The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Jonathan Swift to William King - 35

DUBLIN, MARCH 9, 1716-17.

I HAD yesterday the honour of a letter from your grace, wherein you first mention Mr. Duncan's accident, who, as it falls out, is quite recovered, nnd they say is since better of his asthma: I believe, whenever he dies, I shall be in some difficulties, although I am wholly indifferent who may succeed him, provided he may be a deserving person; unless I might say, that my inclinations are a little turned to oblige Mr. Dopping[1], on account of his brother, for whom I have always had a very great esteem. It will be impossible for me to carry any point against that great majority of the chapter, who are sure to oppose me whenever party interferes: and in those cases I shall be very ready to change my nomination, only choosing those I least dislike among such as they will consent to: wherein, I hope, I shall have your grace's approbation.

About a week ago, I wrote to your grace in relation to the provost. My lord bishop of Dromore, Dr. Coghill, and I, were yesterday using our rhetorick to no purpose. — The topick he perpetually adheres to is, that the court offers him a deanery, because they look upon him as a man they cannot trust; which, he says, affects his reputation: that he professes to be as true to the present king, as any person in employment: that he has always shown himself so: that he was sacrificed by the tories in the late reign, on account of the dispute in the college, and other matters: that he publickly argues and appears against the same party now, upon all occasions; and expects as little favour from them, if ever they should come into power, as any man now in employment. As to any hints dropped to him of any danger or uneasiness from parliament or visitation, he declares himself perfectly safe and easy; and if it might not affect the society, he should be glad of such inquiries, in order to vindicate himself: that he should like the deanery of Down full as well, and perhaps better, than the bishoprick of Dromore, provided the deanery was given him in such a manner, and with some mark of favour and approbation, that the world would not think he was driven into it as a man whom the king could not trust; and if any such method could be thought on, he would readily accept it: that he is very sensible he should be much happier in the other station, and much richer, and which weighs with him more, that it would be much for the present interest of the college to be under another head: but that the sense of his own loss of credit prevails with him above all considerations; and that he hopes in some time to convince the world, and the court too, that he has been altogether misrepresented.

This is the sum of his reasoning, by all I could gather after several conversations with him, both alone and with some of his best friends; who all differ from him, as he allows most of his acquaintance do. I am no judge of what consequence his removal may be to the service of the college, or of any favours to be shown it. But, I believe, it would be no difficult matter to find a temper in this affair: for instance (I speak purely my own thoughts) if the prince would graciously please to send a favourable message by his secretary, to offer him the deanery, in such a manner as might answer the provost's difficulty. I cannot but think your grace might bring such a thing about; but that I humbly leave to your grace.

My lord bishop of Dromore received letters yesterday from your grace, and the bishop of Derry, with an account of his succeeding to Clogher, of which I am sure all parties wall be exceeding glad.

I wish your grace a good journey to the Bath, and a firm establishment of your health there. I am, with the greatest respect, my lord,

Your grace's most dutiful

and most humble servant,

Not knowing but your grace might be gone to the Bath, I have mentioned something of the provost's affair, in a letter this post, to my lord bishop of Derry.

  1. Dr. Dopping was made bishop of Ossory in 1741, and died the year following.