The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 12/From Jonathan Swift to Thomas Sheridan - 5
TO DR. SHERIDAN.
QUILCA, JUNE 28, 1725.
YOU run out of your time so merrily, that you are forced to anticipate it like a young heir, that spends his fortune faster than it comes in; for your letter is dated to morrow, June 29, and God knows when it was writ, or what Saturday you mean; but I suppose it is the next, and therefore your own mare, and Dr. Swift's horse or mare, or some other horse or mare, with your own mare aforesaid, shall set out on Wednesday next, which will be June 30, and so they will have two nights rest, if you begin your journey on Saturday. You are an unlucky devil, to get a living the farthest in the kingdom from Quilca. If it be worth two hundred pound a year, my lord lieutenant has but barely kept his word, for the other fifty must go in a curate and visitation charges, and poxes, proxies I mean. If you are under the bishop of Cork, he is a capricious gentleman; but you must flatter him monstrously upon his learning and his writings; that you have read his book against Toland a hundred times, and his sermons (if he has printed any) have been always your model, &c. Be not disappointed, if your living does not answer the sum. Get letters of recommendation to the bishop and principal clergy, and to your neighbouring parson or parsons particularly. I often advised you to get some knowledge of tithes and church livings. You must learn the extent of your parish, the general quantity of arable land and pasture in your parish, the common rate of tithes for an acre of the several sorts of corn, and of fleeces and lambs, and to see whether you have any glebe; pray act like a man of this world. I doubt being so far off, you must not let your living as I do, to the several farmers, but to one man: but by all means do not let it for more than one year, till you are surely apprised of the real worth; and even then never let it for above three. Pray take my advice for once, and be very busy while you are there. It is one good circumstance, that you got such a living in a convenient time, and just when tithes are fit to be let; only wool and lamb are due in spring, or perhaps belong to the late incumbent. You may learn all on the spot, and your neighbouring parsons may be very useful, if they please, but do not let them be your tenants: advise with archdeacon Wall, but do not follow him in all things. Take care of the principal squire or squires, they will all tell you the worst of your living; so will the proctors and tithe jobbers; but you will pick out truth from among them. Pray show yourself a man of abilities. After all I am but a weak brother myself; perhaps some clergy in Dublin, who know that country, will farther inform you. Mr. Townsend of Cork will do you any good offices on my account, without any letter. — Take the oaths heartily, and remember that party was not made for depending puppies. I forgot one principal thing, to take care of going regularly through all the forms of oaths and inductions; for the least wrong step will put you to the trouble of repassing your patent, or voiding your living.