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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 14/Letter: Swift to Pope - 30

< The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift‎ | Volume 14


DUBLIN, JULY 23, 1737.


I SENT a letter to you some weeks ago, which my lord Orrery enclosed in one of his, to which I received as yet no answer; but it will be time enough when his lordship goes over, which will be as he hopes in about ten days, and then he will take with him "all the letters I preserved of yours, which are not above twenty-five. I find there is a great chasm of some years, but the dates are more early than my two last journeys to England, which makes me imagine, that in one of those journeys I carried over another cargo." But I cannot trust my memory half an hour; and my disorders of deafness and giddiness increase daily. So that I am declining as fast as it is easily possible for me, if I were a dozen years older.

We have had your volume of letters, which I am told are to be printed here. Some of those who highly esteem you, and a few who know you personally, are grieved to find you make no distinction between the English gentry of this kingdom, and the savage old Irish, (who are only the vulgar, and some gentlemen who live in the Irish parts of the kingdom) but the English colonies, who are three parts in four, are much more civilized than many counties in England, and speak better English, and are much better bred. And they think it very hard, that an American who is of the fifth generation from England, should be allowed to preserve that title, only because we have been told by some of them that their names are entered in some parish in London. I have three or four cousins here who were born in Portugal, whose parents took the same care, and they are all of them Londoners. Dr. Delany, who as I take it, is of an Irish family, came to visit me three days ago, on purpose to complain of those passages in your letters; he will not allow such a difference between the two climates, but will assert that North Wales, Northumberland, Yorkshire, and the other northern shires have a more cloudy ungenial air than any part of Ireland. In short, I am afraid your friends and admirers here will force you to make a palinody.

As for the other parts of your volume of letters, my opinion is, that there might be collected from them the best system that ever was writ for the conduct of human life, at least to shame all reasonable men out of their follies and vices. It is some recommendation of this kingdom, and of the taste of the people, that you are at least as highly celebrated here as you are at home. If you will blame us for slavery, corruption, atheism, and such trifles, do it freely, but include England, only with an addition of every other vice. I wish you would give orders against the corruption of English by those scribblers who send us over their trash in prose and verse, with abominable curtailings and quaint modernisms. I now am daily expecting an end of life: I have lost all spirit, and every scrap of health; I sometimes recover a little of my hearing, but my head is ever out of order. While I have any ability to hold a commerce with you, I will never be silent, and this chancing to be a day that I can hold a pen, I will drag it as long as I am able. Pray let my lord Orrery see you often; next to yourself I love no man so well; and tell him what I say, if he visits you. I have now done, for it is evening, and my head grows worse. May God always protect you, and preserve you long, for a pattern of piety and virtue.

Farewell my dearest and almost only constant friend. I am ever, at least in my esteem, honour, and affection to you, what I hope you expect me to be.

Yours, &c.