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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 12/From Jonathan Swift to Thomas Sheridan - 12

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LONDON, MAY 13, 1727.


THIS goes by a private hand, for my writing is too much known, and my letters often stopped and opened. I had yours of the 4th instant, and it is the only one I have received out of Ireland, since I left you. I hardly thought our friend would be in danger by a cold; I am of opinion she should be generally in the country, and only now and then visit the town. — We are here in a strange situation; a firm settled resolution to assault the present administration, and break it if possible. It is certain that Walpole is peevish and disconcerted, stoops to the vilest offices of hireling scoundrels to write Billingsgate of the lowest and most prostitute kind, and has none but beasts and blockheads for his penmen, whom he pays in ready guineas very liberally. I am in high displeasure with him and his partisans: a great man, who was very kind to me last year, doth not take the least notice of me at the prince's court, and there hath not been one of them to see me. I am advised by all my friends, not to go to France (as I intended for two months) for fear of their vengeance in a manner which they cannot execute here. —— I reckon there will be a warm winter, wherein my comfort is, I shall have no concern. I desire you will read this letter to none but our two friends, and Mr. P——; his cousin with the red ribbon inquired very kindly after him. —— I hear no news about your bishops, farther than that the lord lieutenant stickles to have them of Ireland, which Walpole always is averse from, but does not think it worth his trouble to exert his credit on such trifles. The dispute about a war or no war still continues, and the major part inclines to the latter, although ten thousand men are ordered for Holland. But this will bring such an addition to our debts, that it will give great advantages against those in power, in the next sessions. Walpole laughs at all this, but not so heartily as he used. I have at last seen the princess[1] twice this week by her own commands; she retains her old civility, and I my old freedom; she charges me without ceremony to be author of a bad book[2], though I told her how angry the ministry were; but she assures me, that both she and the prince were very well pleased with every particular; but I disown the whole affair, as you know I very well might, only gave her leave, since she liked the book, to suppose what author she pleased. —— You will wonder to find me say so much of politicks, but I keep very bad company, who are full of nothing else. Pray be very careful of your charge, or I shall order my lodgers the bulk of their glasses, and the number of their bottles. —— I stole this time to write to you, having very little to spare. I go as soon as possible to the country, and shall rarely see this town.

My service to all friends.

I desire you will send me six sets of the edition of the Drapiers, by the first convenience of any friend or acquaintance that comes hither.