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Tracts, Political and Historical, prior to the Accession
of George I.
Queen's Ministry in the year 1710,
Nobles and the Commons in Athens and Rome, with
the Consequences they had upon both those States,
JOURNAL TO STELLA,
London, December 29, 1711. I put my letter in this evening, after coming from dinner at Ned Southwell's, where I drank very good Irish wine, and we were in great joy at this happy turn of affairs. The queen has been at last persuaded to her own interest and security, and I freely think she must have made both herself and kingdom very unhappy, if she had done otherwise. It is still a mighty secret that Masham is to be one of the new lords; they say he does not yet know it himself; but the queen is to surprise him with it. Mr Secretary will be a lord at the end of the session ; but they want him still in parliament. After all, it is a strange unhappy necessity of making so many peers together ; but the queen has drawn it upon herself, by her confounded trimming and moderation. Three, as I told you, are of our society.
30. I writ the dean and you a lie yesterday ; for the Duke of Somerset is not yet turned out. to-day at court, and resolved to be very civil to the Whigs; but saw few there. When I was in the bed-chamber talking to Lord Rochester, he went up to Lady Burlington, who asked him, who I was; and Lady Sunderland and she whispered about me: I desired Lord Rochester to tell Lady Sunderland, I doubted she was not as much in love with me as I was with her; but he would not deliver my message.
The Duchess of Shrewsbury came running up to me, and clapped her fan up to hide us from the company, and we gave one another joy of this change ; but sighed when we reflected on the Somerset family not being out. The secretary and I, and brother Bathurst, and Lord Windsor, dined with the Duke of Ormond. Bathurst and Windsor are to be two of the new lords.
I desired my Lord Radnor's brother, at court to-day, to let my lord know I would call on him at six, which I did, and was arguing with him three hours to bring him over to us, and I spoke so closely, that I believe he will be tractable; but he is a scoundrel, and though I said I only talked for my love to him, I told a lie; for I did not care if he were hanged: but every one gained over is of consequence. The Duke of Marlborough was at court to-day, and nobody hardly took notice of him. Masham's being a lord begins to take wind : nothing at court can be kept a secret. Wednesday will be a great day : you shall know more.
31. Our frost is broken since yesterday, and it is very slabbery; yet I walked to the city and dined, and ordered some things with the printer. I have settled Dr King in the Gazette ;* it will be worth two hundred pounds a year to him. Our new lords patents are passed : I don't like the expedient, if we could have found any other. I see I have said this before. I hear the Duke of Marlborough is turned out of all his employments: I shall know to-morrow, when I am to carry Dr King to dine with the secretary.-These are strong remedies ; pray God the patient is able to bear them. The last ministry people are utterly desperate.
* “ This office, through the kind intercession of Swift, was bestowed upon King, in a manner the most agreeable to his indolent
Jan. 1. Now I wish my dearest little MD many happy new years; yes, both Dingley and Stella, ay and Presto too, many happy new years. I dined with the secretary, and it is true that the Duke of Marlborough is turned out of all. The Duke of Ormond has got his regiment of foot-guards, I know not who has the rest. If the ministry be not sure of a peace, I shall wonder at this step, and do not approve it at best. The queen and lord-treasurer mortally hate the Duke of Marlborough, and to that he owes his fall, more than to his other faults: unless he has been tampering too far with his party, of which I have not heard any particulars; however it be, the world abroad will blame
I confess my belief, that he has not one good quality in the world beside that of a general, and
temper, since he had not even the labour of solicitation. Ou the last day of September 1711, Swift, with Dr Freind, Prior, and several other Tory wits, came in a sort of procession, and delivered to King the key of the Gazetteer office, and of the Paper office; and the next day the new Gazetteer had the honour of dining with Mr St John, and thanking him for his patronage, over a table loaded with good cheer. But all these things profited nothing; for in a short half year, King found the drudgery of correcting the paper so very dissonant from his habits, that in mid-summer 1712, he fairly resigned an office sufficient to provide for necessities, which he hardly otherwise knew how to satisfy;" Life of Dr King prefixed to the edition of his Works, 1776.
even that I have heard denied by several great soldiers. *
But we have had constant success in arms while he commanded. Opinion is a mighty matter in war, and I doubt the French think it impossible to conquer an army that he leads, and our soldiers think the same; and how far even this step may encourage the French to play tricks with us, no man knows. I do not love to see personal resentment mix with public affairs.
2. This being the day the lords meet, and the new peers to be introduced, I went to Westminster to see the sight; but the crowd was too great in the House. So I only went into the robing room, to give my four brothers joy, and Sir Thomas Mansel, and Lord Windsor; the other six I am not acquainted with It was apprehended the Whigs would have raised some difficulties, but nothing happened. I went to see Lady Masham at noon, and wish her joy of her new honour, and a happy new year: I found her very well pleased : for peerage will be some sort of protection to her upon any turn of affairs. She engaged me to come at night, and sup with her and lord-treasurer; I went at nine, and she was not at home, so I would not stay. No, no, I won't answer your letter yet, young women. I dined with a friend in the neighbourhood. I see nothing here like Christmas, except brawn or mincepies in places where I dine, and giving away my half crowns like farthings to great men's por
* This common cant was generally applied to the Duke by the Tory writers. One used this expression, “ Once he was fortunate ;" which being quoted to Prince Eugene, he said it was the highest possible compliment to Marlborough’s conduct, since, being only once indebted to fortune, he had always been successful without her aid. But Swift, even while willing to adopt such mean prejudices, argues the expediency of the question like a politician.