The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Jonathan Swift to William King - 22

LONDON, MAY 20, 1712.

WHEN I had the honour of your grace's letter of March 27, I was lying ill of a cruel disorder, which still pursues me, although not with so much violence; and I hope your grace will pardon me, if you find my letter to be that of one who writes in pain. You see, my lord, how things are altered. The talk of a new governor for Ireland is dropped. The secret is, that the duke of Ormond had a promise of a pension in case he lost his government; but my lord treasurer is so excessively thrifty, that to save charges, he lets the duke keep it; and besides, there are some other circumstances, not proper for a letter, which have great weight in this matter. I count upon it, that whatever governor goes over under this ministry, a new parliament will be called. Yet I was told that the duke of Shrewsbury was pitched on, as a sort of medium between, &c. He is a person of admirable qualities; and if he were somewhat more active, and less timorous in business, no man would be thought comparable to him.

The moderate of the other party seem now content to have a peace, and all our talk and expectations are full of it: but I protest to your grace I know not what to write upon this subject, neither could I tell what to say if I had the honour to be with you. Upon lord Strafford's[1] coming over, the stocks are fallen, although I expected, and I thought with reason, that they would rise. There is a trade between some here and some in Holland, of secrets and lies; and there are some among us whose posts let them into an imperfect knowledge of things, which they cannot conceal. This mixture makes up the towntalk, governs the price of stocks, and has often a great deal of truth in it: besides, publick affairs have often so many sudden turns and incidents, that even those behind the curtain can hardly pronounce for a week. I am sensible that I have often deceived your grace with my wise inuendoes. Yet, I verily think that my intelligence was very right at the moment I sent it. If I had writ to your grace six days ago, I would have ventured to have given you hopes that a peace would soon appear, and upon conditions wholly surprising and unexpected. I say this to you wholly in confidence; and I know nothing yet to change my opinion, except the desponding talk of the town, for I see nothing yet in the countenances of the ministers. It seems generally agreed that the present dauphin cannot live, and upon that depend many measures to be taken. This afternoon the bill for appointing commissioners to inquire into the grants, &c. was thrown out of the house of lords, the voices being equal, which is a great disappointment to the court, and matter of triumph to the other party. But it may possibly be of the worst consequence to the grants next session, when it is probable the ministry will be better settled, and able to procure a majority. I am, with great respect, my lord,

Your grace's most dutiful

and most humble servant,