The Journal to Stella, by Jonathan Swift

Letter 62.1

London, March 21, 1712-13.

I gave your letter in this night. I dined with Lord Treasurer to-day, and find he has been at a meeting at Lord Halifax’s house, with four principal Whigs; but he is resolved to begin a speech against them when the Parliament sits; and I have begged that the Ministers may have a meeting on purpose to settle that matter, and let us be the attackers; and I believe it will come to something, for the Whigs intend to attack the Ministers: and if, instead of that, the Ministers attack the Whigs, it will be better: and farther, I believe we shall attack them on those very points they intend to attack us. The Parliament will be again prorogued for a fortnight, because of Passion Week. I forgot to tell you that Mr. Griffin has given Ppt’s brother2 a new employment, about ten pounds a year better than his former; but more remote, and consequently cheaper. I wish I could have done better, and hope oo will take what can be done in good part, and that oo brother will not dislike it. — Nite own dear . . . MD.

22. I dined to-day with Lord Steward.3 There Frank Annesley4 (a Parliament-man) told me he had heard that I had wrote to my friends in Ireland to keep firm to the Whig interest; for that Lord Treasurer would certainly declare for it after the peace. Annesley said twenty people had told him this. You must know this is what they endeavour to report of Lord Treasurer, that he designs to declare for the Whigs; and a Scotch fellow has wrote the same to Scotland; and his meeting with those lords gives occasion to such reports. Let me henceforth call Lord Treasurer Eltee, because possibly my letters may be opened. Pray remember Eltee. You know the reason; L.T. and Eltee pronounced the same way. Stay, ’tis five weeks since I had a letter from MD. I allow you six. You see why I cannot come over the beginning of April; whoever has to do with this Ministry can fix no time: but as5 hope saved, it is not Pdfr’s fault. Pay don’t blame poo Pdfr. Nite deelest logues MD.6

23. I dined to-day at Sir Thomas Hanmer’s, by an old appointment: there was the Duke of Ormond, and Lord and Lady Orkney. I left them at six. Everybody is as sour as vinegar. I endeavour to keep a firm friendship between the Duke of Ormond and Eltee. (Oo know who Eltee is, or have oo fordot already?) I have great designs, if I can compass them; but delay is rooted in Eltee’s heart; yet the fault is not altogether there, that things are no better. Here is the cursedest libel in verse come out that ever was seen, called The Ambassadress;7 it is very dull, too; it has been printed three or four different ways, and is handed about, but not sold. It abuses the Queen horribly. The Examiner has cleared me to-day of being author of his paper, and done it with great civilities to me.8 I hope it will stop people’s mouths; if not, they must go on and be hanged, I care not. ’Tis terribly rainy weather, I’ll go sleep. Nite deelest MD.

24. It rained all this day, and ruined me in coach-hire. I went to Colonel Disney, who is past danger. Then I visited Lord Keeper, who was at dinner; but I would not dine with him, but drove to Lord Treasurer (Eltee I mean), paid the coachman, and went in; but he dined abroad: so I was forced to call the coachman again, and went to Lord Bolingbroke’s. He dined abroad too; and at Lord Dupplin’s I alighted, and by good luck got a dinner there, and then went to the Latin play at Westminster School, acted by the boys; and Lord Treasurer (Eltee I mean again) honoured them with his presence. Lady Masham’s eldest son, about two years old, is ill, and I am afraid will not live: she is full of grief, and I pity and am angry with her. Four shillings to-day in coach-hire; fais, it won’t do. Our peace will certainly be ready by Thursday fortnight; but our Plenipotentiaries were to blame that it was not done already. They thought their powers were not full enough to sign the peace, unless every Prince was ready, which cannot yet be; for Spain has no Minister yet at Utrecht; but now ours have new orders. Nite MD.

25. Weather worse than ever; terrible rain all day, but I was resolved I would spend no more money. I went to an auction of pictures with Dr. Pratt, and there met the Duke of Beaufort, who promised to come with me to Court, but did not. So a coach I got, and went to Court, and did some little business there, but was forced to go home; for oo must understand I take a little physic over-night, which works me next day. Lady Orkney is my physician. It is hiera picra,9 two spoonfuls, devilish stuff! I thought to have dined with Eltee, but would not, merely to save a shilling; but I dined privately with a friend, and played at ombre, and won six shillings. Here are several people of quality lately dead of the smallpox. I have not yet seen Miss Ashe, but hear she is well. The Bishop of Clogher has bought abundance of pictures, and Dr. Pratt has got him very good pennyworths.10 I can get no walks, the weather is so bad. Is it so with oo, sollahs? . . . 11

26. Though it was shaving-day, head and beard, yet I was out early to see Lord Bolingbroke, and talk over affairs with him; and then I went to the Duke of Ormond’s, and so to Court, where the Ministers did not come, because the Parliament was prorogued till this day fortnight. We had terrible rain and hail to-day. Our Society met this day, but I left them before seven, and went to Sir A[ndrew] F[ountaine], and played at ombre with him and Sir Thomas Clarges, till ten, and then went to Sir Thomas Hanmer. His wife, the Duchess of Grafton, left us after a little while, and I stayed with him about an hour, upon some affairs, etc. Lord Bolingbroke left us at the Society before I went; for there is an express from Utrecht, but I know not yet what it contains; only I know the Ministers expect the peace will be signed in a week, which is a week before the session. Nite, MD.

27. Parnell’s poem is mightily esteemed; but poetry sells ill. I am plagued with that . . . 12 poor Harrison’s mother; you would laugh to see how cautious I am of paying her the 100 pounds I received for her son from the Treasury. I have asked every creature I know whether I may do it safely, yet durst not venture, till my Lord Keeper assured me there was no danger. I have not paid her, but will in a day or two: though I have a great mind to stay till Ppt sends me her opinion, because Ppt is a great lawyer. I dined to-day with a mixture of people at a Scotchman’s, who made the invitation to Mr. Lewis and me, and has some design upon us, which we know very well. I went afterwards to see a famous moving picture,13 and I never saw anything so pretty. You see a sea ten miles wide, a town on t’other end, and ships sailing in the sea, and discharging their cannon. You see a great sky, with moon and stars, etc. I’m a fool. Nite, dee MD.

28. I had a mighty levee to-day. I deny myself to everybody, except about half a dozen, and they were all here, and Mr. Addison was one, and I had chocolate twice, which I don’t like. Our rainy weather continues. Coach-hire goes deep. I dined with Eltee and his Saturday company, as usual, and could not get away till nine. Lord Peterborow was making long harangues, and Eltee kept me in spite. Then I went to see the Bishop of Ossory, who had engaged me in the morning; he is going to Ireland. The Bishop of Killaloe14 and Tom Leigh was with us. The latter had wholly changed his style, by seeing how the bishops behaved themselves, and he seemed to think me one of more importance than I really am. I put the ill conduct of the bishops about the First-Fruits, with relation to Eltee and me, strongly upon Killaloe, and showed how it had hindered me from getting a better thing for them, called the Crown rents, which the Queen had promised. He had nothing to say, but was humble, and desired my interest in that and some other things. This letter is half done in a week: I believe oo will have it next. Nite MD.

29. I have been employed in endeavouring to save one of your junior Fellows,15 who came over here for a dispensation from taking orders, and, in soliciting it, has run out his time, and now his fellowship is void, if the College pleases, unless the Queen suspends the execution, and gives him time to take orders. I spoke to all the Ministers yesterday about it; but they say the Queen is angry, and thought it was a trick to deceive her; and she is positive, and so the man must be ruined, for I cannot help him. I never saw him in my life; but the case was so hard, I could not forbear interposing. Your Government recommended him to the Duke of Ormond, and he thought they would grant it; and by the time it was refused, the fellowship by rigour is forfeited. I dined with Dr. Arbuthnot (one of my brothers) at his lodgings in Chelsea, and was there at chapel; and the altar put me in mind of Tisdall’s outlandish would16 at your hospital for the soldiers. I was not at Court to-day, and I hear the Queen was not at church. Perhaps the gout has seized her again. Terrible rain all day. Have oo such weather? Nite MD.

30. Morning. I was naming some time ago, to a certain person, another certain person, that was very deserving, and poor and sickly; and t’other, that first certain person, gave me a hundred pounds to give the other, which I have not yet done. The person who is to have it never saw the giver, nor expects one farthing, nor has the least knowledge or imagination of it; so I believe it will be a very agreeable surprise; for I think it is a handsome present enough. At night I dined in the City, at Pontack’s,17 with Lord Dupplin, and some others. We were treated by one Colonel Cleland,18 who has a mind to be Governor of Barbados, and is laying these long traps for me and others, to engage our interests for him. He is a true Scotchman. I paid the hundred pounds this evening, and it was an agreeable surprise to the receiver. We reckon the peace is now signed, and that we shall have it in three days. I believe it is pretty sure. Nite MD.

31. I thought to-day on Ppt when she told me she suppose[d] I was acquainted with the steward, when I was giving myself airs of being at some lord’s house. Sir Andrew Fountaine invited the Bishop of Clogher and me, and some others, to dine where he did; and he carried us to the Duke of Kent’s,19 who was gone out of town; but the steward treated us nobly, and showed us the fine pictures, etc. I have not yet seen Miss Ashe. I wait till she has been abroad, and taken the air. This evening Lady Masham, Dr. Arbuthnot, and I, were contriving a lie for to-morrow, that Mr. Noble,20 who was hanged last Saturday, was recovered by his friends, and then seized again by the sheriff, and is now in a messenger’s hands at the Black Swan in Holborn. We are all to send to our friends, to know whether they have heard anything of it, and so we hope it will spread. However, we shall do our endeavours; nothing shall be wanting on our parts, and leave the rest to fortune. Nite MD.

April 1. We had no success in our story, though I sent my man to several houses, to inquire among the footmen, without letting him into the secret; but I doubt my colleagues did not contribute as they ought. Parnell and I dined with Darteneuf21 to-day. You have heard of Darteneuf: I have told you of Darteneuf. After dinner we all went to Lord Bolingbroke’s, who had desired me to dine with him; but I would not, because I heard it was to look over a dull poem of one parson Trapp22 upon the peace. The Swedish Envoy told me to-day at Court that he was in great apprehensions about his master;23 and indeed we are afraid that prince has24 died among those Turkish dogs. I prevailed on Lord Bolingbroke to invite Mr. Addison to dine with him on Good Friday. I suppose we shall be mighty mannerly. Addison is to have a play of his acted on Friday in Easter Week: ’tis a tragedy, called Cato; I saw it unfinished some years ago.25 Did I tell you that Steele has begun a new daily paper, called the Guardian?26 they say good for nothing. I have not seen it. Nite dee MD.

2. I was this morning with Lord Bolingbroke, and he tells me a Spanish courier is just come, with the news that the King of Spain has agreed to everything that the Queen desires; and the Duke d’Ossuna has left Paris in order to his journey to Utrecht. I was prevailed on to come home with Trapp, and read his poem and correct it; but it was good for nothing. While I was thus employed, Sir Thomas Hanmer came up to my chamber, and balked me of a journey he and I intended this week to Lord Orkney’s at Cliffden;27 but he is not well, and his physician will not let him undertake such a journey. I intended to dine with Lord Treasurer; but going to see Colonel Disney, who lives with General Withers,28 I liked the General’s little dinner so well, that I stayed and took share of it, and did not go to Lord Treasurer till six, where I found Dr. Sacheverell, who told us that the bookseller had given him 100 pounds for his sermon,29 preached last Sunday, and intended to print 30,000: I believe he will be confoundedly bit, and will hardly sell above half. I have fires still, though April has begun, against my old maxim; but the weather is wet and cold. I never saw such a long run of ill weather in my life. Nite dee logues MD.

3. I was at the Queen’s chapel to-day, but she was not there. Mr. St. John, Lord Bolingbroke’s brother, came this day at noon with an express from Utrecht, that the peace is signed by all the Ministers there, but those of the Emperor, who will likewise sign in a few days; so that now the great work is in effect done, and I believe it will appear a most excellent peace for Europe, particularly for England. Addison and I, and some others, dined with Lord Bolingbroke, and sat with him till twelve. We were very civil, but yet when we grew warm, we talked in a friendly manner of party. Addison raised his objections, and Lord Bolingbroke answered them with great complaisance. Addison began Lord Somers’s health, which went about; but I bid him not name Lord Wharton’s, for I would not pledge it; and I told Lord Bolingbroke frankly that Addison loved Lord Wharton as little as I did: so we laughed, etc. Well, but you are glad of the peace, you Ppt the Trimmer, are not you? As for DD I don’t doubt her. Why, now, if I did not think Ppt had been a violent Tory, and DD the greater Whig of the two! ’Tis late. Nite MD.

4. This Passion Week, people are so demure, especially this last day, that I told Dilly, who called here, that I would dine with him, and so I did, faith; and had a small shoulder of mutton of my own bespeaking. It rained all day. I came home at seven, and have never stirred out, but have been reading Sacheverell’s long dull sermon, which he sent me. It is the first sermon since his suspension is expired; but not a word in it upon the occasion, except two or three remote hints. The Bishop of Clogher has been sadly bit by Tom Ashe, who sent him a pun, which the Bishop had made, and designed to send to him, but delayed it; and Lord Pembroke and I made Sir Andrew Fountaine write it to Tom. I believe I told you of it in my last; it succeeded right, and the Bishop was wondering to Lord Pembroke how he and his brother could hit on the same thing. I’ll go to bed soon, for I must be at church by eight to-morrow, Easter Day. Nite dee MD.

5. Warburton30 wrote to me two letters about a living of one Foulkes, who is lately dead in the county of Meath. My answer is, that before I received the first letter, General Gorges31 had recommended a friend of his to the Duke of Ormond, which was the first time I heard of its vacancy, and it was the Provost told me of it. I believe verily that Foulkes was not dead when Gorges recommended the other: for Warburton’s last letter said that Foulkes was dead the day before the date. — This has prevented me from serving Warburton, as I would have done, if I had received early notice enough. Pray say or write this to Warburton, to justify me to him. I was at church at eight this morning, and dressed and shaved after I came back, but was too late at Court; and Lord Abingdon32 was like to have snapped me for dinner, and I believe will fall out with me for refusing him; but I hate dining with them, and I dined with a private friend, and took two or three good walks; for it was a very fine day, the first we have had a great while. Remember, was Easter Day a fine day with you? I have sat with Lady Worsley till now. Nite dee MD.

6. I was this morning at ten at the rehearsal of Mr. Addison’s play, called Cato, which is to be acted on Friday. There were not above half a score of us to see it. We stood on the stage, and it was foolish enough to see the actors prompted every moment, and the poet directing them; and the drab that acts Cato’s daughter,33 out in the midst of a passionate part, and then calling out, “What’s next?” The Bishop of Clogher was there too; but he stood privately in a gallery. I went to dine with Lord Treasurer, but he was gone to Wimbledon, his daughter Caermarthen’s34 country seat, seven miles off. So I went back, and dined privately with Mr. Addison, whom I had left to go to Lord Treasurer. I keep fires yet; I am very extravagant. I sat this evening with Sir A. Fountaine, and we amused ourselves with making IFS for Dilly. It is rainy weather again; nevle saw ze rike.35 This letter shall go to-morrow; remember, ung oomens, it is seven weeks since oor last, and I allow oo but five weeks; but oo have been galloping into the country to Swanton’s.36 O pray tell Swanton I had his letter, but cannot contrive how to serve him. If a Governor were to go over, I would recommend him as far as lay in my power, but I can do no more: and you know all employments in Ireland, at least almost all, are engaged in reversions. If I were on the spot, and had credit with a Lord Lieutenant, I would very heartily recommend him; but employments here are no more in my power than the monarchy itself. Nite, dee MD.

7. Morning. I have had a visitor here, that has taken up my time. I have not been abroad, oo may be sure; so I can say nothing to-day, but that I rove MD bettle zan ever, if possibbere. I will put this in the post-office; so I say no more. I write by this post to the Dean, but it is not above two lines; and one enclosed to you, but that enclosed to you is not above three lines; and then one enclosed to the Dean, which he must not have but upon condition of burning it immediately after reading, and that before your eyes; for there are some things in it I would not have liable to accident. You shall only know in general that it is an account of what I have done to serve him in his pretensions on these vacancies, etc. But he must not know that you know so much.37 Does this perplex you? Hat care I? But rove Pdfr, saucy Pdfr. Farewell, deelest MD MD MD FW FW FW, . . . ME, MD Lele.

1 Addressed to “Mrs. Dingley,” etc. Endorsed “Apr. 13.”

2 Esther Johnson’s brother-in-law, Filby (see Letter 55, note 19).

3 Earl Poulett (see Letter 20, note 7).

4 Francis Annesley, M.P. for Westbury. His colleague in the representation of that borough was Henry Bertie (third son of James, Earl of Abingdon), who married Earl Poulett’s sister-in-law, Anthony Henley’s widow (see Letter 12, note 24).

5 “Has” (MS.).

6 A dozen words are erased. The reading is Forster’s, and appears to be correct.

7 The British Ambassadress’s Speech to the French King. The printer was sent to the pillory and fined.

8 The Examiner (vol. iii. No. 35) said that Swift —“a gentleman of the first character for learning, good sense, wit, and more virtues than even they can set off and illustrate”— was not the author of that periodical. “Out of pure regard to justice, I strip myself of all the honour that lucky untruth did this paper.”

9 A purgative electuary.

10 Bargains.

11 Three or four words illegible. Forster reads, “Nite, nite, own MD.”

12 Forster reads, “devil’s brood “; probably the second word is “bawd:” Cf. Letter 60, note 14 and Feb. 18, 1712-13.

13 Several “moving pictures,” mostly brought from Germany, were on view in London at about this time. See Tatler, No. 129, and Gay’s Fables, No. 6.

14 See Letter 6, note 45.

15 “Mr. Charles Grattan, afterwards master of a free school at Enniskillen” (Scott).

16 So given in the MS. Forster suggests that it is a mistake for “wood.”

17 See Letter 28, note 11.

18 It is probable that this is Pope’s friend, William Cleland, who died in 1741, aged sixty-seven. William Cleland served in Spain under Lord Rivers, but was not a Colonel, though he seems to have been a Major. Afterwards he was a Commissioner of Customs in Scotland and a Commissioner of the Land Tax in England. Colonel Cleland cannot, as Scott suggested (Swift’s Works, iii. 142, xviii. 137-39, xix. 8), have been the son of the Colonel William Cleland, Covenanter and poet, who died in 1689, at the age of twenty-eight. William Cleland allowed his name to be appended to a letter of Pope’s prefixed to the Dunciad, and Pope afterwards described him as “a person of universal learning, and an enlarged conversation; no man had a warmer heart for his friends, or a sincerer attachment to the constitution of his country.” Swift, referring to this letter, wrote to Pope, “Pray tell me whether your Colonel (sic) Cleland be a tall Scots gentleman, walking perpetually in the Mall, and fastening upon everybody he meets, as he has often done upon me?” (Pope’s Works, iv. 48, vii. 214).

19 Henry Grey, Lord Lucas (died 1741), who became twelfth Earl of Kent in 1702, was made Duke of Kent in 1710. He held various offices under George I. and George II.

20 Forster found, among the MSS. at Narford, the “lie” thus prepared for All Fools’ Day. Richard Noble, an attorney, ran away with a lady who was the wife of John Sayer and daughter of Admiral Nevill; and he killed Sayer on the discovery of the intrigue. The incident was made use of by Hogarth in the fifth scene of “Marriage a la Mode.”

21 See Letter 5, note 3.

22 See Letter 13, note 10.

23 Charles XII.

24 “Is” (MS.).

25 Cibber says that he saw four acts of Cato in 1703; the fifth act, according to Steele, was written in less than a week. The famous first performance was on April 14, 1713.

26 The first number of the Guardian appeared on March 12, and the paper was published daily until Oct. 1, 1713. Pope, Addison, and Berkeley were among the contributors.

27 See Letter 52, note 6.

28 See Letter 39, note 16.

29 The first preached after the period of his suspension by the House of Lords. It was delivered at St. Saviour’s, Southwark, before his installation at St. Andrew’s, and was published with the title, “The Christian’s Triumph, or the Duty of praying for our Enemies”.

30 Swift’s curate at Laracor.

31 Richard Gorges (died 1728) was eldest son and heir of Dr. Robert Gorges, of Kilbrue, County Meath, by Jane, daughter of Sir Arthur Loftus, and sister of Adam, Viscount Lisburne. He was appointed Adjutant-General of the Forces in Ireland 1697, Colonel of a new Regiment of Foot 1703, Major-General of the Forces 1707, and Lieutenant-General 1710 (Dalton’s Army Lists, iii. 75).

32 See Letter 60, note 10.

33 Mrs. Oldfield.

34 See Letter 56, note 6.

35 Never saw the like.

36 See Letter 53, note 10.

37 The remainder has been partially obliterated.

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