The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 19/From Jonathan Swift to John Barber - 7
ALTHOUGH I never read news, I often hear of your lordship's actions and speeches, particularly your and the city address to the house of commons, for throwing out that execrable bill of excise, and your defence of the city, in the answer you gave to the recorder on the subject of riots. I hope you will always remember that you learnt these honest principles under an honest ministry, and in what has been since called the worst of times, which I pray God we might live to see again. Our friend Mrs. Barber is recovering of her gout, and intends in a few weeks to return to London. My lord Orrery, although almost a stranger to her, and very much embroiled in his affairs by a most villanous agent, has been extremely generous to her, in easing her of one part of her load: and I hope, by the success of her poems she will be made tolerably easy and independent, as she well deserves for her virtue and good sense. My lord Orrery is the delight of us all. But we wish him hanged for coming among us, since he cannot stay with us. Your chaplain writes to me very seldom, and I never can get him to answer me how he lives: I gave him credit upon a friend in London for any small sums of money, which I find he has received most of; so that I am afraid his salary, perquisites, or fees, or whatever else he is to live by, is not to come in till the end of his office. I hope he continues to behave himself well; and indeed I think him a very valuable young man. As to myself, my private affairs are in so ill a posture, and my head so disordered by returns of my old giddiness, that I cannot yet venture to take those journies that I used to make nothing of, and God knows whether I shall be able to dine with your lordship in your mayoralty. Doctor Delany lives very happily and hospitably, entertains his old friends, and has nothing to fight with but envy, which he despises, and does not, in the least, deserve, but by those from whom it is a blessing. I think I have named all your acquaintance here; and I presume you will hardly trouble yourself to acquire more.
Your lordship hath now got over more than half your difficulties. I doubt not but you will finish the rest with equal reputation, so that the year of your mayoralty will be long remembered with honour.
I must desire leave to tell your lordship, that I have not known a more bashful, modest person than Mrs. Barber, nor one who is less likely to ply her friends, patrons, or protectors, for any favour; or is more thankful for the smallest. Therefore I hope you will continue to do her any good office that lies in your way, without trouble to yourself. And, among other things, I desire you will advise her to be more thrifty; for she carries her liberality as much too high, as our friend sir Gilbert did his avarice. I thought I did a fine thing to subscribe for ten copies of her poems; and she contrived to send me presents that, in my conscience, are worth more than the money I subscribed.
Having not heard lately of your being ill, I hope you have recovered your health entirely; and I pray God preserve it.
I am, with true respect, my lord,
Your lordship's most obedient