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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Richard Nutley to Jonathan Swift - 1

DUBLIN, NOV. 21, 1713.

I CANNOT help telling you that I think you do me great wrong in charging me with being too civil, and with want of plainness in my letters to you. If you will be abundant in your favours to me, how can I forbear thanking you? and if you will call that by a wrong name, that is your fault, and not mine. I hope I shall be able to convince you of your mistake, by putting you in the place of the party obliged; and then I will show you, that I can be as ready as you are in doing good offices for a friend, and when I have done them, can treat you as you do me, as if you were the benefactor, and I had received the favour: I am sorry I did not keep a copy of my letter to you, that I might compare it with that which I shall have from you, whenever I shall be so happy as to receive one from you upon that subject; for I am thoroughly persuaded, you will then as much outdo me in civility of expression, as you do now in the power of conferring favours.

By this time, I hope, I have satisfied you, that it is fit for me (and I am resolved) to express the sense I have of your friendship in as high a manner as I can, until I have an opportunity of making a better return: but to show you, that it is as uneasy to me to write civil things, as it can be to you to read them, I will, as often as I can, do you services, that I may not be at the trouble or bear the reproach of being complaisant.

I am so much a philosopher as to know that to, be great, is to be, but not to be thought, miserable; and I am of the opinion of those among them, who allow retaliation; and therefore since you have declared your intention of loading me with cares, I will, as far as I can, make you sensible of the hurt you do me, by laying a like burden upon you.

I thank you most sincerely for the clear and full information you have given me of your grand church affair. It entirely agrees with my judgment; for I do think that what you propose will be the best service that has been done to this church and kingdom since the restoration, and the doing it soon will be of great advantage to the queen's affairs at this juncture. For, it has been given out among the party, that the ministry have an eye toward the whigs, and that if they now exert themselves, they will soon have an open declaration in their favour: we have a remarkable proof of this; for Mr. Broderick has engaged a considerable number of the parliament men (many of them not of his party) to promise him their votes for speaker, by telling them he has the approbation of the ministry and lord lieutenant; and since his grace has made known her majesty's pleasure, a new word is given out, that the liberties of the people are in the last danger, and that the crown is attempting the nomination of a speaker. I own I am no politician; but I think I understand the posture of affairs here, and I am assured that the church party is so strong, that if any thing be done on your side to excite their zeal, and discourage their adversaries, there will be but a short struggle here. But if the whigs are permitted to hope, or what is as bad, to boast of their expectations, and nothing is done, to enable others to confute them, they will, it is probable, be able to give trouble to the government; and what is now easy to be effected, will become difficult by delay; and I fear, the want of doing this in time will occasion some uneasiness to the duke of Shrewsbury; for to this is owing the doubtful dispute, who shall be speaker.

I have showed your letter to the gentleman chiefly concerned in it: this I did, because I knew it would produce a full expression of his sentiments; and I can assure you, whatever occasion may have been given you to think what you say in your letter, he has a true sense of your friendship to him. I will be guarantee that according to the power he has, he will be ready to serve you, and that in kind.

My lord chancellor will send you his own thanks. I am, most truly and sincerely,

Yours, &c.

  1. Mr. Richard Nutley went to Ireland as counsel to the commissioners of the forfeited estates in that kingdom; and acquired such practice as enabled him to allow Mr. William Nutley, a dissipated elder brother in England, 300l. a year out of his profits, in lieu of an estate of 140l. a year which he was fearful would be alienated from the family. William was the author of the celebrated little poem, called "Dr. Radcliffe's Advice to Lady Dursley;" and, when his circumstances were much in the decline, received a most noble benefaction from that benevolent physician.