The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Jonathan Swift to William King - 36
TO THE SAME.
YOUR grace's letter was a long time before it reached me; for I was several weeks in the country, dispatching the affair of the glebe, which, however, is not yet quite finished. Your grace does rightly conceive the nature of my purchase, and that I am likely to be 200l. poorer for it; only I shall endeavour to lose by degrees, which is all I have for it. I shall endeavour, as much as I can, to prevent the evil you foresee of my successors neglecting my improvements, and letting them all go to ruin. I shall take the best advice I can, and leave them to be fools, as well as knaves, if they do so; for I shall make so many plantations and hedges, that the land will let for double the value; and after all, I must leave something to fortune.
As to what your grace mentions of a practice in the late reign, of engaging people to come into the queen's measures, I have a great deal to say on that subject, not worth troubling you with at present; farther than that I am confident those who pretend to say most of it, are conscious their accusation is wrong: but I never love myself so little as when I differ from your grace; nor do I believe I ever shall do it, but where I am master of the fact, and your grace has it only by report.
I have been speaking much to the provost about the deanery of Derry, or whatever other employment, under a bishoprick, may be designed him upon these promotions. I find Dr. Coghill has been upon the subject with him, but he is absolutely positive to take nothing less at present; and his argument is, that whatever shall be given him now, beneath the station his predecessors were called to, will be a mark of his lying under the displeasure of the court, and that he is not to be trusted; whereas he looks upon himself to have acted with principles as loyal to the present government, as any the king employs. He does not seem to dislike either the deaneries of Derry or Down, but is persuaded it will reflect upon his reputation; and unless it could be contrived that he might have some mark of favour and approbation along with such a preferment, I believe your grace may be assured he will not accept it. I only repeat what he says to me, and what I believe he will adhere to.
For my own part, who am not so refined, I gave my opinion that he should take what was given him; but his other friends differ from me, and for aught I know, they may be in the right; and if the court thinks it of consequence that the present provost should be removed, I am not sure but a way may be found out of saving his credit, which is all he seems to require; although I am confident, that if he were a bishop, the government might be very secure of him, since he seems wholly fallen out with the tories, and the tories with him; and I do not know any man, who, in common conversation, talks with more zeal for the present establishment, and against all opposers of it, than he. The only thing he desires at present in his discourse with me, is, that no proposal of a deanery should be at all made to him, but that he may go on as he is, until farther judgment shall be made of him by his future conduct.
I thought it proper to say thus much to your grace, because I did not know whether you and he perfectly understood each other.
I hear your grace intends this spring for the Bath. I shall pray for the good of the church, that you may then establish your health. I am, with the greatest respect,
Your grace's most dutiful and most humble servant,
Among other things, the provost argued, that Dr. Foster was promoted to a bishoprick from being a fellow; and therefore he must conclude, that offering him a less preferment, is a mark of displeasure; with which circumstance he is determined not to leave his present station.