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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From Jonathan Swift to John Temple - 1


DUBLIN, FEB. 1736-7.

THE letter which I had the favour to receive from you, I read to your cousin, Mrs. Dingley, who lodges in my neighbourhood. She was very well pleased to hear of your welfare; but a little mortified that you did not mention or inquire after her. She is quite sunk with years and unwieldiness; as well as a very scanty support. I sometimes make her a small present, as my abilities can reach; for I do not find her nearest relations consider her in the least.

Jervas told me that your aunt's picture[1] is in sir Peter Lely's best manner, and the drapery all in the same hand. I shall think myself very well paid for it, if you will be so good, as to order some mark of your favour to Mrs. Dingley. I do not mean a pension, but a small sum to put her for once out of debt: and if I live any time, I shall see that she keeps herself clear of the world; for she is a woman of as much piety and discretion as I have known.

I am sorry to have been so much a stranger to the state of your family. I know nothing of your lady or what children you have, or any other circumstances; neither do I find that Mr. Hatch can inform me in any one point. I very much approve of your keeping up your family house at Moor park. I have heard it is very much changed for the better, as well as the gardens. The tree on which I carved those words, factura nepotibus umbram, is one of those elms that stand in the hollow ground just before the house: but I suppose the letters are widened and grown shapeless by time.

I know nothing more of your brother, than that he has an Irish title (I should be sorry to see you with such a feather) and that some reason or other drew us into a correspondence, which was very rough. But I have forgot what was the quarrel.

This letter goes by my lord Castledurrow[2], who is a gentleman of very good sense and wit. I suspect, by taking his son[3] with him, that he designs to see us no more. I desire to present my most humble service to your lady[4] with hearty thanks of her remembrance of me.

I am, sir,

your most humble faithful servant,

  1. Picture of lady Giffard, sister of sir William Temple.
  2. Nephew to Mr. Temple; his father having married Mary, the fourth daughter of sir John Temple.
  3. Henry, created viscount Ashbrook, Sept. 30, 1751.
  4. Mr. Temple was the nephew, and his lady the grandaughter, of sir William Temple, by his only son, who died young. Mr. Temple died at Moor park, in Feb. 1752.