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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 12/From Jonathan Swift to William King - 39

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

DUBLIN, JULY 14, 1724.

YOUR grace will have received, before this comes to your hands, an account of the primate's death[1], who died yesterday at twelve o'clock at noon. He had left off spitting for about ten days before; and the want of that is thought to have been the immediate cause of his death, although he eat heartily until the two last days. He has left the bishop of Kildare, and his steward Mr. Morgan, his executors, who were both out of town; but I suppose are sent for. Some who formerly belonged to him think he has left 40000l. others report he died poor.

The vogue is, that your grace will succeed him, if you please: but I am too great a stranger to your present situation at court to know what to judge. But if there were virtue enough, I could wish your grace would accept the offer, if it should be made you; because I would have your name left to posterity among the primates; and because entering into a new station is entering, after a sort, on a new lease of life; and because it might be hoped, that your grace would be advised with about a successor; and because that diocese would require your grace's ability and spirit to reform it; and because — but I should never be at an end if I were to number up the reasons why I would have your grace in the highest stations the crown can give you.

I found all the papers in the cabinet relating to Dr. Stephen's hospital, and therefore I brought them home to the deanery. I opened the cabinet in the presence of Mr. Bouhereau, and saw one paper, which proved a bank note for 500l. The greatness of the sum startled me, but I found it belonged to the same hospital; I was in pain, because workmen were in the room, and about the house. I therefore went this morning to St. Sepulchre's; and, in the presence of Mrs. Green[2], I took away the note, and have secured it in my cabinet, leaving her my receipt for it, and am very proud to find that a scrip under my hand will pass for 500l. I wish your grace a good journey to the establishment of your health; and am, with the greatest respect,

My lord,

Your grace's most dutiful

and most humble servant,

  1. When our author was chaplain to lord Berkeley, he was set aside from the deanery of Derry on account of youth; but, as if his stars had destined to him a parallel revenge, he lived to see the bishop of Derry afterward set aside on account of age. That prelate had been archbishop of Dublin many years, and had been long celebrated for his wit and learning, when Dr. Lindsay died. Upon his death, archbishop King immediately laid claim to the primacy, as a preferment to which he had a right from his station in the see of Dublin, and from his acknowledged character in the church. Neither of these pretensions were prevalent: he was looked upon as too far advanced in years to be removed. The reason alleged was as mortifying as the refusal itself: but the archbishop had no opportunity of showing his resentment, except to the new primate Dr. Boulter, whom he received at his own house, and in his dining parlour, without rising from his chair; and to whom he made an apology, by saying, in his usual strain of wit, and with his usual sneering countenance, "My lord, I am certain your grace will forgive me, because, you know I am too old to rise." See Orrery's Remarks, Lett. 3.
  2. The archbishop's housekeeper.