The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 9/The Drapier’s Letters 5







They compassed me about also with words of deceit, and fought against me without a cause.
For my love they are my adversaries; but I give myself unto prayer.
And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love. Psal. cix, 3, 4, 5.
Seek not to be judge, being not able to take away iniquity; lest at any time thou fear the person of the mighty, and lay a stumbling-block in the way of thy uprightness.
Offend not against the multitude of a city, and then thou shalt not cast thyself down among the people.
Bind not one sin upon another, for in one thou shalt not be unpunished. Eccl. vii, 6, 7, 8.

Non jam prima peto Mnestheus, nequt vincere certo:
Quanquam O! Sed superent, quibus hoc, Neptune, dedisti.




Mr. Harding,

WHEN I sent you my former papers, I cannot say I intended you either good or hurt; and yet you have happened through my means to receive both, I pray God deliver you from any more of the latter, and increase the former. Your trade, particularly in this kingdom, is, of all others, the most unfortunately circumstantiated; for as you deal in the most worthless kind of trash, the penny productions of pennyless scribblers; so you often venture your liberty, and sometimes your lives, for the purchase of half a crown; and, by your own ignorance, are punished for other men's actions.

I am afraid, you in particular think you have reason to complain of me, for your own and your wife's confinement in prison, to your great expense, as well as hardship; and for a prosecution still impending. But I will tell you, Mr. Harding, how that matter stands. Since the press has lain under so strict an inspection, those who have a mind to inform the world are become so cautious, as to keep themselves, if possible, out of the way of danger. My custom therefore is to dictate to a prentice, who can write in a feigned hand; and what is written we send to your house by a black-guard boy. But, at the same time, I do assure you upon my reputation, that I never did send you any thing for which I thought you could possibly be called to an account. And you will be my witness, that I always desired you, by letter, to take some good advice before you ventured to print; because I knew the dexterity of dealers in the law, at finding out something to fasten on, where no evil is meant. I am told indeed, that you did accordingly consult several very able persons, and even some who afterward appeared against you; to which I can only answer; that you must either change your advisers, or determine to print nothing that comes from a drapier.

I desire you will send the enclosed letter directed to my lord viscount Molesworth, at his house at Brackdenstown, near Swords: but I would have it sent printed, for the convenience of his lordship's reading; because this counterfeit hand of my prentice is not very legible. And if you think fit to publish it, I would have you first get it read over by some notable lawyer: I am assured, you will find enough of them, who are friends to the drapier, and will do it without a fee; which I am afraid, you can ill afford after all your expenses. For, although I have taken so much care, that I think it impossible to find a topick out of the following papers for sending you again to prison, yet I will not venture to be your guarantee.

This ensuing letter contains only a short account of myself, and an humble apology for my former pamphlets, especially the last; with little mention of Mr. Wood, or his halfpence; because I have already said enough upon that subject, until occasion shall be given for new fears; and, in that case, you may perhaps hear from me again.

I am,

Your friend

and servant,

From my shop in St. Francis
street, Dec. 14, 1724.

P. S. For want of intercourse between you and me, which I never will suffer, your people are apt to make very gross errours in the press, which I desire you will provide against.





I REFLECT too late on the maxim of common observers, that those who meddle in matters out of their calling, will have reason to repent; which is now verified in me: for, by engaging in the trade of a writer, I have drawn upon myself the displeasure of the government, signified by a proclamation promising a reward of three hundred pounds to the first faithful subject, who shall be able and inclined to inform against me; to which I may add, the laudable zeal and industry of my lord chief justice Whitshed, in his endeavours to discover so dangerous a person. Therefore whether I repent or not, I have certainly cause to do so; and the common observation still stands good.

It will sometimes happen, I know not how, in the course of human affairs, that a mnn shall be made liable to legal animadversion, where he has nothing to answer for, either to God or his country; and condemned at Westminster hall, for what he will never be charged with at the day of judgment.

After strictly examining my own heart, and consulting some divines of great reputation, I cannot accuse myself of any malice or wickedness against the publick; of any designs to sow sedition; of reflecting on the king and his ministers; or of endeavouring to alienate the affections of the people of this kingdom from those of England[1]. All I can charge myself with, is a weak attempt to serve a nation in danger of destruction, by a most wicked and malicious projector, without waiting until I were called to its assistance. Which attempt, however it may perhaps give me the title of pragmatical and overweening, will never lie a burden upon my conscience. God knows whether I may not, with all my caution, have already run myself into a second danger, by offering thus much in my own vindication. For I have heard of a judge, who upon the criminal's appeal to the dreadful day of judgment, told him, he had incurred a premunire, for appealing to a foreign jurisdiction; and of another in Wales, who severely checked the prisoner for offering the same plea; taxing him with reflecting on the court by such a comparison; because comparisons were odious.

But, in order to make some excuse for being more speculative than others of my condition, I desire your lordship's pardon, while I am doing a very foolish thing; which is, to give you some little account of myself.

I was bred at a freeschool, where I acquired some little knowledge in the Latin tongue. I served my apprenticeship in London, and there set up for myself with good success; until, by the death of some friends, and misfortunes of others, I returned into this kingdom; and began to employ my thoughts in cultivating the woollen manufacture through all its branches; wherein I met with great discouragement, and powerful opposers, whose objections appeared to me very strange and singular. They argued, that the people of England would be offended, if our manufactures were brought to equal theirs; and even some of the weaving trade were my enemies; which I could not but look upon as absurd and unnatural. I remember your lordship at that time did me the honour to come into my shop, where I showed you a piece of black and white stuff just sent from the dyer[2]; which you were pleased to approve of, and be my customer for.

However, I was so mortified, that I resolved for the future to sit quietly in my shop, and deal in common goods, like the rest of my brethren; until it happened some months ago, considering with myself, that the lower and poorer sort of people wanted a plain, strong coarse stuff to defend them against cold easterly winds, which then blew very fierce and blasting for a long time together; I contrived one on purpose, which sold very well all over the kingdom, and preserved many thousands from agues. I then made a second and a third kind of stuffs[3] for the gentry, with the same success; insomuch, that an ague has hardly been heard of for some time.

This incited me so far, that I ventured upon a fourth piece[4] made of the best Irish wool I could get; and I thought it grave and rich enough to be worn by the best lord or judge of the land. But of late some great folks complain, as I hear, that when they had it on, they felt a shuddering in their limbs, and have thrown it off in a rage; cursing to Hell the poor drapier, who invented it; so that I am determined never to work for persons of quality again; except for your lordship, and a very few more.

I assure your lordship, upon the word of an honest citizen, that I am not richer, by the value of one of Mr. Wood's halfpence, with the sale of all the several stuffs I have contrived: for, I give the whole profit to the dyers and pressers[5]. And therefore I hope you will please to believe, that no other motive, beside the love of my country, could engage me to busy my head and hands, to the loss of my time, and the gain of nothing but vexation and ill will.

I have now in hand one piece of stuff to be woven on purpose for your lordship; although I might be ashamed to offer it to you, after I have confessed that it will be made only from the shreds and remnants of the wool employed in the former. However I shall work it up as well as I can; and at worst, you need only give it among your tenants.

I am very sensible, how ill your lordship is likely to be entertained, with the pedantry of a drapier in the terms of his own trade. How will the matter be mended, when you find me entering again, although very sparingly, into an affair of state? for such is now grown the controversy with Mr. Wood, if some great lawyers are to be credited. And as it often happens at play, that men begin with farthings, and go on to gold, till some of them lose their estates and die in jail; so it may possibly fall out in my case, that by playing too long with Mr. Wood's halfpence, I may be drawn in to pay a fine double to the reward for betraying me; be sent to prison, and not be delivered thence until I shall have paid the uttermost farthing.

There are, my lord, three sorts of persons, with whom I am resolved never to dispute; a highwayman with a pistol at my breast; a troop of dragoons, who come to plunder my house; and a man of the law, who can make a merit of accusing me. In each of these cases, which are almost the same, the best method is to keep out of the way; and the next best is, to deliver your money, surrender your house, and confess nothing.

I am told, that the two points in my last letter, from which an occasion of offence has been taken, are, where I mention his majesty's answer to the address of the house of lords upon Mr. Wood's patent; and where I discourse upon Ireland's being a dependent kingdom. As to the former, I can only say, that I have treated it with the utmost respect and caution; and I thought it necessary to show where Wood's patent differed in many essential parts from all others that ever had been granted; because the contrary had, for want of due information, been so strongly and so largely asserted. As to the other, of Ireland's dependency; I confessed to have often heard it mentioned, but was never able to understand what it meant. This gave me the curiosity to inquire among several eminent lawyers, who professed they knew nothing of the matter. I then turned over all the statutes of both kingdoms, without the least information, farther than an Irish act, that I quoted, of the 33d of Henry VIII, uniting Ireland to England under one king. I cannot say, I was sorry to be disappointed in my search, because it is certain, I could be contented to depend only upon God and my prince, and the laws of my own country, after the manner of other nations. But since my betters are of a different opinion, and desire farther dependencies, I shall outwardly submit; yet still insisting, in my own heart, upon the exception I made of M. B. drapier. Indeed that hint was borrowed from an idle story I had heard in England, which perhaps may be common and beaten; but because it insinuates neither treason nor sedition, I will just barely relate it.

Some hundred years ago, when the peers were so great that the commons were looked upon as little better than their dependents, a bill was brought in for making some new additions to the power and privileges of the peerage. After it was read, one Mr. Drue, a member of the house, stood up, and said, he very much approved the bill, and would give his vote to have it pass; but however, for some reasons best known to himself, he desired that a clause might be inserted for excepting the family of the Drues. The oddness of the proposition taught others to reflect a little; and the bill was thrown out.

Whether I were mistaken, or went too far in examining the dependency, must be left to the impartial judgment of the world, as well as to the courts of judicature; although indeed not in so effectual and decisive a manner. But to affirm, as I hear some do, in order to countenance a fearful and servile spirit, that this point did not belong to my subject, is a false and foolish objection. There were several scandalous reports industriously spread by Wood and his accomplices, to discourage all opposition against his infamous project. They, gave it out, that we were prepared for a rebellion; that we disputed the king's prerogative, and were shaking off our dependency. The first went so far, and obtained so much belief against the most visible demonstrations to the contrary, that a great person of this kingdom, now in England, sent over such an account of it to his friends, as would make any good subject both grieve and tremble. I thought it therefore necessary to treat that calumny as it deserved. Then I proved by an invincible argument, that we could have no intention to dispute his majesty's prerogative; because the prerogative was not concerned in the question; the civilians and lawyers of all nations agreeing that copper is not money. And lastly, to clear us from the imputation of shaking off our dependency, I showed wherein I thought and shall ever think this dependence consisted; and cited the statute abovementioned made in Ireland; by which it is enacted, that whoever is king of England, shall be king of Ireland; and that the two kingdoms shall be for ever knit together under one king. This, as I conceived, did wholly acquit us of intending to break our dependency; because it was altogether out of our power: for surely no king of England will ever consent to the repeal of this statute.

But upon this article I am charged with a heavier accusation. It is said I went too far, when I declared, that if ever the pretender should come to be fixed upon the throne of England (which God forbid) I would so far venture to transgress this statute, that I would lose the last drop of my blood, before I would submit to him as king of Ireland.

This I hear, on all sides, is the strongest and weightiest objection against me; and which has given the most offence; that I should be so bold to declare against a direct statute; and that any motive, how strong soever, could make me reject a king, whom England should receive. Now, if in defending myself from this accusation I should freely confess, that I went too far; that the expression was very indiscreet, although occasioned by my zeal for his present majesty, and his protestant line in the house of Hanover; that I shall be careful never to offend again in the like kind; and that I hope this free acknowledgment, and sorrow for my errour, will be some atonement, and a little soften the hearts of my powerful adversaries: I say, if I should offer such a defence as this, I do not doubt but some people would wrest it to an ill meaning, by a spiteful interpretation. And therefore, since I cannot think of any other answer, which that paragraph can admit, I will leave it to the mercy of every candid reader; but still without recanting my own opinion.

I will now venture to tell your lordship a secret, wherein I fear you are too deeply concerned. You will therefore please to know, that this habit of writing and discoursing, wherein I unfortunately differ from almost the whole kingdom, and am apt to grate the ears of more than I could wish, was acquired during my apprenticeship in London, and a long residence there after I had set up for myself. Upon my return and settlement here, I thought I had only changed one country of freedom for another. I had been long conversing with the writings of your lordship[6], Mr. Locke, Mr. Molineux, colonel Sidney, and other dangerous authors, who talk of liberty as a blessing, to which the whole race of mankind has an original title; whereof nothing but unlawful force can divest them. I knew a great deal of the several Gothick institutions in Europe; and by what incidents and events they came to be destroyed: and I ever thought it the most uncontrolled and universally agreed maxim, that freedom consists in a people's being governed by laws made with their own consent; and slavery, in the contrary. I have been likewise told, and believed it to be true, that liberty and property are words of known use and signification in this kingdom; and the very lawyers pretend to understand and have them often in their mouths. These were the errours, which have misled me; and to which alone I must impute the severe treatment I have received. But I shall in time grow wiser, and learn to consider my driver, and the road I am in, and with whom I am yoked. This I will venture to say; that the boldest and most obnoxious words I ever delivered, would, in England, have only exposed me as a stupid fool, who went to prove that the sun shone in a clear summer's day: and I have witnesses ready to depose, that your lordship has said and writ fifty times worse; and what is still an aggravation, with infinitely more wit and learning, and stronger arguments: so that as politicks run, I do not know a person of more exceptionable principles than yourself: and if ever I shall be discovered, I think you will be bound in honour to pay my fine, and support me in prison; or else I may chance to inform against you by way of reprisal.

In the mean time I beg your lordship to receive my confession; that if there be any such thing as a dependency of Ireland upon England, otherwise than as I have explained it, either by the law of God, of nature, of reason, of nations, or of the land (which I shall die rather than grant) then was the proclamation against me the most merciful that ever was put out; and instead of accusing me as malicious, wicked, and seditious, it might have been directly as guilty of high treason.

All I desire is, that the cause of my country against Mr. Wood may not suffer by any inadvertency of mine. Whether Ireland depends upon England, or only upon God, the king, and the law; I hope no man will assert, that it depends upon Mr. Wood. I should be heartily sorry that this commendable spirit against me should accidentally (and what I hope, was never intended) strike a damp upon that spirit in all ranks and corporations of men against the desperate and ruinous design of Mr. Wood. Let my countrymen blot out those parts in my last letter, which they dislike; and let no rust remain on my sword, to cure the wounds I have given to our most mortal enemy. When sir Charles Sedley was taking the oaths, where several things were to be renounced, he said, he loved renouncing; asked if any more were to be renounced; for he was ready to renounce as much as they pleased. Although I am not so thorough a renouncer, yet let me have but good city security against this pestilent coinage, and I shall be ready not only to renounce every syllable in all my four letters, but to deliver them cheerfully with my own hands into those of the common hangman, to be burnt with no better company than the coiner's effigies, if any part of it has escaped out of the secular hands of my faithful friends, the common people[7].

But, whatever the sentiments of some people may be, I think it is agreed that many of those who subscribed against me, are on the side of a vast majority in the kingdom, who opposed Mr. Wood: and it was with great satisfaction, that I observed some right honourable names very amicably joined with my own, at the bottom of a strong declaration against him and his coin. But if the admission of it among us be already determined, the worthy person, who is to betray me, ought in prudence to do it with all convenient speed; or else it may be difficult to find three hundred pounds sterling for the discharge of his hire, when the publick shall have lost five hundred thousand, if there be so much in the nation; beside four fifths of its annual income for ever.

I am told by lawyers, that in quarrels between man and man, it is of much weight, which of them gave the first provocation, or struck the first blow. It is manifest that Mr. Wood has done both: and therefore I should humbly propose to have him first hanged, and his dross thrown into the sea: after which, the drapier will be ready to stand his trial. It must needs be that offences come, but woe unto him by whom the offence comes. If Mr. Wood had held his hand, every body else would have held their tongues: and then there would have been little need of pamphlets, juries, or proclamations upon this occasion. The provocation must needs have been very great, which could stir up an obscure, indolent drapier, to become an author. One would almost think, the very stones in the street would rise up in such a cause: and I am not sure they will not do so against Mr. Wood, if ever he comes within their reach. It is a known story of the dumb boy, whose tongue forced a passage for speech by the horrour of seeing a dagger at his father's throat. This may lessen the wonder, that a tradesman, hid in privacy and silence, should cry out, when the life and being of his political mother are attempted before his face, and by so infamous a wretch.

But in the mean time Mr. Wood, the destroyer of a kingdom, walks about in triumph (unless it be true, that he is in jail for debt) while he, who endeavoured to assert the liberty of his country, is forced to hide his head for occasionally dealing in a matter of controversy. However, I am not the first who has been condemned to death, for gaining a great victory over a powerful enemy, by disobeying for once the strict orders of military discipline.

I am now resolved to follow (after the usual proceeding of mankind, because it is too late) the advice given me by a certain dean[8]. He showed the mistake I was in, of trusting to the general good will of the people; that I had succeeded hitherto better than could be expected; but that some unfortunate circumstantial lapse would bring me within the reach of power: that my good intentions would be no security against those who watched every motion of my pen in the bitterness of my soul. He produced an instance of a person as innocent, as disinterested, and as well-meaning as myself; who had written a very seasonable and inoffensive treatise, exhorting the people of this kingdom to wear their own manufactures[9]; for which, however, the printer was prosecuted with the utmost virulence; the jury sent back, nine times; and the man given up to the mercy of the court. The dean farther observed, that I was in a manner left alone to stand the battle; while others who had ten thousand times better talents than a drapier, were so prudent as to lie still; and perhaps thought it no unpleasant amusement to look on with safety, while another was giving them diversion at the hazard of his liberty and fortune; and thought they made a sufficient recompense by a little applause: whereupon he concluded with a short story of a Jew]] at Madrid; who being condemned to the fire on account of his religion, a crowd of schoolboys following him to the stake, and apprehending they might lose their sport if he should happen to recant, would often clap him on the back, and cry, Sta firme, Moyse; Moses, continue stedfast.

I allow this gentleman's advice to have been very good, and his observations just; and in one respect, my condition is worse than that of the Jew; for no recantation will save me. However, it should seem by some late proceedings, that my state is not altogether deplorable. This I can impute to nothing but the steadiness of two impartial grand juries; which has confirmed in me an opinion I have long entertained; that, as philosophers say, virtue is seated in the middle; so, in another sense, the little virtue left in the world, is chiefly to be found among the middle rank of mankind, who are neither allured out of her paths by ambition, nor driven by poverty.

Since the proclamation occasioned by my last letter, and a due preparation for proceeding against me in a court of justice, there have been two printed papers clandestinely spread about; whereof no man is able to trace the original, farther than by conjecture; which, with its usual charity, lays them to my account. The former, is entitled, Seasonable Advice, and appears to have been intended for information of the grand jury, upon the supposition of a bill to be prepared against that letter. The other, is an extract from a printed book of parliamentary proceedings, in the year 1680; containing an angry resolution of the house of commons in England, against dissolving grand juries. As to the former, your lordship will find it to be the work of a more artful hand than that of a common drapier. It has been censured for endeavouring to influence the minds of a jury, which ought to be wholly free and unbiassed; and for that reason it is manifest, that no judge was ever known, either upon, or off the bench, either by himself, or his dependents, to use the least insinuation, that might possibly affect the passions or interests of any one single juryman, much less of a whole jury; whereof every man must be convinced, who will just give himself the trouble to dip into the common printed trials: so as it is amazing to think, what a number of upright judges there have been in both kingdoms, for above sixty years past; which, considering how long they held their offices during pleasure, as they still do among us, I account next to a miracle.

As to the other paper, I must confess it is a sharp censure from an English house of commons against dissolving grand juries, by any judge before the end of the term, assizes, or sessions, while matters are under their consideration, and not presented; as arbitrary, illegal, destructive to publick justice, a manifest violation of his oath, and as a means to subvert the fundamental laws of the kingdom.

However, the publisher seems to have been mistaken in what he aimed at. For whatever dependence there may be of Ireland upon England, I hope he would not insinuate, that the proceedings of a lord chief justice in Ireland, must depend upon a resolution of an English house of commons. Besides, that resolution, although it were levelled against a particular lord chief justice, sir William Scroggs, yet the occasion was directly contrary. For Scroggs dissolved the grand jury of London for fear they should present; but ours in Dublin was dissolved, because they would not present; which wonderfully alters the case. And therefore a second grand jury supplied that defect, by making a presentment[10] that pleased the whole kingdom. However, I think it is agreed by all parties, that both the one and the other jury, behaved themselves in such a manner, as ought to be remembered to their honour, while there shall be any regard left among us for virtue or publick spirit.

I am confident, your lordship will be of my sentiments in one thing; that some short plain authentick tract might be published for the information both of petty and grand juries, how far their power reaches, and where it is limited; and that a printed copy of such a treatise might be deposited in every court, to be consulted by the jurymen, before they consider of their verdict; by which, abundance of inconveniences would be avoided, whereof innumerable instances might be produced from former times; because I will say nothing of the present.

I have read somewhere of an eastern king, who put a judge to death for an iniquitous sentence, and ordered his hide to be stuffed into a cushion, and placed upon the tribunal for the son to sit on, who was preferred to his father's office. I fancy, such a memorial might not have been unuseful to a son of sir William Scroggs, and that both he and his successors would often wriggle in their seats, as long as the cushion lasted: I wish the relator had told us what number of such cushions there might be in that country.

I cannot but observe to your lordship, how nice and dangerous a point it is grown, for a private person to inform the people even in an affair where the publick interest and safety are so highly concerned, as that of Mr. Wood; and this in a country where loyalty is woven into the very hearts of the people, seems a little extraordinary. Sir William Scroggs was the first who introduced that commendable acuteness into the courts of judicature; but how far this practice has been imitated by his successors, or strained upon occasion, is out of my knowledge. When pamphlets unpleasing to the ministry were presented as libels, he would order the offensive paragraphs to be read before him; and he was often so very happy in applying the initial letters of names, and expounding dubious hints (the two common expedients among writers of that class for escaping the law) that he discovered much more than ever the authors intended; as many of them, or their printers, found to their cost. If such methods are to be followed in examining what I have already written, or may write hereafter, upon the subject of Mr. Wood, I defy any man of fifty times my understanding and caution to avoid being entrapped: unless he will be content to write what none will read, by repeating over the old arguments and computations, whereof the world is already grown weary. So that my good friend Harding lies under this dilemma; either to let my learned works hang for ever drying upon his lines; or venture to publish them at the hazard of being laid by the heels.

I need not tell your lordship where the difficulty lies: it is true, that the king and the laws permit us to refuse this coin of Mr. Wood; but at the same time it is equally true, that the king and the laws permit us to receive it. Now, it is barely possible, that the ministers in England, may not suppose the consequences of uttering that brass among us, to be so ruinous as we apprehend; because perhaps if they understood it in that light, they would in common humanity, use their credit with his majesty for saving a most loyal kingdom from destruction. But, as long as it shall please those great persons to think that coin will not be so very pernicious to us, we lie under the disadvantage of being censured as obstinate in not complying with a royal patent. Therefore nothing remains but to make use of that liberty, which the king and the laws have left us, by continuing to refuse this coin; and by frequent remembrances to keep up that spirit raised against it, which otherwise may be apt to flag, and perhaps in time to sink altogether. For, any publick order against receiving or uttering Mr. Wood's halfpence, is not reasonably to be expected in this kingdom, without directions from England; which I think no body presumes, or is so sanguine as to hope.

But to confess the truth, my lord, I begin to grow weary of my office as a writer; and could heartily wish it were devolved upon my brethren, the makers of songs and ballads, who perhaps are the best qualified at present to gather up the gleanings of this controversy. As to myself, it has been my misfortune to begin, and pursue it, upon a wrong foundation. For, having detected the frauds and falshoods of this vile impostor Wood in every part, I foolishly disdained to have recourse to whining, lamenting, and crying for mercy; but rather chose to appeal to law and liberty, and the common rights of mankind, without considering the climate I was in.

Since your last residence in Ireland, I frequently have taken my nag to ride about your grounds; where I fancied myself to feel an air of freedom breathing round me; and I am glad the low condition of a tradesman did not qualify me to wait on you at your house; for then, I am afraid, my writings would not have escaped severer censures. But I have lately sold my nag, and honestly told his greatest fault, which was that of snuffing up the air about Brackdenstown; whereby he became such a lover of liberty, that I could scarce hold him in. I have likewise buried at the bottom of a strong chest your lordship's writings under a heap of others, that treat of liberty; and spread over a layer or two of Hobbes, Filmer, Bodin,and many more authors of that stamp, to be readiest at hand, whenever I shall be disposed to take up a new set of principles in government. In the mean time I design quietly to look to my shop, and keep as far out of your lordship's influence as possible: and if you ever see any more of my writings on this subject, I promise you shall find them as innocent, as insipid, and without a sting, as what I have now offered you. But, if your lordship will please to give me an easy lease of some part of your estate in Yorkshire, thither will I carry my chest: and turning it upside down, resume my political reading where I left off; feed on plain homely fair, and live and die a free honest English farmer; but not without regret for leaving my countrymen under the dread of the brazen talons of Mr. Wood: my most loyal and innocent countrymen; to whom I owe so much for their good opinion of me, and my poor endeavours to serve them. I am, with the greatest respect,

My lord,
Your lordship's most obedient
and most humble servant,

From my shop in St. Francis
street, Dec. 14, 1724.

M. B.

These papers (for the sixth and seventh letters were not published till long afterward) prevailed, notwithstanding threats, prosecutions, and imprisonment, against all the influence of power, and all the artifices of cunning: persons of every sect united with the drapier in the common cause, his health was a perpetual toast, and his effigies were displayed in every street; Wood was compelled to withdraw his patent, and his halfpence were totally suppressed.

  1. Articles mentioned in the indictment and proclamation.
  2. By this is meant, the Proposal for the universal Use of Irish Manufactures.
  3. The drapier's first three letters.
  4. The fourth letter, against which the proclamation was issued.
  5. Printers.
  6. He published a book in the reign of king William III, entitled the State of Denmark, with a large preface.
  7. This passage is cited by Dr. Campbell, in his "Philosophy of Rhetorick," as a very strong example of commendation, couched with great delicacy under an air of reproach.
  8. The author is supposed to mean himself.
  9. The author means himself again; in the discourse advising the people of Ireland to wear their own manufactures.
  10. See the presentment immediately preceding this letter.