Irish Times
16 June 2012

Jonathan Swift’s letters at Sotheby’s

SOTHEBY’S IS to auction “important and extremely rare” Irish historical papers in London next month. Three volumes of original letters relating to the government of Ireland in the 18th century are estimated to make between £80,000 and £120,000 (€100,000-€150,000).

Many of the letters were written to Lionel Cranfield Sackville – the first duke of Dorset and lord lieutenant of Ireland – and shed light on the difficulties encountered by the British administration trying to govern the country.

Topics include: the emergence of Henry Grattan’s Irish Patriot Party; support in Ireland for the American Revolution; the lawlessness of Tipperary where “even the common operations of justice cannot be carried into execution”; and less weighty matters such as the complaint, by an archbishop, about the dreadful wine served in Dublin Castle.

Seven letters written by Jonathan Swift between 1732 and 1736, while…

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