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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 12/From Jonathan Swift to John Evans - 1


JULY 5, 1721.

I HAVE received an account of your lordship's refusing to admit my proxy at your visitation, with several circumstances of personal reflections on myself, although my proxy attested my want of health; to confirm which, and to lay before you the justice and Christianity of your proceeding, above a hundred persons of quality and distinction can witness, that since Friday the 26th of May, I have been tormented with an ague, in as violent a manner as possible, which still continues, and forces me to make use of another hand in writing to you. At the same time, I must be plain to tell you, that if this accident had not happened, I should have used all endeavours to avoid your visitation, upon the publick promise I made you three years ago, and the motives which occasioned it; because I was unwilling to hear any more very injurious treatment and appellations given to my brethren, or myself; and by the grace of God, I am still determined to absent myself on the like occasion, as far as I can possibly be dispensed with by any law, while your lordship is in that diocese, and I a member of it. In which resolution I could not conceive but your lordship would be easy; because, although my presence might possibly contribute to your real (at least future) interest, I was sure it could not to your present satisfaction.

If I had had the happiness to have been acquainted with any one clergyman in the diocese, of your lordship's principles, I should have desired him to represent me, with hopes of better success: but I wish you would sometimes think it convenient to distinguish men, as well as principles; and not to look upon every person, who happens to owe you canonical obedience, as if ——

I have the honour to be ordinary over a considerable number of as eminent divines as any in this kingdom, who owe me the same obedience, as I owe to your lordship, and are equally bound to attend my visitation; yet neither I, nor any of my predecessors, to my knowledge, did ever refuse a regular proxy.

I am only sorry that you, who are of a country famed for good nature, have found a way to unite the hasty passion of your own countrymen[1], with the long, sedate resentment of a Spaniard: but I have an honourable hope, that this proceeding has been more owing to party, than complexion. I am,

My lord, your lordship's

most humble servant.

  1. The bishop was a Welshman; his name Evans.