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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 19/From Jonathan Swift to James Stopford - 1

< The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift‎ | Volume 19


IRELAND, NOV. 26, 1725.

I HAD your kind letter from Paris, dated Nov. 14, N. S. I am angry with you for being so short, unless you are resolved not to rob your journal book. What have vous autres voyageurs to do but write and ramble? Your picture of K. C. I. will be a great present whenever I shall receive it, which I reckon will be about the time of your return from Italy; for my lord Oxford's picture was two months coming from London.

Mr. Pope is very angry with you, and says you look on him as a prophet, who is never esteemed in his own country, and he lays all the blame upon you, but will be pacified if you see him when you come back. Your other correspondents tell me, that Mr. G., beside his clothes, lost 200l. in money, which to me you slur over. I like your Indian's answers well; but I suppose the queen was astonished if she was told, contrary to her notions, that the great people were treated and maintained by the poor. Mrs. Johnson denies you to be a slave, and says you are much more so in quality of a governor; as all good princes are slaves to their subjects. I think you are justly dealt with: You travelled with liberty to work your slavery, and now you travel with slavery to work your liberty. The point of honour will not be so great, but you have equal opportunities to inform yourself and satisfy your curiosity. The happier you were abroad in your first travels, the more miserable you were at your return; and now the case will be directly contrary. I have been confined a fortnight with a little feverish disorder, and the consequences of it, but now am as usual with tolerable health.

As to intelligence, here is the house of commons, with a little remains of the nation's spirit against Wood's coin, are opposing the court in their unreasonable demands of money to satisfy the wanton and pretended debts of the crown, and all party but that of court and country seem to be laid asleep. I have said and writ to the lieutenant what I thought was right, and so have my betters; but all surdis auribus: This is enough for such a hermit as I to tell you of publick matters. Your friends are all well, and you have not been long enough absent for any material accident to fall out. Here is a great rumour of the king's being dead, or dying at Hanover, which has not the least effect on any passion in me. Dr. Delany is a most perfect courtier; Sheridan full of his own affairs and the baseness of the world? Dr. Helsham à son aise at home or abroad; the dean of St. Patrick's sitting like a toad in a corner of his great house, with a perfect hatred of all publick actions and persons. You are desired to bring over a few of the testons, and what d'ye call (Julio's, I think) of Parme, Florence, and Rome, which some people would be glad of for curiosities, and will give you other money for them. If you are rich enough to buy any good copies of pictures by great hands, I desire when you would buy two to buy three, and the third shall be taken off your hands, with thanks, and all accidents be answered by the buyer. The people of Ireland have just found out that their fathers, sons, and brothers are not made bishops, judges, or officers civil or military, and begin to think it should be otherwise; but the government go on as if there were not a human creature in the kingdom fit for any thing but giving money. Your brother paid the money to the lady; What would you have more? This is a time of no events. Not a robbery or murder to be had, for want of which and poetry the hawkers are starving. Take care of your health, and come home by Switzerland; from whence travel blindfold till you get here, which is the only way to make Ireland tolerable. I am told the provost has absolutely given away all your pupils. Pray God give you grace to be hated by him and all such beasts while you live. I excused your bashfulness to the lieutenant, who said he observed and understood it, and liked you the better. He could govern a wiser nation better, but fools are fit to deal with fools; and he seems to mistake our calibre, and treats de haut en bas, and gives no sugar plums. Our dean Maul and Dr. Tisdall have taken upon them the care of the church, and make wise speeches of what they will amend in St. Andrew's vestry every week to a crew of parsons of their own kind and importance. The primate and the earl of Cavan govern the house of lords. The A.B.D. attacked the same in the castle for giving a good living to a certain animal called a Walsh black, which the other excused, alleging, he was preferred to it by lord Townshend. It is a cant word for a deer stealer. This fellow was leader of a gang, and had the honour of hanging half a dozen of his fellows in quality of informer, which was his merit. If you cannot match me that in Italy, step to Muscovy, and from thence to the Hottentots. I am just going out of town for two days, else I would have filled my paper with more nothings. Pray God bless you, and send you safe back to this place, which it is a shame for any man of worth to call his home.