The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From John Barber to Jonathan Swift - 9
FROM ALDERMAN BARBER.
IT was with great pleasure I had the favour of your most obliging letter by the hands of Mr. Richardson, agent to the Irish society; for as I am always proud to receive your commands, he may depend upon any service I can do him that is in my power: when I say this, I make you no great compliment; for as that gentleman's merit has raised him to the post he now enjoys under the society, it is hardly to be doubted but that his integrity, and good conduct for the future, will easily preserve his interest in that body.
I am very sorry to hear that your old complaints from your head continue; and the more so, because they have deprived your friends here of the great pleasure and satisfaction of seeing you among them, which is a sensible mortification to them indeed; but I am very much pleased with the account you give of your way of living, because I am a living instance, how the economy you are under must necessarily preserve your life many years. I have the gout sometimes, the asthma very much, and of late frequent pains in my bowels; and yet, by keeping in a constant regular way, I battle them all, and am in much better health than I was twelve years ago, when four top physicians pronounced me a dead man, and sent me abroad to die. I ride when I can, but not in winter; for the fogs and mists, and cold weather, murder me. I drink a pint of claret at dinner (none at night) and have a good stomach, with a bad digestion: but I have good spirits, and am cheerful, I thank God.
I beg pardon for entertaining you so long with my infirmities, which I would humbly apply, That if my being regular, with so many distempers, preserves me to almost a miracle, what must the same method produce in you?
It is a melancholy reflection you make, how many friends you have lost since good queen Anne's time. Many indeed! for there are very few left. The loss of a friend is the loss of a limb, not to be restored. Poor lady Masham among the rest. Our friend the doctor I am afraid did not take the care he ought to have done. I am told he was a great epicure, and denied himself nothing. Possibly he might think the play not worth the candle. You may remember Dr. Garth said he was glad when he was dying; for he was weary of having his shoes pulled off and on. As for my part, I am resolved to make the remains of my life as easy as I can, and submit myself entirely to the will of God.
You will give me leave, sir, just to congratulate you on your publick spirit (and for which all mankind applaud you) in erecting an hospital for the unhappy. It is truly worthy of your great soul, and for which the present and the future age must honour and revere your memory! I dare say no more on this head for fear of offending.
That God Almighty would please to restore your health, and preserve you many years for the good of mankind, is the hearty prayer of, sir, your most obedient humble servant,
My service to Dr. Delany.