The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 12/From Jonathan Swift to John Carteret - 7

JAN. 18, 1727-8.

I WAS informed, that your excellency having referred to the university here some regulation of his majesty's benefaction for professors; they have, in their answer, insinuated as if they thought it best, that the several professorships should be limited to their fellows, and to be held only as they continue to be so. I need not inform your excellency, how contrary such a practice is to that of all the universities in Europe. Your excellency well knows how many learned men, of the two last ages, have been invited by princes to be professors in some art or science for which they were renowned; and that the like rule has been followed in Oxford and Cambridge. I hope your excellency will show no regard to so narrow and partial an opinion, which can only tend to mend fellowships, and spoil professorships; although I should be sorry that any fellow should be thought incapable on that account, when otherwise qualified. And I should be glad that any person, whose education has been in this university, should be preferred before another upon equal deservings. But that must be left to those who shall be your excellency's successors, who may not always be great clerks: and I wish you could, in some measure, provide against having this benefaction made a perquisite of humour, or favour. Whoever is preferred to a bishoprick, or to such a preferment as shall hinder him from residing within a certain distance of this town, should be obliged to resign his professorship.

As long as you are governor here, I shall always expect the liberty of telling you my thoughts; and I hope you will consider them, until you find I grow impertinent, or have some bias of my own.

If I had not been confined to my chamber by the continuance of my unconversable disorder, I would have exchanged your trouble of reading for that of hearing. I am, &c.

I desire to present my most humble respects to my lady Carteret.

Your friend Walpole has lately done one of the cruellest actions that ever I knew, even in a minister of state, these thirty years past; which if the queen hath not intelligence of, may my right hand forget its cunning!