Sunday, 29 May 2011

Bank holiday diversions

"This week being sacred to holy things, and no public diversions allowed, there has been taken notice of even here, a little Treatise, called 'A Project for the Advancement of Religion: dedicated to the Countess of Berkeley.' The title was so uncommon, and promised so peculiar a way of thinking, that every man here has read it, and as many as have done so have approved it. It is written with the spirit of one who has seen the world enough to undervalue it with good breeding. The author must certainly be a man of wisdom, as well as piety, and have spent as much time in the exercise of both. The real causes of the decay of the interests of religion are set forth in a clear and lively manner, without unseasonable passions; and the whole air of the book, as to the language, the sentiments, and the reasonableness, show it was written by one whose virtue sits easy about him, and to whom vice is thoroughly contemptible. It was said by one of this company, alluding to that knowledge of the world the author seems to have, the man writes much like a gentleman, and goes to Heaven with a very good mien."

Richard Steele Tatler 20 April 1709