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Dr Sacheverell

Irish Humour Home






Some time after the expiration of Dr. Sacheverell's punishment, having
been silenced three years from preaching, and his sermon ordered to be
burned, the ministry treated him with great indifference, and he applied
in vain for the vacant rectory of St. Andrew's, Holborn. Having,
however, a slender acquaintance with Swift, he wrote to him for his
interest with government in his behalf, stating how much he had suffered
in the cause of the ministry. Swift immediately carried his letter to
Lord Bolingbroke, then Secretary of State, who railed much at
Sacheverell, calling him a busy intermeddling fellow; a prig and an
incendiary, who had set the kingdom in a flame which could not be
extinguished, and therefore deserved censure instead of reward. Although
Swift had not a much better opinion of the Doctor than Lord Bolingbroke,
he replied, True, my Lord; but let me tell you a story. In a sea fight
in the reign of Charles the Second, there was a very bloody engagement
between the English and Dutch fleets, in the heat of which a Scotch
sea-man was very severely bit by a louse on his neck, which he caught;
and stooping down to crack it between his nails, many of the sailors
near him had their heads taken off by a chain-shot from the enemy, which
dashed their blood and brains about him; on which he had compassion upon
the poor louse, returned him to his place and bid him live there at
discretion, for as he had saved his life, he was bound in gratitude to
save his. This recital threw my Lord Bolingbroke into a violent fit of
laughing, who, when it was over, said, The louse shall have the living
for your story. And soon after Sacheverell was presented to it.





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