The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 14/Letter: Swift to Pope - 8
DUBLIN, NOV. 17, 1726.
I AM just come from answering a letter of Mrs. H——'s, writ in such mystical terms, that I should never have found out the meaning, if a book had not been sent me called Gulliver's Travels, of which you say so much in yours. I read the book over, and in the second volume observed several passages which appear to be patched and altered, and the style of a different sort, unless I am mistaken. Dr. Arbuthnot likes the projectors least, others you tell me, the flying island; some think it wrong to be so hard upon whole bodies or corporations, yet the general opinion is, that reflections on particular persons are most to be blamed: so that in these cases, I think the best method is to let censure and opinion take their course. A bishop here said, that book was full of improbable lies, and for his part, he hardly believed a word of it; and so much for Gulliver.
Going to England is a very good thing, if it were not attended with an ugly circumstance of returning to Ireland. It is a shame you do not persuade your ministers to keep me on that side, if it were but by a court expedient of keeping me in prison for a plotter; but at the same time I must tell you, that such journeys very much shorten my life, for a month here is longer than six at Twickenham.
How comes friend Gay to be so tedious? another man can publish fifty thousand lies, sooner than he can publish fifty fables.
I am just going to perform a very good office, it is to assist with the archbishop, in degrading a parson who couples all our beggars, by which I shall make one happy man: and decide the great question of an indelible character in favour of the principles in fashion; this I hope you will represent to the ministry in my favour, as a point of merit; so farewell till I return.
I am come back, and have deprived the parson, who by a law here is to be hanged the next couple he marries: he declared to us that he resolved to be hanged, only desired that when he was to go to the gallows, the archbishop would take off his excommunication. Is not he a good catholick? and yet he is but a Scotchman. This is the only Irish event I ever troubled you with, and I think it deserves notice. — Let me add, that if I were Gulliver's friend, I would desire all my acquaintance to give out that his copy was basely mangled, and abused, and added to, and blotted out by the printer; for so to me it seems, in the second volume particularly.