The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From Jonathan Swift to Lionel Sackville - 3



DEC. 30, 1735.

YOUR grace fairly owes me one hundred and ten pounds a year in the church, which I thus prove. I desired you would bestow a preferment of one hundred and fifty pounds a year to a certain clergyman. Your answer was, that I asked modestly; that you would not promise, but you would grant my request. However, for want of good intelligence in being (after a cant word used here) an expert kingfisher, that clergyman took up with forty pounds a year; and I shall never trouble your grace any more in his behalf. Now by plain arithmetick it follows, that one hundred and ten pounds remains: and this arrear I have assigned to one Mr. John Jackson, a cousin german of the Grattans, who is vicar of Santry, and has a small estate, with two sons, and as many daughters, all grown up. He has lain some years as a weight upon me, which I voluntarily took up, on account of his virtue, piety, and good sense, and modesty almost to a fault. Your grace is now disposing of the debris[1] of two bishopricks, among which is the deanery of Ferns, worth between eighty and one hundred pounds a year, which will make this gentleman easier; who, beside his other good qualities, is as loyal as you could wish.

I cannot but think, that your grace, to whom God has given every amiable quality, is bound, when you have satisfied all the expectations of those who have power in your club[2] to do something at the request of others, who love you on your own account, without expecting any thing for themselves. I have ventured once or twice to drop hints in favour of some very deserving gentlemen, who I was assured had been recommended to you by persons of weight; but I easily found by your general answers, that although I have been an old courtier, you knew how to silence me, by diverting the discourse; which made me reflect that courtiers resemble gamesters, the latter finding new arts unknown to the older; and one of them assured me, that he has lost fourteen thousand pounds since he left off play, merely by dabbling with those who had contrived new refinements.

My lord, I will, as a divine, quote Scripture: Although the children's meat should not be given to dogs, yet the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the children's table. This is the second request I have ever made your grace directly. Mr. Jackson is condemned to live on his own small estate, part whereof is in his parish about four miles from hence, where he has built a family house, more expensive than he intended. He is a clergyman of long standing, and of a most unblemished character; but the misfortune is, he has not one enemy to whom I might appeal for the truth of what I say. Pray, my lord, be not alarmed at the word deanery, nor imagine it a dignity like those we have in England; for, except three or four, the rest have little power, rather none, as dean and chapter, and seldom any land at all. It is usually a living, consisting of one or more parishes, some very poor, and others better endowed; but all in tithes. Mr. Jackson cannot leave his present situation, and only desires some very moderate addition. My lord, I do not deceive your grace, when I say, you will oblige great numbers even of those who are most at your devotion, by conferring this favour, or any other, that will answer the same end. Multa, &c. veniet manus auxilio quæSit mihi, (nam multo plures sumus) ac veluti teJudæi cogemus in hanc decedere turbam.

I would have waited on your grace, and taken the privilege of my usual thirteen minutes, if I had not been prevented by my old disorder in my head; for which I have been forced to confine myself to the precepts of my physicians.

  1. The shattered remains.
  2. The parliament of Ireland.