Open main menu

The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 19/White Kennett Diary Entry - Extract

Extract from the MS. Diary of Bishop Kennet, in the Library of the Marquis of Lansdown.


"1713. DR. SWIFT came into the coffeehouse, and had a bow from every body but me. When I came to the antichamber to wait before prayers, Dr. Swift was the principal man of talk and business, and acted as a master of requests. He was soliciting the earl of Arran to speak to his brother the duke of Ormond, to get a chaplain's place established in the garrison of Hull for Mr. Fiddes, a clergyman in that neighbourhood, who had lately been in gaol, and published sermons to pay fees. He was promising Mr. Thorold to undertake with my lord treasurer, that, according to his petition, he should obtain a salary of 2001. per annum, as minister of the English church at Rotterdam. He stopped F. Gwynne, esq., going in with his red bag to the queen, and told him aloud he had something to say to him from my lord treasurer. He talked with the son of Dr. Davenant[1] to be sent abroad, and took out his pocket book and wrote down several things, as memoranda, to do for him. He turned to the fire, and took out his gold watch, and, telling him the time of the day, complained it was very late. A gentleman said, 'he was too fast.' 'How can I help it,' says the doctor, 'if the courtiers give me a watch that won't go right?' Then he instructed a young nobleman, that the best poet in England was Mr. Pope (a papist), who had begun a translation of Homer into English verse, for which 'he must have them all subscribe;' 'for,' says he, 'the author shall not begin to print till I have a thousand guineas for him.' Lord treasurer, after leaving the queen, came through the room beckoning Dr. Swift to follow him: both went off just before prayers.

"Nov. 3. — I see and hear a great deal to confirm a doubt, that the pretender's interest is much at the bottom of some hearts: a whisper that Mr. N——n (Nelson) had a prime hand in the late book for hereditary right; and that one of them was presented to majesty itself, whom God preserve from the effect of such principles and such intrigues."


  1. See a letter from Dr. Davenant to Swift, Nov. 3, 1713, vol. XI, p. 292.