The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 8/Decree For Concluding the Treaty Between Dr. Swift and Mrs. Long




WHEREAS it hath been signified to us, that there is now a treaty of acquaintance on foot, between Dr. Swift, of Leicester fields, of the one part, and Mrs. Long[1], of Albemarle street, on the other part: And whereas the said Dr. Swift, upon the score of his merit and extraordinary qualities, doth claim the sole and undoubted right, that all persons whatsoever shall make such advances to him as he pleases to demand[2]: any law, claim, custom, privilege of sex, beauty, fortune, or quality, to the contrary notwithstanding: And whereas the said Mrs. Long, humbly acknowledging and allowing the right of the said doctor, doth yet insist upon certain privileges and exceptions, as a Lady of the Toast, which privileges, she doth allege, are excepted out of the doctor's general claim, and which she cannot betray without injuring the whole body whereof she is a member; by which impediment, the said treaty is not yet brought to a conclusion; to the great grievance and damage of Mrs. Vanhomrigh, and her fair daughter Hessy: And whereas the decision of this weighty cause is referred to us, in our judicial capacity: We, out of our tender regard to truth and justice, having heard and duly considered the allegations of both parties, do declare, adjudge, decree, and determine, That the said Mrs. Long, notwithstanding any privileges she may claim as aforesaid as a Lady of the Toast, shall, without essoin or demur, in two hours after the publishing of this our decree, make all advances to the said doctor, that he shall demand; and that the said advances shall not be made to the said doctor as un homme sans consequence, but purely upon account of his great merit. And we do hereby strictly forbid the said Mrs. Vanhomrigh, and her fair daughter Hessy, to aid, abet, comfort, or encourage, her the said Mrs. Long in her disobedience for the future. And, in consideration of the said Mrs. Long's being a Toast, we think it just and reasonable, that the said doctor should permit her, in all companies, to give herself the reputation of being one of his acquaintance; which no other lady shall presume[3] to do, upon any pretence whatsoever, without his especial leave and license first had and obtained.

By especial command, G. V. HOMRIGH[4].

  1. This lady, sister to sir James Long, figured high in the fashionable world; and is distinguished among those of the first quality in "The British Court, a poem, 1707." Dr. Swift's acquaintance with her was but of short duration, having commenced, through the Vanhomrigh family, in 1709: and we find, in the Journal to Stella, Sept. 13, 1710, that she had then "broke up house, and gone into the country;" owing, as appears Sept. 16, to pecuniary distresses. She retired to Lynn, in Norfolk, where she maintained a correspondence with Dr. Swift; who acknowledges the receipt of letters from her, Oct. 30, Nov. 12, and Dec. 10, 1710. The last she wrote to him, dated Nov. 18, 1711, describing her situation in the country, where she assumed the name of Smyth, is printed in vol. XI. p. 198. She died Dec. 22, 1711: and is lamented, with marks of the truest friendship, by Dr. Swift, who has exhibited some traits of her character, in the Journal of Dec. 25. See also a letter by the dean to a friend, occasioned by her death, in the nineteenth volume of this collection.
  2. "When I lived in England," says the dean to miss Hoadly, June 4, 1734, "once every year I issued out an edict, commanding that all ladles of wit, sense, merit, and quality, who had an ambition to be acquainted with me, should make the first advances at their peril."
  3. The indignation he expresses against the countess of Bellamont, on her claiming acquaintance with him, is a striking instance of his peculiarity. See Journal to Stella, April 24, 1711.
  4. The signature of some relation of Vanessa; her sister's name was Mary.