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mounted in the end; and my advancement followed upon it sooner than I expected; another would say, much sooner than I deserved, which I should easily agree to, were it not, that I flatter myself there is some merit in the behaviour I kept, when the hopes and temptation of being preferred glittered in my eyes. All the world knows upon what foot Mr Watkins* thought himself with my Lord Strafford;t and though all the world does not know what I am going to tell you; yet Mr Watkins does on one hand, and my Lord Strafford on the other, that all the credit I had with either, was heartily, and without reserve, employed to make matters easy; and to cultivate in my humble station, that good understanding, which our court desired should be between them. I had my reasons for this, and, such perhaps as flowed from an inclination to promote my own interest. I knew as well as any man living almost, how much Mr Watkins was valued by my Lord Bolingbroke and others. I foresaw the danger of standing in competition with him, if that case should happen: and, to tell you the truth, I did not think myself ripe in regard of interest at home, or of any service I could pretend to have done abroad to succeed Mr Watkins in so good an employment. Above all, I protest to you, Sir, that if I know my own heart, I am capable of suffering the utmost extremities rather than violate the infinite duty and gratitude I owe my Lord Bolingbroke, by doing an ill office to a person honoured with such particular marks of his lordship's esteem. I
might add to this, that I really loved Mr Watkins;
* Henry Watkins, Esq. late secretary.—H. # Thomas, Earl of Strafford, ambassador-extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the States General.—H.
and I beg you, Sir, to urge him to the proof, whether
my whole behaviour was not such, as might justify the warmest professions I can make of that kind. After all this, how comes it, that he, either in raillery or good earnest, accuses me of having any resentment against him By word of mouth when he left us, by letters so long as he allowed me to correspond with him, and by all the people that ever went from Utrecht to Flanders, have I importuned him for the continuance of his friendship ; and, perhaps, even in his absence (if he pleases to reflect) given him a very essential proof of mine. If any body has thought it worth their while to sow division between us, I wish he thought it worth his to let me into the secret; and nothing, he may be sure, shall be wanting on my side to defeat a stratagem, which, for aught I know, may end in the starving of his humble servant. o Which leads me naturally to the second thing proposed to be spoken to in my text; namely, my circumstances: for between you and me, Sir, I apprehend the treasury will issue out no money on my account, till they know what is due on that of Mr Watkins.” And if he has any pretensions, I have none, that I know of, but what are as precarious to me, as a stiver I gave away but now to a beggar, was to him. Is it possible that Mr Watkins can demand the pay of a commission, which
* From various passages in Swift's Journal, it appears that the government suffered Harrison, though in a post of such confidence, to be reduced to great distress for want of regular payment of his appointments; a specimen of inhumanity and im. policy not peculiar to the reign of Queen Anne, for it long continued to embarrass the operations of our Corps Diplomatique.
is, by the queen herself, actually superseded, during his absence from his post? Or is it not as plainly said in mine, that I am her majesty's secretary during such his absence, as in his that he was so, while he resided here 2 If I must be crushed, Sir, for God's sake let some reason be alleged for it; or else an ingenuous confession made, that stat pro ratione voluntas. If you can fix Mr Watkins to any final determination on this subject, you will do me a singular service, and I shall take my measures accordingly. Though I know your power, I cannot help distrusting it on this occasion. Before I conclude, give me leave to put you in mind of beating my thanks into my Lord Bolingbroke's ears, for his late generosity, to the end that his lordship may be wearied out of the evil habit he has got, of heaping more obligations and goodness on those he is leased to favour, than their shoulders are able to ear. For my own part, I have so often thanked his lordship, that I have now no more ways left to turn my thoughts; and beg if you have any right good compliments neat and fine by you, that you will advance the necessary, and place them, with the other helps you have given me, to my account; which I question not but I shall be able to acknowledge at one and the same time, ad Graecas calendas. In the meantime, I shall do my best to give you just such hints as you desire by the next post; though . I cannot but think there are some letters in the of fice, which would serve your turn a good deal better than anything I can tell you about the people at the Hague. Your access there abundantly prevents my attempting to write you any news from hence. And I assure you, Sir, you can write me none from England (however uneasy my circum
stances are), which will be so agreeable as that of your long-expected advancement. It grieves me to the soul, that a person, who has been so instrumental to the raising of me from obscurity and distress, should not be yet set above the power of fortune, and the malice of those enemies your real merit has created. I beg, dear Sir, the continuance of your kind care and inspection over me; and that you would in all respects command, reprove, or instruct me as a father; for I protest to you, Sir, I do, and ever shall, honour and regard you with the affection of a son.
TO THE DUCHESS OF ORMOND.
Dec. 20, 1712. MADAM,
ANY other person, of less refinement and prudence than myself, would be at a loss how to thank your grace, upon the surprise of coming home last might," and finding two pictures” where only one was demanded. But I understand your grace's malice, and do here affirm you to be the greatest prude upon earth. You will not so much as let your picture be alone in a room with a man, no not with a clergyman, and a clergyman of five-and-forty : and therefore resolved my lord duke should accompany it, and keep me in awe, that I might not presume to look too often upon it. For my own part,
* “The Duchess of Ormond promised me her picture; and coming home to-night, I found her’s and the duke's both in my chamber.” Journal to Stella, Dec. 18, 1712.
I begin already to repent that I ever begged your grace's picture; and could almost find in my heart to send it you back: for, although it be the most beautiful sight I ever beheld, except the original, yet the veneration and respect it fills me with, will always make me think I am in your grace's presence; will hinder me from saying and writing twenty idle things that used to divert me: will set me, labouring upon majestic, sublime ideas, at which I have no manner of talent; and will make those who come to visit me, think I am grown, on the sudden, wonderful stately and reserved. But, in life we must take the evil with the good; and it is one comfort, that I know how to be revenged. For the sight of your grace's resemblance will perpetually remind me of paying my duty to your person; which will give your grace the torment, and me the felicity, of a more frequent attendance. But, after all, to deal plainly with your grace, your picture (and I must say the same of my lord duke's) will be of very little use, farther than to let others see the honour you are pleased to do me: for all the accomplishments of your mind and person are so deeply printed in the heart, and represent you so lively to my imagination, that I should take it for a high affront, if you believed it in the power of colours to refresh my memory: almost as high a one, as if your grace should deny me the justice of being, with the most profound respect and gratitude, Madam, ' ' ' ' Your grace's &c.
- Jon. Swift.