The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From Thomas Lindsay to Jonathan Swift - 1


DEC. 26, 1713.

YOURS of December the 8th I have received, and have obeyed your commands; but am much troubled to find, that the trade of doing ill offices is still continued. As for my part, I can entirely clear myself from either writing or saying any thing to any one's prejudice upon this occasion[1]; and if others have wounded me in the dark, it is no more than they have done before; for archbishop Tillotson formerly remarked, that if he should hearken to what the Irish clergy said of one another, there was not a man in the whole country that ought to be preferred.

We are now adjourned for a fortnight, and the commons for three weeks. I hear our lord lieutenant is not well pleased, that we have adjourned short of them: and I fancy the queen will not be well pleased, that the commons have had so little regard to the dispatch of publick business, as to make so long an adjournment as three weeks: and indeed they lowly seem to intimate, that if the lord chancellor[2] is not removed by that time, they will give her majesty no more money; and indeed some of them do not stick to say as much; and think it a duty incumbent on the crown, to turn out that minister (how innocent soever he be) whom the commons have addressed against.

I think it is plain to any who know the state of affairs here, that no party hath strength enough directly to oppose a money bill in this kingdom, when the government thinks fit to exert itself, as to be sure it always will do upon such occasions: and the halfpay officers, no doubt, will readily come in to that supply, out of which they are to receive their pay. But should all fail, yet the queen still may make herself easy, by disbanding two of three regiments, and striking off some unnecessary pensions.

Hobbes, in his Behemoth, talks of a heighth in time as well as place; and if ever there was a heighth in time here, it is certainly now; for some men seem to carry things higher, according to their poor power, than they did in England in 1641. And now they threaten (and I am pretty well assured, have resolved upon it) that if the chancellor is not discarded, they will impeach him before the lords in England. But if they have no more to say against him, than what their address contains, I think they will go upon no very wise errand.

I question not but that you will receive the votes, addresses, and representations of both houses from other hands, and therefore I have not troubled you with them: but if the parliament should continue to sit, you may expect a great product of that kind; for the commons have taken upon themselves to be a court of judicature, have taken examinations out of the judges hands about murder (which is treason here) without ever applying to the government for them; and before trial have voted the sheriffs and officers to have done their duty, and acquitted themselves well, when possibly the time may yet come, that some may still be hanged for that fact; which, in my poor opinion, is entirely destructive of liberty, and the freedom of elections.

I am your most humble servant, &c.

  1. There was at this time a great difference between the house of lords and commons in Ireland, about the lord chancellor Phipps of that kingdom; the latter addressing the queen to remove him from his post, and the former addressing in his favour.
  2. Sir Constantlne Phipps.