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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 12/From Jonathan Swift to John Carteret - 8

< The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift‎ | Volume 12

MAY 10, 1728.

I TOLD your excellency, that you were to run on my errands. My lord Burlington has a very fine monument of his ancestor the earl of Corke, in my cathedral, which your excellency has seen. I and the chapter have written to him in a body, to have it repaired, and I in person have desired he would do it. And I desired likewise, that he would settle a parcel of land, worth five pounds a year (not an annuity) to keep it always in repair. He said, "He would do any thing to oblige me; but was afraid that in future times, the five pounds a year would be misapplied, and secured by the dean and chapter to their own use." I answered, "That a dean and twenty-four members of so great a chapter, who, in livings, estates, &c. had about four thousand pounds a year among them, would hardly divide four shillings among them, to cheat his posterity; and that we could have no view but to consult the honour of his family." I therefore command your excellency to lay this before him, and the affront he has put upon us, in not answering a letter written to him by the dean and chapter in a body.

The great duke of Schomberg is buried under the altar in my cathedral. My lady Holderness is my old acquaintance; and I writ to her about a small sum, to make a monument for her grandfather. I writ to her myself; and also, there was a letter from the dean and chapter, to desire she would order a monument to be raised for him in my cathedral. It seems Mildmay, now lord Fitzwalter, her husband, is a covetous fellow; or whatever is the matter, we have had no answer. I desire you will tell lord Fitzwalter, "That if he will not send fifty pounds, to make a monument for the old duke, I and the chapter will erect a small one of ourselves for ten pounds; wherein it shall be expressed, That the posterity of the duke, naming particularly lady Holderness and Mr. Mildmay, not having the generosity to erect a monument, we have done it of ourselves." And if, for an excuse, they pretend they will send for his body, let them know it is mine; and rather than send it, I will take up the bones, and make of it a skeleton, and put it in my registry office, to be a memorial of their baseness to all posterity. This I expect your excellency will tell Mr. Mildmay, or, as you now call him, lord Fitzwalter: and I expect likewise, that he will let sir Conyers D'Arcy know how ill I take his neglect in this matter; although, to do him justice, he averred, "That Mildmay was so avaricious a wrench, that he would let his own father be buried without a coffin, to save charges."

I expect likewise, that if you are acquainted with your successor, you will let him know how impartial I was in giving you characters of clergymen, without regard to party; and what weight you laid on them: and that having but one clergyman who had any relation to me, I let him pass unpreferred. And lastly, That you will let your said successor know, that you lament the having done nothing for Mr. Robert Grattan; and give him such a recommendation, that he may have something to mend his fortune.

These are the matters I leave in charge to your excellency: and I desire that I, who have done with courts, may not be used like a courtier; for, as I was a courtier when you were a schoolboy, I know all your arts. And so God bless you, and all your family, my old friends: and remember, I expect you shall not dare to be a courtier to me. I am, &c.