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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 13/From Jonathan Swift to Thomas Sheridan - 29

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

MAY 22, 1737.

I WILL on Monday (this is Saturday, May 22, as you will read above in the date) send to talk to Mr. Smith: but I distrust your sanguinity so much (by my own desponding temper) that I know not whether that affair of your justiceship be fixed, but I shall know next week, and write or act accordingly. I battled in vain with the duke and his clan against the lowering of gold[1], which is just a kind settlement upon England of 25,000l. a year for ever: yet some of my friends differ from me, though all agree that the absentees will be just so much gainers. I am excessively glad that your difficulty of breathing is over; for what is life but breath? I mean not that of our nostrils, but our lungs. You must in summer ride every half holiday, and go to church every Sunday some miles off. The people of England are copying from us to plague the clergy, but they intend far to outdo the original. I wish I were to be born next century, when we shall be utterly rid of parsons, of which, God be thanked, you are none at present; and until your bishop give you a living, I will leave off (except this letter) giving you the title of reverend. I did write him lately a letter with a witness, relating to his printer of Quadrille (did you ever see it) with which he half ruined Faulkner. He promises (against his nature) to consider him, but interposed an exception, which I believe will destroy the whole. Mrs. Whiteway gives herself airs of loving you; but do not trust her too much for she grows disobedient, and says she is going for to get another favourite. In short, she calls you names, and has neither Mr. nor Dr. on her tongue, but calls you plain Sheridan, and pox take you. She is not with me now, else she would read this in spite of me; and, between ourselves, she sets up to be my governor. I wish you had sent me the christian name of Knatchbull[2], and I would have writ to him; but I will see him on Monday, if he will be visible. The poem on Legion Club is so altered and enlarged, as I hear (for I only saw the original) and so damnably murdered, that they have added many of the club to the true number. I hear it is charged to me, with great personal threatenings from the puppies offended. Some say they will wait for revenge to their next meeting. Others say the privy council will summon the suspected author. If I could get the true copy I would send it you. Your bishop[3] writes me word, that the real author is manifest by the work. —— Your loss of flesh is nothing, if it be made up with spirit. God help him who hath neither, I mean myself. I believe I shall say with Horace, Non omnis moriar; for half my body is already spent.

  1. The proclamation for lowering the English and foreign gold coin to the standard of English silver was published Aug. 9, 1737.
  2. Mr. Knatchbull was secretary to lord chancellor Wyndham.
  3. Dr. Horte.