The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 18/Letter from Jonathan Swift to William Richardson - 2

APRIL 9, 1737.

I HAVE wondered, since I have had the favour to know you, what could possibly put you upon your civility to me. You have invited me to your house, and proposed every thing according to my own scheme that would make me easy. You have loaded me with presents, although it never lay in my power to do you any sort of favour or advantage. I have had a salmon from you of 26 lb. weight, another of 18 lb. and the last of 14 lb.; upon which my ill natured friends descant, that I am declining in your good will by the declining of weight in your salmon. They would have had your salmon double the weight: the second should have been of 52 lb. the third of 104, and the last of 208 lb. It seems this is the way of Dublin computors, who think you country gentlemen have nothing to do but to oblige us citizens, who are not bound to make you the least return, farther than, when you come hither, to meet you by chance in a coffeehouse; and ask you what tavern you dine in, and there pay your club. I intend to deal with you in the same manner; and if you come to town for three months, I will invite you once to dinner, for which I shall expect to stay a whole year with you; and you will be bound to thank me for honouring your house. You saw me ill enough when I had the honour to see you at the deanery. Mrs. Whiteway, my cousin, and the only cousin I own, remembers she was here in your company, and desires to present her humble service to you; and no wonder, for you sent me so much salmon, that I was forced to give her a part. Some ten days ago there came to see me one Mr. Lloyd a clergyman, who lives, as I remember, near Colrane. He had a commission from the people in and about that town which belongs to the London society. It seems that, three years ago, the society increased their rents from 300l. to 1200l. a year; since which time the town is declined, the tenants neglect their houses, and the country tenants are not able to live. I writ a letter by him to alderman Barber, because their demands seem very extravagant: but I had no other reason for doing so than the ample commission he had from the town of Colrane. I wish I knew your sentiments in this affair. I never saw the gentleman before; but the commission he had encouraged me so far, that I could not refuse him the letter. Although I was ill enough when I saw you, I am forty times worse at present, and am no more able to be your guest this summer than to travel to America. I have been this month so ill with a giddy head, and so very deaf, that I am not fit for human conversation: besides, my spirits are so low that I do not think any thing worth minding; and most of my friends, with very great justice, have forsaken me. I find you deal with Faulkner. I have read his Rollin's history. The translator did not want knowledge enough, but is a coxcomb by running into those cant words and phrases which have spoiled our language, and will spoil it more every day. Your presents are so numerous that I had almost forgot to thank you for the cheese; against which there can be no objection but that of too much rennet, for which I so often wish ill to te housewife. I am, sir, with true esteem, your most obedient humble servant,