“I do not like the Evangelicals.”
letter to Cassandra
January 24, 1809 
My friend Kris requested this one. This quote makes my evangelical friends and I laugh, partly because even though we are in the evangelical camp, at times we understand the sentiment.
Cassandra had been telling Jane about Hannah More’s new book, Coelebs in Search of a Wife, trying to get her to read it, and when Jane realized More was the author, this was her response, though she added “Of course I shall be delighted when I read it, like other people, but till I do, I dislike it.”
Jane was a devout Christian. Evangelicalism was a fairly new phenomenon, and Jane’s other statements on it are not nearly so clear cut, but in general she was not comfortable talking about her faith so much as the Evangelicals were prone to do, I think.
Hannah More was a playwright and incredibly popular, part of the London social scene, a celebrity of sorts, and she was a friend of William Wilberforce, who was campaigning to abolish slavery (a cause we are sure Jane supported). A new movie opens today, Amazing Grace starring Ioan Gruffudd as Wilberforce, whom we fell in love with as Horatio Hornblower in the A&E movies. It’s gotten great attention already, and I can’t wait to see it. Wilberforce was truly an amazing man, who, I think like Jane, would be uncomfortable with all the attention.
And I have to say, with all these new Austen adaptations coming up this year, we are only sorry that Ioan Gruffudd (pronounced yowan griffith) was not cast in any of the roles. I think he would make the perfect Austen hero.
For more information on Wilberforce, see BreakPoint.