Quotations From 4TH EARL CHESTERFIELD, PHILIP DORMER STANHOPE

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  • You will find that reason, which always ought to direct mankind, seldom does; but that passions and weaknesses commonly usurp its seat, and rule in its stead.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Feb. 15, 1754, Letters Written by the Late Right Honourable Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl, Earl of Chesterfield, to his Son, Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl, Esq, 5th ed., vol. IV, p. 54, London (1774).
  • Absolute power can only be supported by error, ignorance and prejudice.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Nov. 25, 1751, Chesterfield's Letters to his Son and Others, p. 312, London, Dent (1796). Despite Chesterfield's comment, Francis Hastings, 10th Earl of Huntingdon (1729-1789), to whom this letter was addressed, continued to be a believer in arbitrary power.

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  • Words, which are the dress of thoughts, deserve surely more care than clothes, which are only the dress of the person.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Nov. 20, 1753, Letters Written by the Late Right Honourable Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl, Earl of Chesterfield, to his Son, Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl, Esq, 5th ed., vol. IV, p. 32, London (1774).
  • Thirty years ago I said, "But how can one be sick?" But now I say, "If only one could find the secret of not being sick, I would not exchange it for all the secrets in the world."
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. Letter, May 7, 1752, The French Correspondence of the 4th Earl of Chesterfield, vol. I, p. 93, ed. Rex A. Barrell, trans. James Gray, Ottawa, Borealis Press (1980).

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  • There is nothing that people bear more impatiently, or forgive less, than contempt: and an injury is much sooner forgotten than an insult.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Oct. 9, 1746, first published (1774). The Letters of the Earl of Chesterfield to His Son, vol. 1, no. 113, ed. Charles Strachey (1901).

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  • Conscious virtue is the only solid foundation of all happiness; for riches, power, rank, or whatever, in the common acceptation of the word, is supposed to constitute happiness, will never quiet, much less cure, the inward pangs of guilt.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Dec. 26, 1749, Letters Written by the Late Right Honourable Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl, Earl of Chesterfield, to his Son, Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl, Esq, 5th ed., vol. II, p. 307, London (1774).

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  • Custom has made dancing sometimes necessary for a young man; therefore mind it while you learn it, that you may learn to do it well, and not be ridiculous, though in a ridiculous act.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter Oct. 9, 1746. The Letters of the Earl of Chesterfield to His Son, vol. 1, no. 113, first published (1774), ed. Charles Strachey (1901).

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  • Cardinal Mazarin was a great knave, but no great man; much more cunning than able; scandalously false and dirtily greedy.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. Letter, "Miscellaneous Pieces," Letters Written by the Late Right Honourable Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl, Earl of Chesterfield, to his Son, Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl, Esq, 5th ed., vol. IV, p. 324, London (1774). Jules Marzarein (1602-1661), premier ministre of France during the regency of Anne of Austria, and reputedly the most powerful influence in the country, amassed a colossal fortune during their joint reign, thus justifying at least part of Chesterfield's indictment.
  • Gold and silver are but merchandise, as well as cloth or linen; and that nation that buys the least, and sells the most, must always have the most money.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. Letter, "Miscellaneous Pieces," Letters Written by the Late Right Honourable Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl, Earl of Chesterfield, to his Son, Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl, Esq, 5th ed., vol. IV, p. 332, London (1774).

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  • Remember to take the best dancing master at Berlin, more to teach you to sit, stand, and walk gracefully, than to dance finely. The Graces, the Graces; remember the Graces!
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Jan. 10, 1749, Letters Written by the Late Right Honourable Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl, Earl of Chesterfield, to his Son, Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl, Esq, 5th ed., vol. II, p. 132, London (1774).

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