The Journal to Stella, by Jonathan Swift

Letter 5.

London, Sept. 30, 1710.

Han’t I brought myself into a fine praemunire,1 to begin writing letters in whole sheets? and now I dare not leave it off. I cannot tell whether you like these journal letters: I believe they would be dull to me to read them over; but, perhaps, little MD is pleased to know how Presto passes his time in her absence. I always begin my last the same day I ended my former. I told you where I dined to-day at a tavern with Stratford: Lewis,2 who is a great favourite of Harley’s, was to have been with us; but he was hurried to Hampton Court, and sent his excuse; and that next Wednesday he would introduce me to Harley. ’Tis good to see what a lamentable confession the Whigs all make me of my ill usage: but I mind them not. I am already represented to Harley as a discontented person, that was used ill for not being Whig enough; and I hope for good usage from him. The Tories drily tell me, I may make my fortune, if I please; but I do not understand them — or rather, I do understand them.

Oct. 1. To-day I dined at Molesworth’s, the Florence Envoy; and sat this evening with my friend Darteneuf,3 whom you have heard me talk of; the greatest punner of this town next myself. Have you smoked the Tatler that I writ?4 It is much liked here, and I think it a pure5 one. To-morrow I go with Delaval,6 the Portugal Envoy, to dine with Lord Halifax near Hampton Court.7 Your Manley’s brother, a Parliament-man here, has gotten an employment;8 and I am informed uses much interest to preserve his brother: and, to-day, I spoke to the elder Frankland to engage his father (Postmaster here); and I hope he will be safe, although he is cruelly hated by all the Tories of Ireland. I have almost finished my lampoon, and will print it for revenge on a certain great person.9 It has cost me but three shillings in meat and drink since I came here, as thin as the town is. I laugh to see myself so disengaged in these revolutions. Well, I must leave off, and go write to Sir John Stanley,10 to desire him to engage Lady Hyde as my mistress to engage Lord Hyde11 in favour of Mr. Pratt.12

2. Lord Halifax was at Hampton Court at his lodgings, and I dined with him there with Methuen,13 and Delaval, and the late Attorney-General.14 I went to the Drawing-room before dinner (for the Queen was at Hampton Court), and expected to see nobody; but I met acquaintance enough. I walked in the gardens, saw the cartoons of Raphael, and other things; and with great difficulty got from Lord Halifax, who would have kept me to-morrow to show me his house and park, and improvements. We left Hampton Court at sunset, and got here in a chariot and two horses time enough by starlight. That’s something charms me mightily about London; that you go dine a dozen miles off in October, stay all day, and return so quickly: you cannot do anything like this in Dublin.15 I writ a second penny post letter to your mother, and hear nothing of her. Did I tell you that Earl Berkeley died last Sunday was se’nnight, at Berkeley Castle, of a dropsy? Lord Halifax began a health to me to-day; it was the Resurrection of the Whigs, which I refused unless he would add their Reformation too and I told him he was the only Whig in England I loved, or had any good opinion of.

3. This morning Stella’s sister16 came to me with a letter from her mother, who is at Sheen; but will soon be in town, and will call to see me: she gave me a bottle of palsy water,17 a small one, and desired I would send it you by the first convenience, as I will; and she promises a quart bottle of the same: your sister looked very well, and seems a good modest sort of girl. I went then to Mr. Lewis, first secretary to Lord Dartmouth,18 and favourite to Mr. Harley, who is to introduce me to-morrow morning. Lewis had with him one Mr. Dyot,19 a Justice of Peace, worth twenty thousand pounds, a Commissioner of the Stamp Office, and married to a sister of Sir Philip Meadows,20 Envoy to the Emperor. I tell you this, because it is odds but this Mr. Dyot will be hanged; for he is discovered to have counterfeited stamped paper, in which he was a Commissioner; and, with his accomplices, has cheated the Queen of a hundred thousand pounds. You will hear of it before this come to you, but may be not so particularly; and it is a very odd accident in such a man. Smoke Presto writing news to MD. I dined to-day with Lord Mountjoy at Kensington, and walked from thence this evening to town like an emperor. Remember that yesterday, October 2, was a cruel hard frost, with ice; and six days ago I was dying with heat. As thin as the town is, I have more dinners than ever; and am asked this month by some people, without being able to come for pre-engagements. Well, but I should write plainer, when I consider Stella cannot read,21 and Dingley is not so skilful at my ugly hand. I had tonight a letter from Mr. Pratt, who tells me Joe will have his money when there are trustees appointed by the Lord Lieutenant for receiving and disposing the linen fund; and whenever those trustees are appointed, I will solicit whoever is Lord Lieutenant, and am in no fear of succeeding. So pray tell or write him word, and bid him not be cast down; for Ned Southwell22 and Mr. Addison both think Pratt in the right. Don’t lose your money at Manley’s to-night, sirrahs.

4. After I had put out my candle last night, my landlady came into my room, with a servant of Lord Halifax, to desire I would go dine with him at his house near Hampton Court; but I sent him word, I had business of great importance that hindered me, etc. And to-day I was brought privately to Mr. Harley, who received me with the greatest respect and kindness imaginable: he has appointed me an hour on Saturday at four, afternoon, when I will open my business to him; which expression I would not use if I were a woman. I know you smoked it; but I did not till I writ it. I dined to-day at Mr. Delaval’s, the Envoy for Portugal, with Nic Rowe23 the poet, and other friends; and I gave my lampoon to be printed. I have more mischief in my heart; and I think it shall go round with them all, as this hits, and I can find hints. I am certain I answered your 2d letter, and yet I do not find it here. I suppose it was in my 4th: and why N. 2d, 3d; is it not enough to say, as I do, 1, 2, 3? etc. I am going to work at another Tatler:24 I’ll be far enough but I say the same thing over two or three times, just as I do when I am talking to little MD; but what care I? they can read it as easily as I can write it: I think I have brought these lines pretty straight again. I fear it will be long before I finish two sides at this rate. Pray, dear MD, when I occasionally give you any little commission mixed with my letters, don’t forget it, as that to Morgan and Joe, etc., for I write just as I can remember, otherwise I would put them all together. I was to visit Mr. Sterne to-day, and give him your commission about handkerchiefs: that of chocolate I will do myself, and send it him when he goes, and you’ll pay me when the GIVER’S BREAD,25 etc. To-night I will read a pamphlet, to amuse myself. God preserve your dear healths!

5. This morning Delaval came to see me, and we went together to Kneller’s,26 who was not in town. In the way we met the electors for Parliament-men:27 and the rabble came about our coach, crying, “A Colt, a Stanhope,” etc. We were afraid of a dead cat, or our glasses broken, and so were always of their side. I dined again at Delaval’s; and in the evening, at the Coffee-house, heard Sir Andrew Fountaine28 was come to town. This has been but an insipid sort of day, and I have nothing to remark upon it worth threepence: I hope MD had a better, with the Dean, the Bishop, or Mrs. Walls.29 Why, the reason you lost four and eightpence last night but one at Manley’s was, because you played bad games: I took notice of six that you had ten to one against you: Would any but a mad lady go out twice upon Manilio; Basto, and two small diamonds?30 Then in that game of spades, you blundered when you had ten-ace; I never saw the like of you: and now you are in a huff because I tell you this. Well, here’s two and eightpence halfpenny towards your loss.

6. Sir Andrew Fountaine came this morning, and caught me writing in bed. I went into the city with him; and we dined at the Chop-house with Will Pate,31 the learned woollen-draper: then we sauntered at China-shops32 and booksellers; went to the tavern, drank two pints of white wine, and never parted till ten: and now I am come home, and must copy out some papers I intend for Mr. Harley, whom I am to see, as I told you, to-morrow afternoon; so that this night I shall say little to MD, but that I heartily wish myself with them, and will come as soon as I either fail, or compass my business. We now hear daily of elections; and, in a list I saw yesterday of about twenty, there are seven or eight more Tories than in the last Parliament; so that I believe they need not fear a majority, with the help of those who will vote as the Court pleases. But I have been told that Mr. Harley himself would not let the Tories be too numerous, for fear they should be insolent, and kick against him; and for that reason they have kept several Whigs in employments, who expected to be turned out every day; as Sir John Holland the Comptroller, and many others. And so get you gone to your cards, and your claret and orange, at the Dean’s; and I’ll go write.

7. I wonder when this letter will be finished: it must go by Tuesday, that’s certain; and if I have one from MD before, I will not answer it, that’s as certain too. ’Tis now morning, and I did not finish my papers for Mr. Harley last night; for you must understand Presto was sleepy, and made blunders and blots. Very pretty that I must be writing to young women in a morning fresh and fasting, faith. Well, good-morrow to you; and so I go to business, and lay aside this paper till night, sirrahs. — At night. Jack How33 told Harley that if there were a lower place in hell than another, it was reserved for his porter, who tells lies so gravely, and with so civil a manner. This porter I have had to deal with, going this evening at four to visit Mr. Harley, by his own appointment. But the fellow told me no lie, though I suspected every word he said. He told me his master was just gone to dinner, with much company, and desired I would come an hour hence: which I did, expecting to hear Mr. Harley was gone out; but they had just done dinner. Mr. Harley came out to me, brought me in, and presented to me his son-in-law Lord Doblane34 (or some such name) and his own son,35 and, among others, Will Penn36 the Quaker: we sat two hours drinking as good wine as you do; and two hours more he and I alone; where he heard me tell my business; entered into it with all kindness; asked for my powers, and read them; and read likewise a memorial37 I had drawn up, and put it in his pocket to show the Queen; told me the measures he would take; and, in short, said everything I could wish: told me, he must bring Mr. St. John38 (Secretary of State) and me acquainted; and spoke so many things of personal kindness and esteem for me, that I am inclined half to believe what some friends have told me, that he would do everything to bring me over. He has desired to dine with me (what a comical mistake was that!). I mean he has desired me to dine with him on Tuesday; and after four hours being with him, set me down at St. James’s Coffee-house in a hackney-coach. All this is odd and comical, if you consider him and me. He knew my Christian name very well. I could not forbear saying thus much upon this matter, although you will think it tedious. But I’ll tell you; you must know, ’tis fatal39 to me to be a scoundrel and a prince the same day: for, being to see him at four, I could not engage myself to dine at any friend’s; so I went to Tooke,40 to give him a ballad, and dine with him; but he was not at home: so I was forced to go to a blind41 chop-house, and dine for tenpence upon gill-ale,42 bad broth, and three chops of mutton; and then go reeking from thence to the First Minister of State. And now I am going in charity to send Steele a Tatler, who is very low of late. I think I am civiller than I used to be; and have not used the expression of “you in Ireland” and “we in England” as I did when I was here before, to your great indignation. — They may talk of the you know what;43 but, gad, if it had not been for that, I should never have been able to get the access I have had; and if that helps me to succeed, then that same thing will be serviceable to the Church. But how far we must depend upon new friends, I have learnt by long practice, though I think among great Ministers, they are just as good as old ones. And so I think this important day has made a great hole in this side of the paper; and the fiddle-faddles of tomorrow and Monday will make up the rest; and, besides, I shall see Harley on Tuesday before this letter goes.

8. I must tell you a great piece of refinement44 of Harley. He charged me to come to him often: I told him I was loth to trouble him in so much business as he had, and desired I might have leave to come at his levee; which he immediately refused, and said, that was not a place for friends to come to. ’Tis now but morning; and I have got a foolish trick, I must say something to MD when I wake, and wish them a good-morrow; for this is not a shaving-day, Sunday, so I have time enough: but get you gone, you rogues, I must go write: Yes, ’twill vex me to the blood if any of these long letters should miscarry: if they do, I will shrink to half-sheets again; but then what will you do to make up the journal? there will be ten days of Presto’s life lost; and that will be a sad thing, faith and troth. — At night. I was at a loss today for a dinner, unless I would have gone a great way, so I dined with some friends that board hereabout,45 as a spunger;46 and this evening Sir Andrew Fountaine would needs have me go to the tavern; where, for two bottles of wine, Portugal and Florence, among three of us, we had sixteen shillings to pay; but if ever he catches me so again, I’ll spend as many pounds: and therefore I have it among my extraordinaries but we had a neck of mutton dressed a la Maintenon, that the dog could not eat: and it is now twelve o’clock, and I must go sleep. I hope this letter will go before I have MD’s third. Do you believe me? and yet, faith, I long for MD’s third too and yet I would have it to say, that I writ five for two. I am not fond at all of St. James’s Coffee-house,47 as I used to be. I hope it will mend in winter; but now they are all out of town at elections, or not come from their country houses. Yesterday I was going with Dr. Garth48 to dine with Charles Main,49 near the Tower, who has an employment there: he is of Ireland; the Bishop of Clogher knows him well: an honest, good-natured fellow, a thorough hearty laugher, mightily beloved by the men of wit: his mistress is never above a cook-maid. And so, good-night, etc.

9. I dined to-day at Sir John Stanley’s; my Lady Stanley50 is one of my favourites: I have as many here as the Bishop of Killala has in Ireland. I am thinking what scurvy company I shall be to MD when I come back: they know everything of me already: I will tell you no more, or I shall have nothing to say, no story to tell, nor any kind of thing. I was very uneasy last night with ugly, nasty, filthy wine, that turned sour on my stomach. I must go to the tavern: oh, but I told you that before. To-morrow I dine at Harley’s, and will finish this letter at my return; but I can write no more now, because of the Archbishop: faith, ’tis true; for I am going now to write to him an account of what I have done in the business with Harley:51 and, faith, young women, I’ll tell you what you must count upon, that I never will write one word on the third side in these long letters.

10. Poor MD’s letter was lying so huddled up among papers, I could not find it: I mean poor Presto’s letter. Well, I dined with Mr. Harley to-day, and hope some things will be done; but I must say no more: and this letter must be sent to the post-house, and not by the bellman.52 I am to dine again there on Sunday next; I hope to some good issue. And so now, soon as ever I can in bed, I must begin my 6th to MD as gravely as if I had not written a word this month: fine doings, faith! Methinks I don’t write as I should, because I am not in bed: see the ugly wide lines. God Almighty ever bless you, etc.

Faith, this is a whole treatise; I’ll go reckon the lines on the other sides. I’ve reckoned them.53

1 Penalty.

2 Erasmus Lewis, Under Secretary of State under Lord Dartmouth, was a great friend of Swift, Pope, and Arbuthnot. He had previously been one of Harley’s secretaries, and in his Horace Imitated, Book I. Ep. vii., Swift describes him as “a cunning shaver, and very much in Harley’s favour.” Arbuthnot says that under George I. Lewis kept company with the greatest, and was “principal governor” in many families. Lewis was a witness to Arbuthnot’s will. Pope and Esther Vanhomrigh both left him money to buy rings. Lewis died in 1754, aged eighty-three.

3 Charles Darteneuf, or Dartiquenave, was a celebrated epicure, who is said to have been a son of Charles II. Lord Lyttleton, in his Dialogues of the Dead, recalling Pope’s allusions to him, selects him to represent modern bon vivants in the dialogue between Darteneuf and Apicius. See Tatler 252. Darteneuf was Paymaster of the Royal Works and a member of the Kit-Cat Club. He died in 1737.

4 No. 230.

5 Good, excellent.

6 Captain George Delaval, appointed Envoy Extraordinary to the King of Portugal in Oct, 1710, was with Lord Peterborough in Spain in 1706. In May 1707 he went to Lisbon with despatches for the Courts of Spain and Portugal, from whence he was to proceed as Envoy to the Emperor of Morocco, with rich presents (Luttrell, vi. 52, 174, 192).

7 Charles Montagu, Earl of Halifax, as Ranger of Bushey Park and Hampton Court, held many offices under William III., and was First Lord of the Treasury under George I., until his death in 1715. He was great as financier and as debater, and he was a liberal patron of literature.

8 John Manley, M.P. for Bossiney, was made Surveyor-General on Sept. 30, 1710, and died in 1714. In 1706 he fought a duel with another Cornish member (Luttrell, vi. 11, 535, 635). He seems to be the cousin whom Mrs. De la Riviere Manley accuses of having drawn her into a false marriage. For Isaac Manley and Sir Thomas Frankland, see Letter 3, notes 3 and 4.

9 The Earl of Godolphin (see Letter 2, note 3).

10 Sir John Stanley, Bart., of Northend, Commissioner of Customs, whom Swift knew through his intimate friends the Pendarves. His wife, Anne, daughter of Bernard Granville, and niece of John, Earl of Bath, was aunt to Mary Granville, afterwards Mrs. Delany, who lived with the Stanleys at their house in Whitehall.

11 Henry, Viscount Hyde, eldest son of Laurence Hyde, Earl of Rochester, succeeded his father in the earldom in 1711, and afterwards became Earl of Clarendon. His wife, Jane, younger daughter of Sir William Leveson Gower — who married a daughter of John Granville, Earl of Bath — was a beauty, and the mother of two beauties — Jane, afterwards Countess of Essex (see journal, Jan. 29, 1712), and Catherine, afterwards Countess of Queensberry. Lady Hyde was complimented by Prior, Pope, and her kinsman, Lord Lansdowne, and is said to have been more handsome than either of her daughters. She died in 1725; her husband in 1753. Lord Hyde became joint Vice-Treasurer for Ireland in 1710; hence his interest with respect to Pratt’s appointment.

12 See Letter 3, note 10.

13 Sir Paul Methuen (1672-1757), son of John Methuen, diplomatist and Lord Chancellor of Ireland. Methuen was Envoy and Ambassador to Portugal from 1697 to 1708, and was M.P. for Devizes from 1708 to 1710, and a Lord of the Admiralty. Under George I. he was Ambassador to Spain, and held other offices. Gay speaks of “Methuen of sincerest mind, as Arthur grave, as soft as womankind,” and Steele dedicated to him the seventh volume of the Spectator. In his Notes on Macky’s Characters, Swift calls him “a profligate rogue . . . without abilities of any kind.”

14 Sir James Montagu was Attorney-General from 1708 to Sept. 1710, when he resigned, and was succeeded by Sir Simon Harcourt. Under George I. Montagu was raised to the Bench, and a few months before his death in 1723 became Chief Baron of the Exchequer.

15 The turnpike system had spread rapidly since the Restoration, and had already effected an important reform in the English roads. Turnpike roads were as yet unknown in Ireland.

16 Ann Johnson, who afterwards married a baker named Filby.

17 An infusion of which the main ingredient was cowslip or palsy-wort.

18 William Legge, first Earl of Dartmouth (1672-1750), was St. John’s fellow Secretary of State. Lord Dartmouth seems to have been a plain, unpretending man, whose ignorance of French helped to throw important matters into St. John’s hands.

19 Richard Dyot was tried at the Old Bailey, on Jan. 13, 1710-11, for counterfeiting stamps, and was acquitted, the crime being found not felony, but only breach of trust. Two days afterwards a bill of indictment was found against him for high misdemeanour.

20 Sir Philip Meadows (1626-1718) was knighted in 1658, and was Ambassador to Sweden under Cromwell. His son Philip (died 1757) was knighted in 1700, and was sent on a special mission to the Emperor in 1707. A great-grandson of the elder Sir Philip was created Earl Manvers in 1806.

21 Her eyes were weak.

22 The son of the Sir Robert Southwell to whom Temple had offered Swift as a “servant” on his going as Secretary of State to Ireland in 1690. Edward Southwell (1671-1730) succeeded his father as Secretary of State for Ireland in 1702, and in 1708 was appointed Clerk to the Privy Council of Great Britain. Southwell held various offices under George I. and George II., and amassed a considerable fortune.

23 Nicholas Rowe (1674-1718), dramatist and poet laureate, and one of the first editors of Shakespeare, was at this time under-secretary to the Duke of Queensberry, Secretary of State for Scotland.

24 No. 238 contains Swift’s “Description of a Shower in London.”

25 This seems to be a vague allusion to the text, “Cast thy bread upon the waters,” etc.

26 Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723), the fashionable portrait-painter of the period.

27 At the General election of 1710 the contest at Westminster excited much interest. The number of constituents was large, and the franchise low, all householders who paid scot and lot being voters. There were, too, many houses of great Whig merchants, and a number of French Protestants. But the High Church candidates, Cross and Medlicott, were returned by large majorities, though the Whigs had chosen popular candidates — General Stanhope, fresh from his successes in Spain, and Sir Henry Dutton Colt, a Herefordshire gentleman.

28 Sir Andrew Fountaine (1676-1753), a distinguished antiquary, of an old Norfolk family, was knighted by William III. in 1699, and inherited his father’s estate at Norfolk in 1706. He succeeded Sir Isaac Newton as Warden of the Mint in 1727, and was Vice-Chamberlain to Queen Caroline. He became acquainted with Swift in Ireland in 1707, when he went over as Usher of the Black Rod in Lord Pembroke’s Court.

29 See Letter 2, note 17. The Bishop was probably Dr. Moreton, Bishop of Meath (see Journal, July 1, 1712).

30 The game of ombre — of Spanish origin — is described in Pope’s Rape of the Lock. See also the Compleat Gamester, 1721, and Notes and Queries, April 8, 1871. The ace of spades, or Spadille, was always the first trump; the ace of clubs (Basto) always the third. The second trump was the worst card of the trump suit in its natural order, i.e. the seven in red and the deuce in black suits, and was called Manille. If either of the red suits was trumps, the ace of the suit was fourth trump (Punto). Spadille, Manille, and Basto were “matadores,” or murderers, as they never gave suit.

31 See Letter 3, note 30,

32 In the Spectator, No. 337, there is a complaint from “one of the top China women about town,” of the trouble given by ladies who turn over all the goods in a shop without buying anything. Sometimes they cheapened tea, at others examined screens or tea-dishes.

33 The Right Hon. John Grubham Howe, M.P. for Gloucestershire, an extreme Tory, had recently been appointed Paymaster of the Forces. He is mentioned satirically as a patriot in sec. 9 of The Tale of a Tub.

34 George Henry Hay, Viscount Dupplin, eldest son of the sixth Earl of Kinnoull, was made a Teller of the Exchequer in August, and a peer of Great Britain in December 1711, with the title of Baron Hay. He married, in 1709, Abigail, Harley’s younger daughter, and he succeeded his father in the earldom of Kinnoull in 1719.

35 Edward Harley, afterwards Lord Harley, who succeeded his father as Earl of Oxford in 1724. He married Lady Henrietta Cavendish Holles, daughter of the Duke of Newcastle, but died without male issue in 1741. His interest in literature caused him to form the collection known as the Harleian Miscellany.

36 William Penn (1644-1718), the celebrated founder of Pennsylvania. Swift says that he “spoke very agreeably, and with much spirit.”

37 This “Memorial to Mr. Harley about the First-Fruits” is dated Oct. 7, 1710.

38 Henry St. John, created Viscount Bolingbroke in July 1712. In the quarrel between Oxford and Bolingbroke in 1714, Swift’s sympathies were with Oxford.

39 I.e., it is decreed by fate. So Tillotson says, “These things are fatal and necessary.”

40 See Letter 3, note 8.

41 Obscure. Hooker speaks of a “blind or secret corner.”

42 Ale served in a gill measure.

43 Scott suggests that the allusion is to The Tale of a Tub.

44 An extravagant compliment.

45 See Letter 8.

46 L’Estrange speaks of “trencher-flies and spungers.”

47 See Letter 1, note 10.

48 Samuel Garth, physician and member of the Kit-Cat Club, was knighted in 1714. He is best known by his satirical poem, The Dispensary, 1699.

49 Gay speaks of “Wondering Main, so fat, with laughing eyes” (Mr. Pope’s Welcome from Greece, st. xvii.).

50 See Letter 5, note 10.

51 See the letter of Oct. 10, 1710, to Archbishop King.

52 See Letter 1.

53 Seventy-three lines in folio upon one page, and in a very small hand.” (Deane Swift).

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:00