The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 12/From Charles Mordaunt to Alexander Pope - 1


I AM under the greatest impatience to see Dr. Swift at Bevis-Mount, and must signify my mind to him by another hand; it not being permitted me to hold correspondence with the said dean, for no letter of mine can come to his hands.

And whereas it is apparent, in this protestant land, most especially under the care of Divine Providence, that nothing can succeed or come to a happy issue without bribery; therefore let me know what he expects, to comply with my desires, and it shall be remitted unto him.

For, though I would not corrupt any man for the whole world, yet a benevolence may be given without any offence to conscience: every one must confess that gratification and corruption are two distinct terms; nay at worst many good men hold, that, for a good end, some very naughty measures may be made use of.

But, sir, I must give you some good news in relation to myself, because I know you wish me well: I am cured of some diseases in my old age, which tormented me very much in my youth.

I was possessed with violent and uneasy passions, such as a peevish concern for truth, and a saucy love for my country.

When a christian priest preached against the spirit of the Gospel, when an English judge determined against magna charta, when the minister acted against common sense, I used to fret.

Now, sir, let what will happen, I keep myself in temper. As I have no flattering hopes, so I banish all useless fears: but as to the things of this world, I find myself in a condition beyond expectation; it being evident, from a late parliamentary inquiry, that I have as much ready money, as much in the funds, and as great a personal estate, as sir Robert Sutton[1].

If the translator of Homer find fault with this unheroic disposition, or (what I more fear) if the drapier of Ireland accuse the Englishman of want of spirit; I silence you both with one line out of your own Horace, Quid te exempta juvat spinis e pluribus una? for I take the whole to be so corrupted, that a cure in any part would but little avail.

Yours, &c.

  1. He was expelled the house of commons for being concerned in the charitable corporation, which lent money to poor people on pledges. See very ample accounts of the whole transaction in the periodical publications of 1732 and 1733.