The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Joseph Addison to Jonathan Swift - 7



MARCH 20, 1717-18.

MULTIPLICITY of business and a long dangerous fit of sickness have prevented me from answering the obliging letter you honoured me with some time since; but, God be thanked, I cannot make use of either of these excuses at present, being entirely free both of my office[1] and my asthma. I dare not however venture myself abroad yet, but have sent the contents of your last to a friend of mine (for he is very much so, though he is my successor[2]) who I hope will turn it to the advantage of the gentleman whom you mention. I know you have so much zeal and pleasure in doing kind offices for those you wish well to, that I hope you represent the hardship of the case in the strongest colours, that it can possibly bear. However, as I always honoured you for your good nature, which is a very odd quality to celebrate in a man who has talents so much more shining in the eyes of the world, I should be glad if I could any way concur with you, in putting a stop to what you say is now in agitation.

I must here condole with you upon the loss of that excellent man, the bishop of Derry[3], who has scarce left behind him his equal in humanity, agreeable conversation, and all kinds of learning. We have often talked of you with great pleasure; and, upon this occasion, I cannot but reflect upon myself, who, at the same time that I omit no opportunity of expressing my esteem for you to others, have been so negligent in doing it to yourself. I have several times taken up my pen to write to you, but have been always interrupted by some impertinence or other; and to tell you unreservedly, I have been unwilling to answer so agreeable a letter as that I received from you, with one written in form only; but I must still have continued silent, had I deferred writing, till I could have made a suitable return. Shall we never again talk together in laconick? Whenever you see England, your company will be the most acceptable in the world at Holland house[4], where you are highly esteemed by lady Warwick, and the young lord; though by none any where more than by, sir, your most faithful and most obedient humble servant,

  1. Of secretary of state, which post Mr. Addison resigned on the fourteenth of March, 1717-18, and had a pension granted him of one thousand five hundred pounds a year.
  2. James Craggs, esq.
  3. Dr. St. George Ashe, formerly fellow and provost of the university of Dublin, who had been Swift's tutor at Dublin college. He was made bishop of Clogher, June 25, 1697, and translated to Derry, Feb. 27, 1716.
  4. The dean had lodgings at Kensington in the summer of 1712 (see vol. XV, p. 306); and Mr. Addison lived there at the same time, being some years before his marriage with the countess of Warwick. Lysons, vol. III, p. 182.