The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From Edward Harley to Jonathan Swift - 7

FROM THE EARL OF OXFORD.


GOOD MR. DEAN,

DOVER STREET, AUG. 8, 1734.


IT is now so long since I have troubled you with a letter that I am almost quite ashamed to do it now; but the truth of the case is this, I cannot be longer easy any farther to defer my making my due acknowledgments to you in the best manner I can, for the many kind remembrances I have received from under your own hand, and your obliging notice of me in your letters to Mr. Pope, &c. It was an extreme great pleasure to me to find that I still maintained a share in your thoughts, that I was still worthy to receive your commands; I did my best, I did all that lay in my power to obey them; I wish there had been better success. I assure you this, that there is no person (I speak without excepting one) whose commands I would more readily obey than yours; I hope you will be so good as to indulge me, and make use of your power often; I value myself not a little upon this score, and you see here how easy it is for you to make one happy, which is more than can be said of ——.

I shall now take the liberty to talk to you a little upon family affairs; and my encouragement to do it proceeds from this, that ever since I have been so fortunate to be acquainted with you, you have in the kindest manner always taken a part in whatever fortune befel me or my family.

Indulge therefore the fondness of a father, to detain you so long, as to give a sincere friend some account of the completing a great work, the disposal of an only daughter in marriage, and in these times.

The whole affair was conducted with as much care and consideration as we were capable of: when we looked over and weighed the many offers that had been proposed to us, and what sort of creatures they were composed of, this person we have now chosen had the fairest and most unexceptionable character, and as his composition is the most unlike the generality of the young gentlemen of this age, which you will think was no small ingredient toward our approbation of him; as I hope and long much to see you in England, I believe when you see the duke[1] you will be pleased with him, and you will not disapprove of our choice; as he is free from the prevailing qualifications of the present set of young people of quality, such as gaming, sharping, pilfering, lying, &c. &c. so on the contrary, he is endowed with qualifications they are strangers to; such as justice, honour, excellent temper both of mind and body, affability, living well with his own family; and the manner in which he proposed himself was what became a gentleman and a man of honour. Thus you see I have given you a long account of this affair, and the reasons which induced us to consent to this match. I flatter myself that you will not be displeased with the account I have given you of the gentleman to whom we have given our daughter.

My wife and my daughter desire your acceptance of their humble service, with many wishes for the enjoyment of your health, and would be very glad to see you over here.

Mr. Pope has been upon the ramble above these two months: he is now with my lord Peterborow near Southampton, where he proposes to stay some time. This morning died Willis, bishop of Winchester; and is to be succeeded by Hoadly, and farther I cannot say.

Pray, has Mr. Jebb[2] got any preferment? I was very glad to hear that he had a share in your good opinion: I hope he has done nothing to forfeit it. What has prevented Mr. Faulkner from sending over your works[3]? he promised to send them over the end of last May at the farthest. I am, with true regard and esteem, sir, your most obliged and most faithful humble servant,


  1. William Bentinck, the second duke of Portland.
  2. An english clergyman, who soon after the date of this letter got very good preferment in the church of Ireland. In the year 1768, he was prebendary of Christ church, Dublin, and rector of St. Thomas in the East.
  3. These were the first four volumes in octavo, which were actually revised and corrected by Swift himself, as indeed were afterward the two subsequent volumes, printed by Faulkner in the year 1738.