a letter in form. Upon that dispatch to Mr. Southwell, I was perplexed to the last degree. I did not value the slighting manner of the bishop of Kildare's letter, barely desiring Mr. Southwell to call on me for the papers, without any thing farther, as if I had been wholly insignificant; but I was at a loss how to behave myself with the duke and Mr. Harley. I met the latter yesterday in the court of requests, and he whispered me to dine with him. At dinner, I told him of the dispatch to Mr. Southwell, and rallied him for putting me under difficulties with his secrets; that I was running my head against a wall; that he reckoned he had done the church and me a favour; that I should disoblige the duke of Ormond; and that the bishops in Ireland thought I had done nothing, and had therefore taken away my commission. He told me, your lordship had taken it away in good time, for the thing was done; and that, as for the duke of Ormond, I need not be uneasy; for he would let his grace know it as soon as he saw him, which would be in a day or two, at the treasury; and then promised again to carry me to the queen, with the first opportunity. Your grace now sees how the affair stands, and whether I deserve such treatment from the bishops; from every part whereof I wholly exclude your grace, and could only wish my first letter, about the progress I had made, had found so much credit with you, as to have delayed that dispatch until you heard once more from me. I had at least so much discretion, not to pretend I had done more than I really did, but rather less: and if I had consulted my own interest, I should have employed my credit with the present ministry another way. The bishops are mistaken in me; it is well known here, that I could have made my markets with the last ministry if I had pleased; and the present men in power are very well apprized of it, as your grace may, if I live to see you again; which I certainly never would in Ireland, if I did not flatter myself that I am upon abetter foot with your grace, than with some other of their lordships. Your grace is pleased to command me to continue my solicitations; but as now there will be no need of them, so I think my commission is at an end, ever since I had notice of that dispatch to Mr. Southwell. However, in obedience to your grace, if there be any thing to be done about expediting the forms, wherein my service can be of use, I will readily perform as far as I am able: but I must tell your grace what gives me the greatest displeasure, that I had hopes to prevail that the queen should in some months be brought to remit the crown-rents, which I named in my memorial, but in an article by itself; and which Mr. Harley had given me some hopes of, and I have some private reasons to think might have been brought about. I mentioned it in the memorial, only as from myself; and therefore, if I have an opportunity, I shall venture to mention it to the queen, or at least repeat it to Mr. Harley. This I do as a private man, whom the bishops no longer own. It is certainly right to pay all civilities, and make applications to a lord lieutenant; but, without some other means, a business may hang long enough, as this of the first-fruits did for four years under the duke of Ormond's last government, although, no man loves the church of Ireland better than his grace; but such things are forgot and neglected between the governor and his secretaries, unless solicited by somebody who has the business at heart. But I have done, and shall trouble your grace no farther upon this affair; and on other occasions, while I am here, will endeavour to entertain you with what is likely to pass in this busy scene, where all things are taking a new, and, I think, a good turn; and where, if you please, I will write to you, with that freedom I formerly did; and I beg your grace to employ me in any commands you may have here, which I shall be prouder to obey, than to have ever so much merit with some others; being, with perfect respect, My lord,

Your grace's most dutiful

and most obedient humble servant,

Your grace will please to direct for me at St. James's coffeehouse, St. James's street.

Two hundred members supped last night at the Fountain tavern, where they went to determine about a chairman for elections. Medlicott and Manly were the two candidates; but the company could not agree, and parted in an ill humour. It is a matter of some moment, and I hope it will be amicably made up; but the great rock we are afraid of, is a dissension among the majority, because the weakest part, when they grow discontented, know where to retire, and be received.