The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Jonathan Swift to William King - 17

LONDON, AUG. 15, 1711.

I HAVE been at Windsor a fortnight, from whence I returned two days ago, and met a letter at my lodgings from your grace, dated July 25. I was told it was sent to Mr. Manly's house (your postmaster's son) and by him to me; so that I suppose your grace did not direct to Mr. Lewis as formerly, otherwise I should have had it at Windsor. The ministers go usually down to Windsor on Saturday, and return on Monday or Tuesday following. I had little opportunity of talking with my lord treasurer, seeing him only at court, or at supper at third places, or in much company at his own lodgings. Yesterday I went to visit him after dinner, but did not stay above an hour, because business called him out. I read to him that part of your grace's letter which expresses your grace's respects to him, and he received them perfectly well. He told me he had lately received a letter from the bishops of Ireland, subscribed (as I remember) by seventeen, acknowledging his favour about the first-fruits. I told his lordship, that some people in Ireland doubted whether the queen had granted them before the duke of Ormond was declared lieutenant: Yes, he said, sure I remembered it was immediately upon my application. I said, I heard the duke himself took no merit on that account. He answered, No, he was sure he did not, he was the honestest gentleman alive: but, said he, it is the queen that did it, and she alone shall have the merit. And I must be so free as to tell your grace that the grudging, ungrateful manner of some people, which upon several occasions I could not but give him hints of for my justification, has not been prudent. I am sure, it has hindered me from any thoughts of pursuing another affair of yet greater consequence, which I had good hopes of compassing. What can be the matter with those people? do I ask either money or thanks of them? have I done any hurt to the business? My lord treasurer told me, he had sent the letter over about the first-fruits. I never inquired into the particulars: he says he will very soon answer the bishops letter to himself, and will show me both letter and answer; but I shall not put him in mind, unless he remembers it of his own accord. Nor, with great submission to your grace, can I prevail on my own pride to desire he would make any mention of me in his answer. Your grace is convinced, that unless I write a heap of lies, the queen had granted that affair before my lord duke was named. I desire to convince nobody else; and, since the thing is done, it is not of any consequence who were instrumental in it. I could not forbear yesterday reminding my lord treasurer of what I said to Mr. Southwell before his lordship, when he came to take his leave before he went to Ireland; which was, that I hoped Mr. Southwell would let the bishops and clergy of Ireland know, that my lord treasurer had long since (before the duke was governor) prevailed on the queen to remit the first-fruits, &c. and that it was his lordship's work, as the grant of the same favour in England had formerly been. My lord treasurer did then acknowledge it before Mr. Southwell, and I think Mr. Southwell should have acted accordingly; but there is a great deal of ignorance, as well as ill will, in all this matter. The duke of Ormond himself, had he engaged in it, could only act as a solicitor. Every body knows, that the lord treasurer, in such cases, must be applied to (and only he) by the greatest persons. I should think the people of Ireland might rather be pleased to see one of their own country able to find some credit at court, and in a capacity to serve them, especially one who does it without any other prospect than that of serving them. I know not any of the bishops from whom I can expect any favour, and there are not many upon whom a man of any figure could have such designs: but I will be revenged; for whenever it lies in my power, I will serve the church and kingdom, although they should use me much worse. I shall dine to morrow with the lord treasurer, and perhaps I may then see the answer he is to write. I thought to have sent this letter away to night; but I have been interrupted by business. I go to Windsor again on Saturday for a day or two, but I will leave this behind to be sent to the post.

August 21. I had wrote thus far, and was forced to leave off, being hurried away to Windsor by my lord treasurer, from whence I returned but last night. His lordship gave me a paper, which he said he had promised me. I put it in my pocket, thinking it was about something else we had been talking over; and I never looked into it until just now, when I find it to be my lord primate's letter to his lordship, with an enclosed one from the bishops. With submission, I take it to be dry enough, although I shall not tell his lordship so. They say they are informed his lordship had a great part in, &c. I think they should either have told who it was informed them so, since it was a person commissioned by themselves; or, at least, have said they were assured. And as for those words, a great part, I know nobody else had any, except the queen herself. I cannot tell whether my lord has writ an answer, having said nothing to him of it since he gave me the letters; nor shall I desire to see it.

As to the convocation, I remember both my lord treasurer and Mr. St. John spoke to me about the matter, and were of the same opinion with your grace, that it was wholly in the queen's choice. I excused giving my opinion, being wholly uninformed; and I have heard nothing of it since.

My lord keeper gave me yesterday a bundle of Irish votes at Windsor, and we talked a good deal about the quarrel between the lords and commons: I said the fault lay in not dissolving the parliament; which I had mentioned to the duke of Ormond, and often to some of those who were thought to have most credit with him. But they seemed to believe, as I did, that any Irish parliament would yield to any thing that any chief governor pleased; and so it would be a needless trouble.

We reckon for certain, that Mr. Hill with his fleet is gone to Quebec.

Mrs. Masham is every minute expecting to lie in. Pray God preserve her life, which is of great importance. I am, with the greatest respect, my lord,

Your grace's most dutiful and

most humble servant,

The queen has got a light fit of the gout. The privy seal is not yet disposed of.