Item of the Day: Horne Tooke’s Diversions of Purley (1786)

Full Title:

The Diversions of Purley, Part I. By John Horne Tooke, A.M. London: J. Johnson, 1786.

From the Introduction:


—THE mystery is at last unravelled. I shall no more wonder now that you engross his company at Purley, whilst his other friends can scarce get a sight of him. This, you say, was President Bradshaw’s seat. That is the secret of his attachment to the place. You hold him by the best security, his political prejudices and enthusiasm. But do not let his veneration for the memory of the antient possessor pass upon you for affection to the present.


Should you be altogether so severe upon my politics; when you reflect that, merely for attempting to prevent the effusion of brother’s blood and the final desmemberment of the empire, I stand the single legal victim during the contest, and the single instance of proscription after it? But I am well contented that my principles, which have made so many of your way of thinking angry, should only make you laugh. Such however as they are, they need not now to be defended by me: for they have stood the test of ages; and they will keep their ground in the general commendation fo the world, till men forget to love themselves; though, till then perhaps, they are not likely to be seen (nor credited if seen) in the practice of many individuals.

But are you really forced to go above a hundred years back to account for my attachment to Purley? Without considering the many strong public and private ties by which I am bound to its present possessor, can you find nothing in the beautiful prospect from these windows? nothing in the entertainment every one receives in this house? nothing in the delightful rides and walks we have taken round it? nothing in the cheerful disposition and easy kindness of its owner, to make a rational man partial to this habitation?


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Filed under 1780's, Language, Posted by Carrie Shanafelt

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