The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Jonathan Swift to William King - 9

LONDON, NOV. 23, 1710.

I HAD your grace's letter[1] not until this day: whether it lay in the secretary's office, or was kept by the wind, I cannot tell; but I would have exposed it immediately whenever it had come. Mr. Southwell told me two days ago of the letter[2] your grace mentions, which surprised me a good deal, when I remembered I had writ to your grace three weeks ago, that the queen had absolutely granted the first-fruits and twentieths, and that Mr. Harley had permitted me to signify the same to the primate and your grace. Perhaps that letter might not have reached your grace before that resolution of sending to the duke of Ormond; but however, I gave you such an account of my reception from Mr. Harley, and his readiness to undertake this affair, and what steps he had already made in it, as I thought would have given you some sight in what way the business was; but Mr. Harley charged me to tell nobody alive what the queen had resolved on, till he gave me leave; and by the conclusion of a former letter, your grace might see you were to expect some farther intelligence very soon. Your grace may remember, that upon your telling me how backward the bishops were in giving me a power, I was very unwilling to go at all, and sent the dean of St. Patrick's to tell you so; but you thought I could not handsomely put it off, when things were gone so far. Your objection then, about the disadvantage I lay under in point of party, I know well enough how to answer, otherwise nothing should have prevailed on me to come hither; and if my lords the bishops doubt whether I have any credit with the present ministry, I will, if they please, undo this matter in as little time as I have done it. I did reckon your grace understood and believed me in what I said; and I reckon so still: but I will not be at the pains of undeceiving so many. I never proposed to myself either credit or profit by my labour, but the satisfaction of doing good, without valuing whether I had the merit of it or not: but the method now taking was the likeliest way to set all things backward, if it were not past danger. It shall be my business (until my lords the bishops forbid me to engage farther) to prevent any misunderstanding with Mr. Harley by this sudden step. The thing was all done before the duke of Ormond was named for lord lieutenant, so there was no affront at all to him; and Mr. Harley told me more than once, that such an interest was the properest, because he thought the queen herself should have the doing of it: but I said a great deal of this in former letters. If your grace has any commands for me of your own, I shall obey them with all cheerfulness, being, with great respect,

My lord,

your grace's most obedient

and most humble servant,

  1. Dated Nov. 2.
  2. To the duke of Ormond probably.