Open main menu

The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From Jonathan Swift to Elizabeth Germain - 5

JAN. 29, 1736-7.

I OWE your ladyship the acknowledgment of a letter I have long received, relating to a request I made to my lord duke. I now dismiss you, madam, for ever from your office of being a go-between upon any affair I might have with his grace. I will never more trouble him, either with my visits or application. His business in this kingdom is to make himself easy; his lessons are all prescribed him from court; and he is sure, at a very cheap rate, to have a majority of most corrupt slaves and idiots at his devotion. The happiness of this kingdom is of no more consequence to him, than it would be to the great mogul; while the very few honest or moderate men of the whig party, lament the choice he makes of persons for civil employments, or church preferments.

I will now repeat, for the last time, that I never made him a request out of any views of my own; but entirely by consulting his own honour, and the desires of all good men, who were as loyal as his grace could wish, and had no other fault than that of modestly standing up for preserving some poor remainder in the constitution of church and state.

I had long experience, while I was in the world, of the difficulties that great men lay under, in the points of promises and employments; but a plain honest English farmer, when he invites his neighbours to a christening, if a friend happen to come late, will take care to lock up a piece for him in the cupboard.

Henceforth I shall only grieve silently, when I hear of employments disposed of to the discontent of his grace's best friends in this kingdom; and the rather, because I do not know a more agreeable person in conversation, one more easy, or of a better taste, with a greater variety of knowledge, than the duke of Dorset.

I am extremely afflicted to hear that your ladyship's want of health has driven you to the Bath; the same cause has hindered me from sooner acknowledging your letter. But, I am at a time of life when I am to expect a great deal worse; for I have neither flesh nor spirits left; while you, madam, I hope, and believe, will enjoy many happy years, in employing those virtues which Heaven bestowed on you, for the delight of your friends, the comfort of the distressed, and the universal esteem of all who are wise and virtuous.

I desire to present my most humble service to my lady Suffolk, and your happy brother.

I am, with the truest respect,

madam, your, &c.