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the country gentlemen, and the thing is popular enough; but then we must borrow upon new funds, which it will be of the last difficulty to invent or to raise. The other party are employed in spreading a report most industriously, that the lord-treasurer intends, after the peace, to declare for the whigs. They have spread it in Scotland, to prepare people for the next election; and Mr Annesley told me the other day at my lord steward's, that he had heard I writ the same to my friends in Ireland; which, as it is wholly without ground, so the fact is what I never had the least belief of, although your lordship is somewhat of his grace's mind, in not refusing to converse with his greatest enemies: and therefore he is censured, as you say you are, upon the same account. And to those who charge him with it (as some are free enough to do it), he only says, his friends ought to trust him ; and I have some reason to believe, that after a peace, the direct Contrary will appear. For my own part, I entirely agree with your grace, that a free man ought not to confine his converse to any one party; neither would I do so, if I were free ; but I am not, and perhaps much less is a great minister in such a juncture as this. Among many qualities I have observed in the treasurer, there is one which is something singular, that he will be under an imputation, how wrong soever, without the pains of clearing himself to his nearest friends, which is owing to great integrity, great courage, or great contempt of censure. know he has abundance of the two last, and I believe he has the first. *
* Reserve and retenue, under all modifications, 'Were the leading features of Oxford's political character,
Your grace's observations on the French dexterity in negotiation, as well as their ill faith, are certainly right; but let both be as great possible, we must treat with them one time or other; and if ministers will not be upon their guard against such notorious managers, they are altogether inexcusable. But I do assure your grace, that as it has fallen in my way to know more of the steps of this whole treaty, than perhaps any one man beside, I cannot see that any thing in the power of human prudence, under many difficult conjunctures, has been omitted. We have been forced to conceal the best side, which I agree has been unfortunate and unpopular; but you will please to consider that this way of every subject interposing their sentiments upon the management of foreign negotiations, is a very new thing among us: and the suffering it has been thought, in the opinion of wise men, too great a strain upon the prerogative; especially giving a detail of particulars, which, in the variety of events, cannot be ascertained during the course of a treaty.—I could easily answer the objection of your grace's friends in relation to the Dutch, and why they made those difficulties at the Hague and Gertruydenberg. And when the whole story of these two last intriguing years comes to be published, the world will have other notions of our proceedings.” This perhaps will not belong untold, and might already have been, if other people had been no wiser than I. After all, my lord, I grant that from a distant view of things, abundance of objections may be raised against many parts of our conduct. But the difficulties which gave room to these objections are not seen, and perhaps some of them will never appear; neither may it be convenient they should. If in the end it appears that we have made a good bargain for you, we hope you will take it without entering too nicely into the circumstances. I will not undertake to defend our proceedings against any man who will not allow this postulatum, that it was impossible to carry on the war any longer; which, whoever denies, either has not examined the state of the nation with respect to its debts, or denies it from the spirit of party. When a friend of mine objected this to Lord Nottingham, he freely confessed it was a thing he had never considered. But, however, he would be against any peace without Spain; and why? because he was not privy seal. But then, why does he vote with the whigs in every thing else, although peace has no concern ? because he was not privy seal. I hope my lord, we shall in time unriddle you many a dark problem, and let you see that faction, rage, rebellion, revenge, and ambition, were deeply rooted in the hearts of those who have been the great obstructors of the queen's measures, and of the kingdom's happiness; and if I am not mistaken, such a scene may open, as will leave the present age and posterity little room to doubt who were the real friends and real enemies of their country. At the same time I know nothing is so rash as predicting upon the events of public councils; and I see many accidents very possible to happen which may soon defeat all my wise conjectures. I am, my Lord, Your grace's most dutiful, and most humble obedient servant, Jon. Swift.
* He was now meditating that vindication of the peace of Utrecht, which is to be found in the “History of the Four last Years of the Queen.” See Wol, W. .
FROM MR PRIOR."
Paris, April 8, 1713.
PRAY take this word writ after our packet is closed, and the messenger staying for it, as an equivalent for your dispatches at midnight when the writer was half asleep. Hang me if I know how to go on, though I am in a country where every body does not only write letters but print them. Our great affair goes on very successfully. We transmit the Spanish treaty, concluded at Madrid, for your approbation in England, and transmission to Utrecht; after which I think, pair sit will become authentic Latin: after which, I suppose, our society will flourish, and I shall have nothing to do but to partake of that universal protection, which it will receive. In the mean time, pray give my great respects to our brethren: t and tell them that, while in hopes of being favoured, they are spending their own money, I am advancing my interest in the French language, and forgetting my own mother tongue. But we shall have time enough to perfect our English when we have done with other matters. I want mightily to hear from lord-treasurer. Tell him so. I owe brother Arbuthnot a letter. Excuse my not writing to him, till I know what to say. I cannot find Vanhomright since he brought me your letter. I have a rarity of a book to send you by the first fair occasion. It makes but little of the English wit, “ The Guardian;” but, possibly, I do not enter into his design. Let Lord Bolingbroke know I love him mightily; and pray do you as much for Dick Skelton. Adieu, my good friend. I am, very truly, Your obedient and faithful servant, M. PRIOR.
* At that time plenipotentiary to France.—H.
+ The sixteen. See note to a letter from Lord Harley to Swift, dated July 17, 1714.—H.
f One of the brothers of Vanessa. See the letter to Miss Esther Wanhomrigh, dated July 8, 1713.-H.
FROM EARL POULETT. *
April, Sunday Afternoon.
I was called away presently after chapel upon . some business which hindered my going up stairs at St James's, and occasions Dr Swift the trouble of this, to make my excuse for not returning the paper, which I here send you; and though it is not in my power to serve you in any proportion to my unfeigned respects for you, yet I would not be wanting, on my part, in any opportunity where I can, to express myself, Sir, your most faithful humble servant, - Paul ETT.
* Indorsed “Lord-steward, 1713.” This nobleman is described by Davies as very learned, virtuous, and honourable, generous to the gentry, and charitable to the poor; and the Dean, contrary to the usual purport of his annotations, seems to admit the justice of the applause such a character conveys. See Wol. X. p. 306.