The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 5/A Short Character of Thomas Earl of Wharton








London, Aug. 30, 1710.

THE kingdom of Ireland being governed by deputation from hence, its annals, since the English establishment, are usually digested under the heads of several governors: but the affairs and events of that island, for some years past, have been either so insignificant, or so annexed to those of England, that they have not furnished matter of any great importance to history. The share of honour, which gentlemen from thence have had by their conduct and employments in the army, turns all to the article of this kingdom; the rest, which relates to politicks, or the art of government, is inconsiderable to the last degree, however it may be represented at court by those who preside there, and would value themselves upon every step they make toward finishing the slavery of that people, as if it were gaining a mighty point to the advantage of England.

Generally speaking, the times which afford most plentiful matter for story, are those wherein a man would least choose to live; such as, the various events and revolutions of war, the intrigues of a ruined faction, or the violence of a prevailing one: and lastly, the arbitrary unlawful acts of oppressing governors. In the war, Ireland has no share but in subordination to us; the same may be said of their factions, which at present are but imperfect transcripts of ours: but, the third subject for history, which is arbitrary power and oppression, as it is that by which the people of Ireland have, for some time, been distinguished from all her majesty's subjects, so, being now at its greatest height under his excellency Thomas, earl of Wharton, a short account of his government may be of some use or entertainment to the present age, though I hope it will be incredible to the next.

And because the relation I am going to make may be judged rather a history of his excellency, than of his government, I must here declare that I have not the least view to his person in any part of it. I have had the honour of much conversation with his lordship, and am thoroughly convinced how indifferent he is to applause, and how insensible of reproach: which is not an humour put on to serve a turn, or keep a countenance, nor arising from the consciousness of innocence, or any grandeur of mind, but the mere unaffected bent of his nature.

He is without the sense of shame, or glory, as some men are without the sense of smelling; and therefore, a good name to him, is no more than a precious ointment would be, to these. Whoever, for the sake of others, were to describe the nature of a serpent, a wolf, a crocodile, or a fox, must be understood to do it without any personal love or hatred for the animals themselves.

In the same manner, his excellency is one whom I neither personally love nor hate. I see him at court, at his own house, and sometimes at mine, for I have the honour of his visits; and when these papers are publick, it is odds but he will tell me, as he once did upon a like occasion, "that he is damnably mauled;" and then, with the easiest transition in the world, ask about the weather, or time of the day: so that I enter on the work with more cheerfulness, because I am sure neither to make him angry, nor any way hurt his reputation; a pitch of happiness and security to which his excellency has arrived, and which no philosopher before him could reach.

I intend to execute this performance, by first giving a character of his excellency, and then relating some facts during his government in Ireland, which will serve to confirm it.

I know very well that men's characters are best learned from their actions; but these being confined to his administration in that kingdom, his character may, perhaps, take in something more, which the narrowness of the time, or the scene, has not given him opportunity to exert.

Thomas, earl of Wharton, lord lieutenant of Ireland, by the force of a wonderful constitution, has some years passed his grand climacterick, without any visible efrects of old age, either on his body or his mind; and in spite of a continual prostitution to those vices, which usually wear out both. His behaviour is in all the forms of a young man at five and twenty. Whether he walks, or whistles, or swears, or talks bawdy, or calls names, he acquits himself in each, beyond a templar of three years standing. With the same grace, and in the same style, he will rattle his coachman in the midst of the street, where he is governor of the kingdom; and all this is without consequence, because it is in his character, and what every body expects. He seems to be but an ill dissembler, and an ill liar, although they are the two talents he most practises, and most values himself upon. The ends he has gained by lying, appear to be more owing to the frequency, than the art of them: his lies being sometimes detected in an hour, often in a day, and always in a week. He tells them freely in mixed companies, although he knows half of those that hear him to be his enemies, and is sure they will discover them the moment they leave him. He swears solemnly he loves, and will serve you; and your back is no sooner turned, but he tells those about him, you are a dog and a rascal. He goes constantly to prayers in the forms of his place, and will talk bawdy and blasphemy at the chapel door. He is a presbyterian in politicks, and an atheist in religion; but he chooses at present to whore with a papist. In his commerce with mankind his general rule is, to endeavour to impose on their understandings, for which he has but one receipt, a composition of lies and oaths: and this he applies indifferently to a freeholder of forty shillings, and a privy counsellor; by which the easy and the honest are often either deceived or amused, and either way he gains his point. He will openly take away your employment to day, because you are not of his party; to morrow he will meet or send for you, as if nothing at all had passed, lay his hands with much friendliness on your shoulders, and with the greatest ease and familiarity, tell you, that the faction are driving at something in the house; that you must be sure to attend, and to speak to all your friends to be there, although he knows at the same time, that you and your friends are against him in the very point he mentions: and however absurd, ridiculous, and gross this may appear, he has often found it successful; some men having such an awkward bashfulness, they know not how to refuse on a sudden; and every man having something to fear, which often hinders them from driving things to extremes with persons of power, whatever provocations they may have received. He has sunk his fortune by endeavouring to ruin one kingdom[2], and has raised it by going far in the ruin of another[3]. With a good natural understanding, a great fluency in speaking, and no ill taste of wit, he is generally the worst companion in the world; his thoughts being wholly taken up between vice and politicks, so that bawdy, prophaneness, and business, fill up his whole conversation. To gratify himself in the two first, he makes use of suitable favourites, whose talents reach no higher than to entertain him with all the lewdness that passes in town. As for business, he is said to be very dexterous at that part of it which turns upon intrigue; and he seems to have transferred those talents of his youth for intriguing with women, into publick affairs. For, as some vain young fellows to make a gallantry appear of consequence, will choose to venture their necks by climbing up a wall or window at midnight to a common wench, where they might as freely have gone in at the door, and at noon day; so his excellency, either to keep himself in practice, or advance the fame of his politicks, affects the most obscure, troublesome, and winding paths, even in the most common affairs, those which would be brought about as well in the ordinary forms, or would follow of course whether he intervened or not.

He bears the gallantries of his lady with the indifference of a stoick, and thinks them well recompensed, by a return of children to support his family, without the fatigues of being a father.

He has three predominant passions, which you will seldom find united in the same man, as arising from different dispositions of mind, and naturally thwarting each other: these are, love of power, love of money, and love of pleasure; they ride him sometimes by turns, sometimes all together. Since he went into Ireland, he seems most disposed to the second, and has met with great success; having gained by his government, of under two years, five and forty thousand pounds by the most favourable computation, half in the regular way, and half in the prudential.

He was never yet known to refuse, or keep a promise, as I remember he told a lady, but with an exception to the promise he then made (which was to get her a pension): yet he broke even that, and, I confess, deceived us both. But here I desire to distinguish between a promise and a bargain; for he will be sure to keep the latter, when he has the fairest offer.

Thus much for his excellency's character; I shall now proceed to his actions, only during the time he was governor of Ireland, which were transmitted to me by an eminent person in business there, who had all opportunities of being well informed, and whose employment did not lie at his excellency's mercy.

This intelligence being made up of several facts independent of each other, I shall hardly be able to relate them in due order of time, my correspondent omitting that circumstance, and transmitting them to me as they came into his memory; so that the gentlemen of that kingdom now in town, I hope, will pardon me any slips I shall make in that or any other kind, while I keep exactly to the truth.

Thomas Proby, esq. chirurgeon general of Ireland, a person universally esteemed, and whom I have formerly seen here, had built a countryhouse, half a mile from Dublin, adjoining to the park. In a corner of the park, just under his house, he was much annoyed with a dogkennel which belonged to the government; upon which he applied to Thomas, earl of Pembroke, then lord lieutenant, and to the commissioners of the revenue, for a lease of about five acres of that part of the park. His petition was referred to the lord treasurer here, and sent back for a report, which was in his favour, and the bargain so hard, that the lord treasurer struck off some part of the rent. He had a lease granted him, for which he was to build another kennel, provide ice yearly for the government, and pay a certain rent: the land might be worth about thirty shillings an acre. His excellency, soon after his arrival in Ireland, was told of this lease, and by his absolute authority, commanded Mr. Proby to surrender up the land; which he was forced to do, after all the expense he had been at, or else must have expected to lose his employment; at the same time he is under an obligation to pay his rent, and I think he does it to this day. There are several circumstances in this story which I have forgot, having not been sent to me with the rest; but I had it from a gentleman of that kingdom, who some time ago was here.

Upon his excellency's being declared lord lieutenant, there came over, to make his court, one Dr. Lloyd, fellow of Trinity college, Dublin, noted in that kingdom for being the only clergyman that declared for taking off the sacramental test, as he did openly in their convocation of which he was a member. The merit of this, and some other principles suitable to it, recommended by Tom Broderick, so far ingratiated him with his excellency, that being provided of a proper chaplain already, he took him however into a great degree of favour: the doctor attended his excellency to Ireland; and observing a cast wench in the family to be in much confidence with my lady, he thought, by addressing there, to have a short open passage to preferment. He met with great success in his amour; and walking one day with his mistress after my lord and lady in the Castle-garden, my lady said to his excellency, "What do you think? we are going to lose poor Foydy," a name of fondness they usually gave her. "How do you mean?" said my lord. "Why the doctor behind us is resolved to take her from us." "Is he by G? Why then (Gd dmn me) he shall have the first bishoprick that falls[4]."

The doctor, thus encouraged, grew a most violent lover, returned with his excellency for England, and soon after the bishoprick of Cork falling void, to show he meant fair, he married his damsel publickly here in London, and his excellency as honourably engaged his credit to get him the bishoprick; but the matter was reckoned so infamous, that both the archbishops here, especially his grace of York, interposed with the queen, to hinder so great a scandal to the church; and Dr. Brown, provost of Dublin college, being then in town, her majesty was pleased to nominate him; so that Dr. Lloyd was forced to sit down with a moderate deanery in the northern parts of that kingdom, and the additonal comfort of a sweet lady, who brought this her first husband no other portion than a couple of olive branches for his table, though she herself hardly knows by what hand they were planted.

The queen reserves all the great employments of Ireland to be given by herself, though often by the recommendation of the chief governor, according to his credit at court. The provostship of Dublin college is of this number, which was now vacant, upon the promotion of Dr. Brown. Dr. Benjamin Pratt, a fellow of that college, and chaplain to the house of commons of that kingdom, as well as domestick chaplain to the duke of Ormond, was at that time here, in attendance upon the duke. He is a gentleman of good birth and fortune in Ireland, and lived here in a very decent figure: he is a person of wit and learning, has travelled and conversed in the best company, and was very much esteemed among us here when I had the pleasure of his acquaintance: but he had the original sin of being a reputed tory, and a dependant on the duke of Ormond; however, he had many friends among the bishops, and other nobility, to recommend him to the queen. At the same time there was another fellow of that college, one Dr. Hall, who had the advantage of Pratt in point of seniority. This gentleman had very little introduced himself into the world, but lived retired, though otherwise said to be an excellent person, and very deserving for his learning and sense. He had been recommended from Ireland by several persons; and his excellency, who had never before seen nor thought of him, after having tried to injure the college by recommending persons from this side, at last set up Hall, with all imaginable zeal against Pratt. I tell this story the more circumstantially, because it is affirmed by his excellency's friends, that he never made more use of his court skill than at this time, to hinder Dr. Pratt from the provostship; not only from the personal hatred he had to the man, on account of his patron and principles, but that he might return to Ireland with some little opinion of his credit at court, which had mightily suffered by many disappointments, especially the last, of his chaplain Dr. Lloyd. It would be incredible to relate the many artifices he used to this end, of which the doctor had daily intelligence, and would fairly tell his excellency so at his levees; who sometimes could not conceal his surprise, and then would promise, with half a dozen oaths, never to concern himself one way or other; these were broke every day, and every day detected. One morning, after some expostulation between the doctor and his excellency, and a few additional oaths that he would never oppose him more; his excellency went immediately to the bishop of Ely, and prevailed on him to go to the queen from him, and let her majesty know, that he never could consent, as long as he lived, that Dr. Pratt should be provost; which the bishop barely complied with, and delivered his message, though at the same time he did the doctor all the good offices he could. The next day the doctor was again with his excellency, and gave him thanks for so open a proceeding; the affair was now past dissembling, and his excellency owned he did not oppose him directly, but confessed he did it collaterally. The doctor, a little warmed, said, "No, my lord, you mean directly you did not, but indirectly you did." The conclusion was, that the queen named the doctor to the place; and as a farther mortification, just upon the day of his excellency's departure for Ireland.

But here I must desire the readers pardon, if I cannot digest the following facts in so good a manner as I intended; because it is thought expedient, for some reasons, that the world should be informed of his excellency's merits as soon as possible. I will therefore only transcribe the several passages as they were sent me from Dublin, without either correcting the style, or adding any remarks of my own. As they are, they may serve for hints to any person who may hereafter have a mind to write memoirs of his excellency's life.

A relation of several facts, exactly as they were transmitted to me from Ireland about three months ago, and at several times, from a person of quality, and in employment there.

THE earl of Rochfort's regiment of dragoons was embarked for her majesty's service abroad, on the 27th of August, 1709, and left their horses behind them, which were subsisted in order to mount another regiment to fill up their room; as the horses of lieutenant general Harvey's regiment had formerly mounted a regiment raised, and still commanded, by the duke of Ormond; on which occasion the duke had her majesty's order only, for as much money as would supply the charge of the horses, till the regiment was raised, which was soon after, and then it was put on the establishment as other regiments. But that which was to supply the earl of Rochfort's, had not a commission granted till the 29th of April, 1710, and all the pay from the 27th of August to that time (being above 5700l.) was taken under pretence of keeping the horses, buying new ones in the room of such as should be wanting or unserviceable, and for providing accoutrements for the men and horses. As for the last use, those are always provided out of the funds for providing clothing, and the duke of Ormond did so: as for horses wanting, they are very few, and the captains have orders to provide them another way; and the keeping the horses did not amount to 700l. by the accounts laid before the committee of parliament; so there was at least 5000l. charged to the nation, more than the actual charge could amount to.

Mrs. Lloyd, at first coming over, expected the benefit of the box-money; and accordingly talked of selling it for about 200l. but at last was told she must expect but part of it, and that the grooms of the chamber, and other servants, would deserve a consideration for their attendance. Accordingly his excellency had it brought to him every night, and to make it worth his receiving, my lady gave great encouragement to play; so that, by a moderate computation, it amounted to 1000l. of which a small share was given to the grooms of the chamber, and the rest made a perquisite to his excellency: for Mrs. Lloyd having a husband, and a bishoprick promised her, the other pretensions were cut off.

He met lieutenant general Langston in the court of requests, and presented a gentleman to him, saying, "This is a particular friend of mine; he tells me he is a lieutenant in your regiment; I must desire you will take the first opportunity to give him a troop, and you will oblige me mightily." The lieutenant general answered, "He had served very well, and had very good pretensions to a troop, and that he would give him the first that fell." With this the gentleman was mighty well satisfied, returned thanks, and withdrew. Upon which his excellency said immediately, "I was forced to speak for him, as a great many of his friends have votes at elections; but dn him, he is a rogue, therefore take no care for him."

He brought one May to the duke of Ormond, and recommended him as a very honest gentleman, and desired his grace would provide for him; which his grace promised him. So May withdrew. As soon as he was gone, his lordship immediately said to the duke: "That fellow is the greatest rogue in Christendom."

Colonel Coward having received pay for some time in two or three regiments, as captain, but never done any other service to the crown than eating and drinking in the expedition to Cadiz under the duke of Ormond, finding he had not pretensions enough to rise, after he had sold the last employment he had, applied to his excellency, who represented him in such a light, that he got above 900l. as an arrear of halfpay, which he had no title to, and a pension of 10s. a day; but he reckoned this as much too little for his wants, as every body else did too much for his pretensions, gave in a second petition to the queen for a farther addition of 10s. a day; which being referred to his excellency, he gave him a favourable report, by means whereof, it is hoped, his merit will be still farther rewarded.

He turned out the poor gatekeeper of Chapelizod gate, though he and his wife were each above sixty years old, without assigning any cause, and they are now starving.

As for the business of the arsenal, it was the product of chance, and never so much as thought of by the persons who of late have given so many good reasons for the building of it, till, upon inquiring into the funds, they were found to hold out so well, that there was a necessity of destroying sixty or seventy thousand pounds, otherwise his excellency, for that time, could hardly have had the credit of taxing the kingdom. Upon this occasion, many projects were proposed, all which at last gave way to the proposal of a worthy person, who had often persuaded the nation to do itself a great deal of harm, by attempting to do itself a little good; which was, that forty thousand arms should be provided for the militia, and ammunition in proportion, to be kept in four arsenals to be built for that purpose: this was accordingly put into the heads of a bill, and then this worthy patriot, with his usual sincerity, declared he would not consent to the giving of money for any other use: as every body thought by the words he spoke, though afterward he showed them that his meaning was not to be known by the vulgar acceptation of words; for he not only gave his consent to the bill, but used all the art and industry he was master of, to have it pass; though the money was applied in it to the building of one arsenal only, and ammunition and other stores proportionable, without one word of the militia. So the arsenal was conceived and afterward formed in a proper manner; but when it came to be brought forth, his excellency, took it out of the hands that had formed it, as far as he could, and contrary to all precedents, put it out of the care of the ordnance board, who were properly to have taken care of the receipt and payment of the money without any farther charge to the publick, and appointed his second secretary, Mr. Denton, to be paymaster, whose salary was a charge of above five hundred pounds in the whole: then, thinking this was too small a charge to put the publick to for nothing, he made an establishment for that work, consisting of one superintendant at three pounds per week, eight overseers at seven pounds four shillings a week, and sixteen assistants at seven pounds four shillings a week, making in all seventeen pounds eight shillings a week: and these were, for the greatest part, persons who had no knowledge of such business; and their honesty was equal to their knowledge, as it has since appeared by the notorious cheats and neglects that have been made out against them; insomuch that the work they have overseen, which, with their salaries, has cost near three thousand pounds, might have been done for less than eighteen hundred pounds, if it had been agreed for by the yard, which is the usual method, and was so proposed in the estimate: and this is all a certainty, because all that has been done, is only removing earth, which has been exactly computed by the yard, and might have been so agreed for.

Philip Savage, esq., as chancellor of the exchequer, demanded fees of the commissioners of the revenue for sealing writs in the queen's business, and showed them for it some sort of precedents; but they, not being well satisfied with them, wrote to Mr. South, one of the commissioners (then in London,) to inquire the practice there. He sent them word upon inquiry, that fees were paid there upon the like cases; so they adjudged it for him, and constantly paid him fees. If therefore there was a fault, it must lie at their door, for he never offered to stop the business: yet his excellency knew so well how to choose an attorney and solicitor general, that when the case was referred to them, they gave it against the chancellor, and said he had forfeited his place by it, and ought to refund the money, (being about two hundred pounds per annum;) but never found any fault in the commissioners, who adjudged the case for him, and might have refused him the money if they had thought fit.

Captain Robert Fitzgerald, father to the present earl of Kildare, had a grant from king Charles the Second, of the office of comptroller of the musters, during the lives of captain Chambre Brabazon, now earl of Meath, and George Fitzgerald elder brother to the present earl of Kildare; which the said Robert Fitzgerald enjoyed with a salary of three hundred pounds per annum; and after his death, his son George enjoyed it; till my lord Galway did, by threats, compel him to surrender the said patent for a pension of two hundred pounds per annum; which he enjoyed during his life. Some time ago the present earl of Kildare, as heir to his father and brother, looked upon himself to be injured by the surrender of the said patent, which should have come to him, the earl of Meath being still living: therefore, in order to right himself, did petition her majesty; which petition, as usual, was referred to the earl of Wharton, then lord lieutenant, who being at that time in London, referred it, according to the common method on such occasions, to the lord chancellor and lieutenant general Ingoldsby, the then lords justices of this kingdom; who, for their information, ordered the attorney general to inquire whether the earl of Kildare had any legal title to the said patent, which he, in a full report, said he had: and they referred it to the deputy vice treasurer to inquire into the nature of the office, and to give them his opinion, whether he thought it was useful or necessary for her majesty's service. He gave in his report, and said he thought it both useful and necessary; and, with more honesty than wit, gave the following reasons: first, that the muster master general computed the pay of the whole military list, which is above 200000l. per annum; so having no check on him, might commit mistakes, to the great prejudice of the crown: and, secondly, because he had himself found out several of those mistakes, which a comptroller might prevent. The lords justices approved of these reasons, and so sent over their report to my lord lieutenant, that they thought the office useful and necessary: but colonel P——r, the muster master general, being then in London, and having given my lord lieutenant one thousand pounds for his consent to enjoy that office, after he had got her majesty's orders for a patent, thought a check upon his office would be a troublesome spy upon him; so he pleaded the merit of his thousand pounds, and desired in consideration thereof that his excellency would free him from an office that would put it out of his power to wrong the crown; and to strengthen his pretensions, put my lady in mind of what money he had lost to her at play; who immediately, out of n grateful sense of benefits received, railed as much against the lords justices report, as ever she had done against the tories; and my lord lieutenant, prompted by the same virtue, made his report, that there needed no comptroller to that office, because he comptrolled it himself; which (now having given his word for it) he will beyond all doubt, effectually for the future: although since, it has been plainly made appear, that for want of some control on that office, her majesty has been wronged of manv hundred pounds by the roguery of a clerk, and that during the time of his excellency's government; of which there has been but a small part refunded, and the rest has not been inquired after, lest it should make it plainly appear that a comptroller in that office is absolutely necessary.

His excellency being desirous, for a private reason, to provide for the worthless son of a worthless father, who had lately sold his company, and of course all pretension to preferment in the army, took this opportunity: a captain in the oldest regiment in the kingdom, being worn out with service, desired leave to sell, which was granted him; and accordingly, for a consideration agreed upon, he gave a resignation of his company to a person approved of by the commander of the regiment, who at the same time applied to his excellency for leave for another captain of his regiment, who is an engineer in her majesty's service in Spain, and absent by her majesty's license: his excellency, hearing that, said they might give him a company in Spain, for he would dispose of his here; and so, notwithstanding all the commanders of the regiment could urge, he gave the company, which was regularly surrendered, to his worthy favourite; and the other company, which was a disputable title, to the gentleman who had paid his money for that which was surrendered.

Talking one morning, as he was dressing, (at least a dozen people present) of the debates in council about the affair of Trim, he said the lord chief justice Dolben[5] had laid down as law a thing for which a man ought to have his gown stripped off, and be whipped at the cart's ae; and, in less than a quarter of an hour, repeated the expression again: yet, some days after, sent Dr. Lambert[6] to assure his lordship he said no such thing. Some time after, while he was in England, he used his utmost efforts with the queen to turn him out, but could not: so when he came once again, he took an opportunity (when the judges were to wait on him) to say to them, particularly to lord chief justice Dolben, that perhaps some officious persons would spread stories that he had endeavoured to do some of them a prejudice in England, which he assured them he never had; but, on the contrary, would always, without distinction, show his regard according to merit; which the lord chief justice Broderick was pleased to approve of, by saying, "that was very honourable, that was very gracious;" though he knew the contrary himself.

In England he bid Mr. Deering assure all his friends and acquaintance here, that they and every body without distinction might depend on his favour, as they behaved themselves; with which Mr. Deering was much pleased, and wrote over to his friends accordingly; and, as soon as his back was turned, he jeeringly said, "D n me, how easily he is bit!"

When the duke of Ormond was in the government, he gave to Mr. Anderson Saunders the government of Wicklow castle, which has no salary, but a perqiusite of some land worth about 12l. per annum, which Mr. Saunders gave to the freeschool of the town; but his excellency, not liking either the person or the use, without any ceremonies, of reason given, superseded him, by giving a commission for it to Jennings the horsecourser, who lies under several odious and scandalous reflections, particularly of very narrowly escaping the gallows for coining.

Some time after his excellency's landing the second time, he sent for Mr. Saunders among others, desiring their good offices in the ensuing session, and that Mr. Saunders would not take amiss his giving that place to Jennings, for he assured him he did not know it belonged to him; which is highly probable, because men of his knowledge usually give away things, without inquiring how they are in their disposal. Mr. Saunders answered, "He was very glad to find what was done was not out of any particular displeasure to him; because Mr. Whitshed had said at Wicklow (by way of apology for what his excellency had done) that it was occasioned by Mr. Saunders's having it; and seeing his excellency had no ill intention against him, was glad he could tell his excellency it was not legally given away (for he had a custodiam for the land out of the court of exchequer); so his excellency's commission to Jennings could do him no prejudice."

Lieutenant general Echlin had pay on this establishment as brigadier, till the middle of October, 1708, when he was removed from it by his excellency, because his regiment went away at that time, and lieutenant general Gorges was put in his room. Some time after, major general Rooke, considering the reason why Echlin was removed, concluded that Gorges could not come on till some time in February after, because his regiment also was out of the kingdom till that time; and that therefore he, being the eldest general officer that had no pay as such, was entitled to the brigadier's pay, from the time Echlin was removed till Gorges was qualified to receive it, he having done the duty. His excellency, upon hearing the reason, owned it to be a very good one, and told him, if the money were not paid to Gorges, he should have it, so bid him go see; which he did, and found it was: then his excellency told him he would refer his case to a court of general officers to give their opinion in it, which he said must needs be in his favour, and upon that ground he would find a way to do him right; yet, when the general officers sat, he sent for several of them, and made them give the case against Rooke.

When the prosecution against the dissenting minister at Drogheda was depending, one Stevens, a lawyer in this town (Dublin) sent his excellency, then in London, a petition, in the name of the said dissenting minister, in behalf of himself and others who lay under any such prosecution; and in about a fortnight's time his excellency sent over a letter, to the then lords justices, to give the attorney and solicitor general orders, to enter a noli prosequi to all such suits; which was done accordingly, though he never so much as inquired into the merits of the cause, or referred the petition to any body, which is a justice done to all men, let the case be ever so light. He said he had her majesty's orders for it: but they did not appear under her hand; and it is generally affirmed he never had any.

That his excellency can descend to small gains, take this instance: there were 850l. ordered by her majesty, to buy new liveries for the state trumpets, messengers, etc. but with great industry he got them made cheaper by 200l. which he saved out of that sum; and it is reported, that his steward got a handsome consideration besides from the undertaker.

The agent to his regiment, being so also to others, bought a lieutenant's commission in a regiment of foot, for which he never was to do any duty; which service pleased his excellency so well, that he gave him leave to buy a company, and would have had him keep both; but before his pleasure was known, the former was disposed of.

The lord lieutenant has no power to remove, or put in a solicitor general, without the queen's letter, it being one of those employments excepted out of his commission; yet, because sir Richard Levinge disobliged him by voting according to his opinion, he removed him, and put in Mr. Forster[7] although he had no queen's letter for so doing: only a letter from Mr. Secretary Boyle, that her majesty designed to remove him.

The privy council in Ireland have a great share of the administration; all things being carried by the consent of the majority, and they sign all orders and proclamations there, as well as the chief governor. But his excellency disliked so great a share of power in any but himself; and when matters were debated in council otherwise than he approved, he would stop them, and say, "Come, my lords, I see how your opinions are, and therefore I will not take your votes;" and so would put an end to the dispute.

One of his chief favourites was a scandalous clergyman, a constant companion of his pleasures, who appeared publickly with his excellency, but never in his habit, and who was a hearer and sharer of all the lewd and blasphemous discourses of his excellency and his cabal. His excellency presented this worthy divine to one of the bishops, with the following recommendation: "My lord, Mr. —— is a very honest fellow, and has no fault, but that he is a little too immoral." He made this man chaplain to his regiment, though he had been so infamous, that a bishop in England refused to admit him to a living he had been presented to, till the patron forced him to it by law.

His excellency recommended the earl of Inchiquin to be one of the lords justices in his absence, and was much mortified when he found lieutenant general Ingoldsby appointed without any regard to his recommendation; particularly because the usual salary of a lord justice, in the lord lieutenant's absence, is 100l. per month, and he had bargained with the earl for 40l.

I will send you, in a packet or two, some particulars of his excellency's usage of the convocation; of his infamous intrigues with Mrs. Coningsby; an account of his arbitrary proceedings about the election of a magistrate in Trim; his selling the place of a privy counsellor and commissioner of the revenue to Mr. Conolly; his barbarous injustice to dean Jephson and poor Will Crow; his deciding a case at hazard to get my lady twenty guineas, but in so scandalous and unfair a manner, that the arrantest sharper would be ashamed of; the common custom of playing on Sunday in my lady's closet; the partie quarrée between her ladyship and Mrs. Fl——d and two young fellows dining privately and frequently at Clontarf, where they used to go in a hackney-coach; and his excellency's making no scruple of dining in a hedge tavern whenever he was invited; with some other passages which I hope, you will put into some method, and correct the style, and publish as speedily as you can.

Note, Mr. Savage, beside the prosecution about his fees, was turned out of the council for giving his vote in parliament, in a case where his excellency's own friends were of the same opinion, till they were wheedled or threatened out of it by his excellency.

The particulars before mentioned I have not yet received. Whenever they come, I shall publish them in a second part.

  1. In a confidential letter to Stella, dated Nov. 25, 1710, Dr. Swift says, "Here is a damned libellous pamphlet come out against lord Wharton, giving the character first, and then telling some of his actions; the character is very well, but the facts indifferent. It has been sent by dozens to several gentlemen's lodgings, and I had one or two of them; but nobody knows the author or printer." This is a proof how cautious the dean was in acknowledging his political productions, even to his nearest friends. In a subsequent letter dated Dec. 23, he adds, "The character is here reckoned admirable; but most of the facts are trifles. It was first printed privately here; and then some bold cur ventured to do it publickly, and sold two thousand in two days; who the author is, must remain uncertain. Do you pretend to know, impudence! how durst you think so?" See archbishop King's remarks on this character, in a letter to Dr. Swift, dated Jan. 9, 1710, in vol. XI. of this collection.
  2. England.
  3. Ireland.
  4. It was confidently reported, as a conceit of his excellency, that, talking upon this subject, he once said, with great pleasure, that he hoped to make his whore a bishop. Swift.
  5. Sir William Dolben, bart., lord chief justice of the Court of Common Pleas (Ireland), 1714—1720.
  6. His principal chaplain.
  7. Afterward recorder of the city of Dublin, and lord chief justice of the common pleas.