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Quotations From 4TH EARL CHESTERFIELD, PHILIP DORMER STANHOPE


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  • Give nobly to indigent merit, and do not refuse your charity even to those who have not merit but their misery.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. Letter, undated, Chesterfield's Letters to his Son and Others, p. 306, 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; the letter included instructions that it be delivered to the godson after Chesterfield's death.
  • Any affectation whatsoever in dress implies, in my mind, a flaw in the understanding.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, 30 Dec. 1748, first published (1774). The Letters of the Earl of Chesterfield to His Son, vol. 2, no. 225, ed. Charles Strachey (1901).
  • Pleasure is necessarily reciprocal; no one feels it who does not at the same time give it. To be pleased, one must please. What pleases you in others, will in general please them in you.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. Letter, July 9, 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. III, p. 46, London (1774).

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  • In business be as able as you can, but do not be cunning; cunning is the dark sanctuary of incapacity.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. Letter, undated, Chesterfield's Letters to his Son and Others, p. 305, 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; the letter included instructions that it be delivered to the godson after Chesterfield's death.

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  • Most people enjoy the inferiority of their best friends.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. repr. in The Letters of the Earl of Chesterfield to His Son, vol. 2, no. 229, ed. Charles Strachey (1901). Letter, July 9, 1750 (1774).

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  • Merit at Courts, without favour, will do little or nothing; favour, without merit, will do a good deal; but favour and merit together will do everything.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. Letter, June 26, 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, pp. 324-25, London (1774).

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  • It seems to me that physical sickness softens, just as moral sickness hardens, the heart.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Dec. 25, 1755, The French Correspondence of the 4th Earl of Chesterfield, vol. I, p. 106, ed. Rex A. Barrell, trans. James Gray, Ottawa, Borealis Press (1980).

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  • In my mind, there is nothing so illiberal, and so ill-bred, as audible laughter.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. Letter, March 9, 1748, first published (1774). The Letters of the Earl of Chesterfield to His Son, vol. 1, no. 144, ed. Charles Strachey (1901). In a later letter, Dec. 12, 1765, Chesterfield wrote: "Observe it, the vulgar often laugh, but never smile, whereas well-bred people often smile, and seldom or never laugh. A witty thing never excited laughter, it pleases only the mind and never distorts the countenance." (Lord Chesterfield's Letters to His Godson, no. 135, ed. Earl of Carnarvon, 1889).

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  • You must embrace the man you hate, if you cannot be justified in knocking him down.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. Letter, January 15, 1753, first published 1774. The Letters of the Earl of Chesterfield to His Son, vol. 2, no. 297, ed. Charles Strachey (1901).

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  • People will no more advance their civility to a bear, than their money to a bankrupt.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Dec. 25, 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. 36, London (1774).

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