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the Turk, we shall find ourselves much deceived: for, as he is too remote, and generally engaged in war with the Persian emperor, so his people would be more scandalized at our infidelity, than our Christian neighbours. For the Turks are not only strict observers of religious worship, but, what is worse, believe a God; which is more than is required of us, even while we preserve the name of Christians.
To conclude: whatever some may think of the great advantages to trade by this favourite scheme, I do very much apprehend, that in six months time after the act is passed for the extirpation of the gospel, the Bank and East-India stock may fall at least one per cent.
And since that is fifty times more, than ever the wisdom of our age thought fit to venture, for the preservation of Christianity, there is no reason we should be at so great a loss, merely for the sake of destroying it.
ADVANCEMENT OF RELIGION
REFORMATION OF MANNERS. *
O siquis volet impias
Cædes, et rabiem tollere civicam :
Subscribi statuis, indomitam audeat
BY A PERSON OF QUALITY.
Written in the year 1709,
TO THE COUNTESS OF BERKELEY.
MADAM, My intention of prefixing your ladyship's name, is not, after the common form, to desire your protection of the following papers ; 'which I take to be a very unreasonable request; since by being inscribed to your ladyship, though without your knowledge, and from a concealed hand, you cannot recommend them without some suspicion of
* This treatise was written about 1709, when Swift was chaplain in the family of Lord Berkeley. The praises bestowed upon his countess, to whom it is inscribed, are said to have been as well merited as happily and elegantly expressed. Swift continued to entertain a profound respect
for Lady Berkeley, long after he had quarrelled with the Earl. . In after-life our author loved to have
this tract accounted a strong but covered attack upon
the Whig administration, and accordingly his biographer, Mr Sheridan, contends at great length, that, by recommending to the queen a reformation of manners, Swift chiefly meant to insinuate a change of administration; and by advising, that she should call around her person, and to her councils, those who had the cause of religion at heart, he meant that she should chuse her officers and ministers from the Tories and High-Church men. It is no doubt true, that Swift, while he was dispose d to be a Whig in politics, considered himself always as a High-Church man in religion; and many passages of this treatise may be considered as particularly affecting that party by whom the clergy were held in general and almost systematic contempt. But in this, as in the preceding treatise, the evils pointed out are too general to be imputed as the exclusive attributes of any one party, and I cannot be easily convinced, that so excellent a moral essay was written with a view merely political ; or that Swift, who at this time had no connection with the Tories, was endeavouring without motive to undermine the administration of Halifax, Somers, and Godolphin, with whom he was living on terms of friendship, at least, if not of expectancy and dependence.
As to the merits of the Project, it must be allowed, that the author has been more successful in pointing out the extent of the evil than in suggesting remedies. The idea of a religious administration and court borders on the visionary; and the plan of censors and itinerant commissioners for the inspection of morals, could hardly be tolerated in a free country. Yet the minur branches of the Project might be successfully adopted. The reformation of the stage, (since happily perfected,) the exclusion of openly vicious characters from the presence of the sovereign, the more selected choice of justices of peace, the reviving discipline in schools, colleges, and inns of court, above all, the exertions of the clergy in a cause peculiarly their own, are sound practical remedies in an age of prevailing and general depravity.
Steele, then an intimate friend of the author, thus distinguished the treatise in the fifth number of the Tatler.
« 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 partiality. My real design is, I confess, the very same I have often detested in most dedications ; that of publishing your praises to the world; not upon the subject of your noble birth, for I know others as noble; or of the greatness of your fortune, for I know others far greater; or of that beautiful race (the images of their parents) which call you' mother; for even this may perhaps have been equalled in some other age or country. Besides, none of these advantages do derive any accomplishments to the owners, but serve at best only to adorn what they really possess. What I intend is, your piety, truth, good sense, and good nature, affability, and charity; wherein I wish your ladyship had many equals, or any superiors; and I wish I could say, I knew them too, for then your ladyship might have had a chance to escape this address. In the mean time, I think it highly necessary, for the interest of virtue and religion, that the whole kingdom should be informed in some parts of your character: for instance, that the easiest and politest conversation, joined with the truest piety, may be observed in your ladyship, in as great perfection, as they were ever seen apart, in any other persons. That by your prudence and management under several disad
who has seen the world enough to undervalue it with goodbreeding. The author must certainly be a man of wisdom as well as piety, and have spent much time in the exercise of both. The real causes of the decay of the interest 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 reasonings, shows it was written by one whose virtue sits easy
about him, and to whom vice is thoroughly contemptible. It was said by one in company, alluding to that knowledge of the world this author seems to have, “ The man writes much like a gentleman, and goes to Heaven with a very good mien,
vantages, you have preserved the lustre of that most noble family, into which you are grafted, and which the unmeasurable profusion of ancestors, for many generations, had too much eclipsed. Then, how happily you perform every office of life, to which Providence has called you : in the education of those two incomparable daughters, whose conduct is so universally admired; in every duty of a prudent, complying, affectionate wife ; in that care which descends to the meanest of your domestics; and lastly, in that endless bounty to the poor, and discretion where to distribute it. I insist on my opinion, that it is of importance for the public to know this and a great deal more of your ladyship; yet whoever goes about to inform them shall, instead of finding credit, perhaps be censured for a flatterer. TO avoid so usual a reproach, I declare this to be no dedication, but merely an introduction to a proposal for the advancement of religion and morals, by tracing, however imperfectly, some few linea, ments in the character of a lady, who has spent all her life in the practice and promotion of both.
Among all the schemes offered to the public in this projecting age, I have observed, with some displeasure, that there have never been any for the improvement of religion and morals; which, beside the piety of the design, from the consequence of such a reformation in a future life, would be the best natural means for advancing the public felicity of the state, as well as the pre