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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Jonathan Swift to William King - 37


MAGHERLYN, MAY 23, 1717.

YOUR grace's letter of March 23d was brought to me at Trim, where I went a month ago to finish my lease and purchase for my country parish. In some days after, I met my lord bishop of Clogher at Drogheda, by appointment; we went together to Clogher, where he was enthroned, and after three days came to this place, where his lordship is settling every thing against the coming of the new bishop, who is expected here next week. My great business at Clogher was to seduce his lordship to lay out 2000l. in a new house, and for that end we rode about to find a situation. I know not whether I shall prevail; for he has a hankering after making additions to the old one, which I will never consent to, and would rather he should leave all to the generosity of a successor. My notion is, that when a bishop, with good dispositions, happens to arise, it should be every man's business to cultivate them. It is no ill age that produces two such; and therefore, if I had credit with your grace and his lordship, it should be all employed in pushing you both upon works of publick good, without the least mercy to your pains or your purses. An expert tradesman makes a few of his best customers answer, not only for those whom he gets little or nothing by, but for all who die in his debt.

I will suppose your grace has heard of Mr. Duncan's death. I am sure I have heard enough of it, by a great increase of disinterested correspondents ever since. It is well I am at free cost for board and lodging, else postage would have undone me. I have returned no answer to any; and shall be glad to proceed with your grace's approbation, which is less a compliment, because I believe my chapter are of opinion I can hardly proceed without it, I only desire two things; first, that those who call themselves my friends may have no reason to reproach me; and the second, that in the course of this matter, I may have something to dispose of to some one I wish well to.

Some weeks before Mr. Duncan's death, his brother in law Mr. Lawson, minister of Galtrim, went for England, by Mr. Duncan's consent, to apply for an adjoining living, called Kilmore, in Mr. Duncan's possession, and now in the crown by his death. I know not his success; but heartily wish, if it be intended for him, that the matter might take another turn: that Mr. Warren, who is landlord of Galtrim, might have that living, and Kilmore adjoining, both not 150l. and Mr. Lawson to go down to Mr. Warren's living, in Clogher diocese, worth above 200l. But this is all at random, because I know not whether Kilmore may not be already disposed of, for I hear it is in your grace's turn.

I heard lately from the provost, who talked of being in the North in a month; but our Dublin account is, that they know not when the deanery is to be given him. I do not find any great joy in either party, on account of the person, who, it is supposed, will succeed him[1]. The wrong custom of making that post the next step to a bishoprick, has been, as your grace says, of ill consequence; and although, as you add, it gives them no rank, yet they think fit to take it, and make no scruple of preceding, on all occasions, the best private clergyman in the kingdom; which is a trifle of great consequence when a man's head is possessed with it.

I pray God preserve your grace, for the good of the church and the learned world; and for the happiness of those whom you are pleased to honour with your friendship, favour, or protection. I beg your grace's blessing; and remain, with the greatest truth and respect, my lord,

Your grace's most dutiful

and most humble servant,