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September, at Windsor, the Duke of Somerset, who had not been at cabinet council for many months, was advised by his friends of the late ministry to appear there, but the rest refused to sit with him; and the council was put off until next day, when the duke went to a horse-race. This was declaring open war; and ever since both he and his duchess (who is in great favour) have been using all sorts of means to break the present ministry. Mrs Masham was absent two months from Windsor, with lying in at Kensington, and my lord-treasurer six weeks by indisposition. Some time before the session, the duke above-mentioned went to all those lords, who, by the narrowness of their fortunes, have depended on the court, and engaged them to vote against the ministry, by assuring them it was the queen's pleasure. He is said to have added other powerful motives. Bothmar's † memorial was published just at that juncture, as Hoffman the emperor's resident had some time before printed the French king's propositions. It is confidently affirmed, by those who should know, that money was plentifully scattered. By these and some other accidents, the vote was carried against the ministry ; and every body of either party understood the thing as intended directly against my lord-treasurer's head. The house of lords made a very short adjournment, and were preparing some resolutions and addresses of the most dangerous importance. We had a very melancholy Christmas, and the most fearless persons were shaken: for our great danger lay where I cannot tell your grace at this distance. The thing wished for was, the removal of the Somerset family; but that could not be done, nor yet is. * After some time, the queen declared herself as you have heard, and twelve new lords were created.
* This happened August 12, 1711. See Vol. II. p. 321.
+ Baron Bothniar, envoy-extraordinary from the Elector of Hanover, afterwards King George I.
My Lord Nottingham's game in this affair has been most talked off, and several hard things said of him are affirmed to be true. The dissenting ministers in this town were consulted about the occasional bill, and agreed to it, for what reasons I cannot learn; that which is offered not satisfying me, that they were afraid of worse. I believe they expected an entire change of ministry and measures, and a new parliament, by which it might be repealed, and have instead some law to their advantage. The Duke of Marlborough’s removal † has passed very silently : the particular reasons for it I must tell your grace some other time: but how it will pass abroad I cannot answer. People on both sides conclude from it, that the peace is certain ; but the conclusion is ill drawn: the thing would have been done, although we had been sure of continuing the war. We are terribly afraid of Prince Eugene's coining, and therefore it was put off until the resolutions were taken. Before he came out of his yacht, he asked · how many lords were made? He was a quarter of an hour with the queen, on Sunday about seven at night. The great men resolve to entertain him in their turns; and we suppose it will all end in a journey of pleasure. We are so confidently told of the Duke of Somerset's being out, that I writ so te the Dean of St Patrick's. A man of quality told me he had it from my lord-keeper, whom I asked next day, and found it a mistake; but it is impossible to fence against all lies; however, it is still expected that the duke will be out, and that many other removes will be made. Lord Ranelagh * died on Sunday morning: he was very poor and needy, and could hardly support himself for want of a pension, which used to be paid him, and which his friends solicited as a thing of perfect charity. He died hard, as the term of art here is, to express the woeful state of men who discover no religion at their death.
* In the Journal Swift declares more familiarly:
We cannot be stout,
Till Somerset's out. † Dec. 30, 1711. See Vol. III. p. 3.
The town talk is that the Duke of Ormond will go no more to Ireland, but be succeeded by the Duke of Shrewsbury, who is a very great and excellent person; and I will hold a wager that your grace will be an admirer of his duchess: if they go, I will certainly order her to make all advances to you: but this is only a general report, of which they know nothing at court, although I think it not altogether improbable.
We have yet heard nothing of my lord-privy seal. Buys, the Dutch envoy, went to Holland, I think, at ihe same time. Buys is a great pretender to politics, and always leaves the company with great expressions of satisfaction that he has convinced them all: he took much pains to persuade me out of some opinions; and, although all he said did but
* Richard Jones, Baron Jones of Navan, and Viscount Ranelagh, created Earl of Ranelagh, Dec. 11, 1677.
He was vice, treasurer of Ireland, constable of Athlone, several years raymaster of the army, and a lord of the privy-council.
fix me deeper, he told the ministry how successful he had been. I have got poor Dr King, who was some time in Ireland, to be Gazetteer, which will be worth 250l. per annum to him, if he be diligent and sober, † for which I am engaged. I mention this, because I think he was under your grace's protection when he was in Ireland.
By what I gather from Mr Southwell, I believe your grace stands very well with the Duke of Ormond; and it is one great addition to my esteem for Mr Southwell, that he is entirely your grace's friend and humble servant, delighting to do you justice upon all occasions.
I am, with the greatest respect,
and most humble servant,
FROM DR SACHEVERELL. I
Southwark, Jan. 31, 1711-12. REVEREND Sir, Since you have been pleased to undertake the generous office of soliciting my good lord-treasurer's favour in my behalf, I should be very ungrateful if I did not return you my most hearty thanks for it, and my humblest acknowledgments to his lordship for the success it has met with.
* Dr William King of the Commons; whose Miscellaneous Writings, in verse and prosc, were collected in three volumes, small 8vo. 1776, with Biographical Memoirs, by Mr Nichols.
+ Owing to a deficiency in the former of these qualities, and want of fortitude to undergo the necessary drudgery, King soon lost the situation.
I Sacheverell, like other tools of party, was rather neglected by the tory administration, who were, perhaps, ashamed to confess how much they were indebted to his very foolish affair for their success over Godolphin, and unwilling to make such an acknowledgment, by extending active patronage to the author of that disturbance. Swift seems to have felt the impropriety of absolutely passing over a man whose zeal for high church had been so remarkable; and solicited the treasurer effectually in his behalf, as appears from the following letter of thanks, and from the Journal, Vol. II, p. 31.
I received, last Monday, a message by my pupil, Mr Lloyd (representative of Shropshire), from Mr Harley, by his lordship’s order, to inquire what my brother was qualified for. I told him, having failed in his trade, he had been out of business for some years, during which time I had entirely maintained him and his family ; that his education had not qualified him for any considerable or nice post : but that, if his lordship thought him an object of his favour, I entirely submitted him to his disposal, and should be very thankful to his goodness to ease me of part of that heavy burden of my family, that required more than my poor circumstances could allow of.
I'am informed also, that I am very much indebted to my great countryman, Mr Secretary St John, for his generous recommendation of this matter to his lordship. I should be proud of an opportunity of expressing my gratitude to that eminent patriot, for whom no one, that wishes the welfare or honour of his church or country, can have too great a veneration.
But for yourself, (good doctor!) who was the first spring to move it, I can never sufficiently acknow