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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Jonathan Swift to William King - 24

< The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift‎ | Volume 11

LONDON, OCT. 21, 1712.

SINCE I had the honour of your grace's letter of July 29, which found me at Windsor, I have been extremely out of order with a giddiness in my head, which pursued me until very lately; but, by an uneasy course of physick, I hope I have in some sort overcome it.

We are now in very near expectation of a peace; and your grace, I hope, will believe it as good a one as the circumstances of things would allow. I confess I agree with your grace, that the great difficulty was about the danger of France and Spain being united under one king. To my knowledge, all possible means have been taken to secure that matter; and yet, after all, the weakest side will be there. Renunciations by France have very justly so little credit, that I do not wonder so little weight is laid on them. But Spain, we are sure, will, for their own sakes, enter into all securities to prevent that union; and all the allies must be guarantees. If you still object that some danger still remains, what is to be done? Your grace is altogether misinformed, if you think that this is at all the difficulty which so long made the Dutch untractable. It was nothing less: neither have they once mentioned, during all the negotiation at Utrecht, one syllable of getting Spain out of the Bourbon family, or into that of Austria, as the chief men have assured me not three days ago. Buys offered last winter to ease us immediately of the trouble we were in by lord Nottingham's vote, if we would consent to let them share with us in the advantages we had stipulated with France; which advantages, however, did by no means clash with Holland, and were only conditional, if peace should ensue. But, my lord, we know farther, that the Dutch made offers to treat with France, before we received any from thence; and were refused, upon the ill usage they gave Mr. Torcy at the Hague, and the abbé de Polignac afterward at Gertruydenberg: and we know that Torcy would have been forced to apply to them again, if, after several refusals, we had not hearkened to their overtures. What I tell your grace is infallibly true; and care shall be taken very soon to satisfy the world in this, and many other particulars at large, which ought to be known: for, the kingdom is very much in the dark, after all the pains hitherto taken to inform it. Your grace's conjectures are very right, that a general peace would not be for our interest, if we had made ours with France. And I remember a certain great man used to say two months ago, "Fight on, fight on, my merry men all." I believe likewise, that such a peace would have happened, if the Dutch had not lately been more compliant; upon which our ministers told those of France, that since the States were disposed to submit to the queen, her majesty must enter into their interests: and I believe they have as good conditions as we ever intended they should. Tournay, I hope, will be yielded to them: and Lisle we never designed they should have. The emperor will be used as he deserves; and having paid nothing for the war, shall get nothing by the peace. We are most concerned (next to our regard to Holland) for Savoy[1], and France for Bavaria[2]. I believe we shall make them both kings, by the help of Sardinia and Sicily. But I know not how plans may alter every day. The queen's whole design, as your grace conjectures, is to act the part of a mediator; and our advantages, too many to insert here, must be owned very great.

As for an academy to correct and settle our language, lord treasurer talked of it often very warmly; but I doubt, is yet too busy until the peace be over. He goes down to Windsor on Friday, to be chosen of the garter, with five more lords.

I know nothing of promises of any thing intended for myself; but, I thank God, I am not very warm in my expectations, and know courts too well to be surprised at disappointments; which, however, I shall have no great reason to fear, if I gave my thoughts any trouble that way, which, without affectation, I do not; although I cannot expect to be believed when I say so.

I am, &c.

  1. Victor Amadeus, duke of Savoy, was made king of Sardinia by this treaty.
  2. All bad policy, as things then stood.