The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From Jonathan Swift to John Barber - 2


AUGUST 8, 1738.

I HAVE received yours of July 27th; and two days ago had a letter from Mr. Pope, with a dozen lines from my lord Bolingbroke, who tells me he is just going to France, and I suppose, designs to continue there as long as he lives. I am very sorry he is under a necessity of selling Dawley. Pray, let me know whether he be tolerably easy in his fortunes; for he has these several years lived very expensively. Is his lady still alive? and has he still a country house and an estate of hers to live on! I should be glad to live so long, as to see his History of his own Times; which would be a work very worthy of his lordship and will be a defence of that ministry, and a justification of our late glorious queen, against the malice, ignorance, falsehood, and stupidity of our present times and managers. I very much like Mr. Pope's last poem, entitled MDCCXXXVIII, called Dialogue II; but I live so obscurely, and know so little of what passes in London, that I cannot know the names of persons and things by initial letters.

I am very glad to hear that the duke of Ormond lives so well at ease and in so good health, as well as with so valuable a companion. His grace has an excellent constitution at so near to fourscore. Mr. Dunkin is not in town, but I will send to him when I hear he is come. I extremely love my lord and lady Oxford; but his way of managing his fortune is not to be endured. I remember a rascally butcher, one Morley, a great landjobber and knave, who was his lordship's manager, and has been the principal cause of my lord's wrong conduct, in which you agree with me in blaming his weakness and credulity. I desire you will please, upon occasion, to present my humble service to my lord and lady Oxford, and to my lord Bathurst. I just expected the character you give of young * * * * * . I hated him from a boy. I wonder Mr. Ford is alive; perhaps, walking preserves him.

I very much lament your asthma. I believe temperance and exercise have preserved me from it.

I seldom walk less than four miles, sometimes six, eight, ten, or more, never beyond my own limits; or, if it rains, I walk as much through the house, up and down stairs: and if it were not for this cruel deafness, I would ride through the kingdom, and half through England; pox on the modern phrase Great Britain, which is only to distinguish it from Little Britain, where old clothes and old books are to be bought and sold! However, I will put Dr. Sheridan (the best scholar in both kingdoms) upon taking your receipt for a terrible asthma. I wish you were rich enough to buy and keep a horse, and ride every tolerable day twenty miles.

Mr. Richardson is, I think, still in London. I assure you, he is very grateful to me, and is too wise and discreet to give any just occasion of complaint, by which he must be a great loser in reputation, and a greater in his fortune.

I have not written so much this many a day. I have tired myself much; but, in revenge, I will tire you.

I am, dear Mr. alderman, with very great esteem,

Your most obedient and most humble servant.