December 2012 Auction Ends Tuesday, December 18th, 5pm Pacific


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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/18/2012
Jonathan Swift autograph letter signed as Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. In this fascinating letter, written years before his struggle with mental illness became public knowledge, the famed satirist confesses he had been experiencing symptoms and was under doctors' care. Historical records cite 1742 as the year he was declared of unsound mind by a Commission of Lunacy, and specify 1738 as the date Swift began exhibiting dementia-like behaviors. This letter is dated 30 December 1735, addressed simply to My Lord, to whom Swift calls in a favor on behalf of a friend, one Mr. Jackson. The text reads in part: ''Your Grace fairly owes me 110 a year in the Church, which I thus prove. I desired you would bestow a Preferment...on a certain Clergyman. Your answer was, that if asked modestly; that you would not promise but would grant my Request; However, that Clergyman, for want of good intelligence, or...being not an expert King-fisher, was forced to take up with 40 a year; and I shall never trouble your Grace any more in his behalf. But, however; by plain Arithmetic it appears, that 110 remain. And this Arrear I have assigned to one Mr. John Jackson, no less than a cousin in german of the Grattans. He is Vicar of Santry, hath a small Estate near it, with two Sons, and as many Daughters, all grown up. This Gentleman hath...severall years as a Weight upon me, which I voluntarily took up on account of his Virtue, Piety, good sense, good nature, and modesty almost to a fault. Your Grace is now disposing the Debris of two great Bishopricks; among which is the Deanry of [illegible] worth between 80 and 100 a year, which will make Mr. Jackson easyer, who besides his other good Qualities is as loyal as you could wish. I cannot but think, that your Grace, to whom God hath given every amiable as well as useful Talent, and in so great a measures; is bound, when you have satisfied all the Expectations of those who have most power in your Club, to do something at the request of others who love you better, and merely upon your own [illegible] without expecting any thing for themselves. I have ventured once or twice (at most) to drop hints in favor of some very deserving gentlemen who I was assured had been recommended to you by persons of weight, but I easily found by your generall answers, that, although I have been an old Courtier, you knew how to Silence me by changing the Subject. Which made me reflect that courtiers resemble Gamesters, the latter finding new Arts unknown to the older. And I well remember a principal old Gamester, who assured me that he had lost 14000 since he left of Play, merely by dabbling with younger proficients who had found out new Refinements. My Lord; I will as a Divine, quote Scripture. Although the children's meat must not be given to Dogs; yet the Dogs eat the Scraps that fall from the Children's tables. This is the second Request I ever directly made your Grace. Mr. Jackson is under a necessity of living on his small estate, part whereof is his Parish about four miles from hence, where he hath built a Family-house, more expensive than he intended. He is a Clergyman of long standing, and of a most unblemished character. But the misfortune is, that he hath not one Enemy, and consequently I have none to appeal to for the truth of what I say. Pray, my Lord, be not allarmed at the word Deanry, nor imagine it a Dignity like those we have in England, for, except three or four, the rest have neither Power nor Land at Deans and Chapters. It is usually a living made up of one or more Parishes some very poor, others better endowed, but all in Tythes. Mr. Jackson can not leave his present situation, and only deserves some very moderate addition, consistent with what he holds. My Lord, I do not deceive your Grace, when I say, you will oblige great numbers of those who are most in your esteem here, by conferring this favor, or any other that will answer the same end: [3 lines in Latin] I should have waited on your Grace, and should have taken the Priviledge of staying my usual thirteen minutes if I had not been prevented by the return of an old disorder in my Head, for which I have been forced to confine my self to the Precepts of my Physicians. I am with the highest Respect / My Lord / Your Graces most obedient and most humble Servant / Jonath: Swift''. Swift willed his estate for the creation of mental health specialty center St. Patrick's Hospital in Ireland. Runs 3pp. on card-style stationery and measures 7'' x 9''. Light toning and showthrough, else near fine.
Jonathan Swift 1735 ALS -- Calls Into Question Duration of His Mental Illness -- ''...I should have...[visited longer]...if I had not been prevented by the return of an old disorder in my Head...''
Jonathan Swift 1735 ALS -- Calls Into Question Duration of His Mental Illness -- ''...I should have...[visited longer]...if I had not been prevented by the return of an old disorder in my Head...''
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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $1,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $14,351
Number Bids: 8
Auction closed on Tuesday, December 18, 2012.
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