The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From Charles Ford to Jonathan Swift - 17

LONDON, JULY 8, 1736.

YOU cannot imagine how much I was transported to see a superscription in your hand, after two years and a half intermission. The pleasure I had in not being quite forgot, was soon abated by what you say of your ill health. I doubt you live too much by yourself; and retirement makes the strongest impression upon those who are formed for mirth and society. I have not been these thirty years without a set of cheerful companions, by herding with new ones as the old marry and go off. Why have not you a succession of Grattans and Jacksons? Whatever resentment the men in power may have, every body else would seek your company, upon your own terms; and for those in great stations, I am sure, at this time, you would be ashamed to be well with them. If they hate you, it is because they fear you, and know your abilities better than you seem to do yourself: even in your melancholy you write with too much fire for broken spirits. Your giddiness and deafness give me the utmost concern; though I believe you would be less subject to them, and as well taken care of here: nor need you spunge for a dinner, since you would be invited to two or three places every day. I will say no more upon this subject, because I know there is no persuading you.

My legs have been swelled many years: it is above twelve since Beaufort gave me a prescription for them, which I never took till last winter. My lord Lichfield, and other of my acquaintance, persuaded me to it; and they tell me it had its effect, for I am no judge either of my own bad looks, or large legs, having always found myself perfectly well, except when I had my fever four years ago. I walk constantly every day in the Park, and am forced to be both temperate and sober, because my meat is so much overdone that I do not like it, and my dining acquaintance reserve themselves for a second meeting at night, which I obstinately refuse.

If your rents fall, I do not know what must become of us. I have considerable losses every year; and yet I think Crosthwaite a very honest man. Rents for some time have been ill paid here as well as in Ireland; and farms flung up every day, which have not been raised since king Charles the first's time. The graziers are undone in all parts, and it is bad enough with the farmers. One cause is, their living much higher than they did formerly: another is, the great number of enclosures made of late, enough to supply many more people than England contains. It is certain, all last year a man came off well if he could sell a fat ox at the price he bought him lean. The butchers, by not lowering their meat in proportion, have been the only gainers.

I generally hear once a month or oftner from my sister. She writes to me with great affection; but I find she is still wrongheaded, and will be so as long as she lives. As she expected unreasonable presents, she makes them much more unreasonably; and, in my opinion, so illjudged, that I do not wonder more at her than at those who receive them. I see no difference in giving thirty or forty guineas, or in paying thirty or forty guineas for a thing the person you give it to must have paid. I have heard no reason to doubt lord Masham. I know nothing of his son, not even by sight. Our friend Lewis is in constant duty with his sick wife, who has been some years dying, and will not die. Unless he calls, as he does upon me for a quarter of an hour at most twice in a year, there is no seeing him. I heartily wish you health and prosperity; and am ever, most sincerely, your, &c.

My lord Masham was extremely pleased with your remembering him, and desired me to make his compliments to you.