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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Jonathan Swift to William King - 34


TRIM, DEC. 22, 1716.

I HAVE been here some days, to finish the purchase of a glebe for my country parish. I prevailed on a gentleman to alienate twenty acres for 200l. to be had from the trustees of the first fruits. He then sets me twenty-three acres more for 999 years. Upon these last twenty-three acres, I am, by agreement, to lay out the said 200l. in building, and to give the gentleman immediately 55l. out of my own pocket, and to pay him 14l. per annum, for ever, which is near the value of the whole forty acres; these last twenty-three acres, after I have built and improved, I design to leave my successors; who will then have forty-three acres of good glebe, with house, gardens, &c. for 14l. per annum. I reckon to lay out of my own money about 250l. and so to be an humble imitator of your grace, longo intervallo. This expedient was a project of Dr. Raymond, minister of this town, to deal with a Jew, who would not lessen his rent-roll to save all the churches in Christendom. Dr. Coghill, and every body else, approves the thing; since it is a good bargain to the church, a better to the gentleman, and only a bad one to myself; and I hope your grace will have the same thoughts.

Since I came down here, I received the honour of a large, and therefore an agreeable letter, from your grace, of November 22. I have reason to think myself hardly dealt with by those of the side in power, who will not think I deserve any place in your good thoughts; when they cannot but know, that, while I was near the late ministry, I was a common advocate for those they call the whigs, to a degree, that a certain great minister told me, I had always a whig in my sleeve; neither did I ever fail to interpose in any case of merit or compassion, by which means several persons in England, and some in this kingdom, kept their employments, for I cannot remember my lord Oxford ever refused me a request of that kind. And for the rest, your grace may very well remember, that I had the honour of corresponding with you, during the whole period, with some degree of confidence: because I know your grace had wished the same things, but differed only in opinion about the hands that should effect them. It was on account of this conduct, that certain warm creatures of this kingdom, then in London, and not unknown to your grace, had the assurance to give me broad hints that I was providing against a change; and I observe those very men, are now the most careful of all others, to creep as far as they can out of harm's way.

The system of new zealots, which your grace extracted, must be very suitable to my principles, who was always a whig in politicks. I have been told, that upon the death of the last nonjuring bishop, Dodwell and his followers thought the schism at an end. My notion was, that these people began to set up again, upon despair of their cause by the rebellion[1] being brought to an end; else their politicks are, if possible, worse than their divinity. Upon the whole, it is clear, that the game is entirely in the hands of the king and his ministers; and I am extremely glad of your grace's opinion, that it will be played as it ought: or, if we must suffer for a name, however, I had rather be devoured by a lion than a rat.

That maxim of the injuring person never forgiving the person injured, is, I believe, true in particulars, but not of communities. I cannot but suppose that the clergy thought there were some hardships and grounds for fears, otherwise they must be very wicked, or very mad; to say more, would be to enter into dispute upon a party subject; a dog or a horse knows when he is kindly treated: and besides, a wise administration will endeavour to remove the vain, as well as the real fears of those they govern.

I saw the provost yesterday in this neighbourhood, and had some little talk with him upon the occasion of the bishop of Killaloe's death: I believe he would accept of the deanery of Derry, if Dr. Bolton the dean should be promoted; but I said nothing of it to him; I believe he has written to Mr. Molyneux[2]. I find, since he cannot be trusted with a bishoprick, that he desires to leave his station with as good a grace as he can; and that it may not be thought that what he shall get is only to get rid of him. I said in general, that such a circumstance, as things stood, was hardly worth the quiet of a man's whole life; and so we parted, only with telling him I intended to write to your grace, in answer to a letter I had from you.

  1. The rebellion in Scotland, in the year 1715, in favour of the pretender.
  2. Samuel Molyneux, esq., a gentleman of great abilities and large property in Ireland, secretary to the prince of Wales, chancellor of the university of Dublin.