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You expect Mrs Walls,
Henley told me that the Tories were insupportable people, because they are for bringing in French claret, and will not sup-port.
Mr Harley will hardly get abroad this week or ten days yet. I reckon, when I send away this letter, he will be just got into the House of Commons. My last letter went in twelve days, and so perhaps may this. No it won't ; for those letters that go under a fortnight, are answerers to one of your's, otherwise you must take the days as they happen, some dry, some wet, some barren, some fruitful, some merry, some insipid, some, &c. I will write you word exactly the first day I see young gooseberries, and pray observe how much later you are.
We have not had five fine days this five weeks, but rain or wind.—'Tis a late spring they say here. Go to bed, you two dear saucy brats, and don't keep me up all night.
7. Ford has been at Epsom, to avoid Good Friday and Easter Sunday. He forced me to-day to dine with him ; and tells me, there are letters from Ireland giving an account of a great indiscretion in the Archbishop of Dublin, who applied a story out of Tacitus, very reflectingly on Mr Harley, and that twenty people have written of it ; I do not believe it yet.
I called this even
passage in Tacitus is mentioned by the archbishop himself, in a letter to Swift. “ One would think,” says he, in allusion to the story of Harley and Guiscard, “ this should convince the world that Mr Harley is not in the French interest, but it has not yet had that effect with all, nay, some whisper the case of Fenius, Rufus, and Seevinus, in the 15th book of Tacitus accensis
ing to see Mr Secretary, who had been very ill with the gravel and pain in his back, by Burgundy and Champagne, added to the sitting up all night at business; I found him drinking tea, while the rest were at Champagne, and was very glad of it. I have chid him so severely, that I hardly knew whether he would take it well: then I went and sat an hour with Mrs St John, * who is growing a great favourite of mine ; she goes to the Bath on Wednesday, for she is much out of health, and has begged me to take care of the secretary.
8. I dined to-day with Mr Secretary St John ; he gave me a letter to read, which was from the publisher of the newspaper called the Post-Boy ; in it there was a long copy of a letter from Dublin, giving an account of what the Whigs said upon Mr Harley's being stabbed, and how much they abuse him and Mr Secretary St John; and at the end there was half a dozen lines, tel. ling the story of the Archbishop of Dublin, and abusing him horribly; this was to be printed on Tuesday. I told the secretary I would not suffer that about the archbishop to be printed, and so I crossed it out; and afterward, to prevent all danger, I made him give me the letter, and, upon farther thought, would let none of it be published : and I sent for the printer and told him so, and ordered him, in the secretary's name, to print nothing reflecting on any body in Ireland till he had showed it me.
indicibus ad prodendum Fenium Rufum, quem eundem conscium et inquisitorem non tolerabunt.” It seems hard to discover whether the archbishop, by imputing this malignant application to others, meant to conceal his having been himself the inventor. are to believe his own professions, the ascribing the sentiment and quotation to him was a gross aspersion: yet Swift, although he laboured in his exculpation with ministry, seems hardly to have believed it himself.
* The daughter and co-heiress of Sir Henry Winchescombe, of Bucklersbury, in Berkshire, Bart.
Thus I have prevented a terrible scandal to the archbishop, by a piece of perfect good fortune. I will let him know it by next post ; and pray, if you pick it out, let me know, and whether he is thankful for it ; but say nothing.
9. I was to-day at the House of Commons again about this yarn, at Lord Anglesea's desire, but the business is again put off till Monday. I dined with Sir John Stanley, by an assignation I had made with Mr St John, and George Granville, + the secretary at war ; but they let in other company, some ladies, and so we were not as easy as I intended. My head is pretty tolerable, but every day I feel some little disorders; I have left off snuff since Sunday, finding myself much worse after taking a good deal at the secretary's. I would not let him drink one drop of Champagne or Burgundy without water, and in compliment I did so myself. He is much better, but when he is well he is like Stella, and will not be governed. So go to your Stoyte's, and I'll go sleep.
* The Post-Boy was at this time a violent Tory paper, and it would appear from this passage, that its assaults were conducted under the immediate eye of the ministry. See the full passage struck out by Swift in his letter to Archbishop King, 10th April 1711.
+ Afterwards Lord Lansdowne, distinguished by Pope, as “ Granville the polite." Dryden, whom he had always befriended, addressed an epistle to him on his “ excellent play of Heroic Love.”
10. I have been visiting Lady Worsley and Mrs Barton to-day, and dined soberly with my friend Lewis. The dauphin is dead of an apoplexy; I wish he had lived till the finishing of this letter, that it might be news to you. Duncomb, the rich alderman, died to-day, and I hear has left the Duke of Argyle, who married his niece, two hundred thousand pounds ; I hope it is true, for I love that duke mightily. I writ this evening to the Archbishop of Dublin about what I told
and then went to take leave of poor Mrs St John, who gave me strict charge to take care of the secretary in her absence ; said she had none to trust but me ; and the
poor creature's tears came fresh into her eyes. Before we took leave I was drawn in by the other ladies and Sir John Stanley to raffle for a fan, with a pox; it was four guineas, and we put in seven shillings a piece, several raffled for absent people ; but I lost, and so missed an opportunity of showing my gallantry to Mrs St John, whom I designed to have presented it to, if I had won. Is Dilly † gone to the Bath ? His face will whiz in the water ; I suppose he will write to us from thence, and will take London in his way back.—The rabble will say, There goes a drunken parson, and which is worse, they will say true.
true. O, but you must know, I carried Ford to dine with Mr St John last Sunday, that he may brag, when he goes back, of dining with a secretary of state. The secretary and I went away early, and left him drinking with the rest, and he told me that two or three of them were drunk. They talk of great promotions to be made ; that Mr Harley is to be lord-treasurer, and Lord Poulet master of the horse, &c. but they are only conjecture. The speaker is to make Mr Harley a compliment the first time he comes into the House, which I hope will be in a week. He has had an ill surgeon, by the caprice of that puppy Dr Radcliffe ; which has kept him back so long; and yesterday he got a cold, but is better to-day.—What! I think I am stark mad to write so much in one day to little saucy MD; here's a deal of stuff, indeed ; can't you bid those dear little rogues good night, and let them go sleep, Mr Presto ? When your tongue runs there's no ho with you, pray.
* They quarrelled, however, mightily afterwards. + The Reverend Dillon Ashe.
11. Again at the lobby, like a lobcock, of the House of Commons, about your Irish yarn, and again put off till Friday; and I and Patrick went into the city by water, where I dined, and then I went to the auction of Charles Bernard's books, but the good ones were so monstrous dear, I could not reach them, so I laid out one pound seven shillings but very indifferently, and came away, and will go there no more. Henley would fain engage me to go with Steele and Rowe, &c. to an invitation at Sir William Read's. * Surely you have heard of him. He has been a mountebank, and is the queen's oculist; he makes admirable punch, and treats you in gold vessels.
But I am engaged, and wont go, neither indeed am I fond of the jaunt. So good night, and go sleep
12. I went about noon to the secretary, who is very ill with a cold, and sometimes of the gravel, with his Champagne, &c. I scolded him like a dog, and he promises faithfully more care for the future. To-day my Lord
* He was an advertising quack of the time, and is mentioned in the Spectator and Tatler.