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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From Jonathan Swift to James Brydges - 1

< The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift‎ | Volume 13


AUG. 31, 1734.

ALTHOUGH I have long had the honour to be an humble servant to your grace, yet I do not remember to have ever written you a letter, at least since her majesty's death. For this reason, your grace will reasonably wonder to find a man wholly forgotten begin a commerce by making a request. For which I can offer no other excuse, than that frequent application has been made to me, by many learned and worthy persons of this city and kingdom; who, having heard that I was not unknown to you, seldom failed any opportunity of pressing me to solicit your grace, of whose generous nature fame has well informed them, to make a present of those ancient records, in paper or parchment, which relate to this kingdom, that were formerly collected, as we have heard, by the late earl of Clarendon, during his government here, and are now in your grace's possession. They can be of no use in England, and the sight of them will be of little value to foreign virtuosi; and they naturally belong to this poor kingdom. I could wish they were of great intrinsick value, so as to be sold on the Exchange for a thousand pounds, because you would then part with them at the first hint, merely to gratify your darling passion of generosity and munificence: and yet, since they are only valuable in the place of their birth, like the rest of our natives, I hope you will be prevailed on to part with them, at the humble request of many very deserving persons in this city and university. In return for which bounty, the memory of it shall be preserved in that honourable manner, which so generous a patron of learning as your grace will be certainly pleased with. And at their request alone, I desire your compliance, without the least mention of myself as any way instrumental.

I entreat your grace's pardon for this interruption; and remain, with the greatest respect, my lord,

Your grace's, &c.