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not find him: I have forgot what sort of apron you want. I must rout among your letters, a needle in a bottle of hay. I gave Sterne directions, but where to find him Lord knows. I have bespoken the spectacles ; got a set of Examiners, and five pamphlets, which I have either written or contributed to, except the best, which is the Vindication of the Duke of Marlborough ; and is entirely of the author of the Atalantis. * I have settled Dingley's affair with Tooke, who has undertaken it, and understands it. I have bespoken a Miscellany : what would you have me do more? It cost me a shilling coming home; it rains terribly, and did so in the morning. Lord-treasurer has had an ill day, in much pain. He writes and does business in his chamber now he is ill: the man is bewitched : he desires to see me, and I'll maul him, but he will not value it a rush. I am half weary of them all. I often burst out into these thoughts, and will certainly steal away as soon as I decently can. I have many friends, and many enemies; and the last are more constant in their nature. I have no shuddering at all to think of retiring to my old circumstances, if you can be easy ; but I will always live in Ireland as I did the last time ; I will not hunt for dinners there : nor converse with more than a
23. Morning. This goes to-day, and shall be sealed by and by. Lord-treasurer takes physic again to-day ; I believe I shall dine with Lord Dupplin. Mr Tooke brought me a letter directed for me at Morphew's the bookseller. I suppose, by the postage, it came from Ireland ; it is a woman's hand, and seems false spelt on purpose ; it is in such sort of verse as Harris's petition ; rallies me for writing merry things, and not upon divinity; and is like the subject of the archbishop's last letter, as I told you. Can you guess whom it came from ? it is not ill written ; pray find it out ; there is a Latin verse at the end of it all rightly spelt; yet the English, as I think, affectedly wrong in many places. * My plaguing time is coming. A young fellow brought me a letter from Judge Coote, with recommendation to be lieutenant of a man of war. He is the son of one Echlin, who was minister of Belfast before Tisdall, and I have got some other new customers ; but I shall trouble
* Mrs Delariviere Manley.
my friends as little as possible. Saucy Stella used to jeer me for meddling with other folks affairs; but now I am punished for it.—Patrick has brought the candle, and I have no more room. Farewell, &c. &c.
Here is a full and true account of Stella's new
* It seems as if Swift suspected Stella of this jeu d'esprit.
+ This column of words, as they are corrected, is in Stella's hand.
Tell me truly, sirrah, how many of these are mistakes of the pen, and how many are you to answer for as real ill spelling ? There are but fourteen; I said twenty by guess. You must not be angry, for I will have you spell right, let the world go how it will. Though, after all, there is but a mistake of one letter in any of these words. I allow you henceforth but six false spellings in every letter you send me.
London, October 23, 1711. I DINED with Lord Dupplin as I told you I would, , and put my thirty-second into the post-office my own self; and I believe there has not been one moment since we parted, wherein a letter was not upon the road going or coming to or from PMD. * If the queen knew it, she would give us a pension ; for it is we bring good luck to their post-boys and their packets ; else they would break their necks and sink. But, an old saying and a true one:
* That is Presto and MD.
Be it snow, or storm, or hail,
Terrible rain to-day, but it cleared up at night enough to save my twelvepence coming home. Lord-treasurer is much better this evening. I hate to have him ill, he is so confoundedly careless. I won't answer your letter yet, so be satisfied.
24. I called at lord-treasurer's to-day at noon; he was eating some broth in his bed-chamber, undressed, with a thousand papers about him. He has a little fever upon him, and his eye terribly blood-shot; yet he dressed himself and went out to the treasury. He told me, he had a letter from a lady with a complaint against me ; it was from Mrs Cutts, a sister of Lord Cutts, who writ to him, that I had abused her brother: you remember the Salamander, it is printed in the Miscellany. * I told my lord, that I would never regard complaints, and that I expected, whenever he received any against me, he would immediately put them into the fire, and forget them, else I should have no quiet. I had a little turn in my head this morning ; which, though it did not last above a moment, yet being of the true sort, has made me as weak as a dog all this day. 'Tis the first I have had this half year. I shall take my pills if I hear of it again. I dined at Lady, Mountjoy's with Harry Coote, and went to see Lord Pembroke upon his coming to town.-The Whig party are furious against a peace, and every day some ballad comes out reflecting on the
* These very bitter, or rather scurrilous verses, were highly resented by Lord Cutts and his relations.
ministry on that account. The Secretary St John has seized on a dozen booksellers and publishers into his messengers' hands. *
Some of the foreign ministers have published the preliminaries agreed on here between France and England ; and people rail at them as insufficient to treat a peace upon ; but the secret is, that the French have agreed to articles much more important, which our ministers have not communicated, and the people, who think they know all, are discontented that there is no more. This was an inconvenience I foretold to the secretary ; but we could contrive no way to fence against it. So there's politics for you.
* “ On the 23d of October, being the first day of the term, fourteen booksellers, printers, or publishers, who had been lately taken up, and committed to the custody of state-messengers, by warrants from Mr Secretary St John, for printing and publishing pamphlets, libels, and ballads, some of which were indeed scandalous invectives against the ministry and government, others represented as such ; appeared at the bar of the Court of Queen’s Bench, where Mr Lechmere, counsel for Mr Darby and Mr Hurt, two of the printers, pleaded with notable vehemence against the severity of committing people without telling them their crimes; urging, that at this rate the office of a secretary of state would become a Spanish inquisition. But at the request of the attorney-general, all the said persons were continued on their recognizance till the last day of the term. It is to be observed, that Mr Darby and Mr Hurt were prosecuted on account of a translation of a memorable passage in Tacitus, about Cecilius Bassus's deceiving the Emperor Nero, with the promise of an immense, but imaginary treasure ; which was inserted in a paper called the Observator, and was a side-wind reflection on the South Sea project. Others were prosecuted on more criminal accounts, viz. for publishing seditious ballads, called, a Welcome to the Medal ; Credit Restored ; Mat's Peace, &c.”Annals of Queen Anne, 1711, p. 264. Many of these libels on the Tory government are preserved in a small 12mo volume, called, “ Pills to purge State Melancholy, 1716."