The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 19/From John Boyle to Alexander Pope - 1


MARSTON, OCT. 4, 1738.

I AM more and more convinced that your letters are neither lost nor burnt; but who the dean means by a safe hand in Ireland is beyond my power of guessing, though I am particularly acquainted with most, if not all, of his friends. As I know you had the recovery of those letters at heart, I took more than ordinary pains to find out where they were; but my inquiries were to no purpose; and, I fear, whoever has them is too tenacious of them to discover where they lie. "Mrs. Whiteway did assure me she had not one of them; and seemed to be under great uneasiness, that you should imagine they were left with her. She likewise told me she had stopped the dean's letter which gave you that information, but believed he would write such another; and therefore desired me to assure you, from her, that she was totally ignorant where they were."

You may say what you please, either to the dean or any other person, of what I have told you. I am ready to testify it; and I think it ought to be known, "That the dean says they are delivered into a safe hand; and Mrs. Whiteway[1] declares she has them not. The consequence of their being hereafter published may give uneasiness to some of your friends, and of course to you: so I would do all in my power to make you entirely easy in that point."

This is the first time that I have put pen to paper since my late misfortune; and I should say (as an excuse for this letter) that it has cost me some pain, did it not allow me an opportunity to assure you, that I am,

Dear sir,

With the truest esteem,

Your very faithful and obedient servant,

  1. This lady afterward gave Mr. Pope the strongest assurances that she had used her utmost endeavours to prevent the publication; nay, went so far as to secrete the book till it was commanded from her, and delivered to the Dublin printer: whereupon her son-in-law, Deane Swift, esq., insisted upon writing a preface, to justify Mr. Pope from having any knowledge of it, and to lay it on the corrupt practices of the printers in London; but this Mr. Pope would not agree to, as not knowing the truth of the fact.