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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From Jonathan Swift to Elizabeth Germain - 2

MAY 5, 1735.

I FIND your ladyship seems not very much pleased with your office of secretary; which, however, you must be obliged to hold during the duke's government, if I happen to outlive it, which for your comfort, considering my health, is not very likely. I have not been a troublesome petitioner to his grace, and intend to be less; and, as I have always done, will principally consider my lord duke's honour. I have very few friends in want. I have kindred enough, but not a grain of merit among them, except one female, who is the only cousin I suffer to see me. When I had credit for some years at court, I provided for above fifty people in both kingdoms, of which, not one was a relation. I have neither followers, nor fosterers, nor dependers; so that if I lived now among the great, they might be sure I would never be a solicitor, out of any regard but merit and virtue; and in that case, I would reckon I was doing them the best service in my power: and if they were good for any thing, I would expect their thanks; for they want nothing so much as an honest judicious recommender, which in perfect modesty, I take myself to be. Dr. Sheridan is gone to his school in the country, and was only delayed so long on account of some very unnecessary forms, contrived by his grace's most cautious deputies.

My letter is but just begun; the larger half remains[1]: and your ladyship is to make a fresh use of your secretary's employment. The countess of Kerry, my long friend and mistress, commanded me to attend her yesterday: she told me, that Mr. Deering, late deputy clerk of the council, being dead, she had thoughts of soliciting the same office for her younger son, Mr. John Fitzmaurice. Her eldest son, lord Fitzmaurice, has for some years been plagued with a wife and no wife[2]. The case has been tried in both kingdoms, and he stands excommunicated and forced to live abroad, which is a very great misfortune to the earl of Kerry and his lady; and they have nothing left to comfort them but their younger son, who has lately married very honestly and indisputably. He is a young gentleman of great regularity, very well educated, but has no employment; therefore his parents would be very desirous he should have one, and this, of deputy clerk of the council here, would be a very proper introduction to business. It is understood here, that the purchase of the deputy clerk's office is the usual perquisite of the chief clerk, with the consent of the chief governor; with which, my lord and lady Kerry would very readily and thankfully fall in. And as the earl of Kerry's is one of the most ancient and noble families of the kingdom, his younger, and only son of which he has any hopes, might well pretend to succeed in so small an office, upon an equal foot with any other person. I own this proposal of mine is more suitable to the corruption of the times, than to my own speculative notions of virtue; but I must give some allowance to the degeneracy of mankind, and the passion I have to my lady Kerry, &c.

D. never writes to me. No man alive can convince Talalderahla; and when we come next, it is the same thing with Booby and Barnard. Plurality of dinners and dignities he has; and so Mandragoras confirms it to all members in an episode of sage and brandy.

  1. This is ludicrously said, as being a common blundering expresssion of the Irish.
  2. When the woman died, who claimed a marriage with this young nobleman, he married lady Gertrude Lambert, eldest daughter to Richard, earl of Cavan, June 29, 1758, by whom he had the present earl of Kerry. The honourable John Fitzmaurice, here recommended by Dr. Swift for small employments, afterward succeeded his uncle, Henry, earl of Shelburne, in an immense estate, both real and personal, in England and Ireland; and was created earl of Shelburne, in Ireland, in 1753; and baron Wycombe in England, May 20, 1760. He died in May 1761. The present marquis of Lansdown is his son.