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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 12/From Unknown Author to Queen Caroline


DUBLIN, JUNE 22, 1731.

I HAVE had the honour to tell your majesty, on another occasion, that provinces labour under one mighty misfortune, which is, in a great measure, the cause of all the rest; and that is, that they are for the most part far removed from the prince's eye, and, of consequence, from the influence both of his wisdom and goodness. This is the case of Ireland beyond expression!

There is not one mortal here, who is not well satisfied of your majesty's good intentions to all your people: and yet your subjects of this isle are so far from sharing the effects of your good dispositions, in any equitable degree; are so far from enjoying all the good to which they are entitled from your majesty's most gracious inclinations; that they often find great difficulty how to enjoy even the relief of complaint.

To emit a thousand other instances, there is one person of Irish birth, eminent for genius and merit of many kinds, an honour to her country, and to her sex: I will be bold to say, not less so in h sphere than your majesty in yours. And yet all talents and virtues have not yet been able to influence any one person about your majesty, so far as to introduce her into your least notice. As I am your majesty's most dutiful and loyal subject, it is a debt I owe your majesty to acquaint you, that Mrs. Barber, the best female poet of this or perhaps of any age, is now in your majesty's capital, known to lady Hertford, lady Torrington, lady Walpole, &c.; a woman whose genius is honoured by every man of genius in this kingdom, and either honoured or envied by every man of genius in England.

Your majesty is justly reverenced for those great abilities with which God hath blessed you; for your regard to learning, and your zeal for true religion. Complete your character, by your regard to persons of genius; especially those, who make the greatness of their talents, after your majesty's example, subservient to the good of mankind and the glory of God; which is most remarkably Mrs. Barber's case and character.

Give me leave to tell you, madam, that every subject of understanding and virtue, throughout your dominions, is appointed by Providence of your council. And this, madam, is an open and an honest apology for this trouble; or, to speak more properly, for this dutiful information. It is your true interest, that all your subjects should see that merit is regarded by you in one instance; or rather, that it is not disregarded in any instance. Let them daily bless God for every gift of wisdom and goodness bestowed upon you, and pray incessantly for the long continuance of them; as doth

Your majesty's

most dutiful and

loyal subject and servant,

  1. Thus endorsed by Dr. Swift: "Counterfeit letter from me to the queen, sent to me by Mr. Pope, dated June 22, 1731. Received July 19, 1731. Given by the countess of Suffolk."