Abbreviated title
A project for the advancement of religion
JSA Identification Number
Teerink/Scouten Number
ESTC Number
Copy and its Location
CUL , Williams 337
Publisher and Printer
A project for the advancement of religion, and the reformation of manners, Vol. , pp .
London, Tooke, Benjamin, 1709.


This essay was published through Swift’s regular bookseller, Benjamin Tooke. It does not bear Swift’s name, though it is said to be written by ‘a Person of Quality’. It is well printed in an old-fashioned style. In some respects it is more direct and outspoken than Faulkner’s 1735 reprint. Writing of what is regarded as acceptable behavior, Swift says that any man ‘will let you know he is going to a Whore’, whereas in 1735 it becomes ‘Wench’. An interesting discussion of the dress of the clergy (bad behavior of some in clerical dress leads to general contempt) concludes in this first edition: ‘Though in my opinion it were infinitely better if all the Clergy (except the Bishops) were allowed to appear like other Men of the graver Sort, unless at those Seasons when they are doing the Business of their Function’. In Faulkner’s edition the passage is omitted. Swift is often concerned with dress in his poems, and, of course, in Tale of a Tub. This essay, like other of Swift’s works, is subject to polishing through later revision.

Benjamin Tooke, Jr. (1671-1723, fl. 1693-1723) was the son of Benjamin Tooke, Sr., sometimes confused with him. He was Swift’s bookseller from 1701, when he published some of Temple’s papers, until his death. He published important works, including Contests and Dissentions and Tale of a Tub; Swift’s formal and serious works bore his imprint. After he began to write for the ministry in 1710, Swift was drawn into an alliance with the government printer, John Barber, but Tooke shared with Barber the appointments that came through ministry patronage, perhaps through Swift’s influence: The London Gazette; Stationers to the Ordnance; the reversion of Queen’s printer.

References: The Prose Writings of Jonathan Swift, ed. Herbert Davis and others, 16 vols. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1939-74), vol. ii, pp. 41-63, 278-9; Irvin Ehrenpeis, Swift: The Man, His Works, and the Age (London: Methuen, 1962-83), vol. ii, p. 276-80, 289-94; Michael Treadwell, ‘Swift’s Relations with the London Book Trade to 1714’, in Author/Publisher Relations during the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, ed. Robin Myers and Michael Harris (Oxford: Oxford Polytechnic Press, 1983), pp. 1-36.