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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 11/From William King to Jonathan Swift - 22

DUBLIN, NOV. 10, 1711.

PERHAPS it will not be ungrateful to you, to know our session of parliament ended on Friday last. We threw out in the house of lords, two bills; that against fines in the city of Dublin, and about quit-rents; and voted an address, in opposition to the commons address about revolution principles. We likewise burned Mr. Stoughton's sermon, preached at Christ church on the 30th of January, some years ago. The house were pleased to vote me thanks for prosecuting him, which, you may remember, I did in a difficult time, notwithstanding the opposition I had from the government, and his protection by lord Ikerin, which he pleaded in court: and yet I followed him so close, that I forced him out of his living. After this, we burned Mr. Boyse's book of A Scriptural Bishop[1]; and Some Observators[2]. Our address was brought in yesterday; in which sure we are even with the commons. I forgot to tell you, we agreed to another address against dissenting ministers, and their twelve hundred pounds[3] per annum. The commons made an address to my lord lieutenant, in which they bring him in for revolution principles. The Memorial of the Church of England[4] was reprinted here, and dedicated to my lord lieutenant. This was brought into the house of commons, and I doubt, would not have escaped, if the usher of the black rod had not called them up to the prorogation. Langton's business came likewise into the house of lords, and when the house was full of ladies, an offer was made to receive the report of the committee, which contained many sheets of paper. A great debate happened upon it; but at last it was waved, and ordered to be laid before the lord lieutenant.

In short, we parted in very ill humour; and I apprehend that the minds of the generality are not easy. My lord duke of Ormond, so far as I could take it, made a very modest and healing speech; and his grace seemed, in it, to be altogether disinterested in parties. All these you have in publick; and if you think it worth while, I will take care to send them as they are printed.

As to our convocation, those who had loitered and done nothing before last week, pressed on the representation of the state of religion, as to infidelity, heresy, impiety, and popery: it will, in some time, be printed. I had many reasons, but insisted only on two; first, its imputing all vices to us, as if we were the worst of people in the world; not allowing any good among us. Secondly, not assigning it a cause of the natives continuing Papists, that no care was ever taken to preach to them in their own language, or translating the service into Irish. You will find the matter in Heylin's Reformation, 2d Eliz. 1560, p. 128. I was forced to use art to procure this protest to be admitted, without which they would not have allowed me to offer reasons, as I had cause to believe.

Both the parliament and convocation have been so ordered, as to make us appear the worst people in the world, disloyal to her majesty, and enemies to the church: and I suspect, with a design to make us appear unworthy to have any countenance or preferment in our native country. When the representation is printed, I will, if you think it worth your while, send you my protest. We agreed likewise in some canons of no great moment, and some forms of prayer, and forms of receiving papists, and sectaries; which, I think, are too strait. I brought in a paper about residence; but here was no time to consider it, nor that which related to the means of converting papists. I did not perceive any zeal that way. A great part of our representation relates to sectaries; and many things, in the whole, seem to me not defensible. I told you before, how we lost six weeks, during the adjournment of the parliament; and since it sat, we could only meet in the afternoon, and I was frequently in council; so that I was neither present when it was brought into the house, when it passed for the most part, or was sent down in parcels, in foul rased papers, that I could not well read, if I had an opportunity; and never heard it read through before it past.

I believe most are agreed, that if my advice had been taken, this would have been the peaceablest session that ever was in Ireland; whereas it has been one of the most boisterous. I believe it was his grace the duke of Ormond's interest to have it quiet; but then the managers conduct has showed themselves to be necessary. I have wearied myself with this scroll, and perhaps you will be so likewise.

I am, &c.

  1. 'It was printed in 4to, at Dublin, under the title of, "The Office of a Christian Bishop described, and recommended from I Tim. ch. iii. ver. i. An ordination sermon. With an appendix to it, and a postscript, containing an apology for the publication of it." The appendix and postscript were added to the second edition of the Sermon. The author was an eminent dissenting minister at Dublin.'
  2. 'Papers published under that title, by John Tutchin, esq., who had been severely sentenced by lord chief justice Jeffereys, in king James the second's reign. He was, at last, attacked in the night, for some offence, which he had given by his writings, and died in consequence of the violence used toward him. Dr. Swift, in his Examiner, No. 15, for November 16, 1710, speaks of this writer, and of Daniel de Foe, author of "The Review of the State of the British Nation," as two stupid illiterate scribblers, both of them fanaticks by profession.
  3. 'This address was agreed upon November 9, 1711. The twelve hundred pounds per annum was originally a bounty to those ministers from king Charles the second, confirmed by king William, and continued by queen Anne.'
  4. 'Published at first in 1705, 4to, under this title, "The Memorial of the Church of England, humbly offered to the consideration of all true Lovers of our Church and Constitution." — This libel, upon its first publication, having been presented as such by the grand jury of London and Middlesex, on the 31st of August, 1705, was burnt by the common hangman.'