The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 18/Letter from Jonathan Swift and Martha Whiteway to William Richardson - 1

APRIL 17, 1739.

I FIND that Mrs. Whiteway pretends to have been long acquainted with you; but upon a strict examination I discovered that all the acquaintance was only at the deanery house, where she had the good fortune to see you once or twice at most. I am extremely obliged to you for your favours to Mr. McAulay, whose good sense and virtues of every kind I have highly esteemed ever since I had the happiness of knowing him. If he succeeds in his election, it will be chiefly by your good offices; and you have my hearty thanks for what you have already done. I know you often see my honest hearty friend alderman Barber; and pray let him know that I command him to continue his friendship to you, although he be your absolute governor. I am very much obliged to the alderman and you for your civilities to young Swift. Mrs. Whiteway says he is my cousin; which will not be to his advantage, for I hate all relations; and I —— sir, I have snatched the pen out of the dean's hand, who seems, by his countenance, to incline to finish his letter with my faults as he began it. Where there is so large a scope, and such a writer, you may believe I should not like to have my character drawn by him. However, I think for once he is mistaken; I mean in the article of what he calls vanity, and which I term a laudable ambition, the honour of being known to you, and bragging of it as some merit in myself, to be distinguished by you. Have I not reason to boast, when you tell me my recommendation will have weight with you? and how great must be the obligation that words cannot express? Gratitude, like grief, dwells only in the mind, and can best be guessed at when it is too great to be told, and most certainly lessens when we are capable of declaring it. I never doubted Mr. McAulay's success if you undertook his cause, nor your indefatigable friendship for those who have the good fortune to gain your esteem. Mr. Swift I wish may be in the number. This I am sure of, that his virtue and honour will never give me reason to repent that I introduced him to you, which is the only favour I hoped for him; but you, sir, never do things by halves.

I know you are hurried on many occasions; therefore I do not expect a letter unless you are perfectly disengaged. Sometimes we are in such a state of indolence, that half an hour is trifled away in doing nothing. When you find yourself in this situation, tell me in two or three lines you are well, and command miss Richardson to come to me. My daughter most earnestly joins with me in this request, and entreats you to belleve that she is, with as great respect as I am, sir, your most humble and most obedient servant,