The Journal to Stella, by Jonathan Swift

Letter 3.

London, Sept. 9, 1710.

After seeing the Duke of Ormond, dining with Dr. Cockburn,1 passing some part of the afternoon with Sir Matthew Dudley2 and Will Frankland, the rest at St. James’s Coffee-house, I came home, and writ to the Archbishop of Dublin and MD, and am going to bed. I forgot to tell you, that I begged Will Frankland to stand Manley’s3 friend with his father in this shaking season for places. He told me, his father was in danger to be out; that several were now soliciting for Manley’s place; that he was accused of opening letters; that Sir Thomas Frankland4 would sacrifice everything to save himself; and in that, I fear, Manley is undone, etc.

l0. To-day I dined with Lord Mountjoy at Kensington; saw my mistress, Ophy Butler’s5 wife, who is grown a little charmless. I sat till ten in the evening with Addison and Steele: Steele will certainly lose his Gazetteer’s place, all the world detesting his engaging in parties.6 At ten I went to the Coffee-house, hoping to find Lord Radnor,7 whom I had not seen. He was there; and for an hour and a half we talked treason heartily against the Whigs, their baseness and ingratitude. And I am come home, rolling resentments in my mind, and framing schemes of revenge: full of which (having written down some hints) I go to bed. I am afraid MD dined at home, because it is Sunday; and there was the little half-pint of wine: for God’s sake, be good girls, and all will be well. Ben Tooke8 was with me this morning.

11. Seven, morning. I am rising to go to Jervas to finish my picture, and ’tis shaving-day, so good-morrow MD; but don’t keep me now, for I can’t stay; and pray dine with the Dean, but don’t lose your money. I long to hear from you, etc. — Ten at night. I sat four hours this morning to Jervas, who has given my picture quite another turn, and now approves it entirely; but we must have the approbation of the town. If I were rich enough, I would get a copy of it, and bring it over. Mr. Addison and I dined together at his lodgings, and I sat with him part of this evening; and I am now come home to write an hour. Patrick9 observes, that the rabble here are much more inquisitive in politics than in Ireland. Every day we expect changes, and the Parliament to be dissolved. Lord Wharton expects every day to be out: he is working like a horse for elections; and, in short, I never saw so great a ferment among all sorts of people. I had a miserable letter from Joe last Saturday, telling me Mr. Pratt10 refuses payment of his money. I have told it Mr. Addison, and will to Lord Wharton; but I fear with no success. However, I will do all I can.

12. To-day I presented Mr. Ford11 to the Duke of Ormond; and paid my first visit to Lord President,12 with whom I had much discourse; but put him always off when he began to talk of Lord Wharton in relation to me, till he urged it: then I said, he knew I never expected anything from Lord Wharton, and that Lord Wharton knew that I understood it so. He said that he had written twice to Lord Wharton about me, who both times said nothing at all to that part of his letter. I am advised not to meddle in the affair of the First-Fruits, till this hurry is a little over, which still depends, and we are all in the dark. Lord President told me he expects every day to be out, and has done so these two months. I protest, upon my life, I am heartily weary of this town, and wish I had never stirred.

13. I went this morning to the city, to see Mr. Stratford the Hamburg merchant, my old schoolfellow;13 but calling at Bull’s14 on Ludgate Hill, he forced me to his house at Hampstead to dinner among a great deal of ill company; among the rest Mr. Hoadley,15 the Whig clergyman, so famous for acting the contrary part to Sacheverell:16 but tomorrow I design again to see Stratford. I was glad, however, to be at Hampstead, where I saw Lady Lucy17 and Moll Stanhope. I hear very unfortunate news of Mrs. Long;18 she and her comrade19 have broke up house, and she is broke for good and all, and is gone to the country: I should be extremely sorry if this be true.

14. To-day, I saw Patty Rolt,20 who heard I was in town; and I dined with Stratford at a merchant’s in the city, where I drank the first Tokay wine I ever saw; and it is admirable, yet not to the degree I expected. Stratford is worth a plum,21 and is now lending the Government forty thousand pounds; yet we were educated together at the same school and university.22 We hear the Chancellor23 is to be suddenly out, and Sir Simon Harcourt24 to succeed him: I am come early home, not caring for the Coffee-house.

15. To-day Mr. Addison, Colonel Freind,25 and I, went to see the million lottery26 drawn at Guildhall. The jackanapes of bluecoat boys gave themselves such airs in pulling out the tickets, and showed white hands open to the company, to let us see there was no cheat. We dined at a country-house near Chelsea, where Mr. Addison often retires; and to-night, at the Coffee-house, we hear Sir Simon Harcourt is made Lord Keeper; so that now we expect every moment the Parliament will be dissolved; but I forgot that this letter will not go in three or four days, and that my news will be stale, which I should therefore put in the last paragraph. Shall I send this letter before I hear from MD, or shall I keep it to lengthen? I have not yet seen Stella’s mother, because I will not see Lady Giffard; but I will contrive to go there when Lady Giffard is abroad. I forgot to mark my two former letters; but I remember this is Number 3, and I have not yet had Number 1 from MD; but I shall by Monday, which I reckon will be just a fortnight after you had my first. I am resolved to bring over a great deal of china. I loved it mightily to-day.27 What shall I bring?

16. Morning. Sir John Holland,28 Comptroller of the Household, has sent to desire my acquaintance: I have a mind to refuse him, because he is a Whig, and will, I suppose, be out among the rest; but he is a man of worth and learning. Tell me, do you like this journal way of writing? Is it not tedious and dull?

Night. I dined to-day with a cousin, a printer,29 where Patty Rolt lodges, and then came home, after a visit or two; and it has been a very insipid day. Mrs. Long’s misfortune is confirmed to me; bailiffs were in her house; she retired to private lodgings; thence to the country, nobody knows where: her friends leave letters at some inn, and they are carried to her; and she writes answers without dating them from any place. I swear, it grieves me to the soul.

17. To-day I dined six miles out of town, with Will Pate,30 the learned woollen-draper; Mr. Stratford went with me; six miles here is nothing: we left Pate after sunset, and were here before it was dark. This letter shall go on Tuesday, whether I hear from MD or no. My health continues pretty well; pray God Stella may give me a good account of hers! and I hope you are now at Trim, or soon designing it. I was disappointed to-night: the fellow gave me a letter, and I hoped to see little MD’s hand; and it was only to invite me to a venison pasty to-day: so I lost my pasty into the bargain. Pox on these declining courtiers! Here is Mr. Brydges,31 the Paymaster-General, desiring my acquaintance; but I hear the Queen sent Lord Shrewsbury32 to assure him he may keep his place; and he promises me great assistance in the affair of the First-Fruits. Well, I must turn over this leaf to-night, though the side would hold another line; but pray consider this is a whole sheet; it holds a plaguy deal, and you must be content to be weary; but I’ll do so no more. Sir Simon Harcourt is made Attorney-General, and not Lord Keeper.

18. To-day I dined with Mr. Stratford at Mr. Addison’s retirement near Chelsea; then came to town; got home early, and began a letter to the Tatler,33 about the corruptions of style and writing, etc., and, having not heard from you, am resolved this letter shall go to-night. Lord Wharton was sent for to town in mighty haste, by the Duke of Devonshire:34 they have some project in hand; but it will not do, for every hour we expect a thorough revolution, and that the Parliament will be dissolved. When you see Joe, tell him Lord Wharton is too busy to mind any of his affairs; but I will get what good offices I can from Mr. Addison, and will write to-day to Mr. Pratt; and bid Joe not to be discouraged, for I am confident he will get the money under any Government; but he must have patience.

19. I have been scribbling this morning, and I believe shall hardly fill this side to-day, but send it as it is; and it is good enough for naughty girls that won’t write to a body, and to a good boy like Presto. I thought to have sent this to-night, but was kept by company, and could not; and, to say the truth, I had a little mind to expect one post more for a letter from MD. Yesterday at noon died the Earl of Anglesea,35 the great support of the Tories; so that employment of Vice-Treasurer of Ireland is again vacant. We were to have been great friends, and I could hardly have a loss that could grieve me more. The Bishop of Durham36 died the same day. The Duke of Ormond’s daughter37 was to visit me to-day at a third place by way of advance,38 and I am to return it to-morrow. I have had a letter from Lady Berkeley, begging me for charity to come to Berkeley Castle, for company to my lord,39 who has been ill of a dropsy; but I cannot go, and must send my excuse to-morrow. I am told that in a few hours there will be more removals.

20. To-day I returned my visits to the Duke’s daughters;40 the insolent drabs came up to my very mouth to salute me. Then I heard the report confirmed of removals; my Lord President Somers; the Duke of Devonshire, Lord Steward; and Mr. Boyle,41 Secretary of State, are all turned out to-day. I never remember such bold steps taken by a Court: I am almost shocked at it, though I did not care if they were all hanged. We are astonished why the Parliament is not yet dissolved, and why they keep a matter of that importance to the last. We shall have a strange winter here, between the struggles of a cunning provoked discarded party, and the triumphs of one in power; of both which I shall be an indifferent spectator, and return very peaceably to Ireland, when I have done my part in the affair I am entrusted with, whether it succeeds or no. To-morrow I change my lodgings in Pall Mall for one in Bury Street,42 where I suppose I shall continue while I stay in London. If anything happens tomorrow, I will add it. — Robin’s Coffee-house.43 We have great news just now from Spain; Madrid taken, and Pampeluna. I am here ever interrupted.

21. I have just received your letter, which I will not answer now; God be thanked all things are so well. I find you have not yet had my second: I had a letter from Parvisol, who tells me he gave Mrs. Walls a bill of twenty pounds for me, to be given to you; but you have not sent it. This night the Parliament is dissolved: great news from Spain; King Charles and Stanhope are at Madrid, and Count Staremberg has taken Pampeluna. Farewell. This is from St. James’s Coffee-house. I will begin my answer to your letter to-night, but not send it this week. Pray tell me whether you like this journal way of writing. — I don’t like your reasons for not going to Trim. Parvisol tells me he can sell your horse. Sell it, with a pox? Pray let him know that he shall sell his soul as soon. What? sell anything that Stella loves, and may sometimes ride? It is hers, and let her do as she pleases: pray let him know this by the first that you know goes to Trim. Let him sell my grey, and be hanged.

1. Dr. William Cockburn (1669-1739), Swift’s physician, of a good Scottish family, was educated at Leyden. He invented an electuary for the cure of fluxes, and in 1730, in The Danger of Improving Physick, satirised the academical physicians who envied him the fortune he had made by his secret remedy. He was described in 1729 as “an old very rich quack.”

2. Sir Matthew Dudley, Bart., an old Whig friend, was M.P. for Huntingdonshire, and Commissioner of the Customs from 1706 to 1712, and again under George I., until his death in 1721.

3. Isaac Manley, who was appointed Postmaster-General in Ireland in 1703 (Luttrell, v. 333). He had previously been Comptroller of the English Letter Office, a post in which he was succeeded by William Frankland, son of Sir Thomas Frankland. Dunton calls Manley “loyal and acute.”

4. Sir Thomas Frankland was joint Postmaster-General from 1691 to 1715. He succeeded to the baronetcy on the death of his father, Sir William Frankland, in 1697, and he died in 1726. Macky describes Sir Thomas as “of a sweet and easy disposition, zealous for the Constitution, yet not forward, and indulgent to his dependants.” On this Swift comments, “This is a fair character.”

5. Theophilus Butler, elected M.P. for Cavan, in the Irish Parliament, in 1703, and for Belturbet (as “the Right Hon. Theophilus Butler”) in 1713. On May 3, 1710, Luttrell wrote (Brief Relation of State Affairs, vi. 577), “’Tis said the Earl of Montrath, Lord Viscount Mountjoy . . . and Mr. Butler will be made Privy Councillors of the Kingdom of Ireland.” Butler — a contemporary of Swift’s at Trinity College, Dublin — was created Baron of Newtown-Butler in 1715, and his brother, who succeeded him in 1723, was made Viscount Lanesborough. Butler’s wife was Emilia, eldest daughter and co-heir of James Stopford, of Tara, County Meath.

6. No. 193 of the Tatler, for July 4, 1710, contained a letter from Downes the Prompter — not by Steele himself — in ridicule of Harley and his proposed Ministry.

7. Charles Robartes, second Earl of Radnor, who died in 1723. In the Journal for Dec. 30, 1711, Swift calls him “a scoundrel.”

8. Benjamin Tooke, Swift’s bookseller or publisher, lived at the Middle Temple Gate. Dunton wrote of him, “He is truly honest, a man of refined sense, and is unblemished in his reputation.” Tooke died in 1723.

9. Swift’s servant, of whose misdeeds he makes frequent complaints in the Journal.

10. Deputy Vice-Treasurer of Ireland. In one place Swift calls him Captain Pratt; and in all probability he is the John Pratt who, as we learn from Dalton’s English Army Lists, was appointed captain in General Erle’s regiment of foot in 1699, and was out of the regiment by 1706. In 1702 he obtained the Queen’s leave to be absent from the regiment when it was sent to the West Indies. Pratt seems to have been introduced to Swift by Addison.

11. Charles Ford, of Wood Park, near Dublin, was a great lover of the opera and a friend of the Tory wits. He was appointed Gazetteer in 1712. Gay calls him “joyous Ford,” and he was given to over-indulgence in conviviality. See Swift’s poem on Stella at Wood Park.

12. Lord Somers, to whom Swift had dedicated The Tale of a Tub, with high praise of his public and private virtues. In later years Swift said that Somers “possessed all excellent qualifications except virtue.”

13. At the foundation school of the Ormonds at Kilkenny. (see note 22.)

14. A Whig haberdasher.

15. Benjamin Hoadley, the Whig divine, had been engaged in controversy with Sacheverell, Blackall, and Atterbury. After the accession of George I. he became Bishop of Bangor, Hereford, Salisbury, and Winchester in success.

16. Dr. Henry Sacheverell, whose impeachment and trial had led to the fall of the Whig Government.

17. Sir Berkeley Lucy, Bart., F.R.S., married Katherine, daughter of Charles Cotton, of Beresford, Staffordshire, Isaac Walton’s friend. Lady Lucy died in 1740, leaving an only surviving daughter, Mary, who married the youngest son of the Earl of Northampton, and had two sons, who became successively seventh and eighth Earls of Northampton. Forster and others assumed that “Lady Lucy” was a Lady Lucy Stanhope, though they were not able to identify her. It was reserved for Mr. Ryland to clear up this difficulty. As he points out, Lady Lucy’s elder sister, Olive, married George Stanhope, Dean of Canterbury, and left a daughter Mary — Swift’s “Moll Stanhope,”— a beauty and a madcap, who married, in 1712, William Burnet, son of Bishop Burnet, and died in 1714. Mary, another sister of Lady Lucy’s, married Augustine Armstrong, of Great Ormond Street, and is the Mrs. Armstrong mentioned by Swift on Feb. 3, 1711, as a pretender to wit, without taste. Sir Berkeley Lucy’s mother was a daughter of the first Earl of Berkeley, and it was probably through the Berkeleys that Swift came to know the Lucys.

18. Ann Long was sister to Sir James Long, and niece to Colonel Strangeways. Once a beauty and toast of the Kit-Cat Club, she fell into narrow circumstances through imprudence and the unkindness of her friends, and retired under the name of Mrs. Smythe to Lynn, in Norfolk, where she died in 1711 (see Journal, December 25, 1711). Swift said, “She was the most beautiful person of the age she lived in; of great honour and virtue, infinite sweetness and generosity of temper, and true good sense” (Forster’s Swift, 229). In a letter of December 1711, Swift wrote that she “had every valuable quality of body and mind that could make a lady loved and esteemed.”

19. Said, I know not on what authority, to be Swift’s friend, Mrs. Barton. But Mrs. Barton is often mentioned by Swift as living in London in 1710-11.

20. One of Swift’s cousins, who was separated from her husband, a man of bad character, living abroad. Her second husband, Lancelot, a servant of Lord Sussex, lived in New Bond Street, and there Swift lodged in 1727.

21. 100,000 pounds.

22. Francis Stratford’s name appears in the Dublin University Register for 1686 immediately before Swift’s. Budgell is believed to have referred to the friendship of Swift and Stratford in the Spectator, No. 353, where he describes two schoolfellows, and says that the man of genius was buried in a country parsonage of 160 pounds a year, while his friend, with the bare abilities of a common scrivener, had gained an estate of above 100,000 pounds.

23. William Cowper, afterwards Lord Cowper.

24. Sir Simon Harcourt, afterwards Viscount Harcourt, had been counsel for Sacheverell. On Sept. 19, 1710, he was appointed Attorney-General, and on October 19 Lord Keeper of the Great Seal. In April 1713 he became Lord Chancellor.

25. This may be some relative of Dr. John Freind (see Letter 9), or, more probably, as Sir Henry Craik suggests, a misprint for Colonel Frowde, Addison’s friend (see Journal, Nov. 4, 1710). No officer named Freind or Friend is mentioned in Dalton’s English Army Lists.

26. See the Tatler, Nos. 124, 203. There are various allusions in the “Wentworth Papers” to this, the first State Lottery of 1710; and two bluecoat boys drawing out the tickets, and showing their hands to the crowd, as Swift describes them, are shown in a reproduction of a picture in a contemporary pamphlet given in Ashton’s Social Life in the Reign of Queen Anne, i. 115.

27. A few weeks later Swift wrote, “I took a fancy of resolving to grow mad for it, but now it is off.”

28. Sir John Holland, Bart., was a leading manager for the Commons in the impeachment of Sacheverell. He succeeded Sir Thomas Felton in the Comptrollership in March 1710.

29. Dryden Leach. (see Letter 7.)

30. William Pate, “bel esprit and woollen-draper,” as Swift called him, lived opposite the Royal Exchange. He was Sheriff of London in 1734, and died in 1746. Arbuthnot, previous to matriculating at Oxford, lodged with Pate, who gave him a letter of introduction to Dr. Charlett, Master of University College; and Pate is supposed to have been the woollen-draper, “remarkable for his learning and good-nature,” who is mentioned by Steele in the Guardian, No. 141.

31. James Brydges, son of Lord Chandos of Sudeley, was appointed Paymaster-General of Forces Abroad in 1707. He succeeded his father as Baron Chandos in 1714, and was created Duke of Chandos in 1729. The “princely Chandos” and his house at Canons suggested to Pope the Timon’s villa of the “Epistle to Lord Burlington.” The Duke died in 1744.

32. Charles Talbot, created Duke of Shrewsbury in 1694, was held in great esteem by William III., and was Lord Chamberlain under Anne. In 1713 he became Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and held various offices under George I., until his death in 1718. “Before he was o. age,” says Macaulay, “he was allowed to be one of the finest gentlemen and finest scholars of his time.”

33. See No. 230.

34. William Cavendish, second Duke of Devonshire (1673-1729), who was Lord Steward from 1707 to 1710 and from 1714 to 1716. Afterwards he was Lord President of the Council. Swift’s comment on Macky’s character of this Whig nobleman was, “A very poor understanding.”

35. John Annesley, fourth Earl of Anglesea, a young nobleman of great promise, had only recently been appointed joint Vice-Treasurer, Receiver-General, and Paymaster of the Forces in Ireland, and sworn of the Privy Council.

36. Nichols, followed by subsequent editors, suggested that “Durham” was a mistake for “St. David’s,” because Dr. George Bull, Bishop of St. David’s, died in 1710. But Dr. Bull died on Feb. 17, 1710, though his successor, Dr. Philip Bisse, was not appointed until November; and Swift was merely repeating a false report of the death of Lord Crewe, Bishop of Durham, which was current on the day on which he wrote. Luttrell says, on Sept. 19, “The Lord Crewe . . . died lately”; but on the 23rd he adds, “The Bishop of Durham is not dead as reported” (Brief Relation, vi. 630, 633.

37. Lady Elizabeth (“Betty”) Butler, who died unmarried in 1750.

38. Swift wrote in 1734, “Once every year I issued out an edict, commanding that all ladies of wit, sense, merit, and quality, who had an ambition to be acquainted with me, should make the first advances at their peril: which edict, you may believe, was universally obeyed.”

39. Charles, second Earl of Berkeley (1649-1710), married Elizabeth, daughter of Baptist Noel, Viscount Campden. The Earl died on Sept. 24, 1710, and his widow in 1719. Swift, it will be remembered, had been chaplain to Lord Berkeley in Ireland in 1699.

40. Lady Betty and Lady Mary Butler. (see Letter 7, notes 2 and 3.)

41. Henry Boyle, Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1702 to 1708, was Secretary of State from 1708 to 1710, when he was succeeded by St. John. In 1714 he was created Baron Carleton, and he was Lord President from 1721 until his death in 1725.

42. On Sept. 29 Swift wrote that his rooms consisted of the first floor, a dining-room and bed-chamber, at eight shillings a week. On his last visit to England, in 1726, he lodged “next door to the Royal Chair” in Bury Street. Steele lived in the same street from 1707 to 1712; and Mrs. Vanhomrigh was Swift’s next-door neighbour.

43. In Exchange Alley. Cf. Spectator, No. 454: “I went afterwards to Robin’s, and saw people who had dined with me at the fivepenny ordinary just before, give bills for the value of large estates.”

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Last updated Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 23:20