The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 19/From Jonathan Swift to Mr. Windar - 1



MOORE PARK, JAN. 13, 1698.

I AM not likely to be so pleased with any thing again this good while, as I was with your letter of December 20, and it has begun to put me into a good opinion of my own merits, or at least my skill at negotiation, to find I have so quickly restored a correspondence that I feared was declining, as it requires more charms and address in women to revive one fainting flame than to kindle a dozen new ones; but I assure you I was very far from imputing your silence to any bad cause (having never entertained one single ill thought of you in my life), but to a custom which breaks off commerce between abundance of people after a long absence. At first one omits writing for a little while, and then one stays a while longer to consider of excuses, and at last it grows desperate and one does not write at all: At this rate I have served others, and have been served myself.

I wish I had a lexicon by me to find whether your Greek word be spelt and accented right; and I am very sorry you have made an acutum in ultima, as if you laid the greatest stress upon the worst part of the word. However, I protest against your meaning, or any interpretation you shall ever make of that nature out of my letters. If I thought you deserved any bitter words, I should either deliver them plainly, or hold my tongue altogether; for I esteem the custom of conveying one's resentments by hints or innuendoes to be a sign of malice, or fear, or too little sincerity; but I have told you coram et absens, that you are in your nature more sensible than you need be, and it is hard you cannot be satisfied with the esteem of the best among your neighbours, but lose your time in regarding what may be thought of you by one of my privacy and distance. I wish you could as easily make my esteem and friendship for you to be of any value, as you may be sure to command them.

I should be sorry if you have been at an inconvenience in hastening my accounts; and I dare refer you to my letters, that they will lay the fault upon yourself; for I think I desired more than once, that you would not make more dispatch than stood with your ease, because I was in no haste at all.

I desired of you two or three times that when you had sent me a catalogue of those few books, you would not send thein to Dublin till you had heard again from me: The reason was, that I did believe there were one or two of them that might have been useful to you, and one or two more that were not worth the carriage: Of the latter sort were an old musty Horace, and Foley's book; of the former were Reynolds' Works, Collection of Sermons, in 4to. Stillingfleet's Grounds, &c. and the folio paper book, very good for sermons, or a receipt book for your wife, or to keep accounts for mutton, raisins, &c. The Sceptis Scientifica is not mine, but old Mr. Dobb's, and I wish it were restored: He has Temple's Miscellanea instead of it, which is a good book, worth your reading. If Sceptis Scientifica comes to me, I'll burn it for a fustian piece of abominable curious virtuoso stuff. The books missing are few and inconsiderable, not worth troubling any body about. I hope this will come to your hands before you have sent your cargo, that you may keep those books I mention; and desire you will write my name, and ex dono before them in large letters.

I desire my humble service to Mrs. Windar, and that you will let her know I shall pay a visit at Carmony some day or other, how little soever any of you may think of it. But I will, as you desire, excuse you the delivery of my compliments to poor H. Clements, and hope you will have much better fortune than poor Mr. Davis, who has left a family that is like to find a cruel want of him. Pray let me hear that you grow very rich, and begin to make purchases. I never heard that H. Clements was dead: I was at his mayoral feast: Has he been mayor since? or did he die then, and every body forget to send me word of it?

Those sermons you have thought fit to transcribe will utterly disgrace you, unless you have so much credit that whatever comes from you will pass: They were what I was firmly resolved to burn, and especially some of them the idlest trifling stuff that ever was writ, calculated for a church without company or a roof, like our * * * * * * * * * Oxford. They will be a perfect lampoon upon me, whenever you look on them, and remember they are mine.

I remember those letters to Eliza; they were writ in my youth; you might have sealed them up, and nobody of my friends would have opened them: Pray burn them. There were parcels of other papers, that I would not have lost; and I hope you have packed them up so that they may come to me. Some of them were abstracts and collections from reading.

You mention a dangerous rival for an absent lover; but I must take my fortune: If the report proceeds, pray inform me; and when, you have leisure and humour, give me the pleasure of a letter from you: And though you are a man full of fastenings to the world, yet endeavour to continue a friendship in absence; for who knows but fate may jumble us together again: And I believe, had I been assured of your neighbourhood, I should not have been so unsatisfied with the region I was planted in.

I am, and will be ever entirely,
yours, &c.

P. S. Pray let me know something of my debt being paid to Tailer, the innkeeper of ——; I have forgot the town ——, between Dromore and Newry.