« 이전계속 »
my four pounds a day settled, and could but get something of my arrears paid, or some money advanced, I should be out of the hands of harpies, who make me pay so very deep for ready money, and in a way of being beforehand with my business, so as to get two thousand pounds beforehand. I have written you a rare rhapsody of a letter; pardon it, my dear master, and write one word to me, three lines only, believing me to be, with the greatest truth and respect, sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,
MATTHEW PRIOR TO THE EARL OF HALIFAX. MY LORD,
Paris, the 23—12 Oct. 1714. The answering my last letter is a point referable only to your own goodness. Friendship can no more be forced than love; and those persons sometimes are the objects of both our indulgences in this kind, who may best have deserved our favour. I have, however, the satisfaction to believe, that you think me an honest man, and an Englishman. For my having acted as the queen's orders given me by her ministers enjoined, my dispatches sent to the court of England, the copies of my letters here, (I may add) the testimony of the duke of Shrewsbury, and all I have had to do with, and my own mens conscia recti, will abundantly justify me. For the pride of my mind, pass; there may be some defects and faults in it on that side : but for the integrity of it, and as to any underhand doings, before
God, angels, and men, I shall stand cleared : and you, my lord, may pass your word and honour upon that account. I will only add, that few men alive have more merit in this regard than myself; and as long as the fourth article, either of Ryswick or of Utrecht, remain legible, I may as well be thought a Mahometan as a Jacobite. But as these are little reflections raised by the underlings, who had a mind to justify some of their masters being angry with me, so they will all fall balf an hour after you are pleased to be my friend. Pray let that be within half an hour after you received this letter. And now, at the same time that I congratulate your being again first commissioner of the treasury, I must implore the immediate succour of your justice and humanity. I will complain as little as I can, and just as much as is absolutely necessary to let your lordship see the present state of my affairs; and, I believe, in the duke of Shrews. bury's goodness has prevented me. Since my first being sent to this country I neither have had advance money, extraordinary allowance, or pay. ment stated by privy seal, but upon a verbal power I always drew, as my occasions in the service required, upon the lord treasurer, who accordingly answered Cantillon's bills drawn upon Arthur. In this state, a bill, bearing date the 15th of July, for two thousand pounds, was accepted by my lord, and the payment thereof was ordered ; and upon what my lord of Oxford said upon that affair, Cantillon, as well as myself, thought it entirely satisfied; somebody or other (for, by God, I know not who) wrests the staff from my Lord of Oxford's hand, as it seems, to reign in his stead : how much any of these persons were my friend will appear from the very first act of their power, in that they prevailed with the queen to defer the giving out or satisfying those orders; till, a little while after, the queen’s death put this sum, which I expected was paid, among her majesty's debts : and I have since that time run on upon the same foot, expecting every day the Duke of Shrewsbury's assistance, and presuming to hear that this sum was paid, and that I might send another bill, which has been contracting since June last, and which in its course might have the like acceptance and discharge ; and which I must send, finding Contillon very scrupulous since the retardment which this bill already sent has met with, though the - does not as yet refuse to supply me, which you may find by my being still alive; but (as I have said) I hope the Duke of Shrewsbury has found remedy to this evil, as you will do by receiving this other bill, which I must send you, and by putting me upon such a foot as you may judge proper, as long as his majesty's commands enjoin my stay here. Give me leave in the meantime, my lord, to represent to you, that having been six weeks at Fontainebleau, the most expensive place upon earth except Paris itself, I returned hither, two days since, with eleven horses, thirteen servants, &c. in a pomp of woe that put me in mind of Patroclus's funeral, myself melancholy enough, though the horses did not weep; but may be, they did not reflect that their provender was not paid for. In short, this whole affair is left to the Duke of Shrewsbury VOL. V.
and your lordship; and, after all, my lord, pray do your part to let me see that I can have no better friends than you two; and that you judged it reasonable, however the treasury was charged, that the plenipotentiary of England should not be left for debt in the chatelet at Paris.
I have two other things to desire, both which, I believe, you will think just. First, that our old fellow collegiate, and my Fidus Achates, Mr. Richard Shelton, whom my Lord of Oxford, after four years importunity on my part, made a Commissioner of the Stamp Office some months since, may, by your favour, be retained still in his employment: second, that Mr. Drift, who has been with me these fifteen years, and is now my secretary bere, with leave from his then superiors (and my Lord of Oxford in particular) for his so being, may be safe in his place of first clerk, or under secretary, in the plantation office, where he has served for fourteen years past, and received from myself, as well whilst I was in, as when I had the misfortune to be put out of that commission, all the instruction I have been able to give him in the understanding and discharge of his business : your command to Mr. Popple, upon this account, will be sufficient; and I will stand bound, as well for him as for 'Squire Shelton, that their acknowledgments and gratitude to your lordship shall be faithful and lasting. I have troubled you with a book, rather than a letter; but you must remember I have the silence of a great many years to atone for: and a good many things, as you see, to ask. I am, with great respect, &c.
MATTHEW PRIOR TO DEAN SWIFT.
Westr. 25th April, 1721. I KNOW very well that you can write a good letter if you have a mind to it; but that is not the ques. tion-a letter from you sometimes is what I de. sire. Reserve your tropes and periods for those whom you love less, and let me hear how you do, in whatever humour you are, whether lending your money to the butchers, protecting the weavers, treating the women, or construing propria quæ maribus to the country curate ; you and I are so established authors that we may write what we will without fear of censure, and if we have not lived long enough to prefer the bagatelle to any thing else, we deserved to have our brains knocked out ten years ago. I have received the money punctually of Mr. Daniel Hayes, have his receipt, and hereby return you all the thanks that your friendship in that affair ought to claim, and your generosity does contemn; there's one turn for your good! The man you mentioned in your last has been in the country these two years, very ill in his health, and has not for many months been out of his chamber; yet what you observed of him is so true, that his sickness is all counted for policy, that he will not come up till the public distractions force somebody or other (whom God knows) who will oblige somebody else to send for him in open triumph, and set him statu quo prius : that in the mean time he has foreseen all that has happened, check-mated all the