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TO ARCHBISHOP KING,
-- - t London, Jan. 3, 1712-13. "My LoRD, SINCE I had the honour of your grace's letter, we have had a dead time of news and politics; and I make a conscience of writing to you without something that will recompense the trouble of reading. I cannot but grant that your grace, who are at a distance, and argue from your own wisdom and general observations and reading, is likely to be more impartial than I, who, in spite of my resolutions and opinion to the contrary, am forced to converse only with one side of the world, which fastens prejudices to me, notwithstanding all I can do to avoid them. Your grace has certainly hit upon the weak side of our peace; but I do not find you have prescribed any remedies.” For, that of limiting France to a certain number of ships and troops, was, I doubt, not to be compassed. While that mighty kingdom remains under one monarch, it will be always in some degree formidable to its neighbours. ' §o we flatter ourselves it is likely to be less so than ever, by the concurrence of many circumstances too long to trouble you with. But, my lord, what is to be done? I will go so far with your grace as to tell you, that some of our friends are of opinion with the other party, that if this last campaign had gone on with the conjunction of the
• The risk of France and Spain being incorporated under one monarch. British troops, France might have been in danger of being driven to great extremes. Yet I confess to you, at the same time, that if I had been first minister, I should have advised the queen to pursue her measures toward a peace. o Some accidents and occasions have put it in my way to know every step of this treaty better, I think, than any man in England. And I do assert to your grace, that if France had been closely pushed this campaign, they would, upon our refusal, have made offers to Holland, which the republic would certainly have accepted; and in that case the interests of England would have been wholly laid aside, as we saw it three years ago at the Hague and Gertruydenberg. The Marshal d'Uxelles and Mesnager, two of the French plenipotentiaries, were wholly inclined to have begun by the Dutch; but the third, Abbé de Polignac, who has most credit with Monsieur Torcy, was for beginning by England. There was a great faction in France by this proceeding: and it was a mere personal resentment, in the French king and Monsieur Torcy, against the States, which hindered them from sending the first overture there. And I believe your grace will be convinced, by considering that the demands of Holland might be much more easily satisfied, than those of Britain. The States were very indifferent about the article of Spain being in the Bourbon family, as Monsieur Buys publickly owned when he was here, and among others to myself. They
valued not the demolition of Dunkirk, the frontier.
of Portugal, nor the security of Savoy. They abhorred the thoughts of our having Gibraltar and Minorca, nor cared what became of our dominions in North America. All they had at heart was the sovereignty of Flanders, under the name of a bar
rier, and to stipulate what they could for the em-
* Alluding to the historical work which he himself then pro. jected.
+ King William III. was killed by a fall from his horse.
lead any precedent to excuse you; and therefore,
P. you will commit no more such errors: and in the meantime, I heartily congratulate with your grace that I can rally you upon this accident.
I am in some fear that our peace will hardly be concluded in several weeks, by reason of a certain. incident that could not be foreseen; neither can I tell whether the parliament will sit before the conclusion of the peace; because some persons differ in their politics about the matter. If others were no wiser than I, your session should not be deferred upon that account. . .
. I am, with the greatest respect, Your grace's most dutiful and humble servant, - . . . Jon. Swift.
Thursday Morning, Two o’Clock, Jan. 5, 1712-13. Though I have not seen, yet I did not fail
to write to lord-treasurer. Non tua res agitur,
dear Jonathan. It is the treasurer's cause; * it is
- of .
* About this time it would seem Swift was soliciting some preferment; and also that he thought the lord-treasurer negligent of his interest. On the 26th December, he informs Stella, “he dined with the lord-treasurer, who chid him for being absent three days—Mighty kind with a p—l less of civility and more of interest.” Bolingbroke always insisted that Oxford was backward in assisting Swift's promotion. Probably the treasurer was unwilling to own how little the queen's prejudice against our author left it in his power to serve him. Swift, however, began
my cause; it is every man’s cause, who is embarked on our bottom. Depend upon it, that I never will aeglect any opportunity of showing that true esteem, that sincere affection, and honest friendship for you, which fill the breast of your faithful friend,
* * BoLINGBRoKE.
To THE DUKE of ARGYLL•
January 20, 1712-13, My Lord,
I would myself have delivered the answer I sent yesterday to your grace at court by Dr Arbuth
to turn impatient of the state of dependence in which he was kept, and mortified by repeated disappointments. See Vol. III. p. 205. -
* That the Duke of Argyll and Swift were once upon an excellent footing, appears from various passages in Swift's Journal. The breach between them was brought to a climax, by Swift's pamphlet, entitled the “Public Spirit of the Whigs,” in which the Scotish nation were treated in such derogatory terms, that the whole Scotish peers went in a body to court, with the Duke 40f Argyll at their head, to demand the exemplary punishment of the author; auda reward of L.300 was offered by the queen to any person who would make him known. But the difference alluded to in this letter is of a prior date. The Duke of Argyll bad already quarrelled with ministers, and even supported a bill which was brought into parliament for dissolving the union, under pretence it had been infringed by the Fnglish. The cause, therefore, of the Duke of Argyll's dissatisfaction with Swift, a warm supporter of administration, and no friend to Scotland, is very obvious; nor does it appear that they were ever afterwards reconciled. In his remarks on the characters drawn by Mackay or Davies, Swift stigmatizes the duke as an “ambitious, covetous, cunning Scot, who has no principle but his own interest and greatness. A true Scot in his whole conduct.” Wol, X, p. 317.