The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From John Barber to Jonathan Swift - 11


LONDON, MARCH 13th, 1737-8.

IT was with great pleasure I received yours of the 9th of March, with the state of your health, which was the more agreeable, as it contradicted the various reports we had of you; for you remember that our newspapers take the privilege of killing all persons they do not like as often as they please. I have had the honour to be decently interred about six times in their weekly memoirs, which I have always read with great satisfaction.

I am very well satisfied with your character of Mr. Dunkin, and desire that he would immediately draw up a petition in form, directed to the governor, &c. which petition I desire that you only would underwrite, with your recommendation, and a character of him; which you will please to send to me, to be made use of at my discretion. He need not come over, but inform me, as soon as possible, of Dr. Squire's death.

I have made your compliments to lord and lady Oxford, who are both well, and rejoiced to hear of your health. They give you their thanks for your remembrance, and are your faithful friends.

His lordship is very well pleased with your present of the medals[1], and desires you would send them by the first safe hand that comes over. Is it not shocking that that noble lord, who has no vices (except buying manuscripts and curiosities may be called so) has not a guinea in his pocket, and is selling a great part of his estate to pay his debts? and that estate of his produces near 20000l. a year. I say, is it not shocking! But indeed most of our nobility with great estates are in the same way. My lord Burlington is now selling, in one article, 9000l. a year in Ireland, for 200000l. which wont pay his debts.

Dr. Mead is proud of your compliments[2], and returns his thanks and service.

Mr. Lewis I have not seen, but hear he is pretty well.

Mr. Ford, I am told, is the most regular man living; for from his lodgings to the Mall — to the Cocoa — to the tavern — to bed, is his constant course.

These cold winds of late have affected me; but as the warm weather is coming on, I hope to be better than I am, though, I thank God, I am now in better health than I have been in for many years. Among the other blessings I enjoy, I am of a cheerful disposition, and I laugh, and am laughed at in my turn, which helps off the tedious hours.

I hope the spring will have a good effect upon you, and will help your hearing and other infirmities, and that I shall have the pleasure to hear so from your own hand.

You will please to observe that I am proud of every occasion of showing my gratitude to you, sir, to whom I must ever own the greatest obligations.

Pray God bless you and preserve you, and believe me always, dear sir, your most faithful and most obedient humble servant,

  1. Alluding to some medals and other curiosities which had been purchased at Rome by captain Bernage, and sent to the dean as a present. This gentleman, who had been educated in the university of Dublin, obtained, at Dr. Swift's recommendation, an ensign's commission from the earl of Pembroke when lord lieutenant. He was afterward made a captain; but was disbanded at the peace of Utrecht. See also the Journal to Stella, February 10, 1710-11; and April 19, 1711.
  2. The dean had made Dr. Mead a present of his works.