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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From Jonathan Swift to George Faulkner - 6

THURSDAY, JULY 13, 1738.

I desire you will print the following paper, in what manner you think most proper. You see my design in it: I believe no man had ever more difficulty, or less encouragement, to bestow his whole fortune for a charitable use.

I am your humble servant,

IT is known enough, that the abovenamed doctor has, by his last will and testament, bequeathed his whole fortune (except some legacies) to build and endow an hospital, in or near this city, for the support of lunaticks, ideots, and those they call incurables: But the difficulty he lies under is, that his whole fortune consists in mortgages on lands, and other the like securities; for, as to purchasing a real estate in lands, for want of active friends, he finds it impossible; so that, much against his will, if he should call in all his money lent, he knows not where to find a convenient estate in a tolerable part of the kingdom, which can be bought; and in the mean time, his whole fortune must lie dead in the hands of bankers. The great misfortune is, that there seems not so much publick virtue left among us, as to have any regard for a charitable design; because none but the aforesaid unfortunate objects of charity will be the better for it: However, the said doctor, by calling in the several sums he has lent, can be able, with some difficulty, to purchase three hundred pounds per annum in lands, for the endowment of the said hospital, if those lands could be now purchased; otherwise he must leave it, as he has done in his will, to the care of his executors, who are very honesty wise, and considerable gentlemen, his friends; and yet he has known some of very fair and deserved credit, prove very negligent trustees. The doctor is now able to lend two thousand pounds, at five per cent, upon good security; of which the principal, after his decease, is to be disposed of, by his executors, in buying lands for the farther endowment of the said hospital.