The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 18/Letter from Jonathan Swift to William Richardson - 3
IF it had pleased God to restore me to any degree of health, I should have been setting out on Monday next to your house; but I find such a weekly decay, that has made it impossible for me to ride above five or six miles at farthest, and I always return the same day heartily tired. I have not an ounce of flesh or a dram of spirits left me: yet my greatest load is not my years but my infirmities. In England, before I was twenty, I got a cold which gave me a deafness that I could never clear myself of. Although it came but seldom, and lasted but a few days, yet my left ear has never been well since; but when the deafness comes on, I can hear with neither ear, except it be a woman with a treble, and a man with a counter tenor. This unqualifies me for any mixed conversation: and the fits of deafness increase; for I have now been troubled with it near seven weeks, and it is not yet lessened, which extremely adds to my mortification. I should not have been so particular in troubling you with my ailments, if they had not been too good an excuse for my inability to venture any where beyond the prospect of this town.
I am the more obliged to your great civilities, because I declare, without affectation, that it never lay in my power to deserve any one of them. I find by the conversation I have had with you, that you understand a court very well for your time, and are well known to the minister on the other side. The consequence of which is, that it lies in my power to undo you, only by letting it be known at St. James's that you are perpetually sending me presents, and holding a constant correspondence with me by letters. Another unwary step of yours is inviting me to your house, which will render your election desperate, by making all your neighbour squires represent you as a person disaffected to the government. Thus I have you at my mercy on two accounts, unless you have some new court refinements to turn the guilt upon me. I wrote a long letter some weeks ago; but I could not find by the messenger of your last salmon that he knew any thing of that letter; for you take, in every circumstance, a special care that I may know nothing more than of a salmon being left at the deanery. Thus there is a secret commerce between your servant and my butler. The first writes a letter to the other — says the carriage is paid, that the salmon weighs so much, and was sent by his master to me. If some of our patriots should happen to discover the management of this intrigue, they would inform the privy council, from which an order would be brought by a messenger to seize on the salmon, have it opened, and search all its entrails to find some letter of dangerous consequence to the state. I believe I told you in my former letter, that Mr. Lloyd, a clergyman, minister of Colrane, but who lives four miles from it, came to me upon his going to England, to see his old father in Chester, and from thence goes to London to wait upon the society. He showed me very ample credentials from the magistrates of Colrane to deliver to the society, upon some hard things that colony lies under. It seems, about three years ago, their lease was out; the rent was 300l. a year; but upon the renewal it was raised to 1200l. which was beyond what I have known in leases from corporations. I had never seen or heard of Mr. Lloyd. He is middle aged, and walks with a stick as if he were infirm. I wrote by him to alderman Barber, putting the case as Mr. Lloyd gave it me, who says that the townfolks and tenants of the estate round Colrane would be content to double the rent; but that the present prodigious addition had made the townfolks let their buildings decay, and the country tenants were in despair. I then wondered how you came to mention nothing of this to me, since you are concerned for the society. If Mr. Lloyd has not fairly represented the matter, he has not behaved himself suitable to his function: However, pray let me know the truth of the matter, and how he came to be employed: only I find that he is not known to any of my acquaintance that I have seen since.
Pray God preserve you, sir, and give you all the good success that I am convinced you deserve.
I am, with true esteem and gratitude, your most obedient and obliged servant,