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

MARCH 28, 1739.

TWO days ago I had the very great pleasure to hear from Mr. Swift you were well. The acknowledgments he professes in his letters to the dean and me of your extraordinary civilities to him, make me perfectly ashamed to think how ill I shall acquit myself by only being able to say I most sincerely thank you. What an opportunity have you laid in my way of saying a thousand fine things on this subject; and yet I can only tell you (what you already know to be a great truth), that you have acted in this as you do in every thing, friendly, politely, and genteelly. All the return I can make, is to give you farther room to exercise a virtue which great minds only feel, that of doing good to an ingenuous worthy honest gentleman. The person I mean is counsellor McAulay; one of those who stand candidates for member of parliament to represent the university of Dublin, in the place of Dr. Coghill deceased. The dean of St. Patrick's appears openly for him; and I have his leave and command to tell you, if you can do Mr. McAulay a piece of friendship on this occasion with any person of distinction in England, he will receive the favour as done to himself. After I have mentioned the dean, how trifling will it be to speak of myself? and yet I most earnestly entreat your interest in this affair; and for this reason, because it will never lie in my way to make you any return; so that only true generosity can inspire you to do any thing at my request. After all, I am not so very unreasonable as to desire a favour of this nature if it be irksome to you. Tell me, sir, can you do any thing in this matter? and will you undertake it? for your word I know can be depended upon. There is one hint that perhaps I am impertinent in offering, that all great bodies of men (or who at least think themselves so), let their inclinations be ever so much in prejudice of one person (as I take it to be the case of Mr. McAulay), yet wait for the interfering of the higher powers; so that if, by your good offices, the lord lieutenant can be prevailed on to recommend him to the provost and fellows of the university, his interest would be certainly fixed: but this, and the manner of doing it, I submit to your superiour judgment.

The dean of St. Patrick's presents you his most affectionate love and service; these were his own words. He is better both in health and hearing than I have known him these twelve months; but so indolent in writing, that he will scarce put his name to a receipt for money. This he has likewise ordered me to tell you as an apology for not writing to you himself, and not want of the highest esteem for you.

Do you, sir, ever intend to see this kingdom again? What time may we expect it? When may I hope you will perform your promise to let miss Richardson spend some months with me? and do you ever intend to write again to your friends in Dublin? I am, sir, with the highest esteem and respect, your most humble and most obedient servant,