A letter from Dr. Swift to Mr. Pope
Give me leave then to put you in mind, (although you cannot easily forget it) that about ten Weeks before the Queen's Death, I left the Town, upon occasion of that incurable breach among the Great Men at Court, and went down to Berkshire, where you may remember that you gave me the Favour of a Visit. While I was in that Retirement, I writ a Discourse which I thought might be useful in such a juncture of Affairs, and sent it up to London; but upon some difference in Opinion between me and a certain great Minister now abroad, the publishing of it was deferred so long that the Queen died, and I recalled my Copy, which hath been ever since in safe hands. In a few Weeks after the loss of that excellent Princess, I came to my station here; where I have continued ever since in the greatest Privacy, and utter Ignorance of those events which are most commonly talked of in the World. I neither know the Names nor Number of the Royal-Family, which now reigns, farther than the Prayer-Book informs me. I cannot tell who is Chancellor, who are Secretaries, nor with what Nation we are in Peace or War. And this manner of Life was not taken up out of any sort of Affectation, but meerly to avoid giving offence, and for fear of provoking Party-Zeal.
I had indeed written some Memorials of the four last Years of the Queen's Reign, with some other informations which I received, as necessary materials to qualify me in an Employment then designed me: * Historiographer-Royal. But, as it was at the disposal of a Person who had not the smallest share of steddiness or sincerity, I disdained to accept it.These