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pretends he knows nothing of it, but I doubt he is at the bottom. One must have patience with these things ; the best of it is, I shall be plagued no more. However, I will bring a couple of them over with me for MD, perhaps you may desire to see them. I hear they sell mightily.
March 1. Morning. I have been calling to Patrick
“ From this apology I have been making, the reader may in part be satisfied how these papers came into my hands; and to give him a more particular information herein, will prove little to his use, though, perhaps, it might somewhat gratify his curiosity, which I shall think not material any farther to do, than by assuring him, that I am not only myself sufficiently convinced, that all the tracts in the following collection, excepting two, before both of which I have in the book expressed my doubtfulness, were wrote by the same hand; but several judicious persons, who are well acquainted with the supposed author's writings, and not altogether strangers to his conversation, have agreed with me herein, not only for the reasons I have before hinted at, but upon this account also, that there are in every one of these pieces some particular beauties that discover this author's vein, who excels too much not to be distinguished, since, in all his writings, such a surprising mixture of wit and learning, true humour and good sense, does every where appear, as sets him almost as far out of the reach of imitation, as it does beyond the power of censure.
“ The reception that these pieces will meet with from the public, and the satisfaction they will give to all men of wit and taste, will soon decide it, whether there be any reason for the reader to suspect an imposition, or the author to apprehend an injury; the former, I am fully satisfied, will never be, and the latter, I am sure,
I never intended; in confidence of which, should the author, when he sees these tracts appear, take some offence, and know where to place his resentment, I will be so free as to own, I could, without much uneasiness, sit down under some degree of it, since it would be no hard task to bear some displeasure from a single person, for that for which one is sure to receive the thanks of every body else.” VOL. II.
to look in his almanack for the day of the month ; I did not know but it might be leap year. The almanack says it is the third after leap year, and I always thought till
that every third year was leap year. I am glad they come so seldom ; but I am sure it was otherwise when I was a young man ; I see times are mightily changed since then. Write to me, sirrahs, be sure do by the time this side is done, and I will keep the other side for the answer : so I will go write to the Bishop of Clogher; good morrow, sirrahs. -Night. I dined today at Mrs Vanhomrigh's, being a rainy day, and Lady Betty Butler knowing it, sent to let me know she expected my company in the evening, where the Vans (so we call them) were to be. The duchess and they do not go over this summer with the duke ; so I got to bed.
2. This rainy weather undoes me in coaches and chairs. I was traipsing * to-day with your Mr Sterne, to go along with them to Moor, and recommend his business to the treasury. Sterne tells me his dependence is wholly on me ; but I have absolutely refused to recommend it to Mr Harley, because I troubled him late ly so much with other folk's affairs ; and besides, to tell the truth, Mr Harley told me he did not like Sterne's business; however, I will serve him, because I suppose MD would have me. But in saying his dependence Jies wholly on me, he lies, and is a fool. I dined with Lord Abercorn, whose son Peasley will be married at Easter to ten thousand pounds.
3. I forgot to tell you that yesterday morning I was
Swift, who usually calls his favourites sluts and jades, converts the cant-word trapes, or trollops, into a verb, to describe his gallanting them.
at Mr Harley's levee : he swore I came in spite, to see him among a parcel of fools. My business was to desire I might let the Duke of Ormond know how the affair stood of the first-fruits. He promised to let him know it, and engaged me to dine with him to-day. Every Saturday Lord Keeper, Secretary St John, and I, dine with him, and sometimes Lord Rivers, and they let in none else. Patrick brought me some letters into the Park; among which was one from Walls, and the other, yes faith, the other was from our little MD, N. 11. I read the rest in the Park, and MD's in a chair as I went from St James's to Mr Harley, and glad enough I was, faith, to read it, and see all right: 0, but I will not answer it these three or four days, at least, or may be sooner. Am not I silly ? faith your letters would make a dog silly, if I had a dog to be silly, but it must be a little dog. I staid with Mr Harley till past nine, where we had much discourse together after the rest were gone; and I gave him very truly my opinion where he desired it. He complained he was not very well, and has engaged me to dine with him again on Monday. So I came home afoot, like a fine gentleman, to tell you all this.
4. I dined to-day with Mr Secretary St John ; and after dinner he had a note from Mr Harley, that he was much out of order ; pray God preserve his health, every thing depends upon it. The parliament at present cannot go a step without him, nor the queen neither. I long to be in Ireland ; but the ministry beg me to stay : however, when this parliament hurry is over, I will endeavour to steal away ; by which time I hope the first-fruit business will be done. This kingdom is certainly ruined as much as was ever any bankrupt merchant. We must have peace, let it be a bad or a good one, though nobody dares talk of it. The nearer I look upon things, the worse I like them. I believe the confederacy will soon break to pieces; and our factions at home increase. The ministry is upon a very narrow bottom, and stand like an isthmus between the Whigs on one side, and violent Tories on the other. They are able seamen, but the tempest is too great, the ship too rotten, and the crew all against them. Lord Somers has been twice in the queen's closet, once very lately; and your Duchess of Somerset, * who now has the key, is a most insinuating woman, and I believe they will endeavour to play the same game that has been played against them. † I have told them of all this, which they know already, but they cannot help it. They have cautioned the queen so much against being governed, that she observes it too much. I could talk till to-morrow upon these things, but they make me melancholy. I could not but observe that lately after much conversation with Mr Harley, though he is the most fearless man alive, and the least apt to despond, he confessed to me, that uttering his mind to me gave him ease.
* Lady Elizabeth Percy, sole daughter and heir of Josceline, Earl of Northumberland. She was married during her non-age first to the Earl of Ogle, and afterwards to Thomas Thynne, Esq. of Longleat Hall, who was murdered in Pall-Mall, by assassins hired by Count Konigsmark. This twice-married lady became notwithstanding the maiden bride of Charles, commonly called the proud Duke of Somerset. She was in high favour with Queen Anne;
and her influence tended for a long time to counterbalance, in some degree, that of Mrs Masham, on which the Tory interest rested. For although the Duke of Somerset had given some assistance in displacing the ministry of Godolphin, he did not by any means approve of their successor.
The Duchess of Somerset had obtained the post of groom of the stole, when Mrs Masham was made keeper of the privy purse, both in room of the Duchess of Marlborough.
+ Mrs Masham made use of her influence with the queen, to prevail on her to admit Harley to private audiences, in which was planned the displacing of the Whig administration. The Duchess of Somerset had now an opportunity of playing back, as Swift expresses it, the same game.
5. Mr Harley continues out of order, yet his affairs force him abroad : he is subject to a sore throat, and was cupped last night : I sent and called two or three times. I hear he is better this evening. I dined to-day in the city with Dr Freind at a third body's house, where I was to pass for some body
for some body else, and there was a plaguy silly jest carried on, that made me sick of it.
Our weather grows fine, and I will walk like camomile. And pray
walk you to your dean's, or your Stoyte's, or your Manley's, or your Walls's. But your lodgings make you so proud, you will walk less than ever. Come, let me go to bed, sirrahs.
6. Mr Harley's going out yesterday has put him a little backward. I called twice, and sent, for I am in pain for him. Ford caught me, and made me dine with him on his opera day; so I brought Mr Lewis with me, and sat with him till six. I have not seen Mr Addison these three weeks; all our friendship is over. I go to no' coffeehouse.
I presented a parson of the Bishop of Clogher's, one Richardson, to the Duke of Ormond today: he is translating prayers and sermons into Irish, and has a project about instructing the Irish in the Pro. testant religion.
7. Morning. Faith a little would make me, I could find in my heart, if it were not for one thing, I have a good mind, if I had not something else to do, I would answer your dear saucy letter. O Lord, I am going