Jonathan Swift's letters to Henrietta Howard

Description

This series of entertaining but eventually bitter letters were exchanged between Jonathan Swift and Henrietta Howard, Countess of Suffolk (c. 1688–1767). Howard was a lady-in-waiting to Charlotte, Princess of Wales (1683–1737), and mistress of her husband, the future King George II (1683–1760).

Swift – clergyman, author of Gulliver’s Travels and political satirist – cultivated connections at court and in Parliament during the early years of the 18th century. He hoped for recognition, promotion and most importantly a well-paid position in the Anglican Church, preferably a bishopric. These letters, preserved by Howard, chart the pair’s friendship in the mid 1720s to its decline in the 1730s.

1726: Friendship blossoms (ff. 6r–10r)

The correspondence begins with a letter from Swift thanking Howard for her friendship and presenting her with a gift of Irish plaid. Howard’s response is witty and endearing. Her prose is peppered with references to Gulliver’s Travels, and she appears to use the language and motifs of the book, such as the Big-Endian vs. Small-Endian dispute, to goad Swift into admitting that he is its author (Gulliver’s Travels was advertised as Lemuel Gulliver’s true account of his recent voyages).

Swift, however, played dumb:

I continued four days at a loss for your meaning … a bookseller sent me the Travels of one Captain Gulliver, who proved a very good Explainer, although at the same time I thought it hard to be forced to read a book of seven hundred pages in order to understand a letter of fifty lines. (f. 9r)

A letter from ‘Lemuel Gulliver’ (ff. 11r–12r)

Howard received a letter from ‘Lemuel Gulliver’ dated 28 November 1726, playfully sent the day after Swift had declared his ignorance. The sender’s address, signature and handwriting are all different from Swift’s, and their writing styles vary in the extreme: Gulliver is formal, pompous and dry, while Swift is ironic and clever.

Gulliver mentions two areas of his story which had been criticised: the ‘use of an improper engine to extinguish a fire’ (f. 11v), and the escapades of the court ladies in Brobdingnag. He thanks Howard for defending his book and personal reputation at court: ‘My correspondents have informed me that your Ladyship has done me the honour to answer several objections that ignorance, malice … have made to my Travells, and been so charitable as to justify the fidelity and veracity of the Author’ (f. 11r).

1727: Vying for position (ff. 13r–19r)

As their friendship progressed Swift denied any ulterior motives (f. 13r). Yet his letters increased in volume and flattery once King George II ascended the throne in June 1727, and Howard’s position at court was elevated accordingly (f. 16r). However, as no promotions were forthcoming Swift soon withdrew to Dublin leaving only a formal letter of apology behind for Howard (f. 19r).

1730: The relationship sours (ff. 20r–21v)

In his last letters to Howard, Swift sheds all pretence of friendship. He accuses her of dishonesty in her intention to represent him to the king and queen, and of cruel treatment towards John Gay (Swift’s close friend and author of The Beggar’s Opera). He rails against the queen, and is vicious in his condemnation of Howard’s character: ‘as to friendship, truth, sincerity and other trifles of that kind, I never concerned myself about them, because I knew them to be only part of the lower morals, which are altogether useless at Court’ (f. 21r).

Transcript

Character of the Honble Mrs Howard,
(afterwards Countess of Suffolk)
Written and given to her by Dr Swift
Dean of St Patrick’s –

[beginning of letter]

Jun. 12th, 1727

Character
Of the Honorable Mrs…..
Part the 1st

I shall say nothing of her wit or beauty, which are
freely allowed by all persons of taste and eyes, who –
hear or see her: for beauty, being transient, and a –
trifle, cannot justly make part of a character intended
to last; and I leave other to celebrate her wit, because
it will be of little use in the light I design to show her.
As to her history, it will be sufficient to observe, that
she went in the prime of her youth to the court of –
Hanover, and there became of the bedchamber to the
present Princess of Wales, living with the rest in –
expectation of the great event of the Queen’s death; –
after which she came over with her mistress, and hath
ever since continues in her Royal Highness’s service,
where, from the attendance duly payd her by all the –
Ministers, as well as other who expect advancement, –
she hath been reckoned for some years to be the great
favourite of the court at Leicester-fields, which is
a fact that of all other she most earnestly wishes
might not be believed.
There is no Politician who more carefully watches
the motions and dispositions of things and persons at –
St James’s-house, nor can form a language
with more imperceptible dexterity to the present –
situation of the Court, or more early foresee what
style may be proper upon any approaching juncture of
affairs; whereof she can gather timely intelligence –
without asking it, and often when those from whom
she received it do not know that they are giving it
to her, but equally with other admire her sagacity.
Sr Robert Walpole and she both think they understand
each other, and are both of them mistaken.
With persons where she is to manage she is very
expert


expert in what the French call tâter le pave. With
others she is a great vindicator of all present proceedings,
but in such a manner as if she were under no –
concern further than her bare opinion, and wondering
how any body can think otherwise; but danger is,
that she may come in time to believe herself, which,
under a change of princes, and with a great addition
of credit, might have terrible consequences.
She is a most unconscionable dealer; for in return –
for a few good ˄ words given to her lords and gentlemen daily
waiters, during their attendance, she received ten thousand
from them behind her back. The credit she hath,
is managed with the utmost parsimony, and whenever
she employs it, which is as seldom as possible, it is –
only upon such occasions where she is sure to get more
than she spends. She would readily press Sr Robt Walpole
to do some favour for Ch. Churchill or Mr Doddington:
the Princess for some mark of grace to Mrs Clayton,
or his royal highness to remember Mr Schutz.
She sometimes fall into the general mistake of
all courtiers, of not suiting her talents to the –
different abilities of others, but thinking those she
deals with to have less ˄ art than they really are masters
of, whereby she may possible be sometimes deceived
when she thinks she deceiveth.
In all affairs offices of life, except that of a –
courtier, she acts with justice, generosity, and –
truth; she is ready to do good as a private person
and, I could almost think in charity, that she will
not do hurt as a courtier, unless it be to those –
who deserve it.
In Religion she is at least a Latitudinarian,
neither an enemy nor a stranger to books which
maintain free the opinions of freethinkers; wherein
she is the more to be blamed, as having too much –
morality to need their assistance, and requiring
onely a due degree of Faith for putting her in the
road


road to salvation. I speak this of her as a private lady,
not as a court favourite, for in this latter capacity she can
show neither faith nor works.
If she had never seen a court, it is possible she might
have been a friend.
She abounds in good words and good wishes, and will
concert a hundred schemes with those whom she favors,
in order to their advancement; schemes that sometimes –
arise from them, and sometimes from herself, although
at the same time she very well knowns that both are –
without the least probability to succeed. But, to do her
justice, she never feeds or deceives any person with –
promises where she doth not ˄ then think that she intendeth
some degree of sincerity.
She is upon the whole and excellent companion for
men of the best accomplishments who have nothing to ask.
What past she may act hereafter in a larger –
sphere, as lady of the bedchamber to a great Queen, –
and in high esteem with a King, neither she nor I can –
foretell. My own opinion is natural and obvious; that her
talents as a Courtier will spread, enlarge, and multiply to
such a degree, that her private virtues, for want of room
and time to operate, must be folded and laid up clean
like cloaths in a chest, never to be put on till Satiety,
or some reverse of Fortune shall dispose her to retirement.
In the mean time it will be her prudence to take care
that they may not be tarnished or moth-eaten, for –
want of opening and airing, and turning at least –
once a year.


Dean Swift to Mrs Howard


Madam.

Being perpetually teazed with the Remembrance of you –
by the sight of your Ring on my Finger, my patience at last
is at an End; and in order to be revenged, I here send you a –
Piece of Irish Plad, made in Imitation of the Indian; wherein
our Workmen here are grown so expert, that in this kind of
Stuff they are said to excel that which comes from the Indies
and because our Ladies are too proud to wear what is made
at home, the Workman if forced to run a gold threat through
the middle, and sell it as Indian. But I ordered him to leave
out that Circumstance, that you may be clad in Irish Stuff, and
in my Livery. But I beg you will not tell any Parliament man
from whence you had this Plad, otherwise our of malice they
will make a law to cut off all our Weavers’ Fingers. I must
likewise tell you, to prevent your Price, my intention to use
you very Scurvily; for my real Design is, that when the Princess
asks you where you got that fine night-gown, you are to say it is
an Irish Plad, sent to you by the Dean of St Patrick’s, who, with his
most humble Duty to her Royal Highness, is ready to make
her another such Present, at the terrible Expense of eight


Shillings and three-pence a yard, if she will descend to honor
Ireland with receiving and wearing it. And in Recompense, I,
who govern the Vulgar, will take care to have Her Royal –
Highness’s Health drank by five hundred Weavers, as an
Encourager of the Irish Manufactory. And I command you
to add, that I am no Courtier, nor have any Thing to ask.
I hope the whole Royal Family about you is in Health.
Doctor Arbuthnot lately mortified me with an Account of a great
Pain in your Head I believe no Head that is good for any thing is
long without some Disorder at least, that is the best Argument I have
for any think that is good in my own.
I pray God preserve you; and I entreat you to believe that
I am, with great respect,
Madam
Your most obedient and
most obliged
Servant
Jonath. Swift

[Vertically towards the bottom left corner of the page]

Dr Swift


Mrs Howard to Dean Swift

Sr

I did not expect that the Sight of my ring woud
produce the effect it has. I was in such a hurry to
show your Pl–e [plaid] to the Ps [Princess] that I cou’d not stay
to put it into the shape you desir’d, it pleas’d
Extremely, and I was have orders to fitt it up according
to the first design, for the use of aforesaid
person; as also to have over by Your means
the height of the Brobdingnag ˄ dwarf multiply’d by 2 2/1. This
particular parcel. Likewise for the three young
Pss which theres must be in three. For a short
method, if you draw a line of twenty foot,
and upon that ˄ by two circles form and Equilateral Triangle
then measuring each side, you will know the
proper quantity division if you want a more
particular and better rule I refer you to
the Academy of Lagado. I am of opinion


many in this kingdom will soon appear in yr
Pl–e to this end it will be highly necessary
care be taken that the purple, the yellow, and the
white silk be properly disposed, and tho
these G–ns are for Pss the officers are
very vigilant so take care they are not seized.
Don’t forget to be observant in the
Disposing of the colours. I shall take all particular
precautions to have the money ready and return
it the way you judge safest.
The Pss will take care that you shall have pumps
sufficient to serve till you return to England but thinks
you cannot in common decency appear in heels
therefore advices you to keep close till they arrive
here is Several Mathmat Lilliputian mathematicians
so that the length of your head of your foot
is a sufficient measure. Send it by the first
opportunity. Do not forget our good friends the
five Hundred Weavers – you may omit the gold thread.


Several disputes has arrise here whither the Big
= Endians and Lesser-Endians ever differ’d in
opinion about the breaking of eggs when
they were Either to be poached or butter’d or
whither this part of Cookery was ever known
in Lilliput.
I cannot conclude without telling you the great
Joy our Island is in upon a Yahoos in Bedfordshire having produced
a Creature half a Yahoo and half a Ram and a
Nother Yahoo of [?] brought forth some black
Rabbits may we not hope and with some probability
Expect XXX in time our female Yahoo’s will
Bring a race of Houyhnhnms. I am your most
Humble Sert
Sieve Yahoo


Dean Swift to Mrs Howard
Dublin Novr. 27th. 1726

Madam.

When I received your Letter I thought it the
most unaccountable one I ever saw in my Life, and was not
able to comprehend three words of it together. The –
Perverseness of your lines astonished me, which tended –
downward to the right in one Page, and upward in the two
others. This I thought impossible to be done by any one Person
who did not squint with both eyes, an infirmity I never
observed in you. However, one thing I was pleased with, that
after you had writ down, you repented, and writ me up
But I continue four days at a loss for your meaning, till
a bookseller sent me the Travels of one Captn Gulliver,
who proved a very good Explainer, although at the same
time I thought it hard to be forced to read a Book of Seven
hundred Pages in order to understand a letter of fifty lines;
especially as those of our faculty are already but too
much pestered with Commentators. The stuffs you
require are making, because the Weaver piques himself
upon having them in perfection. But he has read –
Gulliver’s Book, and has no conception what you mean


by returning money; for he has become a Proselyte of the
Houyhnhmns, whose great Principle (if I rightly remember)
is Benevolence. And as to my self, I am so highly affronted
with such a base Proposall, that I am determined to –
complain of you to her Royal Highness that you are a –
mercenary Yahoo, fond of shining Pebbles. What have I to do
with you or your Court further than to show the Esteem I have
for your Person, because you happen to deserve it, and my –
Gratituse to Her Royall Highness who was pleased, a little
to distinguish me, which, by the way, is the greatest –
Compliment I ever made, and may probably be the last
For I am not such a Prostitute Flatterer as Gulliver whose
chief study is to extenuate the Vice and magnify the Virtues of
Mankind, and perpetually dins our Ears with the Praises of his
Country in the midst of Corruption, and for that Reason –
alone, hath found so many Readers., and probably will have
a Pension, which I suppose was his chief Design in –
writing. As for his Compliment to the Ladyes, I can –
easily forgive him as a natural Effect of that –
Devotion which our Sex always ought to pay to yours.
You need not be in pain about the Officers searching
or seizing the Plads, for the Silk hath already payd
Duty in England, and there is no Law against exporting
Silk Manufacture from hence.
I am sure the Princess and you have got the length


of my foot, and Sr Rt Walpole says he has the length
of my Head, so that you need not give me the Trouble
of Sending you either. I shall only tell you in generall
that I never had a long Head and for that reason few People
have thought it worth their while to get the length of my
foot. I cannot answer your Queryes about Egge buttered or
poached, but I possess on Talent which admirable qualifiyes
me for roasting them. For as the world with [regard?] to Eggs is
divided into Pelters and Roasters, it is my unhappiness to be
one of the latter, and consequently to be persecuted by the former.
I have been five days turning over old Books to discover the meaning
of those monstrous Births you mention. That of the four black
Rabbits seems to threaten some deep Court Intrigue and
perpe perhaps some change in the Administration for the
Rabbit is an undermining anima that loves to work in
the dark The Blackness denotes the Bishops, whereof some of
the last you have made are persons of such dangerous Parts
and profound Ablityes. But Rabbits being cloathed in Furrs
may perhaps glance at the Judges. However, the Ram (by which
is meant the Ministry) butting with his two horns, one against the Church
and t[he] other against the Law shall obtain the Victory. And whereas the
Birth was a Conjunction of Ram and Yahoo, this is easily explained by
the Story of Chiros XXXXX Governor, or (which is the same thing) chief
Minister to Achilles ˄ and who was half Man and half Brute, which, as Machiavel
observes, all good Governors of Princes ought to be. Bit I am at the End of my
Line and my Lines. This is without a Cover to save money, and plain Paper because
the gilt is so thin it will discover Secrets betwixt us. In a little room for words I
assure you of my being with the truest Respect Madm your most obedt humble Servt


Dean Swift to Mrs Howard

Madam

My Correspondents have informed
me that Your Layp has done me the honour to
answer severall objection that ignorance, malice
and party have made to my Travells, and bin
so charitable as to justifie the fidelity and veracity
of the Author. This zeal you have shown for
Truth calls for my particular thankes, and at
The same time encourages me to beg you would
Continue your goodness to me by reconcileing
Me to the Maids of Honour whom they say
I have most greviously offended. I am so stupid


as not to find out how I have disobliged them;
Is there any harm in a young Ladys reading of
Romances? Or did I make use of an improper
Engine to extinguise a fire that was kindled
by a Maid of Honour? And I will venture to
affirm that if ever the Young Ladies of your
Court should meet with a man of as little
consequence in this country as I was in
Brobdingnag, they would use him with as
much contempt, But I submit my self and
my cause to your better judgment and beg
Leave to Lay the Crown of Lilliput at your
feet as a small acknowledgment of your favours
to my book & person; I found it in the corner
of my wastecoat pocket into which ˄ I thrust
most of the valuable furniture of the Royall


apartment when the palace was on fire, and by
mistake brought it with me into England, for I
very honestly restored to their Majesties all their
goods that I knew were in my possession;
May all courtiers imitate me in that, and
in ˄ my being

Madam

Your admirer and obt 
Humble servant
Lemuel Gulliver

[vertically to left hand side of page in a different hand]

Dn Swift Novbr 28 1726


Dean Swift to Mrs Howard

Madam

I am so very nice and my Workmen so fearfull –
Fearfull that there is yet but one piece finished of the two
Which you commanded me to send to her Royall Highness; The
other was done: but the Undertaker confessing it was not to the
utmost perfection, hath obtained my leave for a Second attempt
in which he promises to do wonders, and tells me it will be ready
in another Fortnight although perhaps the humour be gone off, both
with the Princess and you; for such were Courts when I knew
them.. I desire you will order her Royal Highness to go to
Richmond as soon as she can this Summer; because she will
have the Pleasure of my Neighbourhood, for I hope to be in
London about the middle of March, and I do not love you much
When you are there. And I expect to find you are not attended by
Flattery of ill company. I am glad to tell you now that I honor you
With my Esteem, because when the Princess grows a cramed head. You
Shall have no more such compliments, and it is a hundred to one –
Whether you will deserve them. Besides, it so happens, that the King
is too tough a Person for me to value any reversion of favor after him.
and so you are safe. I do not approve of your advice to bring over
Pumps for my self but will rather provide another Shoe for his Royal


Highness against there shall be occasions. I will tell you an odd
Accident that this night while I was caressing one of my Houyhnhnms, he
bit my little finger so cruelly that I am hardly able to write, and I –
impute the cause to some foreknolegde in him that I was going to write
to a Seive Yahoo (for so you are pleased to call yourself) Pray tell Sr
Robert Walpole that if he does not like me better next Summer then he
did the last I will study revenge, and it shall be vengeance Eclesiastique.
I hope you will get your House and wine ready to which Mr Gay and I
are to have free access when you are safe at Court, for as to Mr Pope
he is not worth mentioning on such Occasions. I am sorry I have no –
Complaints to make of her Royal Highness there I think I may
Let you tell her that every gran of Virtues and good Sense in one of her
Rank considering the Bad Education among Flatteres and Adorers is worth
A dozen in any inferior Person, now if what the World says be true, that
she excels all other Ladyes at least a dozen times, them multiply one dozen
by the other you will find the Number to be 144. If any one can say a
civiler thing let them. For I think it too much from me.
I have some title to be angry with you for not commanding those who
write to me to mention your remembrance, can there be any thing baser than
to make me the first Advances, and then be inconstant? It is very hard that I
most cross the dear and ride 200 miles to reproach you in person when at the
same time I feel my self with the most entire Respect
Madam
Your most obedient and most
obliged humble servt
Jonath Swith
Feb 1st 1726–7


Madam.
I wish I were a young Lord, and you were unmarryd
I should make you the best husband in the world for I
Am ten times deafer than ever you were in your life, and
instead of a poor pain in the dace, I have good –
substantial giddiness and Head-ache; the best of it is,
that although we might lay our heads together, I could
you could tell me no secrets that might not be heard
five rooms distant. These disorders of mind, if they –
hold as long as they used to do some years ago, will last
as long as my licence of absence; which I shall not –
renew, and then the queen will have the misfortune not
to see me, and I shall go back with the satisfaction –
never to have seen her since she was Queen, but when
I kissed her hands and although she were a thousand –
Queens, I will not lose my privilege of never seeing her
but when she commands it. I told my two Landlords here
that I would write you a love-letter, which I remember you
commanded me to do last year; but I would not show it to
either of them. I am the greatest courtier and flatter
you have; because I try your good sense and taste more


more than all of them put together, which is the –
greatest compliment I could put upon you, and you have
hitherto behaved yourself tolderable under it, and better
than you mistress, if what a lady told me be true, that
talking with the Queen about me, her majesty said I was
an odd sort of man but I forgive her, for it is an odd –
thing in an honest man to speak freely to Princes. –
I will say another thing in your praise – that goodness
would become you better than any person I know, and for
that very reason there is nobody I wish to be good so
much as your self.
I am ever, with the truest respect and esteem
Madam
Your most obedient and
Most humble Servant
Jonath Swift

Aug 14th 1727


Dean Swift to Mrs Howard

Madam,
This cruel disorder of deafness attended
with a continual giddiness still pursued ˄ me and
I have determined since I have a home in
Dublin not inconvenient to return thither
before my health and the weather grow worse.
It is one comfort that I shall ride you of a
worthless companion, though not an importunate –
one. I am infinitely obliged to you for all your
civilities and shall ˄ preserve a remembrance of them as
long as I have any memory left.
I hope you will favour me so far as to
present my most humble duty to the Queen
and to tell her Majesty my sorry that my
disorder was of such a nature as to make me
incapable of attending her as she was pleased
to permit me. I shall pass the remainder of
my life with the utmost gratitude for her
Majesty’s favours. I pray God restore your –
health, and persevere it, and remove all afflictions
from you. I shall be ever with the truest respect
Madam
Your most obedient
most humble servant
Jonath Swift.
London Septbr 18th
1727


Dean Swift to Mrs Howard

Madam

I do not now pity the leisure you have to read a letter from me,
And this letter shall be a history. First therefore I call you to –
Witness that I did not attend on the Queen till I had received her own
Repeated messages, which of course occasioned my being introduced to you
I never asked any think, till upon leaving England the first time, I –
desired from you a present worth a Guinea, and from Her Majesty one
worth ten pounds, by way of a memorial. Yours I received and the Queen
upon taking my leave of her made an excuse that she had intended a
medal for me, which not being ready, she would send it me the –
Christmass following. Yet this was never done, nor at all remembered –
when I went back to England the next year and by her command –
attended her as I had done before.. I must now tell you Madam, that I
will receive no medal from Her Majesty, nor any thing less than her
picture at half length, drawn by Jervas., and if he takes it from –
another original., the Queen shall sit at least twice, for him to touch it
up. I desire you will let Her Majesty know this in plain words, although
I have heard that I am under her displeasure.. But this is a usual
thing with a Princess as well as Ministers upon ever false representation
and so I took occasion to tell the Queen upon the quarrel Mr Walpole had
with our friend Gay, the first time I ever had the honour to attend her.
Against you, I have but one reproach, that when I wast last in –
England, and just after the present Kings accession, I resolved to pass
that Summer in France, for which I had then a most lucky opportunity
from which those who seemed to love me will dissuaded me by your advice
and when I sent you a note, conjuring you to lay aside upon that character of
a Courtier and a favourite upon that occasion, your answer positively directed
me not to go in that juncture, and you said the same thing to my friends


who seemed to have power of giving me hints, that I might reasonably
expect a settlement in England: which God known, was no very great
ambition, considering the station I should leave here, of greater dignity, and
which might easily have been managed to be disposed of as the Crown pleased.
If these hints came from you, I admired you thus acted too much like a
Courtier. But I forgive you, and esteem you as much as ever. You had
your reasons, which I shall not inquire to; because I always believed
you had some virtues, besides all the accomplishment of mind and –
person that can adorn a Lady. – I am angry with the Queen for
sacrificing my friend Gay to the mistaken piques of Sr R. Walpole, about
a libel written against him, although he were convinced at the same time of
Mr Gay’s innocence, and although as I sad before, I told her majesty the
whole story. Mr Gay deserved better treatment amongst you upon all –
accounts, and particularly for his excellent unregarded fables, dedicated
to Prince William, which I hope His Royal Highness will often read for
his instruction. I wish Her Majesty would a little remember what I
largely said to her about Ireland, when before a witness she gave me
leave, and commanded me to tell here, what she spoke to me upon that –
subject, and ordered me, if I lived to see her in her present station
to send her our Grievances promising to read my letter and do all
good officer in her power for this most miserable and loyal Kingdom
now at the brink of ruin, and never so near as now. As to my self, I –
repeat again that I never asked any thing more than a trifle, as a –
memorial of some distinction which Her Majesty graciously seemed to
make between me and every common Clergyman. But that trifle was
forgot, according to the usual methods of princes, although I was taught
to think myself upon a foot of pretending to some little exception.
As to your self, Madam, I most heartily congratulate with you, for being
delivered from the toyl, the envy, the slavery, and vexation of a favourite, –
where you could not always answer the good intentions that I hope you had


You will now be less teased with solicitation, one of the greatest evils in
life. You posses and easy employment, with quiet of mind, although it be
by no means equal to your merit; and if it shall please God to establish
your health, I believe and hope you are too wise to hope for more. Mr
Pope hath been always and advocate for your sincerity, and even in the
character I gave your self, allowed you as much of that Virtue as
could be expected in a Lady, a Courtier, and a Favourite. Yet I confess, I
never heartily pledged your health as a Toast upon any other regards –
than Beauty, wit, good sense, and an unblemished character. For as to
Friendship, Truth, Sincerity, and other trifles of that kind, I never –
concerned my self about them, because I knew them to be only parts of
the lower morals which are altogether useless at Courts. I am content
that you should tell the Queen all I have said of her, and in my own –
words, if you please. – I could have been a better Prophet in the character
I gave you of your self, if it had been good manners in the height of
your credit to put you in mind if it’s mortality. For you are not the
first by at least three Ladyes whom I have known to undergo the –
same turn of Fortune. It is allowed that Ladyes are often very good
Scaffoldings, and I need not tell you the used that Scaffoldings are put
to by all builders as well political as mechanical. I should have
begun this letter by telling you that I was encouraged to write by my
best friend, and one of your great admirer, who told me, that from –
something which had passed between you, he thought you would not –
receive it ill.. After all, I know no person of your sex for whom I have
so great and esteem as I do and believe shall always continue to bear for you,
I mean private Person, for I must except the Queen, and it is not an –
exception of form, because I have really a great veneration for her great
Qualities, although I have reason to complain of her conduct to me, which
I could not excuse, although she had fifty kingdoms to govern. I have but
room to conclude with my sincere professions of being with true respect
Madam your most obedient humble sert J.S.
Dublin. Nov 21st 1730


If you were a Lord or a commoner, I would have send you this in an
envelope.


Full title:
VOL. I. 1. "Character of the Honorable Mrs . . . . . [Howard]. Part the lst. Jun. 12th 1727," by Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick's. Autograph. f. 4. 2. Correspondence between Dean Swift and Mrs. Howard; Dublin, etc. [l Sept. 1726]-26 Oct. 1731, f
Created:
1723–1735, London, Dublin
Format:
Manuscript
Creator:
Jonathan Swift
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Add MS 22625

Full catalogue details

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