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

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



EVERY squire, almost to a man, is an oppressor of the clergy; a racker of his tenants; a jobber of all publick works; very proud; and generally illiterate. Two neighbouring squires, although they be intimate friends, relations, or allies, if one of them want one hundred foot of the other's land contiguous to his own, which would make any building square, or his garden uniform (without the least inconveniency to the other) he shall be absolutely refused; or as the utmost mark of friendship) shall be forced to pay for it twenty times more than the value. This they call, paying for your conveniency: which is directly contrary to the very letter of an ancient heathen maxim in morality — That whatever benefit we can confer upon another, without injuring ourselves, we are bound to do it to a perfect stranger. The esquires take the titles of great men, with as little ceremony, as Alexander or Cæsar. For instance, the great Conolly[1], the great Wesley[2] — the great Damer. [3]

A fellow, whose father was a butcher, desiring a lawyer to be a referee in some little brangle between him and his neighbour, complained that the lawyer excused himself in the following manner: — Sir, I am your most humble servant; but dare not venture to interfere in the quarrels of you great men. Which I take to be just of a piece with Harlequin's swearing upon his honour. Jealousies, quarrels, and other ruptures, are as frequent between neighbouring squires, and from the same motives: the former brangling about their meres and bounds, as the others do about their frontiers. The detestable tyranny and oppression of landlords are visible in every part of the kingdom.