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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 12/From Jonathan Swift to Robert Cope - 3



I AM but just come to town, and therefore look upon myself to have just left Loughall, and that this is the first opportunity I have of writing to you.

Strange revolutions since I left you: a bishop[1] of my old acquaintance in the Tower for treason, and a doctor of my new acquaintance made a bishop. I hope you are returned with success from your Connaught journey, and that you tired yourself more than you expected in taking the compass of your new land; the consequence of which must be, that you will continue needy some years longer than you intended. — Your new bishop Bolton was born to be my tormentor; he ever opposed me as my subject[2], and now has left me embroiled for want of him. The government, in consideration of the many favours they have shown me, would fain have me give St. Bride's to some one of their hangdogs, that Dr. Howard may come in to St. Werburgh's. So that I must either disoblige whig and tory in my chapter, or be ungrateful to my patrons in power. — When you come to town, you must be ready, at what time you hear the sound of tabret, harp, &c. to worship the brazen image set up, or else be cast into a cold watery furnace; I have not yet seen it, for it does not lie in my walks, and I want curiosity. — The wicked tories themselves begin now to believe there was something of a plot; and every plot costs Ireland more than any plot can be worth. The court has sent a demand here for more money by three times than is now in the hands of the treasury, and all the collectors of this kingdom put together. I escaped hanging very narrowly a month ago; for a letter from Preston, directed to me, was opened in the postoffice, and sealed again in a very slovenly manner, when Manley found it only contained a request from a poor curate. This hath determined me against writing treason; however, I am not certain that this letter may not be interpreted as comforting his most excellent majesty's enemies, since you have been a state prisoner. Pray God keep all honest men out of the hands of lions and bears, and uncircumcised Philistines! — I hoped my brother Orrery[3] had loved his land too much to hazard it on revolution principles. I am told that a lady of my acquaintance was the discoverer of this plot, having a lover among the true whigs, whom she preferred before an old battered husband.

You never saw any thing so fine as my new Dublin plantations of elms; I wish you would come and visit them; and I am very strong in wine, though not so liberal of it as you. — It is said that Kelly the parson[4] is admitted to Kelly the squire[5], and that they are cooking up a discovery between them, for the improvement of the hempen manufacture. It is reckoned that the best trade in London this winter will be that of an evidence. As much as I hate the tories, I cannot but pity them as fools. Some think likewise, that the pretender ought to have his choice of two caps, a red cap or a fool's cap. It is a wonderful thing to see the tories provoking his present majesty, whose clemency, mercy, and forgiving temper, have been so signal, so extraordinary, so more than humane, during the whole course of his reign; which plainly appears, not only from his own speeches and declarations, but also from a most ingenious pamphlet just come over, relating to the wicked bishop of Rochester. — But enough of politicks. I have no town news: I have seen nobody: I have heard nothing. Old Rochfort[6] has got a dead palsy. Lady Betty[7] has been long ill. Dean Per—[8] has answered the other dean's journal[9] in Grub street, justly taxing him for avarice and want of hospitality. Madam Per— absolutely denies all the facts: insists that she never made candles of dripping; that Charly never had the chin cough, &c.

My most humble service to Mrs. Cope, who entertained that covetous lampooning dean much better than he deserved. Remember me to honest Nanty, and boy Barclay.

Ever yours, &c.

  1. Dr. Atterbury, bishop of Rochester.
  2. Dr. Bolton had been chancellor of St. Patrick's.
  3. Charles Boyle, born in August 1676, was entered, when only fifteen, of Christ's Church, Oxford; and early distinguished himself by publishing the life of Lysander, from the Greek of Plutarch; and still more, by his edition of Phalaris in 1695, and the consequent controversy with Dr. Bentley. He succeeded to the title of earl of Orrery, Aug. 23, 1703, on the death of his elder brother Lionel, and had a regiment given him; was elected a knight of the Thistle, Oct. 13, 1705; raised to the rank of major general in 1709, and sworn of the privy council. At the time the peace of Utrecht was settling, he was appointed envoy extraordinary to the states of Flanders and Brabant, Jan. 11, 1710-11; and, for his services, was created baron Boyle, of Marston, in Somersetshire, Sept. 10, 1711. He resided at Brussels, as envoy, till June 1713; and, on the accession of king George I, was continued in his command in the army, made a lord of the bedchamber; and lord lieutenant of the county of Somerset, Dec. 3, 1714. He resigned his post in the bedchamber in 1716, his regiment having before been taken from him; was committed to the Tower, Sept. 18, 1722, on suspicion of being concerned in Layer's plot; whence he was at last discharged, after suffering severely in his health; and died Aug. 28, 1731, aged 57. His lordship's taste as a fine writer is well established; and the noble instrument invented by him, which bears his name, is a proof of his mechanical genius; he had also a peculiar turn to medicine; and bought and read whatever was published on that subject.
  4. George Kelly, taken up on suspicion of treasonable correspondence, was tried by the house of lords, and found guilty, and sentenced to be confined in the Tower for life; but he made his escape in the year 1736.
  5. Captain Dennis Kelly, who had a very good estate in Ireland, was committed to the Tower in 1722, on suspicion of corresponding with the pretender; but nothing could be proved against him. Mr. Kelly's daughter was honoured with the friendship of Dr. Swift; and several of her letters are in the collection of his works.
  6. Robert Rochfort, esq. He was made attorney general to king William, June 6, 1695: chosen speaker of the house of commons the same year; and appointed chief baron of the exchequer in 1707, in which post he continued till the death of the queen.
  7. Wife to Mr. George Rochfort (the chief baron's son); and daughter to the earl of Drogheda.
  8. Dr. William Percivale, archdeacon of Cashel in 1713, appears, by Boulter's Letters, to have been promoted in the year 1725 to the rectory of St. Michan's in Dublin. He was then a dean, and evidently the person here meant. Dr. Percivale died suddenly at Gaulstown, Oct. 10, 1727.
  9. See The Country Life, by Dean Swift, in Vol VII, of this collection, p. 204.