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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Jonathan Swift to William King - 30

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MY LORD,
LONDON, OCT. 20, 1713.
 


THE opportunity I had of a ship was so sudden, that I had not time to receive your grace's last commands, or pay my respects, which it was my duty and inclination to do; and as for writing, I have always told your grace that I could not set about it with a good conscience, until I were provided with matter enough for your trouble of reading. We are outwardly pretty quiet during this interval of parliament; but I will not answer what seeds are sowing to make the next spring produce bitter fruit. There are several reasons, impossible for me to tell at this distance, why I shall not be so good a correspondent as I have formerly been, but may probably serve to entertain you a year or two hence: for the fashion of this world passes away; and there is nothing of so little consequence as the greatest court secrets, when once the scene is changed. I said to somebody, when I was last in Ireland, who talked to me of the advantage and felicity I had in the familiarity of great ministers, that it was well enough while it continued a vanity; but as soon as it ceased to be a vanity, it began to be a vexation of spirit. I have some thought of passing this winter at the Bath, because my health requires it, and because I shall then be a pretty equal distance from the factions on both sides the water; for it is not impossible your grace may have a warm winter.

I have had some letters, particularly from Dr. Synge and Mr. Archdeacon Walls, about my being prolocutor. I have this post writ my thoughts upon that subject to Mr. Walls; and to save you the trouble, have desired him to communicate them to your grace. Our elections for the city still continue: I was this afternoon at Guildhall. I find three of the old members; and Withers, who is the lowest, tells me, he does not despair of carrying it for himself. There is abundance of artifice (to give it the softest word) used on both sides.

I came yesterday from Windsor, where I saw the queen in very good health, which she finds there more than any where else, and I believe will hardly remove until December. I believe my lord lieutenant[1] will be landed before this letter comes to your hands: he is the finest gentleman we have, and of an excellent understanding and capacity for business: if I were with your grace, I would say more; but leave it to your own sagacity.

I will only venture to say one thing relating to Ireland, because I believe it will be of use that your grace should know it. If your house of commons should run into any violences disagreeable to us here, it will be of the worst consequences imaginable to that kingdom: for, I know no maxim more strongly maintained at present in our court, than that her majesty ought to exert her power to the utmost, upon any uneasinesses given on your side to herself or her servants: neither can I answer, that even the legislative power here may not take cognizance of any thing that may pass among you, in opposition to the persons and principles that are now favoured by the queen. Perhaps I am gone too far; and therefore shall end, without any ceremony.

Your grace's, &c.


Direct to me under cover to Erasmus Lewis, esq., at Mr. secretary Bromley's office at Whitehall.

  1. Charles Talbot, duke of Shrewsbury. It was remarked as extraordinary, that the duke's principal domesticks were whigs; particularly his secretary, sir John Stanley; his chaplain, Dr. Timothy Goodwyn (advanced to the bishoprick of Kilmore in 1714, and to Cashel in 1727); and some others.