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know from himself and Mr Reading, that you were not anfwerable for either.
As you state the cafe of tenant at will, I fully agree that no law can compel you; but law was not at all in my thoughts.
Now, my Lord, if what I write of injury and injuftice were wholly applied in plain terms to one or two of the college here, whofe names were below my remembrance; you will confider how I could deferve an anfwer in every line full of foul infinuations, open reproaches, jefting flirts, and contumelious terms; and what title you claim to give me such treatment. I own my obligation to Sir William Temple, for recommending me to the late King, although without fuccefs; and for his choice of me to take care of his pofthumous writings. But I hope you will not charge my being in his family as an obligation; for I was educated to little pur. pofe, if I had chofen his houfe on any other motives, than the benefit of his converfation and advice, and the opportunity of pursuing my studies. For being born to no fortune, I was at his death as much to feek it as ever: and perhaps you will allow, that I was of fome use to him. This I will venture to fay, that in the time when I had fome little credit, I did fifty times more for fifty people, from whom I never received the leaft fervice or affiftance; yet I should not be pleased to hear a relation of mine reproaching them with ingratitude, although many of them well deserve it. For thanks to party, I have met in both kingdoms with ingratitude enough.
If I have been ill informed, you have not been much better, that I declared no great regard to your family; for fo you express yourself. I never had occafion or oppor
After Mr Swift left the university of Dublin, Sir William Temple (whofe father, Sir John Temple, Mafter of the Roils in Ireland, had been a friend to the family) invited our young author to fpend fome time with him at Moore-park in England, for the lake of his converfation; where he pursued his ftudies through all the Greek and Roman hiftorians. Here it was he was introduced by his friend to King William, when his Majefty used to pay frequent visits to that great minifter, after he had retired from public business to his feat at Moore-park. Dub edit.- -There is not the least reason to bel eve, that Sir William Temple was vifited by K. William at Moore paik. H.
tunity to make ufe of any fuch words. The last time I faw you in London, was the laft intercourfe that I remember to have had with your family. But having always trufted to my own innocence, I was never inquifitive to know my accufers. When I mentioned my lofs of intereft with you, I did it with concern; and I had no refentment; because I supposed it to arife only from different fentiments in public matters.
My Lord, if my letter were polite, it was against my intention, and I intreat your pardon for it. If I have wit, I will keep it to fhew when I am angry; which at prefent I am not: becaufe, although nothing can excuse thofe intemperate words your pen hath let fall, yet I fhall give allowance to a hafty perfon, hurried on by a miftake beyond all rules of decency. If a first minister of state had used me as you have done, he should have` heard from me in another style; because, in that cafe, retaliating would be thought a mark of courage. But as your Lordship is not in a fituation to do me good, nor, I am fure, of a difpofition to do me mischief; fo I should lose the merit of being bold, because I incurred no danger.
In this point alone we are exactly equal; but in wit and politeness I am as ready to yield to you, as in titles and estate.
I have found out one fecret; that although you call my a great wit, you do not think me fo; otherwife you would have been cautious to have writ me fuch a letter.
You conclude with faying, you are ready to ask pardon where you have offended. Of this I acquit you, becaufe I have not taken the offence; but whether you will acquit yourself, muft be left to your confcience and honour.
I have formerly, upon occafions, been your humble fervant in Ireland, and fhould not refuse to be fo ftill, but you have fo useful and excellent a friend in Mr Reading, that you need no other; and I hope my good opinion of him will not leffen yours. I am,
Your most humble fervant,
Dr SWIFT to Dr SHERIDAN.
London, July 8. 1725.
I Have had at the
account of Mrs Johnfon's health; and, as it is ufual, feared the worft that was poffible, and doubted all the good accounts that were fent me. I pray God, her dan ger may warn her to be lefs wilful, and more ready to fall into thofe measures that her friends and physicians advife her to. I had a letter two days ago from Archdeacon Wall, dated fix days before yours, wherein he gives me a better account than you do; and therefore I apprehend she hath not mended fince; and yet he fays, he can honefly tell me he is now much better. Pray thank the Archdeacon, and tell him you are to have a fhare in this letter; and therefore I will fave him the trouble of another. Tell him alfo, that I never asked for my 1000l. which he hears I have got; though I mentioned it to the Princefs the last time I faw her; but I bid her tell Walpole *, i fcorned to ask him for it. But blot out this paffage, and mention it to no one except the ladies; because I know Mrs Johnfon would be pleafed with it, and I will not write to them till I hear from them; therefore this letter is theirs as well as yours. The Archdeacon further fays, that Mrs Johnfon has not tafted claret for feveral months, but once at his houfe. This I diflike. I cannot tell who is the fourth of your friends, unless it be yourself. I am forry for your new laborious ftudies; but the best of it is, they will not be your own another day. I thank you for your new ftyle and most ufeful quotations. I am only concerned, that although you get the grace of the house, you will never get the grace of the town: but die plain Sheridan, or Tom at moft, because it is a fyllable shorter than Doctor. How
Sir Robert Walpole, afterwards Earl of Orford. He was First Commiffioner of the Treafury, and Chancellor of the Exchequer He died in February 1744, in the 71ft year of his age.
ever, I will give it you at length in the fuperfcription; and people will fo wonder how the news could come and return fo quick to and from England, efpecially if the wind be fair when the packet goes over; and let me warn you to be very careful in fending for your letters two days after the commencement. You loft one post by my being out of town; for I came hither to-day, and fhall stay three or four upon fome business; and then go back to Mr Pope's, and there continue till August, and then come to town, till I begin my journey to Ireland, which I propose the middle of Auguft. My old fervant Archy is here ruined and starving, and has purfued me, and wrote me a letter; but I have refufed to fee him. Our friend at the caftle writ to me two months ago, to have a fight of thofe papers, &c. of which I brought away a copy. I have answered him, that what. ever papers I have, are conveyed from one place to another, through nine or ten hands, and that I have the -key. If he fhould mention any thing of papers in general, either to you or the ladies, and that you can bring it in, I would have you and them to confirm the fame ftory, and laugh at my humour in it, &c. My service to Dr Delany, Dr Helham, the Grattons, and Jackfons. There is not fo defpifed a creature here as your friend, with the foft verfes on children. I heartily pity him.This is the first time I was ever weary of England, and longed to be in Ireland; but it is because go I muft ; for I do not love Ireland better, nor England, as Eng. land, worfe. In short, you all live in a wretched, dirty dog-hole and prifon; but it is a place good enough to die in. I can tell you one thing, that I have had the faireft offer made me of a fettlement here that one can imagine, which if I were ten years younger, I would gladly accept, within twelve miles of London, and in the midst of my friends. But I am too old for new fchemes, and efpecially fuch as would bridle me in my freedoms and liberalities. But fo it is, that I must be forced to get home, partly by ftealth, and partly by force. I have indeed one temptation for this winter, much tronger, which is, of a fine house, and garden, and park, and wine-cellar in France, to pass away winter in; and if Mrs Johnson were not fo out of order, I would certainly
certainly accept of it; and I wifh fhe could go to Montpellier at the fame time. You fee I am grown vi fionary, and therefore it is time to have done. Adieu.
Dr SWIFT to Dr SHERIDAN.
July 27. 1726. Have your's juft now of the 19th; and the account you give me, is nothing but what I have fome time expected with the utmost agonies; and there is one aggravation of constraint, that where I am, I am forced to put on an easy countenance. It was at this time the beft office your friendship could do, not to deceive me. I was violently bent all laft year, as I believe you re member, that the fhould go to Montpellier, or Bath, or Tunbridge. I intreated, if there was no amendment, they might both come to London. But there was a fatality, although I indeed think her flamina could not laft much longer, when I faw fhe could take no nourishment. I look upon this to be the greatest event that can ever happen to me; but all my preparations will not fuffice to make me bear it like a philofopher, nor altogether like a Chriftian. There hath been the most intimate friendship between us from her childhood ; and the greatest merit on her fide, that ever was in one bu man creature towards another.- Nay, if I were now near her, I would not fee her; I could not behave myfelf tolerably, and should redouble her forrow.Judge in what a temper of mind I write this.-The very
time I am writing, I conclude the fairest foul in the world hath left its body.-Confufion! that I am this moment called down to a vifitor, when I am in the country, and not in my power to deny myself.I have paffed a very constrained hour, and now return to say I know not what. I have been long weary of the world,
* Lord Bolingbroke invited the Dean to spend a winter with him at his house in France, on the banks of the Loire.
†This was written from Mr Pope's at Twickenham.