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Quotations From 4TH EARL CHESTERFIELD, PHILIP DORMER STANHOPE


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  • Whenever I go to an opera, I leave my sense and reason at the door with my half guinea, and deliver myself up to my eyes and my ears.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Jan. 23, 1752, 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. III, p. 257, London (1774).

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  • If you have wit, use it to please, and not to hurt; you may shine, like the sun in the temperature zones, without scorching. Here it is wished for; under the Line it is dreaded.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Sept. 5, 1748, 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. 58, London (1774). "Under the Line" means below the equator.

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  • Many people come into company full of what they intend to say in it themselves, without the least regard to others; and thus charged up to the muzzle are resolved to let it off at any rate.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. Letter, January 1766, Chesterfield's Letters to his Son and Others, p. 297, London, Dent (1796). Written to his godson Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl (1755-1815), a distant relative of Chesterfield's, who eventually became his heir and successor.

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  • Every thing in his composition was little; and he had all the weaknesses of a little mind, without any of the virtues, or even the vices, of a great one.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. Characters of Chesterfield, 1773, repr. Augustan Reprint Society nos. 259-260, p. 4, University of California, Los Angeles (1990). Character of George II, King of England (1683-1760).
  • Depend upon this truth, that every man is the worse looked upon, and the less trusted, for being thought to have no religion.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Jan. 8, 1750, 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, pp. 312-13, London (1774).

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  • I am told that Duclos' book is not in vogue in Paris, and that it is being violently criticized, apparently because readers understand it; and being intelligible is no longer the fashion.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Apr. 15, 1751, 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. III, pp. 160, 164, London (1774). This letter is translated from the French. The book was Considérations sur les moeurs de ce siècle by Charles Pinot Duclos (1704-1772), whose work Chesterfield admired.

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  • While abroad, he met with a very salacious English woman, whose liberality retrieved his fortune, with several circumstances more to the honor of his vigor than his morals.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. Characters of Chesterfield, 1778, repr. Augustan Reprint Society, nos. 259-260, p. 54, University of California, Los Angeles (199). Character of Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland (1705-74), statesman and politician.

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  • Second-rate knowledge, and middling talents, carry a man farther at courts, and in the busy part of the world, than superior knowledge and shining parts.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. Letter, June 20, 1751, 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. III, p. 213, London (1774).

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  • In matters of religion and matrimony I never give any advice; because I will not have anybody's torments in this world or the next laid to my charge.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. Letter, October 12, 1765. Lord Chesterfield's Letters to His Godson, no. 73, appendix, ed. Earl of Carnarvon (1890).

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  • He was as jealous of his power as an impotent lover of his mistress, without activity of mind enough to enjoy or exert it, but could not bear a share even in the appearances of it.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. Characters of Chesterfield, 1778, repr. Augustan Reprint Society, nos. 259-260, p. 49, University of California, Los Angeles (1990). Character of Sir Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle (1693-1768), Prime Minister of Britain, 1754-1756, and, with William Pitt, 1757-1761.

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