The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 12/From Joseph Addison to Jonathan Swift - 8


BRISTOL, OCT. 1, 1718.

I HAVE received the honour of your letter at Bristol, where I have just finished a course of water drinking, which I hope has pretty well recovered me from the leavings of my last winter's sickness. As for the subject of your letter, though you know an affair of that nature cannot well nor safely be treated of in writing, I desired a friend of mine to acquaint sir Ralph Gore[1], that I was under a preengagement, and not at my own choice to act in it, and have since troubled my lady Ashe with a letter to the same effect, which I hope has not miscarried. However, upon my return to London, I will farther inquire that matter, and see if there is any room left for me to negotiate as you propose.

I live still in hopes of seeing you in England, and if you would take my house at Bilton in your way, (which lies upon the road within a mile of Rugby) I would strain hard to meet you there, provided you would make me happy in your company for some days. The greatest pleasure I have met with for some months, is in the conversation of my old friend Dr. Smalridge[2]; who, since the death of the excellent man you mention, is to me the most candid and agreeable of all bishops; I would say clergymen, were not deans comprehended under that title. We have often talked of you; and when I assure you he has an exquisite taste of writing, I need not tell you how he talks on such a subject. I look upon it as my good fortune, that I can express my esteem of you, even to those who are not of the bishop's party without giving offence. When a man has so much compass in his character, he affords his friends topicks enough to enlarge upon, that all sides admire. I am sure a sincere and zealous friendly behaviour distinguishes you as much as your many more shining talents; and as I have received particular instances of it, you must have a very bad opinion of me, if you do not think I heartily love and respect you; and that I am ever, dear sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant,

  1. Some time after speaker of the house of commons, and of the lords justice, of Ireland.
  2. Who had been promoted to the bishoprick of Bristol in 1713.