Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman  

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{{Template}} Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman (1774) is a book by Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield. It features one of the first mid-18th century modern English usage of etiquette (the conventional rules of personal behaviour in polite society).

It is a correspondence of more than 400 letters written from 1737 until the death of his son, in 1768; most of the letters were instructive, concerning varied subjects that a worldly gentleman should know. The letters were first published in 1774, by Eugenia Stanhope, the widow of the diplomat Philip Stanhope, Chesterfield's bastard son. Throughout the correspondence, Chesterfield endeavoured to decouple the matter of social manners from conventional morality, with perceptive observations that pragmatically argue to Philip that mastery of etiquette was an important means for social advancement, for a man such as he. Chesterfield's elegant, literary style of writing epitomised the emotional restraint characteristic of polite social intercourse in 18th-century society:

I would heartily wish that you may often be seen to smile, but never heard to laugh while you live. Frequent and loud laughter is the characteristic of folly and ill-manners; it is the manner in which the mob express their silly joy at silly things; and they call it being merry. In my mind there is nothing so illiberal, and so ill-bred, as audible laughter. I am neither of a melancholy nor a cynical disposition, and am as willing and as apt to be pleased as anybody; but I am sure that since I have had the full use of my reason nobody has ever heard me laugh.

Full text[1]

LETTERS TO HIS SON


BY THE

EARL OF CHESTERFIELD


on the Fine Art of becoming a

MAN OF THE WORLD


and a GENTLEMAN


WITH TOPICAL CONTENTS AND A SPECIAL INTRODUCTION BY


OLIVER H. G. LEIGH


H.WALTER DUNNE,PUBLISHER WASHINGTON & LONDON



MICROFOkMED BY

PRESERVATION

SERVICES

DATE JUL 4 1989


COPYRIGHT, 1901,

D Y

M. WA LTER DUNNE

PUBLISHER



1013544


ILLUSTRATIONS

VOLUME II

. Frontispiece


CONGRATULATIONS ....

Photogravure after the original painting

PORTRAIT OF LORD CHESTERFIELD .

Photogravure after the original painting


(vii)




CONTENTS

VOLUME II


LETTER

CXL GRACEFUL DEPORTMENT A SIGN OF GRACE i

CXLI THE MAGIC OF A SOFT VOICE AND METHOD 3

CXLII STUDY THE BOOKS THAT WALK AND TALK 7

CXLIII IMPORTANCE OF FIRST IMPRESSIONS 10

CXLIV A LESSON IN DISHONOR 13

CXLV CULTIVATING ONE S BETTERS 15

CXLVI THE STIFF IMMOBILITY OF A BASHFUL BOOBY 19

CXLVII ADAPTABILITY IN MIXED COMPANY 21

CXLVIII THE USEFUL IN TRAVEL LORE 26

CXLIX How CHESTERFIELD MADE HIMSELF CHESTERFIELD.... 29 CL LEARNED MEN, BEARS IN ENGLAND, IN FRANCE

GENTLEMEN 33

CLI GOOD, BUT NOT SHOWY, DRESS is DUE TO ONESELF

AND SOCIETY 35

CLII ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, IF

MASTERED 39

CLIII ON WRITING LETTERS OF BUSINESS 42

CLIV THE PARLIAMENT OF FRANCE 45

CLV THE HANDINESS OF OUTLANDISH INFORMATION 47

CLVI ON MAKING ACQUAINTANCE WITH THE VARIOUS THE OLOGIES, CHURCHES, AND PREACHERS 51

CLVII THE THEATRE AND OPERA IN FRANCE AND ENGLAND.. 55

CLVIII TRUTH DISFIGURED BY RIDICULE 58

CLIX GOOD BREEDING RESPECTED BY ALL 62

CLX A RECEIPT FOR IMITATION POLISH 64

CLXI THE POETS OF EUROPE 68

CLXII UTILIZING ONE S SPARE MOMENTS 70

CLXIII CHECKING OUR PROGRESS IN KNOWLEDGE OF THE

WORLD 74

CLXIV REASON is OUR MIND S WIFE, VERY OFTEN HEARD,

SELDOM HEEDED 78

CLXV THE MANAGEMENT OF A COUNTENANCE 82

CLXVI VERSATILITY ADVANTAGEOUS 85

CLXVII A FORTUNE IN A PLEASING EXTERIOR AND MANNER... 89

CLXVIII PROFITABLE READING FOR PLEASURE 92

CLXIX THE STUDY versus THE WORLD 96

CLXX ON STOOPING TO CONQUER 99


CHESTERFIELD S LETTERS


LETTER P AGE

CLXXI COUNSELS OF A COURTIER 102

CLXXII DIPLOMATIC DRINKING 105

CLXXIII WIT LESS VALUABLE THAN SENSE. 108

CLXXI V THE POLITICS OF EUROPE 112

CLXXV To VOLTAIRE, INTRODUCING His SON . 115

CLXXVI SCHOLARSHIP ALONE CANNOT MAKE A GENTLEMAN. 116 CLXXVII THE WORDLY WISDOM OF OBSERVING CUSTOMS

SOMETIMES SILLY IIQ

CLXXVIII A GENIAL MANNER OPENS HEARTS 123

CLXXIX TAKING THE WIND OUT OF YOUR ENEMY S SAILS. . . 127 CLXXX SNUFF AS AN AID TO THE READING OF SOME

GREAT POETS 130

CLXXXI COURTESY SPECIALLY DUE TO HUMBLER NEIGHBORS. 133

CLXXXII THE PHILOSOPHY OF VANITY 139

CLXXXIII THE POLITIC PIETY OF FENELON AND MADAME DE

MAINTENON I4I

CLXXXIV A MAN OF MANY FRIENDS 143

CLXXXV FALSE FOCUSSING IN HISTORIES 146

CLXXXVI MAKE-BELIEVE IGNORANCE SOMETIMES THE SOUND EST WISDOM 149

CLXXXVII THE MERELY BOOKISH versus THE ALL-ROUND

MAN I53

CLXXXVIII ON MAKING PEOPLE PLEASED WITH THEMSELVES.... 156

CLXXXIX SNUBBING ONE S OWN FACE 159

CXC DRESS THOUGHTS MORE CAREFULLY THAN THE PERSON 163

CXCI THE NARROW SPIRIT OF INTOLERANCE 165

CXCII KING GEORGE LIKE THE Ass IN THE FABLE 167

CXCI II FREDERICK THE GREAT, THE ABLEST PRINCE IN

EUROPE jyo

CXCIV THE GALLANT OF THE PERIOD 172

CXCV RECEIPT TO MAKE A MERELY POPULAR SPEAKER... 175

CXCVI AN UNSAFE ESTIMATE OF AUDIENCES 178

CXCVII REALIZING ONE S FAILINGS 181

CXCVIII SAFE MEDIOCRITY SOMETIMES BETTER THAN BRIL LIANCE 185

CXCIX DISSEMBLING IN STATING REASONS FOR ACTIONS. . . . 187 CC THE FINE ART OF HUMBUGGING THE ENEMY ONE

CANNOT SMITE igi

CCI SHALL LANGUAGE MASTER Us, OR WE IT ? 194

CCII PHILIP STANHOPE S MAIDEN SPEECH IN THE HOUSE

OF COMMONS 196

CCIII IF COURTS COULD BLUSH 198

CCIV THE WILL-O -THE-WISP OF HALF-KNOWLEDGE 199

CCV THE ROSEATE HUE OF BLOODY WAR 201

CCVI HARD WORK HEIGHTENS PLEASURE 202

CCVII WERE THE MAJORITY WISE, WARS WOULD CEASE . . 204


CONTENTS


XI


J.ETTER

CCVIII CCIX

ccx

CCXI CCXII

CCXIII CCXIV

ccxv

CCXVI

CCXVII

CCXVIII

TO

CCLXXXII CCLXXXIII CCLXXXIV

CCLXXXV CCLXXXVI

TO

cccx

CCCXI

TO

cccxx


PAGB

IDLE FOLKS HAVE THE HARDEST TIME 206

HUMILIATING POSITION OF ENGLAND 209

ON SAYING NOTHINGS WHICH SOUND LIKE SOME THINGS 2I

WHAT WISE OR FOOLISH THING HAVE I DONE

TO-DAY? 213

THE DAY S DIVERSIONS OF A SHELVED MAN OF THE

WORLD 215

THE REAL GREATNESS OF FREDERICK OF PRUSSIA. . 218

A LESSON IN DIPLOMACY 220

TREAT TO-DAY S FOE AS A POSSIBLE ALLY TO MORROW 222

DALLYING WITH THE FAG-END OF LIFE 226

THE IFS AND BUTS OF SOLDIERING 227

v PERSONAL AND POLITICAL GOSSIP 228- 301

THE IMPOSITION ON THE AMERICAN COLONIES 302

THE PERNICIOUS STAMP ACT 33

GAVE His PROXY VOTE AGAINST IT 304

V PERSONAL AND GENERAL TOPICS 306

) To MRS. STANHOPE, His SON S WIDOW, AND TO

f HER BOYS, WHOSE EDUCATION HE UNDERTOOK. . . 333


APPENDIX

JUVENILE SECTION


I

TO

CXII)


( LETTERS TO His SON, WRITTEN WHEN THE LATTER WAS

BETWEEN FIVE AND FOURTEEN YEARS OF AGE 343


LORD CHESTERFIELD S LETTERS TO HIS SON

VOLUME II LETTER CXL

LONDON, May 2, O. S. 1751.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Two accounts, which I have very lately received of you, from two good judges, have put me into great spirits, as they have given me reasonable hopes that you will soon acquire all that I be lieve you want : I mean the air, the address, the graces, and the manners of a man of fashion. As these two pictures of you are very unlike that which I received, and sent you some months ago, I will name the two painters : the first is an old friend and acquaintance of mine, Monsieur d Aillon. His picture is, I hope, like you; for it is a very good one : Monsieur Tollot s is still a better, and so advantageous a one, that I will not send you a copy of it, for fear of making you too vain. So far only I will tell you, that there was but one BUT in either of their accounts; and it was this : I gave d Aillon the question ordinary and extraordinary, upon the important article of manners; and extorted this from him : (< But, since you will know it, he still wants that last beautiful varnish, which raises the colors, and gives brilliancy to the piece. Be persuaded that he will acquire it : he has too much sense not to know its value ; and if I am not greatly mistaken, more persons than one are now endeavoring to give it him." Monsieur Tollot says : (< In order to be exactly all that you wish him, he only wants those little nothings, those graces in detail, and that amiable ease, which can only be acquired by usage of the great world. I am assured that he is, in that respect, in good hands. I do not know whether that does not rather imply in fine arms." Without entering into a nice discussion of the last question, I congratulate you and my self upon your being so near that point at which I so anx iously wish you to arrive. I am sure that all your attention and endeavors will be exerted ; and, if exerted, they will succeed. Mr. Tollot says, that you are inclined to be fat, but I hope you will decline it as much as you can ; not


2 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

by taking anything corrosive to make you lean, but by taking as little as you can of those things that would make you fat. Drink no chocolate; take your coffee without cream: you cannot possibly avoid suppers at Paris, unless you avoid company too, which I would by no means have you do ; but eat as little at supper as you can, and make even an allowance for that little at your dinners. Take occasionally a double dose of riding and fencing ; and now that summer is come, walk a good deal in the Tuileries. It is a real in convenience to anybody to be fat, and besides it is ungraceful for a young fellow. A propos, I had like to have forgot to tell you, that I charged Tollot to attend particularly to your utterence and diction ; two points of the utmost impor tance. To the first he says : (< His enunciation is not bad, but it is to be wished that it were still better ; and he expresses himself with more fire than elegance. Usage of good company will instruct him likewise in that. These, I allow, are all little things, separately ; but aggre gately, they make a most important and great article in the account of a gentleman. In the House of Commons you can never make a figure without elegance of style, and gracefulness of utterance ; and you can never succeed as a courtier at your own Court, or as a minister at any other, without those innumerable petits riens dans les manures, et dans les attentions. Mr. Yorke is by this time at Paris; make your court to him, but not so as to disgust, in the least, Lord Albemarle, who may possibly dislike your consider ing Mr. Yorke as the man of business, and him as only pour orner la scene. Whatever your opinion may be upon THAT POINT, take care not to let it appear ; but be well with them both by showing no public preference to either.

Though I must necessarily fall into repetitions bj treating the same subject so often, I cannot help recom mending to you again the utmost attention to your air and address. Apply yourself now to Marcel s lectures, as dili gently as you did formerly to Professor Mascow s; desire him to teach you every genteel attitude that the human body can be put into ; let him make you go in and out of his room frequently, and present yourself to him, as if he were by turns different persons ; such as a minister, a lady, a superior, an equal, and inferior, etc. Learn to seat genteelly in different


LETTERS TO HIS SON 3

companies; to loll genteelly, and with good manners, in those companies where you are authorized to be free, and to sit up re spectfully where the same freedom is not allowable. Learn even to compose your countenance occasionally to the respectful, the cheerful, and the insinuating. Take particular care that the mo tions of your hands and arms be easy and graceful ; for the gen- teelness of a man consists more in them than in anything else, especially in his dancing. Desire some women to tell you of any little awkwardness that they observe in your carriage ; they are the best judges of those things ; and if they are satisfied, the men will be so too. Think now only of the decorations. Are you acquainted with Madame Geoffrain, who has a great deal of wit; and who, I am informed, receives only the very best company in her house? Do you know Madame du Pin, who, I remember, had beauty, and I hear has wit and read ing? I could wish you to converse only with those who, either from their rank, their merit, or their beauty, require constant attention ; for a young man can never improve in company where he thinks he may neglect himself. A new bow must be constantly kept bent ; when it grows older, and has taken the right turn, it may now and then be relaxed. I have this moment paid your draft of 89 155. ; it was signed in a very good hand; which proves that a good hand may be written without the assistance of magic. Nothing provokes me much more, than to hear people in dolently say that they cannot do, what is in everybody s power to do, if it be but in their will. Adieu.


LETTER CXLI

LONDON, May 6, O. S. 1751.

MY DEAR FRIEND : The best authors are always the se verest critics of their own works ; they revise, cor rect, file, and polish them, till they think they have brought them to perfection. Considering you as my work, I do not look upon myself as a bad author, and am there fore a severe critic. I examine narrowly into the least in accuracy or inelegance, in order to correct, not to expose them, and that the work may be perfect at last. You are,


4 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

I know, exceedingly improved in your air, address, and manners, since you have been at Paris ; but still there is, I believe, room for further improvement before you come to that perfection which I have set my heart upon seeing you arrive at ; and till that moment I must continue filing and polishing. In a letter that I received by last post, from a friend of yours at Paris, there was this paragraph : <( I have the honor to assure you, without flattery, that Mr. Stanhope succeeds beyond what might be expected from a person of his age. He goes into very good company; and that kind of manner, which was at first thought to be too decisive and peremptory, is now judged otherwise ; because it is ac knowledged to be the effect of an ingenuous frankness, accompanied by politeness, and by a proper deference. He studies to please, and succeeds. Madame du Puisieux was the other day speaking of him with complacency and friendship. You will be satisfied with him in all respects. J> This is extremely well, and I rejoice at it : one little cir cumstance only may, and I hope will, be altered for the better. Take pains to undeceive those who thought that petit ton un peu de cidt et un peu brusque; as it is not meant so, let it not appear so. Compose your countenance to an air of gentleness and douceur, use some expressions of dif fidence of your own opinion, and deference to other peo ple s; such as, (< If I might be permitted to say I should think Is it not rather so ? At least I have the greatest reason to be diffident of my self. w Such mitigating, engag ing words do by no means weaken your argument ; but, on the contrary, make it more powerful by making it more pleasing. If it is a quick and hasty manner of speaking that people mistake pour dtcidt et brusque, prevent their mistakes for the future by speaking more deliberately, and taking a softer tone of voice ; as in this case you are free from the guilt, be free from the suspicion, too. Mankind, as I have often told you, are more governed by appearances than by realities; and with regard to opinion, one had bet ter be really rough and hard, with the appearance of gen tleness and softness, than just the reverse. Few people have penetration enough to discover, attention enough to observe, or even concern enough to examine beyond the exterior; they take their notions from the surface, and go no


LETTERS TO HIS SON 5

deeper : they commend, as the gentlest and best-natured man in the world, that man who has the most engaging exterior manner, though possibly they have been but once in his company. An air, a tone of voice, a composure of countenance to mildness and softness, which are all easily acquired, do the business: and without further examination, and possibly with the contrary qualities, that man is reck oned the gentlest, the modestest, and the best-natured man alive. Happy the man, who, with a certain fund of parts and knowledge, gets acquainted with the world early enough to make it his bubble, at an age when most people are the bubbles of the world! for that is the common case of youth. They grow wiser when it is too late ; and, ashamed and vexed at having been bubbles so long, too often turn knaves at last. Do not therefore trust to appear ances and outside yourself, but pay other people with them ; because you may be sure that nine in ten of mankind do, and ever will trust to them. This is by no means a crim inal or blamable simulation, if not used with an ill inten tion. I am by no means blamable in desiring to have other people s good word, good-will, and affection, if I do not mean to abuse them. Your heart, I know, is good, your sense is sound, and your knowledge extensive. What then remains for you to do? Nothing, but to adorn those fundamental qualifications, with such engaging and captivat ing manners, softness, and gentleness, as will endear you to those who are able to judge of your real merit, and which always stand in the stead of merit with those who are not. I do not mean by this to recommend to you le fade dou- cereux, the insipid softness of a gentle fool ; no, assert your own opinion, oppose other people s when wrong ; but let your manner, your air, your terms, and your tone of voice, be soft and gentle, and that easily and naturally, not af fectedly. Use palliatives when you contradict ; such as I

MAY BE MISTAKEN, I AM NOT SURE, BUT I BELIEVE, I

SHOULD RATHER THINK, etc. Finish any argument or dis pute with some little good-humored pleasantry, to show that you are neither hurt yourself, nor meant to hurt your antagonist; for an argument, kept up a good while, often occasions a temporary alienation on each side. Pray observe particularly, in those French people who are distin-


6 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

guished by that character, cette douceur de mceurs et de manures, which they talk of so much, and value so justly; see in what it consists ; in mere trifles, and most easy to be acquired, where the heart is really good. Imitate, copy it, till it becomes habitual and easy to you. Without a com pliment to you, I take it to be the only thing you now want : nothing will sooner give it you than a real pas sion, or, at least, un gout vif, for some woman of fashion; and, as I suppose that you have either the one or the other by this time, you are consequently in the best school. Be sides this, if you were to say to Lady Hervey, Madame Monconseil, or such others as you look upon to be your friends, It is said that I have a kind of manner which is rather too decisive and too peremptory; it is not, however, my intention that it should be so; I entreat you to correct, and even publicly to punish me whenever I am guilty. Do not treat me with the least indulgence, but criticise to the utmost. So clear-sighted a judge as you has a right to be severe ; and I promise you that the criminal will endeavor to correct himself.

Yesterday I had two of your acquaintances to dine with me, Baron B. and his companion Monsieur S. I cannot say of the former, qu il est paitri de graces; and I would rather advise him to go and settle quietly at home, than to think of improving himself by further travels. Ce ri* est pas le bois dont on en fait. His companion is much better, though he has a strong tocco di tedesco. They both spoke well of you, and so far I liked them both. Comment vont nos affaires avec raimable petite Blot? Se prete-t-elle a vos Jleurettes?

etes-vous cense etre sur les rangs? Madame du est elle

votre Madame de Lursay, et fait-elle quelquefois des nceuds? Seriez-vous son Meilcour? Elle a, dit-on, de la douceur, de V esprit, des manieres; il y a & apprendre dans un tel appren- tissage* A woman like her, who has always pleased, and often been pleased, can best teach the art of pleasing; that art, without which ogni fatica & vana. Marcel s lectures are no small part of that art : they are the engaging forerunner of all other accomplishments. Dress is also an article not

  • <( How go you on with the amiable little Blot? Does she listen

to your flattering tale? Are you numbered among the list of her admirers? Is Madame your Madame de Lursay? Does she


LETTERS TO HIS SON 7

to be neglected, and I hope you do not neglect it ; it helps in the premier abord, which is often decisive. By dress, I mean your clothes being well made, fitting you, in the fashion and not above it ; your hair well done, and a general cleanliness and spruceness in your person. I hope you take infinite care of your teeth; the consequences of neglecting the mouth are serious, not only to one s self, but to others. In short, my dear child, neglect nothing; a little more will complete the whole. Adieu. I have not heard from you these three weeks, which I think a great while.


LETTER CXLII

LONDON, May 10, O. S. 1751.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I received yesterday, at the same time, your letters of the 4th and nth, N. S., and being much more careful of my commissions than you are of yours, I do not delay one moment sending you my final instructions concerning the pictures. The man you allow to be a Titian, and in good preservation ; the woman is an indifferent and a damaged picture ; but as I want them for furniture for a particular room, companions are necessary ; and therefore I am willing to take the woman for better for worse, upon account of the man ; and if she is not too much damaged, I can have her tolerably repaired, as many a fine woman is, by a skillful hand here; but then I expect that the lady should be, in a manner, thrown into the bargain with the man ; and, in this state of affairs, the woman being worth little or nothing, I will not go above fourscore louis for the two together. As for the Rembrandt you mention, though it is very cheap, if good, I do not care for it. I love la belle nature; Rembrandt paints caricaturas. Now for your own com-

sometimes knot, and are you her Meilcour? They say she has soft ness, sense, and engaging manners; in such an apprenticeship much may be learned.

This whole passage, and several others, allude to Cr^billon s Egare- mens du Coeur et de V Esfrit, a sentimental novel written about that time, and then much in vogue at Paris.


8 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

missions, which you seem to have forgotten. You mention nothing of the patterns which you received by Monsieur Tollot, though I told you in a former letter, which you must have had before the date of your last, that I should stay till I received the patterns pitched upon by your ladies; for as to the instructions which you sent me in Madame Monconseil s hand, I could find no mohairs in London that exactly answered that description; I shall, therefore, wait till you send me (which you may easily do in a letter) the patterns chosen by your three graces.

I would, by all means, have you go now and then, for two or three days, to Marechal Coigny s, at Orli; it is but a proper civility to that family, which has been particularly civil to you ; and, moreover, I would have you familiarize yourself with, and learn the interior and domestic manners of, people of that rank and fashion. I also desire that you will frequent Versailles and St. Cloud, at both of which courts you have been received with distinction. Profit of that distinction, and familiarize yourself at both. Great courts are the seats of true good-breeding; you are to live at courts, lose no time in learning them. Go and stay sometimes at Versailles for three or four days, where you will be domestic in the best families, by means of your friend Madame de Puisieux; and mine, 1 Abbe" de la Ville. Go to the King s and the Dauphin s levees, and distinguish yourself from the rest of your countrymen, who, I dare say, never go there when they can help it. Though the young Frenchmen of fashion may not be worth forming intimate connections with, they are well worth making acquaintance of; and I do not see how you can avoid it, frequenting so many good French houses as you do, where, to be sure, many of them come. Be cautious how you contract friend ships, but be desirous, and even industrious, to obtain a universal acquaintance. Be easy, and even forward, in making new acquaintances ; that is the only way of knowing manners and characters in general, which is, at present, your great object. You are enfant de famille in three ministers houses; but I wish you had a footing, at least, in thirteen: and that, I should think, you might easily bring about, by that common chain, which, to a certain degree, connects those you do not with those you do know.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 9

For instance, I suppose that neither Lord Albemarle, nor Marquis de St. Germain, would make the least difficulty to present you to Comte Caunitz, the Nuncio, etc. II faut etre rompu du monde, which can only be done by an extensive, various, and almost universal acquaintance.

When you have got your emaciated Philomath, I desire that his triangles, rhomboids, etc., may not keep you one moment out of the good company you would otherwise be in. Swallow all your learning in the morning, but digest it in company in the evenings. The reading of ten new characters is more your business now, than the reading of twenty old books; showish and shining people always get the better of all others, though ever so solid. If you would be a great man in the world when you are old, shine and be showish in it while you are young, know everybody, and endeavor to please everybody, I mean exteriorly ; for fundamentally it is impossible. Try to engage the heart of every woman, and the affections of almost every man you meet with. Madame Monconseil assures me that you are most surprisingly improved in your air, manners, and ad dress : go on, my dear child, and never think that you are come to a sufficient degree of perfection ; Nil actum re- putans, si quid superesset agendum; and in those shining parts of the character of a gentleman, there is always something remaining to be acquired. Modes and manners vary in different places, and at different times ; you must keep pace with them, know them, and adopt them, wherever you find them. The great usage of the world, the knowl edge of characters, the brillant d un galant homme, is all that you now want. Study Marcel and the beau monde with great application, but read Homer and Horace only when you have nothing else to do. Pray who is la belle Madame de Case, whom I know you frequent ? I like the epithet given her very well : if she deserves it, she deserves your attention too. A man of fashion should be gallant to a fine woman, though he does not make love to her, or may be other wise engaged. On lui doit des politesses, on fait Veloge de ses charmes, et il ri* en est ni plus ni moins pour cela: it pleases, it flatters ; you get their good word, and you lose nothing by it. These gentillesses should be accompanied, as indeed everything else should, with an air : un air, un


io LORD CHESTERFIELD S

ton de douceur et de politesse. Les graces must be of the party, or it will never do ; and they are so easily had, that it is astonishing to me that everybody has them not; they are sooner gained than any woman of common reputation and decency. Pursue them but with care and attention, and you are sure to enjoy them at last : without them, I am sure, you will never enjoy anybody else. You observe,

truly, that Mr. is gauche; it is to be hoped that

will mend with keeping company ; and is yet pardonable in him, as just come from school. But reflect what you would think of a man, who had been any time in the world, and yet should be so awkward. For God s sake, therefore, now think of nothing but shining, and even distinguishing your self in the most polite courts, by your air, your address, your manners, your politeness, your douceur, your graces. With those advantages (and not without them) take my word for it, you will get the better of all rivals, in business as well as in ruelles. Adieu. Send me your patterns, by the next post, and also your instructions to Grevenkop about the seal, which you seem to have forgotten.


LETTER CXLIII

LONDON, May 16, O. S. 1751.

MY DEAR FRIEND : In about three months from this day, we shall probably meet. I look upon that moment as a young woman does upon her bridal night ; I expect the greatest pleasure, and yet cannot help fearing some little mixture of pain. My reason bids me doubt a little, of what my imagination makes me expect. In some articles I am very sure that my most sanguine wishes will not be disappointed; and those are the most material ones. In others, I fear something or other, which I can better feel than describe. However, I will attempt it. I fear the want of that amiable and engaging je ne sais quoi, which as some philosophers have, unintelligibly enough, said of the soul, is all in all, and all in every part ; it should shed its influence over every word and action. I fear the want of that air, and first abord, which suddenly


LETTERS TO HIS SON n

lays hold of the heart, one does not know distinctly how or why. I fear an inaccuracy, or, at least, inelegance of diction, which will wrong, and lower, the best and justest matter. And, lastly, I fear an ungraceful, if not an unpleasant utterance, which would disgrace and vilify the whole. Should these fears be at present founded, yet the objects of them are (thank God) of such a nature, that you may, if you please, between this and our meeting, remove everyone of them. All these engaging and endearing ac complishments are mechanical, and to be acquired by care and observation, as easily as turning, or any mechanical trade. A common country fellow, taken from the plow, and enlisted in an old corps, soon lays aside his shambling gait, his slouching air, his clumsy and awkward motions: and acquires the martial air, the regular motions, and whole exercise of the corps, and particularly of his right and left hand man. How so? Not from his parts; which were just the same before as after he was enlisted ; but either from a commendable ambition of being like, and equal to those he is to live with ; or else from the fear of being punished for not being so. If then both or either of these motives change such a fellow, in about six months time, to such a degree, as that he is not to be known again, how much stronger should both these motives be with you, to acquire, in the utmost perfection, the whole exercise of the people of fashion, with whom you are to live all your life? Ambi tion should make you resolve to be at least their equal in that exercise, as well as the fear of punishment; which most inevitably will attend the want of it. By that exer cise, I mean the air, the manners, the graces, and the style of people of fashion. A friend of yours, in a letter I received from him by the last post, after some other com mendations of you, says, // est etonnant, que pensant avec tant de solidite qu^il fait, et ay ant le goUt aussi stir et aussi delicat qu^il Va, il s exprime avec si peu d 1 Elegance et de dtlicatesse. II neglige meme totalement le choix des mots et la tournure des phrases.* This I should not be so much

  • It is surprising that, thinking with so much solidity as he does,

and having so true and refined a taste, he should express himself with so little elegance and delicacy. He even totally neglects the choice of words and turn of phrases. w


12 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

surprised or concerned at, if it related only to the English language ; which hitherto you have had no opportunity of studying, and but few of speaking, at least to those who could correct your inaccuracies. But if you do not express yourself elegantly and delicately in French and German, (both which languages I know you possess perfectly and speak eternally), it can be only from an unpardonable inat tention to what you most erroneously think a little object, though, in truth, it is one of the most important of your life. Solidity and delicacy of thought must be given us : it cannot be acquired, though it may be improved; but ele gance and delicacy of expression may be acquired by who ever will take the necessary care and pains. I am sure you love me so well, that you would be very sorry when we meet, that I should be either disappointed or mortified; and I love you so well, that I assure you I should be both, if I should find you want any of those exterior accomplish ments which are the indispensably necessary steps to that figure and fortune, which I so earnestly wish you may one day make in the world.

I hope you do not neglect your exercises of riding, fenc ing, and dancing, but particularly the latter : for they all concur to degourdir, and to give a certain air. To ride well, is not only a proper and graceful accomplishment for a gentleman, but may also save you many a fall hereafter; to fence well, may possibly save your life ; and to dance well, is absolutely necessary in order to sit, stand, and walk well. To tell you the truth, my friend, I have some little suspicion that you now and then neglect or omit your exercises, for more serious studies. But now non est his locus, everything has its time ; and this is yours for your exercises ; for when you return to Paris I only pro pose your continuing your dancing ; which you shall two years longer, if you happen to be where there is a good dancing-master. Here I will see you take some lessons with your old master Desnoyers, who is our Marcel.

What says Madame du Pin to you? I am told she is very handsome still ; I know she was some few years ago. She has good parts, reading, manners, and delicacy : such an arrangement would be both creditable and advan tageous to you. She will expect to meet with all the good-


LETTERS TO HIS SON 13

breeding and delicacy that she brings; and as she is past the glare and clat of youth, may be the more willing to listen to your story, if you tell it well. For an attach ment, I should prefer her to la petite Blot; and, for a mere gallantry, I should prefer la petite Blot to her; so that they are consistent, et run n emp&he pas Vautre. Adieu. Remember la douceur et les graces.


LETTER CXLIV

LONDON, May 23, O. S. 1751.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I have this moment received your letter of the 25th N. S., and being rather something more attentive to my commissions than you are to yours, return you this immediate answer to the question you ask me about the two pictures : I will not give one livre more than what I told you in my last; having no sort of occasion for them, and not knowing very well where to put them if I had them.

I wait with impatience for your final orders about the mohairs; the mercer persecuting me every day for three pieces which I thought pretty, and which I have kept by me eventually, to secure them in case your ladies should pitch upon them.

If I durst! what should hinder you from daring? One always dares if there are hopes of success ; and even if there are none, one is no loser by daring. A man of fashion knows how, and when, to dare. He begins his approaches by distant attacks, by assiduities, and by atten tions. If he is not immediately and totally repulsed, he continues to advance. After certain steps success is infal lible; and none but very silly fellows can then either doubt, or not attempt it. Is it the respectable character of Madame de la ValiSre which prevents your daring, or are you intimidated at the fierce virtue of Madame du Pin? Does the invincible modesty of the handsome Madame Case discourage, more than her beauty invites you? Fie, for shame! Be convinced that the most virtuous woman, far from being offended at a declaration of love, is flattered by


14 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

it, if it is made in a polite and agreeable manner. It is possible that she may not be propitious to your vows ; that is to say, if she has a liking or a passion for another per son. But, at all events, she will not be displeased with you for it; so that, as there is no danger, this cannot ^even be called daring. But if she attends, if she listens, and allows you to repeat your declaration, be persuaded that if you do not dare all the rest, she will laugh at you. I advise you to begin rather by Madame du Pin, who has still more than beauty enough for such a youngster as you. She has, besides, knowledge of the world, sense, and deli cacy. As she is not so extremely young, the choice of her lovers cannot be entirely at her option. I promise you, she will not refuse the tender of your most humble services. Distinguish her, then, by attentions and by tender looks. Take favorable opportunities of whispering that you wish esteem and friendship were the only motives of your re gard for her; but that it derives from sentiments of a much more tender nature : that you made not this declara tion without pain ; but that the concealing your passion was a still greater torment.

I am sensible, that in saying this for the first time, you will look silly, abashed, and even express yourself very ill. So much the better; for, instead of attributing your con fusion to the little usage you have of the world, particu larly in these sort of subjects, she will think that excess of love is the occasion of it. In such a case, the lover s best friend is self-love. Do not then be afraid ; behave gal lantly. Speak well, and you will be heard. If you are not listened to the first time, try a second, a third, and a fourth. If the place is not already taken, depend upon it, it may be conquered.

I am very glad you are going to Orli, and from thence to St. Cloud ; go to both, and to Versailles also, often. It is that interior domestic familiarity with people of fash ion, that alone can give you T usage du monde, et les manures aisles. It is only with women one loves, or men one respects, that the desire of pleasing exerts itself ; and without the desire of pleasing no man living can please. Let that desire be the spring of all your words and actions. That happy talent, the art of pleasing, which


LETTERS TO HIS SON 15

so few do, though almost all might possess, is worth all your learning and knowledge put together. The latter can never raise you high without the former; but the former may carry you, as it has carried thousands, a great way without the latter.

I am glad that you dance so well, as to be reckoned by Marcel among his best scholars ; go on, and dance better still. Dancing well is pleasing pro tanto, and makes a part of that necessary whole, which is composed of a thou sand parts, many of them of les infiniment petit s quoi qt? infiniment necessaires.

I shall never have done upon this subject which is in dispensably necessary toward your making any figure or fortune in the world ; both which I have set my heart upon, and for both which you now absolutely want no one thing but the art of pleasing; and I must not conceal from you that you have still a good way to go before you arrive at it. You still want a thousand of those little attentions that imply a desire of pleasing : you want a douceur of air and expression that engages : you want an elegance and delicacy of expression, necessary to adorn the best sense and most solid matter : in short, you still want a great deal of the brillant and the poll. Get them at any rate : sacrifice heca tombs of books to them : seek for them in company, and renounce your closet till you have got them. I never re ceived the letter you refer to, if ever you wrote it. Adieu, et bon soir, Monseigneur.


LETTER CXLV

GREENWICH, June 6, O. S. 1751.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Solicitous and anxious as I have ever been to form your heart, your mind, and your man ners, and to bring you as near perfection as the imper fection of our natures will allow, I have exhausted, in the course of our correspondence, all that my own mind could suggest, and have borrowed from others whatever I thought could be useful to you ; but this has necessarily been inter ruptedly and by snatches. It is now time, and you are of


16 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

an age to review and to weigh in your own mind all that you have heard, and all that you have read, upon these subjects ; and to form your own character, your conduct, and your manners, for the rest of your life ; allowing for such improvements as a further knowledge of the world will naturally give you. In this view I would recommend to you to read, with the greatest attention, such books as treat particularly of those subjects ; reflecting seriously upon them, and then comparing the speculation with the prac tice.

For example, if you read in the morning some of La Rochefoucault s maxims; consider them, examine them well, and compare them with the real characters you meet with in the evening. Read La Bruydre in the morning, and see in the evening whether his pictures are like. Study the heart and the mind of man, and begin with your own. Meditation and reflection must lay the foundation of that knowledge: but experience and practice must, and alone can, complete it. Books, it is true, point out the opera tions of the mind, the sentiments of the heart, the influ ence of the passions ; and so far they are of previous use : but without subsequent practice, experience, and observa tion, they are as ineffectual, and would even lead you into as many errors in fact, as a map would do, if you were to take your notions of the towns and provinces from their delineations in it. A man would reap very little benefit by his travels, if he made them only in his closet upon a map of the whole world. Next to the two books that I have already mentioned, I do not know a better for you to read, and seriously reflect upon, than Avis (Tune MZre cl un Fils, par la Marquise de Lambert. She was a woman of a superior understanding and knowledge of the world, had always kept the best company, was solicitous that her son should make a figure and a fortune in the world, and knew better than anybody how to point out the means. It is very short, and will take you much less time to read, than you ought to employ in reflecting upon it, after you have read it. Her son was in the army, she wished he might rise there ; but she well knew, that, in order to rise, he must first please: she says to him, therefore, With re gard to those upon whom you depend, the chief merit is to


LETTERS TO HIS SON 17

please. And, in another place, in subaltern employments, the art of pleasing must be your support. Masters are like mistresses: whatever services they may be indebted to you for, they cease to love when you cease to be agreeable. This, I can assure you, is at least as true in courts as in camps, and possibly more so. If to your merit and knowl edge you add the art of pleasing, you may very probably come in time to be Secretary of State ; but, take my word for it, twice your merit and knowledge, without the art of pleasing, would, at most, raise you to the IM PORTANT POST of Resident at Hamburgh or Ratisbon. I need not tell you now, for I often have, and your own discernment must have told you, of what numberless little ingredients that art of pleasing is compounded, and how the want of the least of them lowers the whole ; but the principal in gredient is, undoubtedly, la douceur dans le manures: noth ing will give you this more than keeping company with your superiors. Madame Lambert tells her son, Let your con nections be with people above you ; by that means you will acquire a habit of respect and politeness. With one s equals, one is apt to become negligent, and the mind grows torpid. She advises him, too, to frequent those people, and to see their inside ; In order to judge of men, one must be intimately connected ; thus you see them without a veil, and with their mere every-day merit. A happy expression ! It was for this reason that I have so often advised you to estab lish and domesticate yourself, wherever you can, in good houses of people above you, that you may see their EVERY-DAY character, manners, habits, etc. One must see people un dressed to judge truly of their shape ; when they are dressed to go abroad, their clothes are contrived to conceal, or at least palliate the defects of it: as full-bottomed wigs were contrived for the Duke of Burgundy, to conceal his hump back. Happy those who have no faults to disguise, nor weaknesses to conceal ! there are few, if any such ; but un happy those who know little enough of the world to judge by outward appearances. Courts are the best keys to char acters ; there every passion is busy, every art exerted, every character analyzed ; jealousy, ever watchful, not only dis covers, but exposes, the mysteries of the trade, so that even bystanders y upprennent d, deviner. There too the great art

2


i8 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

of pleasing is practiced, taught, and learned with all its graces and delicacies. It is the first thing needful there : It is the absolutely necessary harbinger of merit and talents, let them be ever so great. There is no advancing a step without it. Let misanthropes and would-be philosophers declaim as much as they please against the vices, the sim ulation, and dissimulation of courts ; those invectives are al ways the result of ignorance, ill-humor, or envy. Let them show me a cottage, where there are not the same vices of which they accuse courts ; with this difference only, that in a cottage they appear in their native de- ormity, and that in courts, manners and good-breeding make them less shocking, and blunt their edge. No, be convinced that the good-breeding, the tournure, la douceur dans les manures, which alone are to be acquired at courts, are not the showish trifles only which some people call or think them ; they are a solid good ; they prevent a great deal of real mischief; they create, adorn, and strengthen friendships ; they keep hatred within bounds ; they promote good-humor and good-will in families, where the want of good-breeding and gentleness of manners is com monly the original cause of discord. Get then, before it is too late, a habit of these mitiores virtutes: practice them upon every, the least occasion, that they may be easy and familiar to you upon the greatest ; for they lose a great de gree of their merit if they seem labored, and only called in upon extraordinary occasions. I tell you truly, this is now the only doubtful part of your character with me ; and it is for that reason that I dwell upon it so much, and in culcate it so often. I shall soon see whether this doubt of mine is founded ; or rather I hope I shall soon see that it is not.

This moment I receive your letter of the 9th N. S. I am sorry to find that you have had, though ever so slight, a return of your Carniolan disorder; and I hope your con clusion will prove a true one, and that this will be the last. I will send the mohairs by the first opportunity. As for the pictures, I am already so full, that I am resolved not to buy one more, unless by great accident I should meet with something surprisingly good, and as surprisingly cheap.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 19

I should have thought that Lord , at his age, and

with his parts and address, need not have been reduced to keep

an opera w e, in such a place as Paris, where so many

women of fashion generously serve as volunteers. I am still more sorry that he is in love with her ; for that will take him out of good company, and sink him into bad ; such as fiddlers, pipers, and id genus omne; most unedify- ing and unbecoming company for a man of fashion!

Lady Chesterfield makes you a thousand compliments. Adieu, my dear child.


LETTER CXLVI

GREENWICH, June 10, O. S. 1751.

MY DEAR FRIEND: Your ladies were so slow in giving their specific orders, that the mohairs, of which you at last sent me the patterns, were all sold. However, to prevent further delays (for ladies are apt to be very impatient, when at last they know their own minds), I have taken the quantities desired of three mohairs which come nearest to the description you sent me some time ago, in Madame Monconseil s own hand ; and I will send them to Calais by the first opportunity. In giving la petite Blot her piece, you have a fine occasion of saying fine things, if so inclined.

Lady Hervey, who is your puff and panegyrist, writes me word that she saw you lately dance at a ball, and that you dance very genteelly. I am extremely glad to hear it; for (by the maxim, that omne majus continet in se minus), if you dance genteelly, I presume you walk, sit, and stand genteelly too ; things which are much more easy, though much more necessary, than dancing well. I have known many very genteel people, who could not dance well ; but I never knew anybody dance very well, who was not genteel in other things. You will probably often have occasion to stand in circles, at the levees of princes and ministers, when it is very necessary de payer de sa personne, et d etre bien plante, with your feet not too near nor too distant from each other. More people stand and walk, than sit genteelly.


20 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

Awkward, ill-bred people, being ashamed, commonly sit bolt upright and stiff; others, too negligent and easy, se vautrent dans leur fauteuil, which is ungraceful and ill- bred, unless where the familiarity is extreme ; but a man of fashion makes himself easy, and appears so by leaning gracefully instead of lolling supinely ; and by varying those easy attitudes instead of that stiff immobility of a bashful booby. You cannot conceive, nor can I express, how ad vantageous a good air, genteel motions, and engaging address are, not only among women, but among men, and even in the course of business ; they fascinate the affections, they steal a preference, they play about the heart till they en gage it. I know a man, and so do you, who, without a grain of merit, knowledge, or talents, has raised himself millions of degrees above his level, simply by a good air and engaging manners ; insomuch that the very Prince who raised him so high, calls him, mon aimable vaut-rien; * but of this do not open your lips, pour cause. I give you this secret as the strongest proof imaginable of the efficacy of air, address, tournure, et tout ces petits riens.

Your other puff and panegyrist, Mr. Harte, is gone to Windsor in his way to Cornwall, in order to be back soon enough to meet you here : I really believe he is as impatient for that moment as I am, et c est tout dire: but, however, notwithstanding my impatience, if by chance you should then be in a situation, that leaving Paris would cost your heart too many pangs, I allow you to put off your journey, and to tell me, as Festus did Paul, AT A MORE

CONVENIENT SEASON I WILL SPEAK TO THEE. YOU SCC by

this that I eventually sacrifice my sentiments to yours, and this in a very uncommon object of paternal complaisance. Pro vided always, and be it understood (as they say in acts of Par liament), that quce te cumque domat Venus, non erubescendis adurit ignibus. If your heart will let you come, bring with you only your valet de chambre, Christian, and your own footman; not your valet de place, whom you may dis miss for the time, as also your coach; but you had best keep on your lodgings, the intermediate expense of which will be but inconsiderable, and you will want them to leave your books and baggage in. Bring only the clothes you

  • The Marechal de Richelieu.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 21

travel in, one suit of black, for the mourning for the Prince will not be quite out by that time, and one suit of your fine clothes, two or three of your laced shirts, and the rest plain ones; of other things, as bags, feathers, etc., as you think proper. Bring no books, unless two or three for your amusement upon the road ; for we must apply simply to English, in which you are certainly no puriste; and I will sup ply you sufficiently with the proper English authors. I shall probably keep you here till about the middle of October, and certainly not longer ; it being absolutely necessary for you to pass the next winter at Paris ; so that, should any fine eyes shed tears for your departure, you may dry them by the promise of your return in two months.

Have you got a master for geometry? If the weather is very hot, you may leave your riding at the manege till you return to Paris, unless you think the exercise does you more good than the heat can do you harm ; but I desire you will not leave off Marcel for one moment ; your fencing likewise, if you have a mind, may subside for the summer ; but you will do well to resume it in the winter and to be adroit at it, but by no means for offense, only for defense in case of necessity. Good night. Yours.

P. S. I forgot to give you one commission, when you come here ; which is, not to fail bringing the GRACES along with you.


LETTER CXLVII

GREENWICH, June 13, O. S. 1751.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Les biensfances * are a most neces sary part of the knowledge of the world. They consist in the relations of persons, things, time, and place; good sense points them out, good company perfects them ( supposing always an attention and a desire to please), and good policy recommends them.

Were you to converse with a king, you ought to be as easy and unembarrassed as with your own valet de chambre;

  • This single word implies decorum, good-breeding, and propriety.


22 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

but yet, every look, word and action, should imply the ut most respect. What would be proper and well-bred with others, much your superiors, would be absurd and ill- bred with one so very much so. You must wait till you are spoken to; you must receive, not give, the subject of conversation ; and you must even take care that the given subject of such conversation do not lead you into any im propriety. The art would be to carry it, if possible, to some indirect flattery; such as commending those virtues in some other person, in which that prince either thinks he does, or at least would be thought by others to excel. Almost the same precautions are necessary to be used with ministers, generals, etc., who expect to be treated with very near the same respect as their masters, and commonly deserve it better. There is, however, this difference, that one may begin the conversation with them, if on their side it should happen to drop, provided one does not carry it to any subject upon which it is improper either for them to speak, or be spoken to. In these two cases, certain attitudes and actions would be extremely absu-rd, because too easy, and consequently disrespectful. As, for instance, if you were to put your arms across in your bosom, twirl your snuff-box, trample with your feet, scratch your head, etc., it would be shockingly ill-bred in that company; and, in deed, not extremely well-bred in any other. The great diffi culty in those cases, though a very surmountable one by atten tion and custom, is to join perfect inward ease with perfect outward respect.

In mixed companies with your equals ( for in mixed companies all people are to a certain degree equal), greater ease and liberty are allowed ; but they too have their bounds within biens dance. There is a social respect necessary : you may start your own subject of conversation with modesty, taking great care, however, de ne jamais -parler de cordes dans la maison d*un pendu.* Your words, gestures, and attitudes, have a greater degree of latitude, though by no means an unbounded one. You may have your hands in your pockets, take snuff, sit, stand, or occasionally walk, as you like; but I believe you would not think it very

  • (< Never to mention a rope in the family of a man who has been

hanged. >J


LETTERS TO HIS SON 23

bienstant to whistle, put on your hat, loosen your garters or your buckles, lie down upon a couch, or go to bed, and welter in an easy-chair. These are negligences and free doms which one can only take when quite alone ; they are injurious to superiors, shocking and offensive to equals, brutal and insulting to inferiors. That easiness of carriage and behavior, which is exceedingly engaging, widely differs from negligence and inattention, and by no means implies that one may do whatever one pleases; it only means that one is not to be stiff, formal, embarrassed, disconcerted, and ashamed, like country bumpkins, and people who have never been in good company ; but it requires great atten tion to, and a scrupulous observation of les bienseances : whatever one ought to do, is to be done with ease and un concern; whatever is improper must not be done at all. In mixed companies also, different ages and sexes are to be differently addressed. You would not talk of your pleasures to men of a certain age, gravity, and dignity ; they justly expect from young people a degree of deference and re gard. You should be full as easy with them as with people of your own years : but your manner must be different ; more respect must be implied ; and it is not amiss to insin uate that from them you expect to learn. It flatters and comforts age for not being able to take a part in the joy and titter of youth. To women you should always address yourself with great outward respect and attention, whatever you feel inwardly ; their sex is by long prescription entitled to it ; and it is among the duties of biens4ance ; at the same time that respect is very properly and very agreeably mixed with a degree of enjouement, if you have it ; but then, that badinage must either directly or indirectly tend to their praise, and even not be liable to a malicious construction to their disadvantage. But here, too, great attention must be had to the difference of age, rank, and situation. A martchale of fifty must not be played with like a young coquette of fifteen ; respect and serious enjouement, if I may couple those two words, must be used with the for mer, and mere badinage, zest& meme d^un -peu de polisson- erie, is pardonable with the latter.

Another important point of les bienseances, seldom enough attended to, is, not to run your own present humor and


24 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

disposition indiscriminately against everybody, but to ob serve, conform to, and adopt them. For example, if you happened to be in high good humor and a flow of spirits, would you go and sing a pont neuf* or cut a caper, to la Mar^chale de Coigny, the Pope s nuncio, or Abb Sallier, or to any person of natural gravity and melancholy, or who at that time should be in grief? I believe not; as, on the other hand, I suppose, that if you were in low spirits or real grief, you would not choose to bewail your situation with la petite Blot. If you cannot command your present humor and disposition, single out those to converse with, who happen to be in the humor the nearest to your own.

Loud laughter is extremely inconsistent with les bien- sdances, as it is only the illiberal and noisy testimony of the joy of the mob at some very silly thing. A gentleman is often seen, but very seldom heard to laugh. Nothing is more contrary to les bienseances than horse-play, or jeux de main of any kind whatever, and has often very serious, sometimes very fatal consequences. Romping, struggling, throwing things at one another s head, are the becoming pleasantries of the mob, but degrade a gentleman : giuoco di mano, giuoco di villano, is a very true saying, among the few true sayings of the Italians.

Peremptoriness and decision in young people is contraire aux biense~ances, and they should seldom seem to assert, and always use some softening mitigating expression ; such as, s^il truest permis de le dire, je croirois plutot, si fose m expliquer, which soften the manner, without giving up or even weakening the thing. People of more age and ex perience expect, and are entitled to, that degree of defer ence.

There is a biens&ance also with regard to people of the lowest degree : a gentleman observes it with his footman even with the beggar in the street. He considers them as objects of compassion, not of insult ; he speaks to neither d*un ton brusque, but corrects the one coolly, and refuses the other with humanity. There is one occasion in the world in which le ton brusque is becoming a gentleman. In short, les bienseances are another word for MANNERS, and extend to every part of life. They are propriety; the

  • Ballad.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 25

Graces should attend, in order to complete them ; the Graces enable us to do, genteelly and pleasingly, what les biense- ances require to be done at all. The latter are an obliga tion upon every man; the former are an infinite advantage and ornament to any man. May you unite both !

Though you dance well, do not think that you dance well enough, and consequently not endeavor to dance still better. And though you should be told that you are genteel, still aim at being genteeler. If Marcel should, do not you be satisfied. Go on, court the Graces all your lifetime; you will find no better friends at court: they will speak in your favor, to the hearts of princes, ministers, and mistresses.

Now that all tumultuous passions and quick sensations have subsided with me, and that I have no tormenting cares nor boisterous pleasures to agitate me, my greatest joy is to consider the fair prospect you have before you, and to hope and believe you will enjoy it. You are already in the world, at an age when others have hardly heard of it. Your character is hitherto not only unblem ished in its mortal part, but even unsullied by any low, dirty, and ungentleman-like vice ; and will, I hope, continue so. Your knowledge is sound, extensive and avowed, es pecially in everything relative +o your destination. With such materials to begin with, what then is wanting! Not fortune, as you have found by experience. You have had, and shall have, fortune sufficient to assist your merit and your industry; and if I can help it, you never shall have enough to make you negligent of either. You have, too, mens sana in corpore sano, the greatest blessing of all. All, therefore, that you want is as much in your power to ac quire, as to eat your breakfast when set before you; it is only that knowledge of the world, that elegance of manners, that universal politeness, and those graces which keeping good company, and seeing variety of places and characters, must inevitably, with the least attention on your part, give you. Your foreign destination leads to the greatest things, and your parliamentary situation will facilitate your progress. Consider, then, this pleasing prospect as at tentively for yourself as I consider it for you. Labor on your part to realize it, as I will on mine to assist and


26 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

enable you to do it. Nullum numen abest, si sit pru- dentia.

Adieu, my dear child! I count the days till I have the pleasure of seeing you ; I shall soon count the hours, and at last the minutes, with increasing impatience.

P. S. The mohairs are this day gone from hence for Calais, recommended to the care of Madame Morel, and directed, as desired, to the Comptroller- general. The three pieces come to six hundred and eighty French livres.


LETTER CXLVIII

GREENWICH, June 20, O. S. 1751.

MY DEAR FRIEND: So very few people, especially young travelers, see what they see, or hear what they hear, that though I really believe it may be unnecessary with you, yet there can be no harm in re minding you, from time to time, to see what you see, and to hear what you hear; that is, to see and hear as you should do. Frivolous, futile people, who make at least three parts in four of mankind, only desire to see and hear what their frivolous and futile precursors have seen and heard: as St. Peter s, the Pope, and High Mass, at Rome ; Notre Dame, Versailles, the French King, and the French Comedy, in France. A man of parts sees and hears very differently from these gentlemen, and a great deal more. He examines and informs himself thoroughly of everything he sees or hears; and, more particularly, as it is relative to his own profession or destination. Your destination is political ; the object, therefore, of your in quiries and observations should be the political interior of things; the forms of government, laws, regulations, cus toms, trade, manufactures, etc., of the several nations of Europe. This knowledge is much better acquired by con versation with sensible and well-informed people, than by books, the best of which upon these subjects are always imperfect. For example, there are (< Present States of France, as there are of England; but they are alway


LETTERS TO HIS SON 27

defective, being published by people uninformed, who only copy one another; they are, however, worth looking into because they point out objects for inquiry, which other wise might possibly never have occurred to one s mind; but an hour s conversation with a sensible president or conseiller will let you more into the true state of the parlia ment of Paris, than all the books in France. In the same manner, the Almanack Militaire is worth your having ; but two or three conversations with officers will inform you much better of their military regulations. People have, commonly, a partiality for their own professions, love to talk of them, and are even flattered by being consulted upon the subject; when, therefore, you are with any of those military gentlemen ( and you can hardly be in any com pany without some), ask them military questions, inquire into their methods of discipline, quartering, and clothing their men; inform yourself of their pay, their perquisites, leurs montres, leurs etapes, etc. Do the same as to the marine, and make yourself particularly master of that detail; which has, and always will have, a great relation to the affairs of England; and, in proportion as you get good informa tions, take minutes of them in writing.

The regulations of trade and commerce in France are ex cellent, as appears but too plainly for us, by the great in crease of both, within these thirty years ; for not to mention their extensive commerce in both the East and West Indies, they have got the whole trade of the Levant from us ; and now supply all the foreign markets with their sugars, to the ruin almost of our sugar colonies, as Jamaica, Barba- does, and the Leeward Islands. Get, therefore, what in formations you can of these matters also.

Inquire too into their church matters; for which the present disputes between the court and the clergy give you fair and frequent opportunities. Know the particular rights of the Gallican church, in opposition to the pretensions of the See of Rome. I need not recommend ecclesiastical history to you, since I hear that you study Du Pin very assidu ously.

You cannot imagine how much this solid and useful knowledge of other countries will distinguish you in your own (where, to say the truth, it is very little known or


28 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

cultivated), besides the great use it is of in all foreign negotiations ; not to mention that it enables a man to shine in all companies. When kings and princes have any knowledge, it is of this sort, and more particularly; and therefore it is the usual topic of their levee conversations, in which it will qualify you to bear a considerable part ; it brings you more acquainted with them ; and they are pleased to have people talk to them on a subject in which they think to shine.

There is a sort of chit-chat, or SMALL TALK, which is the general run of conversation at courts, and in most mixed companies. It is a sort of middling conversation, neither silly nor edifying ; but, however, very necessary for you to become master of. It turns upon the public events of Europe, and then is at its best; very often upon the num ber, the goodness or badness, the discipline, or the clothing of the troops of different princes ; sometimes upon the families, the marriages, the relations of princes, and con siderable people ; and sometimes sur le bon chbre, the mag nificence of public entertainments, balls, masquerades, etc. I would wish you to be able to talk upon all these things better, and with more knowledge than other people ; insomuch that upon those occasions, you should be applied to, and that people should say, I DARK SAY MR. STANHOPE CAN TELL us.

Second-rate knowledge and middling talents carry a man further at courts, and in the busy part of the world, than superior knowledge and shining parts. Tacitus very justly accounts for a man s having always kept in favor and en joyed the best employments under the tyrannical reigns of three or four of the very worst emperors, by saying that it was not propter aliquant eximiam artem, sed quia par negotiis neque supra erat. Discretion is the great article; all these things are to be learned, and only learned by keeping a great deal of the best company. Frequent those good houses where you have already a footing, and wriggle yourself somehow or other into every other. Haunt the courts particularly in order to get that ROUTINE.

This moment I receive yours of the i8th N. S. You will have had some time ago my final answers concerning the pictures ; and, by my last, an account that the mohairs


LETTERS TO HIS SON 29

were gone to Madame Morel, at Calais, with the proper directions.

I am sorry that your two sons-in-law, the Princes B ,

are such boobies ; however, as they have the honor of being so nearly related to you, I will show them what civilities I can.

I confess you have not time for long absences from Paris at present, because of your various masters, all which I would have you apply to closely while you are now in that capital ; but when you return thither, after the visit you intend me the honor of, I do not propose your having any master at all, except Marcel, once or twice a week. And then the courts will, I hope, be no longer strange countries to you; for I would have you run down frequently to Ver sailles and St. Cloud, for three or four days at a time. You know the Abb6 de la Ville, who will present you to others, so that you will soon be faujitt with the rest of the court. Court is the soil in which you are to grow and flourish ; you ought to be well acquainted with the nature of it ; like all other soil, it is in some places deeper, in others lighter, but always capable of great improvement by cultivation and experience.

You say that you want some hints for a letter to Lady Chesterfield ; more use and knowledge of the world will teach you occasionally to write and talk genteelly, sur des rtenSj which I can tell you is a very useful part upon worldly knowledge ; for in some companies, it would be imprudent to talk of anything else ; and with very many people it is impossible to talk of anything else ; they would not understand you. Adieu.


LETTER CXLIX

LONDON, June 24, O. S. 1751.

MY DEAR FRIEND: Air, address, manners, and graces are of such infinite advantage to whoever has them, and so peculiarly and essentially necessary for you, that now, as the time of our meeting draws near, I tremble for fear I should not find you possessed of them ; and, to tell you


3 o LORD CHESTERFIELD S

the truth, I doubt you are not yet sufficiently convinced for their importance. There is, for instance, your intimate friend, Mr. H , who with great merit, deep knowledge, and a thousand good qualities, will never make a figure in the world while he lives. Why? Merely for want of those ex ternal and showish accomplishments, which he began the world too late to acquire ; and which, with his studious and philosophical turn, I believe he thinks are not worth his at tention. He may, very probably, make a figure in the re public of letters, but he had ten thousand times better make a figure as a man of the world and of business in the re public of the United Provinces, which, take my word for it, he never will.

As I open myself, without the least reserve, whenever I think that my doing so can be of any use to you, I will give you a short account of myself. When I first came into the world, which was at the age you are of now, so that, by the way, you have got the start of me in that important article by two or three years at least, at nineteen I left the University of Cambridge, where I was an absolute ped ant; when I talked my best, I quoted Horace; when I aimed at being facetious, I quoted Martial ; and when I had a mind to be a fine gentleman, I talked Ovid. I was con vinced that none but the ancients had common sense; that the classics contained everything that was either necessary, useful, or ornamental to men ; and I was not without thoughts of wearing the toga virifis of the Romans, in stead of the vulgar and illiberal dress of the moderns. With these excellent notions I went first to The Hague, where, by the help of several letters of recommendation, I was soon introduced into all the best company ; and where I very soon discovered that I was totally mistaken in almost every one notion I had entertained. Fortunately, I had a strong de sire to please (the mixed result of good-nature and a vanity by no means blamable), and was sensible that I had noth ing but the desire. I therefore resolved, if possible, to ac quire the means, too. I studied attentively and minutely the dress, the air, the manner, the address, and the turn of conversation of all those whom I found to be the people in fashion, and most generally allowed to please. I imi tated them as well as I could ; if I heard that one man was


LETTERS TO HIS SON 31

reckoned remarkably genteel, I carefully watched h?s dress, motions and attitudes, and formed my own upon them. When I heard of another, whose conversation was agreeable and engaging, I listened and attended to the turn of it. I ad dressed myself, though de trts mauvaise grace, to all the most fashionable fine ladies ; confessed, and laughed with them at my own awkwardness and rawness, recommending myself as an object for them to try their skill in forming. By these means, and with a passionate desire of pleasing everybody, I came by degrees to please some ; and, I can assure you, that what little figure I have made in the world, has been much more owing to that passionate desire of pleasing uni versally than to any intrinsic merit or sound knowledge I might ever have been master of. My passion for pleasing was so strong (and I am very glad it was so), that I own to you fairly, I wished to make every woman I saw in love with me, and every man I met with admire me. Without this passion for the object, I should never have been so at tentive to the means ; and I own I cannot conceive how it is possible for any man of good-nature and good sense to be without this passion. Does not good-nature incline us to please all those we converse with, of whatever rank or sta tion they may be? And does not good sense and common observation, show of what infinite use it is to please? Oh! but one may please by the good qualities of the heart, and the knowledge of the head, without that fashionable air, address and manner, which is mere tinsel. I deny it. A man may be esteemed and respected, but I defy him to please without them. Moreover, at your age, I would not have contented myself with barely pleasing ; I wanted to shine and to distinguish myself in the world as a man of fash ion and gallantry, as well as business. And that ambition or vanity, call it what you please, was a right one ; it hurt nobody, and made me exert whatever talents I had. It is the spring of a thousand right and good things.

I was talking you over the other day with one very much your friend, and who had often been with you, both at Paris and in Italy. Among the innumerable questions which you may be sure I asked him concerning you, I hap pened to mention your dress (for, to say the truth, it was the only thing of which I thought him a competent judge),


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upon which he said that you dressed tolerably well at Paris; but that in Italy you dressed so ill, that he used to joke with you upon it, and even to tear your clothes. Now, I must tell you, that at your age it is as ridiculous not to be very well dressed, as at my age it would be if I were to wear a white feather and red-heeled shoes. Dress is one of various ingredients that contribute to the art of pleasing; it pleases the eyes at least, and more especially of women. Address yourself to the senses, if you would please ; dazzle the eyes, soothe and flatter the ears of mankind; engage their hearts, and let their reason do its worst against you. Suamter in modo is the great secret. Whenever you find yourself engaged insensibly in favor of anybody of no superior merit nor distinguished talents, examine, and see what it is that has made those impressions upon you: and you will find it to be that douceur, that gentleness of man ners, that air and address, which I have so often recom mended to you ; and from thence draw this obvious con clusion, that what pleases you in them, will please others in you ; for we are all made of the same clay, though some of the lumps are a little finer, and some a little coarser; but in general, the surest way to judge of others, is to exam ine and analyze one s self thoroughly. When we meet I will assist you in that analysis, in which every man wants some assistance against his own self-love. Adieu.


LETTER CL

GREENWICH, June 30, O. S. 1751.

MY DEAR FRIEND: Pray give the inclosed to our friend the Abbe; it is to congratulate him upon his Canonical, which I am really very glad of, and I hope it will fatten him up to Boileau s Chanoine; at present he is as meagre as an apostle or a prophet. By the way, has he ever introduced you to la Duchesse d Aiguillon? If he has not, make him present you ; and if he has, frequent her, and make her many compliments from me. She has uncommon sense and knowledge for a woman, and her house is the resort of one set of les beaux esprits. It is a


LETTERS TO HIS SON 33

satisfaction and a sort of credit to be acquainted with those gentlemen ; and it puts a young fellow in fashion. A propos des beaux esprits, you have les entrees at Lady Sandwich s ; who, old as she was, when I saw her last, had the strongest parts of any woman I ever knew in my life? If you are not acquainted with her, either the Duchesse d Aiguillon or Lady Hervey can, and I dare say will, introduce you. I can assure you, it is very well worth your while, both upon her own account, and for the sake of the people of wit and learning who frequent her. In such companies there is always something to be learned as well as manners ; the conversation turns upon something above trifles; some point of literature, criticism, history, etc., is discussed with ingenuity and good manners; for I must do the French people of learning justice ; they are not bears, as most of ours are: they are gentlemen.

Our Abb6 writes me word that you were gone to Com- piegne : I am very glad of it ; other courts must form you for your own. He tells me too, that you have left off riding at the mandge; I have no objection to that, it takes up a great deal of the morning ; and if you have got a genteel and firm seat on horseback, it is enough for you, now that tilts and tournaments are laid aside. I suppose you have hunted at Compiegne. The King s hunting there, I am told, is a fine sight. The French manner of hunting is gentlemanlike ; ours is only for bumpkins and boobies. The poor beasts are here pursued and run down by much greater beasts than themselves, and the true British fox- hunter is most undoubtedly a species appropriated and peculiar to this country, which no other part of the globe produces.

I hope you apply the time you have saved from the riding-house to useful more than to learned purposes ; for I can assure you they are very different things. I would have you allow but one hour a-day for Greek ; and that more to keep what you have than to increase it : by Greek, I mean useful Greek books, such as Demosthenes, Thucy- dides, etc., and not the poets, with whom you are already enough acquainted. Your Latin will take care of itself. Whatever more time you may have for reading, pray bestow it upon those books which are immediately relative 3


34 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

to your destination ; such as modern history, in the modern languages, memoirs, anecdotes, letters, negotiations, etc. Collect also, if you can, authentically, the present state of all the courts and countries in Europe, the characters of the kings and princes, their wives, their ministers, and

their w s; their several views, connections, and interests;

the state of their FINANCES, their military force, their trade, manufactures, and commerce. That is the useful, the necessary knowledge for you, and indeed for every gen tleman. But with all this, remember, that living books are much better than dead ones ; and throw away no time (for it is thrown away) with the latter, which you can employ well with the former; for books must now be your only amusement, but by no means your business. I had much rather that you were passionately in love with some determined coquette of condition (who would lead you a dance, fashion, supple, and polish you), than that you knew all Plato and Aristotle by heart : an hour at Versailles, Compiegne, or St. Cloud, is now worth more to you than three hours in your closet, with the best books that ever were written.

I hear the dispute between the court and the clergy is made up amicably, both parties have yielded something; the king being afraid of losing more of his soul, and the clergy more of their revenue. Those gentlemen are very skillful in making the most of the vices and the weak nesses of the laity. I hope you have read and informed yourself fully of everything relative to that affair; it is a very important question, in which the priesthood of every country in Europe is highly concerned. If you would be thoroughly convinced that their tithes are of divine institution, and their property the property of God himself, not to be touched by any power on earth, read Fra Paolo De JBeneficiis, an excellent and short book; for which, and some other treaties against the court of Rome, he was stilettoed ; which made him say afterward, upon seeing an anonymous book written against him by order of the Pope, Conosco bene lo stile Romano.

The parliament of Paris, and the states of Languedoc,. will, I believe, hardly scramble off; having only reason and justice, but no terrors on their side. Those are political


LETTERS TO HIS SON 35

and constitutional questions that well deserve your attention and inquiries. I hope you are thoroughly master of them. It is also worth your while to collect and keep all the pieces written upon those subjects.

I hope you have been thanked by your ladies, at least, if not paid in money, for the mohairs, which I sent by a courier to Paris, some time ago, instead of sending them to Madame Morel, at Calais, as I told you I should. Do they like them; and do they like you the better for getting them ? Le petite Blot devroit au moins payer de sa personne. As for Madame de Polignac, I believe you will very willingly hold her excused from personal payment.

Before you return to England, pray go again to Orli, for two or three days, and also to St. Cloud, in order to secure a good reception there at your return. Ask the Marquis de Matignon too, if he has any orders for you in England, or any letters or packets for Lord Bolingbroke. Adieu ! Go on and prosper.


LETTER CLI

GREENWICH, July 8, O. S. 1751.

MY DEAR FRIEND : The last mail brought me your let ter of the 3d July, N. S. I am glad that you are so well with Colonel Yorke, as to be let into secret correspondences. Lord Albemarle s reserve to you is, I believe, more owing to his secretary than to himself; for you seem to be much in favor with him; and possibly

tOO HE HAS NO VERY SECRET LETTERS to Communicate.

However, take care not to discover the least dissatisfaction upon this score : make the proper acknowledgments to Colonel Yorke, for what he does show you ; but let neither Lord Albemarle nor his people perceive the least coldness on your part, upon account of what they do not show you. It is very often necessary, not to manifest all one feels. Make your court to, and connect yourself as much as possible with Colonel Yorke; he may be of great use to you hereafter; and when you take leave, not only offer to bring over any letters or packets, by way of security; but


36 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

even ask, as a favor, to be the carrier of a letter from him to his father, the Chancellor. A propos of your com ing here ; I confess that I am weakly impatient for it, and think a few days worth getting ; I would, therefore, instead of the 25th of next month, N. S., which was the day that I some time ago appointed for your leaving Paris, have you set out on Friday the 2Oth of August, N. S. ; in consequence of which you will be at Calais some time on the Sunday fol lowing, and probably at Dover within four-and-twenty hours afterward. If you land in the morning, you may, in a postchaise, get to Sittingborne that day ; if you come on shore in the evening, you can only get to Canterbury, where you will be better lodged than at Dover. I will not have you travel in the night, nor fatigue and overheat yourself by running on fourscore miles the moment you land. You will come straight to Blackheath, where I shall be ready to meet you, and which is directly upon the Dover road to London ; and we will go to town together, after you have rested yourself a day or two here. All the other directions, which I gave you in my former letter, hold still the same. But, notwithstanding this regulation, should you have any particular reasons for leaving Paris two or three days sooner or later, than the above mentioned, vous etes maitre. Make all your arrangements at Paris for about a six weeks stay in England at farthest.

I had a letter the other day from Lord Huntingdon, of which one-half at least was your panegyric ; it was ex tremely welcome to me from so good a hand. Cultivate that friendship ; it will do you honor and give you strength. Connections, in our mixed parliamentary government, are of great use.

I send you here inclosed the particular price of each of the mohairs; but I do not suppose that you will re ceive a shilling for anyone of them. However, if any of your ladies should take an odd fancy to pay, the shortest way, in the course of business, is for you to keep the money, and to take so much less from Sir John Lambert in your next draught upon him.

I am very sorry to hear that Lady Hervey is ill. Paris does not seem to agree with her ; she used to have great health here. A propos of her ; remember, when you are


LETTERS TO HIS SON 37

with me, not to mention her but when you and I are quite alone, for reasons which I will tell you when we meet : but this is only between you and me ; and I desire that you will not so much as hint it to her, or to anybody else.

If old Kurzay goes to the valley of Jehoshaphat, I can not help it ; it will be an ease to our friend Madame Mont- conseil, who I believe maintains her, and a little will not satisfy her in any way.

Remember to bring your mother some little presents ; they need not be of value, but only marks of your affection and duty for one who has always been tenderly fond of you. You may bring Lady Chesterfield a little Martin snuffbox of about five louis ; and you need bring over no other pres ents ; you and I not wanting les petits presens pour en- tret enir ramiti.

Since I wrote what goes before, I have talked you over minutely with Lord Albemarle, who told me, that he could very sincerely commend you upon every article but one ; but upon that one you were often joked, both by him and others. I desired to know what that was ; he laughed and told me it was the article of dress, in which you were exceedingly negligent. Though he laughed, I can assure you that it is no laughing matter for you ; and you will possibly be surprised when I assert (but, upon my word, it is literally true), that to be very well dressed is of much more importance to you, than all the Greek you know will be of these thirty years. Remember that the world is now your only business ; and that you must adopt its customs and manners, be they silly or be they not. To neglect your dress, is an affront to all the women you keep com pany with ; as it implies that you do not think them worth that attention which everybody else doth ; they mind dress, and you will never please them if you neglect yours ; and if you do not please the women, you will not please half the men you otherwise might. It is the women who put a young fellow in fashion even with the men. A young fellow ought to have a certain fund of coquetry ; which should make him try all the means of pleasing, as much as any coquette in Europe can do. Old as I am, and little thinking of women, God knows, I am very far from being negligent of my dress ; and why ? From conformity to cus-


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torn, and out of decency to men, who expect that degree of complaisance. I do not, indeed, wear feathers and red heels, which would ill suit my age ; but I take care to have my clothes well made, my wig well combed and powdered, my linen and person extremely clean. I even allow my footman forty shillings a-year extraordinary, that they may be spruce and neat. Your figure especially, which from its stature cannot be very majestic and inter esting, should be the more attended to in point of dress : as it cannot be imposante, it should be gentile, aimable, bien mise. It will not admit of negligence and careless ness.

I believe Mr. Hayes thinks that you have slighted him a little of late, since you have got into so much other com pany. I do not by any means blame you for not frequent ing his house so much as you did at first, before you had got into so many other houses more entertaining and more instructing than his ; on the contrary, you do very well ; but, however, as he was extremely civil to you, take care to be so to him, and make up in manner what you omit in matter. See him, dine with him before you come away, and ask his commands for England.

Your triangular seal is done, and I have given it to an English gentleman, who sets out in a week for Paris, and who will deliver it to Sir John Lambert for you.

I cannot conclude this letter without returning again to the showish, the ornamental, the shining parts of your character ; which, if you neglect, upon my word you will render the solid ones absolutely useless ; nay, such Is the present turn of the world, that some valuable qualities are even ridiculous, if not accompanied by the genteeler ac complishments. Plainness, simplicity, and quakerism, either in dress or manners, will by no means do ; they must both be laced and embroidered ; speaking, or writing sense, without elegance and turn, will be very little persuasive; and the best figure in the world, without air and address, will be very ineffectual. Some pedants may have told you that sound sense and learning stand in need of no orna ments ; and, to support that assertion, elegantly quote the vulgar proverb, that GOOD WINE NEEDS NO BUSH ; but surely the little experience you have already had of the


LETTERS TO HIS SON 39

world must have convinced you that the contrary of that assertion is true. All those accomplishments are now in your power; think of them, and of them only. I hope you frequent La Foire St. Laurent, which I see is now open; you will improve more by going there with your mistress, than by staying at home and reading Euclid with your geometry master. Adieu. Divertissez-vous, il n y a rien de tel.


LETTER CLII

GREENWICH, July 15, O. S. 1751.

MY DEAR FRIEND : As this is the last, or last letter but one, that I think I shall write before I have the pleasure of seeing you here, it may not be amiss to prepare you a little for our interview, and for the time we shall pass together. Before kings and princes meet, ministers on each side adjust the important points of precedence, arm chairs, right hand and left, etc., so that they know previously what they are to expect, what they have to trust to ; and it is right they should ; for they com monly envy or hate, but most certainly distrust each other. We shall meet upon very different terms ; we want no such preliminaries : you know my tenderness, I know your af fection. My only object, therefore, is to make your short stay with me as useful as I can to you ; and yours, I hope, is to co-operate with me. Whether, by making it whole some, I shall make it pleasant to you, I am not sure. Emetics and cathartics I shall not administer, because I am sure you do not want them; but for alteratives you must expect a great many ; and I can tell you that I have a number of NOSTRUMS, which I shall communicate to no body but yourself. To speak without a metaphor, I shall endeavor to assist your youth with all the experience that I have purchased, at the price of seven and fifty years. In order to this, frequent reproofs, corrections, and ad monitions will be necessary; but then, I promise you, that they shall be in a gentle, friendly, and secret manner ; they shall not put you out of countenance in company, nor


40 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

out of humor when we are alone. I do not expect that, at nineteen, you should have that knowledge of the world, those manners, that dexterity, which few people have at nine-and-twenty. But I will endeavor to give them you ; and I am sure you will endeavor to learn them, as far as your youth, my experience, and the time we shall pass together, will allow. You may have many inaccuracies (and to be sure you have, for who has not at your age?) which few people will tell you of, and some nobody can tell you of but myself. You may possibly have others, too, which eyes less interested, and less -vigilant than mine, do not discover; all those you shall hear of from one whose tenderness for you will excite his curiosity and sharpen his penetration. The smallest inattention or error in manners, the minutest inelegance of diction, the least awkwardness in your dress and carriage, will not escape my observation, nor pass without amicable correction. Two, the most intimate friends in the world, can freely tell each other their faults, and even their crimes, but can not possibly tell each other of certain little weaknesses, awkwardnesses, and blindnesses of self-love; to authorize that unreserved freedom, the relation between us is abso lutely necessary. For example, I had a very worthy friend, with whom I was intimate enough to tell him his faults; he had but few; I told him of them; he took it kindly of me, and corrected them. But then, he had some weaknesses that I could never tell him of directly, and which he was so little sensible of himself, that hints of them were lost upon him. He had a scrag neck, of about a yard long ; notwithstanding which, bags being in fash ion, truly he would wear one to his wig, and did so ; but never behind him, for, upon every motion of his head, his bag came forward over one shoulder or the other. He took it into his head too, that he must occasionally dance minuets, because other people did; and he did so, not only extremely ill, but so awkward, so disjointed, slim, so mea gre, was his figure, that had he danced as well as ever Marcel did, it would have been ridiculous in him to have danced at all. I hinted these things to him as plainly as friendship would allow, and to no purpose ; but to have told him the whole, so as to cure him, I must have been


LETTERS TO HIS SON 41

his father, which, thank God, 1 am not. As fathers com monly go, it is seldom a misfortune to be fatherless; and, considering the general run of sons, as seldom a misfortune to be childless. You and I form, I believe, an exception to that rule ; for, I am persuaded that we would neither of us change our relation, were it in our power. You will, I both hope and believe, be not only the comfort, but the pride of my age ; and, I am sure, I will be the support, the friend, the guide of your youth. Trust me without reserve; I will advise you without private interest, or secret envy. Mr. Harte will do so too ; but still there may be some little things proper for you to know, and necessary for you to correct, which even his friendship would not let him tell you of so freely as I should ; and some, of which he may not possibly be so good a judge of as I am, not having lived so much in the great world.

One principal topic of our conversation will be, not only the purity but the elegance of the English language ; in both which you are very deficient. Another will be the constitution of this country, of which, I believe, you know less than of most other countries in Europe. Manners, at tentions, and address, will also be the frequent subjects of our lectures ; and whatever I know of that important and necessary art, the art of pleasing. I will unreservedly com municate to you. Dress too (which, as things are, I can logically prove, requires some attention) will not always escape our notice. Thus, my lectures will be more various, and in some respects more useful than Professor Mascow s, and therefore, I can tell you, that I expect to be paid for them ; but, as possibly you would not care to part with your ready money, and as I do not think that it would be quite handsome in me to accept it, I will compound for the payment, and take it in attention and practice.

Pray remember to part with all your friends, acquaint ances, and mistresses, if you have any at Paris, in such a manner as may make them not only willing but impatient to see you there again. Assure them of your desire of re turning to them ; and do it in a manner that they may think you in earnest, that is avec onction et une esptce <T attendrissement. All people say pretty near the same things upon those occasions ; it is the manner only that


42 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

makes the difference ; and that difference is great. Avoid, however, as much as you can, charging yourself with com missions, in your return from hence to Paris ; I know, by experience, that they are exceedingly troublesome, commonly expensive, and very seldom satisfactory at last, to the persons who gave them ; some you cannot refuse, to people to whom you are obliged, and would oblige in your turn ; but as to common fiddle-faddle commissions, you may excuse yourself from them with truth, by saying that you are to return to Paris through Flanders, and see all those great towns ; which I intend you shall do, and stay a week or ten days at Brussels. Adieu! A good journey to you, if this is my last; if not, I can repeat again what I shall wish constantly.


LETTER CLIII

LONDON, December 19, O. S. 1751.*

MY DEAR FRIEND: You are now entered upon a scene of business, where I hope you will one day make a figure. Use does a great deal, but care and attention must be joined to it. The first thing necessary in writing letters of business, is extreme clearness and perspicuity ; every paragraph should be so clear and unambiguous, that the dullest fellow in the world may not be able to mistake it, nor obliged to read it twice in order to understand it^ This necessary clearness implies a correctness, without ex^ eluding an elegance of style. Tropes, figures, antitheses, epigrams, etc., would be as misplaced and as impertinent in letters of business, as they are sometimes (if judiciously used) proper and pleasing in familiar letters, upon common and trite subjects. In business, an elegant simplicity, the result of care, not of labor, is required. Business must be well, not affectedly dressed ; but by no means negligently. Let your first attention be to clearness, and read every paragraph after you have written it, in the critical view of

  • Note the date, which indicates that the sojourn with the author

has ended.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 43

discovering whether it is possible that any one man can mis take the true sense of it : and correct it accordingly.

Our pronouns and relatives often create obscurity or ambiguity ; be therefore exceedingly attentive to them, and take care to mark out with precision their particular re lations. For example, Mr. Johnson acquainted me that he had seen Mr. Smith, who had promised him to speak to Mr. Clarke, to return him (Mr. Johnson) those papers, which he (Mr. Smith) had left some time ago with him (Mr. Clarke) : it is better to repeat a name, though unnecessarily, ten times, than to have the person mistaken once. WHO, you know, is singly relative to persons, and cannot be applied to things ; WHICH and THAT are chiefly relative to things, but not absolutely exclusive of persons ; for one may say, the man THAT robbed or killed such-a-one ; but it is better to say, the man WHO robbed or killed. One never says, the man or the woman WHICH. WHICH and THAT, though chiefly relative to things, cannot be always used indifferently as to things, and the eutyovta must sometimes determine their place. For instance, the letter WHICH I received from you, WHICH you referred to in your last, WHICH came by Lord Albemarle s messenger WHICH I showed to such-a-one ; I would change it thus The letter THAT I received from you, WHICH you referred to in your last, THAT came by Lord Albemarle s messenger, and WHICH I showed to such-a-one.

Business does not exclude (as possibly you wish it did) the usual terms of politeness and good-breeding ; but, on the contrary, strictly requires them : such as, I HAVE THE

HONOR TO ACOJJAINT YOUR LORDSHIP ; PERMIT ME TO

ASSURE YOU; IF I MAY BE ALLOWED TO GIVE MY OPINION, etc. For the minister abroad, who writes to the minister at home, writes to his superior; possibly to his patron, or at least to one who he desires should be so.

Letters of business will not only admit of, but be the better for CERTAIN GRACES but then, they must be scat tered with a sparing and skillful hand ; they must fit their place exactly. They must decently adorn without encum bering, and modestly shine without glaring. But as this is the utmost degree of perfection in letters of business, I would not advise you to attempt those embellishments, till you have first laid your foundation well.


44 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

Cardinal d Ossat s letters are the true letters of business; those of Monsieur d Avaux are excellent ; Sir William Tem ple s are very pleasing, but, I fear, too affected. Carefully avoid all Greek or Latin quotations; and bring no pre cedents from the VIRTUOUS SPARTANS, THE POLITE ATHE NIANS, AND THE BRAVE ROMANS. Leave all that to futile pedants. No flourishes, no declamation. But (I repeat it again) there is an elegant simplicity and dignity of style absolutely necessary for good letters of business ; attend to that carefully. Let your periods be harmonious, without seeming to be labored; and let them not be too long, for that always occasions a degree of obscurity. I should not mention correct orthography, but that you very often fail in that particular, which will bring ridicule upon you; for no man is allowed to spell ill. I wish too that your hand writing were much better ; and I cannot conceive why it is not, since every man may certainly write whatever hand he pleases. Neatness in folding up, sealing, and di recting your packets, is by no means to be neglected ; though, I dare say, you think it is. But there is something in the exterior, even of a packet, that may please or dis please ; and consequently worth some attention.

You say that your time is very well employed ; and so it is, though as yet only in the outlines, and first ROUTINE of business. They are previously necessary to be known; they smooth the way for parts and dexterity. Business re quires no conjuration nor supernatural talents, as people un acquainted with it are apt to think. Method, diligence, and discretion, will carry a man, of good strong common sense, much higher than the finest parts, without them, can do. Par negotiis, neque supra, is the true character of a man of business; but then it implies ready attention and no ABSENCES, and a flexibility and versatility of attention from one object to another, without being engrossed by anyone.

Be upon your guard against the pedantry and affectation of business which young people are apt to fall into, from the pride of being concerned in it young. They look thoughtful, complain of the weight of business, throw out mysterious hints, and seem big with secrets which they do not know. Do you, on the contrary, never talk of business


LETTERS TO HIS SON 45

but to those with whom you are to transact it ; and learn to seem vacuus and idle, when you have the most business. Of all things, the volte sciolto, and the pensieri stretti, are necessary. Adieu.


LETTER CLIV

LONDON, December 30, O. S. I75 1 -

MY DEAR FRIEND: The parliaments are the courts of justice of France, and are what our courts of justice in Westminster-Hall are here. They used anciently to follow the court, and administer justice in presence of the King. Philip le Bel first fixed it at Paris, by an edict of 1302. It consisted then of but one chambre, which was called la Chambre des Prelats, most of the members being ecclesiastics; but the multiplicity of business made it by degrees necessary to create several other chambres. It con sists now of seven chambres:

La Grande Chambre, which is the highest court of justice, and to which appeals lie from the others.

Les cinq Chambres des Enquetes, which are like our Common Pleas, and Court of Exchequer.

La Totirnelle, which is the court for criminal justice, and answers to our Old Bailey and King s Bench.

There are in all twelve parliaments in France :

1. Paris 7 Aix en Provence

2. Toulouse 8. Rennes en Bretagne

3. Grenoble 9. Pau en Navarre

4. Bourdeaux 10. Metz

5. Dijon ii. Dole en Franche Comte"

6. Rouen 12. Douay

There are three Conseils Souverains, which may almost be called parliaments ; they are those of

Perpignan Arras Alsace

For further particulars of the French parliaments, read Bernard de la Rochefavin des Parlemens de France, and other authors, who have treated that subject constitutionally. But what will be still better, converse upon it with people of sense and knowledge, who will inform you of the par-


46 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

ticular objects of the several chambres, and the businesses of the respective members, as, Us Presidens, les Presidens ti Mortier (these last so called from their black velvet caps laced with gold) , les Mditres tr es des Requetes, les Grejfiers, le Procureur General, les Avocats Gene raux, les Conseillers, etc. The great point in dispute is concerning the powers of the parliament of Paris in matters of state, and relatively to the Crown. They pretend to the powers of the States- General of France when they used to be assembled (which, I think, they have not been since the reign of Lewis the Thirteenth, in the year 1615). The Crown denies those pretensions, and considers them only as courts of justice. Mezeray seems to be on the side of the parliament in this question, which is very well worth your inquiry. But, be that as it will, the parliament of Paris is certainly a very respectable body, and much regarded by the whole king dom. The edicts of the Crown, especially those for levy ing money on the subjects, ought to be registered in par liament ; I do not say to have their effect, for the Crown would take good care of that ; but to have a decent appear ance, and to procure a willing acquiescence in the nation. And the Crown itself, absolute as it is, does not love that strong opposition, and those admirable remonstrances, which it sometimes meets with from the parliaments. Many of those detached pieces are very well worth your collecting; and I remember, a year or two ago, a remonstrance of the parliament of Douay, upon the subject, as I think, of the Vingtieme, which was in my mind one of the finest and most moving compositions I ever read. They owned them selves, indeed, to be slaves, and showed their chains: but humbly begged of his Majesty to make them a little lighter, and less galling.

THE STATES OF FRANCE were general assemblies of the three states or orders of the kingdom ; the Clergy, the Nobility, and the Tiers Etat, that is, the people. They used to be called together by the King, upon the most important affairs of state, like our Lords and Commons in parliament, and our Clergy in convocation. Our parliament is our states, and the French parliaments are only their courts of justice. The Nobility consisted of all those of noble extraction, whether belonging to the SWORD or to the


LETTERS TO HIS SON 47

ROBE, excepting such as were chosen (which sometimes happened) by the Tiers Etat as their deputies to the States- General. The Tiers Etat was exactly our House of Com mons, that is, the people, represented by deputies of their own choosing. Those who had the most considerable places, dans la robe, assisted at those assemblies, as commissioners on the part of the Crown. The States met, for the first time that I can find (I mean by the name of les Mats), in the reign of Pharamond, 424, when they confirmed the Salic law. From that time they have been very frequently assembled, sometimes upon important occasions, as making war and peace, reforming abuses, etc. ; at other times, upon seemingly trifling ones, as coronations, marriages, etc. Francis the First assembled them, in 1526, to declare null and void his famous treaty of Madrid, signed and sworn to by him during his captivity there. They grew troublesome to the kings and to their ministers, and were but seldom called after the power of the Crown grew strong ; and they have never been heard of since the year 1615. Richelieu came and shackled the nation, and Mazarin and Lewis the Fourteenth riveted the shackles.

There still subsist in some provinces in France, which are called pais d etats, an humble local imitation, or rather mimicry, of the great tats, as in Languedoc, Bretagne, etc. They meet, they speak, they grumble, and finally submit to whatever the King orders.

Independently of the intrinsic utility of this kind of knowledge to every man of business, it is a shame for any man to be ignorant of it, especially relatively to any country he has been long in. Adieu.


LETTER CLV

LONDON, January 2, O. S. 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Laziness of mind, or inattention, are as great enemies to knowledge as incapacity ; for, in truth, what difference is there between a man who will not, and a man who cannot be informed? This difference only, that the former is justly to be blamed,


4 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

the latter to be pitied. And yet how many there are, very capable of receiving knowledge, who from laziness, inattention, and incuriousness, will not so much as ask for it, much less take the least pains to acquire it!

Our young English travelers generally distinguish them selves by a voluntary privation of all that useful knowledge for which they are sent abroad; and yet, at that age, the most useful knowledge is the most easy to be acquired; conversation being the book, and the best book in which it is contained. The drudgery of dry grammatical learning is over, and the fruits of it are mixed with, and adorned by, the flowers of conversation. How many of our young men have been a year at Rome, and as long at Paris, without knowing the meaning and institution of the Con clave in the former, and of the parliament in the latter? and this merely for want of asking the first people they met with in those several places, who could at least have given them some general notions of those matters.

You will, I hope, be wiser, and omit no opportunity (for opportunities present themselves every hour of the day) of acquainting yourself with all those political and constitu tional particulars of the kingdom and government of France. For instance, when you hear people mention le Chancelier, or le Garde de Speaux, is it any great trouble for you to ask, or for others to tell you, what is the nature, the powers, the objects, and the profits of those two employ ments, either when joined together, as they often are, or when separate, as they are at present? When you hear of a gouverneur, a lieutenant du Roi, a commandant, and an intendant of the same province, is it not natural, is it not becoming, is it not necessary, for a stranger to inquire into their respective rights and privileges? And yet, I dare say, there are very few Englishmen who know the difference between the civil department of the Intendant, and the military powers of the others. When you hear (as I am persuaded you must) every day of the Vingtteme, which is one in twenty, and consequently five per cent., inquire upon what that tax is laid, whether upon lands, money, merchandise, or upon all three ; how levied, and what it is supposed to produce. When you find in books (as you will sometimes) allusion to particular laws and


LETTERS TO HIS SON 49

customs, do not rest till you have traced them up to their source. To give you two examples: you will meet in some French comedies, Cri, or Clameur de Haro; ask what it means, and you will be told that it is a term of the law in Normandy, and means citing, arresting, or obliging any person to appear in the courts of justice, either upon a civil or a criminal account ; and that it is derived from & Raoul, which Raoul was anciently Duke of Normandy, and a prince eminent for his justice ; insomuch, that when any injustice was committed, the cry immediately was, venez, d Raoul, ft Raoul, which words are now corrupted and jumbled into haro. Another, Le vol du Chapon, that is, a certain district of ground immediately contiguous to the mansion-seat of a family, and answers to what we call in English DEMESNES. It is in France computed at about i, 600 feet round the house, that being supposed to be the extent of the capon s flight from la basse cour. This little district must go along with the mansion-seat, however the rest of the estate may be divided.

I do not mean that you should be a French lawyer; but I would not have you unacquainted with the general prin ciples of their law, in matters that occur every day: Such is the nature of their descents, that is, the inheritance of lands : Do they all go to the eldest son, or are they equally divided among the children of the deceased? In England, all lands unsettled descend to the eldest son, as heir-at-law, unless otherwise disposed of by the father s will, except in the county of Kent, where a particular custom prevails, called Gavelkind ; by which, if the father dies intestate, all his children divide his lands equally among them. In Germany, as you know, all lands that are not fiefs are equally divided among all the children, which ruins those families ; but all male fiefs of the empire descend unaliena- bly to the next male heir, which preserves those fami lies. In France, I believe, descents vary in different provinces.

The nature of marriage contracts deserves inquiry. In England, the general practice is, the husband takes all the wife s fortune; and in consideration of it settles upon her a proper pin-money, as it is called; that is, an annuity during his life, and a jointure after his death. In France 4


50 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

it is not so, particularly at Paris; where la communaute des biens is established. Any married woman at Paris (IF YOU ARE ACQUAINTED WITH ONE) can inform you of all these particulars.

These and other things of the same nature, are the useful and rational objects of the curiosity of a man of sense and business. Could they only be attained by laborious researches in folio-books, and worm-eaten manuscripts, I should not wonder at a young fellow s being ignorant of them; but as they are the frequent topics of conversation, and to be known by a very little degree of curiosity, inquiry and attention, it is unpardonable not to know them.

Thus I have given you some hints only for your inquiries; V Etat de la France, V Almanack Royal, and twenty other such superficial books, will furnish you with a thousand more. Approfondissez.

How often, and how justly, have I since regretted neg ligences of this kind in my youth ! And how often have I since been at great trouble to learn many things which I could then have learned without any ! Save yourself now, then, I beg of you, that regret and trouble hereafter. Ask questions, and many questions ; and leave nothing till you are thoroughly informed of it. Such pertinent questions are far from being ill-bred or troublesome to those of whom you ask them ; on the contrary, they are a tacit compliment to their knowledge ; and people have a better opinion of a young man, when they see him desirous to be informed.

I have by last post received your two letters of the ist and 5th of January, N. S. I am very glad that you have been at all the shows at Versailles : frequent the courts. I can conceive the murmurs of the French at the poorness of the fireworks, by which they thought their king of their country degraded ; and, in truth, were things always as they should be, when kings give shows they ought to be magnificent.

I thank you for the TJibse de la Sorbonne, which you intend to send me, and which I am impatient to receive. But pray read it carefully yourself first ; and inform your self what the Sorbonne is by whom founded, and for what purposes.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 51

Since you have time, you have done very well to take an Italian and a German master ; but pray take care to leave yourelf time enough for company ; for it is in com pany only that you can learn what will be much more useful to you than either Italian or German ; I mean la folitesse^ les manitres et les graces, without which, as I told you long ago, and I told you true, ogni fatica e vana. Adieu.

Pray make my compliments to Lady Brown.


LETTER CLVI

LONDON, January 6, O. S. 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I recommended to you, in my last, some inquiries into the constitution of that famous society the Sorbonne; but as I cannot wholly trust to the diligence of those inquiries, I will give you here the outlines of that establishment ; which may possibly excite you to inform yourself of particulars, which you are more ^ portde to know than I am.

It was founded by Robert de Sorbon, in the year 1256 for sixteen poor scholars in divinity ; four of each nation, of the university of which it made a part ; since that it hath been much extended and enriched, especially by the liberality and pride of Cardinal Richelieu ; who made it a magnificent building for six-and-thirty doctors of that society to live in ; besides which, there are six professors and schools for divinity. This society has long been famous for theological knowledge and exercitations. There unintel ligible points are debated with passion, though they can never be determined by reason. Logical subtilties set common sense at defiance ; and mystical refinements dis figure and disguise the native beauty and simplicity of true natural religion; wild imaginations form systems, which weak minds adopt implicitly, and which sense and reason oppose in vain ; their voice is not strong enough to be heard in schools of divinity. Political views are by no means neglected in those sacred places; and questions are agitated and decided, according to the


52 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

degree of regard, or rather submission, which the Sover eign is pleased to show the Church. Is the King a slave to the Church, though a tyrant to the laity? The least resistance to his will shall be declared damnable. But if he will not acknowledge the superiority of their spiritual over his temporal, nor even admit their imperium in imperio, which is the least they will compound for, it becomes meritorious not only to resist, but to depose him. And I suppose that the bold propositions in the thesis you men tion, are a return for the valuation of les liens du Clerge.

I would advise you, by all means, to attend to two or three of their public disputations, in order to be informed both of the manner and the substance of those scholastic exercises. Pray remember to go to all those kind of things. Do not put it off, as one is too apt to do those things which one knows can be done every day, or any day ; for one afterward repents extremely, when too late, the not having done them.

But there is another (so-called) religious society, of which the minutest circumstance deserves attention, and furnishes great matter for useful reflections. You easily guess that I mean the society of les JR. R. P. P. Jesuites, established but in the year 1540, by a Bull of Pope Paul III. Its progress, and I may say its victories, were more rapid than those of the Romans ; for within the same cen tury it governed all Europe ; and, in the next, it extended its influence over the whole world. Its founder was an abandoned profligate Spanish officer, Ignatius Loyola ; who, in the year 1521, being wounded in the leg at the siege of Pampeluna, went mad from the smart of his wound, the reproaches of his conscience, and his confinement, dur ing which he read the lives of the Saints, Consciousness of guilt, a fiery temper, and a wild imagination, the com mon ingredients of enthusiasm, made this madman devote himself to the particular service of the Virgin Mary; whose knight-errant he declared himself, in the very same form in which the old knight-errants in romances used to de clare themselves the knights and champions of certain beautiful and incomparable princesses, whom sometimes they had, but oftener had not, seen. For Dulcinea del Toboso was by no means the first princess whom her


LETTERS TO HIS SON 53

faithful and valorous knight had never seen in his life. The enthusiast went to the Holy Land, from whence he returned to Spain, where he began to learn Latin and philosophy at three-and-thirty years old, so that no doubt but he made great progress in both. The better to carry on his mad and wicked designs, he chose four disciples, or rather apostles, all Spaniards, viz, Layns, Salmeron, Bobadilla, and Rodriguez. He then composed the rules and constitutions of his order ; which, in the year 1547, was called the order of Jesuits, from the church of Jesus in Rome, which was given them. Ignatius died in 1556, aged sixty-five, thirty-five years after his conversion, and sixteen years after the establishment of his society. He was canonized in the year 1609, and is doubtless now a saint in heaven.

If the religious and moral principles of this society are to be detested, as they justly are, the wisdom of their political principles is as justly to be admired. Suspected, collectively as an order, of the greatest crimes, and con victed of many, they have either escaped punishment, or triumphed after it ; as in France, in the reign of Henry IV. They have, directly or indirectly, governed the con sciences and the councils of all the Catholic princes in Europe ; they almost governed China in the reign of Cang- ghi ; and they are now actually in possession of the Para guay in America, pretending, but paying no obedience to the Crown of Spain. As a collective body they are de tested, even by all the Catholics, not excepting the clergy,, both secular and regular, and yet, as individuals, they are loved, respected, and they govern wherever they are.

Two things, I believe, contribute to their success. The first, that passive, implicit, unlimited obedience to their General (who always resides at Rome), and to the superiors of their several houses, appointed by him. This obedience is observed by them all to a most astonishing degree; and, I believe, there is no one society in the world, of which so many individuals sacrifice their private interest to the gen eral one of the society itself. The second is the education of youth, which they have in a manner engrossed ; there they give the first, and the first are the lasting impressions ; those impressions are always calculated to be favorable to


54 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

the society. I have known many Catholics, educated by the Jesuits, who, though they detested the society, from reason and knowledge, have always remained attached to it, from habit and prejudice. The Jesuits know, better than any set of people in the world, the importance of the art of pleas ing, and study it more ; they become all things to all men in order to gain, not a few, but many. In Asia, Africa, and America they become more than half pagans, in order to convert the pagans to be less than half Christians. In private families they begin by insinuating themselves as friends, they grow to be favorites, and they end DIRECTORS. Their manners are not like those of any other regulars in the world, but gentle, polite, and engaging. They are all carefully bred up to that particular destination, to which they seem to have a natural turn ; for which reason one sees most Jesuits excel in some particular thing. They even breed up some for martyrdom in case of need ; as the superior of a Jesuit seminary at Rome told Lord Bolingbroke. E abbiamo anche martiri $er il martirio, se bisogna.

Inform yourself minutely of everything concerning this extraordinary establishment ; go into their houses, get ac quainted with individuals, hear some of them preach. The finest preacher I ever heard in my life is le Pere Neufville, who, I believe, preaches still at Paris, and is so much in the best company, that you may easily get personally ac quainted with him.

If you would know their morale read Pascal s Lettres Provinciales, in which it is very truly displayed from their own writings.

Upon the whole, this is certain, that a society of which so little good is said, and so much ill believed, and that still not only subsists, but flourishes, must be a very able one. It is always mentioned as a proof of the superior abilities of the Cardinal Richelieu, that, though hated by all the nation, and still more by his master, he kept his power in spite of both.

I would earnestly wish you to do everything now, which I wish that I had done at your age, and did not do. Every country has its peculiarities, which one can be much better informed of during one s residence there, than by reading all the books in the world afterward. While you are in


LETTERS TO HIS SON 55

Catholic countries, inform yourself of all the forms and ceremonies of that tawdry church ; see their converts both of men and women, know their several rules and orders, attend their most remarkable ceremonies ; have their terms of art explained to you, their tierce, sexte, nones, matines, vttpres, complies; their breviares, rosaires, heures, chapelets, agnus, etc., things that many people talk of from habit, though few people know the true meaning of anyone of them. Converse with, and study the characters of some of those incarcerated enthusiasts. Frequent some parloirs, and see the air and manners of those Recluse, who are a distinct nation themselves, and like no other.

I dined yesterday with Mrs. F d, her mother and hus band. He is an athletic Hibernian, handsome in his person, but excessively awkward and vulgar in his air and manner. She inquired much after you, and, I thought, with interest. I answered her as a Mezzano should do : Et je prdnai votre tendresse, DOS so ins, et vos soupirs.

When you meet with any British returning to their own country, pray send me by them any little brochures, factums, theses, etc., qui font du bruit ou du blaisir d, Paris. Adieu, child.


LETTER CLVII

LONDON, January 23, O. S. 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND: Have you seen the new tragedy of Varon,* and what do you think of it? Let me know, for I am determined to form my taste upon yours. I hear that the situations and incidents are well brought on, and the catastrophe unexpected and surprising, but the verses bad. I suppose it is the subject of all conversations at Paris, where both women and men are judges and critics of all such performances ; such conversations, that both form and improve the taste, and whet the judgment, are surely preferable to the conversations of our mixed companies here ; which, if they happen to rise above bragg and whist, in fallibly stop short of everything either pleasing or instructive.

  • Written by the Vicomte de Grave; and at that time the general topic

of conversation at Paris.


56 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

I take the reason of this to be, that (as women generally give the ton to the conversation) our English women are not near so well informed and cultivated as the French ; besides that they are naturally more serious and silent.

I could wish there were a treaty made between the French and English theatres, in which both parties should make considerable concessions. The English ought to give up their notorious violations of all the unities ; and all their massacres, racks, dead bodies, and mangled carcasses, which they so frequently exhibit upon their stage. The French should engage to have more action and less declamation ; and not to cram and crowd things together, to almost a degree of impossibility, from a too scrupulous adherence to the unities. The English should restrain the licentiousness of their poets, and the French enlarge the liberty of theirs ; their poets are the greatest slaves in their country, and that is a bold word ; ours are the most tumultuous subjects in England, and that is saying a good deal. Under such regu lations one might hope to see a play in which one should not be lulled to sleep by the length of a monotonical dec lamation, nor frightened and shocked by the barbarity of the action. The unity of time extended occasionally to three or four days, and the unity of place broke into, as far as the same street, or sometimes the same town ; both which, I will affirm, are as probable as four-and-twenty hours, and the same room.

More indulgence too, in my mind, should be shown, than the French are willing to allow, to bright thoughts, and to shining images ; for though, I confess, it is not very natural for a hero or a princess to say fine things in all the violence of grief, love, rage, etc., yet, I can as well suppose that, as I can that they should talk to themselves for half an hour ; which they must necessarily do, or no tragedy could be carried on, unless they had recourse to a much greater ab surdity, the choruses of the ancients. Tragedy is of a nature, that one must see it with a degree of self-deception ; we must lend ourselves a little to the delusion ; and I am very willing to carry that complaisance a little farther than the French do.

Tragedy must be something bigger than life, or it would not affect us. In nature the most violent passions are silent;


LETTERS TO HIS SON 57

in tragedy they must speak, and speak with dignity too. Hence the necessity of their being written in verse, and unfortunately for the French, from the weakness of their language, in rhymes. And for the same reason, Cato the Stoic, expiring at Utica, rhymes masculine and feminine at Paris; and fetches his last breath at London, in most har monious and correct blank verse.

It is quite otherwise with Comedy, which should be mere common life, and not one jot bigger. Every character should speak upon the stage, not only what it would utter in the situation there represented, but in the same manner in which it would express it. For which reason I cannot al low rhymes in comedy, unless they were put into the mouth, and came out of the mouth of a mad poet. But it is im possible to deceive one s self enough (nor is it the least necessary in comedy) to suppose a dull rogue of an usurer cheating, or gros Jean blundering in the finest rhymes in the world.

As for Operas, they are essentially too absurd and ex travagant to mention ; I look upon them as a magic scene, contrived to please the eyes and the ears, at the expense of the understanding ; and I consider singing, rhyming, and chiming heroes, and princesses, and philosophers, as I do the hills, the trees, the birds, and the beasts, who amicably joined in one common country dance, to the irresistible turn of Orpheus s lyre. 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.

Thus I have made you my poetical confession ; in which I have acknowledged as many sins against the established taste in both countries, as a frank heretic could have owned against the established church in either, but I am now privileged by my age to taste and think for myself, and not to care what other people think of me in those respects ; an advantage which youth, among its many advantages, hath not. It must occasionally and outwardly conform, to a certain degree, to establish tastes, fashions, and decisions. A young man may, with a becoming modesty, dissent, in private companies, from public opinions and prejudices : but he must not attack them with warmth, nor magisterially set up his own sentiments against them. Endeavor to hear


58 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

and know all opinions ; receive them with complaisance ; form your own with coolness, and give it with modesty.

I have received a letter from Sir John Lambert, in which he requests me to use my interest to procure him the re mittance of Mr. Spencer s money, when he goes abroad : and also desires to know to whose account he is to place the postage of my letters. I do not trouble him with a letter in answer, since you can execute the commission. Pray make my compliments to him, and assure him that I will do all I can to procure him Mr. Spencer s business ; but that his most effectual way will be by Messrs. Hoare, who are Mr. Spencer s cashiers, and who will undoubtedly have their choice upon whom they will give him his credit. As for the postage of the letters, your purse and mine being pretty near the same, do you pay it, over and above your next draught.

Your relations, the Princes B , will soon be with you

at Paris ; for they leave London this week : whenever you converse with them, I desire it may be in Italian ; that language not being yet familiar enough to you.

By our printed papers, there seems to be a sort of compro mise between the King and the parliament, with regard to the affairs of the hospitals, by taking them out of the hands of the Archbishop of Paris, and placing them in Monsieur d Argen- son s: if this be true, that compromise, as it is called, is clearly a victory on the side of the court, and a defeat on the part of the parliament ; for if the parliament had a right, they had it as much to the exclusion of Monsieur d Argenson as of the Archbishop. Adieu.


LETTER CLVIII

LONDON, February 6, O. S. 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND: Your criticism of Varon is strictly just ; but, in truth, severe. You French critics seek for a fault as eagerly as I do for a beauty: you con sider things in the worst light, to show your skill, at the expense of your pleasure ; I view them in the best, that I


LETTERS TO HIS SON 59

may have more pleasure, though at the expense of my judgment. A trompeur trompeur et demi is prettily said; and, if you please, you may call Varon, un Normand^ and Sostrate, un Man$eau, qui vaut un Normand et demi; and, considering the denouement in the light of trick upon trick, it would undoubtedly be below the dignity of the buskin, and fitter for the sock.

But let us see if we cannot bring off the author. The great question upon which all turns, is to discover and ascertain who Cleonice really is. There are doubts concern ing her 6tat; how shall they be cleared ? Had the truth been extorted from Varon (who alone knew) by the rack, it would have been a true tragical denouement. But that would probably not have done with Varon, who is repre sented as a bold, determined, wicked, and at that time desperate fellow ; for he was in the hands of an enemy who he knew could not forgive him, with common pru dence or safety. The rack would, therefore, have extorted no truth from him ; but he would have died enjoying the doubts of his enemies, and the confusion that must neces sarily attend those doubts. A stratagem is therefore thought of to discover what force and terror could not, and the stratagem such as no king or minister would disdain, to get at an important discovery. If you call that stratagem a TRICK, you vilify it, and make it comical ; but call that trick a STRATAGEM, or a MEASURE, and you dignify it up to tragedy : so frequently do ridicule or dignity turn upon one single word. It is commonly said, and more particu larly by Lord Shaftesbury, that ridicule is the best test of truth ; for that it will not stick where it is not just. I deny it. A truth learned in a certain light, and attacked in certain words, by men of wit and humor, may, and often doth, become ridiculous, at least so far that the truth is only remembered and repeated for the sake of the ridi cule. The overturn of Mary of Medicis into a river, where she was half-drowned, would never have been remembered if Madame de Vernuel, who saw it, had not said la Reine boit. Pleasure or malignity often gives ridicule a weight which it does not deserve. The versification, I must con fess, is too much neglected and too often bad : but, upon the whole, I read the play with pleasure.


60 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

If there is but a great deal of wit and character in your new comedy, I will readily compound for its having little or no plot. I chiefly mind dialogue and character in come dies. Let dull critics feed upon the carcasses of plays ; give me the taste and the dressing.

I am very glad you went to Versailles to see the cere mony of creating the Prince de Cond6 Chevalier de V Ordre; and I do not doubt but that upon this occasion you in formed yourself thoroughly of the institution and rules of that order. If you did, you were certainly told it was in stituted by Henry III. immediately after his return, or rather his flight from Poland; he took the hint of it at Venice, where he had seen the original manuscript of an order of the St. Esprit, ou droit desir, which had been instituted in 1352, by Louis d Anjou, King of Jerusalem and Sicily, and husband to Jane, Queen of Naples, Coun tess of Provence. This Order was under the protection of St. Nicholas de Bari, whose image hung to the collar. Henry III. found the Order of St. Michael prostituted and degraded, during the civil wars ; he therefore joined it to his new Order of the St. Esprit, and gave them both to gether; for which reason every knight of the St. Esprit is now called Chevalier des Ordres du Roi. The number of the knights hath been different, but is now fixed to ONE HUNDRED, exclusive of the sovereign. There are many offi cers who wear the riband of this Order, like the other knights ; and what is very singular is, that these officers frequently sell their employments, but obtain leave to wear the blue riband still, though the purchasers of those offices wear it also.

As you will have been a great while in France, people will expect that you should be au fait of all these sort of things relative to that country. But the history of all the Orders of all countries is well worth your knowledge ; the subject occurs often, and one should not be ignorant of it, for fear of some such accident as happened to a solid Dane at Paris, who, upon seeing / Ordre du St. Esprit, said, Notre St. Esprit chez nous c est un Elephant. Almost all the princes in Germany have their Orders too ; not dated, indeed, from any important events, or directed to any great object, but because they will have orders, to show that they may ; as some of them, who have the jus cudendce monetce,


LETTERS TO HIS SON 61

borrow ten shillings worth of gold to coin a ducat. How ever, wherever you meet with them, inform yourself, and minute down a short account of them ; they take in all the colors of Sir Isaac Newton s prisms. N. B. When you in quire about them, do not seem to laugh.

I thank you for le Mandement de Monseigneur V Arche- veque; it is very well drawn, and becoming an archbishop. But pray do not lose sight of a much more important ob ject, I mean the political disputes between the King and the parliament, and the King and the clergy ; they seem both to be patching up ; but, however, get the whole clue to them, as far as they have gone.

I received a letter yesterday from Madame Monconseil, who assures me you have gained ground du cot des mani- tres, and that she looks upon you to be plus qu d, mottle" chemin. I am very glad to hear this, because, if you are got above half way of your journey, surely you will finish it, and not faint in the course. Why do you think I have this affair so extremely at heart, and why do I repeat it so often? Is it for your sake, or for mine? You can imme diately answer yourself that question; you certainly have I cannot possibly have any interest in it. If then you will allow me, as I believe you may, to be a judge of what is useful and necessary to you, you must, in conse quence, be convinced of the infinite importance of a point which I take so much pains to inculcate.

I hear that the new Duke of Orleans a remercie Mon sieur de Melfort, and I believe, pas sans raison, having had obligations to him; mais il ne V a pas remercie en mari poll, but rather roughly. II faut que ce soit un bourru. I am told, too, that people get bits of his father s rags, by way of relics ; I wish them joy, they will do them a great deal of good. See from hence what weaknesses human nature is capable of, and make allowances for such in all your plans and reasonings. Study the characters of the people you have to do with, and know what they are, instead of thinking them what they should be ; address yourself generally to the senses, to the heart, and to the weaknesses of mankind, but very rarely to their reason.

Good-night or good-morrow to you, according to the time you shall receive this letter from, Yours.


62 LORD CHESTERFIELD S


LETTER CLIX

LONDON, February 14, O. S. 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND: In a month s time, I believe I shall have the pleasure of sending you, and you will have the pleasure of reading, a work of Lord Boling- broke s, in two volumes octavo, a Upon the Use of His tory, w in several letters to Lord Hyde, then Lord Corn- bury. It is now put into the press. It is hard to deter mine whether this work will instruct or please most : the most material historical facts, from the great era of the treaty of Munster, are touched upon, accompanied by the most solid reflections, and adorned by all that elegance of style which was peculiar to himself, and in which, if Cicero equals, he certainly does not exceed him ; but every other writer falls short of him. I would advise you almost to get this book by heart. I think you have a turn to history, you love it, and have a memory to retain it : this book will teach you the proper use of it. Some people load their memories indiscriminately with historical facts, as others do their stomachs with food; and bring out the one, and bring up the other, entirely crude and undigested. You will find in Lord Bolingbroke s book an infallible specific against that epidemical complaint.*

I remember a gentleman who had read history in this thoughtless and undistinguishing manner, and who, having traveled, had gone through the Valtelline. He told me that it was a miserable poor country, and therefore it was, surely, a great error in Cardinal Richelieu to make such a rout, and put France to so much expense about it. Had my friend read history as he ought to have done, he would have known that the great object of that great minister was to reduce the power of the House of Austria ; and in order to that, to cut off as much as he could the communication between the several parts of their then extensive dominions;

  • It is important to remember that at this time Lord Bol

ingbroke s philosophical works had not appeared ; which accounts for Lord Chesterfield s recommending to his son, in this, as well as in some foregoing passages, the study of Lord Bolingbroke s writings.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 63

which reflections would have justified the Cardinal to him, in the affair of the Valtelline. But it was easier to him to remember facts, than to combine and reflect.

One observation I hope you will make in reading his tory; for it is an obvious and a true one. It is, that more people have made great figures and great fortunes in courts by their exterior accomplishments, than by their interior qualifications. Their engaging address, the politeness of their manners, their air, their turn, hath almost always paved the way for their superior abilities, if they have such, to exert themselves. They have been favorites before they have been ministers. In courts, an universal gentle ness and douceur dans les manures is most absolutely nec essary : an offended fool, or a slighted valet de chambre, may very possibly do you more hurt at court, than ten men of merit can do you good. Fools, and low people, are always jealous of their dignity, and never forget nor forgive what they reckon a slight: on the other hand, they take civility and a little attention as a favor; remember, and acknowledge it : this, in my mind, is buying them cheap ; and therefore they are worth buying. The prince himself, who is rarely the shining genius of his court, esteems you only by hearsay but likes you by his senses ; that is, from your air, your politeness, and your manner of addressing him, of which alone he is a judge. There is a court gar ment, as well as a wedding garment, without which you will not be received. That garment is the volto sciolto; an imposing air, an elegant politeness, easy and engaging manners, universal attention, an insinuating gentleness, and all those je ne sais quoi that compose the GRACES.

I am this moment disagreeably interrupted by a letter ; not from you, as I expected, but from a friend of yours at Paris, who informs me that you have a fever which con fines you at home. Since you have a fever, I am glad you have prudence enough in it to stay at home, and take care of yourself ; a little more prudence might probably have prevented it. Your blood is young, and consequently hot ; and you naturally make a great deal by your good stomach and good digestion ; you should, therefore, necessarily atten uate and cool it, from time to time, by gentle purges, or by a very low diet, for two or three days together, if you


64 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

would avoid fevers. Lord Bacon, who was a very great physician in both senses of the word, hath this aphorism in his (< Essay upon Health, )} Nihil magis ad Sanitatem tribuit quam crebrce et domesticce purgationes. By domesticce, he means those simple uncompounded purgatives which everybody can administer to themselves ; such as senna-tea, stewed prunes and senna, chewing a little rhubarb, or dis solving an ounce and a half of manna in fair water, with the juice of a lemon to make it palatable. Such gentle and unconfining evacuations would certainly prevent those fever ish attacks to which everybody at your age is subject.

By the way, I do desire, and insist, that whenever, from any indisposition, you are not able to write to me upon the fixed days, that Christian shall ; and give me a TRUE ac count how you are. I do not expect from him the Cicero nian epistolary style ; but I will content myself with the Swiss simplicity and truth.

I hope you extend your acquaintance at Paris, and fre quent variety of companies ; the only way of knowing the world; every set of company differs in some particulars from another; and a man of business must, in the course of his life, have to do with all sorts. It is a very great advantage to know the languages of the several countries one travels in ; and different companies may, in some degree, be considered as different countries ; each hath its distinctive language, customs, and manners : know them all, and you will wonder at none.

Adieu, child. Take care of your health ; there are no pleasures without it.


LETTER CLX

LONDON, February 20, O. S. 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND : In all systems whatsoever, whether of religion, government, morals, etc., perfection is the object always proposed, though possibly unattainable ; hitherto, at least, certainly unattained. However, ^those who aim carefully at the mark itself, will unquestionably come nearer it, than those who from despair, negligence,


LETTERS TO HIS SON 65

or indolence, leave to chance the work of skill. This maxim holds equally true in common life ; those who aim at perfection will come infinitely nearer it than those desponding or indolent spirits, who foolishly say to them selves: Nobody is perfect; perfection is unattainable; to attempt it is chimerical ; I shall do as well as others ; why then should I give myself trouble to be what I never can, and what, according to the common course of things, I need not be, PERFECT?

I am very sure that I need not point out to you the weakness and the folly of this reasoning, if it deserves the name of reasoning. It would discourage and put a stop to the exertion of any one of our faculties. On the contrary, a man of sense and spirit says to himself : Though the point of perfection may (considering the imper fection of our nature) be unattainable, my care, my endeavors, my attention, shall not be wanting to get as near it as I can. I will approach it every day, possibly, I may arrive at it at last ; at least, what I am sure is in my own power, I will not be distanced. Many fools (speaking of you) say to me : What ! would you have him perfect ? I answer : Why not? What hurt would it do him or me? O, but that is impossible, say they; I reply, I am not sure of that: perfection in the abstract, I admit to be unattainable, but what is commonly called perfection in a character I main tain to be attainable, and not only that, but in every man s power. He hath, continue they, a good head, a good heart, a good fund of knowledge, which would increase daily : What would you have more ? Why, I would have everything more that can adorn and complete a character. Will it do his head, his heart, or his knowledge any harm, to have the utmost delicacy of manners, the most shining advantages of air and address, the most endearing atten tions, and the most engaging graces? But as he is, say they, he is loved wherever he is known. I am very glad of it, say I; but I would have him be liked before he is known, and loved afterward. I would have him, by his first abord and address, make people wish to know him, and inclined to love him : he will save a great deal of time by it. Indeed, reply they, you are too nice, too exact, and lay too much stress upon things that are of very little consequence. Indeed, 5


66 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

rejoin I, you know very little of the nature of mankind, if you take those things to be of little consequence : one cannot be too attentive to them ; it is they that always engage the heart, of which the understanding is commonly the bubble. And I would much rather that he erred in a point of grammar, of history, of philosophy, etc., than in point of manners and address. But consider, he is very young; all this will come in time. I hope so; but that time must be when he is young, or it will never be at all ; the right pit must be taken young, or it will never be easy or seem natural. Come, come, say they (substituting, as is frequently done, assertion instead of argument), depend upon it he will do very well : and you have a great deal of reason to be satisfied with him. I hope and believe he will do well, but I would have him do better than well. I am very well pleased with him, but I would be more, I would be proud of him. I would have him have lustre as well as weight. Did you ever know anybody that reunited all these talents? Yes, I did; Lord Bolingbroke joined all the politeness, the manners, and the graces of a courtier, to the solidity of a statesman, and to the learning of a pedant. He was omnis homo; and pray what should hinder my boy from being so too, if he hath, as I think he hath, all the other qualifications that you allow him? Nothing can hin der him, but neglect of or inattention to, those objects which his own good sense must tell him are of infinite con sequence to him, and which therefore I will not suppose him capable of either neglecting or despising.

This (to tell you the whole truth) is the result of a con troversy that passed yesterday, between Lady Hervey and myself, upon your subject, and almost in the very words. I submit the decision of it to yourself ; let your own good sense determine it, and make you act in consequence of that determination. The receipt to make this composition is short and infallible ; here I give it to you :

Take variety of the best company, wherever you are ; be minutely attentive to every word and action ; imitate re spectively those whom you observe to be distinguished and considered for any one accomplishment ; then mix all those several accomplishments together, and serve them up your self to others.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 67

I hope your fair, or rather your brown AMERICAN is well. I hear that she makes very handsome presents, if she is not so herself. I am told there are people at Paris who expect, from this secret connection, to see in time a volume of letters, superior to Madame de Graffiny s Peruvian ones ; I lay in my claim to one of the first copies.

Francis s Genie* hath been acted twice, with most uni versal applause; to-night is his third night, and I am going to it. I did not think it would have succeeded so well, considering how long our British audiences have been ac customed to murder, racks, and poison, in every tragedy; but it affected the heart so much, that it triumphed over habit and prejudice. All the women cried, and all the men were moved. The prologue, which is a very good one, was made entirely by Garrick. The epilogue is old Gibber s; but corrected, though not enough, by Francis. He will get a great deal of money by it ; and, consequently, be better able to lend you sixpence, upon any emergency.

The parliament of Paris, I find by the newspapers, has not carried its point concerning the hospitals, and, though the King hath given up the Archbishop, yet as he has put them under the management and direction du Grand Con- setlj the parliament is equally out of the question. This will naturally put you upon inquiring into the constitution of the Grand Conseil. You will, doubtless, inform your self who it is composed of, what things are de son ressort^ whether or not there lies an appeal from thence to any other place; and of afl other particulars, that may give you a clear notion of this assembly. There are also three or four other Conseils in France, of which you ought to know the constitution and the objects; I dare say you do know them already; but if you do not, lose no time in informing yourself. These things, as I have often told you, are best learned in various French companies : but in no English ones, for none of our countrymen trouble their heads about them. To use a very trite image, collect, like the bee, your store from every quarter. In some companies (parmi les fermiers gfneraux nommdment) you may, by proper in quiries, get a general knowledge, at least, of les affaires des finances. When you are with des gens de robe, suck them

  • Francis s <( Eugenia. w


68 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

with regard to the constitution, and civil government, and sic de cceteris. This shows you the advantage of keeping -a great deal of different French company; an advantage Tnuch superior to any that you can possibly receive from loitering and sauntering away evenings in any English

company at Paris, not even excepting Lord A . Love of

ease, and fear of restraint (to both which I doubt you are, fora young fellow, too much addicted) may invite you among your countrymen : but pray withstand those mean tempta tions, et prenez sur vous, for the sake of being in those as semblies, which alone can inform your mind and improve your manners. You have not now many months to continue at Paris ; make the most of them ; get into every house there, if you can ; extend acquaintance, know everything and everybody there ; that when you leave it for other places, you may be au fait^ and even able to explain whatever you may hear mentioned concerning it. Adieu.


LETTER CLXI

LONDON, March 2, O. S. 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND: Whereabouts are you in Ariosto? Or have you gone through that most ingenious contex ture of truth and lies, of serious and extravagant, of knights-errant, magicians, and all that various matter which he announces in the beginning of his poem:

<( Le Donne, i Cavalier, Varme, gli amort, Le cortesie, V audaci itnfrese to canto. w

I am by no means sure that Homer had superior inven tion, or excelled more in description than Ariosto. What can be more seducing and voluptuous, than the description of Alcina s person and palace? What more ingeniously extravagant, than the search made in the moon for Orlando s lost wits, and the account of other people s that were found there? The whole is worth your attention, not only as an ingenious poem, but as the source of all modern tales, novels, fables, and romances ; as Ovid s (< Metamorphoses]" was of the ancient ones ; besides, that when you have read this work, nothing will be difficult to you in the Italian


LETTERS TO HIS SON 69

language. You will read Tasso s Gierusalemme, and the Decamerone di Boccacio, with great facility afterward; and when you have read those three authors, you will, in my opinion, have read all the works of invention that are worth reading in that language ; though the Italians would be very angry at me for saying so.

A gentleman should know those which I call classical works, in every language ; such as Boileau^ Corneille, Racine, Moliere, etc., in French; Milton, Dryden, Pope, Swift, etc., in English; and the three authors above mentioned in Italian; whether you have any such in German I am not quite sure, nor, indeed, am I inquisitive. These sort of books adorn the mind, improve the fancy, are frequently alluded to by, and are often the subjects of conversations of the best companies. As you have languages to read, and memory to retain them, the knowledge of them is very well worth the little pains it will cost you, and will enable you to shine in company. It is not pedantic to quote and allude to them, which it would be with regard to the ancients.

Among the many advantages which you have had in your education, I do not consider your knowledge of several languages as the least. You need not trust to translations; you can go to the source ; you can both converse and negotiate with people of all nations, upon equal terms; which is by no means the case of a man, who converses or negotiates in a language which those with whom he hath to do know much better than himself. In business, a great deal may depend upon the force and extent of one word ; and, in conversation, a moderate thought may gain, or a good one lose, by the propriety or impropriety, the elegance or inelegance of one single word. As therefore you now know four modern languages well, I would have you study (and, by the way, it will be very little trouble to you) to know them correctly, accurately, and delicately. Read some little books that treat of them, and ask questions concerning their delicacies, of those who are able to answer you. As, for instance, should I say in French, la lettre que je vous ai CRIT, or, la lettre qtie je vous at ^CRITK ? in which, I think, the French differ among themselves. There is a short French grammar by the Port Royal, and another


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by Pere Buffier, both which are worth your reading; as is also a little book called Les Synonymes Francois. There are books of that kind upon the Italian language, into some of which I would advise you to dip ; possibly the German language may have something of the same sort, and since you already speak it, the more properly you speak it the better ; one would, I think, as far as possible, do all one does correctly and elegantly. It is extremely engaging to people of every nation, to meet with a for eigner who hath taken pains enough to speak their language correctly; it flatters that local and national pride and prejudice of which everybody hath some share.

Francis s (( Eugenia, J) which I will send you, pleased most people of good taste here ; the boxes were crowded till the sixth night, when the pit and gallery were totally deserted, and it was dropped. Distress, without death, was not sufficient to affect a true British audience, so long accustomed to daggers, racks, and bowls of poison: con trary to Horace s rule, they desire to see Medea murder her children upon the stage. The sentiments were too delicate to move them ; and their hearts are to be taken by storm, not by parley.

Have you got the things, which were taken from you at Calais, restored? and, among them, the little packet which my sister gave you for Sir Charles Hotham? In this case, have you forwarded it to him? If you have not had an opportunity, you will have one soon ; which I desire you will not omit; it is by Monsieur d Aillion, whom you will see in a few days at Paris, in his way to Geneva, where Sir Charles now is, and will remain some time. Adieu.


LETTER CLXII

LONDON, March 5, O. S. 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND : As I have received no letter from you by the usual post, I am uneasy upon account of your health ; for, had you been well, I am sure you would have written, according to your engagement and my requisition. You have not the least notion of any


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care of your health; but though I would not have you be a valetudinarian, I must tell you that the best and most robust health requires some degree of attention to preserve. Young fellows, thinking they have so much health and time before them, are very apt to neglect or lavish both, and beggar themselves before they are aware : whereas a prudent economy in both would make them rich indeed; and so far from breaking in upon their pleasures, would improve, and almost perpetuate them. Be you wiser, and, before it is too late, manage both with care and fru gality; and lay out neither, but upon good interest and se curity.

I will now confine myself to the employment of your time, which, though I have often touched upon formerly, is a subject that, from its importance, will bear repetition. You have it is true, a great deal of time before you ; but, in this period of your life, one hour usefully employed may be worth more than four-and-twenty hereafter ; a minute is precious to you now, whole days may possibly not be so forty years hence. Whatever time you allow, or can snatch for serious reading (I say snatch, because company and the knowledge of the world is now your chief object), employ it in the reading of some one book, and that a good one, till you have finished it: and do not distract your mind with various matters at the same time. In this light I would recommend to you to read tout de suite Grotius de Jure Belli et Pads, translated by Barbeyrac, and Puffen- dorff s Jus Gentium, translated by the same hand. For accidental quarters of hours, read works of invention, wit and humor, of the best, and not of trivial authors, either ancient or modern.

Whatever business you have, do it the first moment you can; never by halves, but finish it without interruption, if possible. Business must not be sauntered and trifled with; and you must not say to it, as Felix did to Paul, (< At a more convenient season I will speak to thee." The most convenient season for business is the first; but study and business in some measure point out their own times to a man of sense ; time is much oftener squandered away in the wrong choice and improper methods of amusement and pleasures.


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Many people think that they are in pleasures, provided they are neither in study nor in business. Nothing like it; they are doing nothing, and might just as well be asleep. They contract habitudes from laziness, and they only frequent those places where they are free from all restraints and at tentions. Be upon your guard against this idle profusion of time ; and let every place you go to be either the scene of quick and lively pleasures, or the school of your own improvements ; let every company you go into either gratify your senses, extend your knowledge, or refine your manners. Have some decent object of gallantry in view at some places ; frequent others, where people of wit and taste as semble ; get into others, where people of superior rank and dignity command respect and attention from the rest of the company; but pray frequent no neutral places, from mere idleness and indolence. Nothing forms a young man so much as being used to keep respectable and superior com pany, where a constant regard and attention is necessary. It is true, this is at first a disagreeable state of restraint; but it soon grows habitual, and consequently easy ; and you are amply paid for it, by the improvement you make, and the credit it gives you. What you said some time ago was very true, concerning le Palais Royal; to one of your age the situation is disagreeable enough: you cannot expect to be much taken notice of; but all that time you can take notice of others; observe their manners, decipher their characters, and insensibly you will become one of the company.

All this I went through myself, when I was of your age. I have sat hours in company without being taken the least notice of; but then I took notice of them, and learned in their company how to behave myself better in the next, till by degrees I became part of the best companies myself. But I took great care not to lavish away my time in those companies where there were neither quick pleasures nor useful improvements to be expected.

Sloth, indolence, and mollesse are pernicious and unbecom ing a young fellow; let them be your ressource forty years hence at soonest. Determine, at all events, and however disagreeable it may to you in some respects, and for sometime, to keep the most distinguished and fashionable company of the


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place you are at, either for their rank, or for their learning, or le bel esprit et le goUt. This gives you credentials to the best companies, wherever you go afterward. Pray, therefore, no indolence, no laziness; but employ every minute in your life in active pleasures, or useful employments. Address yourself to some woman of fashion and beauty, wherever you are, and try how far that will go. If the place be not secured beforehand, and garrisoned, nine times in ten you will take it. By attentions and respect you may always get into the highest company: and by some admiration and applause, whether merited or not, you may be sure of being welcome among les savans et les beaux esprits. There are but these three sorts of company for a young fellow; there being neither pleasure nor profit in any other.

My uneasiness with regard to your health is this moment removed by your letter of the 8th N. S., which, by what accident I do not know, I did not receive before.

I long to read Voltaire s Rome Sauvte, which, by the very faults that your SEVERE critics find with it, I am sure I shall like ; for I will at an any time give up a good deal of regularity for a great deal of brillant; and for the brillant surely nobody is equal to Voltaire. Catiline s conspiracy is an unhappy subject for a tragedy; it is too single, and gives no opportunity to the poet to excite any of the ten der passions; the whole is one intended act of horror, CrSbillon was sensible of this defect, and to create another interest, most absurdly made Catiline in love with Cicero s daughter, and her with him.

I am very glad that you went to Versailles, and dined with Monsieur de St. Contest. That is company to learn les bonnes manures in ; and it seems you had les bonnes mor- ceaux into the bargain. Though you were no part of the King of France s conversation with the foreign ministers, and probably not much entertained with it, do you think that it is not very useful to you to hear it, and to ob serve the turn and manners of people of that sort? It is extremely useful to know it well. The same in the next rank of people, such as ministers of state, etc., in whose company, though you cannot yet, at your age, bear a part, and consequently be diverted, you will


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observe and learn, what hereafter it may be necessary for you to act.

Tell Sir John Lambert that I have this day fixed Mr. Spencer s having his credit upon him; Mr. Hoare had also recommended him. I believe Mr. Spencer will set out next month for some place in France, but not Paris. I am sure he wants a great deal of France, for at present he is most entirely English : and you know very well what I think of that. And so we bid you heartily good-night.


LETTER CLXIII

LONDON, March 16, O. S. 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND : How do you go on with the most useful and most necessary of all studies, the study of the world? Do you find that you gain knowl edge? And does your daily experience at once extend and demonstrate your improvement? You will possibly ask me how you can judge of that yourself. I will tell you a sure way of knowing. Examine yourself, and see whether your notions of the world are changed, by experience, from what they were two years ago in theory ; for that alone is one favorable symptom of improvement. At that age (I remember it in myself) every notion that one forms is er roneous ; one hath seen few models, and those none of the best, to form one s self upon. One thinks that everything is to be carried by spirit and vigor ; that art is meanness, and that versatility and complaisance are the refuge of pusilanimity and weakness. This most mistaken opinion gives an indelicacy, a brusquerie, and a roughness to the manners. Fools, who can never be undeceived, retain them as long as they live : reflection, with a little expe rience, makes men of sense shake them off soon. When they come to be a little better acquainted with them selves, and with their own species, they discover that plain right reason is, nine times in ten, the fettered and shackled attendant of the triumph of the heart and the passions ; and, consequently, they address themselves nine times in


LETTERS TO HIS SON 75

ten to the conqueror, not to the conquered : and conquerors, you know, must be applied to in the gentlest, the most en gaging, and the most insinuating manner. Have you found out that every woman is infallibly to be gained by every sort of flattery, and every man by one sort or other? Have you discovered what variety of little things affect the heart, and how surely they collectively gain it? If you have, you have made some progress. I would try a man s knowledge of the world, as I would a schoolboy s knowl edge of Horace: not by making him construe Mcecenas at avis edite regibus, which he could do in the first form ; but by examining him as to the delicacy and curiosa felici- tas of that poet. A man requires very little knowledge and experience of the world, to understand glaring, high- colored, and decided characters ; they are but few, and they strike at first : but to distinguish the almost imper ceptible shades, and the nice gradations of virtue and vice, sense and folly, strength and weakness (of which characters are commonly composed ) , demands some ex perience, great observation, and minute attention. In the same cases, most people do the same things, but with this material difference, upon which the success commonly turns : A man who hath studied the world knows when to time, and where to place them ; he hath analyzed the characters he applies to, and adapted his address and his argu ments to them : but a man, of what is called plain good sense, who hath only reasoned by himself, and not acted with mankind, mistimes, misplaces, runs precipitately and bluntly at the mark, and falls upon his nose in the way. In the common manners of social life, every man of com mon sense hath the rudiments, the A B C of civility ; he means not to offend, and even wishes to please: and, if he hath any real merit, will be received and tolerated in good company. But that is far from being enough ; for, though he may be received, he will never be desired ; though he does not offend, he will never be loved ; but, like some little, insignificant, neutral power, surrounded by great ones, he will neither be feared nor courted by any; but, by turns, invaded by all, whenever it is their interest. A most contemptible situation ! Whereas, a man who hath care fully attended to, and experienced, the various workings of


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the heart, and the artifices of the head; and who, by one shade, can trace the progression of the whole color ; who can, at the proper times, employ all the several means of persuading the understanding, and engaging the heart, may and will have enemies; but will and must have friends: he may be opposed, but he will be supported too ; his talents may excite the jealousy of some, but his engaging arts will make him beloved by many more ; he will be con siderable ; he will be considered. Many different qualifica tions must conspire to form such a man, and to make him at once respectable and amiable ; the least must be joined to the greatest; the latter would be unavailing without the former ; and the former would be futile and frivolous, without the latter. Learning is acquired by reading books; but the much more necessary learning, the knowledge of the world, is only to be acquired by reading men, and studying all the various editions of them. Many words in every language are generally thought to be synonymous ; but those who study the language attentively will find, that there is no such thing; they will discover some little difference, some distinction between all those words that are vulgarly called synonymous; one hath always more energy, extent, or delicacy, than another. It is the same with men ; all are in general, and yet no two in particular, exactly alike. Those who have not accurately studied, perpetually mistake them ; they do not discern the shades and gradations that distinguish characters seemingly alike. Company, various company, is the only school for this knowledge. You ought to be, by this time, at least in the third form of that school, from whence the rise to the uppermost is easy and quick; but then you must have application and vi vacity ; and you must not only bear with, but even seek restraint in most companies, instead of stagnating in one or two only, where indolence and love of ease may be in dulged.

In the plan which I gave you in my last,* for your future motions, I forgot to tell you, that, if a king of the Romans should be chosen this year, you shall certainly be at that election ; and as, upon those occasions, all strangers are ex cluded from the place of the election, except such as belong to

  • That letter is missing.


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some ambassador, I have already eventually secured you a place in the suite of the King s Electoral Ambassador, who will be sent upon that account to Frankfort, or wherever else the election may be. This will not only secure you a sight of the show, but a knowledge of the whole thing; which is likely to be a contested one, from the opposition of some of the electors, and the protests of some of the princes of the empire. That election, if there is one, will, in my opinion, be a memorable era in the history of the empire; pens at least, if not swords, will be drawn; and ink, if not blood, will be plentifully shed by the contending parties in that dispute. During the fray, you may securely plunder, and add to your present stock of knowledge of the jus publicum imperil. The court of France hath, I am told, appointed le President Ogier, a man of great abilities, to go imme diately to Ratisbon, pour y souffer la discorde. It must be owned that France hath always profited skillfully of its having guaranteed the treaty of Munster; which hath given it a constant pretense to thrust itself into the affairs of the empire. When France got Alsace yielded by treaty, it was very willing to have held it as a fief of the empire ; but the empire was then wiser. Every power should be very care ful not to give the least pretense to a neighboring power to meddle with the affairs of its interior. Sweden hath already felt the effects of the Czarina s calling herself Guar antee of its present form of government, in consequence of the treaty of Neustadt, confirmed afterward by that of Abo; though, in truth, that guarantee was rather a provision against Russia s attempting to alter the then new estab lished form of government in Sweden, than any right given to Russia to hinder the Swedes from establishing what form of government they pleased. Read them both, if you can get them. Adieu.


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LETTER CLXIV

LONDON, April 13, O. S. 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I receive, this moment your letter of the i9th, N. S., with the inclosed pieces relative to the present dispute between the King and the par liament. I shall return them by Lord Huntingdon, whom you will soon see at Paris, and who will likewise carry you the piece, which I forgot in making up the packet I sent you by the Spanish Ambassador. The representation of the parliament is very well drawn, suaviter in modo, fortiter in re. They tell the King very respectfully, that, in a certain case, WHICH THEY SHOULD THINK IT CRIMINAL TO SUPPOSE, they would not obey him. This hath a tend ency to what we call here revolution principles. I do not know what the Lord s anointed, his vicegerent upon earth, divinely appointed by him, and accountable to none but him for his actions, will either think or do, upon these symptoms of reason and good sense, which seem to be breaking out all over France : but this I foresee, that, be fore the end of this century, the trade of both king and priest will not be half so good a one as it has been. Du Clos, in his (< Reflections, w hath observed, and very truly, qu?il y a un germe de raison qui commence a se developper en France; a dfoeloppement that must prove fatal to Regal and Papal pretensions. Prudence may, in many cases, rec ommend an occasional submission to either ; but when that ignorance, upon which an implicit faith in both could only be founded, is once removed, God s Vicegerent, and Christ s Vicar, will only be obeyed and believed, as far as what the one orders, and the other says, is conformable to reason and to truth.

I am very glad (to use a vulgar expression) that YOU MAKE AS IF YOU WERE NOT WELL, though you really are ; I am sure it is the likeliest way to keep so. Pray leave off entirely your greasy, heavy pastry, fat creams, and indi gestible dumplings ; and then you need not confine yourself to white meats, which I do not take to be one jot whole- somer than beef, mutton, and partridge.


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Voltaire sent me, from Berlin, his History du Sitcle de Louis XIV. It came at a very proper time ; Lord Boling- broke had just taught me how history should be read; Vol taire shows me how it should be written. I am sensible that it will meet with almost as many critics as readers. Voltaire must be criticised ; besides, every man s favorite is attacked: for every prejudice is exposed, and our prejudices are our mistresses ; reason is at best our wife, very often heard indeed, but seldom minded. It is the history of the human understanding, written by a man of parts, for the use of men of parts. Weak minds will not like it, even though they do not understand it; which is commonly the measure of their admiration. Dull ones will want those minute and uninteresting details with which most other histories are encumbered. He tells me all I want to know, and nothing more. His reflections are short, just, and pro duce others in his readers. Free from religious, philosoph ical, political and national prejudices, beyond any historian I ever met with, he relates all those matters as truly and as impartially, as certain regards, which must always be to some degree observed, will allow him ; for one sees plainly that he often says much less than he would say, if he might. He hath made me much better acquainted with the times of Lewis XIV., than the innumerable volumes which I had read could do; and hath suggested this reflection to me, which I have never made before His vanity, not his knowl edge, made him encourage all, and introduce many arts and sciences in his country. He opened in a manner the human understanding in France, and brought it to its utmost per fection ; his age equalled in all, and greatly exceeded in many things (pardon me, Pedants!) the Augustan. This was great and rapid; but still it might be done, by the en couragement, the applause, and the rewards of a vain, lib eral, and magnificent prince. What is much more surpris ing is, that he stopped the operations of the human mind just where he pleased; and seemed to say, <( Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther. w For, a bigot to his religion, and jealous of his power, free and rational thoughts upon either, never entered into a French head during his reign; and the greatest geniuses that ever any age produced, never enter tained a doubt of the divine right of Kings, or the infalli-


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bility of the Church. Poets, Orators, and Philosophers, ig norant of their natural rights, cherished their chains ; and blind, active faith triumphed, in those great minds, over silent and passive reason. The reverse of this seems now to be the case in France : reason opens itself ; fancy and invention fade and decline.

I will send you a copy of this history by Lord Hunt ingdon, as I think it very probable that it is not allowed to be published and sold at Paris. Pray read it more than once, and with attention, particularly the second volume, which contains short, but very clear accounts of many very interesting things, which are talked of by everybody, though fairly understood by very few. There are two very puerile affectations which I wish this book had been free from ; the one is, the total subversion of all the old estab lished French orthography ; the other is, the not making use of any one capital letter throughout the whole book, except at the beginning of a paragraph. It offends my eyes to see rome, paris, france, caesar, henry the fourth, etc., begin with small letters; and I do not conceive that there can be any reason for doing it, half so strong as the reason of long usage is to the contrary. This is an affectation below Voltaire; who, I am not ashamed to say, that I admire and delight in, as an author, equally in prose and in verse.

I had a letter a few days ago from Monsieur du Boccage, in which he says, Monsieur Stanhope s est jete* dans la politique, et je crois qu } il y reussira: You do very well, it is your destination ; but remember that, to succeed in great things, one must first learn to please in little ones. Engaging manners and address must prepare the way for superior knowledge and abilities to act with effect. The late Duke of Marlborough s manners and address prevailed with the first king of Prussia, to let his troops remain in the army of the Allies, when neither their representations, nor his own share in the common cause could do it. The Duke of Marlborough had no new matter to urge to him ; but had a manner, which he could not, nor did not, resist. Voltaire, among a thousand little delicate strokes of that kind, says of the Duke de la Feuillade, qu il etoit Vhomme le plus brillant et le plus aimable du royaume; et quoique


LETTERS TO HIS SON 81

gendre du General et Ministre, il avoit pour lui la faveur publique. Various little circumstances of that sort will often make a man of great real merit be hated, if he hath not address and manners to make him be loved. Consider all your own circumstances seriously ; and you will find) that, of all arts, the art of pleasing is the most necessary for you to study and possess. A silly tyrant said, oderint modo timeant; a wise man would have said, modo ament nihil timendum est mihi. Judge from your own daily experience, of the efficacy of that pleasing je ne sais quoi^ when you feel, as you and everybody certainly does, that in men it is more engaging than knowledge, in women than beauty.

I long to see Lord and Lady ( who are not yet

arrived), because they have lately seen you; and I always fancy, that I can fish out something new concerning you, from those who have seen you last : not that I shall much rely upon their accounts, because I distrust the judgment of

Lord and Lady , in those matters about which I am

most inquisitive. They have ruined their own son by what they called and thought loving him. They have made him believe that the world was made for him, not he for the world; and unless he stays abroad a great while, and falls into very good company, he will expect, what he will never find, the attentions and complaisance from others, which he has hitherto been used to from Papa and Mamma.

This, I fear, is too much the case of Mr. ; who, I

doubt, will be run through the body, and be near dying, before he knows how to live. However you may turn out, you can never make me any of these reproaches. I indulged no silly, womanish fondness for you ; instead of inflicting my tenderness upon you, I have taken all possible methods to make you deserve it ; and thank God you do ; at least, I know but one article, in which you are different from what I could wish you; and you very well know what that is I want : That I and all the world should like you, as well as I love you. Adieu. 6


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LETTER CLXV

LONDON, April 30, O. S. 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Avoir du monde is, in my opinion, a very just and happy expression for having address, manners, and for knowing how to behave properly in all companies; and it implies very truly that a man who hath not those accomplishments is not of the world. Without them, the best parts are inefficient, civility is absurd, and freedom offensive A learned parson, rusting in his cell, at Oxford or Cambridge, will season admirably well upon the nature of man ; will profoundly analyze the head, the heart, the reason, the will, the passions, the senses, the sentiments, and all those subdivisions of we know not what ; and yet, unfortunately, he knows nothing of man, for he hath not lived with him ; and is ignorant of all the various modes, habits, prejudices, and tastes, that always influence and often determine him. He views man as he does colors in Sir Isaac Newton s prism, where only the capital ones are seen; but an experienced dyer knows all their various shades and gradations, together with the result of their several mixtures. Few men are of one plain, decided color; most are mixed, shaded, and blended; and vary as much, from different situations, as changeable silks do form different lights. The man qui a du monde knows all this from his own experience and observation: the con ceited, cloistered philosopher knows nothing of it from his own theory; his practice is absurd and improper, and he acts as awkwardly as a man would dance, who had never seen others dance, nor learned of a dancing-master ; but who had only studied the notes by which dances are now pricked down as well as tunes. Observe and imitate, then, the address, the arts, and the manners of those qui ont du monde: see by what methods they first make, and after ward improve impressions in their favor. Those impressions are much oftener owing to little causes than to intrinsic merit; which is less volatile, and hath not so sudden an effect. Strong minds have undoubtedly an ascendant over weak ones, as Galigai Mar^chale d Ancre very justly


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observed, when, to the disgrace and reproach of those times, she was executed for having governed Mary of Medicis by the arts of witchcraft and magic. But then ascendant is to be gained by degrees, and by those arts only which experience and the knowledge of the world teaches; for few are mean enough to be bullied, though most are weak enough to be bubbled. I have often seen people of superior, governed by people of much inferior parts, without knowing or even suspecting that they were so governed. This can only happen when those people of inferior parts have more worldly dexterity and experience, than those they govern. They see the weak and unguarded part, and apply to it : they take it, and all the rest follows. Would you gain either men or women, and every man of sense desires to gain both, il faut du monde. You have had more opportunities than ever any man had, at your age, of acquiring ce monde. You have been in the best companies of most countries, at an age when others have hardly been in any company at all. You are master of all those languages, which John Trott seldom speaks at all, and never well ; consequently you need be a stranger nowhere. This is the way, and the only way, of having du monde, but if you have it not, and have still any coarse rusticity about you, may not one apply to you the rusticus expectat of Horace?

This knowledge of the world teaches us more particularly two things, both which are of infinite consequence, and to neither of which nature inclines us ; I mean, the command of our temper, and of our countenance. A man who has no monde is inflamed with anger, or annihilated with shame, at every disagreeable incident : the one makes him act and talk like a madman, the other makes him look like a fool. "But a man who has du monde, seems not to understand what he cannot or ought not to resent. If he makes a slip himself, he recovers it by his coolness, instead of plunging deeper by his confusion like a stumbling horse. He is firm, but gentle ; and practices that most excellent maxim, suamter in modo, fortiter in re. The other is the volto sciolto e pensieri stretti. People unused to the world have babbling countenances ; and are unskillful enough to show what they have sense enough not to tell. In the course of the world, a man must very often put on an easy,


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frank countenance, upon very disagreeable occasions ; he must seem pleased when he is very much otherwise ; he must be able to accost and receive with smiles, those whom he would much rather meet with swords. In courts he must not turn himself inside out. All this may, nay must be done, without falsehood and treachery ; for it must go no further than politeness and manners, and must stop short of assurances and professions of simulated friendship. Good manners, to those one does not love, are no more a breach of truth, than (< your humble servant w at the bottom of a challenge is ; they are universally agreed upon and under stood, to be things of course. They are necessary guards of the decency and peace of society ; they must only act defensively ; and then not with arms poisoned by perfidy. Truth, but not the whole truth, must be the invariable principle of every man, who hath either religion, honor, or prudence. Those who violate it may be cunning, but they are not able. Lies and perfidy are the refuge of fools and cowards. Adieu !

P. S. I must recommend to you again, to take your leave of all your French acquaintance, in such a manner as may make them regret your departure, and wish to see and welcome you at Paris again, where you may possibly return before it is very long. This must not be done in a cold, civil manner, but with at least seeming warmth, sentiment, and concern. Acknowledge the obligations you have to them for the kindness they have shown you during your stay at Paris : assure them that wherever you are, you will remember them with gratitude ; wish for opportunities of giving them proofs of your plus tendre et respectueux souvenir; beg of them in case your good fortune should carry them to any part of the world where you could be of any the least use to them, that they would employ you without reserve. Say all this, and a great deal more, emphatically and pathetically; for you know si vis me flere. This can do you no harm, if you never return to Paris; but if you do, as probably you may, it will be of infinite use to you. Remember too, not to omit going to every house where you have ever been once, to take leave and recommend yourself to their remembrance. The reputation which you leave at one place, where you have been, will


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circulate, and you will meet with it at twenty places where you are to go. That is a labor never quite lost.

This letter will show you, that the accident which hap pened to me yesterday, and of which Mr. Grevenkop gives you account, hath had no bad consequences. My escape was a great one.


LETTER CLXVI

LONDON, May n, O. S. 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I break my word by writing this letter ; but I break it on the allowable side, by doing more than I promised. I have pleasure in writing to you ; and you may possibly have some profit in reading what I write ; either of the motives were sufficient for me, both for you I cannot withstand. By your last I calculate that you will leave Paris upon this day se nnight ; upon that supposition, this letter may still find you there.

Colonel Perry arrived here two or three days ago, and sent me a book from you ; Cassandra abridged. I am sure it cannot be too much abridged. The spirit of that most voluminous work, fairly extracted, may be contained in the smallest duodecimo; and it is most astonishing, that there ever could have been people idle enough to write or read such endless heaps of the same stuff. It was, however, the occupation of thousands in the last century, and is still the private, though disavowed, amusement of young girls, and sentimental ladies. A love-sick girl finds, in the captain with whom she is in love, all the courage and all the graces of the tender and accomplished Oroondates : and many a grown-up, sentimental lady, talks delicate Clelia to the hero, whom she would engage to eternal love, or laments with her that love is not eternal.

  • Ak! qu>il est doux d* aimer, si Ton aimoit toujours!

Mais hilas! il n* est joint d^ternelles amours P

It is, however, very well to have read one of those extrav agant works (of all which La Calprendde s are the best), because it is well to be able to talk, with some degree of


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knowledge, upon all those subjects that other people talk sometimes upon: and I would by no means have anything, that is known to others, be totally unknown to you. It is a great advantage for any man, to be able to talk or to hear, neither ignorantly nor absurdly, upon any subject ; for I have known people, who have not said one word, hear ignorantly and absurdly ; it has appeared in their inattentive and unmeaning faces.

This, I think, is as little likely to happen to you as to anybody of your age: and if you will but add a versatility and easy conformity of manners, I know no company in which you are likely to be de trop.

This versatility is more particularly necessary for you at this time, now that you are going to so many different places: for, though the manners and customs of the several courts of Germany are in general the same, yet everyone has its particular characteristic; some peculiarity or other, which distinguishes it from the next. This you should carefully attend to, and immediately adopt. Nothing flatters people more, nor makes strangers so welcome, as such an occasional conformity. I do not mean by this, that you should mimic the air and stiffness of every awkward Ger man court; no, by no means; but I mean that you should only cheerfully comply, and fall in with certain local habits, such as ceremonies, diet, turn of conversation, etc. People who are lately come from Paris, and who have been a good while there, are generally suspected, and especially in Ger many, of having a degree of contempt for every other place. Take great care that nothing of this kind appear, at least outwardly, in your behavior; but commend whatever de serves any degree of commendation, without comparing it with what you may have left, much better of the same kind, at Paris. As for instance, the German kitchen is, without doubt, execrable, and the French delicious ; however, never commend the French kitchen at a German table; but eat of what you can find tolerable there, and commend it, without comparing it to anything better. I have known many British Yahoos, who though while they were at Paris conformed to no one French custom, as soon as they got anywhere else, talked of nothing but what they did, saw, and eat at Paris. The freedom of the French is not to be


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used indiscriminately at all the courts in Germany, though their easiness may, and ought ; but that, too, at some places more than others. The courts of Manheim and Bonn, I take to be a little more unbarbarized than some others ; that of Mayence, an ecclesiastical one, as well as that of Treves (neither of which is much frequented by foreigners), retains, I conceive, a great deal of the Goth and Vandal still. There, more reserve and ceremony are neces sary ; and not a word of the French. At Berlin, you can not be too French. Hanover, Brunswick, Cassel, etc., are of the mixed kind, un peu d&crottes, mats pas assez.

Another thing, which I most earnestly recommend to you, not only in Germany, but in every part of the world where you may ever be, is not only real, but seeming at tention, to whoever you speak to, or to whoever speaks to you. There is nothing so brutally shocking, nor so little forgiven, as a seeming inattention to the person who is speaking to you : and I have known many a man knocked down, for (in my opinion) a much lighter provocation, than that shocking inattention which I mean. I have seen many people, who, while you are speaking to them, instead of looking at, and attending to you, fix their eyes upon the ceiling or some other part of the room, look out of the window, play with a dog, twirl their snuff-box, or pick their nose. Nothing discovers a little, futile, frivolous mind more than this, and nothing is so offensively ill-bred ; it is an ex plicit declaration on your part, that every the most trifling object, deserves your attention more than all that can be said by the person who is speaking to you. Judge of the sentiments of hatred and resentment, which such treatment must excite in every breast where any degree of self-love dwells; and I am sure I never yet met with that breast where there was not a great deal : I repeat it again and again (for it is highly necessary for you to remember it), that sort of vanity and self-love is inseparable from human nature, whatever may be its rank or condition ; even your footmen will sooner forget and forgive a beating, than any manifest mark of slight and contempt. Be therefore, I beg of you, not only really, but seemingly and manifestly attentive to whoever speaks to you ; nay, more, take their ton, and tune yourself to their unison. Be serious with the


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serious, gay with the gay, and trifle with the triflers. In assuming these various shapes, endeavor to make each of them seem to sit easy upon you, and even to appear to be your own natural one. This is the true and useful versa tility, of which a thorough knowledge of the world at once teaches the utility and the means of acquiring.

I am very sure, at least I hope, that you will never make use of a silly expression, which is the favorite expression, and the absurd excuse of all fools and blockheads ; I CANNOT DO SUCH A THING; a thing by no means either morally or physically impossible. I CANNOT attend long together to the same thing, says one fool; that is, he is such a fool that he will not. I remember a very awkward fellow, who did not know what to do with his sword, and who always took it off before dinner, saying that he could not possibly dine with his sword on ; upon which I could not help telling him, that I really believed he could without any probable danger either to himself or others. It is a shame and an absurdity, for any man to say that he cannot do all those things, which are commonly done by all the rest of man kind.

Another thing that I must earnestly warn you against is laziness; by which more people have lost the fruit of their travels than, perhaps, by any other thing. Pray be al ways in motion. Early in the morning go and see things ; and the rest of the day go and see people. If you stay but a week at a place, and that an insignificant one, see, however, all that is to be seen there; know as many people, and get into as many houses, as ever you can.

I recommend to you likewise, though probably you have thought of it yourself, to carry in your pocket a map of Germany, in which the post-roads are marked ; and also some short book of travels through Germany. The former will help to imprint in your memory situations and dis tances ; and the latter will point out many things for you to see, that might otherwise possibly escape you, and which, though they may be in themselves of little consequence, you would regret not having seen, after having been at the places where they were.

Thus warned and provided for your journey, God speed you; Felix faustumque sit! Adieu.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 89


LETTER CLXVII

LONDON, May 27, O. S. 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I send you the inclosed original from a friend of ours, with my own commentaries upon the text ; a text which I have so often para phrased, and commented upon already, that I believe I can hardly say anything new upon it; but, however, I cannot give it over till I am better convinced, than I yet am, that you feel all the utility, the importance, and the neces sity of it; nay, not only feel, but practice it. Your pane gyrist allows you, what most fathers would be more than satisified with, in a son, and chides me for not contenting myself with V essentiellement bon; but I, who have been in no one respect like other fathers, cannot neither, like them, content myself with V essentiellement bon; because I know that it will not do your business in the world, while you want quelques couches de vernis. Few fathers care much for their sons, or, at least, most of them care more for their money : and, consequently, content themselves with giv ing them, at the cheapest rate, the common run of education : that is, a school till eighteen; the university till twenty; and a couple of years riding post through the several towns of Europe; impatient till their boobies come home to be mar ried, and, as they call it, settled. Of those who really love their sons, few know how to do it. Some spoil them by fondling them while they are young, and then quarrel with them when they are grown up, for having been spoiled; some love them like mothers, and attend only to the bodily health and strength of the hopes of their family, solemnize his birthday, and rejoice, like the subjects of the Great Mogul, at the increase of his bulk ; while others, minding, as they think, only essentials, take pains and pleasure to see in their heir, all their favorite weaknesses and imperfections. I hope and believe that I have kept clear of all of these errors in the education which I have given you. No weaknesses of my own have warped it, no parsimony has starved it, no rigor has deformed it. Sound and extensive learning was the foundation which I meant


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to lay I have laid it; but that alone, I knew, would by no means be sufficient : the ornamental, the showish, the pleasing superstructure was to be begun. In that view, I threw you into the great world, entirely your own master, at an age when others either guzzle at the university, or are sent abroad in servitude to some awkward, pedantic Scotch governor. This was to put you in the way, and the only way of acquiring those manners, that address, and those graces, which exclusively distinguish people of fashion; and without which all moral virtues, and all acquired learning, are of no sort of use in the courts and le beau monde: on the contrary, I am not sure if they are not an hindrance. They are feared and disliked in those places, as too severe, if not smoothed and introduced by the graces; but of these graces, of this necessary beau verms, it seems there are still quelque couches qui manquent. Now, pray let me ask you, coolly and seriously, pourquoi ces couches manquent-elles ? For you may as easily take them, as you may wear more or less powder in your hair, more or less lace upon your coat. I can therefore account for your wanting them no other way in the world, than from your not being yet convinced of their full value. You have heard some English bucks say, (< Damn these finical outlandish airs, give me a manly, resolute manner. They make a rout with their graces, and talk like a parcel of dancing-masters, and dress like a parcel of fops: one good Englishman will beat three of them." But let your own observation undeceive you of these prejudices. I will give you one instance only, instead of an hundred that I could give you, of a very shining fortune and figure, raised upon no other foundation whatsoever, than that of address, man ners, and graces. Between you and me (for this example must go no further), what do you think made our friend,

Lord A e, Colonel of a regiment of guards, Governor

of Virginia, Groom of the Stole, and Ambassador to Paris; amounting in all to sixteen or seventeen thousand pounds a year? Was it his birth? No, a Dutch gentleman only. Was it his estate? No, he had none. Was it his learning, his parts, his political abilities and application? You can answer these questions as easily, and as soon, as I can ask them. What was it then? Many people wondered, but I


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-do not; for I know, and will tell you. It was his air, his address, his manners, and his graces. He pleased, and by pleasing he became a favorite ; and by becoming a favorite became all that he has been since. Show me any one in stance, where intrinsic worth and merit, unassisted by ex terior accomplishments, have raised any man so high. You know the Due de Richelieu, now Marshal, Cordon bleu^ Gentilhomme de la Chambre, twice Ambassador, etc. By what means? Not by the purity of his character, the depth of his knowledge, or any uncommon penetration and sagac ity. Women alone formed and raised him. The Duchess of Burgundy took a fancy to him, and had him before he was sixteen years old; this put him in fashion among the beau monde: and the late Regent s oldest daughter, now Madame de Modene, took him next, and was near marry ing him. These early connections with women of the first distinction gave him those manners, graces, and address, which you see he has; and which, I can assure you, are all that he has ; for, strip him of them, and he will be one of the poorest men in Europe. Man or woman cannot re sist an engaging exterior ; it will please, it will make its way. You want, it seems, but quelques couches; for God s sake, lose no time in getting them ; and now you have gone so far, complete the work. Think of nothing else till that work is finished ; unwearied application will bring about anything : and surely your application can never be so well employed as upon that object, which is absolutely necessary to facilitate all others. With your knowledge and parts, if adorned by manners and graces, what may you not hope one day to be? But without them, you will be in the situation of a man who should be very fleet of one leg but very lame of the other. He could not run ; the lame leg would check and clog the well one, which would be very near useless.

From my original plan for your education, I meant to make you un homme universel; what depends on me is executed, the little that remains undone depends singly upon you. Do not then disappoint, when you can so easily gratify me. It is your own interest which I am pressing you to pursue, and it is the only return that I de sire for all the care and affection of, Yours.


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LETTER CLXVIII

LONDON, May 31, O. S. 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND : The world is the book, and the only one to which, at present, I would have you ap ply yourself ; and the thorough knowledge of it will be of more use to you, than all the books that ever were read. Lay aside the best book whenever you can go into the best company ; and depend upon it, you change for the better. However, as the most tumultuous life, whether of business or pleasure, leaves some vacant mo ments every day, in which a book is the refuge of a rational being, I mean now to point out to you the method of employing those moments (which will and ought to be but few) in the most advantageous manner. Throw away none of your time upon those trivial, futile books, published by idle or necessitous authors, for the amusement of idle and ignorant readers ; such sort of books swarm and buzz about one every day ; flap them away, they have no sting. Cer- tum pete Jinem, have some one object for those leisure mo ments, and pursue that object invariably till you have attained it ; and then take some other. For instance, con sidering your destination, I would advise you to single out the most remarkable and interesting eras of modern history, and confine all your reading to that ERA. If you pitch upon the Treaty of Munster (and that is the proper period to begin with, in the course which I am now recommend ing), do not interrupt it by dipping and deviating into other books, unrelative to it ; but consult only the most authentic histories, letters, memoirs, and negotiations, relative to that great transaction ; reading and comparing them, with all that caution and distrust which Lord Bolingbroke recom mends to you, in a better manner, and in better words than I can. The next period worth your particular knowl edge, is the Treaty of the Pyrenees : which was calculated to lay, and in effect did lay, the succession of the House of Bourbon to the crown of Spain. Pursue that in the same manner, singling, out of the millions of volumes writ ten upon that occasion, the two or three most authentic


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ones, and particularly letters, which are the best authorities in matters of negotiation. Next come the Treaties of Nime- guen and Ryswick, postscripts in a manner to those of Munster and the Pyrenees. Those two transactions have had great light thrown upon them by the publication of many authentic and original letters and pieces. The con cessions made at the Treaty of Ryswick, by the then tri umphant Lewis the Fourteenth, astonished all those who viewed things only superficially ; but, I should think, must have been easily accounted for by those who knew the state of the kingdom of Spain, as well as of the health of its King, Charles the Second, at that time. The interval between the conclusion of the peace of Ryswick, and the breaking out of the great war in 1702, though a short, is a most interesting one. Every week of it almost produced some great event. Two partition treaties, the death of the King of Spain, his unexpected will, and the acceptance of it by Lewis the Fourteenth, in violation of the second treaty of partition, just signed and ratified by him. Philip the Fifth quietly and cheerfully received in Spain, and acknowledged as King of it, by most of those powers, who afterward joined in an alliance to dethrone him. I cannot help making this observation upon that occasion : That charac ter has often more to do in great transactions, than pru dence and sound policy ; for Lewis the Fourteenth gratified his personal pride, by giving a Bourbon King to Spain, at the expense of the true interest of France ; which would have acquired much more solid and permanent strength by the addition of Naples, Sicily, and Lorraine, upon the foot ing of the second partition treaty ; and I think it was for tunate for Europe that he preferred the will. It is true, he might hope to influence his Bourbon posterity in Spain ; he knew too well how weak the ties of blood are among men, and how much weaker still they are among princes. The Memoirs of Count Harrach, and of Las Torres, give a good deal of light into the transactions of the Court of Spain, previous to the death of that weak King; and the Let ters of the Marshal d Harcourt, then the French Ambassa dor in Spain, of which I have authentic copies in manu script, from the year 1698 to 1701, have cleared up that whole affair to me. I keep that book for you. It appears


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by those letters, that the impudent conduct of the House of Austria, with regard to the King and Queen of Spain, and Madame Berlips, her favorite, together with the knowledge of the partition treaty, which incensed all Spain, were the true and only reasons of the will, in favor of the Duke of Anjou. Cardinal Portocarrero, nor any of the Grandees, were bribed by France, as was generally reported and be lieved at that time ; which confirms Voltaire s anecdote upon that subject. Then opens a new scene and a new century ; Lewis the Fourteenth s good fortune forsakes him, till the Duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugene make him amends for all the mischief they had done him, by making the allies refuse the terms of peace offered by him at Gertruy- denberg. How the disadvantageous peace of Utrecht was afterward brought on, you have lately read ; and you can not inform yourself too minutely of all those circumstances, that treaty being the freshest source from whence the late transactions of Europe have flowed. The alterations that have since happened, whether by wars or treaties, are so recent, that all the written accounts are to be helped out, proved, or contradicted, by the oral ones of almost every informed person, of a certain age or rank in life. For the facts, dates, and original pieces of this century, you will find them in Lamberti, till the year 1715, and t after that time in Rousset s Recueil.

I do not mean that you should plod hours together in researches of this kind : no, you may employ your time more usefully : but I mean, that you should make the most of the moments you do employ, by method, and the pur suit of one single object at a time ; nor should I call it a digression from that object, if when you meet with clash ing and jarring pretensions of different princes to the same thing, you had immediately recourse to other books, in which those several pretensions were clearly stated ; on the contrary, that is the only -way of remembering those con tested rights and claims : for, were a man to read tout de suite, Schwederus^ s Theatrum Pretensionum, he would only be confounded by the variety, and remember none of them ; whereas, by examining them occasionally, as they happen to occur, either in the course of your historical reading, or as they are agitated in your own times, you will retain them, by


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connecting them with those historical facts which occasioned your inquiry. For example, had you read, in the course of two or three folios of Pretensions, those, among others, of the two Kings of England and Prussia to Oost Frise, it is impossible, that you should have remembered them ; but now, that they are become the debated object at the Diet at Ratisbon, and the topic of all political conversations, if you consult both books and persons concerning them, and inform yourself thoroughly, you will never forget them as long as you live. You will hear a great deal of them on one side, at Hanover, and as much on the other side, after ward, at Berlin : hear both sides, and form your own opin ion ; but dispute with neither.

Letters from foreign ministers to their courts, and from their courts to them, are, if genuine, the best and most authentic records you can read, as far as they go. Cardi nal d Ossat s, President Jeanin s, D Estrade s, Sir William Temple s, will not only inform your mind, but form your style; which, in letters of business, should be very plain and simple, but, at the same time, exceedingly clear, cor rect, and pure.

All that I have said may be reduced to these two or three plain principles : ist, That you should now read very little, but converse a great deal ; 2d, To read no useless, unprofitable books ; and 3d, That those which you do read, may all tend to a certain object, and be relative to, and con sequential of each other. In this method, half an hour s reading every day will carry you a great way. People seldom know how to employ their time to the best advan tage till they have too little left to employ; but if, at your age, in the beginning of life, people would but consider the value of it, and put every moment to interest, it is incredible what an additional fund of knowledge and pleasure such an economy would bring in. I look back with regret upon that large sum of time, which, in my youth, I lavished away idly, without either improvement or pleasure. Take warning betimes, and enjoy every moment ; pleasures do not commonly last so long as life, and there fore should not be neglected ; and the longest life is too short for knowledge, consequently every moment is pre cious.


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I am surprised at having received no letter from you since you left Paris. I still direct this to Strasburgh, as I did my two last. I shall direct my next to the post house at Mayence, unless I receive, in the meantime, contrary instructions from you. Adieu. Remember les attentions: they must be your passports into good company.


LETTER CLXIX

LONDON, June, O. S. 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Very few celebrated negotiators have been eminent for their learning. The most famous French negotiators (and I know no nation that can boast of abler) have been military men, as Monsieur d Harcourt, Comte d Estrades, Marshal d Uxelles, and others. The late Duke of Marlborough, who was at least as able a negotiator as a general, was exceedingly ignorant of books, but extremely knowing in men, whereas the learned Grotius appeared, both in Sweden and in France, to be a very bungling minister. This is, in my opinion, very easily to be accounted for. A man of very deep learning must have employed the greatest part of his time in books ; and a skillful negotiator must necessarily have employed much the greater part of his time with man. The sound scholar, when dragged out of his dusty closet into business, acts by book, and deals with men as he has read of them ; not as he has known them by expe rience: he follows Spartan and Roman precedents, in what he falsely imagines to be similar cases ; whereas two cases never were, since the beginning of the world, exactly alike ; and he would be capable, where he thought spirit and vigor necessary, to draw a circle round the persons he treated with, and to insist upon a categorical answer before they went out of it, because he had read, in the Roman history, that once upon a time some Roman ambas sador, did so. No ; a certain degree of learning may help, but no degree of learning will ever make a skillful minister : whereas a great knowledge of the world, of the characters, passions, and habits of mankind, has, without one grain


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of learning, made a thousand. Military men have seldom much knowledge of books; their education does not allow it ; but what makes great amends for that want is, that they generally know a great deal of the world ; they are thrown into it young ; they see variety of nations and characters; and they soon find, that to rise, which is the aim of them all, they must first please : these concurrent causes almost always give them manners and politeness. In consequence of which, you see them always distinguished at courts, and favored by the women. I could wish that you had been of an age to have made a campaign or two as a volunteer. It would have given you an attention, a versatility, and an alertness ; all which I doubt you want ; and a great want it is.

A foreign minister has not great business to transact every day; so that his knowledge and his skill in negotiat ing are not frequently put to the trial ; but he has that to do every day, and every hour of the day, which is neces sary to prepare and smooth the way for his business ; that is, to insinuate himself by his manners, not only into the houses, but into the confidence of the most considerable people of that place; to contribute to their pleasures, and insensibly not to be looked upon as a stranger himself. A skillful minister may very possibly be doing his master s business full as well, in doing the honors gracefully and genteelly of a ball or a supper, as if he were laboriously writing a protocol in his closet. The Mar^chal d Harcourt, by his magnificence, his manners, and his politeness, blunted the edge of the long aversion which the Spaniards had to the French. The court and the grandees were personally fond of him, and frequented his house ; and were at least insensibly brought to prefer a French to a German yoke ; which I am convinced would never have happened, had Comte d Harrach been Mar6chal d Harcourt, or the Mare- chal d Harcourt Comte d Harrach. The Comte d Estrades had, by ses manures polies et liantes, formed such con nections, and gained such an interest in the republic of the United Provinces, that Monsieur De Witt, the then Pen sionary of Holland, often applied to him to use his interest with his friend, both in Holland and the other provinces, whenever he (De Witt) had a difficult point which he 7


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wanted to carry. This was certainly not brought about by his knowledge of books, but of men : dancing, fencing, and riding, with a little military architecture, were no doubt the top of his education; and if he knew that collegium in Latin signified college in French, it must have been by accident. But he knew what was more useful: from thirteen years old he had been in the great world, and had read men and women so long, that he could then read them at sight.

Talking the other day, upon this and other subjects, all relative to you, with one who knows and loves you very well, and expressing my anxiety and wishes that your exterior accomplishments, as a man of fashion, might adorn, and at least equal your intrinsic merit as a man of sense and honor, the person interrupted me, and said : Set your heart at rest; that never will or can happen. It is not in character; that gentleness, that douceur, those attentions which you wish him to have, are not in his nature; and do what you will, nay, let him do what he will, he can never acquire them. Nature may be a little disguised and altered by care; but can by no means whatsoever be totally forced and changed. I denied this principle to a certain degree ; but admitting, however, that in many respects our nature was not to be changed; and asserting, at the same time, that in others it might by care be very much altered and improved, so as in truth to be changed; that I took those exterior accomplishments, which we had been talking of, to be mere modes, and absolutely depending upon the will, and upon custom; and that, therefore, I was convinced that your good sense, which must show you the importance of them, would make you resolve at all events to acquire them, even in spite of nature, if nature be in the case. Our dispute, which lasted a great while, ended as Voltaire observes that disputes in England are apt to do, in a wager of fifty guineas ; which I myself am to decide upon honor, and of which this is a faithful copy. If you think I shall win it, you may go my halves if you please ; declare your self in time. This I declare, that I would most cheerfully give a thousand guineas to win those fifty; you may secure them me if you please.

I grow very impatient for your future letters from the several courts of Manheim, Bonn, Hanover, etc. And I


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desire that your letters may be to me, what I do not desire they should be to anybody else, I mean full of yourself. Let the egotism, a figure which upon all other occasions I detest, be your only one to me. Trifles that concern you are not trifles to me; and my knowledge of them may possibly be useful to you. Adieu. Les graces, les graces^ les graces.


LETTER CLXX

LONDON, June 23, O. S. 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I direct this letter to Mayence, where I think it is likely to meet you, supposing, as I do, that you stayed three weeks at Manheim, after the date of your last from thence ; but should you have stayed longer at Manheim, to which I have nonobjection, it will wait for you at Mayence. Mayence will not, I believe, have charms to detain you above a week ; so that I reckon you will be at Bonn at the end of July, N. S. There you may stay just as little or as long as you please* and then proceed to Hanover.

I had a letter by the last post from a relation of mine at Hanover, Mr. Stanhope Aspinwall, who is in the Duke of Newcastle s office, and has lately been appointed the King s Minister to the Dey of Algiers ; a post which, notwith standing your views of foreign affairs, I believe you do not envy him. He tells me in that letter, there are very good lodgings to be had at one Mrs. Meyers s, the next door to the Duke of Newcastle s, which he offers to take for you ; I have desired him to do it, in case Mrs. Meyers will wait for you till the latter end of August, or the beginning of September, N. S., which I suppose is about the time when you will be at Hanover. You will find this Mr. Aspinwall of great use to you there. He will exert himself to the utmost to serve you ; he has been twice or thrice at Hanover, and knows all the allures there: he is very well with the Duke of Newcastle, and will puff you there. Moreover, if you have a mind to work there as a volunteer in that bureau, he will assist and inform you. In short, he is a


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very honest, sensible, and informed man ; mats ne paye pas beaucoup de sa figure; il abuse meme du privilege quont les hommes d* etre laids; et il ne sera pas en reste avec les lions et les leopards qu il trouvera a Alger.

As you are entirely master of the time when you will leave Bonn and go to Hanover, so are you master to stay at Hanover as long as you please, and to go from thence where you please; provided that at Christmas you are at Berlin, for the beginning of the Carnival: this I would not have you say at Hanover, considering the mutual dis position of those two courts ; but when anybody asks you where you are to go next, say that you propose rambling in Germany, at Brunswick, Cassel, etc., till the next spring; when you intend to be in Flanders, in your way to Eng land. I take Berlin, at this time, to be the politest, the most shining, and the most useful court in Europe for a young fellow to be at: and therefore I would upon no account not have you there, for at least a couple of months of the Carnival. If you are as well received, and pass your time as well at Bonn as I believe you will, I would advise you to remain there till about the 2Oth of August, N. S., in four days you will be at Hanover. As for your stay there, it must be shorter or longer, according to certain circumstances WHICH YOU KNOW OF; supposing them, at the best, then, stay within a week or ten days of the King s return to England; but supposing them at the worst, your stay must not be too short, for reasons which you also know; no resentment must either appear or be sus pected ; therefore, at worst, I think you must remain there a month, and at best, as long as ever you please. But I am convinced that all will turn out very well for you there. Everybody is engaged or inclined to help you ; the min isters, English and German, the principal ladies, and most of the foreign ministers; so that I may apply to you, nullum numen abest, si sit prudentia. Du Perron will, I believe, be back there from Turin much about the time you get there: pray be very attentive to him, and con nect yourself with him as much as ever you can ; for, besides that he is a very pretty and well-informed man, he is very much in fashion at Hanover, is personally very well with the King and certain ladies ; so that a visible intimacy


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and connection with him will do you credit and service. Pray cultivate Monsieur Hop, the Dutch minister, who has always been very much my friend, and will, I am sure, be yours; his manners, it is true, are not very engaging; he is rough, but he is sincere. It is very useful sometimes to see the things which one ought to avoid, as it is right to see very often those which one ought to imitate, and my friend Hop s manners will frequently point out to you, what yours ought to be by the rule of contraries.

Congreve points out a sort of critics, to whom he says that we are doubly obliged:

<( Rules for good writing they with pains indite, Then show us what is bad, by what they write. >>

It is certain that Monsieur Hop, with the best heart in the world, and a thousand good qualities, has a thousand ene mies, and hardly a friend ; simply from the roughness of his manners.

N. B. I heartily wish you could have stayed long enough at Manheim to have been seriously and desperately in love with Madame de Taxis; who, I suppose, is a proud, in solent, fine lady, and who would consequently have ex pected attentions little short of adoration : nothing would do you more good than such a passion ; and I live in hopes that somebody or other will be able to excite such an one in you ; your hour may not yet be come, but it will come. Love has not been unaptly compared to the smallpox which most people have sooner or later. Iphigenia had a won derful effect upon Cimon ; I wish some Hanover Iphigenia may try her skill upon you.

I recommend to you again, though I have already done it twice or thrice, to speak German, even affectedly, while you are at Hanover ; which will show that you prefer that language, and be of more use to you there with SOMEBODY, than you can imagine. When you carry my letters to Mon sieur Munchausen and Monsieur Schwiegeldt, address your self to them in German ; the latter speaks French very well, but the former extremely ill. Show great attention to Madame Munchausen s daughter, who is a great favorite ; those little trifles please mothers, and sometimes fathers, extremely. Observe, and you will find, almost universally,


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that the least things either please or displease most ; be cause they necessarily imply, either a very strong desire of obliging, or an unpardonable indifference about it. I will give you a ridiculous instance enough of this truth, from my own experience. When I was Ambassador the first time in Holland, Comte de Wassenaer and his wife, people of the first rank and consideration, had a little boy of about three years old, of whom they were exceedingly fond ; in order to make my court to them, I was so too, and used to take the child often upon my lap, and play with him. One day his nose was very dirty, upon which I took out my handkerchief and wiped it for him ; this raised a loud laugh, and they called me a very handy nurse; but the father and mother were so pleased with it, that to this day it is an anecdote in the family, and I never receive a letter from Comte Wassenaer, but he makes me the compliments du morveux que f ai mouche autrefois; who, by the way, I am assured, is now the prettiest young fellow in Holland. Where one would gain people, remember that nothing is little. Adieu.


LETTER CLXXI

LONDON, June 26, O. S. 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND : As I have reason to fear, from your last letter of the i8th, N. S., from Manheim, that all, or at least most of my letters to you, since you left Paris, have miscarried ; I think it requisite, at all events, to repeat in this the necessary parts of those several let ters, as far as they relate to your future motions.

I suppose that this will either find you, or be but a few days before you at Bonn, where it is directed ; and I sup pose too, that you have fixed your time for going from thence to Hanover. If things TURN OUT WELL AT HAN OVER, as in my opinion they will, Chi std, bene non si muova, stay there till a week or ten days before the King sets out for England ; but, should THEY TURN OUT ILL, which I cannot imagine, stay, however, a month, that your departure may not seem a step of discontent or peevish-


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ness ; the very suspicion of which is by all means to be avoided. Whenever you leave Hanover, be it sooner or be it later, where would you go? Lei Padrone, and I give you your choice : would you pass the months of November and December at Brunswick, Cassel, etc. ? Would you choose to go for a couple of months to Ratisbon, where you would be very well recommended to, and treated by the King s Electoral Minister, the Baron de Behr, and where you would improve your jus publicum? or would you rather go directly to Berlin, and stay there till the end of the Carnival? Two or three months at Berlin are, consider ing all circumstances, necessary for you ; and the Carnival months are the best ; pour le reste dfcidez en dernier ressort, et sans appel comme d abus. Let me know your decree, when you have formed it. Your good or ill success at Hanover will have a very great influ ence upon your subsequent character, figure, and for tune in the world ; therefore I confess that I am more anxious about it, than ever bride was on her wedding night, when wishes, hopes, fears, and doubts, tumultuously agitate, please, and terrify her. It is your first crisis : the character which you will acquire there will, more or less, be that which will abide by you for the rest of your life. You will be tried and judged there, not as a boy, but as a man ; and from that moment there is no appeal for charac ter ; it is fixed. To form that character advantageously, you have three objects particularly to attend to : your char acter as a man of morality, truth, and honor; your knowl edge in the objects of your destination, as a man of busi ness ; and your engaging and insinuating address, air and manners, as a courtier ; the sure and only steps to favor. Merit at courts, without favor, will do little or nothing; favor, without merit, will do a good deal ; but favor and merit together will do everything. Favor at courts depends upon so many, such trifling, such unexpected, and unfore seen events, that a good courtier must attend to every circumstance, however little, that either does, or can hap pen ; he must have no absences, no DISTRACTIONS ; he must not say, <( I did not mind it; who would have thought it? w He ought both to have minded, and to have thought it. A chamber-maid has sometimes caused revolutions in courts,


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which have produced others in kingdoms. Were I to make my way to favor in a court, I would neither willfully, nor by negligence, give a dog or a cat there reason to dislike me. Two pies-gribchcs, well instructed, you know, made the fortune of De Luines with Lewis XIII. Every step a man makes at court requires as much attention and circum spection, as those which were made formerly between hot plowshares, in the Ordeal, or fiery trials ; which, in those times of ignorance and superstition, were looked upon as demonstrations of innocence or guilt. Direct your principal

battery, at Hanover, at the D of N s: there are

many very weak places in that citadel; where, with a very little skill, you cannot fail making a great impression. Ask for his orders in everything you do ; talk Austrian and Anti-gallican to him ; and, as soon as you are upon a foot of talking easily to him, tell him en badinant, that his skill and success in thirty or forty elections in England leave you no reason to doubt of his carrying his election for Frankfort ; and that you look upon the Archduke as his Member for the Empire. In his hours of festivity and compotation, drop that he puts you in mind of what Sir William Temple says of the Pensionary De Witt, who at that time governed half Europe, that he appeared at balls, assemblies, and public places, as if he had nothing else to do or to think of. When he talks to you upon foreign affairs, which he will often do, say that you really cannot presume to give any opinion of your own upon those matters, looking upon yourself at present only as a postscript to the corps dip lomatique; but that, if his Grace will be pleased to make you an additional volume to it, though but in duodecimo, you will do your best that he shall neither be ashamed nor repent of it. He loves to have a favorite, and to open himself to that favorite. He has now no such person with him ; the place is vacant, and if you have dexterity you may fill it. In one thing alone do not humor him ; I mean drinking; for, as I believe, you have never yet been drunk, you do not yourself know how you can bear your wine, and what a little too much of it may make you do or say; you might possibly kick down all you had done before.

You do not love gaming, and I thank God for it ; but at Hanover I would have you show, and profess a particu-


LETTERS TO HIS SON 105

lar dislike to play, so as to decline it upon all occasions, unless where one may be wanted to make a fourth at whist or quadrille ; and then take care to declare it the result of your complaisance, not of your inclinations. Without such precaution you may very possibly be suspected, though unjustly, of loving play, upon account of my former passion for it ; and such a suspicion would do you a great deal of hurt, especially with the King, who detests gaming. I must end this abruptly. God bless you !


LETTER CLXXII

MY DEAR FRIEND : Versatility as a courtier may be almost decisive to you hereafter ; that is, it may con duce to, or retard your preferment in your own destination. The first reputation goes a great way; and if you fix a good one at Hanover, it will operate also to your advantage in England. The trade of a courtier is as much a trade as that of a shoemaker; and he who applies him self the most, will work the best : the only difficulty is to distinguish (what I am sure you have sense enough to dis tinguish) between the right and proper qualifications and their kindred faults; for there is but a line between every perfection and its neighboring imperfection. As, for exam ple, you must be extremely well-bred and polite, but with out the troublesome forms and stiffness of ceremony. You must be respectful and assenting, but without being servile and abject. You must be frank, but without indiscretion; and close, without being costive. You must keep up dig nity of character, without the least pride of birth or rank. You must be gay within all the bounds of decency and respect; and grave without the affectation of wisdom, which does not become the age of twenty. You must be essen tially secret, without being dark and mysterious. You must be firm, and even bold, but with great seeming modesty. With these qualifications, which, by the way, are all in your own power, I will answer for your success, not only at Hanover, but at any court in Europe. And I am not sorry that you begin your apprenticeship at a little one ;


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because you must be more circumspect, and more upon your guard there, than at a great one, where every little thing is not known nor reported.

When you write to me, or to anybody else, from thence, take care that your letters contain commendations of all that you see and hear there ; for they will most of them be opened and read ; but, as frequent couriers will come from Hanover to England, you may sometimes write to me with out reserve ; and put your letters into a very little box, which you may send safely by some of them.

I must not omit mentioning to you, that at the Duke of Newcastle s table, where you will frequently dine, there is a great deal of drinking; be upon your guard against it, both upon account of your health, which would not bear it, and of the consequences of your being flustered and heated with wine : it might engage you in scrapes and frolics, which the King (who is a very sober man himself) detests. On the other hand, you should not seem too grave and too wise to drink like the rest of the company; there fore use art : mix water with your wine ; do not drink all that is in the glass ; and if detected, and pressed to drink more do not cry out sobriety; but say that you have lately been out of order, that you are subject to inflammatory complaints, and that you must beg to be excused for the present. A young fellow ought to be wiser than he should seem to be ; and an old fellow ought to seem wise whether he really be so or not.

During your stay at Hanover I would have you make two or three excursions to parts of that Electorate: the Hartz, where the silver mines are ; Gottingen, for the University; Stade, for what commerce there is. You should also go to Zell. In short, see everything that is to be seen there, and inform yourself well of all the details of that country. Go to Hamburg for three or four days, and know the constitution of that little Hanseatic Republic, and inform yourself well of the nature of the King of Denmark s pretensions to it.

If all things turn out right for you at Hanover, I would have you make it your head-quarters, till about a week or ten days before the King leaves it ; and then go to Bruns wick, which, though a little, is a very polite, pretty court.


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You may stay there a fortnight or three weeks, as you like it ; and from thence go to Cassel, and stay there till you go to Berlin ; where I would have you be by Christ mas. At Hanover you will very easily get good letters of recommendation to Brunswick and to Cassel. You do not want any to Berlin ; however, I will send you one for Voltaire. A propos of Berlin, be very reserved and cautious while at Hanover, as to that King and that country ; both which are detested, because feared by everybody there, from his Majesty down to the meanest peasant ; but, how ever, they both extremely deserve your utmost attention: and you will see the arts and wisdom of government better in that country, now, than in any other in Europe. You may stay three months at Berlin, if you like it, as I believe you will ; and after that I hope we shall meet there again.

Of all the places in the world (I repeat it once more), establish a good reputation at Hanover, et faites vous valoir /&, autant qu^il est possible, par le brillant, les manures, et les graces. Indeed it is of the greatest im portance to you, and will make any future application to the King in your behalf very easy. He is more taken by those little things, than any man, or even woman, that I ever knew in my life: and I do not wonder at him. In short, exert to the utmost all your means and powers to please: and remember that he who pleases the most, will rise the soonest and the highest. Try but once the pleasure and advantage of pleasing, and I will answer that you will never more neglect the means.

I send you herewith two letters, the one to Monsieur Munchausen, the other to Monsieur Schweigeldt, an old friend of mine, and a very sensible knowing man. They will both I am sure, be extremely civil to you, and carry you into the best company ; and then it is your business to please that company. I never was more anxious about any period of your life, than I am about this, your Hanover expedition, it being of so much more consequence to you than any other. If I hear from thence, that you are liked and loved there, for your air, your manners, and address, as well as esteemed for your knowledge, I shall be the happiest man in the world. Judge then what I must be, if it happens otherwise. Adieu.


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LETTER CLXXIII

LONDON, July 21, O. S. 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND : By my calculation this letter may probably arrive at Hanover three or four days be fore you ; and as I am sure of its arriving there safe, it shall contain the most material points that I have mentioned in my several letters to you since you left Paris, as if you had received but few of them, which may very probably be the case.

As for your stay at Hanover, it must not IN ALL EVENTS be less than a month ; but if things turn out to YOUR SATISFACTION, it may be just as long as you please. From thence you may go wherever you like ; for I have so good an opinion of your judgment, that I think you will combine and weigh all circumstances, and choose the properest places. Would you saunter at some of the small courts, as Brunswick, Cassel, etc., till the Carnival at Berlin? You are master. Would you pass a couple of months at Ratis- bon, which might not be ill employed? A la bonne heure. Would you go to Brussels, stay a month or two there with Dayrolles, and from thence to Mr. Yorke, at The Hague? With all my heart. Or, lastly, would you go to Copenhagen and Stockholm ? Lei % anche Padrone : choose entirely for yourself, without any further instruc tions from me ; only let me know your determination in time, that 1 may settle your credit, in case you go to places where at present you have none. Your object should be to see the mores multorum hominum et urbes ; begin and end it where you please.

By what you have already seen of the German courts, I am sure you must have observed that they are much more nice and scrupulous, in points of ceremony, respect and at tention, than the greater courts of France and England, You will, therefore, I am persuaded, attend to the minutest circumstances of address and behavior, particularly during your stay at Hanover, which (I will repeat it, though I have said it often to you already) is the most impor-


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tant preliminary period of your whole life. Nobody in the world is more exact, in all points of good-breeding, than the King; and it is the part of every man s char acter, that he informs himself of first. The least negli gence, or the slightest inattention, reported to him, may do you infinite prejudice : as their contraries would serv ice.

If Lord Albemarle (as I believe he did) trusted you with the secret affairs of his department, let the Duke of New castle know that he did so ; which will be an inducement to him to trust you too, and possibly to employ you in affairs of consequence. Tell him that, though you are young, you know the importance of secrecy in business, and can keep a secret ; that I have always inculcated this doctrine into you, and have, moreover, strictly forbidden you ever to communicate, even to me, any matters of a secret nature, which you may happen to be trusted with in the course of business.

As for business, I think I can trust you to yourself ; but I wish I could say as much for you with regard to those exterior accomplishments, which are absolutely necessary to smooth and shorten the way to it. Half the business is done, when one has gained the heart and the affections of those with whom one is to transact it. Air and address must begin, manners and attention must finish that work. I will let you into one secret concerning myself ; which is, that I owe much more of the success which I have had in the world to my manners, than to any superior degree of merit or knowledge. I desired to please, and I neglected none of the means. This, I can assure you, without any false modesty, is the truth. You have more knowledge than I had at your age, but then I had much more atten tion and good-breeding than you. Call it vanity, if you please, and possibly it was so ; but my great object was to make every man I met with like me, and every woman love me I often succeeded ; but why ? By taking great pains, for otherwise I never should : my figure by no means entitled me to it; and I had certainly an up-hill game; whereas your countenance would help you, if you made the most of it, and proscribed for ever the guilty, gloomy, and funereal part of it. Dress, address, and air, would


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become your best countenance, and make your little figure pass very well.

If you have time to read at Hanover, pray let the books you read be all relative to the history and constitution of that country; which I would have you know as correctly as any Hanoverian in the whole Electorate. Inform yourself of the powers of the States, and of the nature and extent of the several judicatures ; the particular articles of trade and commerce of Bremen, Harburg, and Stade ; the details and value of the mines of the Hartz. Two or three short books will give you the outlines of all these things ; and con versation turned upon those subjects will do the rest, and better than books can.

Remember of all things to speak nothing but German there; make it (to express myself pedantically) your ver nacular language ; seem to prefer it to any other ; call it your favorite language, and study to speak it with purity and elegance, if it has any. This will not only make you perfect in it, but will please, and make your court there better than anything. A propos of languages: Did you improve your Italian while you were at Paris, or did you forget it? Had you a master there? and what Italian books did you read with him? If you are master of Italian, I would have you afterward, by the first convenient oppor tunity, learn Spanish, which you may very easily, and in a very little time do; you will then, in the course of your foreign business, never be obliged to employ, pay, or trust any translator for any European language.

As I love to provide eventually for everything that can possibly happen, I will suppose the worst that can befall you at Hanover. In that case I would have you go immediately to the Duke of Newcastle, and beg his Grace s advice, or rather orders, what you should do; adding, that his advice will always be orders to you. You will tell him that though you are exceedingly mortified, you are much less so than you should otherwise be, from the consideration that being

utterly unknown to his M , his objection could not be

personal to you, and could only arise from circumstances which it was not in your power either to prevent or remedy; that if his Grace thought that your continuing any longer there would be disagreeable, you entreated him


LETTERS TO HIS SON in

to tell you so; and that upon the whole, you referred yourself entirely to him, whose orders you should most scrupulously obey. But this precaution, I dare say, is ex abundanti, and will prove unnecessary; however, it is always right to be prepared for all events, the worst as well as the best; it prevents hurry and surprise, two dangerous situations in business ; for I know no one thing so useful, so necessary in all business, as great coolness, steadiness, and sang-froid: they give an incredible advantage over whoever one has to do with.

I have received your letter of the i5th, N. S., from Mayence, where I find that you have diverted yourself much better than I expected. I am very well acquainted with Comte Cobentzel s character, both of parts and busi ness. He could have given you letters to Bonn, having formerly resided there himself. You will not be so agree ably ELECTRIFIED where this letter will find you, as you were both at Manheim and Mayence ; but I hope you may

meet with a second German Mrs. F d, who may make you

forget the two former ones, and practice your German. Such transient passions will do you no harm ; but, on the contrary, a great deal of good; they will refine your man ners and quicken your attention ; they give a young fellow du brillant, and bring him into fashion ; which last is a great article at setting out in the world.

I have wrote, about a month ago, to Lord Albemarle, to thank him for all his kindnesses to you ; but pray have you done as much? Those are the necessary attentions which should never be omitted, especially in the beginning of life, when a character is to be established.

That ready wit, which you so partially allow me, and so justly Sir Charles Williams, may create many admirers; but, take my word for it, it makes few friends. It shines and dazzles like the noon-day sun, but, like that too, is very apt to scorch; and therefore is always feared. The milder morning and evening light and heat of that planet soothe and calm our minds. Good sense, complaisance, gentleness of manners, attentions and graces are the only things that truly engage, and durably keep the heart at long run. Never seek for wit; if it presents itself, well and good ; but, even in that case, let your judgment


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interpose; and take care that it be not at the expense of any body. Pope says very truly:

(< There are whom heaven has blest with store of wit, Yet want as much again to govern it. w

And in another place, I doubt with too much truth:

(< For wit and judgment ever are at strife Though meant each other s aid, like man and wife.**

The Germans are very seldom troubled with anv extra ordinary ebullitions or effervescenses of wit, and it is not prudent to try it upon them ; whoever does, ojfendet solido.

Remember to write me very minute accounts of all your transactions at Hanover, for they excite both my impatience and anxiety. Adieu!


LETTER CLXXIV

LONDON, August 4, O. S. 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I am extremely concerned at the return of your old asthmatic complaint, of which your letter from Cassel of the 28th July, N. S., in forms me. I believe it is chiefly owing to your own neg ligence ; for, notwithstanding the season of the year, and the heat and agitation of traveling, I dare swear you have not taken one single dose of gentle, cooling physic, since that which I made you take at Bath. I hope you are now better, and in better hands. I mean in Dr. Hugo s at Han over : he is certainly a very skillful physician, and therefore I desire that you will inform him most minutely of your own case, from your first attack in Carniola, to this last at Marpurgh; and not only follow his prescriptions exactly at present, but take his directions, with regard to the regimen that he would have you observe to prevent the returns of this complaint ; and, in case of any returns, the immediate applications, whether external or internal, that he would have you make use of. Consider, it is very worth your while to submit at present to any course of medicine or diet, to any restraint or confinement, for a time, in order to get rid, once for all, of so troublesome and painful a


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distemper; the returns of which would equally break in upon your business or your pleasures. Notwithstanding all this, which is plain sense and reason, I much fear that, as soon as ever you are got out of your present distress, you will take no preventive care, by a proper course of medicines and regimen ; but, like most people of your age, think it impossible that you ever should be ill again. However, if you will not be wise for your own sake, I desire you will be so for mine, and most scrupulously observe Dr. Hugo s present and future directions.

Hanover, where I take it for granted you are, is at pres ent the seat and centre of foreign negotiations ; there are ministers from almost every court in Europe ; and you have a fine opportunity of displaying with modesty, in conversa tion, your knowledge of the matters now in agitation. The chief I take to be the Election of the King of the Romans, which, though I despair of, heartily wish were brought about for two reasons. The first is, that I think it may prevent a war upon the death of the present Emperor, who, though young and healthy, may possibly die, as young and healthy people often do. The other is, the very reason that makes some powers oppose it, and others dislike it, who do not openly oppose it ; I mean, that it may tend to make the imperial dignity hereditary in the House of Austria ; which I heartily wish, together with a very great increase of power in the empire : till when, Germany will never be anything near a match for France. Cardinal Richelieu showed his superior abilities in nothing more, than in thinking no pains or expense too great to break the power of the House of Austria in the empire. Ferdinand had certainly made him self absolute, and the empire consequently formidable to France, if that Cardinal had not piously adopted the Prot estant cause, and put the empire, by the treaty of West phalia, in pretty much the same disjointed situation in which France itself was before Lewis the Eleventh ; when princes of the blood, at the head of provinces, and Dukes of Brittany, etc., always opposed, and often gave laws to the crown. Nothing but making the empire hereditary in the House of Austria, can give it that strength and efficiency, which I wish it had, for the sake of the balance of power. For, while the princes of the empire are so independent of the emperor, so 8


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divided among themselves, and so open to the corruption of the best bidders, it is ridiculous to expect that Germany ever will, or can act as a compact and well-united body against France. But as this notion of mine would as little please SOME OF OUR FRIENDS, as many of our enemies, I would not advise you, though you should be of the same opinion, to declare yourself too freely so. Could the Elector Pala tine be satisfied, which I confess will be difficult, considering the nature of his pretensions, the tenaciousness and haughti ness of the court of Vienna (and our inability to do, as we have too often done, their work for them) ; I say, if the Elector Palatine could be engaged to give his vote, I should think it would be right to proceed to the election with a clear majority of five votes ; and leave the King of Prussia and the Elector of Cologne, to protest and remonstrate as much as ever they please. The former is too wise, and the latter too weak in every respect, to act in consequence of these protests. The distracted situation of France, with its ecclesiastical and parliamentary quarrels, not to mention the illness and possibly the death of the Dauphin, will make the King of Prussia, who is certainly no Frenchman in his heart, very cautious how he acts as one. The Elector of Saxony will be influenced by the King of Poland, who must be determined by Russia, considering his views upon Poland, which, by the by, I hope he will never obtain; I mean, as to making that crown hereditary in his family. As for his sons having it by the precarious tenure of elec tion, by which his father now holds it, a la bonne heure. But, should Poland have a good government under heredi tary kings, there would be a new devil raised in Europe, that I do not know who could lay. I am sure I would not raise him, though on my own side for the present.

I do not know how I came to trouble my head so much about politics to-day, which has been so very free from them for some years : I suppose it was because I knew that I was writing to the most consummate politician of this, and his age. If I err, you will set me right ; si quid novisti rectius istis, candidus imperti, etc.

I am excessively impatient for your next letter, which I expect by the first post from Hanover, to remove my anxiety, as I hope it will, not only with regard to your health, but


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likewise to OTHER THINGS; in the meantime in the language of a pedant, but with the tenderness of a parent, jubeo te bene valere.

Lady Chesterfield makes you many compliments, and is much concerned at your indisposition.


LETTER CLXXV To MONSIEUR DE VOLTAIRE, Now STAYING AT BERLIN.

LONDON, August 27, O. S. 1752.

SIR : As a most convincing proof how infinitely I am in terested in everything which concerns Mr. Stanhope, who will have the honor of presenting you this letter, I take the liberty of introducing him to you. He has read a great deal, he has seen a great deal ; whether or not he has made a proper use of that knowledge, is what I do not know : he is only twenty years of age. He was at Berlin some years ago, and therefore he returns thither ; for at present people are attracted toward the north by the same motives which but lately drew them to the south.

Permit me, Sir, to return you thanks for the pleasure and instruction I have received from your History of Lewis XIV. I have as yet read it but four times, because I wish to forget it a little before I read it a fifth; but I find that impossible: I shall therefore only wait till you give us the augmentation which you promised ; let me entreat you not to defer it long. I thought myself pretty conversant in the history of the reign of Lewis XIV., by means of those innumerable histories, memoirs, anecdotes, etc., which I had read relative to that period of time. You have convinced me that I was mistaken, and had upon that subject very confused ideas in many respects, and very false ones in others. Above all, I cannot but acknowledge the obligation we have to you, Sir, for the light which you have thrown upon the follies and outrages of the different sects ; the weapons you employ against those madmen, or those impostors, are the only suitable ones ; to make use of any others would be imitating them : they must be attacked by ridicule, and punished with


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contempt. A propos of those fanatics; I send you here in closed a piece upon that subject, written by the late Dean Swift: I believe you will not dislike it. You will easily guess why it never was printed: it is authentic, and I have the original in his own handwriting. His Jupiter, at the Day of Judgment, treats them much as you do, and as they deserve to be treated.

Give me leave, Sir, to tell you freely, that I am embarrassed upon your account, as I cannot determine what it is that I wish from you. When I read your last history, I am de sirous that you should always write history; but when I read your Rome Sauvee (although ill-printed and disfigured), yet I then wish you never to deviate from poetry ; how ever, I confess that there still remains one history worthy of your pen, and of which your pen alone is worthy. You have long ago given us the history of the greatest and most outrageous madman (I ask your pardon if I cannot say the greatest hero) of Europe ; you have given us latterly the history of the greatest king; give us now the history of the greatest and most virtuous man in Europe; I should think it degrading to call him king. To you this cannot be difficult, he is always before your eyes : your poetical invention is not necessary to his glory, as that may safely rely upon your historical candor. The first duty of an his torian is the only one he need require from his, Ne quid falsi dicere audeat, ne quid veri non audeat. Adieu, Sir! I find that I must admire you every day more and more ; but I also know that nothing ever can add to the esteem and attachment with which I am actually, your most humble and most obedient servant, CHESTERFIELD.


LETTER CLXXVI

LONDON, September 19, 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND: Since you have been at Hanover, your correspondence has been both unfrequent and laconic. You made indeed one great effort in folio on the i8th, with a postscript of the 22d August, N. S., and since that, vous avez rate in quarto. On the 3ist


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August, N. S., you give me no informations of what I want chiefly to know; which is, what Dr. Hugo (whom I charged you to consult) said of your asthmatic complaint, and what he prescribed you to prevent the returns of it ; and also what is the company that you keep there, who has been kind and civil to you, and who not.

You say that you go constantly to the parade; and you do very well ; for though you are not of that trade, yet military matters make so great a part both of conversation and negotiation, that it is very proper not to be ignorant of them. I hope you mind more than the mere exercise of the troops you see ; and that you inform yourself at the same time, of the more material details; such as their pay, and the difference of it when in and out of quarters ; what is furnished them by the country when in quarters, and what is allowed them of ammunition, bread, etc., when in the field ; the number of men and officers in the several troops and companies, together with the non-commissioned officers, as caporals, frey-caporals, anspessades, sergeants, quarter-masters, etc. ; the clothing how frequent, how good, and how furnished ; whether by the colonel, as here in England, from what we call the OFF-RECKONINGS, that is, deductions from the men s pay, or by commissaries ap pointed by the government for that purpose, as in France and Holland. By these inquiries you will be able to talk military with military men, who, in every country in Europe, except England, make at least half of all the best companies. Your attending the parades has also another good effect, which is, that it brings you, of course, acquainted with the officers, who, when of a certain rank and service, are generally very polite, well-bred people, et du bon ton. They have commonly seen a great deal of the world, and of courts; and nothing else can form a gentleman, let people say what they will of sense and learning ; with both which a man may contrive to be a very disagreeable companion. I dare say, there are very few captains of foot, who are not much better company than ever Descartes or Sir Isaac Newton were. I honor and respect such superior geniuses; but I desire to converse with people of this world, who bring into company their share, at least, of cheerfulness, good- breeding, and knowledge of mankind. In common life, one


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much oftener wants small money, and silver, than gold. Give me a man who has ready cash about him for present expenses ; sixpences, shillings, half-crowns, and crowns, which circulate easily : but a man who has only an ingot of gold about him, is much above common purposes, and his riches are not handy nor convenient. Have as much gold as you please in one pocket, but take care always to keep change in the other; for you will much oftener have occasion for a shilling than for a guinea. In this the French must be allowed to excel all people in the world: they have un certain entregent, un enjouement, un aimable legbrete dans la conversation, une politesse aisee et naturelle, qui paroit ne leur rien couter, which give society all its charms. I am sorry to add, but it is too true, that the English and the Dutch are the farthest from this, of all the people in the world ; I do by no means except even the Swiss.

Though you do not think proper to inform me, I know from other hands that you were to go to the Gohr with a Comte Schullemburg, for eight or ten days only, to see the reviews. I know also that you had a blister upon your arm, which did you a great deal of good. I know too, you have contracted a great friendship with Lord Essex, and that you two were inseparable at Hanover. All these things I would rather have known from you than from others ; and they are the sort of things that I am the most desirous of knowing, as they are more immediately relative to yourself.

I am very sorry for the Duchess of Newcastle s illness, full as much upon your as upon her account, as it has hin dered you from being so much known to the Duke as I could have wished ; use and habit going a great way with him, as indeed they do with most people. I have kown many people patronized, pushed up, and preferred by those who could have given no other reason for it, than that they were used to them. We must never seek for motives by deep reasoning, but we must find them out by careful observation and attention, no matter what they should be, but the point is, what they are. Trace them up, step by step, from the character of the person. I have known de -par le monde, as Brantome says, great effects from causes


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too little ever to have been suspected. Some things must be known, and can never be guessed.

God knows where this letter will find you, or follow you ; not at Hanover, I suppose ; but wherever it does, may it find you in health and pleasure! Adieu.


LETTER CLXXVII

LONDON, September 22, O. S. 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND: The day after the date of my last, I received your letter of the 8th. I approve ex tremely of your intended progress, and am very glad that you go to the Gohr with Comte Schullemburg. I would have you see everything with your own eyes, and hear everything with your own ears : for I know, by very long experience, that it is very unsafe to trust to other peo ple s. Vanity and interest cause many misrepresentations, and folly causes many more. Few people have parts enough to relate exactly and judiciously : and those who have, for some reason or other, never fail to sink, or to add some circumstances.

The reception which you have met with at Hanover, I look upon as an omen of your being well received every where else ; for to tell you the truth, it was the place that I distrusted the most in that particular. But there is a certain conduct, there are certaines manures that will, and must get the better of all difficulties of that kind ; it is to acquire them that you still continue abroad, and go from court to court ; they are personal, local, and temporal ; they are modes which vary, and owe their existence to accidents, whim, and humor; all the sense and reason in the world would never point them out ; nothing but experience, ob servation, and what is called knowledge of the world, can possibly teach them. For example, it is respectful to bow to the King of England, it is disrespectful to bow to the King of France ; it is the rule to courtesy to the Emperor ; and the prostration of the whole body is required by east ern monarchs. These are established ceremonies, and must be complied with : but why they were established, I defy


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sense and reason to tell us. It is the same among all ranks, where certain customs are received, and must necessarily be complied with, though by no means the result of sense and reason. As for instance, the very absurd, though almost universal custom of drinking people s healths. Can there be anything in the world less relative to any other man s health, than my drinking a glass of wine? Common sense certainly never pointed it out ; but yet common sense tells me I must conform to it. Good sense bids one be civil and endeavor to please ; though nothing but experience and observation can teach one the means, properly adapted to time, place, and persons. This knowledge is the true object of a gen tleman s traveling, if he travels as he ought to do. ( By frequenting good company in every country, he himself be comes of every country ; he is no longer an Englishman, a Frenchman, or an Italian ; but he is an European ; he adopts, respectively, the best manners of every country ; and is a Frenchman at Paris, an Italian at Rome, an Eng lishman at London.

This advantage, I must confess, very seldom accrues to my countrymen from their traveling ; as they have neither the desire nor the means of getting into good company abroad ; for, in the first place, they are confoundedly bash ful ; and, in the next place, they either speak no foreign language at all, or if they do, it is barbarously. You pos sess all the advantages that they want ; you know the lan guages in perfection, and have constantly kept the best company in the places where you have been ; so that you ought to be an European. Your canvas is solid and strong, your outlines are good ; but remember that you still want the beautiful coloring of Titian, and the delicate, graceful touches of Guido. Now is your time to get them. There is, in all good company, a fashionable air, countenance, man ner, and phraseology, which can only be acquired by being in good company, and very attentive to all that passes there. When you dine or sup at any well-bred man s house, ob serve carefully how he does the honors of his table to the different guests. Attend to the compliments of congratula tion or condolence that you hear a well-bred man make to his superiors, to his equals, and to his inferiors ; watch even his countenance and his tone of voice, for they all


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conspire in the main point of pleasing. There is a certain distinguishing diction of a man of fashion ; he will not content himself with saying, like John Trott, to a new- married man, Sir, I wish you much joy; or to a man who lost his son, Sir, I am sorry for your loss ; and both with a countenance equally unmoved ; but he will say in effect the same thing in a more elegant and less trivial manner, and with a countenance adapted to the occasion. He will advance with warmth, vivacity, and a cheerful countenance, to the new-married man, and embracing him, perhaps say to him, tt lf you do justice to my attachment to you, you will judge of the joy that I feel upon this occasion, better than I can express it,* etc. ; to the other in affliction, he will advance slowly, with a grave composure of counte nance, in a more deliberate manner, and with a lower voice, perhaps say, <( I hope you do me the justice to be convinced that I feel whatever you feel, and shall ever be affected where you are concerned. M

Your abord, I must tell you, was too cold and uniform; I hope it is now mended. It should be respectfully open and cheerful with your superiors, warm and animated with your equals, hearty and free with your inferiors. There is a fashionable kind of SMALL TALK which you should get ; which, trifling as it is, is of use in mixed companies, and at table, especially in your foreign department ; where it keeps off certain serious subjects, that might create disputes, or at least coldness for a time. Upon such occasions it is not amiss to know how to -parler cuisine, and to be able to dissert upon the growth and flavor of wines. These, it is true, are very little things ; but they are little things that occur very often, and therefore should be said a-vec gentillesse et grace. I am sure they must fall often in your way; pray take care to catch them. There is a certain language of con versation, a fashionable diction, of which every gentleman ought to be perfectly master, in whatever language he speaks. The French attend to it carefully, and with great reason; and their language, which is a language of phrases, helps them out exceedingly. That delicacy of diction is characteristical of a man of fashion and good company.

I could write folios upon this subject, and not exhaust it; but I think, and hope, that to you I need not. You have


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heard and seen enough to be convinced of the truth and importance of what I have been so long inculcating into you upon these points. How happy am I, and how happy are you, my dear child, that these Titian tints, and Guido graces, are all that you want to complete my hopes and your own character! But then, on the other hand, what a drawback would it be to that happiness, if you should never acquire them? I remember, when I was of age, though I had not near so good an education as you have, or seen a quarter so much of the world, I observed those masterly touches and irresistible graces in others, and saw the necessity of acquiring them myself; but then an awkward mauvaise honte, of which I had brought a great deal with me from Cambridge, made me ashamed to attempt it, especially if any of my countrymen and particular acquaint ances were by. This was extremely absurd in me: for, without attempting, I could never succeed. But at last, insensibly, by frequenting a great deal of good company, and imitating those whom I saw that everybody liked, I formed myself, tant bien que mal. For God s sake, let this last fine varnish, so necessary to give lustre to the whole piece, be the sole and single object now of your utmost attention. Berlin may contribute a great deal to it if you please ; there are all the ingredients that compose it.

A propos of Berlin, while you are there, take care to seem ignorant of all political matters between the two courts; such as the affairs of Ost Frise, and Saxe Lawemburg, etc., and enter into no conversations upon those points ; but, however, be as well at court as you possibly can ; live at it, and make one of it. Should General Keith offer you civilities, do not decline them ; but return them, however, without being enfant de la maison chez lui: say des choses flatteuses of the Royal Family, and especially of his Prussian Majesty, to those who are the most like to repeat them. In short, make yourself well there, without making yourself ill SOMEWHERE ELSE. Make compliments from me to Al- garotti, and converse with him in Italian.

I go next week to the Bath, for a deafness, which I have been plagued with these four or five months ; and which I am assured that pumping my head will remove. This deafness, I own, has tried my patience; as it has cut me


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off from society, at an age when I had no pleasures but those left. In the meantime, I have, by reading and writing, made my eyes supply the defect of my ears. Madame

H , I suppose, entertained both yours alike ; however, I

am very glad that you were well with her; for she is a good proneuse, and puffs are very useful to a young fellow at his entrance into the world.

If you should meet with Lord Pembroke again, anywhere, make him many compliments from me ; and tell him that I should have written to him, but that I knew how trouble some an old correspondent must be to a young one. He is much commended in the accounts from Hanover.

You will stay at Berlin just as long as you like it, and no longer; and from thence you are absolutely master of your own motions, either to The Hague, or to Brussels; but I think that you had better go to The Hague first, because that from thence Brussels will be in your way to Calais, which is a much better passage to England than from Helvoets- luys. The two courts of The Hague and Brussels are worth your seeing ; and you will see them both to advantage, by means of Colonel Yorke and Dayrolles. Adieu. Here is enough for this time.


LETTER CLXXVIII

LONDON, September 26, 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND : As you chiefly employ, or rather wholly engross my thoughts, I see every day, with increasing pleasure, the fair prospect which you have before you. I had two views in your education; they draw nearer and nearer, and I have now very little reason to distrust your answering them fully. Those two were, parliamentary and foreign affairs. In consequence of those views, I took care, first, to give you a sufficient stock of sound learning, and next, an early knowledge of the world. Without making a figure in parliament, no man can make any in this country; and eloquence alone enables a man to make a fig ure in parliament, unless, it be a very mean and contemptible one, which those make there who silently vote, and who do pedibus ire in sententiam. Foreign affairs, when skill-


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fully managed, and supported by a parliamentary reputation, lead to whatever is most considerable in this country. You have the languages necessary for that purpose, with a suf ficient fund of historical and treaty knowledge ; that is to say, you have the matter ready, and only want the man ner. Your objects being thus fixed, I recommend to you to have them constantly in your thoughts, and to direct your reading, your actions, and your words, to those views. Most people think only ex re natd, and few ex professo: I would have you do both, but begin with the latter. I explain myself : Lay down certain principles, and reason and act consequently from them. As, for example, say to yourself, I will make a figure in parliament, and in order to do that, I must not only speak, but speak very well. Speaking mere common sense will by no means do ; and I must speak not only correctly but elegantly ; and not only elegantly but eloquently. In order to do this, I will first take pains to get an habitual, but unaffected, purity, correctness and elegance of style in my common conversation , I will seek for the best words, and take care to reject improper, inexpressive, and vulgar ones. I will read the greatest masters of oratory, both ancient and modern, and I will read them singly in that view. I will study Demosthenes and Cicero, not to discover an old Athenian or Roman custom, nor to puzzle myself with the value of talents, mines, drachms, and sesterces, like the learned blockheads in us ; but to observe their choice of words, their harmony of diction, their method, their distri bution, their exordia, to engage the favor and attention of their audience ; and their perorations, to enforce what they have said, and to leave a strong impression upon the pas sions. Nor will I be pedant enough to neglect the modern; for I will likewise study Atterbury, Dryden, Pope, and Bolingbroke ; nay, I will read everything that I do read in that intention, and never cease improving and refining my style upon the best models, till at last I become a model of eloquence myself, which, by care, it is in every man s power to be. If you set out upon this principle, and keep it constantly in your mind, every company you go into, and every book you read, will contribute to your improve ment, either by showing you what to imitate, or what to


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avoid. Are you to give an account of anything to a mixed company? or are you to endeavor to persuade either man or woman? This principle, fixed in your mind, will make you carefully attend to the choice of your words, and to the clearness and harmony of your diction.

So much for your parliamentary object ; now to the foreign one.

Lay down first those principles which are absolutely necessary to form a skillful and successful negotiator, and form yourself accordingly. What are they? First, the clear historical knowledge of past transactions of that kind. That you have pretty well already, and will have daily more and more ; for, in consequence of that principle, you will read history, memoirs, anecdotes, etc., in that view chiefly. The other necessary talents for negotiation are: the great art of pleasing and engaging the affection and confidence, not only of those with whom you are to co operate, but even of those whom you are to oppose : to conceal your own thoughts and views, and to discover other people s: to engage other people s confidence by a seeming cheerful frankness and openness, without going a step too far: to get the personal favor of the king, prince, ministers, or mistresses of the court to which you are sent: to gain the absolute command over your temper and your countenance, that no heat may provoke you to say, nor no change of countenance to betray, what should be a secret : to familiarize and domesticate yourself in the houses of the most considerable people of the place, so as to be received there rather as a friend to the family than as a foreigner. Having these principles constantly in your thoughts, everything you do and everything you say will some way or other tend to your main view; and common conversation will gradually fit you for it. You will get a habit of checking any rising heat; you will be upon your guard against any indiscreet expression ; you will by de grees get the command of your countenance, so as not to change it upon any the most sudden accident; and you will, above all things, labor to acquire the great art of pleasing, without which nothing is to be done. Company is, in truth, a constant state of negotiation ; and, if you attend to it in that view, will qualify you for any. By the


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same means that you make a friend, guard against an enemy, or gain a mistress ; you will make an advantageous treaty, baffle those who counteract you, and gain the court you are sent to. Make this use of all the company you keep, and your very pleasures will make you a successful negotiator. Please all who are worth pleasing ; offend none. Keep your own secret, and get out other people s. Keep your own temper and artfully warm other people s. Counterwork your rivals with diligence and dexterity, but at the same time with the utmost personal civility to them ; and be firm without heat. Messieurs d Avaux and Servien did no more than this. I must make one observation, in confirmation of this assertion ; which is, that the most eminent negotiators have always been the politest and best- bred men in company ; even what the women call the PRETTIEST MEN. For God s sake, never lose view of these two your capital objects: bend everything to them, try everything by their rules, and calculate everything for their purposes. What is peculiar to these two objects, is, that they require nothing, but what one s own vanity, interest, and pleasure, would make one do independently of them. If a man were never to be in business, and always to lead a private life, would he not desire to please and to persuade? So that, in your two destinations, your fortune and figure luckily conspire with your vanity and your pleasures. Nay more ; a foreign minister, I will maintain it, can never be a good man of business if he is not an agreeable man of pleasure too. Half his business is done by the help of his pleasures; his views are carried on, and perhaps best and most unsuspectedly, at balls, suppers, assemblies, and parties of pleasure; by intrigues with women, and connections in sensibly formed with men, at those unguarded hours of amusement.

These objects now draw very near you, and you have no time to lose in preparing yourself to meet them. You will be in parliament almost as soon as your age will allow, and I believe you will have a foreign department still sooner, and that will be earlier than ever any other body had one. If you set out well at one-and-twenty, what may you not reasonably hope to be at one-and-forty ? All that I could wish you ! Adieu.


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LETTER CLXXIX

LONDON, September 29, 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND : There is nothing so necessary, but at the same time there is nothing more difficult (I know it by experience) for you young fellows, than to know how to behave yourselves prudently toward those whom you do not like. Your passions are warm, and your heads are light ; you hate all those who oppose your views, either of ambition or love; and a rival, in either, is almost a synonymous term for an enemy. Whenever you meet such a man, you are awkwardly cold to him, at best; but often rude, and always desirous to give him some indirect slap. This is unreasonable ; for one man has as good a right to pursue an employment, or a mistress, as another; but it is, into the bargain, extremely imprudent; because you commonly defeat your own purpose by it, and while you are contending with each other, a third often prevails. I grant you that the situation is irksome; a man cannot help thinking as he thinks, nor feeling what he feels ; and it is a very tender and sore point to be thwarted and counterworked in one s pursuits at court, or with a mistress; but prudence and abilities must check the effects, though they cannot remove the cause. Both th* pretenders make themselves disagreeable to their mistress, when they spoil the company by their pouting, or their sparring ; whereas, if one of them has command enough over himself (what ever he may feel inwardly) to be cheerful, gay, and easily and unaffectedly civil to the other, as if there were no manner of competition between them, the lady will certainly like him the best, and his rival will be ten times more humbled and discouraged ; for he will look upon such a behavior as a proof of the triumph and security of his rival , he will grow outrageous with the lady, and the warmth of his reproaches will probably bring on a quarrel between them. It is the same in business; where he who can command his temper and his countenance the best, will always have an infinite advantage over the other. This is what the French call un proc6d6 honnete et galant, to PIQUE yourself upon showing particular civilities to a man,


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to whom lesser minds would, in the same case, show dis like, or perhaps rudeness. I will give you an instance of this in my own case ; and pray remember it, whenever you come to be, as I hope you will, in a like situation.

When I went to The Hague, in i744 it was to engage the Dutch to come roundly into the war, and to stipulate their quotas of troops, etc. ; your acquaintance, the Abb6 de la Ville, was there on the part of France, to endeavor to hinder them from coming into the war at all. I was informed, and very sorry to hear it, that he had abilities, temper, and industry. We could not visit, our two masters being at war ; but the first time I met him at a third place, I got somebody to present me to him ; and I told him, that though we were to be national enemies, I flattered myself we might be, however, personal friends, with a good deal more of the same kind; which he returned in full as polite a manner. Two days afterward, I went, early in the morning, to solicit the Deputies of Amsterdam, where I found 1 Abbe de la Ville, who had been beforehand with me; upon which I addressed myself to the Deputies, and said, smilingly, I am very sorry, Gentlemen, to find my enemy with you; my knowledge of his capacity is already sufficient to make me fear him; we are not upon equal terms ; but I trust to your own interest against his talents. If I have not tfvis day had the first word, I shall at least have the last. They smiled: the Abbe" was pleased with the compliment, and the manner of it, stayed about a quarter of an hour, and then left me to my Deputies, with whom I continued upon the same tone, though in a very serious manner, and told them that I was only come to state their own true interests to them, plainly and simply, without any of those arts, which it was very necessary for my friend to make use of to deceive them. I carried my point, and continued my precede with the Abb6; and by this easy and polite commerce with him, at third places, I often found means to fish out from him whereabouts he was.

Remember, there are but two precedes in the world for a gentleman and a man of parts; either extreme politeness or knocking down. If a man notoriously and designedly insults and affronts you, knock him down; but if he only injures you, your best revenge is to be extremely civil to


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him in your outward behavior, though at the same time you counterwork him, and return him the compliment, per haps with interest. This is not perfidy nor dissimulation; it would be so if you were, at the same time, to make professions of esteem and friendship to this man; which I by no means recommend, but on the contrary abhor. But all acts of civility are, by common consent, understood to be no more than a conformity to custom, for the quiet and conveniency of society, the agrmens of which are not to be disturbed by private dislikes and jealousies. Only women and little minds pout and spar for the entertainment of the company, that always laughs at, and never pities them. For my own part, though I would by no means give up any point to a competitor, yet I would pique myself upon showing him rather more civility than to another man. In the first place, this proctfde infallibly makes all les rieurs of your side, which is a considerable party ; and in the next place, it certainly pleases the object of the competition, be it either man or woman; who never fail to say, upon such an occasion, that THEY MUST OWN YOU HAVE BEHAVED YOUR SELF VERY HANDSOMELY IN THE WHOLE AFFAIR. The

world judges from the appearances of things, and not from the reality, which few are able, and still fewer are inclined to fathom: and a man, who will take care always to be in the right in those things, may afford to be sometimes a little in the wrong in more essential ones: there is a will ingness, a desire to excuse him. With nine people in ten, good-breeding passes for good-nature, and they take attentions for good offices. At courts there will be always coldnesses, dislikes, jealousies, and hatred, the harvest being but small in proportion to the number of laborers ; but then, as they arise often, they die soon, unless they are perpetuated by the manner in which they have been carried on, more than by the matter which occasioned them. The turns and vicissi tudes of courts frequently make friends of enemies, and enemies of friends; you must labor, therefore, to acquire that great and uncommon talent of hating with good- breeding and loving with prudence; to make no quarrel irreconcilable by silly and unnecessary indications of anger; and no friendship dangerous, in case it breaks, by a wanton, indiscreet, and unreserved confidence. 9


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Few ( especially young ) people know how to love, or how to hate ; their love is an unbounded weakness, fatal to the person they love ; their hate is a hot, rash, and imprudent violence, always fatal to themselves.

Nineteen fathers in twenty, and every mother, who had loved you half as well as I do, would have ruined you ; whereas I always made you feel the weight of my authority, that you might one day know the force of my love. Now, I both hope and believe, my advice will have the same weight with you from choice that my authority had from necessity. My advice is just eight-and-twenty years older than your own, and consequently, I believe you think, rather better. As for your tender and pleasurable passions, manage them yourself; but let me have the direction of all the other*. Your ambition, your figure, and your fortune, will, for some time at least, be rather safer in my keeping than in your own. Adieu.


LETTER CLXXX

BATH, October 4, 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I consider you now as at the court of Augustus, where, if ever the desire of pleasing animated you, it must make you exert all the means of doing it. You will see there, full as well, I dare say, as Horace did at Rome, how states are defended by arms, adorned by manners, and improved by laws. Nay, you have an Horace there as well as an Augustus ; I need not name Voltaire, qui nil molitur inepft, as Horace himself said of another poet. I have lately read over all his works that are published, though I had read them more than once before. I was induced to this by his Si^cle de Louis XIV., which I have yet read but four times. In reading over all his works, with more attention I suppose than be fore, my former admiration of him is, I own, turned into astonishment. There is no one kind of writing in which he has not excelled. You are so severe a classic that I ques tion whether you will allow me to call his Henri ade an epic poem, for want of the proper number of gods, devils,


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witches and other absurdities, requisite for the machinery ; which machinery is, it seems, necessary to constitute the epopee. But whether you do or not, I will declare (though possibly to my own shame) that I never read any epic poem with near so much pleasure. I am grown old, and have possibly lost a great deal of that fire which for merly made me love fire in others at any rate, and how ever attended with smoke ; but now I must have all sense, and cannot, for the sake of five righteous lines, forgive a thousand absurd ones.

In this disposition of mind, judge whether I can read all Homer through tout de suite. I admire its beauties ; but, to tell you the truth, when he slumbers, I sleep. Virgil, I confess, is all sense, and therefore I like him better than his model ; but he is often languid, especially in his five or six last books, during which I am obliged to take a good deal of snuff. Besides, I profess myself an ally of Turnus against the pious yEneas, who, like many soi-disant pious people, does the most flagrant injustice and violence in order to execute what they impudently call the will of Heaven. But what will you say, when I tell you truly, that I cannot possibly read our countryman Milton through ? I acknowledge him to have some most sublime passages, some prodigious flashes of light ; but then you must ac knowledge that light is often followed by darkness visi ble, to use his own expression. Besides, not having the honor to be acquainted with any of the parties in this poem, except the Man and the Woman, the characters and speeches of a dozen or two of angels and of as many devils, are as much above my reach as my entertainment. Keep this secret for me : for if it should be known, I should be abused by every tasteless pedant, and every solid divine in England.

Whatever I have said to the disadvantage of these three poems, holds much stronger against Tasso s Gierusalemme: it is true he has very fine and glaring rays of poetry; but then they are only meteors, they dazzle, then disappear, and are succeeded by false thoughts, poor concetti, and ab surd impossibilities ; witness the Fish and the Parrot ; ex travagancies unworthy of an heroic poem, and would much better have become Ariosto, who professes le coglionerie.


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I have never read the (( Lusiade of Camoens," except in prose translation, consequently I have never read it at all, so shall say nothing of it ; but the Henriade is all sense from the beginning to the end, often adorned by the justest and liveliest reflections, the most beautiful descrip tions, the noblest images, and the sublimest sentiments ; not to mention the harmony of the verse, in which Vol taire undoubtedly exceeds all the French poets : should you insist upon an exception in favor of Racine, I must in sist, on my part, that he at least equals him. What hero ever interested more than Henry the Fourth; who, accord ing to the rules of epic poetry, carries on one great and long action, and succeeds in it at last? What descriptions ever excited more horror than those, first of the Massacre, and then of the Famine at Paris? Was love ever painted with more truth and morbidezza than in the ninth book? Not better, in my mind, even in the fourth of Virgil. Upon the whole, with all your classical rigor, if you will but suppose ST. Louis a god, a devil, or a witch, and that he appears in person, and not in a dream, the Henriade will be an epic poem, according to the strictest statute laws of the epopee ; but in my court of equity it is one as it is.

I could expatiate as much upon all his different works, but that I should exceed the bounds of a letter and run into a dissertation. How delightful is his history of that northern brute, the King of Sweden, for I cannot call him a man; and I should be sorry to have him pass for a hero, out of regard to those true heroes, such as Julius Cassar, Titus, Trajan, and the present King of Prussia, who culti vated and encouraged arts and sciences; whose animal courage was accompanied by the tender and social senti ments of humanity; and who had more pleasure in improv ing, than in destroying their fellow-creatures. What can be more touching, or more interesting what more nobly thought, or more happily expressed, than all his dramatic pieces? What can be more clear and rational than all his philosophical letters? and whatever was so graceful, and gentle, as all his little poetical trifles? You are fortunately efc portee of verifying, by your knowledge of the man, all that I have said of his works.


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Monsieur de Maupertius (whom I hope you will get acquainted with) is, what one rarely meets with, deep in philosophy and mathematics, and yet honnete et aimable homme: Algarotti is young Fontenelle. Such men must necessarily give you the desire of pleasing them; and if you can frequent them, their acquaintance will furnish you the means of pleasing everybody else.

A propos of pleasing, your pleasing Mrs. F d is ex pected here in two or three days ; I will do all that I can for you with her : I think you carried on the romance to the third or fourth volume ; I will continue it to the eleventh ; but as for the twelfth and last, you must come and conclude it yourself. Non sum qualis eram.

Good-night to you, child; for I am going to bed, just at the hour at which I suppose you are going to live, at Berlin.


LETTER CLXXXI

BATH, November n, O. S. 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND: It is a very old and very true maxim, that those kings reign the most secure and the most absolute, who reign in the hearts of their people. Their popularity is a better guard than their army, and the affections of their subjects a better pledge of their obedience than their fears. This rule is, in proportion, full as true, though upon a different scale, with regard to private people. A man who possesses that great art of pleasing universally, and of gaining the affections of those with whom he converses, possesses a strength which nothing else can give him : a strength which facilitates and helps his rise ; and which, in case of accidents, breaks his fall. Few people of your age sufficiently consider this great point of popularity ; and when they grow older and wiser, strive in vain to recover what they have lost by their negligence. There are three principal causes that hinder them from acquiring this useful strength : pride, inattention, and mauvaise honte. The first I will not, I cannot suspect you of; it is too much below your understanding. You cannot,


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and I am sure you do not think yourself superior by nature to the Savoyard who cleans your room, or the footman who cleans your shoes; but you may rejoice, and with reason, at the difference that fortune has made in your favor. Enjoy all those advantages ; but without insulting those who are unfortunate enough to want them, or even doing anything unnecessarily that may remind them of that want. For my own part, I am more upon my guard as to my behavior to my servants, and others who are called my inferiors, than I am toward my equals : for fear of being suspected of that mean and ungenerous sentiment of desir ing to make others feel that difference which fortune has, and perhaps too, undeservedly, made between us. Young people do not enough attend to this ; and falsely imagine that the imperative mood, and a rough tone of authority and decision, are indications of spirit and courage. Inattention is always looked upon, though sometimes unjustly, as the effect of pride and contempt; and where it is thought so, is never forgiven. In this article, young people are generally exceedingly to blame, and offend extremely. Their whole attention is en grossed by their particular set of acquaintance; and by some few glaring and exalted objects of rank, beauty, or parts; all the rest they think so little worth their care, that they neglect even common civility toward them. I will frankly confess to you, that this was one of my great faults when I was of your age. Very attentive to please that narrow court circle in which I stood enchanted, I considered everything else as bourgeois, and unworthy of common civility ; I paid my court assiduously and skillfully enough to shining and distinguished figures, such as ministers, wits, and beauties ; but then I most absurdly and imprudently neglected, and consequently offended all others. By this folly I made myself a thousand enemies of both sexes ; who, though I thought them very insignificant, found means to hurt me essentially where I wanted to recommend myself the most. I was thought proud, though I was only imprudent. A general easy civility and attention to the common run of ugly women, and of middling men, both which I sillily thought, called, and treated, as odd people, would have made me as many friends, as by the contrary conduct I made myself enemies. All this too was a pure -perte; for I might


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equally, and even more successfully, have made my court, when I had particular views to gratify. I will allow that this task is often very unpleasant, and that one pays, with some unwillingness, that tribute of attention to dull and tedious men, and to old and ugly women ; but it is the lowest price of popularity and general applause, which are very well worth purchasing were they much dearer. I con clude this head with this advice to you : Gain, by particular assiduity and address, the men and women you want ; and, by an universal civility and attention, please everybody so far as to have their good word, if not their good-will ; or, at least, as to secure a partial neutrality.

Mauvaise honte not only hinders young people from mak ing a great many friends, but makes them a great many enemies. They are ashamed of doing the thing they know to be right, and would otherwise do, for fear of the momentary laugh of some fine gentleman or lady, or of some mauvais plaisant. I have been in this case : and have often wished an obscure acquaintance at the devil, for meeting and tak ing notice of me when I was in what I thought and called fine company. I have returned their notice shyly, awk wardly, and consequently offensively, for fear of a momen tary joke, not considering, as I ought to have done, that the very people who would have joked upon me at first, would have esteemed me the more for it afterward. An example explains a rule best : Suppose you were walking in the Tuileries with some fine folks, and that you should unexpectedly meet your old acquaintance, little crooked Grierson ; what would you do? I will tell you what you should do, by telling you what I would now do in that case myself. I would run up to him, and embrace him ; say some kind of things to him, and then return to my company. There I should be immediately asked : Mais qu est ce que c* est done que ce petit Sapajou quevous avez embrass si tendrement? Pourcela, V accolade a 6t6 charmante; with a great deal more festivity of that sort. To this I should answer, without being the least ashamed, but en badinant: O je ne vous dirai pas qui c* est; c 1 est un petit ami que je tiens incognito^ qui a son merite, et qui^ & force d*etre connu, fait oublier sa figure. Que me donnerez-vous, et je vous le presenterai? And then, with a little more seriousness, I would add : J\fais d ailleurs c 1 est


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que je ne desavoue jamais mes connoissances, d cause de leur etat ou de leur figure. II faut avoir bien peu de sentimens pour le faire. This would at once put an end to that mo mentary pleasantry, and give them all a better opinion of me than they had before. Suppose another case, and that some of the finest ladies du bon ton should come into a room, and find you sitting by, and talking politely to la vieille Marquise de Bellefonds, the joke would, for a moment, turn upon that tete-ci-tete : He bien! avez-vous d, la fin fixe la belle Marquise? La par tie est-elle faite pour la petite maison? Le souper sera galant sans doute: Mais ne fais- tu done point scrupule de seduire une jeune et aimable personne comme celle-la? To this I should answer: La partie n> etoit pas encore tout-d, fait liee, vous nous avez in- terrompu; mais avecle terns que fait- on? D ailleurs moquez- vous de mes amours tant qu ilvous plaira, je vous dirai que je respecte tant les jeunes dames, que je respecte meme les vieilles, pour V avoir ete. Apr^s cela il y a souvent des liaisons entre les vieilles et les jeunes. This would at once turn the pleasantry into an esteem for your good sense and your good-breeding. Pursue steadily, and without fear or shame, whatever your reason tells you is right, and what you see is practiced by people of more experience than your self, and of established characters of good sense and good- breeding.

After all this, perhaps you will say, that it is impossible to please everybody. I grant it ; but it does not follow that one should not therefore endeavor to please as many as one can. Nay, I will go further, and admit that it is impos sible for any man not to have some enemies. But this truth from long experience I assert, that he who has the most friends and the fewest enemies, is the strongest ; will rise the highest with the least envy ; and fall, if he does fall, the gentlest, and the most pitied. This is surely an object worth pursuing. Pursue it according to the rules I have here given you. I will add one observation more, and two ex amples to enforce it; and then, as the parsons say, conclude.

There is no one creature so obscure, so low, or so poor, who may not, by the strange and unaccountable changes and vicissitudes of human affairs, somehow or other, and some time or other, become an useful friend or a trouble-


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some enemy, to the greatest and the richest. The late Duke of Ormond was almost the weakest but at the same time the best-bred, and most popular man in this kingdom. His education in courts and camps, joined to an easy, gentle nature, had given him that habitual affability, those engag ing manners, and those mechanical attentions, that almost supplied the place of every talent he wanted ; and he wanted almost every one. They procured him the love of all men, without the esteem of any. He was impeached after the death of Queen Anne, only because that, having been en gaged in the same measures with those who were necessarily to be impeached, his impeachment, for form s sake, be came necessary. But he was impeached without acrimony, and without the least intention that he should suffer, not withstanding the party violence of those times. The ques tion for his impeachment, in the House of Commons, was carried by many fewer votes than any other question of impeachment ; and Earl Stanhope, then Mr. Stanhope, and Secretary of State, who impeached him, very soon after negotiated and concluded his accommodation with the late King ; to whom he was to have been presented the next day. But the late Bishop of Rochester, Atterbury, who thought that the Jacobite cause might suffer by losing the Duke of Ormond, went in all haste, and prevailed with the poor weak man to run away ; assuring him that he was only to be gulled into a disgraceful submission, and not to be pardoned in consequence of it. When his subsequent attainder passed, it excited mobs and disturbances in town. He had not a personal enemy in the world, and had a thousand friends. All this was simply owing to his natural desire of pleasing, and to the mechanical means that his education, not his parts, had given him of doing it. The other instance is the late Duke of Marlborough, who studied the art of pleasing, because he well knew the importance of it : he enjoyed and used it more than ever man did. He gained whoever he had a mind to gain ; and he had a mind to gain everybody, because he knew that everybody was more or less worth gaining. Though his power, as Minister and General, made him many political and party enemies, they did not make him one personal one ; and the very people who would gladly have displaced, disgraced, and per-


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haps attainted the Duke of Maryborough, at the same time personally loved Mr. Churchill, even though his private character was blemished by sordid avarice, the most unami- able of all vices. He had wound up and turned his whole machine to please and engage. He had an inimitable sweet ness and gentleness in his countenance, a tenderness in his manner of speaking, a graceful dignity in every motion, and an universal and minute attention to the least things that could possibly please the least person. This was all art in him ; art of which he well knew and enjoyed the advantages ; for no man ever had more interior ambition, pride, and avarice, than he had.

Though you have more than most people of your age, you have yet very little experience and knowledge of the world ; now I wish to inoculate mine upon you, and thereby prevent both the dangers and the marks of youth and inex perience. If you receive the matter kindly, and observe my prescriptions scrupulously, you will secure the future ad vantages of time and join them to the present inestimable ones of one-and-twenty.

I most earnestly recommend one thing to you, during your present stay at Paris. I own it is not the most agreeable ; but I affirm it to be the most useful thing in the world to one of your age ; and therefore I do hope that you will force and constrain yourself to do it. I mean, to converse frequently, or rather to be in company fre quently with both men and women much your superiors in age and rank. I am very sensible that, at your age, vous y entrez pour peu de chose, et meme souvent pour rien, et que vous y passerez meme quelques mauvais quart-d? heures ; but no matter; you will be a solid gainer by it : you will see, hear, and learn the turn and manners of those people ; you will gain premature experience by it ; and it will give you a habit of engaging and respectful attentions. Versailles, as much as possible, though probably unentertaining : the Palais Royal often, however dull : foreign ministers of the first rank, frequently, and women, though old, who are respectable and respected for their rank or parts ; such as Madame de Pusieux, Madame de Nivernois, Madame d Aiguillon, Madame Geoffrain, etc. This sujetion, if it be one to you, will cost you but very little in these three or


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four months that you are yet to pass in Paris, and will bring you in a great deal ; nor will it, nor ought it, to hinder you from being in a more entertaining company a great part of the day. Vous pouvez, si vous le voulez, tirer un grand parti de ces quatre mois. May God make you so, and bless you! Adieu.


LETTER CLXXXII

BATH, November 16, O. S. 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Vanity, or to call it by a gentler name, the desire of admiration and applause, is, perhaps, the most universal principle of human ac tions ; I do not say that it is the ; best ; and I will own that it is sometimes the cause of both foolish and criminal effects. But it is so much oftener the principle of right things, that though they ought to have a better, yet, con sidering human nature, that principle is to be encouraged and cherished, in consideration of its effects. Where that desire is wanting, we are apt to be indifferent, listless, indolent, and inert; we do not exert our powers; and we appear to be as much below ourselves as the vainest man living can desire to appear above what he really is.

As I have made you my confessor, and do not scruple to confess even my weaknesses to you, I will fairly own that I had that vanity, that weakness, if it be one, to a prodigious degree; and, what is more, I confess it without repentance; nay, I am glad I had it ; since, if I have had the good fortune to please in the world, it is to that powerful and active principle that I owe it. I began the world, not with a bare desire, but with an insatiable thirst, a rage of pop ularity, applause, and admiration. If this made me do some silly things on one hand, it made me, on the other hand, do almost all the right things that I did ; it made me attentive and civil to the women I disliked, and to the men I despised, in hopes of the applause of both : though I neither desired, nor would I have accepted the favors of the one, nor the friendship of the other. I always dressed, looked, and talked my best ; and, I own, was overjoyed


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whenever I perceived, that by all three, or by any one of them, the company was pleased with me. To men, I talked whatever I thought would give them the best opinion of my parts and learning ; and to women, what I was sure would please them ; flattery, gallantry, and love. And, moreover, I will own to you, under the secrecy of confes sion, that my vanity has very often made me take great pains to make a woman in love with me, if I could, for whose person I would not have given a pinch of snuff. In company with men, I always endeavored to outshine, or at least, if possible, to equal the most shining man in it. This desire elicited whatever powers I had to gratify it ; and where I could not perhaps shine in the first, enabled me, at least, to shine in a second or third sphere. By these means I soon grew in fashion ; and when a man is once in fashion, all he does is right. It was infinite pleasure to me to find my own fashion and popularity. I was sent for to all parties of pleasure, both of men or women ; where, in some measure, I gave the ton. This gave me the reputa tion of having had some women of condition ; and that reputation, whether true or false, really got me others. With the men I was a Proteus, and assumed every shape, in order to please them all : among the gay, I was the gay est ; among the grave, the gravest ; and I never omitted the least attentions of good-breeding, or the least offices of friendship, that could either please, or attach them to me : and accordingly I was soon connected with all the men of any fashion or figure in town.

To this principle of vanity, which philosophers call a mean one, and which I do not, I owe great part of the figure which I have made in life. I wish you had as much, but I fear you have too little of it ; and you seem to have a degree of laziness and listlessness about you that makes you indifferent as to general applause This is not in char acter at your age, and would be barely pardonable in an elderly and philosophical man. It is a vulgar, ordinary saying, but it is a very true one, that one should always put the best foot foremost. One should please, shine, and dazzle, wherever it is possible. At Paris, I am sure you must observe que chactm se fait valoir autant qit? il est possible; and La Bruyere observes, very justly, qu" 1 on ne vaut


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dans ce monde que ce qu on veut valoir: wherever applause is in question, you will never see a French man, nor woman, remiss or negligent. Observe the eternal attentions and politeness that all people have there for one another. Ce n cst pas pour leurs beaux yeux au moins. No, but for their own sakes, for commendations and applause. Let me then recommend this principle of vanity to you ; act upon it meo periculo; I promise you it will turn to your account. Practice all the arts that ever coquette did, to please. Be alert and indefatigable in making every man admire, and every woman in love with you. I can tell you too, that nothing will carry you higher in the world.

I have had no letter from you since your arrival at Paris, though you must have been long enough there to have written me two or three. In about ten or twelve days I propose leaving this place, and going to London ; I have found considerable benefit by my stay here, but not all that I want. Make my compliments to Lord Albemarle.


LETTER CLXXXIII

BATH, November 28, 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND: Since my last to you, I have read Madame Maintenon s (( Letters w ; I am sure they are genuine, and they both entertained and in formed me. They have brought me acquainted with the character of that able and artful lady ; whom I am convinced that I now know much better than her directeur the Abb6 de Fenelon (afterward Archbishop of Cambray) did, when he wrote her the i85th letter; and I know him the better too for that letter. The Abb6, though brimful of the divine love, had a great mind to be first minister, and cardinal, in order, NO DOUBT, to have an opportunity of doing the more good. His being directeur at that time to Madame Maintenon, seemed to be a good step toward those views. She put herself upon him for a saint, and he was weak enough to believe it; he, on the other hand, would have put himself upon her for a saint too, which, I


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dare say, she did not believe; but both of them knew that it was necessary for them to appear saints to Lewis the Fourteenth, who they were very sure was a bigot. It is to be presumed, nay, indeed, it is plain by that i85th letter that Madame Maintenon had hinted to her directeur some scruples of conscience, with relation to her commerce with the King; and which I humbly apprehend to have been only some scruples of prudence, at once to flatter the bigot character, and increase the desires of the King. The pious Abb6, frightened out of his wits, lest the King should impute to the directeur any scruples or difficulties which he might meet with on the part of the lady, writes her the above-mentioned letter ; in which he not only bids her not tease the King by advice and exhortations, but to have the utmost submission to his will; and, that she may not mistake the nature of that submission, he tells her it is the same that Sarah had for Abraham ; to which submis sion Isaac perhaps was owing. No bawd could have written a more seducing letter to an innocent country girl, than the directeur did to his penitente ; who I dare say had no occasion for his good advice. Those who would justify the good directeur, alias the pimp, in this affair, must not attempt to do it by saying that the King and Madame Maintenon were at that time privately married ; that the directeur knew it ; and that this was the meaning of his enigme. That is absolutely impossible ; for that private marriage must have removed all scruples between the parties ; nay, could not have been contracted upon any other principle, since it was kept private, and conse quently prevented no public scandal. It is therefore ex tremely evident that Madame Maintenon could not be married to the King at the time when she scrupled grant ing, and when the directeur advised her to grant, those favors which Sarah with so much submission granted to Abraham : and what the directeur is pleased to call le mysttre de Dieu, was most evidently a state of concu binage. The letters are very well worth your reading ; they throw light upon many things of those times.

I have just received a letter from Sir William Stanhope, from Lyons ; in which he tells me that he saw you at Paris^ that he thinks you a little grown, but that you do


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not make the most of it, for that you stoop still: daillcurs his letter was a panegyric of you.

The young Comte de Schullemburg, the Chambellan whom you knew at Hanover, is come over with the King, et fait aussi vos ttoges.

Though, as I told you in my last, I have done buying pictures, by way of virth, yet there are some portraits of remarkable people that would tempt me. For instance, if you could by chance pick up at Paris, at a reasonable price, and undoubted originals (whether heads, half lengths, or whole lengths, no matter) of Cardinals Riche lieu, Mazarin, and Retz, Monsieur de Turenne, le grand Prince de Cond6 ; Mesdames de Montespan, de Fontanges, de Montbazon, de SSvigne, de Maintenon, de Chevreuse, de Longueville, d Olonne, etc., I should be tempted to purchase them. I am sensible that they can only be met with, by great accident, at family sales and auctions, so I only mention the affair to you eventually.

I do not understand, or else I do not remember, what affair you mean in your last letter; which you think will come to nothing, and for which, you say, I had once a mind that you should take the road again. Explain it to me.

I shall go to town in four or five days, and carry back with me a little more hearing than I brought; but yet, not half enough for common wants. One wants ready pocket- money much oftener than one wants great sums ; and to use a very odd expression, I want to hear at sight. I love every-day senses, every-day wit and entertainment ; a man who is only good on holydays is good for very little. Adieu.


LETTER CLXXXIV

Christmas Day, 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND : A tyrant with legions at his com mand may say, Odcrint modo timeant; though he is a fool if he says it, and a greater fool if he thinks it. But a private man who can hurt but few, though he can please many, must endeavor to be loved, for he


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cannot be feared in general. Popularity is his only rational and sure foundation. The good-will, the affections, the love of the public, can alone raise him to any considerable height. Should you ask me how he is to acquire them, I will answer, By desiring them. No man ever deserved, who did not desire them ; and no man both deserved and desired them who had them not, though many have en joyed them merely by desiring, and without deserving them. You do not imagine, I believe, that I mean by this public love the sentimental love of either lovers or intimate friends ; no, that is of another nature, and confined to a very nar row circle ; but I mean that general good-will which a man may acquire in the world, by the arts of pleasing re spectively exerted according to the rank, the situation, and the turn of mind of those whom he hath to do with. The pleasing impressions which he makes upon them will en gage their affections and their good wishes, and even their good offices as far (that is) as they are not inconsistent with their own interests ; for further than that you are not to expect from three people in the course of your life, even were it extended to the patriarchal term. Could I revert to the age of twenty, and carry back with me all the ex perience that forty years more have taught me, I can assure you, that I would employ much the greatest part of my time in engaging the good-will, and in insinuating myself into the predilection of people in general, instead of directing my endeavors to please (as I was too apt to do) to the man whom I immediately wanted, or the woman I wished for, exclusively of all others. For if one happens (and it will sometimes happen to the ablest man) to fail in his views with that man or that woman, one is at a loss to know whom to address one s self to next, having offended in general, by that exclusive and distinguished par ticular application. I would secure a general refuge in the good-will of the multitude, which is a great strength to any man ; for both ministers and mistresses choose popular and fashionable favorites. A man who solicits a minister, backed by the general good-will and good wishes of man kind, solicits with great weight and great probability of suc cess ; and a woman is strangely biassed in favor of a man whom she sees in fashion, and hears everybody speak well


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of. This useful art of insinuation consists merely of various little things. A graceful motion, a significant look, a trifling attention, an obliging word dropped a propos, air, dress, and a thousand other undefinable things, all severally little ones, joined together, make that happy and inesti mable composition, THE ART OF PLEASING. I have in my life seen many a very handsome woman who has not pleased me, and many very sensible men who have disgusted me. Why? only for want of those thousand little means to please, which those women, conscious of their beauty, and those men of their sense, have been grossly enough mistaken to neglect. I never was so much in love in my life, as I was with a woman who was very far from being handsome ; but then she was made up of graces, and had all the arts of pleasing. The following verses, which I have read in some congratulatory poem prefixed to some work, I have forgot which, express what I mean in favor of what pleases preferably to what is generally called more solid and in structive :

(< I would an author like a mistress try, Not by a nose, a lip, a cheek, or eye, But by some nameless power to give me joy. w

Lady Chesterfield bids me make you many compliments ; she showed me your letter of recommendation of La Ves- tres ; with which I was very well pleased : there is a pretty turn in it ; I wish you would always speak as genteelly. I saw another letter from a lady at Paris, in which there was a high panegyrical paragraph concerning you. I wish it were every word of it literally true ; but, as it comes from a very little, pretty, white hand, which is suspected, and I hope justly, of great partiality to you : il en faut rabattre quelque chose, et m$me en le faisant il y aura tou- jours cTassez beaux restes. Adieu.


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LETTER CLXXXV

LONDON, New Years Day, 1753.

MY DEAR FRIEND : It is now above a fortnight since I have received a letter from you. I hope, how ever, that you are well, but engrossed by the busi ness of Lord Albemarle s bureau in the mornings, and by business of a genteeler nature in the evenings ; for I will ingly give up my own satisfaction to your improvement, either in business or manners.

Here have been lately imported from Paris two gentle men, who, I find, were much acquainted with you there : Comte Zinzendorf, and Monsieur Clairant the Academician. The former is a very pretty man, well-bred, and with a great deal of useful knowledge ; for those two things are very consistent. I examined him about you, thinking him a competent judge. He told me, que vous parliez V Alle- mand comme un Allemand; que vous saviez le droit public de V empire parf ait ement bien; que vous aviez le gotit stir, et des connoissances fort dtendues. I told him that I knew all this very well ; but that I wanted to know whether you had lair, les manieres, les attentions, enfin le brillant d un honnete homme: his answer was, Mais out en ve*rite*, c est fort bien . This, you see, is but cold in comparison of what I do wish, and of what you ought to wish. Your friend Clairant interposed, and said, Mais je vous assure qu il est fort poli; to which I answered, Je le crois bien, vis-a-vis des Lapons vos amis; je vous rfouse pour juge, jusqu a ce que vous ayez dte delaponnt, au moins dix ans, parmi les honnetes gens. These testimonies in your favor are such as perhaps you are satisfied with, and think suf ficient ; but I am not ; they are only the cold depositions of disinterested and unconcerned witnesses, upon a strict ex amination. When, upon a trial, a man calls witnesses to his character, and that those witnesses only say that they never heard, nor do not know any ill of him, it intimates at best a neutral and insignificant, though innocent character. Now I want, and you ought to endeavor, that les agrtfmens, les graces, les attentions, etc., should be a distinguishing part


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of your character, and specified of you by people unasked. I wish to hear people say of you, Ah qifil est aimable! Quelles manures, quelles graces, quel art de plairef Na ture, thank God, has given you all the powers necessary ; and if she has not yet, I hope in God she will give you the will of exerting them.

I have lately read with great pleasure Voltaire s two little histories of Les Croisades, and V Esprit Humain; which I recommend to your perusal, if you have not al ready read them. They are bound up with a most poor performance called Micromegas, which is said to be Vol taire s too, but I cannot believe it, it is so very unworthy of him ; it consists only of thoughts stolen from Swift, but miserably mangled and disfigured. But his history of the Croisades shows, in a very short and strong light, the most immoral and wicked scheme that was ever contrived by knaves, and executed by madmen and fools, against hu manity. There is a strange but never-failing relation be tween honest madmen and skillful knaves; and whenever one meets with collected numbers of the former, one may be very sure that they are secretly directed by the latter. The popes, who have generally been both the ablest and the greatest knaves in Europe, wanted all the power and money of the East; for they had all that was in Europe already. The times and the minds favored their design, for they were dark and uniformed ; and Peter the Hermit, at once a knave and a madman, was a fine papal tool for so wild and wicked an undertaking. I wish we had good histories of every part of Europe, and indeed of the world, written upon the plan of Voltaire s de VEsprit Humain; for, I own, I am provoked at the contempt which most historians show for humanity in general : one would think by them that the whole human species consisted but of about a hundred and fifty people, called and dignified (commonly very undeservedly too) by the titles of emper ors, kings, popes, generals, and ministers.

I have never seen in any of the newspapers any men tion of the affairs of the Cevennes, or Grenoble, which you gave me an account of some time ago; and the Duke de Mirepoix pretends, at least, to know nothing of either. Were they false reports? or does the French court choose


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to stifle them? I hope that they are both true, because I am very willing that the cares of the French government should be employed and confined to themselves.

Your friend, the Electress Palatine, has sent me six wild boars heads, and other pieces de sa chasse, in return for the fans, which she approved of extremely. This present was signified to me by one Mr. Harold, who wrote me a letter in very indifferent English ; I suppose he is a Dane who has been in England.

Mr. Harte came to town yesterday, and dined with me to-day. We talked you over ; and I can assure you, that though a parson, and no member du beau monde, he thinks all the most shining accomplishments of it full as neces sary for you as I do. His expression was, THAT is ALL

THAT HE WANTS ; BUT IF HE WANTS THAT, CONSIDERING HIS SITUATION AND DESTINATION, HE MIGHT AS WELL WANT EVERYTHING ELSE.

This is the day when people reciprocally offer and re ceive the kindest and the warmest wishes, though, in gen eral, without meaning them on one side, or believing them on the other. They are formed by the head, in compliance with custom, though disavowed by the heart, in conse quence of nature. His wishes upon this occasion are the best that are the best turned ; you do not, I am sure, doubt the truth of mine, and therefore I will express them with a Quaker-like simplicity. May this new year be a very new one indeed to you ; may you put off the old, and put on the new man! but I mean the outward, not the inward man. With this alteration, I might justly sum up all my wishes for you in these words:

Dii tibi dent annos, de te nam ccetera sumes.

This minute, I receive your letter of the 26th past, which gives me a very disagreeable reason for your late silence. By the symptoms which you mention of your illness, I both hope and believe that it was wholly owing to your own want of care. You are rather inclined to be fat, you have naturally a good stomach, and you eat at the best tables ; which must of course make you plethoric : and upon my word you will be very subject to these accidents, if you will not, from time to time, when you find yourself


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full, heated, or your head aching, take some little, easy, preventative purge, that would not confine you; such as chewing a little rhubarb when you go to bed at night, or some senna tea in the morning. You do very well to live extremely low, for some time; and I could wish, though I do not expect it, that you would take one gentle vomit; for those giddinesses and swimmings in the head always proceed from some foulness of the stomach. However, upon the whole, I am very glad that your old complaint has not mixed itself with this, which I am fully convinced arises simply from your own negligence. Adieu.

I am sorry for Monsieur Kurz6, upon his sister s account.


LETTER CLXXXVI

LONDON, January 15, 1753.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I never think my time so well em ployed, as when I think it employed to your advan tage. You have long had the greatest share of it; you now engross it. The moment is now decisive ; the piece is going to be exhibited to the public ; the mere out lines and the general coloring are not sufficient to attract the eyes and to secure applause ; but the last finishing, art ful, and delicate strokes are necessary. Skillful judges will discern and acknowledge their merit ; the ignorant will, without knowing why, feel their power. In that view, I have thrown together, for your perusal, some maxims; or, to speak more properly, observations on men and things ; for I have no merit as to the invention : I am no system- monger ; and, instead of giving way to my imagination, I have only consulted my memory; and my conclusions are all drawn from facts, not from fancy. Most maxim- mongers have preferred the prettiness to the justness of a thought, and the turn to the truth ; but I have refused myself to everything that my own experience did not jus tify and confirm. I wish you would consider them seri ously, and separately, and recur to them again pro re nata


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in similar cases. Young men are as apt to think them selves wise enough, as drunken men are to think themselves sober enough. They look upon spirit to be a much better thing than experience ; which they call coldness. They are but half mistaken ; for though spirit, without experience, is dangerous, experience, without spirit, is languid and de fective. Their union, which is very rare, is perfection; you may join them, if you please ; for all my experience is at your service; and I do not desire one grain of your spirit in return. Use them both, and let them reciprocally ani mate and check each other. I mean here, by the spirit of youth, only the vivacity and presumption of youth, which hinder them from seeing the difficul ties or dangers of an undertaking, but I do not mean what the silly vulgar call spirit, by which they are captious, jealous of their rank, suspicious of being un dervalued, and tart (as they call it) in their repartees, upon the slightest occasions. This is an evil, and a very silly spirit, which should be driven out, and transferred to an herd of swine. This is not the spirit of a man of fashion, who has kept good company. People of an or dinary, low education, when they happen to fail into good company, imagine themselves the only object of its atten tion ; if the company whispers, it is, to be sure, concern ing them ; if they laugh, it is at them ; and if anything ambiguous, that by the most forced interpretation can be applied to them, happens to be said, they are convinced that it was meant at them; upon which they grow out of countenance first, and then angry. This mistake is very well ridiculed in the (< Stratagem, w where Scrub says, i AM

SURE THEY TALKED OF ME FOR THEY LAUGHED CONSUMEDLY.

A well-bred man seldom thinks, but never seems to think himself slighted, undervalued, or laughed at in company, unless where it is so plainly marked out, that his honor obliges him to resent it in a proper manner ; mais les hon- netes gens ne se boudent jamais. I will admit that it is very difficult to command one s self enough, to behave with ease, frankness, and good-breeding toward those, who one knows dislike, slight, and injure one, as far as they can, without personal consequences ; but I assert that it is absolutely necessary to do it : you must embrace the


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man you hate, if you cannot be justified in knocking him down ; for otherwise you avow the injury which you can not revenge. A prudent cuckold (and there are many such at Paris) pockets his horns when he cannot gore with them ; and will not add to the triumph of his maker by only butting with them ineffectually. A seeming ignorance is very often a most necessary part of worldly knowledge. It is, for instance, commonly advisable to seem ignorant of what people offer to tell you ; and when they say, Have you not. heard of such a thing? to answer No, and to let them go on ; though you know it already. Some have a pleasure in telling it, because they think that they tell it well ; others have a pride in it, as being the sagacious dis coverers ; and many have a vanity in showing that they have been, though very undeservedly, trusted ; ali these would be disappointed, and consequently displeased, if you said Yes. Seem always ignorant (unless to one s most in timate friend) of all matters of private scandal and defama tion, though you should hear them a thousand times ; for the parties affected always look upon the receiver to be almost as bad as the thief : and, whenever they become the topic of conversation seem to be a skeptic, though you are really a serious believer ; and always take the extenu ating part. But all this seeming ignorance should be joined to thorough and extensive private informations : and, indeed, it is the best method of procuring them ; for most people have such a vanity in showing a superiority over others, though but for a moment, and in the merest trifles, that they will tell you what they should not, rather than not show that they can tell what you did not know ; besides that such seeming ignorance will make you pass for incurious and consequently undesigning. However, fish for facts, and take pains to be well informed of every thing that passes ; but fish judiciously, and not always, nor indeed often, in the shape of direct questions, which always put people upon their guard, and, often repeated, grow tiresome. But sometimes take the things that you would know for granted ; upon which somebody will, kindly and officiously, set you right : sometimes say that you have heard so and so ; and at other times seem to know more than you do, in order to know all that you


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want ; but avoid direct questioning as much as you can. All these necessary arts of the world require constant at tention, presence of mind, and coolness. Achilles, though invulnerable, never went to battle but completely armed. Courts are to be the theatres of your wars, where you should be always as completely armed, and even with the addition of a heel-piece. The least inattention, the least DISTRACTION, may prove fatal. I would fain see you what pedants call omnis homo, and what Pope much better calls ALL-ACCOMPLISHED : you have the means in your power; add the will, and you may bring it about. The vulgar have a coarse saying, of SPOILING A SHIP FOR A HALF PENNY WORTH OF TAR ; prevent the application by providing the tar: it is very easily to be had in comparison with what you have already got.

The fine Mrs. Pitt, who it seems saw you often at Paris, speaking of you the other day, said, in French, for she speaks little English, . . . whether it is that you did not pay the homage due to her beauty, or that it did not strike you as it does others, I cannot determine ; but I hope she had some other reason than truth for saying it. I will suppose that you did not care a pin for her ; but, how ever, she surely deserved a degree of propitiatory adoration from you, which I am afraid you neglected. Had I been in your case, I should have endeavored, at least, to have supplanted Mr. Mackay in his office of nocturnal reader to her. I played at cards, two days ago, with your friend Mrs. Fitzgerald, and her most sublime mother, Mrs. Seagrave ; they both inquired after you ; and Mrs. Fitzgerald said, she hoped you went on with your dancing ; I said, Yes, and that you assured me, you had made such considerable improvements in it, that you had now learned to stand still, and even upright. Your virtuosa, la Signora Vestri, sung here the other day, with great applause : I presume you are INTIMATELY acquainted with her merit. Good night to you, whoever you pass it with.

I have this moment received a packet, sealed with your seal, though not directed by your hand, for Lady Hervey. No letter from you ! Are you not well ?


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LETTER CLXXXVII

LONDON, May 27, O. S. 1753.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I have this day been tired, jaded, nay, tormented, by the company of a most worthy, sensible, and learned man, a near relation 01* mine, who dined and passed the evening with me. This seems a paradox, but is a plain truth ; he has no knowledge of the world, no manners, no address ; far from talking without book, as is commonly said of people who talk sillily, he only talks by book ; which in general conversation is ten times worse. He has formed in his own closet from books, certain systems of everything, argues tenaciously upon those principles, and is both surprised and angry at what ever deviates from them. His theories are good, but, un fortunately, are all impracticable. Why? because he has only read and not conversed. He is acquainted with books, and an absolute stranger to men. Laboring with his mat ter, he is delivered of it with pangs ; he hesitates, stops in his utterance, and always expresses himself inelegantly. His actions are all ungraceful ; so that, with all his merit and knowledge, I would rather converse six hours with the most frivolous tittle-tattle woman who knew something of the world, than with him. The preposterous notions of a systematical man who does not know the world, tire the patience of a man who does. It would be endless to cor rect his mistakes, nor would he take it kindly: for he has considered everything deliberately, and is very sure that he is in the right. Impropriety is a characteristic, and a never-failing one, of these people. Regardless, because ig norant, of customs and manners, they violate them every mo ment. They often shock, though they never mean to offend : never attending either to the general character, or the par ticular distinguishing circumstances of the people to whom, or before whom they talk ; whereas the knowledge of the world teaches one, that the very same things which are ex ceedingly right and proper in one company, time and place, are exceedingly absurd in others. In short, a man who has great knowledge, from experience and observation,


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of the characters, customs, and manners of mankind, is a being as different from, and as superior to, a man of mere book and systematical knowledge, as a well-managed horse is to an ass. Study, therefore, cultivate, and frequent men and women ; not only in their outward, and consequently guarded, but in their interior, domestic, and consequently less disguised, characters and manners. Take your notions of things, as by observation and experience you find they really are, and not as you read that they are or should be ; for they never are quite what they should be. For this pur pose do not content yourself with general and common ac quaintance ; but wherever you can, establish yourself, with a kind of domestic familiarity, in good houses. For instance, go again to Orli, for two or three days, and so at two or three reprises. Go and stay two or three days at a time at Versailles, and improve and extend the acquaintance you have there. Be at home at St. Cloud ; and, whenever any private person of fashion invites you to pass a few days at his country-house, accept of the invitation. This will necessarily give you a versatility of mind, and a facility to adopt various manners and customs ; for every body desires to please those in whose house they are ; and people are only to be pleased in their own way. Nothing is more engaging than a cheerful and easy conformity to people s particular manners, habits, and even weaknesses ; nothing (to use a vulgar expression) should come amiss to a young fellow. He should be, for good purposes, what Alcibiades was commonly for bad ones, a Proteus, assuming with ease, and wearing with cheerfulness, any shape. Heat, cold, luxury, abstinence, gravity, gayety, ceremony, easiness, learning, trifling, business, and pleasure, are modes which he should be able to take, lay aside, or change oc casionally, with as much ease as he would take or lay aside his hat. All this is only to be acquired by use and knowledge of the world, by keeping a great deal of com pany, analyzing every character, and insinuating yourself into the familiarity of various acquaintance. A right, a generous ambition to make a figure in the world, neces sarily gives the desire of pleasing; the desire of pleasing points out, to a great degree, the means of doing it; and the art of pleasing is, in truth, the art of rising, of dis-


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tinguishing one s self, of making a figure and a fortune in the world. But without pleasing, without the graces, as I have told you a thousand times, ogni fatica % vana. You are now but nineteen, an age at which most of your countrymen are illiberally getting drunk in port, at the university. You have greatly got the start of them in learning; and if you can equally get the start of them in the knowledge and manners of the world, you may be very sure of outrunning them in court and parliament, as you set out much earlier than they. They generally begin but to see the world at one-and-twenty ; you will by that age have seen all Europe. They set out upon their travels unlicked cubs : and in their travels they only lick one another, for they seldom go into any other company. They know nothing but the English world, and the worst part of that too, and generally very little of any but the English language; and they come home, at three or four-and-twenty, refined and polished (as is said in one of Congreve s plays) like Dutch skippers from a whale-fishing. The care which has been taken of you, and (to do you justice) the care that you have taken of yourself, has left you, at the age of nineteen only, nothing to acquire but the knowledge of the world, manners, address, and those exterior accomplish ments. But they are great and necessary acquisitions, to those who have sense enough to know their true value ; and your getting them before you are one-and-twenty, and before you enter upon the active and shining scene of life, will give you such an advantage over all your contempo raries, that they cannot overtake you : they must be dis tanced. You may probably be placed about a young prince, who will probably be a young king. There all the various arts of pleasing, the engaging address, the versa tility of manners, the brillant, the graces, will outweigh, and yet outrun all solid knowledge and unpolished merit. Oil yourself, therefore, and be both supple and shining, for that race, if you would be first, or early at the goal. Ladies will most probably too have something to say there ; and those who are best with them will probably be best SOMEWHERE ELSE. Labor this great point, my dear child, indefatigably ; attend to the very smallest parts, the minutest graces, the most trifling circumstances, that can possibly


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concur in forming the shining character of a complete gen tleman, un galant homme, un homme de cour, a man of business and pleasure ; estim6 des hommes, recherche des femmes, aime" de tout le monde. In this view, observe the shining part of every man of fashion, who is liked and esteemed ; attend to, and imitate that particular accom plishment for which you hear him chiefly celebrated and distinguished: then collect those various parts, and make yourself a mosiac of the whole. No one body possesses everything, and almost everybody .possesses some one thing worthy of imitation : only choose your models well ; and in order to do so, choose by your ear more than by your eye. The best model is always that which is most universally allowed to be the best, though in strict ness it may possibly not be so. We must take most things as they are, we cannot make them what we would, nor often what they should be ; and where moral duties are not concerned, it is more prudent to follow than to attempt to lead. Adieu.


LETTER CLXXXVIII

BATH, October 3, 1753.

MY DEAR FRIEND : You have set out well at The Hague ; you are in love with Madame Munter, which I am very glad of : you are in the fine company there, and I hope one of it : for it is not enough, at your age, to be merely in good company ; but you should, by your address and attentions, make that good company think you one of them. There is a tribute due to beauty, even independently of further views ; which tribute I hope you paid with alac rity to Madame Munter and Madame Degenfeldt : depend upon it, they expected it, and were offended in proportion as that tribute seemed either unwillingly or scantily paid. I believe my friend Kreuningen admits nobody now to his table, for fear of their communicating the plague to him, or at least the bite of a mad dog. Pray profit of the en tries libres that the French Ambassador has given you; frequent him, and SPEAK to him. I think you will not do


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amiss to call upon Mr. Burrish, at Aix-la-Chapelle, since it is so little out of your way ; and you will do still better, if you would, which I know you will not, drink those waters for five or six days only, to scour your stomach and bowels a little ; I am sure it would do you a great deal of good. Mr. Burrish can, doubtless, give you the best letters to Munich ; and he will naturally give you some to Comte Preysing, or Comte Sinsheim, and such sort of grave peo ple ; but I could wish that you would ask him for some to young fellows of pleasure, or fashionable coquettes, that you may be dans Vhonnete debauche de Munich. A propos of your future motions ; I leave you in a great measure the master of them, so shall only suggest my thoughts to you upon that subject.

You have three electoral courts in view, Bonn, Munich, and Manheim. I would advise you to see two of them rather cursorily, and fix your tabernacle at the third, which ever that may be, for a considerable time. For instance, should you choose (as I fancy you will), to make Manheim the place of your residence, stay only ten or twelve days at Bonn, and as long at Munich, and then go and fix at Manheim ; and so, vice versa, if you should like Bonn or Munich better than you think you would Manheim, make that the place of your residence, and only visit the other two. It is certain that no man can be much pleased him self, or please others much, in any place where he is only a bird of passage for eight or ten days ; neither party think ing it worth while to make an acquaintance, still less to form any connection, for so short a time ; but when months are the case, a man may domesticate himself pretty well, and very soon not be looked upon as a stranger. This is the real utility of traveling, when, by contracting a famil iarity at any place, you get into the inside of it, and see it in its undress. That is the only way of knowing the customs, the manners, and all the little characteristical peculiar ities that distinguish one place from another ; but then this familiarity is not to be brought about by cold, formal visits of half an hour : no ; you must show a willingness, a de sire, an impatience of forming connections, // faut s y prSter, et y mettre du liant, du dtsir dc plaire. What ever you do approve, you must be lavish in your praises


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of; and you must learn to commend what you do not ap prove of, if it is approved of there. You are not much given to praise, I know ; but it is because you do not yet know how extremely people are engaged by a seeming sanction to their own opinions, prejudices, and weaknesses, even in the merest trifles. Our self-love is mortified when we think our opinions, and even our tastes, customs, and dresses, either arraigned or condemned; as on the contrary, it is tickled and flattered by approbation. I will give you a remarkable instance of this kind. The famous Earl of Shaftesbury, in the flagitious reign of Charles the Second, while he was Chancellor, had a mind to be a favorite, as well as a minister of the King ; in order, therefore, to please his Majesty, whose prevailing passion was women, my Lord kept

a w e, whom he had no occasion for, and made no

manner of use of. The King soon heard of it, and asked him if it was true ; he owned it was ; but that, though he kept that one woman, he had several others besides, for he loved variety. A few days afterward, the King, at his public levee, saw Lord Shaftesbury at some distance, and said in the circle, <( One would not think that that little, weak man is the greatest whore-master in England ; but I can assure you that he is.* Upon Lord Shaftesbury s coming into the circle, there was a general smile ; the King said, <( This is concerning you, my Lord." (< Me, sir? " an swered the Chancellor, with some surprise. <( Yes, you, }> answered the King ; (( for I had just said that you were the greatest whore-master in England! Is it not true?" (< Of a SUBJECT, Sir," replied Lord Shaftesbury, (< perhaps I am." It is the same in everything ; we think a difference of opinion, of conduct, of manners, a tacit reproach, at least, upon our own ; we must therefore use ourselves to a ready conform ity to whatever is neither criminal nor dishonorable. Who ever differs from any general custom, is supposed both to think, and proclaim himself wiser than the rest of the world : which the rest of the world cannot bear, es pecially in a young man. A young fellow is always forgiven and often applauded, when he carries a fashion to an ex cess ; but never if he stops short of it. The first is ascribed to youth and fire ; but the latter is imputed to an affecta tion of singularity or superiority. At your age, one is




PORTRAIT OF LORD CHESTERFIELD

Photogravure after the orginal painting.


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allowed to outrer fashion, dress, vivacity, gallantry, etc., but by no means to be behindhand in any one of them. And one may apply to youth in this case, Si non errasset, fecerat ille miniis. Adieu.


LETTER CLXXXIX

BATH, October 19, 1753.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Of all the various ingredients that compose the useful and necessary art of pleasing, no one is so effectual and engaging as that gentleness, that douceur of countenance and manner, to which you are no stranger, though (God knows why) a sworn enemy. Other people take great pains to conceal or disguise their natural imperfections ; some by the make of their clothes and other arts, endeavor to conceal the defects of their shape ; women, who unfortunately have natural bad com plexions, lay on good ones; and both men and women upon whom unkind nature has inflicted a surliness and ferocity of countenance, do at least all they can, though often without success, to soften and mitigate it ; they affect douceur, and aim at smiles, though often in the attempt, like the Devil in Milton, they GRIN HORRIBLY A GHASTLY SMILE. But you are the only person lever knew in the whole course of my life, who not only disdain, but absolutely re ject and disguise a great advantage that nature has kindly granted. You easily guess I mean COUNTENANCE ; for she has given you a very pleasing one ; but you beg to be ex cused, you will not accept it ; but on the contrary, take singular pains to put on the most funeste, forbidding, and unpleasing one that can possibly be imagined. This one would think impossible ; but you know it to be true. If you imagine that it gives you a manly, thoughtful, and decisive air, as some, though very few of your country men do, you are most exceedingly mistaken ; for it is at best the air of a German corporal, part of whose ex ercise is to look fierce, and to blasemeer-op. You will say, perhaps, What, am I always to be studying my counte nance, in order to wear this douceur? I answer, No; do


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it but for a fortnight, and you never will have occasion to think of it more. Take but half the pains to recover the countenance that nature gave you, that you must have taken to disguise and deform it as you have, and the busi ness will be done. Accustom your eyes to a certain soft ness, of which they are very capable, and your face to smiles, which become it more than most faces I know. Give all your motions, too, an air of douceur, which is directly the reverse of their present celerity and rapidity. I wish you would adopt a little of Pair du Couvent (you very well know what I mean) to a certain degree ; it has something extremely engaging; there is a mixture of benevolence, affection, and unction in it; it is frequently really sincere, but is almost always thought so, and con sequently pleasing. Will you call this trouble? It will not be half an hour s trouble to you in a week s time. But suppose it be, pray tell me, why did you give yourself the trouble of learning to dance so well as you do? It is neither a religious, moral, or civil duty. You must own, that you did it then singly to please, and you were in the right on t. Why do you wear fine clothes, and curl your hair? Both are troublesome; lank locks, and plain flimsy rags are much easier. This then you also do in order to please, and you do very right. But then, for God s sake, reason and act consequentially; and endeavor to please in other things too, still more essential ; and without which the trouble you have taken in those is wholly thrown away. You show your dancing, perhaps six times a year, at most; but you show your countenance and your com mon motions every day, and all day. Which then, I ap peal to yourself, ought you to think of the most, and care to render easy, graceful, and engaging? Douceur of counte nance and gesture can alone make them so. You are by no means ill-natured ; and would you then most unjustly be reckoned so? Yet your common countenance intimates, and would make anybody who did not know you, believe it. A propos of this, I must tell you what was said the other day to a fine lady whom you know, who is very good-natured in truth, but whose common countenance im plies ill-nature, even to brutality. It was Miss H n,

Lady M y s niece, whom you have seen both at Black-


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heath and at Lady Hervey s. Lady M y was saying to

me that you had a very engaging countenance \vhen you had a mind to it, but that you had not always that mind; upon which Miss H n said, that she liked your counte nance best, when it was as glum as her own. Why then,

replied Lady M y, you two should marry; for while

you both wear your worst countenances, nobody else will venture upon either of you ; and they call her now Mrs. Stanhope. To complete this douceur of countenance and motions, which I so earnestly recommend to you, you should carry it also to your expressions and manner of think ing, mettez y toujours de V affcctueux de Venetian ; take the gentle, the favorable, the indulgent side of most questions. I own that the manly and sublime John Trott, your countryman, seldom does; but, to show his spirit and de cision, takes the rough and harsh side, which he generally adorns with an oath, to seem more formidable. This he only thinks fine ; for to do John justice, he is commonly as good-natured as anybody. These are among the many little things which you have not, and I have, lived long enough in the world to know of what infinite consequence they are in the course of life. Reason then, I repeat it again, within yourself, CONSEQUENTIALLY ; and let not the pains you have taken, and still take, to please in some things be a pure perte, by your negligence of, and inat tention to others of much less trouble, and much more con sequence.

I have been of late much engaged, or rather bewildered, in Oriental history, particularly that of the Jews, since the destruction of their temple, and their dispersion by Titus; but the confusion and uncertainty of the whole, and the monstrous extravagances and falsehoods of the greatest part of it, disgusted me extremely. Their Talmud, their Mischna, their Targums, and other traditions and writings of their Rabbins and Doctors, who were most of them Cabalists, are really more extravagant and absurd, if possible, than all that you have read in Comte de Gabalis; and indeed most of his stuff is taken from them. Take this sample of their nonsense, which is transmitted in the writings of one of their most considerable Rabbins : <( One Abas Saul, a man of ten feet high, was digging a grave, and happened to find ii


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the eye of Goliah, in which he thought proper to bury himself, and so he did, all but his head, which the Giant s eye was unfortunately not quite deep enough to receive. }) This, I assure you, is the most modest lie of ten thousand. I have also read the Turkish history which, excepting the religious part, is not fabulous, though very possibly not true. For the Turks, having no notion of letters and being, even by their religion, forbid the use of them, except for reading and transcribing the Koran, they have no historians of their own, nor any authentic records nor memorials for other historians to work upon ; so that what histories we have of that country are written by foreigners ; as Platina, Sir Paul Rycaut, Prince Cantimer, etc., or else snatches only of particular and short periods, by some who happened to reside there at those times ; such as Busbequius, whom I have just finished. I like him, as far as he goes, much the best of any of them : but then his account is, properly, only an account of his own Embassy, from the Emperor Charles the Fifth to Solyman the Magnificent. However, there he gives, episodically, the best account I know of the customs and manners of the Turks, and of the nature of that gov ernment, which is a most extraordinary one. For, despotic as it always seems, and sometimes is, it is in truth a military republic, and the real power resides in the Janissaries; who sometimes order their Sultan to strangle his Vizir, and sometimes the Vizir to depose or strangle his Sultan, ac cording as they happen to be angry at the one or the other. I own I am glad that the capital strangler should, in his turn, be STRANGLE-ABLE, and now and then strangled; for I know of no brute so fierce, nor no criminal so guilty, as the creature called a Sovereign, whether King, Sultan, or Sophy, who thinks himself, either by divine or human right, vested with an absolute power of destroying his fellow-creatures; or who, without inquiring into his right, lawlessly exerts that power. The most excusable of all those human monsters are the Turks, whose religion teaches them inevitable fatalism. A propos of the Turks, my Loyola, I pretend, is superior to your Sultan. Perhaps you think this impossible, and wonder who this Loyola is. Know then, that I have had a Barbet brought me from France, so exactly like the Sultan that he has been mis-


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taken for him several times ; only his snout is shorter, and his ears longer than the Sultan s. He has also the acquired knowledge of the Sultan ; and I am apt to think that he studied under the same master at Paris. His habit and his white band show him to be an ecclesiastic; and his begging, which he does very earnestly, proves him to be of a men dicant order; which, added to his flattery and insinuation, make him supposed to be a Jesuit, and have acquired him the name of Loyola. I must not omit too, that when he breaks wind he smells exactly like the Sultan.

I do not yet hear one jot the better for all my bathings and pumpings, though I have been here already full half my time ; I consequently go very little into company, being very little fit for any. I hope you keep company enough for us both; you will get more by that, than I shall by all my reading. I read simply to amuse myself and fill up my time, of which I have too much ; but you have two much better reasons for going into company, pleasure and profit. May you find a great deal of both in a great deal of company ! Adieu.


LETTER CXC

LONDON, November 20, 1753.

MY DEAR FRIEND: Two mails are now due from Holland, so that I have no letter from you to acknowledge; but that, you know, by long experience, does not hinder my writing to you. I always receive your letters with pleasure; but I mean, and endeavor, that you should receive mine with some profit ; preferring always your advantage to my own pleasure.

If you find yourself well settled and naturalized at Man- heim, stay there some time, and do not leave a certain for an uncertain good ; but if you think you shall be as well, or better established at Munich, go there as soon as you please ; and if disappointed, you can always return to Manheim I mentioned, in a former letter, your passing the Carnival at Berlin, which I think may be both useful and pleasing to you ; however, do as you will ; but let me


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know what you resolve. That King and that country have, and will have, so great a share in the affairs of Europe, that they are well worth being thoroughly known.

Whether, where you are now, or ever may be hereafter, you speak French, German, or English most, I earnestly recommend to you a particular attention to the propriety and elegance of your style ; employ the best words you can find in the language, avoid cacophony, and make your periods as harmonious as you can. I need not, I am sure, tell you what you must often have felt, how much the elegance of diction adorns the best thoughts, and palliates the worst. In the House of Commons it is almost every thing; and, indeed, in every assembly, whether public or private. Words, which are the dress of thoughts, deserve surely more care than clothes, which are only the dress of the person, and which, however, ought to have their share of attention. If you attend to your style in any one language, it will give you a habit of attending to it in every other; and if once you speak either French or German very elegantly, you will afterward speak much the better English for it. I repeat it to you again, for at least the thousandth time, exert your whole attention now in ac quiring the ornamental parts of character. People know very little of the world, and talk nonsense, when they talk of plainness and solidity unadorned : they will do in nothing ; mankind has been long out of a state of nature, and the golden age of native simplicity will never return. Whether for the better or the worse, no matter; but we are refined; and plain manners, plain dress, and plain diction, would as little do in life, as acorns, herbage, and the water of the neighboring spring, would do at table. Some people are just come, who interrupt me in the middle of my sermon ; SP good-night.


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LETTER CXCI

LONDON, November 26, 1753.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Fine doings at Manheim ! If one may give credit to the weekly histories of Monsieur Roderigue, the finest writer among the moderns; not only des chasses brillantes et nombreuses des operas ofo les acteurs se surpassent les jours des Saints de L L. A A. BE. sMnissimes cttibres, en grand gala; but to crown the whole, Monsieur Zuchmantel is happily arrived, and Monsieur Wartenslebeu hourly expected. I hope that you are pars magna of all these delights ; though, as Noll Bluff says, in the "Old Bachelor, THAT RASCALLY GAZET TEER TAKES NO MORE NOTICE OF YOU THAN IF YOU WERE NOT IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING. I should think that

he might at least have taken notice that in these rejoic ings you appeared with a rejoicing, and not a gloomy countenance ; and you distinguished yourself in that nu merous and shining company, by your air, dress, address, and attentions. If this was the case, as I will both hope and suppose it was, I will, if you require it, have him written to, to do you justice in his next supplement. Seriously, I am very glad that you are whirled in that tour billon of pleasures ; they smooth, polish, and rub off rough corners: perhaps too, you have some particular COL LISION, which is still more effectual.

Schannat s <( History of the Palatinate w was, I find, written originally in German, in which language I suppose it is that you have read it; but, as I must humbly content my self with the French translation, Vaillant has sent for it for me from Holland, so that I have not yet read it. While you are in the Palatinate, you do very well to read every thing relative to it ; you will do still better if you make that reading the foundation of your inquiries into the more minute circumstances and anecdotes of that country, when ever you are in company with informed and knowing people.

The Ministers here, intimidated on the absurd and groundless clamors of the mob, have, very weakly in my


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mind, repealed, this session, the bill which they had passed in the last for rendering Jews capable of being naturalized by subsequent acts of parliament. The clam- orers triumph, and will doubtless make further demands, which, if not granted, this piece of complaisance will soon be forgotten. Nothing is truer in politics, than this reflec tion of the Cardinal de Retz, ^jue le peuple craint tou- jours quand on ne le craint pas ; and consequently they grow unreasonable and insolent, when they find that they are feared. Wise and honest governors will never, if they can help it, give the people just cause to complain ; but then, on the other hand, they will firmly withstand groundless clamor. Besides that this noise against the Jew bill proceeds from that narrow mob-spirit of INTOLERA- TION in religious, and inhospitality in civil matters ; both which all wise governments should oppose.

The confusion in France increases daily, as, no doubt, you are informed where you are. There is an answer of the clergy to the remonstrances of the parliament, lately published, which was sent me by the last post from France, and which I would have sent you, inclosed in this, were it not too bulky. Very probably you may see it at Manheim, from the French Minister : it is very well worth your reading, being most artfully and plausibly written, though founded upon false principles ; the jus divinum of the clergy, and consequently their supremacy in all matters of faith and doctrine are asserted ; both which I absolutely deny. Were those two points allowed the clergy of any country whatsoever, they must necessarily govern that country absolutely; everything being, directly or indirectly, relative to faith or doctrine ; and whoever is supposed to have the power of saving and damning souls to all eternity (which power the clergy pretend to), will be much more considered, and better obeyed, than any civil power that forms no pretensions beyond this world. Whereas, in truth, the clergy in every country are, like all other subjects, dependent upon the supreme legislative power, and are appointed by that power under what ever restrictions and limitations it pleases, to keep up decency and decorum in the church, just as constables are to keep peace in the parish. This Fra Paolo has


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clearly proved, even upon their own principles of the Old and New Testament, in his book de Beneficiis, which I recommend to you to read with attention ; it is short. Adieu.


LETTER CXCII

LONDON, December 25, 1753.

MY DEAR FRIEND: Yesterday again I received two letters at once from you, the one of the 7th, the other of the i5th, from Manheim.

You never had in your life so good a reason for not writing, either to me or to anybody else, as your sore finger lately furnished you. I believe it was painful, and I am glad it is cured ; but a sore finger, however painful, is a much less evil than laziness, of either body or mind, and attended by fewer ill consequences.

I am very glad to hear that you were distinguished at the court of Manheim from the rest of your countrymen and fellow-travelers: it is a sign that you had better man ners and address than they; for take it for granted, the best-bred people will always be the best received wherever they go. Good manners are the settled medium of social, as specie is of commercial life ; returns are equally expected for both; and people will no more advance their civility to a bear, than their money to a bankrupt. I really both hope and believe, that the German courts will do you a great deal of good ; their ceremony and restraint being the proper correctives and antidotes for your negligence and inattention. I believe they would not greatly relish your weltering in your own laziness, and an easy chair ; nor take it very kindly, if, when they spoke to you or you to them, you looked another way, as much as to say,

kiss my b h. As they give, so they require attention;

and, by the way, take this maxim for an undoubted truth, That no young man can possibly improve in any com pany, for which he has not respect enough to be under some degree of restraint.

I dare not trust to Meyssonier s report of his Rhenish, his Burgundy not having answered either his account or


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my expectations. I doubt, as a wine merchant, he is the perfidus caupo, whatever he may be as a banker. I shall therefore venture upon none of his wine; but delay making my provision of Old Hock, till I go abroad myself next spring: as I told you in the utmost secrecy, in my last, that I intend to do ; and then probably I may taste some that I like, and go upon sure ground. There is commonly very good, both at Aix-la-Chapelle and Liege, where I formerly got some excellent, which I carried with me to Spa, where I drank no other wine.

As my letters to you frequently miscarry, I will repeat in this that part of my last which related to your future motions. Whenever you shall be tired of Berlin, go to Dresden ; where Sir Charles Williams will be, who will receive you with open arms. He dined with me to-day, and sets out for Dresden in about six weeks. He spoke of you with great kindness and impatience to see you again. He will trust and employ you in business (and he is now in the whole secret of importance) till we fix our place to meet in : which probably will be Spa. Wherever you are, inform yourself minutely of, and attend particularly to the affairs of France ; they grow serious, and in my opinion will grow more and more so every day. The King is despised and I do not wonder at it ; but he has brought it about to be hated at the same time, which seldom hap pens to the same man. His ministers are known to be as disunited as incapable ; he hesitates between the Church and the parliaments, like the ass in the fable, that starved between two hampers of hay : too much in love with his mistress to part with her, and too much afraid of his soul to enjoy her; jealous of the parliaments, who would sup port his authority ; and a devoted bigot to the Church, that would destroy it. The people are poor, consequently dis contented; those who have religion, are divided in their notions of it ; which is saying that they hate one another. The clergy never do forgive ; much less will they forgive the parliament ; the parliament never will forgive them. The army must, without doubt, take, in their own minds at least, different parts in all these disputes, which upon occasion would break out. Armies, though always the sup porters and tools of absolute power for the time being, are


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always the destroyers of it, too, by frequently changing the hands in which they think proper to lodge it. This was the case of the Praetorian bands, who deposed and mur dered the monsters they had raised to oppress mankind. The Janissaries in Turkey, and the regiments of guards in Russia, do the same now. The French nation reasons freely, which they never did before, upon matters of religion and government, and begin to be sprejiudicati; the officers do so too ; in short, all the symptoms, which I have ever met with in history previous to great changes and revolu tions in government, now exist, and daily increase, in France. I am glad of it ; the rest of Europe will be the quieter, and have time to recover. England, I am sure, wants rest, for it wants men and money ; the Republic of the United Provinces wants both still more ; the other Powers cannot well dance, when neither France, nor the maritime powers, can, as they used to do, pay the piper. The first squabble in Europe, that I foresee, will be about the Crown of Poland, should the present King die : and therefore I wish his Majesty a long life and a merry Christ mas. So much for foreign politics; but ti propos of them, pray take care, while you are in those parts of Germany, to inform yourself correctly of all the details, discussions, and agreements, which the several wars, confiscations, bans, and treaties, occasioned between the Bavarian and Palatine Electorates ; they are interesting and curious.

I shall not, upon the occasion of the approaching new year, repeat to you the wishes which I continue to form for you ; you know them all already, and you know that it is absolutely in your power to satisfy most of them. Among many other wishes, this is my most earnest one: That you would open the new year with a most solemn and devout sacrifice to the Graces ; who never reject those that supplicate them with fervor ; without them, let me tell you, that your friend Dame Fortune will stand you in little stead ; may they all be your friends ! Adieu.


i;o LORD CHESTERFIELD S


LETTER CXCIII

LONDON, January 15, 1754.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I have this moment received your letter of the 26th past from Munich. Since you are got so well out of the distress and dangers of your journey from Manheim, I am glad that you were in them :

<( Condi see i diletti Memorie di pene, Ne sa che sia bene Chi mal non soffriP

They were but little samples of the much greater distress and dangers which you must expect to meet within your great, and I hope, long journey through life. In some parts of it, flowers are scattered with profusion, the road is smooth, and the prospect pleasant : but in others (and I fear the greater number) the road is rugged, beset with thorns and briars, and cut by torrents. Gather the flowers in your way ; but, at the same time, guard against the briars that are either mixed with them, or that most cer tainly succeed them.

I thank you for your wild boar ; who, now he is dead, I assure him, se laissera bien manger malgre quSil en ait; though I am not so sure that I should have had that per sonal valor which so successfully distinguished you in single combat with him, which made him bite the dust like Homer s heroes, and, to conclude my period sublimely, put him into that PICKLE, from which I propose eating him. At the same time that I applaud your valor, I must do justice to your modesty; which candidly admits that you were not overmatched, and that your adversary was about your own age and size. A Maracassin, being under a year old, would have been below your indignation. Bete de compagne, being under two years old, was still, in my opinion, below your glory; but I guess that your enemy was un Ragot, that is, from two to three years old ; an age and size which, between man and boar, answer pretty well to yours.

If accidents of bad roads or waters do not detain you at Munich, I do not fancy that pleasures will : and I rather


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believe you will seek for, and find them, at the Carnival at Berlin ; in which supposition, I eventually direct this letter to your banker there. While you are at Berlin (I earnestly recommend it to you again and again) pray CARE to see, hear, know, and mind, everything there. THE ABLEST PRINCE IN EUROPE is surely an object that deserves atten tion ; and the least thing that he does, like the smallest sketches of the greatest painters, has its value, and a con siderable one too.

Read with care the Code Frederick, and inform yourself of the good effects of it in those parts of f his dominions where it has taken place, and where it has banished the former chicanes, quirks, and quibbles of the old law. Do not think any detail too minute or trifling for your inquiry and ob servation. I wish that you could find one hour s leisure every day, to read some good Italian author, and to con verse in that language with our worthy friend Signor Angelo Cori ; it would both refresh and improve your Italian, which, of the many languages you know, I take to be that in which you are the least perfect; but of which, too, you already know enough to make yourself master of, with very little trouble, whenever you please.

Live, dwell, and grow at the several courts there ; use them so much to your face, that they may not look upon you as a stranger. Observe, and take their ton, even to their affectations and follies ; for such there are, and perhaps should be, at all courts. Stay, in all events, at Berlin, till I inform you of Sir Charles Williams s arrival at Dresden ; where I suppose you would not care to be before him, and where you may go as soon after him as ever you please. Your time there will neither be unprofitably nor disagree ably spent; he will introduce you into all the best com pany, though he can introduce you to none so good as his own. He has of late applied himself very seriously to for eign affairs, especially those of Saxony and Poland ; he knows them perfectly well, and will tell you what he knows. He always expresses, and I have good reason to believe very sincerely, great kindness and affection for you.

The works of the late Lord Bolingbroke are just pub lished, and have plunged me into philosophical studies;


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which hitherto I have not been much used to, or delighted with ; convinced of the futility of those researches ; but I have read his (< Philosophical Essay }> upon the extent of human knowledge, which, by the way, makes two large quartos and a half. He there shows very clearly, and with most splendid eloquence, what the human mind can and cannot do ; that our understandings are wisely calculated for our place in this planet, and for the link which we form in the universal chain of things ; but that they are by no means capable of that degree of knowledge, which our curi osity makes us search after, and which our vanity makes us often believe we arrive at. I shall not recommend to you the reading of that work ; but, when you return hither, I shall recommend to your frequent and diligent perusal all his tracts that are relative to our history and constitution ; upon which he throws lights, and scatters graces, which no other writer has ever done.

Reading, which was always a pleasure to me, in the time even of my greatest dissipation, is now become my only refuge ; and, I fear, I indulge it too much at the ex pense of my eyes. But what can I do? I must do some thing; I cannot bear absolute idleness ; my ears grow every day more useless to me, my eyes consequently more neces sary ; I will not hoard them like a miser, but will rather risk the loss, than not enjoy the use of them.

Pray let me know all the particulars, not only of your re ception at Munich, but also at Berlin ; at the latter, I be lieve, it will be a good one ; for his Prussian Majesty knows, that I have long been AN ADMIRER AND RESPECTER OF HIS

GREAT AND VARIOUS TALENTS. AdlCU.


LETTER CXCIV

LONDON, February i, 1754.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I received, yesterday, yours of the I2th, from Munich; in consequence of which, I di rect this to you there, though I directed my three last to Berlin, where I suppose you will find them at your arrival. Since you are not only domesticated, but niche at


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Munich, you are much in the right to stay there. It is not by seeing places that one knows them, but by familiar and daily conversations with the people of fashion. I would not care to be in the place of that prodigy of beauty, whom you are to drive dans la course de Traineaux; and I am apt to think you are much more likely to break her bones, than she is, though ever so cruel, to break your heart. Nay, I am not sure but that, according to all the rules of gallantry, you are obliged to overturn her on purpose ; in the first place, for the chance of seeing her backside ; in the next, for the sake of the contrition and concern which it would give you an opportunity of showing ; and, lastly, upon ac count of all the gentillesses et epigrammes, which it would naturally suggest. Voiture has made several stanzas upon an accident of that kind, which happened to a lady of his acquaintance. There is a great deal of wit in them, rather too much ; for, according to the taste of those times, they are full of what the Italians call concetti spiritosissimi; the Spaniards agudeze ; and we, affectation and quaintness. I hope you have endeavored to suit your Traineau to the character of the fair-one whom it is to contain. If she is of an irascible, impetuous disposition (as fine women can sometimes be), you will doubtless place her in the body of a lion, a tiger, a dragon, or some tremendous beast of prey and fury ; if she is a sublime and stately beauty, which I think more probable (for unquestionably she is hogh gebohrne}, you will, I suppose, provide a magnificent swan or proud peacock for her reception ; but if she is all tenderness and softness, you have, to be sure, taken care amorous doves and wanton sparrows should seem to flutter round her. Proper mottos, I take it for granted, that you have eventu ally prepared ; but if not, you may find a great many ready- made ones in Les Entretiens d Ariste et d 1 Eugene, sur les Devises, written by P6re Bouhours, and worth your read ing at any time. I will not say to you, upon this occasion, like the father in Ovid,

<( JParce, puer, stimulis, et fortius utere loris.^

On the contrary, drive on briskly ; it is not the chariot of the sun that you drive, but you carry the sun in your chariot ; consequently, the faster it goes, the less it will be


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likely to scorch or consume. This is Spanish enough, I am sure.

If this finds you still at Munich, pray make many com pliments from me to Mr. Burrish, to whom I am very much obliged for all his kindness to you ; it is true, that while I had power I endeavored to serve him ; but it is as true too, that I served many others more, who have neither returned nor remembered those services.

I have been very ill this last fortnight, of your old Car- niolian complaint, the arthritis vaga; luckily, it did not fall upon my breast, but seized on my right arm ; there it fixed its seat of empire ; but, as in all tyrannical govern ments, the remotest parts felt their share of its severity. Last post I was not able to hold a pen long enough to write to you, and therefore desired Mr. Grevenkop to do it for me ; but that letter was directed to Berlin. My pain is now much abated, though I have still some fine remains of it in my shoulder, where I fear it will tease me a great while. I must be careful to take Horace s advice, and consider well, Quid valeant humeri, quid Jerre recusent.

Lady Chesterfield bids me make you her compliments, and assure you that the music will be much more welcome to her with you, than without you.

In some of my last letters, which were directed to, and will, I suppose, wait for you at Berlin, I complimented you, and with justice, upon your great improvement of late in the epistolary way, both with regard to the style and the turn of your letters ; your four or five last to me have been very good ones, and one that you wrote to Mr. Harte, upon the new year, was so pretty a one, and he was so much and so justly pleased with it, that he sent it me from Windsor the instant he had read it. This talent (and a most necessary one it is in the course of life) is to be acquired by resolving, and taking pains to acquire it ; and, indeed, so is every talent except poetry, which is undoubt edly a gift. Think, therefore, night and day, of the turn, the purity, the correctness, the perspicuity, and the elegance of whatever you speak or write; take my word for it, your labor will not be in vain, but greatly rewarded by the harvest of praise and success which it will bring you. Del icacy of turn, and elegance of style, are ornaments as


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necessary to common sense, as attentions, address, and fash ionable manners, are to common civility ; both may subsist without them, but then, without being of the least use to the owner. The figure of a man is exactly the same in dirty rags, or in the finest and best chosen clothes ; but in which of the two he is the most likely to please, and to be received in good company, I leave to you to determine.

Both my arm and my paper hint to me, to bid you good-night.


LETTER CXCV

LONDON, February 12, 1754.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I take my aim, and let off this let ter at you at Berlin; I should be sorry it missed you, because I believe you will read it with as "much pleas ure as I write it. It is to inform you, that, after some difficulties and dangers, your seat in the new parliament is at last absolutely secured, and that without opposition, or the least necessity of your personal trouble or appearance. This success, I must further inform you, is in a great degree owing to Mr. Eliot s friendship to us both ; for he brings you in with himself at his surest borough. As it was im possible to act with more zeal and friendship than Mr. Eliot has acted in this whole affair, I desire that you will, by the very next post, write him a letter of thanks, warm and young thanks, not old and cold ones. You may inclose it in yours to me, and I will send it to him, for he is now in Cornwall.

Thus, sure of being a senator, I dare say you do not pro pose to be one of the pedarii senatores, et pedibus ire in sententiam; for, as the House of Commons is the theatre where you must make your fortune and figure in the world, you must resolve to be an actor, and not a persona muta, which is just equivalent to a candle snuffer upon other theatres. Whoever does not shine there, is obscure, in significant and contemptible; and you cannot conceive how easy it is for a man of half your sense and knowledge to shine there if he pleases. The receipt to make a speaker,


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and an applauded one too, is short and easy. Take of com mon sense quantum sujficit, add a little application to the rules and orders of the House, throw obvious thoughts in a new light, and make up the whole with a large quantity of purity, correctness, and elegance of style. Take it for granted, that by far the greatest part of mankind do neither analyze nor search to the bottom ; they are incapable of penetrating deeper than the surface. All have senses to be gratified, very few have reason to be applied to. Graceful ut terance and action please their eyes, elegant diction tickles their ears ; but strong reason would be thrown away upon them. I am not only persuaded by theory, but convinced by my experience, that (supposing a certain degree of com mon sense) what is called a good speaker is as much a mechanic as a good shoemaker; and that the two trades are equally to be learned by the same degree of application. Therefore, for God s sake, let this trade be the principal object of your thoughts; never lose sight of it. Attend minutely to your style, whatever language you speak or write in ; seek for the best words, and think of the best turns. Whenever you doubt of the propriety or elegance of any word, search the dictionary or some good author for it, or inquire of somebody, who is master of that language ; and, in a little time, propriety and elegance of diction will become so habitual to you, that they will cost you no more trouble. As I have laid this down to be mechanical and attainable by whoever will take the necessary pains, there will be no great vanity in my saying, that I saw the impor tance of the object so early, and attended to it so young, that it would now cost me more trouble to speak or write ungrammatically, vulgarly, and inelegantly, than ever it did to avoid doing so. The late Lord Bolingbroke, without the least trouble, talked all day long, full as elegantly as he wrote. Why? Not by a peculiar gift from heaven; but, as he has often told me himself, by an early and constant attention to his style. The present Solicitor-General, Murray,* has less law than many lawyers, but has more practice than any; merely upon account of his eloquence, of which he has a never-failing stream. I remember so long ago as when I was at Cambridge, whenever I read

  • Created Lord Mansfield in the year 1756.


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pieces of eloquence (and indeed they were my chief study) whether ancient or modern, I used to write down the shin ing passages, and then translate them, as well and as elegantly as ever I could ; if Latin or French, into English ; if English, into French. This, which I practiced for some years, not only improved and formed my style, but imprinted in my mind and memory the best thoughts of the best authors. The trouble was little, but the advantage I have experienced was great. While you are abroad, you can neither have time nor opportunity to read pieces of Eng lish or parliamentary eloquence, as I hope you will care fully do when you return ; but, in the meantime, whenever pieces of French eloquence come in your way, such as the speeches of persons received into the Academy, oraisons funtbres, representations of the several parliaments to the King, etc., read them in that view, in that spirit; observe the harmony, the turn and elegance of the style ; examine in what you think it might have been better ; and consider in what, had you written it yourself, you might have done worse. Compare the different manners of expressing the same thoughts in different authors ; and observe how dif ferently the same things appear in different dresses. Vul gar, coarse, and ill-chosen words, will deform and degrade the best thoughts as much as rags and dirt will the best figure. In short, you now know your object ; pursue it steadily, and have no digressions that are not relative to, and connected with, the main action. Your success in par liament will effectually remove all OTHER OBJECTIONS; either a foreign or a domestic destination will no longer be refused you, if you make your way to it through Westminster.

I think I may now say, that I am quite recovered from my late illness, strength and spirits excepted, which are not yet restored. Aix-la-Chapelle and Spa will, I believe, an swer all my purposes.

I long to hear an account of your reception at Berlin, which I fancy will be a most gracious one. Adieu.

12


i;8 LORD CHESTERFIELD S


LETTER CXCVI

LONDON, February 15, 1754.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I can now with great truth apply your own motto to you, Nullum numen abest, si sit prudentia. You are sure of being, as early as your age will permit, a member of that House ; which is the only road to figure and fortune in this country. Those, indeed, who are bred up to, and distinguish themselves in particular professions, as the army, the navy, and the law, may, by their own merit, raise themselves to a certain de gree; but you may observe too, that they never get to the top, without the assistance of parliamentary talents and in fluence. The means of distinguishing yourself in parlia ment are, as I told you in my last, much more easily attained than I believe you imagine. Close attendance to the business of the House will soon give you the parlia mentary routine ; and strict attention to your style will soon make you, not only a speaker, but a good one. The vulgar look upon a man, who is reckoned a fine speaker, as a phenomenon, a supernatural being, and endowed with some peculiar gift of heaven ; they stare at him, if he walks in the Park, and cry, THAT is HE. You will. I am sure, view him in a juster light, and nulla formidine. You will consider him only as a man of good sense, who adorns common thoughts with the graces of elocution, and the ele gance of style. The miracle will then cease ; and you will be convinced, that with the same application, and attention to the same objects, you may most certainly equal, and per haps surpass, this prodigy. Sir W Y , with not a

quarter of your parts, and not a thousandth part of your knowledge, has, by a glibness of tongue simply, raised him successively to the best employments of the kingdom ; he has been Lord of the Admiralty, Lord of the Treasury, Secretary at War, and is now Vice-Treasurer of Ireland; and all this with a most sullied, not to say blasted char- cater. Represent the thing to yourself, as it really is, eas ily attainable, and you will find it so. Have but ambition enough passionately to desire the object, and spirit enough


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to use the means, and I will be answerable for your suc cess. When I was younger than you are, I resolved within myself that I would in all events be a speaker in parlia ment, and a good one too, if I could. I consequently never lost sight of that object, and never neglected any of the means that I thought led to it. I succeeded to a certain degree ; and, I assure you, with great ease, and without su perior talents. Young people are very apt to overrate both men and things, from not being enough acquainted with them. In proportion as you come to know them better, you will value them less. You will find that reason, which always ought to direct mankind, seldom does; but that pas sions and weaknesses commonly usurp its seat, and rule in its stead. You will find that the ablest have their weak sides too, and are only comparatively able, with regard to the still weaker herd : having fewer weaknesses themselves, they are able to avail themselves of the innumerable ones of the generality of mankind : being more masters of them selves, they become more easily masters of others. They address themselves to their weaknesses, their senses, their passions ; never to their reason ; and consequently seldom fail of success. But then analyze those great, those gov erning, and, as the vulgar imagine, those perfect characters, and you will find the great Brutus a thief in Macedonia, the great Cardinal Richelieu a jealous poetaster, and the great Duke of Marlborough a miser. Till you come to know mankind by your own experience, I know no thing, nor no man, that can in the meantime bring you so well acquainted with them as le Due de la Rochefoucault : his little book of "Maxims," which I would advise you to look into, for some moments at least, every day of your life, is, I fear, too like, and too exact a picture of human nature : I own, it seems to degrade it ; but yet my experience does not convince me that it degrades it unjustly.

Now, to bring all this home to my first point. All these considerations should not only invite you to attempt to make a figure in parliament, but encourage you to hope that you shall succeed. To govern mankind, one must not overrate them : and to please an audience, as a speaker, one must not overvalue it. When I first came into the House of Commons, I respected that assembly as a vener-


i8o LORD CHESTERFIELD S

able one ; and felt a certain awe upon me : but, upon bet ter acquaintance, that awe soon vanished; and I discovered, that, of the five hundred and sixty, not above thirty could understand reason, and that all the rest were peuple; that those thirty only required plain common sense, dressed up in good language ; and that all the others only required flowing and harmonious periods, whether they conveyed any meaning or not ; having ears to hear, but not sense enough to judge. These considerations made me speak with little concern the first time, with less the second, and with none at all the third. I gave myself no further trouble about anything, except my elocution, and my style ; presuming, without much vanity, that I had common sense sufficient not to talk nonsense. Fix these three truths strongly in your mind : First, that it is absolutely necessary for you to speak in parliament ; secondly, that it only re quires a little human attention, and no supernatural gifts ; and, thirdly, that you have all the reason in the world to think that you shall speak well. When we meet, this shall be the principal subject of our conversations ; and, if you will follow my advice, I will answer for your success.

Now from great things to little ones ; the transition is to me easy, because nothing seems little to me that can be of any use to you. I hope you take great care of your mouth and teeth, and that you clean them well every morning with a sponge and tepid water, with a few drops of arque- busade water dropped into it ; besides washing your mouth carefully after every meal, I do insist upon your never using those sticks, or any hard substance whatsoever, which always rub away the gums, and destroy the varnish of the teeth. I speak this from woeful experience ; for my negligence of my teeth, when I was younger than you are, made them bad; and afterward, my desire to have them look better, made me use sticks, irons, etc., which totally destroyed them ; so that I have not now above six or seven left. I lost one this morning, which suggested this advice to you.

I have received the tremendous wild boar, which your still more tremendous arm slew in the immense deserts of the Palatinate; but have not yet tasted of it, as it is hitherto above my low regimen. The late King of Prussia,


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whenever he killed any number of wild boars, used to oblige the Jews to buy them, at a high price, though they could eat none of them ; so they defrayed the expense of his hunting. His son has juster rules of government, as the Code Frederick plainly shows.

I hope, that, by this time, you are as well ancrt at Berlin as you was at Munich; but, if not, you are sure of being so at Dresden. Adieu.


LETTER CXCVII

LONDON, February 26, 1754.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I have received your letters of the 4th, from Munich, and of the nth from Ratisbon ; but I have not received that of the 3ist January, to which you refer in the former. It is to this negligence and uncertainty of the post, that you owe your accidents between Munich and Ratisbon : for, had you received my letters regularly, you would have received one from me before you left Munich, in which I advised you to stay, since you were so well there. But, at all events, you were in the wrong to set out from Munich in such weather and such roads ; since you could never imagine that I had set my heart so much upon your going to Berlin, as to venture your being buried in the snow for it. Upon the whole, considering all you are very well off. You do very well, in my mind, to return to Munich, or at least to keep within the circle of Munich, Ratisbon, and Manheim, till the weather and the roads are good: stay at each or any of those places as long as ever you please ; for I am extremely indifferent about your going to Berlin.

As to our meeting, I will tell you my plan, and you may form your own accordingly. I propose setting out from hence the last week in April, then drinking the Aix- la-Chapelle waters for a week, and from thence being at Spa about the i5th of May, where I shall stay two months at most, and then return straight to England. As I both hope and believe that there will be no mortal at Spa dur ing my residence there, the fashionable season not beginning


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till the middle of July, I would by no means have you come there at first, to be locked up with me and some few Capucins, for two months, in that miserable hole ; but I -would advise you to stay where you like best, till about the first week in July, and then to come and pick me up at Spa, or meet me upon the road at Li6ge or Brussels. As for the intermediate time, should you be weary of Manheim and Munich, you may, if you please, go to Dresden, to Sir Charles Williams, who will be there before that time ; or you may come for a month or six weeks to The Hague ; or, in short, go or stay wherever you like best. So much for your motions.

As you have sent for all the letters directed to you at Berlin, you will receive from thence volumes of mine, among which you will easily perceive that some were calculated for a supposed perusal previous to your opening them. I will not repeat anything contained in them, excepting that I de sire you will send me a warm and cordial letter of thanks for Mr. Eliot; who has, in the most friendly manner imaginable, fixed you at his own borough of Liskeard, where you will be elected jointly with him, without the least opposition or difficulty. I will forward that letter to him into Cornwall, where he now is.

Now that you are to be soon a man of business, I heartily wish that you would immediately begin to be a man of method ; nothing contributing more to facilitate and dispatch business, than method and order. Have order and method in your accounts, in your reading, in the allotment of your time ; in short, in everything. You cannot conceive how much time you will save by it, nor how much better every thing you do will be done. The Duke of Marlborough did by no means spend, but he slatterned himself into that im mense debt, which is not yet near paid off. The hurry and confusion of the Duke of Newcastle do not proceed from his business, but from his want of method in it. Sir Robert Walpole, who had ten times the business to do, was never seen in a hurry, because he always did it with method. The head of a man who has business, and no method nor order, is properly that rudis indigestaque moles quam dixere chaos. As you must be conscious that you are extremely negli gent and slatternly, I hope you will resolve not to be so


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for the future. Prevail with yourself, only to observe good method and order for one fortnight; and I will venture to assure you that you will never neglect them afterward, you will find such conveniency and advantage arising from them. Method is the great advantage that lawyers have over other people, in speaking in parliament; for, as they must necessarily observe it in their pleadings in the courts of justice, it becomes habitual to them everywhere else. Without making you a compliment, I can tell you with pleasure, that order, method, and more activity of mind, are all that you want, to make, some day or other, a considerable figure in business. You have more useful knowledge, more discernment of characters, and much more discretion, than is common at your age; much more, I am sure, than I had at that age. Experience you cannot yet have, and therefore trust in the meantime to mine. I am an old traveler ; am well acquainted with all the bye as well as the great roads; I cannot misguide you from ignorance, and you are very sure I shall not from design.

I can assure you, that you will have no opportunity of subscrtbing yourself my Excellency s, etc. Retirement and quiet were my choice some years ago, while I had all my senses, and health and spirits enough to carry on business ; but now that I have lost my hearing, and that I find my constitution declining daily, they are become my necessary and only refuge. I know myself (no common piece of knowledge, let me tell you), I know what I can, what I cannot, and consequently what I ought to do. I ought not, and therefore will not, return to business when I am much less fit for it than I was when I quitted it Still less will I go to Ireland, where, from my deafness and infirmities, I must necessarily make a different figure from that which I once made there. My pride would be too much mortified by that difference. The two important senses of seeing and hearing should not only be good, but quick, in business; and the business of a Lord-lieutenant of Ireland (if he will do it himself) requires both those senses in the highest perfection. It was the Duke of Dorset s not doing the business himself, but giving it up to favorites, that has occasioned all this confusion in Ireland ; and it was my doing the whole myself, without either Favorite, Minister,


i8 4 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

or Mistress, that made my administration so smooth and quiet. I remember, when I named the late Mr. Liddel for my Secretary, everybody was much surprised at it ; and some of my friends represented to me, that he was no man of business, but only a very genteel, pretty young fellow ; I assured them, and with truth, that that was the very reason why I chose him ; for that I was resolved to do all the business myself, and without even the suspicion of having a minister ; which the Lord-lieutenant s Secretary, if he is a man of business, is always supposed, and com monly with reason, to be. Moreover, I look upon myself now to be emeritus in business, in which I have been near forty years together; I give it up to you: apply yourself to it, as I have done, for forty years, and then I consent to your leaving it for a philosophical retirement among your friends and your books. Statesmen and beauties are very rarely sensible of the gradations of their decay ; and, too often sanguinely hoping to shine on in their meridian, often set with contempt and ridicule. I retired in time, uti conviva satur; or, as Pope says still better, ERE TITTER ING YOUTH SHALL SHOVE YOU FROM THE STAGE. My only re maining ambition is to be the counsellor and minister of your rising ambition. Let me see my own youth revived in you ; let me be your Mentor, and, with your parts and knowledge, I promise you, you shall go far. You must bring, on your part, activity and attention ; and I will point out to you the proper objects for them. I own I fear but one thing for you, and that is what one has generally the least reason to fear from one of your age; I mean your laziness; which, if you indulge, will make you stagnate in a con temptible obscurity all your life. It will hinder you from doing anything that will deserve to be written, or from writing anything that may deserve to be read ; and yet one or other of those two objects should be at least aimed at by every rational being.

I look upon indolence as a sort of SUICIDE ; for the man is effectually destroyed, though the appetites of the brute may survive. Business by no means forbids pleasures; on the contrary, they reciprocally season each other ; and I will venture to affirm, that no man enjoys either in perfection, that does not join both. They whet the desire for each


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other. Use yourself, therefore, in time to be alert and dili gent in your little concerns ; never procrastinate, never put off till to-morrow what you can do to-day; and never do two things at a time; pursue your object, be it what it will, steadily and indefatigably ; and let any difficulties (if surmountable) rather animate than slacken your endeavors. Perseverance has surprising effects.

I wish you would use yourself to translate, every day, only three or four lines, from any book, in any language, into the correctest and most elegant English that you can think of; you cannot imagine how it will insensibly form your style, and give you an habitual elegance ; it would not take you up a quarter of an hour in a day. This letter is so long, that it will hardly leave you that quarter of an hour, the day you receive it. So good-night.


LETTER CXCVIII

LONDON, March 8, 1754.

MY DEAR FRIEND : A great and unexpected event has lately happened in our ministerial world. Mr. Pel- ham died last Monday of a fever and mortification, occasioned by a general corruption of his whole mass of blood, which had broke out into sores in his back. I re gret him as an old acquaintance, a pretty near relation, and a private man, with whom I have lived many years in a social and friendly way. He meant well to the public ; and was incorrupt in a post where corruption is commonly contagious. If he was no shining, enterprising minister, he was a safe one, which I like better. Very shining ministers, like the sun, are apt to scorch when they shine the brightest : in our constitution, I prefer the milder light of a less glaring minister. His successor is not yet, at least publicly, designatus. You will easily suppose that many are very willing, and very few able, to fill that post. Various persons are talked of, by different people, for it, according as their interest prompts them to wish, or their ignorance to conjecture. Mr. Fox is the most talked of; he is strongly


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supported by the Duke of Cumberland. Mr. Legge, the Solicitor-General, and Dr. Lee, are likewise all spoken of, upon the foot of the Duke of Newcastle s, and the Chancel lor s interest. Should it be any one of the last three, I think no great alterations will ensue; but should Mr. Fox prevail, it would, in my opinion, soon produce changes by no means favorable to the Duke of Newcastle. In the meantime, the wild conjectures of volunteer politicians, and the ridiculous importance which, upon these occasions, blockheads always endeavor to give themselves, by grave looks, significant shrugs, and insignificant whispers, are very entertaining to a bystander, as, thank God, I now am. One KNOWS SOMETHING, but is not yet at liberty to tell it ; another has heard something from a very good hand ; a third congratulates himself upon a certain degree of inti macy, which he has long had with everyone of the can didates, though perhaps he has never spoken twice to any one of them. In short, in these sort of intervals, vanity, interest, and absurdity, always display themselves in the most ridiculous light. One who has been so long behind the scenes as I have is much more diverted with the entertain ment, than those can be who only see it from the pit and boxes. I know the whole machinery of the interior, and can laugh the better at the silly wonder and wild conjec tures of the uninformed spectators. This accident, I think, cannot in the least affect your election, which is finally settled with your friend Mr. Eliot. For, let who will pre vail, I presume, he will consider me enough, not to over turn an arrangement of that sort, in which he cannot pos sibly be personally interested. So pray go on with your parliamentary preparations. Have that object always in your view, and pursue it with attention.

I take it for granted that your late residence in Germany has made you as perfect and correct in German, as you were before in French, at least it is worth your while to be so; because it is worth every man s while to be per fectly master of whatever language he may ever have occa sion to speak. A man is not himself, in a language which he does not thoroughly possess ; his thoughts are degraded, when inelegantly or imperfectly expressed; he is cramped and confined, and consequently can never appear to advan-


LETTERS TO HIS SON 187

tage. Examine and analyze those thoughts that strike you the most, either in conversation or in books ; and you will find that they owe at least half their merit to the turn and expression of them. There is nothing truer than that old saying, Nihil dictum quod non prins dictum. It is only the manner of saying or writing it that makes it appear new. Convince yourself that manner is almost everything, in everything ; and study it accordingly.

I am this moment informed, and I believe truly, that Mr. Fox* is to succeed Mr. Pelham as First Commissioner of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer ; and your friend, Mr. Yorke, of The Hague, to succeed Mr. Fox as Secretary at War. I am not sorry for this promotion of Mr. Fox, as I have always been upon civil terms with him, and found him ready to do me any little services. He is frank and gentleman-like in his manner : and, to a cer tain degree, I really believe will be your friend upon my account; if you can afterward make him yours, upon your own, tan mieux. I have nothing more to say now but Adieu.


LETTER CXCIX

LONDON, March 15, 1754.

MY DEAR FRIEND: We are here in the midst of a second winter ; the cold is more severe, and the snow deeper, than they were in the first. I pre sume your weather in Germany is not much more gentle : and, therefore, I hope that you are quietly and warmly fixed at some good town : and will not risk a second burial in the snow, after your late fortunate resurrection out of it. Your letters, I suppose, have not been able to make their way through the ice; for I have received none from you since that of the I2th of February, from Ratisbon. I am the more uneasy at this state of ignorance, because I fear that you may have found some subsequent incon veniences from your overturn, which you might not be aware of at first.

  • Henry Fox, created Lord Holland, Baron of Foxley, in the year

1763.


i88 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

The curtain of the political theatre was partly drawn up the day before yesterday, and exhibited a scene which the public in general did not expect ; the Duke of Newcastle was declared First Lord Commissioner of the Treasury, Mr. Fox Secretary of State in his room, and Mr. Henry Legge Chancellor of the Exchequer. The employments of Treas urer of the Navy, and Secretary at War, supposed to be vacant by the promotion of Mr. Fox and Mr. Legge, were to be kept in -petto till the dissolution of this parliament, which will probably be next week, to avoid the expense and trouble of unnecessary re-elections ; but it was gener ally supposed that Colonel Yorke, of The Hague, was to succeed Mr. Fox ; and George Greenville, Mr. Legge. This scheme, had it taken place, you are, I believe aware, was more a temporary expedient, for securing the elections of the new parliament, and forming it, at its first meeting, to the interests and the inclinations of the Duke of New castle and the Chancellor, than a plan of administration either intended or wished to be permanent. This scheme was disturbed yesterday : Mr. Fox, who had sullenly ac cepted the seals the day before, more sullenly refused them yesterday. His object was to be First Commissioner of the Treasury, and Chancellor of the Exchequer, and conse quently to have a share in the election of the new parlia ment, and a much greater in the management of it when chosen. This necessary consequence of his view defeated it ; and the Duke of Newcastle and the Chancellor chose to kick him upstairs into the Secretaryship of State, rather than trust him with either the election or the management of the new parliament. In this, considering their respect ive situations, they certainly acted wisely ; but whether Mr. Fox has done so, or not, in refusing the seals, is a point which I cannot determine. If he is, as I presume he is, animated with revenge, and I believe would not be over scrupulous in the means of gratifying it, I should have thought he could have done it better, as Secretary of State, with constant admission into the closet, than as a private man at the head of an opposition. But I see all these things at too great a distance to be able to judge soundly of them. The true springs and motives of political measures are confined within a very narrow circle, and known to a


LETTERS TO HIS SON 189

very few ; the good reasons alleged are seldom the true ones. The public commonly judges, or rather guesses, wrong, and I am now one of that public. I therefore recommend to you a prudent Pyrrhonism in all mat ters of state, until you become one of the wheels of them yourself, and consequently acquainted with the gen eral motion, at least, of the others ; for as to all the minute and secret springs, that contribute more or less to the whole machine, no man living ever knows them all, not even he who has the principal direction of it. As in the human body, there are innumerable little vessels and glands that have a good deal to do, and yet escape the knowledge of the most skillful anatomist ; he will know more, indeed, than those who only see the exterior of our bodies, but he will never know all. This bustle, and these changes at court, far from having disturbed the quiet and security of your election, have, if possible, rather confirmed them ; for the Duke of Newcastle (I must do him justice) has, in the kindest manner imaginable to you, wrote a letter to Mr. Eliot, to recommend to him the utmost care of your election.

Though the plan of administration is thus unsettled, mine, for my travels this summer, is finally settled ; and I now communicate it to you that you may form your own upon it. I propose being at Spa on the loth or i2th of May, and staying there till the loth of July. As there will be no mortal there during my stay, it would be both unpleasant and unprofitable to you to be shut up tete-cl-tete with me the whole time ; I should therefore think it best for you not to come to me there till the last week in June. In the meantime, I suppose, that by the middle of April, you will think that you have had enough of Manheim, Munich, or Ratisbon, and that district. Where would you choose to go then ? For I leave you absolutely your choice. Would you go to Dresden for a month or six weeks? That is a good deal out of your way, and I am not sure that Sir Charles will be there by that time. Or would you rather take Bonn in your way, and pass the time till we meet at The Hague? From Manheim you may have a great many good letters of rec ommendation to the court of Bonn ; which court, and its Elector, in one light or another, are worth your seeing.


190 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

From thence, your journey to The Hague will be but a short one ; and you would arrive there at that season of the year when The Hague is, in my mind, the most agree able, smiling scene in Europe ; and from The Hague you would have but three very easy days journey to me at Spa. Do as you like; for, as I told you be fore, Ella 2 assolutamente padrone. But lest you should answer that you desire to be determined by me, I will eventually tell you my opinion. I am rather inclined to the latter plan; I mean that of your coming to Bonn, stay ing there according as you like it, and then passing the remainder of your time, that is May and June, at The Hague. Our connection and transactions with the Republic of the United Provinces are such, that you cannot be too well acquainted with that constitution, and with those people. You have established good acquaintances there, and you have been feto%6 round by the foreign ministers ; so that you will be there en pals connu. Moreover, you have not seen the Stadtholder, the Gouvernante, nor the court there, which d, bon compte should be seen. Upon the whole, then, you cannot, in my opinion, pass the months of May and June more agreeably, or more usefully, than at The Hague. But, however, if you have any other plan that you like better, pursue it : Only let me know what you intend to do, and I shall most cheerfully agree to it.

The parliament will be dissolved in about ten days, and the writs for the election of the new one issued out immediately afterward ; so that, by the end of next month, you may depend upon being Membre de la chambre basse; a title that sounds high in foreign countries, and perhaps higher than it de serves. I hope you will add a better title to it in your own, I mean that of a good speaker in parliament : you have, I am sure, all the materials necessary for it, if you will but put them together and adorn them. I spoke in parliament the first month I was in it, and a month be fore I was of age ; and from the day I was elected, till the day that I spoke. I am sure I thought nor dreamed of noth ing but speaking. The first time, to say the truth, I spoke very indifferently as to the matter; but it passed tolerably, in favor of the spirit with which I uttered it, and the words in which I had dressed it. I improved by degrees,


LETTERS TO HIS SON 191

till at last it did tolerably well. The House, it must be owned, is always extremely indulgent to the two or three first attempts of a young speaker ; and if they find any de gree of common sense in what he says, they make great allowances for his inexperience, and for the concern which they suppose him to be under. I experienced that indul gence ; for had I not been a young member, I should cer tainly have been, as I own I deserved, reprimanded by the House for some strong and indiscreet things that I said. Adieu! It is indeed high time.


LETTER CC

LONDON, March 26, 1754.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Yesterday I received your letter of the 1 5th from Manheim, where I find you have been received in the usual gracious manner ; which I hope you return in a GRACEFUL one. As this is a season of great devotion and solemnity in all Catholic countries, pray inform yourself of, and constantly attend to, all their silly and pompous church ceremonies ; one ought to know them.

I am very glad that you wrote the letter to Lord ,

which, in every different case that can possibly be supposed, was, I am sure, both a decent and a prudent step. You will find it very difficult, whenever we meet, to convince me that you could have any good reasons for not doing it; for I will, for argument s sake, suppose, what I cannot in reality believe, that he has both said and done the worst he could, of and by you ; What then ? How will you help yourself? Are you in a situation to hurt him? Certainly not; but he certainly is in a situation to hurt you. Would you show a sullen, pouting, impotent resentment? I hope not; leave that silly, unavailing sort of resentment to women, and men like them, who are always guided by hu mor, never by reason and prudence. That pettish, pouting conduct is a great deal too young, and implies too little knowledge of the world, for one who has seen so much of it as you have. Let this be one invariable rule of your conduct, Never to show the least symptom of resentment


i 9 2 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

which you cannot to a certain degree gratify ; but always to smile, where you cannot strike. There would be no living in courts, nor indeed in the world if one could not conceal, and even dissemble, the just causes of resentment, which one meets with every day in active and busy life. Whoever cannot master his humor enough, pour fair e bonne mine d mauvais jeu, should leave the world, and retire to some hermitage, in an unfrequented desert. By showing an un availing and sullen resentment, you authorize the resent ment of those who can hurt you and whom you cannot hurt ; and give them that very pretense, which perhaps they wished for, of breaking with, and injuring you; whereas the contrary behavior would lay them under the restraints of decency at least ; and either shackle or expose their malice. Besides, captiousness, sullenness, and pout ing are most exceedingly illiberal and vulgar. Un hon- nete homme ne les connoit point.

I am extremely glad to hear that you are soon to have Voltaire at Manheim : immediately upon his arrival, pray make him a thousand compliments from me. I admire him most exceedingly; and, whether as an epic, dramatic, or lyric poet, or prose-writer, I think I justly apply to him the Nil molitur inepfe. I long to read his own correct edition of Les Annales de / Empire, of which the Abrege Chronologique de f Histoire Universelle, which I have read, is, I suppose, a stolen and imperfect part ; however, imperfect as it is, it has explained to me that chaos of history of seven hundred years more clearly than any other book had done before. You judge very rightly that I love le style 1% r et fleuri. I do, and so does every body who has any parts and taste. It should, I confess, be more or less fleuri, according to the subject ; but at the same time I assert that there is no subject that may not properly, and which ought not to be adorned, by a certain elegance and beauty of style. What can be more adorned than Cicero s Philosophical Works ? What more than Plato s? It is their eloquence only that has preserved and transmitted them down to us through so many centuries; for the philosophy of them is wretched, and the reasoning part miserable. But eloquence will always please, and has always pleased. Study it therefore ; make it the object


LETTERS TO HIS SON 193

of your thoughts and attention. Use yourself to re late elegantly ; that is a good step toward speaking well in parliament. Take some political subject, turn it in your thoughts, consider what may be said both for and against it, then put those arguments into writing, in the most cor rect and elegant English you can. For instance, a standing army, a place bill, etc. ; as to the former, consider, on one side, the dangers arising to a free country from a great standing military force ; on the other side, consider the necessity of a force to repel force with. Examine whether a standing army, though in itself an evil, may not, from circumstances, become a necessary evil, and preventive of greater dangers. As to the latter, consider how far places may bias and warp the conduct of men, from the service of their country, into an unwarrantable complaisance to the court ; and, on the other hand, consider whether they can be supposed to have that effect upon the conduct of people of probity and property, who are more solidly interested in the permanent good of their country, than they can be in an uncertain and precarious employment. Seek for, and answer in your own mind, all the arguments that can be urged on either side, and write them down in an elegant style. This will prepare you for debating, and give you an habitual elo quence ; for I would not give a farthing for a mere holiday eloquence, displayed once or twice in a session, in a set declamation, but I want an every-day, ready, and habitual eloquence, to adorn extempore and debating speeches ; to make business not only clear but agreeable, and to please even those whom you cannot inform, and who do not de sire to be informed. All this you may acquire, and make habitual to you, with as little trouble as it cost you to dance a minuet as well as you do. You now dance it mechanically and well without thinking of it.

I am surprised that you found but one letter for me at Manheim, for you ought to have found four or five ; there are as many lying for you at your banker s at Berlin, which I wish you had, because I always endeavored to put something into them, which, I hope, may be of use to you.

When we meet at Spa, next July, we must have a great many serious conversations ; in which I will pour out all my 13


194 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

experience of the world, and which, I hope, you will trust to, more than to your own young notions of men and things. You will, in time, discover most of them to have been erroneous ; and, if you follow them long, you will per ceive your error too late ; but if you will be led by a guide, who, you are sure, does not mean to mislead you, you will unite two things, seldom united, in the same per son ; the vivacity and spirit of youth, with the caution and experience of age.

Last Saturday, Sir Thomas Robinson,* who had been the King s Minister at Vienna, was declared Secretary of State for the southern department, Lord Holderness having taken the northern. Sir Thomas accepted it unwillingly, and, as I hear, with a promise that he shall not keep it long. Both his health and spirits are bad, two very dis qualifying circumstances for that employment ; yours, I hope, will enable you, some time or other, to go through with it. In all events, aim at it, and if you fail or fall, let it at least be said of you, Magnis tamen excidit ausis* Adieu.


LETTER CCI

LONDON, April 5, 1754.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I received yesterday your letter of the 2Oth March, from Manheim, with the inclosed for Mr. Eliot ; it was a very proper one, and I have forwarded it to him by Mr. Harte, who sets out for Cornwall to-morrow morning.

I am very glad that you use yourself to translations ; and I do not care of what, provided you study the correctness and elegance of your style. The (< Life of Sextus Quintus }> is the . best] book of the innumerable books written by Gregorio Leti, whom the Italians, very justly, call Lett caca libra. But I would rather that you chose some pieces of oratory for your translations, whether ancient or modern, Latin or French, which would give you a more

  • Created Lord Grantham in the year 1761, and since Ambassador

Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Court of Spain.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 195

oratorical train of thoughts and turn of expression. In your letter to me you make use of two words, which though true and correct English, are, however, from long disuse, become inelegant, and seem now to be stiff, formal, and in some degree scriptural ; the first is the word NAMELY, which you introduce thus, You INFORM ME OF A

VERY AGREEABLE PIECE OF NEWS, namely, THAT MY

ELECTION is SECURED. Instead of NAMELY, I would al- ways use WHICH is, or THAT is, that my election is se cured. The other word is, MINE OWN INCLINATIONS : this is certainly correct before a subsequent word that begins with a vowel ; but it is too correct, and is now disused as too formal, notwithstanding the hiatus occasioned by MY OWN. Every language has its peculiarities ; they are established by usage, and whether right or wrong, they must be complied with. I could instance many very absurd ones in different languages ; but so authorized by the jus et nor ma loquendi, that they must be submitted to. NAMELY, and TO WIT, are very good words in themselves, and contribute to clearness more than the relatives which we now substitute in their room ; but, however, they can not be used, except in a sermon or some very grave and formal compositions. It is with language as with manners : they are both established by the usage of people of fashion; it must be imitated, it must be complied with. Singularity is only pardonable in old age and retirement ; I may now be as singular as I please, but you may not. We will, when we meet, discuss these and many other points, provided you will give me attention and credit; without both which it is to no purpose to advise either you or anybody else.

I want to know your determination, where you intend to (if I may use that expression ) WHILE away your time till the last week in June, when we are to meet at Spa ; I continue rather in the opinion which I mentioned to you formerly, in favor of The Hague ; but however, I have not the least objection to Dresden, or to any other place that you may like better. If you prefer the Dutch scheme, you take Troves and Coblentz in your way, as also Dusseldorp : all which places I think you have not yet seen. At Man- heim you may certainly get good letters of recommenda-


196 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

tion to the courts of the two Electors of Treves and Cologne, whom you are yet unacquainted with ; and I should wish you to know them all; for, as I have often told you, olim hcec meminisse Juvabit. There is an utility in having seen what other people have seen, and there is a justi fiable pride in having seen what others have not seen. In the former case, you are equal to others ; in the latter, superior. As your stay abroad will not now be very long, pray, while it lasts, see everything and everybody you can ; and see them well, with care and attention. It is not to be conceived of what advantage it is to anybody to have seen more things, people, and countries, than other people in general have ; it gives them a credit, makes them referred to, and they become the objects of the at tention of the company. They are not out in any part of polite conversation; they are acquainted with all the places, customs, courts, and families that are likely to be men tioned; they are, as Monsieur de Maupertuis justly observes, de tous les pays, comme les savans, sont de tous les terns. You have, fortunately, both those advantages : the only re maining point is de savoir les faire valoir, for without that one may as well not have them. Remember that very true maxim of La Bruyere s, Quon ne vaut dans se monde que ce qu on veut valoir. The knowledge of the world will teach you to what degree you ought to show que vous valez. One must by no means, on one hand, be indifferent about it; as, on the other, one must not display it with affectation, and in an overbearing manner, but, of the two, it is better to show too much than too little. Adieu.


LETTER CCII

BATH, November 27, 1754.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I heartily congratulate you upon the loss of your political maidenhead, of which I have received from others a very good account. I hear that you were stopped for some time in your career; but recovered breath, and finished it very well. I am not


LETTERS TO HIS SON 197

surprised, nor indeed concerned, at your accident; for I remember the dreadful feeling of that situation in myself ; and as it must require a most uncommon share of impu dence to be unconcerned upon such an occasion, I am not sure that I am not rather glad you stopped. You must therefore now think of hardening yourself by degrees, by using yourself insensibly to the sound of your own voice, and to the act (trifling as it seems) of rising up and sit ting down. Nothing will contribute so much to this as committee work of elections at night, and of private bills in the morning. There, asking short questions, moving for witnesses to be called in, and all that kind of small ware, will soon fit you to set up for yourself. I am told that you are much mortified at your accident, but without reason ; pray, let it rather be a spur than a curb to you. Persevere, and, depend upon it, it will do well at last. When I say persevere, I do not mean that you should speak every day, nor in every debate. Moreover, I would not advise you to speak again upon public matters for some time, perhaps a month or two; but I mean, never lose view of that great object; pursue it with discretion, but pursue it always. Pelotez en attendant -partie. You know I have always told you that speaking in public was but a knack, which those who apply to the most will succeed in the best. Two old members, very good judges, have sent me compliments upon this occasion ; and have assured me that they plainly find it will do ; though they perceived, from that natural confusion you were in, that you neither said all, nor perhaps what you intended. Upon the whole, you have set out very well, and have sufficient encouragement to go on. Attend, therefore, as siduously, and observe carefully all that passes in the House; for it is only knowledge and experience that can make a debater. But if you still want comfort, Mrs.

, I hope, will administer it to you ; for, in my

opinion she may, if she will, be very comfortable; and with women, as with speaking in parliament, perseverance will most certainly prevail sooner or later.

What little I have played for here, I have won; but that is very far from the considerable sum which you heard of. I play every evening, from seven till ten, at a crown


198 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

whist party, merely to save my eyes from reading or writ ing for three hours by candle-light. I propose being in town the week after next, and hope to carry back with me much more health than I brought down here. Good-night.


Mr. Stanhope being returned to England, and seeing his father almost every day, is the occasion of an interruption of two years in their correspondence.


LETTER CCIII

BATH, November 15, 1756.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I received yours yesterday morning together with the Prussian papers, which I have read with great attention. If courts could blush, those of Vienna and Dresden ought, to have their false hoods so publicly, and so undeniably exposed. The former will, I presume, next year, employ an hundred thousand men, to answer the accusation ; and if the Empress of the two Russias is pleased to argue in the same cogent manner, their logic will be too strong for all the King of ^Prussia s rhetoric. I well remember the treaty so often referred to in those pieces, between the two Empresses, in 1746. The King was strongly pressed by the Empress Queen to accede to it. Wassenaer communicated it to me for that purpose. 1 asked him if there were no secret articles ; suspecting that there were some, because the ostensible treaty was a mere harmless, defensive one. He assured me that there were none. Upon which I told him, that as the King had already defensive alliances with those two Empresses, I did not see of what use his accession to this treaty, if merely a defensive one, could be, either to himself or the other contracting parties ; but that, however, if it was only desired as an indication of the King s good will, I would give him an act by which his Majesty should ac cede to that treaty, as far, but no further, as at present he stood engaged to the respective Empresses by the de fensive alliances subsisting with each. This offer by no means satisfied him ; which was a plain proof of the secret articles now brought to light, and into which the court of


LETTERS TO HIS SON 199

Vienna hoped to draw us. I told Wassenaer so, and after that I heard no more of his invitation.

I am still bewildered in the changes at Court, of which I find that all the particulars are not yet fixed. Who would have thought, a year ago, that Mr. Fox, the Chan cellor, and the Duke of Newcastle, should all three have quitted together? Nor can I yet account for it; explain it to me if you can. I cannot see, neither, what the Duke of Devonshire and Fox, whom I looked upon as intimately united, can have quarreled about, with relation to the Treasury ; inform me, if you know. I never doubted of the prudent versatility of your Vicar of Bray : But I am sur prised at O brien Windham s going out of the Treasury, where I should have thought that the interest of his brother- in-law, George Grenville, would have kept him.

Having found myself rather worse, these two or three last days, I was obliged to take some ipecacuanha last night; and, what you will think odd, for a vomit, I brought it all up again in about an hour, to my great satisfaction and emolument, which is seldom the case in restitutions.

You did well to go to the Duke of Newcastle, who, I suppose, will have no more levees ; however, go from time time, and leave your name at his door, for you have obli gations to him. Adieu.


LETTER CCIV

BATH, December 14, 1756.

MY DEAR FRIEND : What can I say to you from this place, where EVERY DAY is STILL BUT AS THE FIRST, though by no means so agreeably passed, as Anthony describes his to have been? The same nothings succeed one another every day with me, as regularly and uniformly as the hours of the day. You will think this tiresome, and so it is; but how can I help it? Cut off from society by my deafness, and dispirited by my ill health, where could I be better? You will say, perhaps, where could you be worse? Only in prison, or the galleys, I confess. However, I see a period to my stay here ; and


200 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

I have fixed, in my own mind, a time for my return to London ; not invited there by either politics or pleasures, to both which I am equally a stranger, but merely to be at home ; which, after all, according to the vulgar saying, is home, be it ever so homely.

The political settlement, as it is called, is, I find, by no means settled ; Mr. Fox, who took this place in his way to his brother s, where he intended to pass a month, was stopped short by an express, which he received from his connec tion, to come to town immediately ; and accordingly he set out from hence very early, two days ago. I had a very long conversation with him, in which he was, seem ingly at least, very frank and communicative; but still I own myself in the dark. In those matters, as in most others, half knowledge (and mine is at most that) is more apt to lead one into error, than to carry one to truth ; and our own vanity contributes to the seduction. Our conjec tures pass upon us for truths ; we will know what we do not know, and often, what we cannot know : so mortify ing to our pride is the bare suspicion of ignorance !

It has been reported here that the Empress of Russia is dying ; this would be a fortunate event indeed for the King of Prussia, and necessarily produce the neutrality and inaction, at least, of that great power; which would be a heavy weight taken out of the opposite scale to the King of Prussia. The Augustissima must, in that case, do all herself; for though France will, no doubt, promise largely, it will, I believe, perform but scantily ; as it desires no better than that the different powers of Germany should tear one another to pieces.

I hope you frequent all the courts: a man should make his face familiar there. Long habit produces favor insensi bly ; and acquaintance often does more than friendship, in that climate where les beaux sentimens are not the natural growth.

Adieu! I am going to the ball, to save my eyes from reading, and my mind from thinking.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 201


LETTER CCV

BATH, January 12, 1757.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I waited quietly, to see when either your leisure, or your inclinations, would al low you to honor me with a letter ; and at last I received one this morning, very near a fortnight after you went from hence. You will say, that you had no news to write me ; and that probably may be true ; but, without news, one has always something to say to those with whom one desires to have anything to do.

Your observation is very just with regard to the King of Prussia, whom the most august House of Austria would most unquestionably have poisoned a century or two ago. But now that terras Astrcea reliquit, kings and princes die of natural deaths ; even war is pusillanimously carried on in this degenerate age ; quarter is given ; towns are taken, and the people spared : even in a storm, a woman can hardly hope for the benefit of a rape. Whereas (such was the humanity of former days) prisoners were killed by thousands in cold blood, and the generous victors spared neither man, woman, nor child. Heroic actions of this kind were performed at the taking of Magdebourg. The King of Prussia is certainly now in a situation that must soon decide his fate, and make him Cassar or nothing. Not withstanding the march of the Russians, his great danger, in my mind, lies westward. I have no great notions of Apraxin s abilities, and I believe many a Prussian colonel would out-general him. But Brown, Piccolomini, Lucchese, and many other veteran officers in the Austrian troops, are respectable enemies.

Mr. Pitt seems to me to have almost as many enemies to encounter as his Prussian Majesty. The late Ministry, and the Duke s party, will, I presume, unite against him and his Tory friends; and then quarrel among themselves again. His best, if not his only chance of supporting him self would be, if he had credit enough in the city, to hinder the advancing of the money to any administration but his own ; and I have met with some people here who think that he has.


202 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

I have put off my journey from hence for a week, but no longer. I find I still gain some strength and some flesh here, and therefore I will not cut while the run is for me.

By a letter which I received this morning from Lady Allen, I observe that you are extremely well with her ; and it is well for you to be so, for she is an excellent and warm puff.

A propos (an expression which is commonly used to in troduce whatever is unrelative to it) you should apply to some of Lord Holderness s people, for the perusal of Mr. Cope s letters. It would not be refused you ; and the sooner you have them the better. I do not mean them as models for your manner of writing, but as outlines of the matter you are to write upon.

If you have not read Hume s (< Essays }) read them; they are four very small volumes ; I have just finished, and am extremely pleased with them. He thinks impartially, deep, often new; and, in my mind, commonly just. Adieu.


LETTER CCVI

BLACKHEATH, September 17, 1757.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Lord Holderness has been so kind as to communicate to me all the letters which he has received from you hitherto, dated the i5th, i9th, 23d, and 26th August; and also a draught of that which he wrote to you the 9th instant. I am very well pleased with all your letters ; and, what is better, I can tell you that the King is so too ; and he said, but three days ago, to Monsieur Munchausen, HE (meaning you) SETS OUT

VERY WELL, AND I LIKE HIS LETTERS ; PROVIDED THAT, LIKE MOST OF MY ENGLISH MINISTERS ABROAD, HE DOES

NOT GROW IDLE HEREAFTER. So that here is both praise to flatter, and a hint to warn you. What Lord Holder- ness recommends to you, being by the King s order, inti mates also a degree of approbation ; for the BLACKER INK, AND THE LARGER CHARACTER, show, that his Majesty, whose eyes are grown weaker, intends to read all your letters himself. Therefore, pray do not neglect to get the


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blackest ink you can ; and to make your secretary enlarge his hand, though cPailleurs it is a very good one.

Had I been to wish an advantageous situation for you, and a good dtbut in it, I could not have wished you either better than both have hitherto proved. The rest will depend entirely upon yourself ; and I own I begin to have much better hopes than I had ; for I know, by my own experience, that the more one works, the more will ing one is to work. We are all, more or les, des animaux d"* habitude. I remember very well, that when I was in business, I wrote four or five hours together every day, more willingly than I should now half an hour ; and this is most certain, that when a man has applied himself to business half the day, the other half goes off the more cheerfully and agreeably. This I found so sensibly, when I was at The Hague, that I never tasted company so well, nor was so good company myself, as at the suppers of my post days. I take Hamburg now to be le centre du refuge Allemand. If you have any Hanover refugies among them, pray take care to be particularly attentive to them. How do you like your house? Is it a convenient one? Have the Casserolles been employed in it yet? You will find les petit s soupers. fins less expensive, and turn to better account, than large dinners for great companies.

I hope you have written to the Duke of Newcastle ; I take it for granted that you have to all your brother min isters of the northern department. For God s sake be diligent, alert, active, and indefatigable in your business. You want nothing but labor and industry to be, one day, whatever you please, in your own way.

We think and talk of nothing here but Brest, which is universally supposed to be the object of our great expedi tion. A great and important object it is. I suppose the affair must be brusque, or it will not do. If we succeed, it will make France put some water to its wine. As for my own private opinion, I own I rather wish than hope success. However, should our expedition fail, Magnis tamen excidit ausis, and that will be better than our late languid manner of making war.

To mention a person to you whom I am very indifferent about, I mean myself, I vegetate still just as I did when we


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parted ; but I think I begin to be sensible of the autumn of the year ; as well as of the autumn of my own life. I feel an internal awkwardness, which, in about three weeks, I shall carry with me to the Bath, where I hope to get rid of it, as I did last year. The best cordial I could take, would be to hear, from time to time, of your industry and diligence ; for in that case I should consequently hear of your success. Remember your own motto, Nullum numen abest si sit prudentia. Nothing is truer. Yours.


LETTER CCVII

BLACKHKATH, September 23, 1757.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I received but the day before yes terday your letter of the 3d, from the headquarters at Selsingen ; and, by the way, it is but the second that I have received from you since your arrival at Ham burg. Whatever was the cause of your going to the army, I approve of the effect ; for I would have you, as much as possible, see everything that is to be seen. That is the true useful knowledge, which informs and improves us when we are young, and amuses us and others when we are old ; Olim hcec meminisse juvabit. I could wish that you would (but I know you will not) enter in a book, a short note only, of whatever you see or hear, that is very remarkable : I do not mean a German AI>BUM stuffed with people s names, and Latin sentences; but I mean such a book, as, if you do not keep now, thirty years hence you would give a great deal of money to have kept. A propos de bottes, for I am told he always wears his; was his Royal Highness very gracious to you, or not? I have my doubts about it. The neutrality which he has concluded with Marechal de Richelieu, will prevent that bloody battle which you ex pected ; but what the King of Prussia will say to it is another point. He was our only ally; at present, probably we have not one in the world. If the King of Prussia can get at Monsieur de Soubize s, and the Imperial army, before other troops have joined them, I think he will beat them : but what then? He has three hundred thousand men to


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encounter afterward. He must submit; but he may say with truth, St Pergama dextrd defendi potuissent. The late action between the Prussians and Russians has only thinned the human species, without giving either party a victory ; which is plain by each party s claiming it. Upon my word, our species will pay very dear for the quarrels and ambition of a few, and those by no means the most valua ble part of it. If the many were wiser than they are, the few must be quieter, and would perhaps be juster and better than they are.

Hamburg, I find, swarms with Grafs, Graffins, Fursts, and JFiirstins, Hocheits, and Durchlaugticheits. I am glad of it, for you must necessarily be in the midst of them ; and I am still more glad, that, being in the midst of them, you must necessarily be under some constraint of ceremony ; a ^thing which you do not love, but which is, however, very useful.

I desired you in my last, and I repeat it again in this, to give me an account of your private and domestic life. How do you pass your evenings? Have they, at Ham burg, what are called at Paris des Maisons, where one goes without ceremony, sups or not, as one pleases? Are you adopted in any society? Have you any rational brother ministers, and which? What sort of things are your op eras? In the tender, I doubt they do not excel; for mein lieber schatz, and the other tendernesses of the Teutonic language, would, in my mind, sound but indifferently, set to soft music ; for the bravura parts, I have a great opinion of them ; and das, der donner dick erschldge, must no doubt, make a tremendously fine piece of recitative, when uttered by an angry hero, to the rumble of a whole orches tra, including drums, trumpets, and French horns. Tell me your whole allotment of the day, in which I hope four hours, at least, are sacred to writing ; the others cannot be better employed than in LIBERAL pleasures. In short, give me a full account of yourself, in your un-ministerial char acter, your incognito, without your fiocchi. I love to see those, in whom I interest myself, in their undress, rather than in gala ; I know them better so. I recommend to you, etiam atque etiam, method and order in everything you undertake. Do you observe it in your accounts? If you do


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not, you will be a beggar, though you were to receive the appointments of a Spanish Ambassador extraordinary, which are a thousand pistoles a month ; and in your min isterial business, if you have no regular and stated hours for such and such parts of it, you will be in the hurry and

confusion of the Duke of N , doing everything by

halves, and nothing well, nor soon. I suppose you have been feasted through the Corps diplomatique at Hamburg, excepting Monsieur Champeaux ; with whom, however, I hope you live poliment et galamment, at all third places.

Lord Loudon is much blamed here for his retraite des dix milles, for it is said that he had above that number, and might consequently have acted offensively, instead of retreating; especially as his retreat was contrary to the unanimous opinion (as it is now said) of the council of war. In our Ministry, I suppose, things go pretty quietly, for the D. of N. has not plagued me these two months. When his Royal Highness comes over, which I take it for granted he will do very soon, the great push will, I pre sume, be made at his Grace and Mr. Pitt ; but without effect if they agree, as it is visibly their interest to do; and, in that case, their parliamentary strength will support them against all attacks. You may remember, I said at first, that the popularity would soon be on the side of those who opposed the popular Militia Bill ; and now it appears so with a vengeance, in almost every county in England, by the tumults and insurrections of the people, who swear that they will not be enlisted. That silly scheme must therefore be dropped, as quietly as may be. Now that I have told you all that I know, and almost all that I think, I wish you a good supper and a good-night.


LETTER CCVIII

BLACKHEATH, September 30, 1757.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I have so little to do, that I am surprised how I can find time to write to you so often. Do not stare at the seeming paradox; for it is an undoubted truth, that the less one has to do, the less time one finds to do it in. One yawns, one procrastinates,


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one can do it when one will, and therefore one seldom does it at all ; whereas those who have a great deal of business, must (to use a vulgar expression) buckle to it; and then they always find time enough to do it in. I hope your own experience has by this time convinced you of this truth.

I received your last of the 8th. It is now quite over with a very great man, who will still be a very great man, though a very unfortunate one. He has qualities of the mind that put him above the reach of these misfortunes ; and if reduced, as perhaps he may, to the marche of Bran denburg, he will always find in himself the comfort, and with all the world the credit, of a philosopher, a legislator, a patron, and a professor of arts and sciences. He will only lose the fame of a conqueror; a cruel fame, that arises from the destruction of the human species. Could it be any satisfaction to him to know, I could tell him, that he is at this time the most popular man in this kingdom ; the whole nation being enraged at that neutrality which has tens and completes his ruin. Between you and me, the King was not less enraged at it himself, when he saw the terms of it; and it affected his health more than all that had happened before. Indeed it seems to me a voluntary concession of the very worst that could have happened in the worst event. We now begin to think that our great and secret expedition is intended for Martinico and St. Do mingo ; if that be true, and we succeed in the attempt, we shall recover, and the French lose, one of the most valuable branches of commerce I mean sugar. The French now supply all the foreign markets in Europe with that com modity; we only supply ourselves with it. This would make us some amends for our ill luck, or ill conduct in North America; where Lord Loudon, with twelve thou sand men, thought himself no match for the French with but seven ; and Admiral Holborne, with seventeen ships of the line, declined attacking the French, because they had eighteen, and a greater weight of METAL, according to the new sea-phrase, which was unknown to Blake. I hear that letters have been sent to both with very severe repri mands. I am told, and I believe it is true, that we are negotiating with the Corsican, I will not say rebels, but


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asserters of their natural rights; to receive them, and what ever form of government they think fit to establish, under our protection, upon condition of their delivering up to us Port Ajaccio ; which may be made so strong and so good a one, as to be a full equivalent for the loss of Port Ma- hon. This is, in my mind, a very good scheme ; for though the Corsicans are a parcel of cruel and perfidious rascals, they will in this case be tied down to us by their own interest and their own danger; a solid security with knaves, though none with fools. His Royal Highness the Duke is hourly expected here : his arrival will make some bustle; for I believe it is certain that he is resolved to make a push at the Duke of N., Pitt and Co. ; but it will be ineffectual, if they continue to agree, as, to my CERTAIN KNOWLEDGE, they do at present. This parliament is theirs, ccetera quis nescit?

Now that I have told you all that I know or have heard, of public matters, let us talk of private ones that more nearly and immediately concern us. Admit me to your fire-side, in your little room; and as you would con verse with me there, w r rite to me for the future from thence. Are you completely nipptf yet? Have you formed what the world calls connections? that is, a certain num ber of acquaintances whom, from accident or choice, you frequent more than others? Have you either fine or well- bred women there? T a-t-il quelque bon ton? All fat and fair, I presume ; too proud and too cold to make ad vances, but, at the same time, too well-bred and too warm to reject them, when made by un honnete homme avec des manures.

Mr. is to be married, in about a month, to Miss .

I am very glad of it; for, as he will never be a man of the world, but will always lead a domestic and retired life, she seems to have been made on purpose for him. Her natural turn is as grave and domestic as his ; and she seems to have been kept by her aunts a la grace, instead of being raised in a hot bed, as most young ladies are of late. If, three weeks hence, you write him a short compli ment of congratulation upon the occasion, he, his mother, and tutti quanti, would be extremely pleased with it. Those attentions are always kindly taken, and cost one


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nothing but pen, ink, and paper. I consider them as draughts upon good-breeding, where the exchange is always greatly in favor of the drawer. A propos of exchange; I hope you have, with the help of your secretary, made your self correctly master of all that sort of knowledge Course of Exchange, Agio, Banco, Reiche- Thalers, down to Marien Groschen. It is very little trouble to learn it ; it is often of great use to know it. Good-night, and God bless you !


LETTER CCIX

BLACKHEATH, October 10, 1757.

MY DEAR FRIEND : It is not without some difficulty that I snatch this moment of leisure from my extreme idleness, to inform you of the present lamentable and astonishing state of affairs here, which you would know but imperfectly from the public papers, and but partially from your private correspondents. Or sus then Our in vincible Armada, which cost at least half a million, sailed, as you know, some weeks ago ; the object kept an inviolable secret : conjectures various, and expectations great. Brest was perhaps to be taken ; but Martinico and St. Domingo, at least. When lo ! the important island of Aix was taken without the least resistance, seven hundred men made pris oners, and some pieces of cannon carried off. From thence we sailed toward Rochfort, which it seems was our main object ; and consequently one should have supposed that we had pilots on board who knew all the soundings and landing- places there and thereabouts: but no; for General M 1

asked the Admiral if he could land him and the troops near Rochfort? The Admiral said, with great ease. To which the General replied, but can you take us on board again? To which the Admiral answered, that, like all naval operations, will depend upon the wind. If so, said the General, I ll e en go home again. A Council of War was immediately called, where it was unanimously resolved, that it was ADVISABLE to return ; accordingly they are re turned. As the expectations of the whole nation had been raised to the highest pitch, the universal disappointment and


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indignation have arisen in proportion ; and I question whether the ferment of men s minds was ever greater. Suspicions, you may be sure, are various and endless, but the most prevailing one is, that the tail of the Hanover neutrality, like that of a comet, extended itself to Rochfort. What encourages this suspicion is, that a French man of war went unmolested through our whole fleet, as it lay near Rochfort. Haddock s whole story is revived; Michel s representations are combined with other circumstances ; and the whole together makes up a mass of discontent, resent ment, and even fury, greater than perhaps was ever known in this country before. These are the facts, draw your own conclusions from them; for my part, I am lost in astonish ment and conjectures, and do not know where to fix. My experience has shown me, that many things which seem extremely probable are not true: and many which seem highly improbable are true; so that I will conclude this article, as Josephus does almost every article of his history, with saying, BUT OF THIS EVERY MAN WILL BELIEVE AS HE THINKS PROPER. What a disgraceful year will this be in the annals of this country! May its good genius, if ever it appears again, tear out those sheets, thus stained and blotted by our ignominy!

Our domestic affairs are, as far as I know anything of them, in the same situation as when I wrote to you last ; but they will begin to be in motion upon the approach of the session, and upon the return of the Duke, whose arrival is most impatiently expected by the mob of London; though not to strew flowers in his way.

I leave this place next Saturday, and London the Sat urday following, to be the next day at Bath. Adieu.


LETTER CCX

LONDON, October 17, 1757.

MY DEAR FRIEND: Your last, of the 3Oth past, was a very good letter; and I will believe half of what you assure me, that you returned to the Landgrave s civilities. I cannot possibly go farther than half, knowing that you are not lavish of your words, especially in that


LETTERS TO HIS SON 21 1

species of eloquence called the adulatory. Do not use too much discretion in profiting of the Landgrave s naturaliza tion of you ; but go pretty often and feed with him. Choose the company of your superiors, whenever you can have it ; that is the right and true pride. The mistaken and silly pride is, to PRIMER among inferiors.

Hear, O Israel ! and wonder. On Sunday morning last, the Duke gave up his commission of Captain General and his regiment of guards. You will ask me why? I cannot tell you, but I will tell you the causes assigned; which, perhaps, are none of them the true ones. It is said that the King reproached him with having exceeded his powers in making the Hanover Convention, which his R. H. ab solutely denied, and threw up thereupon. This is certain, that he appeared at the drawing-room at Kensington, last Sunday, after having quitted, and went straight to Windsor; where, his people say, that he intends to reside quietly, and amuse himself as a private man. But I conjecture that matters will soon be made up again, and that he will resume his employments. You will easily imagine the speculations this event has occasioned in the public ; I shall neither trouble you nor myself with relating them ; nor would this sheet of paper, or even a quire more, contain them. Some refine enough to suspect that it is a concerted quarrel, to justify SOMEBODY TO SOMEBODY, with regard to the Convention; but I do not believe it.

His R. H. s people load the Hanover Ministers, and more particularly our friend Munchausen here, with the whole blame; but with what degree of truth I know not. This only is certain, that the whole negotiation of that affair was broached and carried on by the Hanover Min isters and Monsieur Stemberg at Vienna, absolutely unknown to the English Ministers, till it was executed. This affair combined (for people will combine it) with the astonishing return of our great armament, not only re infectd, but even intent aid, makes such a jumble of reflections, conjectures, and refinements, that one is weary of hearing them. Our Tacituses and Machiavels go deep, suspect the worst, and, perhaps, as they often do, overshoot the mark. For my own part, I fairly confess that I am bewildered, and have not certain postulata enough, not only to found any opinion,


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but even to form conjectures upon : and this is the language which I think you should hold to all who speak to you, as to be sure all will, upon that subject. Plead, as you truly may, your own ignorance ; and say, that it is impossible to judge of those nice points, at such a distance, and without knowing all circumstances, which you cannot be supposed to do. And as to the Duke s resignation; you should, in my opinion, say, that perhaps there might be a little too much vivacity in the case, but that, upon the whole, you make no doubt of the thing s being soon set right again; as, in truth, I dare say it will. Upon these delicate occa sions, you must practice the ministerial shrugs and persiflage; for silent gesticulations, which you would be most inclined to, would not be sufficient: something must be said, but that something, when analyzed, must amount to nothing. As for instance, // est vrai qu on s y perd, mais que voulez- vous que je vous dise? il y a bien du pour et du contre ; un petit Resident ne voit gubres lefond dti sac. II faut attendre. Those sort of expletives are of infinite use; and nine people in ten think they mean something. But to the Landgrave of Hesse I think you would do well to say, in seeming confidence, that you have good reason to believe that the principal objection of his Majesty to the convention was that his Highness s interests, and the affair of his troops, were not sufficiently considered in it. To the Prussian Minister assert boldly that you know de science certaine, that the principal object of his Majesty s and his British Ministry s intention is not only to perform all their present engagements with his Master, but to take new and stronger ones for his support; for this is true AT LEAST AT PRESENT. You did very well in inviting Comte Bothmar to dine with you. You see how minutely I am informed of your proceedings, though not from yourself. Adieu.

I go to Bath next Saturday ; but direct your letters, as usual, to London.


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LETTER CCXI

BATH, October 26, 1757.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I arrived here safe, but far from sound, last Sunday. I have consequently drunk these waters but three days, and yet I find myself something better for them. The night before I left London I was for some hours at Newcastle House, where the letters, which came that morning, lay upon the table: and his Grace singled out yours with great approbation, and, at the same time, assured me of his Majesty s approbation, too. To these two approbations I truly add my own, which, sans vanitt, may perhaps be near as good as the other two. In that letter you venture vos petits raisonnemens very properly, and then as properly make an excuse for doing so. Go on so, with diligence, and you will be, what I be gan to despair of your ever being, SOMEBODY. I am per suaded, if you would own the truth, that you feel yourself now much better satisfied with yourself than you were while you did nothing.

Application to business, attended with approbation and success, flatters and animates the mind: which, in idleness and inaction, stagnates and putrefies. I could wish that every rational man would, every night when he goes to bed, ask himself this question, What have I done to-day? Have T done anything that can be of use to myself or others? Have I employed my time, or have I squandered it? Have I lived out the day, or have I dozed it away in sloth and laziness? A thinking being must be pleased or confounded, according as he can answer himself these questions. I ob serve that you are in the secret of what is intended, and what Munchausen is gone to Stade to prepare ; a bold and dangerous experiment in my mind, and which may probably end in a second volume to the (< History of the Palatinate, }> in the last century. His Serene Highness of Brunswick has, in my mind, played a prudent and saving game ; and I am apt to believe that the other Serene Highness, at Hamburg, is more likely to follow his example than to em bark in the great scheme.


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I see no signs of the Duke s resuming his employments ; but on the contrary I am assured that his Majesty is coolly determined to do as well as he can without him. The Duke of Devonshire and Fox have worked hard to make up matters in the closet, but to no purpose. People s self-love is very apt to make them think themselves more necessary than they are : and I shrewdly suspect, that his Royal High ness has been the dupe of that sentiment, and was taken at his word when he least suspected it; like my predecessor, Lord Harrington, who when he went into the closet to re sign the seals, had them not about him: so sure he thought himself of being pressed to keep them.

The whole talk of London, of this place, and of every place in the whole kingdom, is of our great, expensive, and yet fruitless expedition ; I have seen an officer who was there, a very sensible and observing man : who told me that had we attempted Rochfort, the day after we took the island of Aix, our success had been infallible ; but that, after we had sauntered (God knows why) eight or ten days in the island, he thinks the attempt would have been impracticable, because the French had in that time got to gether all the troops in that neighborhood, to a very con siderable number. In short, there must have been some secret in that whole affair that has not yet transpired; and I cannot help suspecting that it came from Stade. WE had not been successful there ; and perhaps WE were not desirous that an expedition, in which WE had neither been concerned nor consulted, should prove so ;

M 1 was OUR creature, and a word to the wise will

sometimes go a great way. M 1 is to have a public trial,

from which the public expects great discoveries Not I.

Do you visit Soltikow, the Russian Minister, whose house, I am told, is the great scene of pleasures at Hamburg? His mistress, I take for granted, is by this time dead, and he wears some other body s shackles. Her death comes with regard to the King of Prussia, comme la moutarde aprts diner. I am curious to see what tyrant will succeed her, not by divine, but by military right ; for, barbarous as they are now, and still more barbarous as they have been formerly, they have had very little regard to the more barbarous notion of divine, indefeasible, hereditary right.


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The Praetorian bands, that is, the guards, I presume, have been engaged in the interests of the Imperial Prince; but still I think that little John of Archangel will be heard upon this occasion, unless prevented by a quieting draught of hemlock or nightshade ; for I suppose they are not arrived to the politer and genteeler poisons of Acqua Tufana* sugar-plums, etc.

Lord Halifax has accepted his old employment, with the honorary addition of the Cabinet Council. And so we heartily wish you a good-night.


LETTER CCXII

BATH, November 4, 1757-

MY DEAR FRIEND: The Sons of Britain, like those of Noah, must cover their parent s shame as well as they can ; for to retrieve its honor is now too late. One would really think that our ministers and generals were all as drunk as the Patriarch was. However, in your situation, you must not be Cham; but spread your cloak

over our disgrace, as far as it will go. M 1 calls aloud

for a public trial; and in that, and that only, the public agree with him. There will certainly be one, but of what kind is not yet fixed. Some are for a parliamentary inquiry, others for a martial one; neither will, in my opinion, dis cover the true secret; for a secret there most unquestionably is. Why we stayed six whole days in the island of Aix, mortal cannot imagine; which time the French employed, as it was obvious they would, in assembling their troops in the neighborhood of Rochfort, and making our attempt then really impracticable. The day after we had taken the is land of Aix, your -friend, Colonel Wolf, publicly offered to do the business with five hundred men and three ships only. In all these complicated political machines there are so many wheels, that it is always difficult, and sometimes im possible, to guess which of them gives direction to the whole. Mr. Pitt is convinced that the principal wheels,

  • Acqua Tufana, a Neapolitan slow poison, resembling clear water,

and invented by a woman at Naples, of the name of Tufana.


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or, if you will, the spoke in his wheel, came from Stade. This is certain, at least that M 1 was the man of con fidence with that person. Whatever be the truth of the case, there is, to be sure, hitherto an hiatus valde deflendus.

The meeting of the parliament will certainly be very nu merous, were it only from curiosity: but the majority on the side of the Court will, I dare say, be a great one. The people of the late Captain-general, however inclined to oppose, will be obliged to concur. Their commissions, which they have no desire to lose, will make them tract able ; for those gentlemen, though all men of honor, are of Sosia s mind, que le vrai Amphitrion est celui oil Von dine. The Tories and the city have engaged to support Pitt ; the Whigs, the Duke of Newcastle ; the independent and the impartial, as you well know, are not worth mentioning. It is said that the Duke intends to bring the affair of his Convention into parliament, for his own justification ; I can hardly believe it ; as I cannot conceive that transactions so merely electoral can be proper objects of inquiry or de liberation for a British parliament ; and, therefore, should such a motion be made, I presume it will be immediately quashed. By the commission lately given to Sir John Lig- onier, of General and Commander-in-chief of all his Majesty s forces in Great Britain, the door seems to be not only shut, but bolted, against his Royal Highness s return ; and I have good reason to be convinced that that breach is irreparable. The reports of changes in the Ministry, I am pretty sure, are idle and groundless. The Duke of Newcastle and Mr. Pitt really agree very well; not, I pre sume, from any sentimental tenderness for each other, but from a sense that it is their mutual interest : and, as the late Captain-general s party is now out of the question, I do not see what should produce the least change.

The visit made lately to Berlin was, I dare say, neither a friendly nor an inoffensive one. The Austrians always leave behind them pretty lasting monuments of their visits, or rather visitations: not so much, I believe, from their thirst of glory, as from their hunger of prey.

This winter, I take for granted, must produce a piece of some kind or another; a bad one for us, no doubt, and yet perhaps better than we should get the year after. I sup-


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pose the King of Prussia is negotiating with France, and endeavoring by those means to get out of the scrape with the loss only of Silesia, and perhaps Halberstadt, by way of indemnification to Saxony; and, considering all circum stances, he would be well off upon those terms. But then how is Sweden to be satisfied? Will the Russians restore Memel? Will France have been at all this expense gratis? Must there be no acquisition for them in Flanders? I dare say they have stipulated something of that sort for themselves, by the additional and secret treaty, which I know they made, last May, with the Queen of Hungary. Must we give up whatever the French please to desire in America, besides the cession of Minorca in perpetuity? I fear we must, or else raise twelve millions more next year, to as little purpose as we did this, and have consequently a worse peace afterward. I turn my eyes away, as much as I can, from this miserable prospect ; but, as a citizen and member of society, it recurs to my imagination, notwithstanding all my endeavors to banish it from my thoughts. I can do myself nor my country no good; but I feel the wretched situation of both; the state of the latter makes me better bear that of the former ; and, when I am called away from my station here, I shall think it rather (as Cicero says of Crassus) mors donata quant -vita erepta.

I have often desired, but in vain, the favor of being ad mitted into your private apartment at Hamburg, and of being informed of your private life there. Your mornings, I hope and believe, are employed in business ; but give me an account of the remainder of the day, which I suppose is, and ought to be, appropriated to amusements and pleas ures. In what houses are you domestic? Who are so in yours? In short, let me in, and do not be denied to me.

Here I am, as usual, seeing few people, and hearing fewer ; drinking the waters regularly to a minute, and am something the better for them. I read a great deal, and vary occasionally my dead company. I converse with grave folios in the morning, while my head is clearest and my attention strongest: I take up less severe quartos after din ner ; and at night I choose the mixed company and amusing chit-chat of octavos and duodecimos. Je tire parti de tout


218 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

ce que je puts; that is my philosophy; and I mitigate, as much as I can, my physical ills by diverting my attention to other objects.

Here is a report that Admiral Holborne s fleet is destroyed, in a manner, by a storm : I hope it is not true, in the full extent of the report ; but I believe it has suffered. This would fill up the measure of our misfortunes. Adieu.


LETTER CCXIII

BATH, November 20, 1757.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I write to you now, because I love to write to you; and hope that my letters are wel come to you; for otherwise I have very little to inform you of. The King of Prussia s late victory you are better informed of than we are here. It has given in finite joy to the unthinking public, who are not aware that it comes too late in the year and too late in the war, to be attended with any very great consequences. There are six or seven thousand of the human species less than there were a month ago, and that seems to me to be all. However, I am glad of it, upon account of the pleasure and the glory which it gives the King of Prussia, to whom I wish well as a man, more than as a king. And surely he is so great a man, that had he lived seventeen or eighteen hundred years ago, and his life been transmitted to us in a language that we could not very well understand I mean either Greek or Latin we should have talked of him as we do now of your Alexanders, your Caesars, and others, with whom, I believe, we have but a very slight acquaintance. Au reste, I do not see that his affairs are much mended by this victory, The same combination of the great Powers of Europe against him still subsists, and must at last prevail. I believe the French army will melt away, as is usual, in Germany ; but this army is extremely diminished by battles, fatigues, and desertion: and he will find great difficulties in recruiting it from his own already exhausted dominions. He must there fore, and to be sure will, negotiate privately with the


LETTERS TO HIS SON 219

French, and get better terms that way than he could any other.

The report of the three general officers, the Duke of Marlborough, Lord George Sackville, and General Walde- grave, was laid before the King last Saturday, after their

having sat four days upon M t s affair: nobody yet knows

what it is; but it is generally believed that M 1

will be brought to a court-martial. That you may not mis take this matter, as MOST people here do, I must explain to you, that this examination before the three above-men tioned general officers, was by no means a trial; but only a previous inquiry into his conduct, to see whether there was, or was not, cause to bring him to a regular trial be fore a court-martial. The case is exactly parallel to that of a grand jury; who, upon a previous and general ex amination, find, or do not find, a bill to bring the matter before the petty jury; where the fact is finally tried. For my own part, my opinion is fixed upon that affair: I am convinced that the expedition was to be defeated; and nothing that can appear before a court-martial can make me alter that opinion. I have been too long acquainted with human nature to have great regard for human testi mony ; and a very great degree of probability, supported by various concurrent circumstances, conspiring in one point, will have much greater weight with me, than human testimony upon oath, or even upon honor; both which I have frequently seen considerably warped by private views.

The parliament, which now stands prorogued to the first of next month, it is thought will be put off for some time longer, till we know in what light to lay before it the state of our alliance with Prussia, since the conclusion of the Hanover neutrality; which, if it did not quite break it, made at least a great flaw in it.

The birth-day was neither fine nor crowded ; and no won der, since the King was that day seventy-five. The old Court and the young one are much better together since the Duke s retirement ; and the King has presented the Prince of Wales with a service of plate.

I am still UNWELL, though I drink these waters very regu larly. I will stay here at least six weeks longer; where I


220 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

am much quieter than I should be allowed to be in town. When things are in such a miserable situation as they are at present, I desire neither to be concerned nor consulted, still less quoted. Adieu !


LETTER CCXIV

BATH, November 26, 1757.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I received by the last mail your short account of the King of Prussia s victory ; which victory, contrary to custom, turns out more complete than it was at first reported to be. This appears by an in tercepted letter from Monsieur de St. Germain to Monsieur d Affry, at The Hague, in which he tells him, Cette arme est entibrement fondue, and lays the blame, very strongly, upon Monsieur de Soubize. But, be it greater or be it less, I am glad of it; because the King of Prussia (whom I honor and almost adore) I am sure is. Though (Tailleurs, be tween you and me, o& est-ce que cela mene? To nothing, while that formidable union of three great Powers of Europe subsists against him, could that be any way broken, some thing might be done ; without which nothing can. I take it for granted that the King of Prussia will do all he can to detach France. Why should not we, on our part, try to detach Russia? At least, in our present distress, omnia tentanda, and sometimes a lucky and unexpected hit turns up. This thought came into my head this morning ; and I give it to you, not as a very probable scheme, but as a pos sible one, and consequently worth trying. The year of the Russian subsidies (nominally paid by the Court of Vienna, but really by France) is near expired. The former prob ably cannot, and perhaps the latter will not, renew them. The Court of Petersburg is beggarly, profuse, greedy, and by no means scrupulous. Why should not we step in there, and out-bid them? If we could, we buy a great army at once ; which would give an entire new turn to the affairs of that part of the world at least. And if we bid hand somely, I do not believe the bonne foi of that Court would stand in the way. Both our Court and our parliament would, I am very sure, give a very great sum, and very


LETTERS TO HIS SON 221

cheerfully, for this purpose. In the next place, Why should not you wriggle yourself, if possible, into so great a scheme? You are, no doubt, much acquainted with the Russian Resi dent, Soltikow ; Why should you not sound him, as entirely from yourself, upon this subject? You may ask him, What, does your Court intend to go on next year in the pay of France, to destroy the liberties of all Europe, and throw universal monarchy into the hands of that already great and always ambitious Power? I know you think, or at least call yourselves, the allies of the Empress Queen; but is it not plain that she will be, in the first place, and you in the next, the dupes of France? At this very time you are do ing the work of France and Sweden : and that for some miserable subsidies, much inferior to those which I am sure you might have, in a better cause, and more consistent with the true interest of Russia. Though not empowered, I know the manner of thinking of my own Court so well upon this subject, that I will venture to promise you much better terms than those you have now, without the least appre hensions of being disavowed. Should he listen to this, and what more may occur to you to say upon this subject, and ask you, En 4crirai-je ft ma cour? Answer him, Ecrivez, tcrivez, Monsieur hardiment. Je prendrai tout cela sur mot. Should this happen, as perhaps, and as I heartily wish it may, then write an exact relation of it to your own Court. Tell them that you thought the measure of such great im portance, that you could not help taking this little step toward bringing it about ; but that you mentioned it only as from yourself, and that you have not in the least committed them by it. If Soltikow lends himself in any degree to this, insinuate that, in the present situation of affairs, and particularly of the King s Electoral dominions, you are very sure that his Majesty would have une reconnoissance sans bornes for ALL those by whose means so desirable a revival of an old and long friendship should be brought about. You will perhaps tell me that, without doubt, Mr. Keith s instructions are to the same effect : but I will answer you, that you can, IF YOU PLEASE, do it better than Mr. Keith ; and in the next place that, be all that as it will, it must be very advantageous to you at home, to show that you have at least a contriving head, and an alertness in business.


222 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

I had a letter by the last post, from the Duke of New castle, in which he congratulates me, in his own name and in Lord Hardwicke s, upon the approbation which your dispatches give, not only to them two, but to OTHERS. This success, so early, should encourage your diligence and rouse your ambition if you have any ; you may go a great way, if you desire it, having so much time before you.

I send you here inclosed the copy of the Report of the three general officers, appointed to exaraine previously

into the conduct of General M 1 ; it is ill written, and

ill spelled, but no matter ; you will decipher it. You will observe, by the tenor of it, that it points strongly to a court-martial; which, no doubt, will soon be held upon him. I presume there will be no shooting in the final sentence ; but I do suppose there will be breaking, etc.

I have had some severe returns of my old complaints last week, and am still unwell ; I cannot help it.

A friend of yours arrived here three days ago ; she seems to me to be a serviceable strong-bodied bay mare, with black mane and tail; you easily guess who I mean. She is come with mamma, and without caro sposo.

Adieu ! my head will not let me go on longer.


LETTER CCXV

BATH, December 31, 1757.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I have this moment received your letter of the i8th, with the inclosed papers. I can not help observing that, till then, you never ac knowledged the receipt of any one of my letters.

I can easily conceive that party spirit, among your brother ministers at Hamburg, runs as high as you repre sent it, because I can easily believe the errors of the human mind ; but at the same time I must observe, that such a spirit is the spirit of little minds and subaltern ministers, who think to atone by zeal for their want of merit and importance. The political differences of the several courts should never influence the personal behavior of their


LETTERS TO HIS SON 223

several ministers toward one another. There is a certain procd noble ct galant, which should always be observed among the ministers of powers even at war with each other, which will always turn out to the advantage of the ablest, who will in those conversations find, or make, op portunities of throwing out, or of receiving useful hints. When I was last at The Hague, we were at war with both France and Spain ; so that I could neither visit, nor be visited by, the Ministers of those two Crowns ; but we met every day, or dined at third places, where we embraced as personal friends, and trifled, at the same time, upon our being political enemies ; and by this sort of badinage I discovered some things which I wanted to know. There is not a more prudent maxim than to live with one s enemies as if they may one day become one s friends; as it commonly happens, sooner or later, in the vicissitudes of political affairs.

To your question, which is a rational and prudent one, Whether I was authorized to give you the hints concern ing Russia by any people in power here, I will tell you that I was not : but, as I had pressed them to try what might be done with Russia, and got Mr. Keith to be dispatched there some months sooner than otherwise, I dare say he would, with the proper instructions for that purpose. I wished that, by the hints I gave you, you might have got the start of him, and the merit, at least, of having entame that matter with Soltikow. What you have to do with him now, when you meet with him at any third place, or at his own house (where you are at liberty to go, while Russia has a Minister in London, and we a Minister at Petersburg), is, in my opinion, to say to him, in an easy cheerful manner, He bien, Monsieur, je me flatte que nous scrons bicntot amis publics, aussi bien qu amis personels. To which he will probably ask, Why, or how? You will reply, Because you know that Mr. Keith is gone to his Court with instructions, which you think must necessarily be agreeable there. And throw out to him that nothing but a change of their present system can save Livonia to Russia ; for that he cannot suppose that, when the Swedes shall have recovered Pomerania they will long leave Russia in quiet possession of Livonia.


224 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

If he is so much a Frenchman as you say, he will make you some weak answers to this ; but, as you will have the better of the argument on your side, you may remind him of the old and almost uninterrupted connection between France and Sweden, the inveterate enemy of Russia. Many other arguments will naturally occur to you in such a conversation, if you have it. In this case, there is a piece of ministerial art, which is sometimes of use ; and that is, to sow jealousies among one s enemies, by a seeming preference shown to some one of them. Monsieur Hecht s reveries are reveries indeed. How should his Master have made the GOLDEN ARRANGEMENTS which he talks of, and which are to be forged into shackles for General Fermor? The Prussian finances are not in a condition now to make such expensive arrangements. But I think you may tell Monsieur Hecht, in confidence, that you hope the instruc tions with which you know that Mr. Keith is gone to Petersburg, may have some effect upon the measures of that Court.

I would advise you to live with that same Monsieur Hecht in all the confidence, familiarity, and connection, which prudence will allow. I mean it with regard to the King of Prussia himself, by whom I could wish you to be known and esteemed as much as possible. It may be of use to you some day or other. If man, courage, conduct, constancy, can get the better of all the difficulties which the King of Prussia has to struggle with, he will rise superior to them. But still, while his alliance subsists against him, I dread les gros escadrons. His last victory, of the 5th, was certainly the completest that has been heard of these many years. I heartily wish the Prince of Brunswick just such a one over Monsieur de Richelieu s army; and that he may take my old acquaintance the Mar^chal, and send him over here to polish and perfume us.

I heartily wish you, in the plain, home-spun style, a great number of happy new years, well employed in form ing both your mind and your manners, to be useful and agreeable to yourself, your country, and your friends ! That these wishes are sincere, your secretary s brother will, by the time of your receiving this, have remitted you a proof, from Yours.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 225


LETTER CCXV1

LONDON, February 8, 1758.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I received by the same post your two letters of the i3th and iyth past; and yesterday that of the 27th, with the Russian manifesto in closed, in which her Imperial Majesty of all the Russias has been pleased to give every reason, except the true one, foi the march of her troops against the King of Prussia. The true one, I take it to be, that she has just received a very great sum of money from France, or the Empress Queen, or both, for that purpose. Point cT argent, point de Russe, is now become a maxim. Whatever may be the motive of their march, the effects must be bad; and, according to my speculations, those troops will replace the French in Han over and Lower Saxony ; and the French will go and join the Austrian army. You ask me if I still despond? Not so much as I did after the battle of Colen: the battles of Rosbach and Lissa were drams to me, and gave me some momentary spirts : but though I do not absolutely despair, I own I greatly distrust. I readily allow the King of Prussia to be nee pluribus impar; but still, when \he p lures amount to a certain degree of plurality, courage and abili ties must yield at last. Michel here assures me that he does not mind the Russians ; but, as I have it from the gentleman s own mouth, I do not believe him. We shall very soon send a squadron to the Baltic to entertain the Swedes ; which I believe will put an end to their opera tions in Pomerania ; so that I have no great apprehensions from that quarter; but Russia, I confess, sticks in my stomach.

Everything goes smoothly in parliament ; the King of Prussia has united all our parties in his support ; and the Tories have declared that they will give Mr. Pitt unlimited credit for this session ; there has not been one single divi sion yet upon public points, and I believe will not. Our American expedition is preparing to go soon ; the dis position of that affair seems to me a little extraordinary. Abercrombie is to be the sedantary, and not the acting com- 15


226 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

mander ; Amherst, Lord Howe, and Wolfe, are to be the acting, and I hope the active officers. I wish they may agree. Amherst, who is the oldest officer, is under the in fluence of the same great person who influenced Mordaunt, so much to honor and advantage of this country. This is most certain, that we have force enough in America to eat up the French alive in Canada, Quebec, and Louisburg, if we have but skill and spirit enough to exert it properly; but of that I am modest enough to doubt.

When you come to the egotism, which I have long de sired you to come to with me, you need make no excuses for it. The egotism is as proper and as satisfactory to one s friends, as it is impertinent and misplaced with stran gers. I desire to see you in your every-day clothes, by your fireside, in your pleasures ; in short, in your private life ; but I have not yet been able to obtain this. Whenever you condescend to do it, as you promise, stick to truth; for I am not so uninformed of Hamburg as perhaps you may think.

As for myself, I am very UNWELL, and very weary of being so ; and with little hopes, at my age, of ever being otherwise. I often wish for the end of the wretched rem nant of my life ; and that wish is a rational one; but then the innate principle of self-preservation, wisely implanted in our natures for obvious purposes, opposes that wish, and makes us endeavor to spin out our thread as long as we can, however decayed and rotten it may be; and, in de fiance of common sense, we seek on for that chymic gold, which beggars us when old.

Whatever your amusements, or pleasures, may be at Hamburg, I dare say you taste them more sensibly than ever you did in your life, now that you have business enough to whet your appetite to them. Business, one-half of the day, is the best preparation for the pleasures of the other half. I hope, and believe, that it will be with you as it was with an apothecary whom I knew at Twicken ham. A considerable estate fell to him by an unexpected accident ; upon which he thought it decent to leave off his business ; accordingly he generously gave up his shop and his stock to his head man, set up his coach, and resolved to live like a gentleman ; but, in less than a month, the


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man, used to business, found, that living like a gentleman was dying of ennui; upon which he bought his shop and stock, resumed his trade, and lived very happily, after he had something to do. Adieu.


LETTER CCXVII

LONDON, February 24, 1758.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I received yesterday your letter of the 2d instant, with the inclosed ; which I return you, that there may be no chasm in your papers. I had heard before of Burrish s death, and had taken some steps thereupon ; but I very soon dropped that affair, for ninety-nine good reasons ; the first of which was, that no- nody is to go in his room, and that, had he lived, he was to have been recalled from Munich. But another reason, more flattering for you, was, that you could not be spared from Hamburg. Upon the whole, I am not sorry for it, as the place where you are now is the great entre pot of business ; and, when it ceases to be so, you will necessarily go to some of the courts in the neighborhood (Berlin, I hope and believe), which will be a much more desirable situation than to rush at Munich, where we can never have any business beyond a subsidy. Do but go on, and exert yourself were you are, and better things will soon follow.

Surely the inaction of our army at Hanover continues too long. We expected wonders from it some time ago, and yet nothing is attempted. The French will soon receive reinforcements, and then be too strong for us ; whereas they are now most certainly greatly weakened by desertion, sickness, and deaths. Does the King of Prussia send a body of men to our army or not? or has the march of the Russians cut him out work for all his troops? I am afraid it has. If one body of Russians joins the Austrian army in Moravia, and another body the Swedes in Pomerania, he will have his hands very full, too full, I fear. The French say they will have an army of 180,000 men in Germany this year; the Empress Queen will have 150,000; if the


228 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

Russians have but 40,000, what can resist such a force? The King of Prussia may say, indeed, with more justice than ever any one person could before him, Moi. Medea superest.

You promised me some egotism ; but I have received none yet. Do you frequent the Landgrave? Hantez vous les grands de la terre? What are the connections of the evening? All this, and a great deal more of this kind, let me know in your next.

The House of Commons is still very unanimous. There was a little popular squib let off this week, in a motion of Sir John Glynne s, seconded by Sir John Philips, for annual parliaments. It was a very cold scent, and put an end to by a division of 190 to 70.

Good-night. Work hard, that you may divert yourself well.


LETTER CCXVIII

LONDON, March 4, 1758.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I should have been much more sur prised at the contents of your letter of the i7th past, if I had not happened to have seen Sir C. W., about three or four hours before I received it. I thought he talked in an extraordinary manner ; he engaged that the King of Prussia should be master of Vienna in the month of May ; and he told me that you were very much in love with his daughter., Your letter explained all this to me ;

and next day, Lord and Lady E gave me innumerable

instances of his frenzy, with which I shall not trouble you. What inflamed it the more (if it did not entirely occasion it) was a great quantity of cantharides, which, it seems, he had taken at Hamburgh, to recommend himself, I sup pose, to Mademoiselle John. He was let blood four times on board the ship, and has been let blood four times since his arrival here; but still the inflammation continues very high. He is now under the care of his brothers, who do not let him go abroad. They have written to this same Mademoiselle John, to prevent, if they can, her coming to


LETTERS TO HIS SON 229

England, and told her the case ; which, when she hears she must be as mad as he is, if she takes the journey. By the way, she must be une dame aventuribrc, to receive a note for 10,000 roubles from a man whom she had known but three days ! to take a contract of marriage, knowing he was married already ; and to engage herself to follow him to England. I suppose this is not the first adventure of the sort which she has had.

After the news we received yesterday, that the French had evacuated Hanover, all but Hamel, we daily expect much better. We pursue them, we cut them off en detail, and at last we destroy their whole army. I wish it may happen, and, moreover, I think it not impossible.

My head is much out of order, and only allows me to wish you good-night.


LETTER CCXIX

LONDON, March 22, 1758.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I have now your letter of the 8th lying before me, with the favorable account of our progress in Lower Saxony, and reasonable prospect of more decisive success. I confess I did not expect this, when my friend Munchausen took his leave of me, to go to Stade, and break the neutrality ; I thought it at least a dangerous, but rather a desperate undertaking; whereas, hitherto, it has proved a very fortunate one. I look upon the French army as fondue ; and, what with desertion, deaths, and epidemical distempers, I dare say not a third of it will ever return to France. The great object is now, what the Russians can or will do ; and whether the King of Prussia can hinder their junction with the Austrians, by beating either, before they join. I will trust him for doing all that can be done.

Sir C. W. is still in confinement, and, I fear, will always be so, for he seems cum ratione insanire ; the physicians have collected all he has said and done that indicated an alienation of mind, and have laid it before him in writing ; he has answered it in writing too, and


2 3 o LORD CHESTERFIELD S

justifies himself in the most plausible arguments than can possibly be urged. He tells his brother, and the few who are allowed to see him, that they are such narrow and con tracted minds themselves, that they take those for mad who have a great and generous way of thinking ; as, for instance, when he determined to send his daughter over to you in a fortnight, to be married, without any previous agreement or settlements, it was because he had long known you, and loved you as a man of sense and honor; and therefore would not treat with you as with an attor ney. That as for Mademoiselle John, he knew her merit and her circumstances ; and asks, whether it is a sign of madness to have a due regard for the one, and a just com passion for the other. I will not tire you with enumerating any more instances of the poor man s frenzy; but conclude this subject with pitying him, and poor human nature, which holds its reason by so precarious a tenure. The lady, who you tell me is set out, en sera pour la -peine et les fraix du voyage, for her note is worth no more than her contract. By the way, she must be a kind of aven- turitre, to engage so easily in such an adventure with a man whom she had not known above a week, and whose debut of 10,000 roubles showed him not to be in his right senses.

You will probably have seen General Yorke, by this time, in his way to Berlin or Breslau, or wherever the King of Prussia may be. As he keeps his commission to the States General, I presume he is not to stay long with his Prussian Majesty; but, however, while he is there, take care to write to him very constantly, and to give all the information you can. His father, Lord Hardwicke, is your great puff : he commends your office letters exceedingly. I would have the Berlin commission your object, in good time ; never lose view of it. Do all you can to recommend yourself to the King of Prussia on your side of the water, and to smooth your way for that commission on this; by the turn which things have taken of late, it must always be the most important of all foreign commissions from hence.

I have no news to send you, as things here are extremely quiet; so, good-night.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 231


LETTER CCXX

LONDON, April 25, 1758.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I am now two letters in your debt, which I think is the first time that ever I was so, in the long course of our correspondence. But, be sides that my head has been very much out of order of late, writing is by no means that easy thing that it was to me formerly. I find by experience, that the mind and the body are more than married, for they are most intimately united; and when the one suffers, the other sympathizes. Non sum qualis cram: neither my memory nor my inven tion are now what they formerly were. It is in a great measure my own fault ; I cannot accuse Nature, for I abused her ; and it is reasonable I should suffer for it.

I do not like the return of the impression upon your lungs; but the rigor of the cold may probably have brought it upon you, and your lungs not in fault. Take care to live very cool, and let your diet be rather low.

We have had a second winter here, more severe than the first, at least it seemed so, from a premature summer that we had, for a fortnight, in March ; which brought every thing forward, only to be destroyed. I have experienced it at Blackheath, where the promise of fruit was a most flat tering one, and all nipped in the bud by frost and snow, in April. I shall not have a single peach or apricot.

I have nothing to tell you from hence concerning public affairs, but what you read in the newspapers. This only is extraordinary : that last week, in the House of Com mons, above ten millions were granted, and the whole Han over army taken into British pay, with but one single negative, which was Mr. Viner s.

Mr. Pitt gains ground in the closet, and yet does not lose it in the public. That is new.

Monsieur Kniphausen has dined with me; he is one of the prettiest fellows I have seen ; he has, with a great deal of life and fire, les manures (Tun honnetc homme^ et le ton de la parfaitemcnt bonne compagnie. You like him your self ; try to be like him : it is in your power.


232 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

I hear that Mr. Mitchel is to be recalled, notwithstanding the King of Prussia s instances to keep him. But why, is a secret that I cannot penetrate.

You will not fail to offer the Landgrave, and the Prin cess of Hesse (who I find are going home), to be their agent and commissioner at Hamburg.

I cannot comprehend the present state of Russia, nor the motions of their armies. They change their generals once a week ; sometimes they march with rapidity, and now they lie quiet behind the Vistula. We have a thousand stories here of the interior of that government, none of which I believe. Some say, that the Great Duke will be set aside. Woronzoff is said to be entirely a Frenchman, and that Monsieur de I Hopital governs both him and the court. Sir C. W. is said, by his indiscretions, to have caused the disgrace of Bestuchef, which seems not impossible. In short, everything of every kind is said, because, I believe, very little is truly known. A propos of Sir C. W. ; he is out of confinement, and gone to his house in the country for the whole summer. They say he is now very cool and well. I have seen his Circe, at her window in Pall-Mall ; she is painted, powdered, curled, and patched, and looks

Faventure. She has been offered, by Sir C. W s

friends, 500 in full of all demands, but will not accept of it. La comtesse veut plaider, and I fancy faire autre chose si elle pent. Jubeo te bene valere.


LETTER CCXXI

BLACKHEATH, May 18, O. S. 1758.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I have your letter of the 9th now before me, and condole with you upon the present solitude and inaction of Hamburg. You are now shrunk from the dignity and importance of a consummate minister, to be but, as it were, a common man. But this has, at one time or another, been the case of most great men ; who have not always had equal opportunities of ex erting their talents. The greatest must submit to the capri-


LETTERS TO HIS SON 233

ciousness of fortune ; though they can, better than others, improve the favorable moments. For instance, who could have thought, two years ago, that you would have been the Atlas of the Northern Pole ; but the Good Genius of the North ordered it so; and now that you have set that part of the globe right, you return to otium cum dignitate. But to be serious : now that you cannot have much office business to do, I could tell you what to do, that would employ you, I should think, both usefully and agreeably. I mean, that you should write short memoirs of that busy scene, in which you have been enough concerned, since your arrival at Hamburg, to be able to put together au thentic facts and anecdotes. I do not know whether you will give yourself the trouble to do it or not; but I do know, that if you will, olim hcec mcminisse juvabit. I would have them short, but correct as to facts and dates.

I have told Alt, in the strongest manner, your lamenta tions for the loss of the House of Cassel, et il en f era rapport ci son Sertnissime Maitre. When you are quite idle (as probably you may be, some time this summer), why should you not ask leave to make a tour to Cassel for a week? which would certainly be granted you from hence, and which would be looked upon as a bon proctdt at Cassel.

The King of Prussia is probably, by this time, at the gates of Vienna, making the Queen of Hungary really do what Monsieur de Bellisle only threatened ; sign a peace upon the ramparts of her capital. If she is obstinate, and will not, she must fly either to Presburg or to Inspruck, and Vienna must fall. But I think he will offer her rea sonable conditions enough for herself; and 1 suppose, that, in that case, Caunitz will be reasonable enough to advise her to accept of them. What turn would the war take then? Would the French and Rus sians carry it on without her ? The King of Prussia, and the Prince of Brunswick, would soon sweep them out of Germany. By this time, too, I believe, the French are entertained in America with the loss of Cape Breton ; and, in consequence of that, Quebec ; for we have a force there equal to both those undertakings, and officers there, now, that will execute what Lord L never would so much


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as attempt. His appointments were too considerable to let him do anything that might possibly put an end to the war. Lord Howe, upon seeing plainly that he was resolved to do nothing, had asked leave to return, as well as Lord Charles Hay.

We have a great expedition preparing, and which will soon be ready to sail from the Isle of Wight ; fifteen thou sand good troops, eighty battering cannons, besides mor tars, and every other thing in abundance, fit for either battle or siege. Lord Anson desired, and is appointed, to command the ileet employed upon this expedition ; a proof that it is not a trifling one. Conjectures concerning its des tination are infinite ; and the most ignorant are, as usual, the boldest conjecturers. If I form any conjectures, I keep them to myself, not to be disproved by the event ; but, in truth, I form none : I might have known, but would not.

Everything seems to tend to a peace next winter : our success in America, which is hardly doubtful, and the King of Prussia s in Germany, which is as little so, will make France (already sick of the expense of the war) very tractable for a peace. I heartily wish it : for though peo ple s heads are half turned with the King of Prussia s suc cess, and will be quite turned, if we have any in America, or at sea, a moderate peace will suit us better than this im moderate war of twelve millions a year.

Domestic affairs go just as they did; the Duke of New castle and Mr. Pitt jog on like man and wife ; that is, sel dom agreeing, often quarreling ; but by mutual interest, upon the whole, not parting. The latter, I am told, gains ground in the closet; though he still keeps his strength in the House, and his popularity in the public ; or, perhaps, be cause of that.

Do you hold your resolution of visiting your dominions of Bremen and Lubeck this summer? If you do, pray take the trouble of informing yourself correctly of the several constitutions and customs of those places, and of the pres ent state of the federal union of the Hanseatic towns : it will do you no harm, nor cost you much trouble ; and it is so much clear gain on the side of useful knowledge.

I am now settled at Blackheath for the summer ; where unseasonable frost and snow, and hot and parching east winds,


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have destroyed all my fruit, and almost my fruit-trees. I vegetate myself little better than they do ; I crawl about on foot and on horseback ; read a great deal, and write a little; and am very much yours.


LETTER CCXXII

BI.ACKHEATH, May 30, 1758.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I have no letter from you to answer, so this goes to you unprovoked. But h propos of letters ; you have had great honor done you, in a letter from a fair and royal hand, no less than that of her Royal Highness the Princess of Cassel ; she has written your panegyric to her sister, Princess Amelia, who sent me a compliment upon it. This has likewise done ) ou no harm with the King, who said gracious things upon that occasion. I suppose you had for her Royal Highness those attentions which I wish to God you would have, in due proportions, for everybody. You see, by this instance, the effects of them ; they are always repaid with interest. I am more confirmed by this in thinking, that, if you can conveniently, you should ask leave to go for a week to Cassel, to return your thanks for all favors received.

I cannot expound to myself the conduct of the Russians. There must be a trick in their not marching with more ex pedition. They have either had a sop from the King of Prussia, or they want an animating dram from France and Austria. The King of Prussia s conduct always explains itself by the events; and, within a very few days, we must certainly hear of some very great stroke from that quarter. I think I never in my life remember a period of time so big with great events as the present: within two months the fate of the House of Austria will probably be decided: within the same space of time, we shall certainly hear of the taking of Cape Breton, and of our army s proceeding to Quebec : within a few days we shall know the good or ill success of our great expedition ; for it is sailed ; and it cannot be long before we shall hear something of the Prince of Bruns wick s operations, from whom I also expect good things. If all


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these things turn out, as there is good reason to believe they will, we may once, in our turn, dictate a reasonable peace to France, who now pays seventy per cent insurance upon its trade, and seven per cent for all the money raised for the service of the year.

Comte Bothmar has got the small-pox, and of a bad kind. Kniphausen diverts himself much here ; he sees all places and all people, and is ubiquity itself. Mitchel, who was much threatened, stays at last at Berlin, at the earnest re quest of the King of Prussia. Lady is safely deliv ered of a son, to the great joy of that noble family. The expression, of a woman s having brought her husband a son, seems to be a proper and cautious one; for it is never said from whence.

I was going to ask you how you passed your time now at Hamburg, since it is no longer the seat of strangers and of business ; but I will not, because I know it is to no purpose. You have sworn not to tell me.

Sir William Stanhope told me that you promised to send him some Old Hock from Hamburg, and so you did

not. If you meet with any superlatively good, and

not else, pray send over a foudre of it, and write to him. I shall have a share in it. But unless you find some, either at Hamburg or at Bremen, uncommonly and al most miracuously good, do not send any. Dixi. Yours.


LETTER CCXXIII

BLACKHEATII, June 13, 1758.

MY DEAR FRIEND : The secret is out : St. Malo is the devoted place. Our troops began to land at the Bay of Cancale the 5th, without any opposition. We have no further accounts yet, but expect some every moment. By the plan of it, which I have seen, it is by no means a weak place ; and I fear there will be many hats to be disposed of, before it is taken. There are in the port above thirty privateers ; about sixteen of their own, and about as many taken from us.


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Now for Africa, where we have had great success. The French have been driven out of all their forts and settle ments upon the Gum coast, and upon the river Senegal. They had been many years in possession of them, and by them annoyed our African trade exceedingly ; which, by the way, toute proportion gardte, is the most lucrative trade we have. The present booty is likewise very con siderable, in gold dust, and gum seneca ; which is very valuable, by being a very necessary commodity, for all our stained and printed linens.

Now for America. The least sanguine people here ex pect, the latter end of this month or the beginning of the next, to have the account of the taking of Cape Breton, and of all the forts with hard names in North America.

Captain Clive has long since settled Asia to our satisfac tion ; so that three parts of the world look very favorable for us. Europe, I submit to the care of the King of Prussia and Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick; and I think they will give a good account of it. France is out of luck, and out of courage ; and will, I hope, be enough out of spirits to submit to a reasonable, peace. By reasonable, I mean what all people call reasonable in their own case; an ad vantageous one for us.

I have set all right with Mimchausen ; who would not own that he was at all offended, and said, as you do, that his daughter did not stay long enough, nor appear enough at Hamburg, for you possibly to know that she was there. But people are always ashamed to own the little weaknesses of self-love, which, however, all people feel more or less. The excuse, I saw, pleased.

I will send you your quadrille tables by the first oppor tunity, consigned to the care of Mr. Mathias here. Felices faustceque sint ! May you win upon them, when you play with men ; and when you play with women, either win or know why you lose.

Miss marries Mr. next week. WHO PROFFERS

LOVE, PROFFERS DEATH, says Weller to a dwarf : in my opin ion, the conclusion must instantly choak the little lady. Admi ral marries Lady ; there the danger, if danger is, will

be on the other side. The lady has wanted a man so long, that she now compounds for half a one. Half a loaf


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I have been worse since my last letter; but am now, I think, recovering; tant va la cruche d Feau; and I have been there very often.

Good-night. I am faithfully and truly yours.


LETTER CCXXIV

BLACKHEATH, June 27, 1758.

MY DEAR FRIEND: You either have received already, or will very soon receive, a little case from Amsterdam, directed to you at Hamburg. It is for Princess Amelia, the Kinsj of Prussia s sister, and contains some books which she desired Sir Charles Hotham to procure her from England, so long ago as when he was at Berlin : he sent for them immediately ; but, by I do not know what puzzle, they were recommended to the care of Mr. Selwyn, at Paris, who took such care of them, that he kept them near three years in his warehouse, and has at last sent them to Amster dam, from whence they are sent to you. If the books are good for anything, they must be considerably improved, by having seen so much of the world ; but, as I believe they are English books, perhaps they may, like English travelers, have seen nobody, but the several bankers to whom they were consigned: be that as it will, I think you had best de liver them to Monsieur Hecht, the Prussian Minister at Ham burg, to forward to her Royal Highness, with a respectful compliment from you, which you will, no doubt, turn in the best manner, and selon le bon ton de la parfaitement bonne cotnpagnie.

You have already seen, in the papers, all the particulars of our St. Malo s expedition, so I say no more of that; only that Mr. Pitt s friends exult in the destruction of three French ships of war, and one hundred and thirty privateers and trading ships; and affirm that it stopped the march of three score thousand men, who were going to join the Comte de Clermont s army. On the other hand, Mr. Fox and company call it breaking windows with guineas ; and apply the fable of the Mountain and the Mouse. The next object of our fleet was to be the bombarding of Granville, which is the


LETTERS TO HIS SON 239

great entrepot of their Newfoundland fishery, and will be a considerable loss to them in that branch of their trade. These, you will perhaps say, are no great matters, and I say so too ; but, at least, they are signs of life, which we had not given them for many years before; and will show the French, by our invading them, that we do not fear their invading us. Were those invasions, in fishing-boats from Dunkirk, so terrible as they were artfully represented to be, the French would have had an opportunity of executing them, while our fleet, and such a considerable part of our army, were employed upon their coast. BUT MY LORD LIGONIER DOES

NOT WANT AN ARMY AT HOME.

The parliament is prorogued by a most gracious speech neither by nor from his Majesty, who was TOO ILL to go to the House; the Lords and Gentlemen are, consequently, most of them, gone to their several counties, to do (to be sure) all the good that is recommended to them in the speech. London, I am told, is now very empty, for I cannot say so from knowledge. I vegetate wholly here. I walk and read a great deal, ride and scribble a little, according as my head allows, or my spirits prompt; to write anything tolerable, the mind must be in a natural, proper disposition; pro vocatives, in that case, as well as in another, will only pro duce miserable, abortive performances.

Now that you have (as I suppose) full leisure enough, I wish you would give yourself the trouble, or rather pleas ure, to do what I hinted to you some time ago ; that is, to write short memoirs of those affairs which have either gone through your hands, or that have come to your certain knowledge, from the inglorious battle of Hastenbeck, to the still more scandalous Treaty of Neutrality. Connect, at least, if it be by ever so short notes, the pieces and letters which you must necessarily have in your hands, and throw in the authentic anecdotes that you have probably heard. You will be glad when you have done it : and the reviving past ideas, in some order and method, will be an infinite comfort to you hereafter. I have a thousand times regretted not having done so ; it is at present too late for me to begin ; this is the right time for you, and your life is likely to be a busy one. Would young men avail themselves of the advice and experience of their old friends, they would


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find the utility in their youth, and the comfort of it in their more advanced age ; but they seldom consider that, and you, less than anybody I ever knew. May you soon grow wiser! Adieu.


LETTER CCXXV

BLACKHKATH, June 30, 1758.

MY DEAR FRIEND : This letter follows my last very close; but I received yours of the i5th in the short interval. You did very well not to buy any Rhenish, at the exorbitant price you mention, without further direc tions ; for both my brother and I think the money better than the wine, be the wine ever so good. We will content our selves with our stock in hand of humble Rhenish, of about three shillings a-bottle. However, pour la rarite du fait, \ will lay out twelve ducats, for twelve bottles of the wine of 1665, by way of an eventual cordial, if you can obtain a senatus consultum for it. I am in no hurry for it, so send it me only when you can conveniently ; well packed up s^entend.

You will, I dare say, have leave to go to Cassel ; and if you do go, you will perhaps think it reasonable, that I, who was the adviser of the journey, should pay the expense of it. I think so too ; and therefore, if you go, I will remit the JCioo which you have calculated it at. You will find the House of Cassel the house of gladness ; for Hanau is already, or must be soon, delivered of its French guests.

The Prince of Brunswick s victory is, by all the skillful, thought a chef d 1 auvre, worthy of Turenne, Cond6, or the most illustrious human butchers. The French behaved bet ter than at Rosbach, especially the Carabiniers Royaux, who could not be entamds. I wish the siege of Olmutz well over, and a victory after it ; and that, with good news from America, which I think there is no reason to doubt of, must procure us a good peace at the end of the year. The Prince of Prussia s death is no public misfortune : there was a jealousy and alienation between the King and him, which could never have been made up between the pos-


LETTERS TO HIS SON 241

sessor of the crown and the next heir to it. He will make something of his nephew, s il est du bois dont on en fait. He is young enough to forgive, and to be forgiven, the possession and the expectative, at least for some years. Adieu ! I am UNWELL, but affectionately yours.


LETTER CCXXVI

BLACKHKATH, July 18, 1758.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Yesterday I received your letter of the 4th ; and my last will have informed you that I had received your former, concerning the Rhenish, about which I gave you instructions. If vinum Mosellanum est omni temper e sanum, as the Chapter of Treves asserts, what must this vinum Rhenanum be, from its superior strength and age? It must be the universal panacea.

Captain Howe is to sail forthwith somewhere or another, with about 8,000 land forces on board him ; and what is much more, Edward the White Prince. It is yet a secret where they are going ; but I think it is no secret, that what 16,000 men and a great fleet could not do, will not be done by 8,000 men and a much smaller fleet. About 8,500 horse, foot, and dragoons, are embarking, as fast as they can, for Embden, to reinforce Prince Ferdinand s army ; late and few, to be sure, but still better than never, and none. The operations in Moravia go on slowly, and Olmutz seems to be a tough piece of work ; I own I begin to be in pain for the King of Prussia ; for the Russians now march in earnest, and Mar6chal Daun s army is cer tainly superior in number to his. God send him a good delivery !

You have a Danish army now in your neighborhood, and they say a very fine one ; I presume you will go to see it, and, if you do, I would advise you to go when the Danish Monarch comes to review it himself ; pour prendre langue de ce Seigneur. The rulers of the earth are all worth know ing ; they suggest moral reflections : and the respect that one naturally has for God s vicegerents here on earth, is greatly increased by acquaintance with them. 16


242 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

Your card-tables are gone, and they inclose some suits of clothes, and some of these clothes inclose a letter.

Your friend Lady is gone into the country with her

Lord, to negotiate, coolly and at leisure, their intended separation. My Lady insists upon my Lord s dismissing

the , as ruinous to his fortune; my Lord insists, in his

turn, upon my Lady s dismissing Lord ; my Lady

replies, that that is unreasonable, since Lord creates no

expense to the family, but rather the contrary. My Lord confesses that there is some weight in this argument : but then pleads sentiment: my Lady says, a fiddlestick for sen timent, after having been married so long. How this mat ter will end, is in the womb of time, nam fuit ante Helen am.

You did very well to write a congratulatory letter to Prince Ferdinand ; such attentions are always right, and always repaid in some way or other.

I am glad you have connected your negotiations and anecdotes; and, I hope, not with your usual laconism. Adieu! Yours.


LETTER CCXXVII

BLACKHEATH, August i, 1758.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I think the Court of Cassel is more likely to make you a second visit at Ham burg, than you are to return theirs at Cassel ; and therefore, till that matter is clearer, I shall not mention it to Lord Holderness.

By the King of Prussia s disappointment in Moravia, by the approach of the Russians, and the intended march of Monsieur de Soubize to Hanover, the waters seem to me to be as much troubled as ever. Je vois tr^s noir actuelle- ment ; I see swarms of Austrians, French, Imperialists, Swedes, and Russians, in all near four hundred thousand men, surrounding the King of Prussia and Prince Ferdi nand, who have about a third of that number. Hitherto they have only buzzed, but now I fear they will sting.

The immediate danger of this country is being drowned; for it has not ceased raining these three months, and


LETTERS TO HIS SON 24$

withal is extremely cold. This neither agrees with me in itself, nor in its consequences ; for it hinders me from taking my necessary exercise, and makes me very unwell. As rny head is always the part offending, and is so at present, I will not do, like many writers, write without a head ; so adieu.


LETTER CCXXVIII

BLACKHEATH, August 29, 1758.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Your secretary s last letter brought me the good news that the fever had left you, and I will believe that it has : but a postscript to it, of only two lines, under your own hand, would have con vinced me more effectually of your recovery. An inter mitting fever, in the intervals of the paroxysms, would surely have allowed you to have written a few lines with your own hand, to tell me how you were ; and till I re ceive a letter (as short as you please) from you yourself, I shall doubt of the exact truth of any other accounts.

I send you no news, because I have none ; Cape Breton, Cherbourg, etc., are now old stories; we expect a new one soon from Commodore Howe, but from whence we know not. From Germany we hope for good news: I confess I do not, I only wish it. The King of Prussia is marched to fight the Russians, and I believe will beat them, if they stand; but what then? What shall he do next, with the three hundred and fourscore thousand men now actually at work upon him? He will do all that man can do, but at last // faut succomber.

Remember to think yourself less well than you are, in order to be quite so ; be very regular, rather longer than you need ; and then there will be no danger of a relapse.. God bless you.


244 LORD CHESTERFIELD S


LETTER CCXXIX

BLACKHEATH, September 5, 1758.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I received, with great pleasure, your letter of the 22d August ; for, by not hav ing a line from you in your secretary s two letters, I suspect that you were worse than he cared to tell me ; and so far I was in the right, that your fever was more malignant than intermitting ones generally are, which sel dom confines people to their bed, or at most, only the days of the paroxysms. Now that, thank God, you are well again, though weak, do not be in too much haste to be better and stronger: leave that to nature, which, at your age, will restore both your health and strength as soon as she should. Live cool for a time, and rather low, instead of taking what they call heartening things.

Your manner of making presents is noble, et sent la grandeur (Tame cCun preux Chevalier. You depreciate their value to prevent any returns ; for it is impossible that a wine \vhich has counted so many Syndicks, that can only be delivered by a senatus consultum, and is the PANACEA of the North, should be sold for a ducat a bottle. The sylphium of the Romans, which was stored up in the public magazines, and only distributed by order of the magistrate, I dare say, cost more ; so that I am convinced, your present is much more valuable than you would make it.

Here I am interrupted, by receiving your letter of the 25th past. I am glad that you are able to undertake your journey to Bremen: the motion, the air, the new scene, the everything, will do you good, provided you manage yourself discreetly.

Your bill for fifty pounds shall certainly be accepted and paid ; but, as in conscience I think fifty pounds is too little, for seeing a live Landgrave, and especially at Bremen, which this whole nation knows to be a very dear place, I shall, with your leave, add fifty more to it. By the way, when you see the Princess Royal of Cassel, be sure to tell her how sensible you are of the favorable and


LETTERS TO HIS SON 245

too partial testimony, which you know she wrote of you to Princess Amelia.

The King of Prussia has had the victory, which you, in some measure foretold ; and as he has taken la caisse mili- taire, I presume Messieurs les Russes sont hors de combat four cctte camp ague ; for point d 1 argent, point de Suisse, is not truer of the laudable Helvetic body, than point d* argent, point de Russc, is of the savages of the Two Russias, not even excepting the Autocratrice of them both, Serbelloni, I believe, stands next in his Prussian Majesty s list to be beaten ; that is, if he will stand ; as the Prince de Soubize does in Prince Ferdinand s, upon the same condition. If both these things happen, which is by no means improbable, we may hope for a tolerable peace this winter; for, au bout du compte, the King of Prussia can not hold out another year; and therefore he should make the best of these favorable events, by way negotiation.

I think I have written a great deal, with an actual gid diness of head upon me. So adieu.

I am glad you have received my letter of the Ides of


LETTER CCXXX

BLACKHEATH, September 8, 1758.

MY DEAR FRIEND : This letter shall be short, being only an explanatory note upon my last ; for I am not learned enough, nor yet dull enough, to make my comment much longer than my text. I told you then, in my former letter, that, with your leave (which I will sup pose granted), I would add fifty pounds to your draught for that sum; now, lest you should misunderstand this, and wait for the remittance of that additional fifty from hence, know then my meaning was, that you should likewise draw upon me for it when you please ; which I presume, will be more convenient to you.

Let the pedants, whose business it is to believe lies, or the poets, whose trade it is to invent them, match the King of Prussia with a hero in ancient or modern story, if they


246 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

can. He disgraces history, and makes one give some credit to romances. Calprenede s Juba does not now seem so absurd as formerly.

I have been extremely ill this whole summer; but am now something better. However, I perceive, que Vesprit et le corps baissent ; the former is the last thing that any body will tell me, or own when I tell it them ; but I know it is true. Adieu.


LETTER CCXXXI

BLACKHKATH, September 22, 1758.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I have received no letter from you since you left Hamburg; I presume that you are perfectly recovered, but it might not have been improper to have told me so. I am very far from being recovered; on the contrary, I am worse and worse, weaker and weaker every day ; for which reason I shall leave this place next Monday, and set out for Bath a few days after ward. I should not take all this trouble merely to pro long the fag end of a life, from which I can expect no pleasure, and others no utility ; but the cure, or at least the mitigation, of those physical ills which make that life a load while it does last, is worth any trouble and attention.

We are come off but scurvily from our second attempt upon St. Malo ; it is our last for this season ; and, in my mind, should be our last forever, unless we were to send so great a sea and land force as to give us a moral cer tainty of taking some place of great importance, such as Brest, Rochefort, or Toulon.

Monsieur Munchausen embarked yesterday, as he said, for Prince Ferdinand s army; but as it is not generally thought that his military skill can be of any great use to that prince, people conjecture that his business must be of a very different nature, and suspect separate negotiations, neutralities, and what not. Kniphausen does not relish it in the least, and is by no means satisfied with the reasons that have been given him for it. Before he can arrive there, I reckon that something decisive will have passed in Saxony; if to the


LETTERS TO HIS SON 247

disadvantage of the King of Prussia, he is crushed; but if, on the contrary, he should get a complete victory (and he does not get half victories) over the Austrians, the winter may probably produce him and us a reasonable peace. I look upon Russia as hors de combat for some time; France is certainly sick of the war; under an unambitious King, and an incapable Ministry, if there is one at all : and, un assisted by those two powers, the Empress Queen had better be quiet. Were any other man in the situation of the King of Prussia, I should not hesitate to pronounce him ruined; but he is such a prodigy of a man, that I will only say, I fear he will be ruined. It is by this time decided.

Your Cassel court at Bremen is, I doubt, not very splendid; money must be wanting: but, however, I dare say their table is always good, for the Landgrave is a gourmand; and as you are domestic there, you may be so too, and recruit your loss of flesh from your fever : but do not recruit too fast. Adieu.


LETTER CCXXXII

LONDON, September 26, 1758.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I am sorry to find that you had a return of your fever; but to say the truth, you in some measure deserved it, for not carrying Dr. Mid- dleton s bark and prescription with you. I foresaw that you would think yourself cured too soon, and gave you warning of it; but BYGONES are BYGONES, as Chartres, when he was dying, said of his sins; let us look forward. You did very prudently to return to Hamburg, to good bark, and, I hope, a good physician. Make all sure there before you stir from thence, notwithstanding the requests or com mands of all the princesses in Europe: I mean a month at least, taking the bark even to supererogation, that is, some time longer than Dr. Middletoii requires; for, I presume, you are got over your childishness about tastes, and are sensible that your health deserves more attention than your palate. When you shall be thus re-established, I approve


24 8 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

of your returning to Bremen ; and indeed you cannot well avoid it, both with regard to your promise, and to the dis tinction with which you have been received by the Cassel family.

Now to the other part of your letter. Lord Holdernesse has been extremely civil to you, in sending you, all under his own hand, such obliging offers of his service. The hint is plain, that he will (in case you desire it) procure you leave to come home for some time ; so that the single ques tion is, whether you should desire it or not, NOW. It will be two months before you can possibly undertake the journey, whether by sea or by land, and either way it would be a troublesome and dangerous one for a conva lescent in the rigor of the month of November; you could drink no mineral waters here in that season, nor are any mineral waters proper in your case, being all of them heating, except Seltzer s ; then, what would do you more harm than all medicines could do you good, would be the pesti lential vapors of the House of Commons, in long and crowded days, of which there will probably be many this session ; where your attendance, if here, will necessarily be required. I compare St. Stephen s Chapel, upon those days, to la Grotta del Cane.

Whatever may be the fate of the war now, negotiations will certainly be stirring all the winter, and of those, the northern ones, you are sensible, are not the least important ; in these, if at Hamburg, you will probably have your share, and perhaps a meritorious one. Upon the whole, therefore, I would advise you to write a very civil letter to Lord Holdernesse ; and to tell him that though you cannot hope to be of any use to his Majesty s affairs any where, yet, in the present unsettled state of the North, it is possible that unforeseen accidents may throw in your way to be of some little service, and that you would not willingly be out of the way of those accidents ; but that you shall be most extremely obliged to his Lordship, if he will procure you his Majesty s gracious permission to return for a few months in the spring, when probably affairs will be more settled one way or another. When things tend nearer to a settlement, and that Germany, from the want of money or men, or both, breathes peace more than war, I


LETTERS TO HIS SON 249

shall solicit Burrish s commission for you, which is one of the most agreeable ones in his Majesty s gift ; and I shall by no means despair of success. Now I have given you my opinion upon this affair, which does not make a differ ence of above three months, or four at most, I would not be understood to mean to force your own, if it should hap pen to be different from mine ; but mine, I think, is more both for your health and your interest. However, do as you please : may you in this, and everything else, do for the best! So God bless you!


LETTER CCXXXIII

BATH, October 18, 1758.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I received by the same post your two letters of the 29th past, and of the 3d instant. The last tells me that you are perfectly recovered ; and your resolution of going to Bremen in three or four days proves it ; for surely you would not undertake that jour ney a second time, and at this season of the year, without feeling your health solidly restored; however, in all events, I hope you have taken a provision of good bark with you. I think your attention to her Royal Highness may be of use to you here ; and indeed all attentions, to all sorts of people, are always repaid in some way or other ; though real obligations are not. For instance, Lord Titchfield, who has been with you at Hamburg, has written an account to the Duke and Duchess of Portland, who are here, of the civilities you showed him, with which he is much pleased, and they delighted. At this rate, if you do not take care, you will get the unmanly reputation of a well-bred man ; and your countryman, John Trott, will disown you.

I have received, and tasted of your present ; which is a trts grand vin, but more cordial to the stomach than pleasant to the palate. I keep it as a physic, only to take occasionally, in little disorders of my stomach ; and in those cases, I believe it is wholsomer than stronger cordials.

I have been now here a fortnight ; and though I am rather better than when I came, I am still far from well.


250 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

My head is giddier than becomes a head of my age ; and my stomach has not recovered its retentive faculty. Lean ing forward, particularly to write, does not at present agree with, Yours.


LETTER CCXXXIV

BATH, October 28, 1758.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Your letter has quieted my alarms ; for I find by it, that you are as well recovered as you could be in so short a time. It is your busi ness now to keep yourself well by scrupulously following Dr. Middleton s directions. He seems to be a rational and knowing man. Soap and steel are, unquestionably, the proper medicines for your case ; but as they are altera tives, you must take them for a very long time, six months at least ; and then drink chalybeate waters. I am fully persuaded, that this was your original complaint in Carniola, which those ignorant physicians called, in their jargon, Arthritis vaga^ and treated as such. But now that the true cause of your illness is discovered, I flatter myself that, with time and patience on your part, you will be radically cured ; but, I repeat it again, it must be by a long and uninterrupted course of those alterative medicines above mentioned. They have no taste ; but if they had a bad one, I will not now suppose you such a child, as to let the frowardness of your palate interfere in the least with the recovery or enjoyment of health. The latter deserves the utmost attention of the most rational man; the former is the only proper object of the care of a dainty, frivolous woman.

The run of luck, which some time ago we were in, seems now to be turned against us. Oberg is completely routed ; his Prussian Majesty was surprised (which I am surprised at), and had rather the worst of it. I am in some pain for Prince Ferdinand, as I take it for granted that the de tachment from Marechal de Contade s army, which enabled Prince Soubize to beat Oberg, will immediately return to the grand army, and then it will be infinitely superior.


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Nor do I see where Prince Ferdinand can take his winter quarters, unless he retires to Hanover; and that I do not take to be at present the land of Canaan. Our second expe dition to St. Malo I cannot call so much an unlucky, as an ill-conducted one ; as was also Abercrombie s affair in America. Mais il n y a pas de petite perte qtii revient souvent: and all these accidents put together make a consid erable sum total.

I have found so little good by these waters, that I do not intend to stay here above a week longer ; and then re move my crazy body to London, which is the most con venient place either to live or die in.

I cannot expect active health anywhere ; you may, with common care and prudence, effect it everywhere ; and God grant that you may have it! Adieu.


LETTER CCXXXV

LONDON, November 21, 1758.

MY DEAR FRIEND : You did well to think of Prince Ferdinand s ribband, which I confess I did not; and I am glad to find you thinking so far beforehand. It would be a pretty commission, and I will accingere me to procure it to you. The only competition I fear, is that of General Yorke, in case Prince Ferdinand should pass any time with his brother at The Hague, which is not un likely, since he cannot go to Brunswick to his eldest brother, upon account of their simulated quarrel.

I fear the piece is at an end with the King of Prussia, and he may say ilicet; I am sure he may personally say plaudite. Warm work is expected this session of parlia ment, about continent and no continent ; some think Mr. Pitt too continent, others too little so; but a little time, as the newspapers most prudently and truly observe, will clear up these matters.

The King has been ill ; but his illness is terminated in a good fit of the gout, with which he is still confined. It was generally thought that he would have died, and for a


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very good reason; for the oldest lion in the Tower, much about the King s age, died a fortnight ago. This extrava gancy, I can assure you, was believed by many above peuple. So wild and capricious is the human mind!

Take care of your health as much as you can ; for, TO BE, or NOT TO BE, is a question of much less importance, in my mind, than to be or not to be well. Adieu.


LETTER CCXXXVI

LONDON, December 15, 1758.

MY DEAR FRIEND : It is a great while since I heard from you, but I hope that good, not ill health, has been the occasion of this silence : I will suppose you have been, or are still at Bremen, and engrossed by your Hessian friends.

Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick is most certainly to have the Garter, and I think I have secured you the honor of putting it on. When I say SECURED, I mean it in the sense in which that word should always be understood at courts, and that is, INSECURELY; I have a promise, but that is not caution bourgeoise. In all events, do not mention it to any mortal, because there is always a degree of ridicule that attends a disappointment, though often very unjustly, if the expectation was reasonably grounded; however, it is certainly most prudent not to communicate, prematurely, one s hopes or one s fears. I cannot tell you when Prince Ferdinand will have it ; though there are so many candi dates for the other two vacant Garters, that I believe he will have his soon, and by himself; the others must wait till a third, or rather a fourth vacancy. Lord Rockingham and Lord Holdernesse are secure. Lord Temple pushes strongly, but, I believe, is not secure. This commission for dubbing a knight, and so distinguished a one, will be a very agreeable and creditable one for you, et il faut vous en acquitter galamment. In the days of ancient chivalry, people were very nice who they would be knighted by : and, if I do not mistake, Francis the First would only be


LETTERS TO HIS SON 253

knighted by the Chevalier Bayard, qui ttoit preux Cheva lier et sans reproche; and no doubt but it will be recorded, dans les archives de la Maison de Brunswick, that Prince Ferdinand received the honor of knighthood from your hands.

The estimates for the expenses of the year 1759 are made up ; I have seen them ; and what do you think they amount to? No less than twelve millions three hundred thousand pounds : a most incredible sum, and yet already subscribed, and even more offered! The unanimity in the House of Commons, in voting such a sum, and such forces, both by sea and land, is not the less astonishing. This is Mr. Pitt s

doing, AND IT IS MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES.

The King of Prussia has nothing more to do this year ; and, the next, he must begin where he has left off. I wish he would employ this winter in concluding a separate peace with the Elector of Saxony ; which would give him more elbow-room to act against France and the Queen of Hungary, and put an end at once to the proceedings of the Diet, and the army of the empire; for then no estate of the empire would be invaded by a co-estate, and France, the faithful and disinterested guarantee of the Treaty of Westphalia, would have no pretense to continue its armies there. I should think that his Polish Majesty, and his Governor, Comte Brtihl, must be pretty weary of being fu gitives in Poland, where they are hated, and of being rav aged in Saxony. This reverie of mine, I hope will be tried, and I wish it may succeed. Good-night, and God bless you !


LETTER CCXXXVII

LONDON, New-year s Day, 1759.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Molti e felici, and I have done upon that subject, one truth being fair, upon the most lying day in the whole year.

I have now before me your last letter of the 2ist Decem ber, which I am glad to find is a bill of health : but, how ever, do not presume too much upon it, but obey and


254 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

honor your physician, (< that thy days may be long in the land.

Since my last, I have heard nothing more concerning the ribband ; but I take it for granted it will be disposed of soon. By the way, upon reflection, I am not sure that anybody but a knight can, according to form, be employed to make a knight. I remember that Sir Clement Cotterel was sent to Holland, to dub the late Prince of Orange, only because he was a knight himself; and I know that the proxies of knights, who cannot attend their own instal lations, must always be knights. This did not occur to me before, and perhaps will not to the person who was to recommend you : I am sure I will not stir it ; and I only mention it now, that you may be in all events prepared for the disappointment, if it should happen.

G is exceedingly flattered with your account, that three

thousand of his countrymen, all as little as himself, should be thought a sufficient guard upon three-and-twenty thousand of all the nations in Europe; not that he thinks himself, by any means, a little man, for when he would describe a tall handsome man, he raises himself up at least half an inch to represent him.

The private news from Hamburg is, that his Majesty s

Resident there is woundily in love with Madame ; if

this be true, God send him, rather than her, a good DE LIVERY ! She must be trenn6e at this season, and therefore I think you should be so too: so draw upon me as soon as you please, for one hundred pounds.

Here is nothing new, except the unanimity with which the parliament gives away a dozen of millions sterling; and the unanimity of the public is as great in approving of it, which has stifled the usual political and polemical argu mentations.

Cardinal Bernis s disgrace is as sudden, and hitherto as little understood, as his elevation was. I have seen his poems, printed at Paris, not by a friend, I dare say; and to

judge by them, I humbly conceive his Eminency is a p y.

I will say nothing of that excellent headpiece that made him and unmade him in the same month, except O KING, LIVE

FOREVER.

Good-night to you, whoever you pass it with.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 255


LETTER CCXXXVIII

LONDON, February 2, 1759.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I am now (what I have very seldom been) two letters in your debt: the reason was, that my head, like many other heads, has frequently taken a wrong turn ; in which case, writing is painful to me, and therefore cannot be very pleasant to my readers.

I wish you would (while you have so good an opportunity as you have at Hamburg) make yourself perfectly master of that dull but very useful knowledge, the course of ex change, and the causes of its almost perpetual variations; the value and relation of different coins, the specie, the banco, usances, agio, and a thousand other particulars. You may with ease learn, and you will be very glad when you have learned them ; for, in your business, that sort of knowl edge will often prove necessary.

I hear nothing more of Prince Ferdinand s garter : that he will have one is very certain; but when, I believe, is very uncertain ; all the other postulants wanting to be dubbed at the same time, which cannot be, as there is not ribband enough for them.

If the Russians move in time, and in earnest, there will be an end of our hopes and of our armies in Germany : three such mill-stones as Russia, France, and Austria, must, sooner or later, in the course of the year, grind his Prussian Majesty down to a mere MARGRAVE of Brandenburg. But I have always some hopes of a change under a Gunarchy ;* where whim and humor commonly prevail, reason very sel dom, and then only by a lucky mistake.

I expect the incomparable fair one of Hamburg, that prodigy of beauty, and paragon of good sense, who has en slaved your mind, and inflamed your heart. If she is as well etrennte as you say she shall, you will be soon out of her chains ; for I have, by long experience, found women to be like Telephus s spear, if one end kills, the other cures.

Derived from the Greek word Twtj a woman, and means female government.


256 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

There never was so quiet, nor so silent a session of parliament as the present ; Mr. Pitt declares only what he would have them do, and they do it neminc contradicente, Mr. Viner only expected.

Duchess Hamilton is to be married, to-morrow, to Colonel Campbell, the son of General Campbell, who will some day or other be Duke of Argyle, and have the estate. She refused the Duke of B r for him.

Here is a report, but I believe a very groundless one, that

your old acquaintance, the fair Madame C e, is run away

from her husband, with a jeweler, that 6trennes her, and is come over here ; but I dare say it is some mistake, or perhaps a lie. Adieu ! God bless you !


LETTER CCXXXIX

LONDON, February 27, 1759.

MY DEAR FRIEND: In your last letter, of the 7th, you accuse me, most unjustly, of being in arrears in my correspondence ; whereas, if our epistolary accounts were fairly liquidated, I believe you would be brought in considerably debtor. I do not see how any of my letters to you can miscarry, unless your office-packet miscarries too, for I always send them to the office. Moreover, I might have a justifiable excuse for writing to you seldomer than usual, for to be sure there never was a period of time, in the middle of a winter, and the parliament sitting, that supplied so little matter for a letter. Near twelve millions have been granted this year, not only nemine contradicente, but, nemine quicquid dicente. The proper officers bring in the estimates ; it is taken for granted that they are necessary and frugal; the members go to dinner, and leave Mr. West and Mr. Martin to do the rest.

I presume you have seen the little poem of the (< Country Lass," by Soame Jenyns, for it was in the <( Chronicle w ; as was also an answer to it, from the (< Monitor. >J They are neither of them bad performances; the first is the neatest, and the plan of the second has the most invention. I send you


LETTERS TO HIS SON 257

none of those pieces volantes in my letters, because they are all printed in one or other of the newspapers, particularly in the (< Chronicles w ; and I suppose that you and others have all those papers among you at Hamburg ; in which case it would be only putting you to the unnecessary expense of double postage.

I find you are sanguine about the King of Prussia this year ; I allow his army will be what you say ; but what will that be vis-ti-vis French, Austrians, Imperialists, Swedes, and Russians, who must amount to more than double that number? Were the inequality less, I would allow for the King of Prussia s being so much ipse agmen as pretty nearly to balance the account. In war, numbers are generally my omens ; and, I confess, that in Germany they seem not happy ones this year. In America. I think, we are sure of success, and great success ; but how we shall be able to strike a balance, as they call it, between good success there, and ill success upon the continent, so as to come at a peace, is more than I can discover.

Lady Chesterfield makes you her compliments, and thanks you for your offer ; but declines troubling you, being dis couraged by the ill success of Madame Munchausen s and Miss Chetwynd s commissions, the former for beef, and the latter for gloves ; neither of which have yet been executed, to the dissatisfaction of both. Adieu.


LETTER CCXL

LONDON, March 16, 1759.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I have now your letter of the 2oth past lying before me, by which you despond, in my opinion too soon, of dubbing your Prince ; for he most certainly will have the Garter ; and he will as prob ably have it before the campaign opens, as after. His campaign must, I doubt, at best be a defensive one ; and he will show great skill in making it such ; for according to my calculation, his enemies will be at least double his number. Their troops, indeed, may perhaps be worse than 17


258 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

his ; but then their number will make up that defect, as it will enable them to undertake different operations at the same time. I cannot think that the King of Denmark will take a part in the present war ; which he cannot do without great possible danger ; and he is well paid by France for his neutrality ; is safe, let what will turn out ; and, in the meantime, carries on his commerce with great advantage and security ; so that that consideration will not retard your visit to your own country, whenever you have leave to return, and that your own ARRANGEMENTS will allow you. A short absence animates a tender passion, et Von ne recule que pour mieux sauter, especially in the summer months; so that I would advise you to begin your journey in May, and continue your absence from the dear object of your vows till after the dog-days, when love is said to be unwholesome. We have been disappointed at Martinico ; I wish we may not be so at Guadaloupe, though we are landed there ; for many difficulties must be got over before we can be in possession of the whole island. A propos de bottes ; you make use of two Spanish words, very properly, in your letter; were I you, I would learn the Spanish language, if there were a Spaniard at Hamburg who could teach me; and then you would be master of all the European languages that are useful ; and, in my mind, it is very convenient, if not necessary, for a public man to under stand them all, and not to be obliged to have recourse to an interpreter for those papers that chance or business may throw in his way. I learned Spanish when I was older than you ; convinced by experience that, in everything possible, it was better to trust to one s self than to any other body whatsoever. Interpreters, as well as relaters, are often unfaithful, and still oftener incorrect, puzzling, and blundering. In short, let it be your maxim through life to know all you can know, yourself; and never to trust implicitly to the informations of others. This rule has been of infinite service to me in the course of my life.

I am rather better than I was; which I owe not to my physicians, but to an ass and a cow, who nourish me, between them, very plentifully and wholesomely; in the morning the ass is my nurse, at night the cow ; and I have just now bought a milch-goat, which is to graze, and nurse


LETTERS TO HIS SON 259*

me at Blackheath. I do not know what may come of this latter, and I am not without apprehensions that it may make a satyr of me ; but, should I find that obscene dis position growing upon me, I will check it in time, for fear of endangering my life and character by rapes. And so we heartily bid you farewell.


LETTER CCXLI

LONDON, March 30, 1759.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I do not like these frequent, how ever short, returns of your illness; for I doubt they imply either want of skill in your physician, or want of care in his patient. Rhubarb, soap, and chalyb eate medicines and waters, are almost always specifics for obstructions of the liver ; but then a very exact regimen is necessary, and that for a long continuance. Acids are good for you, but you do not love them ; and sweet things are bad for you, and you do love them. There is another thing very bad for you, and I fear you love it too much. When I was in Holland, I had a slow fever that hung- upon me a great while; I consulted Boerhaave, who pre scribed me what I suppose was proper, for it cured me; but he added, by way of postscript to his prescription, Venus rarius colatur; which I observed, and perhaps that made the medicines more effectual.

I doubt we shall be mutually disappointed in our hopes of seeing one another this spring, as I believe you will find, by a letter which you will receive at the same time with this, from Lord Holderness; but as Lord Holder- ness will not tell you all, I will, between you and me r supply that defect. I must do him the justice to say that he has acted in the most kind and friendly manner possi ble to us both. When the King read your letter, in which you desired leave to return, for the sake of drinking the Tunbridge waters, he said, (< If he wants steel waters, those of Pyrmont are better than Tunbridge, and he can have them very fresh at Hamburg. I would rather he had


260 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

asked me to come last autumn, and had passed the winter here ; for if he returns now, I shall have nobody in those quarters to inform me of what passes ; and yet it will be a very busy and important scene. }> Lord Holderness, who found that it would not be liked, resolved to push it no further; and replied, he was very sure that when you knew his Majesty had the least objection to your return at this time, you would think of it no longer ; and he owned that he (Lord Holderness) had given you encouragement for this application last year, then thinking and hoping that there would be little occasion for your presence at Hamburg this year. Lord Holderness will only tell you, in his letter, that, as he had some reason to believe his moving this matter would be disagreeable to the King, he resolved, for your sake, not to mention it. You must answer his letter upon that footing simply, and thank him for this mark of his friendship, for he has really acted as your friend. I make no doubt of your having willing leave to return in autumn, for the whole winter. In the mean time, make the best of your sSjour where you are ; drink the Pyrmont waters, and no wine but Rhenish, which, in your case is the only proper one for you.

Next week Mr. Harte will send you his (( Gustavus Adol- phus," in two quartos; it will contain many new particu lars of the life of that real hero, as he has had abundant and authentic materials, which have never yet appeared. It will, upon the whole, be a very curious and valuable history ; though, between you and me, I could have wished that he had been more correct and elegant in his style. You will find it dedicated to one of your acquaintance, who was forced to prune the luxuriant praises bestowed upon him, and yet has left enough of all conscience to satisfy a reasonable man. Harte has been very much out of order these last three or four months, but is not the less intent upon sowing his lucerne, of which he had six crops last year, to his infinite joy, and, as he says, profit. As a gardener, I shall probably have as much joy, though not quite so much profit, by thirty or forty shillings ; for there is the greatest promise of fruit this year at Blackheath, that ever I saw in my life. Vertumnus and Pomona have been very propitious to me as for Priapus, that tremen-


LETTERS TO HIS SON 261

dous garden god. as I no longer invoke him, I cannot ex pect his protection from the birds and the thieves.

Adieu! I will conclude like a pedant, Levins Jit patientia quicquid corrigere est nefas.


LETTER CCXLII

LONDON, April 16, 1759.

MY DEAR FRIEND : With humble submission to you, I still say that if Prince Ferdinand can make a de fensive campaign this year, he will have done a great deal, considering the great inequality of numbers. The little advantages of taking a regiment or two prison ers, or cutting another to pieces, are but trifling articles in the great account ; they are only the pence, the pounds are yet to come ; and I take it for granted, that neither the French, nor the Court of Vienna, will have le dementi of their main object, which is unquestionably Hanover; for that is the summa summarum; and they will certainly take care to draw a force together for this purpose, too great for any that Prince Ferdinand has, or can have, to oppose them. In short, mark the end on t, j^en augure mal. If France, Austria, the Empire, Russia, and Sweden, are not, at long run, too hard for the two Electors of Hanover and Brandenburg, there must be some invisible power, some tutelar deities, that miraculously interpose in favor of the latter.

You encourage me to accept all the powers that goats, asses, and bulls, can give me, by engaging for my not making an ill use of them ; but I own, I cannot help dis trusting myself a little, or rather human nature ; for it is an old and very true observation, that there are misers of money, but none of power ; and the non-use of the one, and the abuse of the other, increase in proportion to their quantity.

I am very sorry to tell you that Harte s <( Gustavus Adol- phus w does not take at all, and consequently sells very little: it is certainly informing, and full of good matter; but it is


262 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

as certain too, that the style is execrable : where the devil he picked it up, I cannot conceive, for it is a bad style, of a new and singular kind ; it is full of Latinisms, Gallicisms, Oermanisms, and all isms but Anglicisms ; in some places pompous, in others vulgar and low. Surely, before the end of the world, people, and you in particular, will discover that the MANNER, in everything, is at least as important as the matter ; and that the latter never can please, with out a good degree of elegance in the former. This holds true in everything in life : in writing, conversing, business, the help of the Graces is absolutely necessary ; and who ever vainly thinks himself above them, will find he is mis taken when it will be too late to court them, for they will not come to strangers of an advanced age. There is an history lately come out, of the (< Reign of Mary Queen of Scots }) and her son (no matter by whom) King James, written by one Robertson, a Scotchman, which for clear ness, purity, and dignity of style, I will not scruple to compare with the best historians extant, not excepting Davila, Guicciardini, and perhaps Livy. Its success has consequently been great, and a second edition is already published and bought up. I take it for granted, that it is to be had, or at least borrowed, at Hamburg, or I would send it to you.

I hope you drink the Pyrmont waters every morning. The health of the mind depends so much upon the health of the body, that the latter deserves the utmost attention, independently of the senses. God send you a very great share of both ! Adieu.


LETTER CCXLIII

LONDON, April 27, 1759.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I have received your two letters of the loth and I3th, by the last mail; and I will begin my answer to them, by observing to you that a wise man, without being a Stoic, considers, in all misfortunes that befall him, their best as well as their


LETTERS TO HIS SON 263

worst side ; and everything has a better and a worse side. I have strictly observed that rule for many years, and have found by experience that some comfort is to be extracted, under most moral ills, by considering them in every light, instead of dwelling, as people are too apt to do, upon the gloomy side of the object. Thank God, the disappointment that you so pathetically groan under, is not a calamity which admits of no consolation. Let us simplify it, and see what it amounts to. You are pleased with the expecta tion of coming here next month, to see those who would have been pleased with seeing you. That, from very natural causes, cannot be, and you must pass this summer at Ham burg, and next winter in England, instead of passing this summer in England, and next winter at Hamburg. Now, estimating things fairly, is not the change rather to your advantage? Is not the summer more eligible, both for health and pleasure, than the winter, in that northern frozen zone? And will not the winter in England supply you with more pleasures than the summer, in an empty capital, could have done? So far then it appears, that you are rather a gainer by your misfortune.

The TOUR too, which you propose making to Lubeck, Altena, etc., will both amuse and inform you; for, at your age, one cannot see too many different places and people; since at the age you are now of, I take it for granted that you will not see them superficially, as you did when you first went abroad.

This whole matter then, summed up, amounts to no more than this that you will be here next winter, instead of this summer. Do not think that all I have said is the conso lation only of an old philosophical fellow, almost insensible of pleasure or pain, offered to a young fellow who has quick sensations of both. No, it is the rational philosophy taught me by experience and knowledge of the world, and which I have practiced above thirty years.

I always made the best of the best, and never made bad worse by fretting; this enabled me to go through the various scenes of life in which I have been an actor, with more pleasure and less pain than most people. You will say, perhaps, one cannot change one s nature ; and that if a per son is born of a very sensible, gloomy temper, and apt to


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see things in the worst light, they cannot help it, nor new- make themselves. I will admit it, to a certain degree; and but to a certain degree ; for though we cannot totally change our nature, we may in a great measure correct it, by re flection and philosophy ; and some philosophy is a very necessary companion in this world, where, even to the most fortunate, the chances are greatly against happiness.

I am not old enough, nor tenacious enough, to pretend not to understand the main purport of your last letter; and to show you that I do, you may draw upon me for two hundred pounds, which, I hope, will more than clear you.

Good night: cequam memento rebus in arduis scrvare mentem: Be neither transported nor depressed by the acci dents of life.


LETTER CCXLIV

BLACKHEATH, May 16, 1759.

MY DEAR FRIEND: Your secretary s last letter of the 4th, which I received yesterday, has quieted my fears a good deal, but has not entirely dissipated them.

YOUR FEVER STILL CONTINUES, he SayS, THOUGH IN A

LESS DEGREE. Is it a continued fever, or an intermitting one? If the former, no wonder that you are weak, and that your head aches. If the latter, why has not the bark, in substance and large doses, been administered? for if it had, it must have stopped it by this time. Next post, I hope, will set me quite at ease. Surely you have not been so regular as you ought, either in your medicines or in your general regimen, otherwise this fever would not have returned; for the Doctor calls it, YOUR FEVER RETURNED, as if you had an exclusive patent for it. You have now had illnesses enough, to know the value of health, and to make you implicitly follow the prescriptions of your physi cian in medicines, and the rules of your own common sense in diet; in which, I can assure you, from my own expe rience, that quantity is often worse than quality; and I would rather eat half a pound of bacon at a meal, than two pounds of any the most wholesome food.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 265

I have been settled here near a week, to my great satis faction ; Jest ma place, and I know it, which is not given to everybody. Cut off from social life by my deafness, as well as other physical ills, and being at best but the ghost of my former self, I walk here in silence and solitude as becomes a ghost : with this only difference, that I walk by day, whereas, you know, to be sure, that other ghosts only appear by night. My health, however, is better than it was last year, thanks to my almost total milk diet. This enables me to vary my solitary amusements, and alternately to scribble as well as read, which I could not do last year. Thus I saunter away the remainder, be it more or less, of an agitated and active life, now reduced (and I am not sure that I am a loser by the change) to so quiet and serene a one, that it may properly be called still life.

The French whisper in confidence, in order that it may be the more known and the more credited, that they intend to invade us this year, in no less than three places; that is England, Scotland, and Ireland. Some of our great men, like the devils, believe and tremble ; others, and one little one whom I know, laugh at it; and, in general, it seems to be but a poor, instead of a formidable scarecrow. While somebody was at the head of a moderate army, and wanted (I know why) to be at the head of a great one, intended invasions were made an article cf political faith ; and the belief of them was required, as in the Church the belief of some absurdities, and even impossibilities, is required upon pain of heresy, excommunication, and consequently dam nation, if they tend to the power and interest of the heads of the Church. But now that there is a general toleration, and that the best subjects, as well as the best Christians, may believe what their reasons find their consciences sug gest, it is generally and rationally supposed the French will threaten and not strike, since we are so well prepared, both by armies and fleets, to receive and, I may add, to destroy them. Adieu ! God bless you.


266 LORD CHESTERFIELD S


LETTER CCXLV

BLACKHEATH, June 15, 1759.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Your letter of the 5th, which I re ceived yesterday, gave me great satisfaction, being all in your own hand ; though it contains great, and I fear just complaints of your ill state of health. You do very well to change the air ; and I hope that change will do well by you. I would therefore have you write after the 2oth of August, to Lord Holderness, to beg of him to obtain his Majesty s leave for you to return to England for two or three months, upon account of your health. Two or three months is an indefinite time, which may afterward be insensibly stretched to what length one pleases; leave that to me. In the meantime, you may be taking your measures with the best economy.

The day before yesterday, an express arrived from Guada- loupe which brought an account of our being in possession of the whole island. And I make no manner of doubt but that, in about two months, we shall have as good news from Crown-point, Quebec, etc. Our affairs in Germany, I fear, will not be equally prosperous ; for I have very lit tle hopes for the King of Prussia or Prince Ferdinand. God bless you.


LETTER CCXLVI

BLACKHEATH, June 25, 1759.

MY DEAR FRIEND : The two last mails have brought me no letter from you or your secretary. I will take this as a sign that you are better ; but, however, if you thought that I cared to know, you should have cared to have written. Here the weather has been very fine for a fortnight together, a longer term than in this climate we are used to hold fine weather by. I hope it is so, too, at


LETTERS TO HIS SON 267

Hamburg, or at least at the villa to which you are gone ; but pray do not let it be your villa viciosa, as those retire ments are often called, and too often prove ; though, by the way, the original name was villa vczzosa; and by wags miscalled viciosa.

I have a most gloomy prospect of affairs in Germany ; the French are already in possession of Cassel, and of the learned part of Hanover, that is Gottingen ; where I pre sume they will not stop pour V amour des belles lettrcs, but rather go on to the capital, and study them upon the coin. My old acquaintance, Monsieur Richelieu, made a great progress there in metallic learning and inscriptions. If Prince Ferdinand ventures a battle to prevent it, I dread the consequences ; the odds are too great against him. The King of Prussia is still in a worse situation; for he has the Hydra to encounter ; and though he may cut off a head or two, there will still be enough left to devour him at last. I have, as you know, long foretold the now approaching catastrophe; but I was Cassandra. Our affairs in the new world have a much more pleasing aspect ; Guadaloupe is a great acquisition, and Quebec, which I make no doubt of, will still be greater. But must all these advantages, pur chased at the price of so much English blood and treasure, be at last sacrificed as a peace-offering? God knows what consequences such a measure may produce ; the germ of discontent is already great, upon the bare supposition of the case ; but should it be realized, it will grow to a harvest of disaffection.

You are now, to be sure, taking the previous necessary measures for your return here in the autumn and I think you may disband your whole family, excepting your secre tary, your butler, who takes care of your plate, wine, etc., one or at most two, maid servants, and your valet de cham- bre and one footman, whom you will bring over with you. But give no mortal, either there or here, reason to think that you are not to return to Hamburg again. If you are asked about it, say, like Lockhart, that you are le serviteur des e ve nemens; for your present appointments will do you no hurt here, till you have some better destination. At that season of the year, I believe it will be better for you to come by sea than by land, but that you will be best able


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to judge of from the then circumstances of your part in the world.

Your old friend Stevens is dead of the consumption that has long been undermining him. God bless you, and send you health.


LETTER CCXLVII

BATH, February 26, 1761.

MY DEAR FRIEND: lam very glad to hear that your elec tion is finally settled, and to say the truth, not sorry

that Mr. has been compelled to do, de mauvaise

grace, that which he might have done at first in a friendly and handsome manner. However, take no notice of what is passed, and live with him as you used to do before ; for, in the intercourse of the world, it is often necessary to seem ignorant of what one knows, and to have forgotten what one remembers.

I have just now finished Coleman s play, and like it very well ; it is well conducted, and the characters are well pre served. I own, I expected from the author more dialogue wit ; but, as I know that he is a most scrupulous classic, I believe he did not dare to put in half so much wit as he could have done, because Terence had not a single grain ; and it would have been crimen Icesce antiquitatis. God bless you!


LETTER CCXLVIII

BATH, November 21, 1761.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I have this moment received your letter of the ipth. If I find any alterations by drink ing these waters, now six days, it is rather for the better ; but, in six days more, I think I shall find with more certainty what humor they are in with me ; if kind, I will profit of, but not abuse their kindness ; all things


LETTERS TO HIS SON 269

have their bounds, quos ultra citr&ve nequit consisterc rectum; and I will endeavor to nick that point.

The Queen s jointure is larger than, from SOME REASONS, I expected it would be, though not greater than the very last precedent authorized. The case of the late Lord Wil mington was, I fancy, remembered.

I have now good reason to believe that Spain will de clare war to us, that is, that it will very soon, if it has not already, avowedly assist France, in case the war continues. This will be a great triumph to Mr. Pitt, and fully justify his plan of beginning with Spain first, and having the first blow, which is often half the battle.

Here is a great deal of company, and what is commonly called good company, that is, great quality. I trouble them very little, except at the pump, where my business calls me ; for what is company to a deaf man, or a deaf man to company?

Lady Brown, whom I have seen, and who, by the way, has got the gout in her eye, inquired very tenderly after you. And so I elegantly rest, Yours, till death.


LETTER CCXLIX

BATH, December 6, 1761.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I have been in your debt some time, which, you know, I am not very apt to be : but it was really for want of specie to pay. The present state of my invention does not enable me to coin ; and you would have had as little pleasure in reading, as I should have in writing 1e coglionerie of this place ; besides, that I am very little mingled in them. I do not know whether I shall be able to follow your advice, and cut a winner; for, at present, I have neither won nor lost a single shilling. I will play on this week only; and if I have a good run, I will carry it off with me ; if a bad one, the loss can hardly amount to anything considerable in seven days, for I hope to see you in town to-morrow sevennight.

I had a dismal letter from Harte, last week ; he tells me that he is at nurse with a sister in Berkshire; that he has got


270 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

a confirmed jaundice, besides twenty other distempers. The true cause of these complaints I take to be the same that so greatly disordered, and had nearly destroyed the most august House of Austria, about one hundred and thirty years ago ; I mean Gustavus Adolphus ; who neither an swered his expectations in point of profit nor reputation, and that merely by his own fault, in not writing it in the vulgar tongue ; for as to facts I will maintain that it is one of the best histories extant.

Au revoir, as Sir Fopling says, and God bless you !


LETTER CCL

BATH, November 2, 1762.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I arrived here, as I proposed, last Sunday; but as ill as I feared I should be when I saw you. Head, stomach, and limbs, all out of order.

I have yet seen nobody but Villettes, who is settled here for good, as it is called. What consequences has the Duke of Devonshire s resignation had? He has considerable con nections and relations ; but whether any of them are re signed enough to resign with him, is another matter. There will be, to be sure, as many, and as absurd reports, as there are in the law books; I do not desire to know either; but inform me of what facts come to your knowledge, and of such reports only as you believe are grounded. And so God bless you!


LETTER CCLI

BATH, November 13, 1762.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I have received your letter, and be lieve that your preliminaries are very near the mark; and, upon that supposition, I think we have made a tolerable good bargain with Spain ; at least full as good as I expected, and almost as good as I wished, though I do


LETTERS TO HIS SON 271

not believe that we have got ALL Florida; but if we have St. Augustin, I suppose that, by the figure of pars pro toto, will be called all Florida. We have by no means made so good a bargain with France; for, in truth, what do we get by it, except Canada, with a very proper bound ary of the river Mississippi ! and that is all. As for the restrictions upon the French fishery in Newfoundland, they are very well per la predica, and for the Commissary whom we shall employ : for he will have a good salary from hence, to see that those restrictions are complied with; and the French will double that salary, that he may allow them all to be broken through. It is plain to me, that the French fishery will be exactly what it was before the war.

The three Leeward islands, which the French yield to us, are not, all together, worth half so much as that of St. Lucia, which we give up to them. Senegal is not worth one quarter of Goree. The restrictions of the French in the East Indies are as absurd and impracticable as those of Newfoundland; and you will live to see the French trade to the East Indies, just as they did before the war. But after all I have said, the articles are as good as I expected with France, when I considered that no one single person who carried on this negotiation on our parts was ever concerned or consulted in any negotiation before. Upon the whole, then, the acquisition of Canada has cost us fourscore millions sterling. I am convinced we might have kept Guadaloupe, if our negotiators had known how to have gone about it.

His most faithful Majesty of Portugal is the best off of anybody in this transaction, for he saves his kingdom by it, and has not laid out one moidore in defense of it. Spain, thank God, in some measure, paye les pots casses ; for, be sides St. Augustin, logwood, etc., it has lost at least four millions sterling, in money, ships, etc.

Harte is here, who tells me he has been at this place these three years, excepting some few excursions to his sister; he looks ill, and laments that he has frequent fits of the yellow jaundice. He complains of his not having heard from you these four years ; you should write to him. These waters have done me a great deal of good, though I drink but two-thirds of a pint in the whole day, which is


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less than the soberest of my countrymen drink of claret at every meal.

I should naturally think, as you do, that this session will be a stormy one, that is, if Mr. Pitt takes an active part; but if he is pleased, as the Ministers say, there is no other ^Eolus to blow a storm. The Dukes of Cumberland, Newcastle, and Devonshire, have no better troops to attack with than the militia ; but Pitt alone is ipse agmen. God bless you !


LETTER CCLII

BATH, November 27, 1762.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I received your letter this morn ing, and return you the ball ^ la voltfe. The King s speech is a very prudent one ; and as I suppose that the addresses in answer to it were, as usual, in almost the same words, my Lord Mayor might very well call them innocent. As his Majesty expatiates so much upon the great ACHIEVEMENTS of the war, I cannot help hoping that, when the preliminaries shall be laid before Parliament IN DUE TIME, which, I suppose, means after the respective ratifications of all the contracting parties, that some untalked of and unexpected advantage will break out in our treaty with France; St. Lucia, at least. I see in the newspapers an article which I by no means like, in our treaty with Spain; which is, that we shall be at liberty to cut logwood in the Bay of Campeachy, BUT BY PAYING FOR IT. Who does not see that this condition may, and probably will, amount to a prohibition, by the price which the Spaniards may set it at? It was our undoubted right, and confirmed to us by former treaties, before the war, to cut logwood gratis ; but this new stipulation (if true) gives us a privilege some thing like a reprieve to a criminal, with a non obstante to be hanged.

I now drink so little water, that it can neither do me good nor hurt ; but as I bathe but twice a-week, that opera tion, which does my rheumatic carcass good, will keep me here some time longer than you had allowed.


LETTERS TO HIS SON t 273

Harte is going to publish a new edition of his <( Gustavus, in octavo; which, he tells me, he has altered, and which, I could tell him, he should translate into English, or it will not sell better than the former ; for, while the world endures, style and manner will be regarded, at least as much as matter. And so, Dieu vous aye dans sa sainte garde!


LETTER CCLIII

BATH, December 4, 1762.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I received your letter this morning, with the inclosed preliminaries, which we have had here these three days; and I return them, since you intend to keep them, which is more than I believe the French will. I am very glad to find that the French are to restore all the conquests they made upon us in the East Indies during this war; and I cannot doubt but they will likewise restore to us all the cod that they shall take within less than three leagues of our coasts in North America (a distance easily measured, especially at sea), according to the spirit, though not the letter of the treaty. I am informed that the strong opposition to the peace will be in the House of Lords, though I cannot well conceive it; nor can I make out above six or seven, who will be against it upon a division, unless (which I cannot suppose) some of the Bishops should vote on the side of their maker. God bless you.


LETTER CCLIV

BATH, December 13, 1763.

MY DEAR FRIEND: Yesterday I received your letter, which gave me a very clear account of the debate in your House. It is impossible for a human crea ture to speak well for three hours and a half; I question even if Belial, who, according to Milton, was the orator of the fallen angels, ever spoke so long at a time. 18


274 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

There must have been a trick in Charles Townshend s speaking for the Preliminaries; for he is infinitely above having an opinion. Lord Egremont must be ill, or have thoughts of going into some other place; perhaps into Lord Granville s, who they say is dying : when he dies, the ablest head in England dies too, take it for all in all.

I shall be in town, barring accidents, this day sevennight, by dinner-time; when I have ordered a haricot, to which you will be very welcome, about four o clock. En attend ant Dieu vous aye dans sa sainte garde!


LETTER CCLV

BLACKHEATH, June 14, 1763.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I received, by the last mail, your letter of the 4th, from The Hague ; so far so good. You arrived sonica at The Hague, for our Ambas sador s entertainment; I find he has been very civil to you. You are in the right to stop for two ar three days at Hanau, and make your court to the lady of that place.* Your Excellency makes a figure already in the newspapers; and let them, and others, excellency you as much as they please, but pray suffer not your own servants to do it.

Nothing new of any kind has happened here since you went ; so I will wish you a good-night, and hope God will bless you.


LETTER CCLVI

BLACKHEATH, July 14, 1763.

MY DEAR FRIEND: Yesterday I received your letter from Ratisbon, where I am glad that you are arrived safe. You are, I find, over head and ears engaged in ceremony and etiquette. You must not yield in anything essential, where your public character may suffer; but I

  • Her Royal Highness Princess Mary of England, Landgravine of

Hesse.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 275

advise you, at the same time, to distinguish carefully what may, and what may not affect it, and to despise some German minutia; such as one step lower or higher upon the stairs, a bow more or less, and such sort of tri fles.

By what I see in Cressener s letter to you, the cheap ness of wine compensates the quantity, as the cheapness of servants compensates the number that you must make use of.

Write to your mother often, if it be but three words, to prove your existence; for, when she does not hear from you, she knows to a demonstration that you are dead, if not buried.

The inclosed is a letter of the utmost consequence, which I was desired to forward, with care and speed, to the most Serene Louis.

My head is not well to-day. So God bless youl


LETTER CCLVII

BLACKHKATH, August i, 1763.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I hope that by this time you are pretty well settled at Ratisbon, at least as to the important points of the ceremonial ; so that you may know, to precision, to whom you must give, and from whom you must require the seine Exccllentz. Those for malities are, no doubt, ridiculous enough in themselves; but yet they are necessary for manners, and sometimes for business ; and both would suffer by laying them quite aside.

I have lately had an attack of a new complaint, which I have long suspected that I had in my body, in actu primo, as the pedants call it, but which I never felt in actu secundo till last week, and that is a fit of the stone or gravel. It was, thank God, but a slight one ; but it was dans toutes les formes; for it was preceded by a pain in my loins, which I at first took for some remains of my rheumatism ; but was soon convinced of my mistake, by


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making water much blacker than coffee, with a prodigious sediment of gravel. I am now perfectly easy again, and have no more indications of this complaint.

God keep you from that and deafness! Other complaints are the common, and almost the inevitable lot of human nature, but admit of some mitigation. God bless you!


LETTER CCLVIII

BLACKHKATH, August 22, 1763.

MY DEAR FRIEND : You will, by this post, hear from others that Lord Egremont died two days ago of an apoplexy; which, from his figure, and the constant plethora he lived in, was reasonably to be expected. You will ask me, who is to be Secretary in his room: To which I answer, that I do not know. I should guess Lord Sandwich, to be succeeded in the Admiralty by Charles Townshend ; unless the Duke of Bedford, who seems to have taken to himself the department of Europe, should have a mind to it. This event may perhaps produce others ; but, till this happened, everything was in a state of inaction, and absolutely nothing was done. Before the next session, this chaos must necessarily take some form, either by a new jumble of its own atoms, or by mixing them with the more efficient ones of the opposition.

I see by the newspapers, as well as by your letter, that the difficulties still exist about your ceremonial at Ratisbon ; should they, from pride and folly, prove insuperable, and obstruct your real business, there is one expedient which may perhaps remove difficulties, and which I have often known practiced; but which I believe our people know here nothing of; it is, to have the character of MINISTER only in your ostensible title, and that of envoy extraordinary in your pocket, to produce occasionally, especially if you should be sent to any of the Electors in your neighborhood; or else, in any transactions that you may have, in which your title of envoy extraordinary may create great difficulties, to have a reversal given you,


LETTERS TO HIS SON 277-

declaring that the temporary suspension of that character, ne donnera pas la moindre atteinte ni ct, vos droits, ni d vos pretensions. As for the rest, divert yourself as well as- you can, and eat and drink as little as you can. And so God bless you !


LETTER CCLIX

BLACKHEATH, September i, 1763.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Great news ! The King sent for Mr. Pitt last Saturday, and the conference lasted a full hour ; on the Monday following another con ference, which lasted much longer; and yesterday a third, longer than either. You take for granted, that the treaty was concluded and ratified; no such matter, for this last conference broke it entirely off ; and Mr. Pitt and Lord Temple went yesterday evening to their respective country houses. Would you know what it broke off upon, you must ask the newsmongers, and the coffee-houses ; who, I dare say, know it all very minutely; but I, who am not apt to know anything that I do not know, honestly and hum bly confess, that I cannot tell you; probably one party asked too much, and the other would grant too little, However, the King s dignity was not, in my mind, much consulted by their making him sole plenipotentiary of a treaty, which they were not in all events determined to conclude. It ought surely to have been begun by some in ferior agent, and his Majesty should only have appeared in rejecting or ratifying it. Louis XIV. never sat down before a town in person, that was not sure to be taken.

However, ce qui est differ^ n est pas perdu; for this matter must be taken up again, and concluded before the meeting of the parliament, and probably upon more disad vantageous terms to the present Ministers, who have tacitly admitted, by this negotiation, what their enemies have loudly proclaimed, that they are not able to carry on affairs. So much de re politica.

I have at last done the best office that can be done to- most married people ; that is, I have fixed the separation


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between my brother and his wife ; and the definitive treaty of peace will be proclaimed in about a fortnight ; for the only solid and lasting peace, between a man and his wife, is, doubtless, a separation. God bless you!


LETTER CCLX

BLACKHEATH, September 30, 1763.

MY DEAR FRIEND: You will have known, long before this, from the office, that the departments are not cast as you wished ; for Lord Halifax, as senior, had of course his choice, and chose the southern, upon account of the colonies. The Ministry, such as it is, is now set tled en attendant mieux ; but, in my opinion cannot, as they are, meet the parliament.

The only, and all the efficient people they have, are in the House of Lords : for since Mr. Pitt has firmly engaged Charles Townshend to him, there is not a man of the court side, in the House of Commons, who has either abilities

or words enough to call a coach. Lord B is certainly

playing un dessous de cartes, and I suspect that it is with Mr. Pitt ; but what that dessous is, I do not know, though all the coffee-houses do most exactly.

The present inaction, I believe, gives you leisure enough for ennui, but it gives you time enough too for better things ; I mean reading useful books ; and, what is still more useful, conversing with yourself some part of every day. Lord Shaftesbury recommends self-conversation to all authors ; and I would recommend it to all men ; they would be the better for it. Some people have not time, and fewer have inclination, to enter into that conversation ; nay, very many dread it, and fly to the most trifling dissipations, in order to avoid it ; but, if a man would allot half an hour every night for this self-conversation, and recapitulate with himself whatever he has done, right or wrong, in the course of the day, he would be both the better and the wiser for it. My deafness gives me more than a sufficient time for self -conversation ; and I have found great advantages from it. My brother and Lady Stanhope are at last finally


LETTERS TO HIS SON 279

parted. I was the negotiator between them ; and had so much trouble in it, that I would much rather negotiate the most difficult point of the jus publicum Sacri Romani Imperil with the whole Diet of Ratisbon, than negotiate any point with any woman. If my brother had had some of those self-conversations, which I recommend, he would not, I believe, at past sixty, with a crazy, battered constitu tion, and deaf into the bargain, have married a young girl, just turned of twenty, full of health, and consequently of desires. But who takes warning by the fate of others? This, perhaps, proceeds from a negligence of self-conversa tion. God bless you.


LETTER CCLXI

BLACKHKATH, October 17, 1763.

MY DEAR FRIEND : The last mail brought me your let ter of the 2d instant, as the former had brought me that of the 25th past. I did suppose that you would be sent over, for the first day of the session ; as I never knew a stricter muster, and no furloughs allowed. I am very sorry for it, for the reasons you hint at ; but, however, you did very prudently, in doing, de bonne grace, what you could not help doing ; and let that be your rule in every thing for the rest of your life. Avoid disagreeable things as much as by dexterity you can ; but when they are un avoidable, do them with seeming willingness and alacrity. Though this journey is ill-timed for you in many respects, yet, in point of FINANCES, you will be a gainer by it upon the whole ; for, depend upon it, they will keep you here till the very last day of the session : and I suppose you have sold your horses, and dismissed some of your servants. Though they seem to apprehend the first day of the ses sion so much, in my opinion their danger will be much greater in the course of it.

When you are at Paris, you will of course wait upon Lord Hertford, and desire him to present you to the King; at the same time make my compliments to him, and thank him for the very obliging message he left at my house in


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town ; and tell him, that, had I received it in time from thence, I would have come to town on purpose to have returned it in person. If there are any new little books at Paris, pray bring them me. I have already Voltaire s Zelis dans le Bain^ his Droit du Seigneur, and Olympic. Do not forget to call once at Madame Monconseil s, and as often as you please at Madame du Pin s. Au revoir.


LETTER CCLXII

BATH, November 24, 1763.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I arrived here, as you suppose in your letter, last Sunday ; but after the worst day s journey I ever had in my life : it snowed and froze that whole morning, and in the evening it rained and thawed, which made the roads so slippery, that I was six hours coming post from the Devizes, which is but eighteen miles from hence; so that, but for the name of coming post, I might as well have walked on foot. I have not yet quite got over my last violent attack, and am weak and flimsy.

I have now drank the waters but three days ; so that, without a miracle, I cannot yet expect much alteration, and I do not in the least expect a miracle. If they proved les eaux de Jouvence to me, that would be a miracle indeed ; but, as the late Pope Lambertini said, Fra noi, gli miracoli sono passati gia un pezzo.

I have seen Harte, who inquired much after you : he is dejected and dispirited, and thinks himself much worse than he is, though he has really a tendency to the jaundice. I have yet seen nobody else, nor do I know who here is to be seen; for I have not yet exhibited myself to public view, except at the pump, which, at the time I go to it, is the most private place in Bath.

After all the fears and hopes, occasioned severally by the meeting of the parliament, in my opinion, it will prove a very easy session. Mr. Wilkes is universally given up; and if the ministers themselves do not wantonly raise difficulties, I think they will meet with none. A majority of two hundred is a great anodyne. Adieu ! God bless you !


LETTERS TO HIS SON 281


LETTER CCLXIII

BATH, December 3, 1763.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Last post brought me your letter of the 29th past. I suppose C T let off

his speech upon the Princess s portion, chiefly to show that he was of the opposition ; for otherwise, the point was not debatable, unless as to the quantum, against which something might be said ; for the late Princess of Orange (who was the eldest daughter of a king) had no more, and her two sisters but half, if I am not mistaken.

It is a great mercy that Mr. Wilkes, the intrepid defender of our rights and liberties, is out of danger, and may live to fight and write again in support of them; and it is no less a mercy, that God hath raised up the Earl of S - to vindicate and promote true religion and morality. These two blessings will justly make an epoch in the annals of this country.

I have delivered your message to Harte, who waits with impatience for your letter. He is very happy now in hav ing free access to all Lord Craven s papers, which, he says, give him great lights into the bellum tricenale; the old Lord Craven having been the professed and valorous knight- errant, and perhaps something more, to the Queen of Bohemia; at least, like Sir Peter Pride, he had the honor of spending great part of his estate in her royal cause.

I am by no means right yet ; I am very weak and flimsy still ; but the doctor assures me that strength and spirits will return; if they do, lucro apponam, I will make the best of them; if they do not, I will not make their want still worse by grieving and regretting them. I have lived long enough, and observed enough, to estimate most things at their intrinsic, and not their imaginary value ; and, at seventy, I find nothing much worth either desiring or fear ing. But these reflections, which suit with seventy, would be greatly premature at two-and-thirty. So make the best of your time ; enjoy the present hour, but memor uliimce. God bless you !


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LETTER CCLXIV

BATH, December 18, 1763.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I received your letter this morning, in which you reproach me with not having written to you this week. The reason was, that I did not know what to write. There is that sameness in my life here,

that EVERY DAY IS STILL BUT AS THE FIRST. I SC6 Very

few people; and, in the literal sense of the word, I hear nothing.

Mr. L - and Mr. C I hold to be two very in genious men; and your image of the two men ruined, one by losing his law-suit, and the other by carrying it, is a very just one. To be sure, they felt in themselves uncommon talents for business and speaking, which were to reimburse them.

Harte has a great poetical work to publish, before it be long; he has shown me some parts of it. He had entitled it (( Emblems, w but I persuaded him to alter that name for two reasons; the first was, because they were not emblems, but fables ; the second was, that if they had been em blems, Quarles had degraded and vilified that name to such a degree, that it is impossible to make use of it after him ; so they are to be called fables, though moral tales would, in my mind, be the properest name. If you ask me what I think of those I have seen, I must say, that sunt plura bona, qucedam mediocria, et qu&dam .

Your report of future changes, I cannot think is wholly groundless ; for it still runs strongly in my head, that the mine we talked of will be sprung, at or before the end of the session.

I have got a little more strength, but not quite the strength of Hercules ; so that I will not undertake, like him, fifty deflorations in one night ; for I really believe that I could not compass them. So good-night, and God bless you!


LETTERS TO HIS SON 283


LETTER CCLXV

BATH, December 24, 1763.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I confess I was a good deal sur prised at your pressing me so strongly to influence Parson Rosenhagen, when you well know the resolu tion I had made several years ago, and which I have scrupulously observed ever since, not to concern myself, di rectly or indirectly, in any party political contest whatso ever. Let parties go to loggerheads as much and as long as they please ; I will neither endeavor to part them, nor take the part of either; for I know them all too well. But you say, that Lord Sandwich has been remarkably civil and kind to you. I am very glad of it, and he can by no means impute to you my obstinacy, folly, or philosophy, call it what you please: you may with great truth assure him, that you did all you could to obey his commands.

I am sorry to find that you are out of order, but I hope it is only a cold ; should it be anything more, pray consult Dr. Maty, who did you so much good in your last illness, when the great medicinal Mattadores did you rather harm. I have found a Monsieur Diafoirus here, Dr. Moisy, who has really done me a great deal of good ; and I am sure I wanted it a great deal when I came here first. I have re covered some strength, and a little more will give me as much as I can make use of.

Lady Brown, whom I saw yesterday, makes you many compliments ; and I wish you a merry Christmas, and a good-night. Adieu !


LETTER CCLXVI

BATH, December 31, 1763.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Gravenkop wrote me word, by the last post, that you were laid up with the gout : but I much question it, that is, whether it is the gout or not. Your last illness, before you went abroad, was pro nounced the gout, by the skillful, and proved at last a mere


284 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

rheumatism. Take care that the same mistake is not made this year ; and that by giving you strong and hot medicines to throw out the gout, they do not inflame the rheumatism, if it be one.

Mr. Wilkes has imitated some of the great men of antiquity, by going into voluntary exile: it was his only way of defeating both his creditors and his prosecutors. What ever his friends, if he has any, give out of his returning soon, I will answer for it, that it will be a long time before that SOON comes.

I have been much out of order these four days of a violent cold which I do not know how I got, and which obliged me to suspend drinking the waters : but it is now so much better, that I propose resuming them for this week, and paying my court to you in town on Monday or Tuesday seven-night : but this is sub spe rati only. God bless you !


LETTER CCLXVII

BLACKHEATH, July 20, 1764.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I have this moment received your letter of the 3d from Prague, but I never received that which you mention from Ratisbon; this made me think you in such rapid motion, that I did not know where to take aim. I now suppose that you are arrived, though not yet settled, at Dresden ; your audiences and for malities are, to be sure, over, and that is great ease of mind to you.

I have no political events to acquaint you with ; the sum mer is not the season for them, they ripen only in winter; great ones are expected immediately before the meeting of parliament, but that, you know, is always the language of fears and hopes. However, I rather believe that there will be something patched up between the INS and the OUTS.

The whole subject of conversation, at present, is the death and will of Lord Bath : he has left above twelve hundred thousand pounds in land and money ; four hundred thousand pounds in cash, stocks, and mortgages; his own estate, in


LETTERS TO HIS SON 285

land, was improved to fifteen thousand pounds a-year, and

the Bradford estate, which he , is as much ; both which,

at only five-and-twenty years purchase, amount to eight hundred thousand pounds ; and all this he has left to his brother, General Pulteney, and in his own disposal, though he never loved him. The legacies he has left are trifling; for, in truth, he cared for nobody : the words GIVE and BEQUEATH were too shocking for him to repeat, and so he left all in one word to his brother. The public, which was long the dupe of his simulation and dissimulation, begins to explain upon him; and draws such a picture of him as I gave you long ago.

Your late secretary has been with me three or four times ; he wants something or another, and it seems all one to him what, whether civil or military; in plain English, he wants bread. He has knocked at the doors of some of the min isters, but to no purpose. I wish with all my heart that I could help him: I told him fairly that I could not, but

advised him to find some channel to Lord B , which,

though a Scotchman, he told me he could not. He brought a packet of letters from the office to you, which I made him seal up ; and keep it for you, as I suppose it makes up the series of your Ratisbon letters.

As for me, I am just what I was when you left me, that is, nobody. Old age steals upon me insensibly. I grow weak and decrepit, but do not suffer, and so I am content.

Forbes brought me four books of yours, two of which were Bielefeldt s (< Letters, >} in which, to my knowledge, there are many notorious lies.

Make my compliments to Comte Einsiedel, whom I love and honor much ; and so good-night to seine Excellentz.

Now our correspondence may be more regular, and I expect a letter from you every fortnight. I will be regular on my part: but write oftener to your mother, if it be but three lines.


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LETTER CCLXVIII

BLACKHEATH, July 27, 1764.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I received, two days ago, your let ter of the nth from Dresden, where I am very glad that you are safely arrived at last. The prices of the necessaries of life are monstrous there ; and I do not con ceive how the poor natives subsist at all, after having been so long and so often plundered by their own as well as by other sovereigns.

As for procuring you either the title or the appointments of Plenipotentiary, I could as soon procure them from the Turkish as from the English Ministry; and, in truth, I be lieve they have it not to give.

Now to come to your civil list, if one may compare small things with great: I think I have found out a better refresh ment for it than you propose; for to-morrow I shall send to your cashier, Mr. Larpent, five hundred pounds at once, for your use, which, I presume, is better than by quarterly payments ; and I am very apt to think that next midsum mer day, he will have the same sum, and for the same use, consigned to him.

It is reported here, and I believe not without some foun dation, that the Queen of Hungary has acceded to the Family Compact between France and Spain : if so, I am sure it behooves us to form in time a counter alliance, of at least equal strength; which I could easily point out, but which, I fear, is not thought of here.

The rage of marrying is very prevalent; so that there will be probably a great crop of cuckolds next winter, who are at present only cocus en herbe. It will contribute to pop ulation, and so far must be allowed to be a public benefit.

Lord G , Mr. B , and Mr. D , are, in this respect,

very meritorious ; for they have all married handsome women,

without one shilling fortune. Lord must indeed take

some pains to arrive at that dignity : but I dare say he will bring it about, by the help of some young Scotch or Irish officer. Good-night, and God bless you !


LETTERS TO HIS SON 287


LETTER CCLXIX

BLACKHEATH, September 3, 1764.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I have received your letter of the 1 3th past. I see that your complete arrangement approaches, and you need not be in a hurry to give entertainments, since so few others do.

Comte Flemming is the man in the world the best cal culated to retrieve the Saxon finances, which have been all this century squandered and lavished with the most absurd profusion : he has certainly abilities, and I believe integrity ; I dare answer for him, that the gentleness and flexibility of his temper will not prevail with him to yield to the importunities of craving and petulant applications. I see in him another Sully ; and therefore I wish he were at the head of our finances.

France and Spain both insult us, and we take it too tamely; for this is, in my opinion, the time for us to talk high to them. France, I am persuaded, will not quarrel with us till it has got ja navy at least equal to ours, which cannot be these three or four years at soonest ; and then, indeed, I believe we shall hear of something or other; therefore, this is the moment for us to speak loud ; and we shall be feared, if we do not show that we fear.

Here is no domestic news of changes and chances in the political world ; which, like oysters, are only in season in the R months, when the parliament sits. I think there will be some then, but of what kind, God knows.

I have received a book for you. and one for myself, from Harte. It is upon agriculture, and will surprise you, as I confess it did me. This work is not only in English, but good and elegant English ; he has even scattered graces upon his subject ; and in prose, has come very near Virgil s "Georgics" in verse. I have written to him, to congratulate his happy transformation. As soon as I can find an oppor tunity, I will send you your copy. You (though no Agri- cola) will read it with pleasure.


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I know Mackenzie, whom you mention. C"* est une dtlie; sed cave.

Make mine and Lady Chesterfield s compliments to Comte et Comtesse Flemming; and so, Dieu vous aye en sa sainte garde!


LETTER CCLXX

BLACKHEATH, September 14, 1764.

MY DEAR FRIEND: Yesterday I received your letter of the 30th past, by which I find that you had not then got mine, which I sent you the day after I had received your former ; you have had no great loss of it ; for, as I told you in my last, this inactive season of the year supplies no materials for a letter; the winter may, and prob ably will, produce an abundant crop, but of what grain I neither know, guess, nor care. I take it for granted, that

Lord B surnagera encore, but by the assistance of

what bladders or cork-waistcoats God only knows. The death of poor Mr. Legge, the epileptic fits of the Duke of Devonshire, for which he is gone to Aix-la-Chapelle, and the advanced age of the Duke of Newcastle, seem to facil itate an accommodation, if Mr. Pitt and Lord Bute are in clined to it.

You ask me what I think of the death of poor I wan, and of the person who ordered it. You may remember that I often said, she would murder or marry him, or probably both; she has chosen the safest alternative; and has now completed her character of femme forte, above scruples and hesitation. If Machiavel were alive, she would probably be his heroine, as Caesar Borgia was his hero. Women are all so far Machiavelians, that they are never either good or bad by halves; their passions are too strong, and their reason too weak, to do anything with modera tion. She will, perhaps, meet, before it is long, with some Scythian as free from prejudices as herself. If there is one Oliver Cromwell in the three regiments of guards, he will probably, for the sake of his dear country, depose and murder her ; for that is one and the same thing in Russia.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 289

You seem now to have settled, and bicn nipp at Dres den. Four sedentary footmen, and one running one, font equipage leste. The German ones will give you, seine Ex- cellentz; and the French ones, if you have any, Mon- seigneur.

My own health varies, as usual, but never deviates into good. God bless you, and send you better!


LETTER CCLXXI

BLACKHKATH, October 4, 1764.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I have now your last letter, of the i6th past, lying before me, and I gave your inclosed to Grevenkop, which has put him into a violent bustle to execute your commissions, as well and as cheap as possible. I refer him to his own letter. He tells you true as to Comtesse Cosel s diamonds, which certainly no body will buy here, unsight unseen, as they call it; so many minutiae concurring to increase or lessen the value of a diamond. Your Cheshire cheese, your Burton ale and beer, I charge myself with, and they shall be sent you as soon as possible. Upon this occasion I will give you a piece of advice, which by experience I know to be useful. In all commissions, whether from men or women, point de galanterie, bring them in your account, and be paid to the uttermost farthing ; but if you would show them une gal anterie, let your present be of something that is not in your commission, otherwise you will be the Commissionaire banal of all the women of Saxony. A propos, Who is your Comtesse de Cosel? Is she daughter, or grand-daughter, of the famous Madame de Cosel, in King Augustus s time? Is she young or old, ugly or handsome?

I do not wonder that people are wonderfully surprised at our tameness and forbearance, with regard to France and Spain. Spain, indeed, has lately agreed to our cutting log wood, according to the treaty, and sent strict orders to their governor to allow it; but you will observe too, that there is not one word of reparation for the losses we lately 19


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sustained there. But France is not even so tractable ; it will pay but half the money due, upon a liquidated ac count, for the maintenance of their prisoners. Our request, to have the Comte d Estaing recalled and censured, they have absolutely rejected, though, by the laws of war, he might be hanged for having twice broke his parole. This does not do France honor: however, I think we shall be quiet, and that at the only time, perhaps this century, when we might, with safety, be otherwise: but this is noth ing new, nor the first time, by many, when national honor and interest have been sacrificed to private. It has always been so : and one may say, upon this occasion, what Horace says upon another, Nam fuit ante Helenam.

I have seen les Contes de Guillaume Vade, and like most of them so little, that I can hardly think them Voltaire s, but rather the scraps that have fallen from his table, and been worked up by inferior workmen, under his name. I have not seen the other book you mention, the Diction- naire Portatif. It is not yet come over.

I shall next week go to take my winter quarters in Lon don, the weather here being very cold and damp, and not proper for an old, shattered, and cold carcass, like mine. In November I will go to the Bath, to careen myself for the winter, and to shift the scene. Good-night.


LETTER CCLXXII

LONDON, October 19, 1764.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Yesterday morning Mr. came to me, from Lord Halifax, to ask me whether I thought you would approve of vacating your seat in parliament, during the remainder of it, upon a valuable consideration, meaning MONEY. My answer was, that I really did not know your disposition upon that subject : but that I knew you would be very willing, in general, to ac commodate them, so far as lay in your power : that your election, to my knowledge, had cost you two thousand pounds ; that this parliament had not sat above half its time ;


LETTERS TO HIS SON 291

and that, for my part, I approved of the measure well enough, provided you had an equitable equivalent. I take

it for granted that you will have a letter from , by

this post, to that effect, so that you must consider what you will do. What I advise is this : Give them a good deal of Galbanum in the first part of your letter. JLe Gal- banum ne coute rien; and then say that you are willing to do as they please ; but that you hope an equitable considera tion will be had to the two thousand pounds, which your seat cost you in the present parliament, of which not above half the term is expired. Moreover, that you take the lib erty to remind them, that your being sent from Ratisbon, last session, when you were just settled there, put you to the expense of three or four hundred pounds, for which you were allowed nothing ; and that, therefore, you hope they will not think one thousand pounds too much, con sidering all these circumstances : but that, in all events, you will do whatever they desire. Upon the whole, I think this proposal advantageous to you, as you probably will not make use of your seat this parliament ; and, further, as it will secure you from another unpaid journey from Dresden, in case they meet, or fear to meet, with difficulties in any ensuing session of the present parliament. Whatever one must do, one should do de bonne grace. Dixi. God bless you !


LETTER CCLXXIII

BATH, November 10, 1764.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I am much concerned at the ac count you gave me of yourself, in your last letter. There is, to be sure, at such a town as Dresden, at least some one very skillful physician, whom I hope you have consulted ; and I would have you acquaint him with all your several attacks of this nature, from your great one at Laubach, to your late one at Dresden : tell him, too, that in your last illness in England, the physicians mistook your case, and treated it as the gout, till Maty came, who treated it as a rheumatism, and cured you. In my own


292 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

opinion, you have never had the gout, but always the rheumatism ; which, to my knowledge, is as painful as the gout can possibly be, and should be treated in a quite dif ferent way; that is, by cooling medicines and regimen, in stead of those inflammatory cordials which they always ad minister where they suppose the gout, to keep it, as they say, out of the stomach.

I have been here now just a week ; but have hitherto drank so little of the water, that I can neither speak well nor ill of it. The number of people in this place is infinite ; but very few whom I know. Harte seems settled here for life. He is not well, that is certain ; but not so ill neither as he thinks himself, or at least would be thought.

I long for your answer to my last letter, containing a certain proposal, which, by this time, I suppose has been made you, and which, in the main, I approve of your ac cepting.

God bless you, my dear friend ! and send you better health ! Adieu.


LETTER CCLXXIV

LONDON, February 26, 1765.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Your last letter, of the 5th, gave me as much pleasure as your former had given me uneasiness ; and Larpent s acknowledgment of his negligence frees you from those suspicions, which I own I did entertain, and which I believe every one would, in the same concurrence of circumstances, have entertained. So much for that.

You may depend upon what I promised you, before mid summer next, at farthest, and AT LEAST.

All I can say of the affair between you, of the Corps Diplomatique, and the Saxon Ministers, is, que voild, lien du bruit pour une omelette au lard. It will most certainly be soon made up ; and in that negotiation show your self as moderate and healing as your instructions from hence will allow, especially to Comte de Flemming. The King of Prussia, I believe, has a mind to insult him per-


LETTERS TO HIS SON 293

sonally, as an old enemy, or else to quarrel with Saxony, that dares not quarrel with him ; but some of the Corps Diplomatique here assure me it is only a pretense to re call his envoy, and to send, when matters shall be made up, a little secretary there, & mains de fraix, as he does now to Paris and London.

Comte Briihl is much in fashion here ; I like him mightily ; he has very much le ton de la bonne campagnie. Poor Schrader died last Saturday, without the least pain or sick ness. God bless you !


LETTER CCLXXV

LONDON, April 22, 1765.

MY DEAR FRIEND: The day before yesterday I received your letter of the 3d instant. I find that your im portant affair of the ceremonial is adjusted at last, as I foresaw it would be. Such minutice are often laid hold on as a pretense, for powers who have a mind to quarrel ; but are never tenaciously insisted upon where there is neither interest nor inclination to break. Comte Flem- ming, though a hot, is a wise man ; and I was sure would not break, both with England and Hanover, upon so trifling a point, especially during a minority. A propos of a minority; the King is to come to the House to-morrow, to recommend a bill to settle a Regency, in case of his demise while his successor is a minor. Upon the King s late illness, which was no trifling one, the whole nation cried out aloud for such a bill, for reasons which will readily occur to you, who know situations, persons, and characters here. I do not know the particulars of this intended bill ; but I wish it may be copied exactly from that which was passed in the late King s time, when the present King was a minor. I am sure there cannot be a better.

You inquire about Monsieur de Guerchy s affair ; and I will give you as succinct an account as I can of so extraor dinary and perplexed a transaction : but without giving you my own opinion of it, by the common post. You


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know what passed at first between Mr. de Guerchy and Monsieur d Eon, in which both our Ministers and Monsieur de Guerchy, from utter inexperience in business, puzzled them selves into disagreeable difficulties. About three or four months ago, Monsieur du Vergy published in a brochure, a parcel of letters, from himself to the Due de Choiseul ; in which he positively asserts that Monsieur de Guerchy prevailed with him (Vergy) to come over into England to assassinate d Eon; the words are, as well as I remember, que ce rietoit pas pour se servir de s a plume, mais de son epee, qu on le demandoit en Angleterre. This accusation of assas sination, you may imagine, shocked Monsieur de Guerchy, who complained bitterly to our Ministers ; and they both puzzled on for some time, without doing anything, because they did not know what to do. At last du Vergy, about two months ago, applied himself to the Grand Jury of Middlesex, and made oath that Mr. de Guerchy had hired him (du Vergy) to assassinate d Eon. Upon this depo sition, the Grand Jury found a bill of intended murder against Monsieur de Guerchy; which bill, however, never came to the Petty Jury. The King granted a noli prosequi in favor of Monsieur de Guerchy ; and the Attorney-General is actually prosecuting du Vergy. Whether the King can grant a noli prosequi in a criminal case, and whether le droit des gens extends to criminal cases, are two points which employ our domestic politicians, and the whole Corps Diplomatique. Enfin, to use a very coarse and vulgar saying, il y a de la merde au bout du bdton, quelque part.

I see and hear these storms from shore, suave mari magno, etc. I enjoy my own security and tranquillity, together with better health than I had reason to expect at my age, and with my constitution : however, I feel a gradual decay, though a gentle one ; and I think that I shall not tumble, but slide gently to the bottom of the hill of life. When that will be, I neither know nor care, for I am very weary. God bless you !

Mallet died two days ago, of a diarrhoea, which he had carried with him to France, and brought back again hither.


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LETTER CCLXXVI

BLACKHEATH, July 2, 1765.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I have this moment received your letter of the 226. past ; and I delayed answering your former in daily, or rather hourly expectation of in forming you of the birth of a new Ministry ; but in vain ; for, after a thousand conferences, all things remain still in the state which I described to you in my last. Lord S. has, I believe, given you a pretty true account of the present state of things; but my Lord is much mistaken, I am persuaded, when he says that THE KING HAS THOUGHT

PROPER TO RE-ESTABLISH HIS OLD SERVANTS IN THE MAN AGEMENT OF HIS AFFAIRS ; for he shows them all the public dislike possible; and, at his levee, hardly speaks to any of them; but speaks by the hour to anybody else. Conferences, in the meantime, go on, of which it is easy to guess the main subject, but impossible, for me at least, to know the particulars; but this I will venture to prophesy, that the whole will soon centre in Mr. Pitt.

You seem not to know the character of the Queen : here it is. She is a good woman, a good wife, a tender mother; and an unmeddling Queen. The King loves her as a woman ; but, I verily believe, has never yet spoke one word to her about business. I have now told you all that I know of these affairs; which, I believe, is as much as anybody else knows, who is not in the secret. In the meantime, you easily guess that surmises, conjectures, and reports are infinite ; and if, as they say, truth is but one, one million at least of these reports must be false ; for they differ exceedingly.

You have lost an honest servant by the death of poor Louis ; I would advise you to take a clever young Saxon in his room, of whose character you may get authentic tes timonies, instead of sending for one to France, whose character you can only know from far.

When I hear more, I will write more ; till when, God bless you !


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LETTER CCLXXVII

BLACKHEATH, July 15, 1765.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I told you in my last, that you should hear from me again, as soon as I had any thing more to write ; and now I have too much to write, therefore will refer you to the <( Gazette, }) and the office letters, for all that has been done ; and advise you to sus pend your opinion, as I do, about all that is to be done. Many more changes are talked of, but so idly, and variously, that I give credit to none of them. There has been pretty clean sweeping already; and I do not remember, in my time, to have seen so much at once, as an entire new Board of Treasury, and two new Secretaries of State, cum multis aliis, etc.

Here is a new political arch almost built, but of materi als of so different a nature, and without a key-stone, that it does not, in my opinion, indicate either strength or dura tion. It will certainly require repairs, and a key-stone next winter ; and that key-stone will, and must necessarily be, Mr. Pitt. It is true he might have been that key stone now ; and would have accepted it, but not without Lord Temple s consent, and Lord Temple positively refused. There was evidently some trick in this, but what is past my conjecturing. Davus sum, non GEdipus.

There is a manifest interregnum in the Treasury; for I do suppose that Lord Rockingham and Mr. Dowdeswell will not think proper to be very active. General Conway, who is your Secretary, has certainly parts at least equal to his business, to which, I dare say, he will apply. The same may be said, I believe, of the Duke of Grafton ; and indeed there is no magic requisite for the executive part of those employments. The ministerial part is another thing; they must scramble with their fellow-servants, for power and favor, as well as they can. Foreign affairs are not so much as mentioned, and, I verily believe, not thought of. But surely some counterbalance would be necessary to the Family compact; and, if not soon contracted, will be too late. God bless you !


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LETTER CCLXXVIII

BLACKHEATH, August 17, 1765.

MY DEAR FRIEND: You are now two letters in my debt ; and I fear the gout has been the cause of your contracting that debt. When you are not able to write yourself, let your Secretary send me two or three lines to acquaint me how you are.

You have now seen by the London "Gazette," what changes have really been made at court ; but, at the same time, I believe you have seen that there must be more, before a Ministry can be settled ; what those will be, God knows. Were I to conjecture, I should say that the whole will centre, before it is long, in Mr. Pitt and Co., the present being an heterogeneous jumble of youth and caducity, which cannot be efficient.

Charles Townshend calls the present a Lutestring Minis try ; fit only for the summer. The next session will be not only a warm, but a violent one, as you will easily judge, if you look over the names of the INS and of the OUTS.

I feel this beginning of the autumn, which is already very cold : the leaves are withered, fall apace, and seem to intimate that I must follow them ; which I shall do without reluctance, being extremely weary of this silly world. God bless you, both in it and after it!


LETTER CCLXXIX

BLACKHEATH, August 25, 1765.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I received but four days ago your letter of the 2d instant. I find by it that you are well, for you are in good spirits. Your notion of the new birth or regeneration of the Ministry is a very just one ; and that they have not yet the true seal of the covenant is, I dare say, very true ; at least it is not in the


298 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

possession of either of the Secretaries of State, who have only the King s seal; nor do I believe (whatever his Grace may imagine) that it is even in the possession of the Lord Privy Seal. I own I am lost, in considering the present situation of affairs ; different conjectures present themselves to my mind, but none that it can rest upon. The next session must necessarily clear up matters a good deal; for I believe it will be the warmest and most acrimonious one that has been known, since that of the Excise. The late Ministry, THE PRESENT OPPOSITION, are determined to at tack Lord B publicly in parliament, and reduce the late

Opposition, THE PRESENT MINISTRY, to protect him publicly, in consequence of their supposed treaty with him. En at tendant mieuXj the paper war is carried on with much fury and scurrility on all sides, to the great entertainment of such lazy and impartial people as myself. I do not know whether you have the (( Daily Advertiser, }> and the (( Public Advertiser, >} in which all political letters are in serted, and some very well- written ones on both sides ; but I know that they amuse me, tant bien que mal, for an

hour or two every morning. Lord T is the supposed

author of the pamphlet you mention ; but I think it is

above him. Perhaps his brother C T , who is by

no means satisfied with the present arrangement, may have assisted him privately. As to this latter, there was a good ridiculous paragraph in the newspapers two or three days

agO. WE HEAR THAT THE RIGHT HONORABLE MR. C

T IS INDISPOSED AT HIS HOUSE IN OXFORDSHIRE, OF

A PAIN IN HIS SIDE ; BUT IT IS NOT SAID IN WHICH SIDE.

I do not find that the Duke of York has yet visited you; if he should, it may be expensive, mats on trouvera moyen. As for the lady, if you should be very sharp set for some English flesh, she has it amply in her power to supply you if she pleases. Pray tell me in your next, what you think of, and how you like, Prince Henry of Prussia. God bless you !


LETTERS TO HIS SON 299


LETTER CCLXXX

MY DEAR FRIEND : Your great character of Prince Henry, which I take to be a very just one, lowers the King of Prussia s a great deal ; and probably that is the cause of their being so ill together. But the King of Prussia, with his good parts, should reflect upon that trite and true maxim, Qui invidet minor, or Mr. de la Rouchefoucault s, Que renvie est la plus basse de toutes les passions, puisqu^on avoue bien des crimes, mais que personne n avoue renvie. I thank God, I never was sensible of that dark and vile passion, except that formerly I have sometimes envied a successful rival with a fine woman. But now that cause is ceased, and consequently the effects.

What shall I, or rather what can I tell you of the politi cal world here? The late Ministers accuse^the present with having done nothing, the present accuse the late ones with having done much worse than nothing. Their writers abuse one another most scurrilously, but sometimes with wit. I look upon this to be peloter en attendant partie, till battle begins in St. Stephen s Chapel. How that will end, I protest I cannot conjecture ; any farther than this, that if Mr. Pitt does not come into the assistance of the present ministers, they will have much to do to stand their ground.

C T will play booty; and who else have they?

Nobody but C , who has only good sense, but not the

necessary talents nor experience, ^sEre ciere viros martem- que accendcre cantu. I never remember, in all my time, to have seen so problematical a state of affairs, and a man would be much puzzled which side to bet on.

Your guest, Miss C , is another problem which I can not solve. She no more wanted the waters of Carlsbadt than you did. Is it to show the Duke of Kingston that he cannot live without her? a dangerous experiment! which may possibly convince him that he can. There is a trick no doubt in it ; but what, I neither know nor care ; you did very well to show her civilities, cela ne gdte jamais rien. I will go to my waters, that is, the Bath waters, in three weeks or a month, more for the sake of bathing


300 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

than of drinking. The hot bath always promotes my per spiration, which is sluggish, and supples my stiff rheumatic limbs. D ailleurs, I am at present as well, and better than I could reasonably expect to be, anno septuagesimo primo. May you be so as long, y mas! God bless you !


LETTER CCLXXXI

LONDON, October 25, 1765.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I received your letter of the loth sonica ; for I set out for Bath to-morrow morning. If the use of those waters does me no good, the shifting the scene for some time will at least amuse me a little; and at my age, and with my infirmities, il faut faire de tout bois Jfeche. Some variety is as necessary for the mind as some medicines are for the body.

Here is a total stagnation of politics, which, I suppose, will continue till the parliament sits to do business, and that will not be till about the middle of January ; for the meeting on the iyth December is only for the sake of some new writs. The late ministers threaten the present ones; but the latter do not seem in the least afraid of the former, and for a very good reason, which is, that they have the distribution of the loaves and fishes. I believe it is very certain that Mr. Pitt will never come into this, or any other administration : he is absolutely a cripple all the year, and in violent pain at least half of it. Such physical ills are great checks to two of the strongest passions to which human nature is liable, love and ambition. Though I cannot persuade myself that the present ministry can be long lived, I can as little imagine who or what can suc ceed them, telle est la disette de sujets papables. The Duke of swears that he will have Lord personally at tacked in both Houses ; but I do not see how, without en dangering himself at the same time.

Miss C is safely arrived here, and her Duke is fonder

of her than ever. It was a dangerous experiment that she tried, in leaving him so long ; but it seems she knew her man.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 301

I pity you for the inundation of your good countrymen, which overwhelms you ; je sais ce qu^en vaut Taune. It is, besides, expensive, but, as I look upon the expense to be the least evil of the two, I will see if a New- Year s gift will not make it up.

As I am now upon the wing, I will only add, God bless you!


LETTER CCLXXXII

BATH, November 28, 1765.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I have this moment received your letter of the loth. I have now been here a month, bathing and drinking the waters, for complaints much of the same kind as yours, I mean pains in my legs, hips, and arms: whether gouty or rheumatic, God knows; but, I believe, both, that fight without a decision in favor of either, and have absolutely reduced me to the miserable situation of the Sphinx s riddle, to walk upon three legs ; that is, with the assistance of my stick, to walk, or rather hobble, very indifferently. I wish it were a declared gout, which is the distemper of a gentleman ; whereas the rheuma tism is the distemper of a hackney-coachman or chairman, who is obliged to be out in all weathers and at all hours.

I think you will do very right to ask leave, and I dare say you will easily get it, to go to the baths in Suabia ; that is, supposing that you have consulted some skillful phy sician, if such a one there be, either at Dresden or at Leipsic, about the nature of your distemper, and the na ture of those baths ; but, suos quisque patimur manes. We have but a bad bargain, God knows, of this life, and patience is the only way not to make bad worse. Mr. Pitt keeps his bed here, with a very real gout, and not a political one, as is often suspected.

Here has been a congress of most of the ex Ministres. If they have raised a battery, as I suppose they have, it is a masked one, for nothing has transpired ; only they con fess that they intend a most vigorous attack. D ailleurs, there seems to be a total suspension of all business, till the


302 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

meeting of the parliament, and then Signa canant. I am very glad that at this time you are out of it : and for reasons that I need not mention : you would certainly have been sent for over, and, as before, not paid for your journey.

Poor Harte is very ill, and condemned to the Hot well at Bristol. He is a better poet than philosopher : for all this illness and melancholy proceeds originally from the ill success of his (< Gustavus Adolphus.^ He is grown extremely devout, which I am very glad of, because that is always a comfort to the afflicted.

I cannot present Mr. Larpent with my New-Year s gift, till I come to town, which will be before Christmas at farthest ; till when, God bless you ! Adieu.


LETTER CCLXXXIII

LONDON, December 27, 1765.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I arrived here from Bath last Mon day, rather, but not much better, than when I went over there. My rheumatic pains, in my legs and hips, plague me still, and I must never expect to be quite free from them.

You have, to be sure, had from the office an account of what the parliament did, or rather did not do, the day of their meeting; and the same point will be the great object at their next meeting ; I mean the affair of our American Colonies, relatively to the late imposed Stamp-duty, which our Colonists absolutely refuse to pay. The Administration are for some indulgence and forbearance to those froward children of their mother country; the Opposition are for taking vigorous, as they call them, but I call them violent measures ; not less than les dragonnades; and to have the tax collected by the troops we have there. For my part, I never saw a froward child mended by whipping ; and I would not have the mother country become a step-mother. Our trade to America brings in, communibus annis, two millions a year ; and the Stamp-duty is estimated at but one hundred thousand pounds a year; which I would by no


LETTERS TO HIS SON 303

means bring into the stock of the Exchequer, at the loss or even the risk of a million a-year to the national stock.

I do not tell you of the Garter given away yesterday, because the newspapers will ; but, I must observe, that the Prince of Brunswick s riband is a mark of great distinc tion to that family; which I believe, is the first (except our own Royal Family) that has ever had two blue ribands at a time ; but it must be owned they deserve them.

One hears of nothing now in town, but the separation of men and their wives. Will Finch, the Ex-vice Chamber lain, Lord Warwick, and your friend Lord Bolingbroke. I wonder at none of them for parting; but I wonder at many for still living together ; for in this country it is cer tain that marriage is not well understood.

I have this day sent Mr. Larpent two hundred pounds for your Christmas-box, of which I suppose he will inform you by this post. Make this Christmas as merry a one as you can ; for pour le peu du bon terns qui nous reste, rien n 1 est si funeste, qu 1 un noir chagrin. For the new years God send you many, and happy ones! Adieu.


LETTER CCLXXXIV

LONDON, February u, 1766.

MY DEAR FRTEND: I received two days ago your let ter of the 25th past ; and your former, which you mention in it, but ten days ago; this may easily be accounted for from the badness of the weather, and conse quently of the roads. I hardly remember so severe a win ter ; it has occasioned many illnesses here. I am sure it pinched my crazy carcass so much that, about three weeks ago, I was obliged to be let blood twice in four days ; which I found afterward was very necessary, by the relief it gave to my head and to the rheumatic pains in my limbs ; and from the execrable kind of blood which I lost.

Perhaps you expect from me a particular account of the present state of affairs here ; but if you do you will be dis appointed; for no man living (and I still less than anyone) knows what it is ; it varies, not only daily, but hourly.


304 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

Most people think, and I among the rest, that the date of the present Ministers is pretty near out ; but how soon we are to have a new style, God knows. This, however, is certain, that the Ministers had a contested election in the House of Commons, and got it but by eleven votes ; too small a majority to carry anything; the next day they lost a question in the House of Lords, by three. The question in the House of Lords was, to enforce the execution of the Stamp-act in the colonies vi et armis. What conclusions you will draw from these premises, I do not know; but I protest I draw none ; but only stare at the present unde cipherable state of affairs, which, in fifty years experience, I have never seen anything like. The Stamp-act has proved a most pernicious measure ; for, whether it is repealed or not, which is still very doubtful, it has given such terror to the Americans, that our trade with them will not be, for some years, what it used to be ; and great numbers of our manufacturers at home will be turned a starving for want of that employment which our very profitable trade to America found them: and hunger is always the cause of tumults and sedition.

As you have escaped a fit of the gout in this severe cold weather, it is to be hoped you may be entirely free from it, till next winter at least.

P. S. Lord having parted with his wife, now keeps

another w e, at a great expense. I fear he is totally un done.


LETTER CCLXXXV

LONDON, March 17, 1766.

MY DEAR FRIEND: You wrong me in thinking me in your debt ; for I never receive a letter of yours, but I answer it by the next post, or the next but one, at furthest : but I can easily conceive that my two last letters to you may have been drowned or frozen in their way ; for portents and prodigies of frost, snow, and inun dations, have been so frequent this winter, that they have almost lost their names.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 305

You tell me that you are going to the baths of BADEN; but that puzzles me a little, so I recommend this letter to the care of Mr. Larpent, to forward to you; for Baden I take to be the general German word for baths, and the particular ones are distinguished by some epithet, as Weiss- baden, Carlsbaden, etc. I hope they are not cold baths, which I have a very ill opinion of, in all arthritic or rheu matic cases ; and your case I take to be a compound of both, but rather more of the latter.

You will probably wonder that I tell you nothing of pub lic matters; upon which I shall be as secret as Hotspur s gentle Kate, who would not tell what she did not know ; but what is singular, nobody seems to know any more of them than I do. People gape, stare, conjecture, and refine. Changes of the Ministry, or in the Ministry at least, are daily reported and foretold, but of what kind, God only knows. It is also very doubtful whether Mr. Pitt will come into the Administration or not ; the two present Secretaries are extremely desirous that he should; but the others think of the horse that called the man to its assistance. I will say nothing to you about American affairs, because I have not pens, ink, or paper enough to give you an intelligible account of them. They have been the subjects of warm and acrimonious debates, both in the Lords and Commons, and in all companies.

The repeal of the Stamp-act is at last carried through. I am glad of it, and gave my proxy for it, because I saw many more inconveniences from the enforcing than from the repealing it.

Colonel Browne was with me the other day, and assured me that he left you very well. He said he saw you at Spa, but I did not remember him ; though I remember his two brothers, the Colonel and the ravisher, very well. Your Saxon colonel has the brogue exceedingly. Present my respects to Count Flemming ; I am very sorry for the Countess s illness; she was a most well-bred woman.

You would hardly think that I gave a dinner to the Prince of Brunswick, your old acquaintance. I am glad it is over; but I could not avoid it. // m avoit accablS de poli t esses. God bless you! 20


306 LORD CHESTERFIELD S


LETTER CCLXXXVI

BLACKHEATH, June 13, 1766.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I received yesterday your letter of the 3Oth past. I waited with impatience for it, not having received one from you in six weeks ; nor your mother neither, who began to be very sure that you were dead, if not buried. You should write to her once a week, or at least once a-fortnight ; for women make no allowance either for business or laziness ; whereas I can, by experience, make allowances for both : however, I wish you would generally write to me once a fortnight.

Last week I paid my midsummer offering, of five hundred pounds, to Mr. Larpent, for your use, as I suppose he has informed you. I am punctual, you must allow.

What account shall I give you of ministerial affairs here? I protest I do not know : your own description of them is as exact a one as any I, who am upon the place, can give you. It is a total dislocation and derangement ; conse quently a total inefficiency. When the Duke of Grafton quitted the seals, he gave that very reason for it, in a speech in the House of Lords : he declared, <( that he had no objection to the persons or the measures of the present Ministers ; but that he thought they wanted strength and efficiency to carry on proper measures with success; and that he knew but one man (MEANING, AS YOU WILL EASILY SUPPOSE, MR. PITT) who could give them strength and solidity ; that, under this person, he should be willing to serve in any capacity, not only as a General Officer, but as a pioneer; and would take up a spade and a mattock. w When he quitted the seals, they were offered first to Lord Egmont, then to Lord Hardwicke ; who both declined them, probably for the same reasons that made the Duke of Grafton resign them ; but after their going a-begging for

some time, the Duke of begged them, and has them

faute de mieux. Lord Mountstuart was never thought of for Vienna, where Lord Stormont returns in three months; the former is going to be married to one of the Miss Windsors, a great fortune. To tell you the speculations,


LETTERS TO HIS SON 307

the reasonings, and the conjectures, either of the unin formed, or even of the best-informed public, upon the present wonderful situation of affairs, would take up much more time and paper than either you or I can afford, though we have neither of us a great deal of business at present.

I am in as good health as I could reasonably expect, at my age, and with my shattered carcass ; that is, from the waist upward ; but downward it is not the same : for my limbs retain tha,t stiffness and debility of my long rheuma tism ; I cannot walk half an hour at a time. As the autumn, and still more as the winter approaches, take care to keep yourself very warm, especially your legs and feet.

Lady Chesterfield sends you her compliments, and triumphs in the success of her plaster. God bless you !


LETTER CCLXXXVII

BLACKHEATH, July n, 1766.

MY DEAR FRIEND : You are a happy mortal, to have your time thus employed between the great and the fair ; I hope you do the honors of your country to the latter. The Emperor, by your account, seems to be very well for an emperor ; who, by being above the other monarchs in Europe, may justly be supposed to have had a proportionably worse education. I find, by your account of him, that he has been trained up to homicide, the only science in which princes are ever instructed ; and with good reason, as their greatness and glory singly depend upon the numbers of their fellow-creatures which their ambition exterminates. If a sovereign should, by great accident, deviate into moderation, justice, and clemency, what a con temptible figure would he make in the catalogue of princes ! I have always owned a great regard for King Log. From the interview at Torgaw, between the two monarchs, they will be either a great deal better or worse together ; but I think rather the latter ; for our namesake, Philip de Co- mines, observes, that he never knew any good come from


3 o8 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

V abouchement des Rois. The King of Prussia will exert all his perspicacity to analyze his Imperial Majesty ; and I would bet upon the one head of his black eagle, against the two heads of the Austrian eagle ; though two heads are said, proverbially, to be better than one. I wish I had the direction of both the monarchs, and they should, together with some of their allies, take Lorraine and Alsace from France. You will call me l Abb( de St. Pierre; but I only say what I wish ; whereas he thought everything that he wished practicable.

Now to come home. Here are great bustles at Court, and a great change of persons is certainly very near. You will ask me, perhaps, who is to be out, and who is to be in? To which I answer, I do not know. My conjecture is that, be the new settlement what it will, Mr. Pitt will be at the head of it. If he is, I presume, qu il aura mis

de V eau dans son vin par rapport & Mylord B ; when

that shall come to be known, as known it certainly will soon be, he may bid adieu to his popularity. A minister, as minister, is very apt to be the object of public dislike ; and a favorite, as favorite, still more so. If any event of this kind happens, which (if it happens at all) I conjec ture will be some time next week, you shall hear further from me.

I will follow your advice, and be as well as I can next winter, though I know I shall never be free from my flying rheumatic pains, as long as I live ; but whether that will be more or less, is extremely indifferent to me ; in either case, God bless you !


LETTER CCLXXXVIII

BLACKHEATH, August i, 1766.

MY DEAR FRIEND : The curtain was at last drawn up, the day before yesterday, and discovered the new actors, together with some of the old ones. I do not name them to you, because to-morrow s Gazette will do it full as well as I could. Mr. Pitt, who had carte blanche


LETTERS TO HIS SON 309

given him, named everyone of them: but what would you think he named himself for? Lord Privy Seal; and (what will astonish you, as it does every mortal here) Earl of Chatham. The joke here is, that he has had A FALL UP STAIRS, and has done himself so much hurt, that he will never be able to stand upon his legs again. Everybody is puzzled how to account for this step ; though it would not be the first time that great abilities have been duped by low cunning. But be it what it will, he is now certainly only Earl of Chatham ; and no longer Mr. Pitt, in any respect whatever. Such an event, I believe, was never read nor heard of. To withdraw, in the fullness of his power and in the utmost gratification of his ambition, from the House of Commons (which procured him his power, and which could alone insure it to him), and to go into that hospital of incurables, the House of Lords, is a measure so unac countable, that nothing but proof positive could have made me believe it : but true it is. Hans Stanley is to go Am bassador to Russia ; and my nephew, Ellis, to Spain, decorated with the red riband. Lord Shelburne is your Secretary of State, which I suppose he has notified to you this post, by a circular letter. Charles Townshend has now the sole management of the House of Commons ; but how long he will be content to be only Lord Chatham s vice gerent there, is a question which I will not pretend to decide. There is one very bad sign for Lord Chatham, in his new dignity ; which is, that all his enemies, without exception, rejoice at it ; and all his friends are stupefied and dumb founded. If I mistake not much, he will, in the course of a year, enjoy perfect otium cum dignitate. Enough of poli tics.

Is the fair, or at least the fat, Miss C with you

still ? It must be confessed that she knows the arts of courts, to be so received at Dresden, and so connived at in Leicester-fields.

There never was so wet a summer as this has been, in the memory of man ; we have not had one single day, since March, without some rain; but most days a great deal. I hope that does not affect your health, as great cold does ; for, with all these inundations, it has not been cold. God bless you !


310 LORD CHESTERFIELD S


LETTER CCLXXXIX

BLACKHKATH, August 14, 1766.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I received yesterday your letter of the 30th past, and I find by it that it crossed mine upon the road, where they had no time to take notice of one another.

The newspapers have informed you, before now, of the changes actually made ; more will probably follow, but what, I am sure, I cannot tell you ; and I believe nobody can, not even those who are to make them: they will, I suppose, be occasional, as people behave themselves. The causes and consequences of Mr. Pitt s quarrel now appear in print, in

a pamphlet published by Lord T ; and in a refutation

of it, not by Mr. Pitt himself, I believe, but by some friend of his, and under his sanction. The former is very scur rilous and scandalous, and betrays private conversation. My Lord says, that in his last conference, he thought he had as good a right to nominate the new Ministry as Mr. Pitt,

and consequently named Lord G , Lord L , etc., for

Cabinet Council employments ; which Mr. Pitt not consent ing to, Lord T broke up the conference, and in his

wrath went to Stowe ; where I presume he may remain undisturbed a great while, since Mr. Pitt will neither be willing nor able to send for him again. The pamphlet, on the part of Mr. Pitt, gives an account of his whole political life ; and, in that respect, is tedious to those who were acquainted with it before ; but, at the latter end, there is an

article that expresses such supreme contempt of Lord T ,

and in so pretty a manner, that I suspect it to be Mr. Pitt s own: you shall judge yourself, for I here transcribe the article: (< But this I will be bold to say, that had he (Lord

T ) not fastened himself into Mr. Pitt s train, and

acquired thereby such an interest in that great man, he might have crept out of life with as little notice as he crept in ; and gone off with no other degree of credit, than that of adding a single unit to the bills of mortality . w I wish I could send you all the pamphlets and half-sheets that swarm here upon this occasion ; but that is impossible ; for


LETTERS TO HIS SON 311

every week would make a ship s cargo. It is certain, that Mr. Pitt has, by his dignity of Earl, lost the greatest part of his popularity, especially in the city; and I believe the Opposition will be very strong, and perhaps prevail, next session, in the House of Commons; there being now nobody there who can have the authority and ascendant over them that Pitt had.

People tell me here, as young Harvey told you at Dresden, that I look very well ; but those are words of course, which everyone says to everybody. So far is true, that I am better than at my age, and with my broken constitution, I could have expected to be. God bless you !


LETTER CCXC

BLACKHEATH, September 12, 1766.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I have this moment received your letter of the 2yth past. I was in hopes that your course of waters this year at Baden would have given you a longer reprieve from your painful complaint. If I do not mistake, you carried over with you some of Dr. Monsey s powders. Have you taken any of them, and have they done you any good ? I know they did me a great deal. I, who pretend to some skill in physic, advise a cool regimen, and cooling medicines.

I do not wonder, that you do wonder, at Lord C s

conduct. If he was not outwitted into his peerage by Lord B , his accepting it is utterly inexplicable. The in struments he has chosen for the great office, I believe, will never fit the same case. It was cruel to put such a boy as

Lord G over the head of old Ligonier ; and if I had

been the former, I would have refused that commission, during the life of that honest and brave old general. All

this to quiet the Duke of R to a resignation, and to

make Lord B Lieutenant of Ireland, where, I will venture

to prophesy, that he will not do. Ligonier was much pressed to give up his regiment of guards, but would by no means do it; and declared that the King might break


312 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

him if he pleased, but that he would certainly not break himself.

I have no political events to inform you of ; they will not be ripe till the meeting of the parliament. Immediately upon the receipt of this letter, write me one, to acquaint me how you are.

God bless you ; and, particularly, may He send you health, for that is the greatest blessing !


LETTER CCXCI

BLACKHEATH, September 30, 1766.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I received, yesterday, with great pleasure, your letter of the i8th, by which I consider this last ugly bout as over ; and, to prevent its re turn, I greatly approve of your plan for the south of France, where I recommend for your principal residence, Pezenas Toulouse, or Bordeaux; but do not be persuaded to go to Aix en Provence, which, by experience, I know to be at once the hottest and the coldest place in the world, from the ardor of the Provencal sun, and the sharpness of the Alpine winds. I also earnestly recommend to you, for your complaint upon your breast, to take, twice a-day, asses or (what is better) mares milk, and that for these six months at least. Mingle turnips, as much as you can, with your diet.

I have written, as you desired, to Mr. Secretary Conway; but I will answer for it that there will be no difficulty to obtain the leave you ask.

There is no new event in the political world since my last; so God bless you!


LETTERS TO HIS SON 313


LETTER CCXCII

LONDON, October 29, 1766.

MY DEAR FRIEND: The last mail brought me your letter of the iyth. I am glad to hear that your breast is so much better. You will find both asses and mares milk enough in the south of France, where it was much drank when I was there. Guy Patin recommends to a patient to have no doctor but a horse, and no apothecary but an ass. As for your pains and weakness in your limbs, je vous en offre autant; I have never been free from them since my last rheumatism. I use my legs as much as I can, and you should do so too, for disuse makes them worse. I cannot now use them long at a time, because of the weakness of old age; but I contrive to get, by different snatches, at least two hours walking every day, either in my garden or within doors, as the weather permits. I set out to-morrow for Bath, in hopes of half repairs, for Medea s kettle could not give me whole ones; the timbers of my wretched vessel are too much decayed to be fitted out again for use. I shall see poor Harte there, who, I am told, is in a miserable way, between some real and some imaginary distempers.

I send you no political news, for one reason, among others, which is that I know none. Great expectations are raised of this session, which meets the nth of next month; but of what kind nobody knows, and consequently every body conjectures variously. Lord Chatham comes to town to-morrow from Bath, where he has been to refit himself for the winter campaign ; he has hitherto but an indifferent set of aides-de-camp; and where he will find better, I do not know. Charles Townshend and he are already upon ill terms. Enf.njeri y vois goutte; and so God bless you!


3 i4 LORD CHESTERFIELD S


LETTER CCXCIII

BATH, November 15, 1766.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I have this moment received your letter of the 5th instant from Basle. I am very glad to find that your breast is relieved, though perhaps at the expense of your legs: for, if the humor be either gouty or rheumatic, it had better be in your legs than any where else. I have consulted Moisy, the great physician of this place, upon it ; who says, that at this distance he dares not prescribe anything, as there may be such different causes for your complaint, which must be well weighed by a physician upon the spot; that is, in short, that he knows nothing of the matter. I will therefore tell you my own case, in 1732, which may be something parallel to yours. I had that year been dangerously ill of a fever in Holland; and when I was recovered of it, the febrific humor fell into my legs, and swelled them to that degree, and chiefly in the evening, that it was as painful to me as it was shock ing to others. I came to England with them in this con dition; and consulted Mead, Broxholme, and Arbuthnot, who none of them did me the least good; but, on the contrary, increased the swelling, by applying poultices and emollients. In this condition I remained near six months, till finding that the doctors could do me no good, I resolved to consult Palmer, the most eminent surgeon of St. Thomas s Hospital. He immediately told me that the physicians had pursued a very wrong method, as the swelling of my legs proceeded only from a relaxation and weakness of the cutaneous ves sels; and he must apply strengtheners instead of emollients. Accordingly, he ordered me to put my legs up to the knees every morning in brine from the salters, as hot as I could bear it ; the brine must have had meat salted in it. I did so ; and after having thus pickled my legs for about three weeks, the complaint absolutely ceased, and I have never had the least swelling in them since. After what I have said, I must caution you not to use the same remedy rashly, and without the most skillful advice you can find, where


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you are; for if your swelling proceeds from a gouty, or rheumatic humor, there may be great danger in applying so powerful an astringent, and perhaps REPKLLANT as brine. So go piano, and not without the best advice, upon a view of the parts.

I shall direct all my letters to you Chez Monsieur Sar- razin^ who by his trade is, I suppose, sedentaire at Basle, while it is not sure that you will be at any one place in the south of France. Do you know that he is a descendant of the French poet Sarrazin?

Poor Harte, whom I frequently go to see here, out of compassion, is in a most miserable way ; he has had a stroke of the palsy, which has deprived him of the use of his right leg, affected his speech a good deal, and perhaps his head a little. Such are the intermediate tributes that we are forced to pay, in some shape or other, to our wretched nature, till we pay the last great one of all. May you pay this very late, and as few intermediate tributes as possible ; and so jubeo te bene valere. God bless you !


LETTER CCXCIV

BATH, December 9, 1766.

MY DEAR FRIEND : I received, two days ago, your letter of the 26th past. I am very glad that you begin to feel the good effects of the climate where you are; I know it saved my life, in 1741, when both the skillful and the unskillful gave me over. In that ramble I stayed three or four days at Nimes, where there are more remains of antiquity, I believe, than in any town in Europe, Italy excepted. What is falsely called la maison quarrte, is, in my mind, the finest piece of architecture that I ever saw; and the amphitheater the clumsiest and the ugliest: if it were in England, everybody would swear it had been built by Sir John Vanbrugh.

This place is now, just what you have seen it formerly; here is a great crowd of trifling and unknown people, whom I seldom frequent, in the public rooms ; so that I may pass


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my time tr%s uniment, in taking the air in my post-chaise every morning, and in reading of evenings. And a propos of the latter, I shall point out a book, which I believe will give you some pleasure ; at least it gave me a great deal : I never read it before. It is Reflexions sur la Poesie et la Peinture, par V Abbt de Bos, in two octavo volumes; and is, I suppose, to be had at every great town in France. The criticisms and the reflections are just and lively.

It may be you expect some political news from me : but I can tell you that you will have none, for no mortal can comprehend the present state of affairs. Eight or nine peo ple of some consequence have resigned their employments ;

upon which Lord C made overtures to the Duke of

B and his people ; but they could by no means agree,

and his Grace went, the next day, full of wrath, to Woburn, so that negotiation is entirely at an end. People wait to see

who Lord C will take in, for some he must have; even

HE cannot be alone, contra mundum. Such a state of affairs, to be sure, was never seen before, in this or in any other country. When this Ministry shall be settled, it will be the sixth Ministry in six years time.

Poor Harte is here, and in a most miserable condition ; those who wish him the best, as I do, must wish him dead. God bless you !


LETTER CCXCV

LONDON, February 13, 1767.

MY DEAR FRIEND : It is so long since I have had a let ter from you, that I am alarmed about your health ; and fear that the southern parts of France have not done so well by you as they did by me in the year 1741, when they snatched me from the jaws of death. Let me know, upon the receipt of this letter, how you are, and where you are.

I have no news to send you from hence; for everything seems suspended, both in the court and in the parliament, till Lord Chatham s return from the Bath, where he has been laid up this month, by a severe fit of the gout; and,


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at present, he has the sole apparent power. In what little business has hitherto been done in the House of Commons, Charles Townshend has given himself more ministerial airs than Lord Chatham will, I believe, approve of. However, since Lord Chatham has thought fit to withdraw himself from that House, he cannot well do without Charles abilities to manage it as his deputy.

I do not send you an account of weddings, births, and burials, as I take it for granted that you know them all from the English printed papers; some of which, I presume, are sent after you. Your old acquaintance, Lord Essex, is to be married this week to Harriet Bladen, who has 20,000 down, besides the reasonable expectation of as much at the death of her father. My kinsman, Lord Strathmore, is to be married in a fortnight, to Miss Bowes, the greatest heiress perhaps in Europe. In short, the matrimonial frenzy seems to rage at present, and is epidemical. The men marry for money, and I believe you guess what the women marry for. God bless you, and send you health!


LETTER CCXCVI

LONDON, March 3, 1767.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Yesterday I received two letters at once from you, both dated Montpellier; one of the 29th of last December, and the other the I2th of February : but I cannot conceive what became of my letters to you ; for, I assure you, that I answered all yours the next post after I received them ; and, about ten days ago, I wrote you a volunteer, because you had been so long silent, and I was afraid that you were not well; but your letter of the 1 2th of February has removed all my fears upon that score. The same climate that has restored your health so far will probably, in a little more time, restore your strength too ; though you must not expect it to be quite what it was be fore your late painful complaints. At least I find that, since my late great rheumatism, I cannot walk above half an hour at a time, which I do not place singly to the


3i8 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

account of my years, but chiefly to the great shock given then to my limbs. D ailleurs I am pretty well for my age and shattered constitution.

As I told you in my last, I must tell you again in this, that I have no news to send. Lord Chatham, at last, came to town yesterday, full of gout, and is not able to stir hand or foot. During his absence, Charles Townshend has talked of him, and at him, in such a manner, that henceforward they must be either much worse or much better together than ever they were in their lives. On Friday last, Mr. Dowdeswell and Mr. Grenville moved to have one shilling in the pound of the land tax taken off; which was op posed by the Court; but the Court lost it by eighteen. The Opposition triumph much upon this victory; though, I think, without reason ; for it is plain that all the landed gentlemen bribed themselves with this shilling in the pound.

The Duke of Buccleugh is very soon to be married to Lady Betty Montague. Lord Essex was married yesterday, to Harriet Bladen ; and Lord Strathmore, last week, to Miss Bowes; both couples went directly from the church to consummation in the country, from an unnecessary fear that they should not be tired of each other if they stayed in town. And now dixi; God bless you!

You are in the right to go to see the assembly of the states of Languedoc, though they are but the shadow of the original Etats, while there was some liberty subsisting in France.


LETTER CCXCVII

LONDON, April 6, 1767.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Yesterday I received your letter from Nimes, by which I find that several of our letters have reciprocally miscarried. This may prob ably have the same fate ; however, if it reaches Mon sieur Sarrazin, I presume he will know where to take his aim at you; for I find you are in motion, and with a polarity to Dresden. I am very glad to find by it, that your meridional journey has perfectly recovered you, as to


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your general state of health; for as to your legs and thighs, you must never expect that they will be restored to their original strength and activity, after so many rheumatic at tacks as you have had. I know that my limbs, besides the natural debility of old age, have never recovered the severe attack of rheumatism that plagued me five or six years ago. I cannot now walk above half an hour at a time and even that in a hobbling kind of way.

I can give you no account of our political world, which is in a situation that I never saw in my whole life. Lord Chatham has been so ill, these last two months, that he has not been able (some say not willing) to do or hear of any business, and for his sous Ministres, they either can not, or dare not, do any, without his directions ; so everything is now at a stand. This situation, I think, cannot last much longer, and if Lord Chatham should either quit his post, or the world, neither of which is very im probable, I conjecture, that which is called the Rockingham Connection stands the fairest for the Ministry. But this is merely my conjecture, for I have neither data nor postulata enough to reason upon.

When you get to Dresden, which I hope you will not do till next month, our correspondence will be more regular. God bless you!


LETTER CCXCVIII

LONDON, May 5, 17670

MY DEAR FRIEND: By your letter of the 25th past, from Basle, I presume this will find you at Dresden, and accordingly I direct to you there. When you write me word that you are at Dresden, I will return you an answer, with something better than the answer itself.

If you complain of the weather, north of Besancon, what would you say to the weather that we have had here for these last two months, uninterruptedly? Snow often, north east wind constantly, and extreme cold. I write this by the side of a good fire ; and at this moment it snows very


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hard. All my promised fruit at Blackheath is quite de stroyed; and, what is worse, many of my trees.

I cannot help thinking that the King of Poland, the Empress of Russia, and the King of Prussia, s entendent comme larrons en foire, though the former must not appear in it upon account of the stupidity, ignorance, and bigotry of his Poles I have a great opinion of tho cogency of the controversial arguments of the Russian troops, in favor of the Dissidents: I am sure I wish them success; for I would have all intoleration intolerated in its turn. We shall soon see more clearly into this matter ; for I do not think that the Autocratrice of all the Russias will be trifled with by the Sarmatians.

What do you think of the late extraordinary event in Spain? Could you have ever imagined that those ignorant Goths would have dared to banish the Jesuits? There must have been some very grave and important reasons for so extraordinary a measure: but what they were I do not pre tend to guess ; and perhaps I shall never know, though all the coffeehouses here do.

Things are here in exactly the same situation, in which they were when I wrote to you last. Lord Chatham is still ill, and only goes abroad for an hour in a day, to take the air, in his coach. The King has, to my certain knowl edge, sent him repeated messages, desiring him not to be concerned at his confinement, for that he is resolved to support him, pour et contre tous. God bless you!


LETTER CCXCIX

LONDON, June i 9 ^767,=

MY DEAR FRIEND : I received yesterday your letter of the 2oth past, from Dresden, where I am glad to find that you are arrived safe and sound. This has been every where an annus mirabilis for bad weather, and it continues here still. Everybody has fires, and their winter clothes, as at Christmas, The town is extremely sickly; and sudden deaths have been very frequent.


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I do not know what to say to you upon public matters; things remain in statu quo, and nothing is done. Great changes are talked of, and, I believe, will happen soon, perhaps next week ; but who is to be changed, for whom, I do not know, though everybody else does. I am apt to think that it will be a mosaic Ministry, made up de pieces rapportees from different connections.

Last Friday I sent your subsidy to Mr. Larpent, who, I suppose, has given you notice of it. I believe it will come very seasonably, as all places, both foreign and domestic, are so far in arrears. They talk of paying you all up to Christ mas. The King s inferior servants are almost starving.

I suppose you have already heard, at Dresden, that Count Brtihl is either actually married, or very soon to be so, to Lady Egremont. She has, together with her salary as Lady of the Bed-chamber, 2,500 a year, besides ten thousand pounds in money left her, at her own disposal, by Lord Egremont. All this will sound great en ecus d* Allemagne . I am glad of it, for he is a very pretty man. God bless you!

I easily conceive why OrlofF influences the Empress of all the Russias ; but I cannot see why the King of Prussia should be influenced by that motive.


LETTER CCC

BLACKHEATH, JULY 2, 1767.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Though I have had no letter from you since my last, and though I have no political news to inform you of, I write this to acquaint you with a piece of Greenwich news, which I believe you will be very glad of; I am sure I am. Know then that your

friend Miss was happily married, three days ago, to

Mr. , an Irish gentleman, and a member of that parlia ment, with an estate of above 2,000 a-year. He settles upon her 600 jointure, and in case they have no children, 1,500. He happened to be by chance in her company one day here, and was at once shot dead by her charms; 21


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but as dead men sometimes walk, he walked to her the next morning, and tendered her his person and his fortune ; both which, taking the one with the other, she very pru dently accepted, for his person is sixty years old.

Ministerial affairs are still in the same ridiculous and doubtful situation as when I wrote to you last. Lord Chatham will neither hear of, nor do any business, but lives at Hampstead, and rides about the heath. His gout is said to be fallen upon his nerves. Your provincial secre tary, Con way, quits this week, and returns to the army, for which he languished. Two Lords are talked of to suc ceed him ; Lord Egmont and Lord Hillsborough : I rather hope the latter. Lord Northington certainly quits this week ; but nobody guesses who is to succeed him as Presi dent. A thousand other changes are talked of, which I neither believe nor reject.

Poor Harte is in a most miserable condition: He has lost one side of himself, and in a great measure his speech ; notwithstanding which, he is going to publish his DIVINE POEMS, as he calls them. I am sorry for it, as he had not time to correct them before this stroke, nor abilities to do it since. God bless you!


LETTER CCCI

BLACKHEATH, July 9, 1767.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I have received yours of the 2ist past, with the inclosed proposal from the French r4fugikS) for a subscription toward building them un temple. I have shown it to the very few people I see, but without the least success. They told me (and with too much truth) that while such numbers of poor were literally starving here from the dearness of all provisions, they could not think of sending their money into another coun try, for a building which they reckoned useless. In truth, I never knew such misery as is here now ; and it affects both the hearts and the purses of those who have either; for my own part, I never gave to a building in my life;


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which I reckon is only giving to masons and carpenters, and the treasurer of the undertaking.

Contrary to the expectations of all mankind here, every thing still continues in statu quo. General Conway has been desired by the King to keep the seals till he has found a successor for him, and the Lord President the same. Lord Chatham is relapsed, and worse than ever : he sees nobody, and nobody sees him : it is said that a bungling physician has checked his gout, and thrown it upon his nerves ; which is the worst distemper that a minister or a lover can have, as it debilitates the mind of the former and the body of the latter. Here is at present an inter regnum. We must soon see what order will be produced from this chaos.

The Electorate, I believe, will find the want of Comte Flemming; for he certainly had abilities, and was as sturdy and inexorable as a Minister at the head of the finances ought always to be. When you see Comtesse Flemming, which I suppose cannot be for some time, pray make her Lady Chesterfield s and my compliments of condolence.

You say that Dresden is very sickly ; I am sure London is at least as sickly now, for there reigns an epidemical distemper, called by the genteel name of V influenza. It is a little fever, of which scarcely anybody dies ; and it gen erally goes off with a little looseness. I have escaped it, I believe, by being here. God keep you from all distempers, and bless you!


M


LETTER CCCII

LONDON, October 30, 1767.

Y DEAR FRIEND: I have now left Blackheath, till the next summer, if I live till then ; and am just able to write, which is all I can say, for I am extremely weak, and have in a great measure lost the use of my legs; I hope they will recover both flesh and strength, for at present they have neither. 1 go to the Bath next week, in hopes of half repairs at most; for those waters, I am sure, will not prove Medea s kettle, nor Ics eaux de Jouvence to


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me ; however, I shall do as good courtiers do, and get what I can, if I cannot get what I will. I send you no politics, for here are neither politics nor ministers ; Lord Chatham is quiet at Pynsent, in Somersetshire, and his former subalterns do nothing, so that nothing is done. Whatever places or preferments are disposed of, come evi dently from Lord , who affects to be invisible ; and

who, like a woodcock, thinks that if his head is but hid, he is not seen at all.

General Pulteney is at last dead, last week, worth above thirteen hundred thousand pounds. He has left all his landed estate, which is eight and twenty thousand pounds a-year, including the Bradford estate, which his brother had

from that ancient family, to a cousin-german. He has

left two hundred thousand pounds, in the funds, to Lord Darlington, who was his next nearest relation ; and at least twenty thousand pounds in various legacies. If riches alone could make people happy, the last two proprietors of this immense wealth ought to have been so, but they never were.

God bless you, and send you good health, which is better than all the riches of the world!


LETTER CCCIII

LONDON, November 3, 1767.

MY DEAR FRIEND: Your last letter brought me but a scurvy account of your health. For the headaches you complain of, I will venture to prescribe a rem edy, which, by experience, I found a specific, when I was extremely plagued with them. It is either to chew ten grains of rhubarb every night going to bed : or, what I think rather better, to take, immediately before dinner, a couple of rhubarb pills, of five grains each ; by which means it mixes with the aliments, and will, by degrees, keep your body gently open. I do it to this day, and find great good by it. As you ssem to dread the approach of a German winter, I would advise you to write to General


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Conway, for leave of absence for the three rigorous winter months, which I dare say will not be refused. If you choose a worse climate, you may come to London ; but if you choose a better and a warmer, you may go to Nice en Provence, where Sir William Stanhope is gone to pass his winter, who, I am sure, will be extremely glad of your company there.

I go to the Bath next Saturday. Utinam de frustra. God bless you !


LETTER CCCIV

BATH, September 19, 1767.

MY DEAR FRIEND: Yesterday I received your letter of the 29th past, and am very glad to find that you are well enough to think that you may perhaps stand the winter at Dresden ; but if you do, pray take care to keep both your body and your limbs exceedingly warm.

As to my own health, it is, in general, as good as I could expect it, at my age ; I have a good stomach, a good digestion, and sleep well; but find that I shall never recover the free use of my legs, which are now full as weak as when I first came hither.

You ask me questions concerning Lord C , which neither

I, nor, I believe, anybody but himself can answer; however, I will tell you all that I do know, and all that I guess, concerning him. This time twelvemonth he was here, and in good health and spirits, except now and then some little twinges of the gout. We saw one another four or five times, at our respective houses ; but for these last eight months, he has been absolutely invisible to his most inti mate friends, les sous Mini sir es : he would receive no letters, nor so much as open any packet about business.

His physician, Dr. , as I am told, had, very ignorantly,

checked a coming fit of the gout, and scattered it about his body ; and it fell particularly upon his nerves, so that he continues exceedingly vaporish ; and would neither see nor speak to anybody while he was here. I sent him my com pliments, and asked leave to wait upon him ; but he sent


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me word that he was too ill to see anybody whatsoever. I met him frequently taking the air in his post-chaise, and he looked very well. He set out from hence for London last Tuesday ; but what to do, whether to resume, or finally to resign the Administration, God knows; conjectures are various. In one of our conversations here, this time twelve month, I desired him to secure you a seat in the new parliament ; he assured me that he would, and, I am con vinced, very sincerely ; he said even that he would make it his own affair ; and desired that I would give myself no more trouble about it. Since that, I have heard no more of it ; which made me look out for some venal borough : and I spoke to a borough-jobber, and offered five-and-twenty hundred pounds for a secure seat in parliament ; but he laughed at my offer, and said that there was no such thing as a borough to be had now, for that the rich East and West Indians had secured them all, at the rate of three thousand pounds at least ; but many at four thousand, and two or three that he knew, at five thousand. This, I confess, has vexed me a good deal; and made me the more impatient

to know whether Lord C had done anything in it;

which I shall know when I go to town, as I propose to do in about a fortnight ; and as soon as I know it you shall. To tell you truly what I think I doubt, from all

this NERVOUS DISORDER that Lord C is hors de combat,

as a Minister ; but do not ever hint this to anybody. God bless you!


LETTER CC

BATH, December 27, 1767. En nova progenies/

MY DEAR FRIEND : The outlines of a new Ministry are now declared, but they are not yet quite filled up ; it was formed by the Duke of Bedford. Lord Gower is made President of the Council, Lord Sandwich, Post master, Lord Hillsborough, Secretary of State for America only, Mr. Rigby, Vice-treasurer of Ireland. General Con- way is to keep the seals a fortnight longer, and then to


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surrender them to Lord Weymouth. It is very uncertain whether the Duke of Grafton is to continue at the head of the Treasury or not ; but, in my private opinion, George Gren- ville will very soon be there. Lord Chatham seems to be out of the question, and is at his repurchased house at Hayes, where he will not see a mortal. It is yet uncertain whether Lord Shelburne is to keep his place ; if not, Lord Sandwich they say is to succeed him. All the Rockingham people are absolutely excluded. Many more changes must necessarily be, but no more are yet declared. It seems to be a resolution taken by somebody that Ministers are to be annual.

Sir George Macartney is next week to be married to Lady Jane Stuart, Lord Bute s second daughter.

I never knew it so cold in my life as it is now, and with a very deep snow ; by which, if it continues, I may be snow-bound here for God knows how long, though I proposed leaving this place the latter end of the week.

Poor Harte is very ill here ; he mentions you often, and with great affection. God bless you !

When I know more you shall.


LETTER CCCVI

LONDON, January 29, 1768.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Two days ago I received your letter of the 8th. I wish you had gone a month or six weeks sooner to Basle, that you might have escaped the excessive cold of the most severe winter that I believe was ever known. It congealed both my body and my mind, and scarcely left me the power of thinking. A great many here, both in town and country, have perished by the frost, and been lost in the snow.

You have heard, no doubt, of the changes at Court, by which you have got a new provincial, Lord Weymouth ; who has certainly good parts, and, as I am informed, speaks very well in the House of Lords; but I believe he has no application. Lord Chatham is at his house at Hayes,


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out sees no mortal. Some say that he has a fit of the gout, which would probably do him good ; but many think that his worst complaint is in his head, which I am afraid is too true. Were he well, I am sure he would realize the promise he made me concerning you ; but, however, in that uncertainty, I am looking out for any chance borough ; and if I can find one, I promise you I will bid like a chapman for it, as I should be very sorry that you were not in the next parliament. I do not see any probability of any va cancy in a foreign commission in a better climate ; Mr. Hamilton at Naples, Sir Horace Mann at Florence, and George Pitt at Turin, do not seem likely to make one. And as for changing your foreign department for a domestic one, it would not be in my power to procure you one ; and you would become cFeveque mttnier, and gain nothing in point of climate, by changing a bad one for another full as bad, if not worse ; and a worse I believe is not than ours. I have always had better health abroad than at home ; and if the tattered remnant of my wretched life were worth my care, I would have been in the south of France long ago. I continue very lame and weak, and despair of ever recov ering any strength in my legs. I care very little about it. At my age every man must have his share of physical ills of one kind or another; and mine, thank God, are not very painful. God bless you!


LETTER CCCVII

LONDON, March 12, 1768.

MY DEAR FRIEND: The day after I received your letter of the 2 ist past, I wrote to Lord Weymouth, as you desired ; and I send you his answer inclosed, from which (though I have not heard from him since) I take it for granted, and so may you, that his silence signifies his Majesty s consent to your request. Your complicated com plaints give me great uneasiness, and the more, as I am convinced that the Montpellier physicians have mistaken a material part of your case ; as indeed all the physicians


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here did, except Dr. Maty. In my opinion, you have no gout, but a very scorbutic and rheumatic habit of body, which should be treated in a very different manner from the gout ; and, as I pretend to be a very good quack at least, 1 would prescribe to you a strict milk diet, with the seeds, such as rice, sago, barley, millet, etc., for the three sum mer months at least, and without ever tasting wine. If climate signifies anything (in which, by the way, I have very little faith), you are, in my mind, in the finest climate in the world ; neither too hot nor too cold, and always clear ; you are with the gayest people living ; be gay with them, and do not wear out your eyes with reading at home. L? ennui is the English distemper : and a very bad one it is, as I find by every day s experience ; for my deafness deprives me of the only rational pleasure that I can have at my age, which is society ; so that I read my eyes out every day, that I may not hang myself.

You will not be in this parliament, at least not at the

beginning of it. I relied too much upon Lord C s

promise above a year ago at Bath. He desired that I would leave it to him ; that he would make it his own affair, and

give it in charge to the Duke of G , whose province it

was to make the parliamentary arrangement. This I de pended upon, and I think with reason; but, since that,

Lord C has neither seen nor spoken to anybody, and

has been in the oddest way in the world. I have sent to

the D of G , to know if L C had either

spoken or sent to him about it ; but he assured me that he had done neither; that all was full, or rather running over, at present ; but that, if he could crowd you in upon a va cancy, he would do it with great pleasure. I am extremely sorry for this accident ; for I am of a very different opinion from you, about being in parliament, as no man can be of consequence in this country, who is not in it ; and, though one may not speak like a Lord Mansfield or a Lord Chatham, one may make a very good figure in a second rank. Locus cst et pluribus u?nbris. I do not pretend to give you any account of the present state of this country, or Minis try, not knowing nor guessing it myself.

God bless you, and send you health, which is the first and greatest of all blessings !


330 LORD CHESTERFIELD S


LETTER CCCVIII

LONDON, March 15, 1768.

MY DEAR FRIEND : This letter is supplemental to my last. This morning Lord Weymouth very civilly sent Mr. Wood, his first commis, to tell me that the King very willingly gave you leave of absence from your post for a year, for the recovery of your health ; but then added, that as the Court of Vienna was tampering with that of Saxony, which it seems our Court is desirous to contrequarrer, it might be necessary to have in the interim a Charge d? Affaires at Dresden, with a defalcation out of your appointments of forty shillings a-day, till your return, if I would agree to it. I told him that I consented to both the proposals, upon condition that at your return you should have the character and the pay of Plenipotentiary added to your present character and pay; and that I would completely make up to you the defalcation of the forty shillings a-day. He positively engaged for it: and added, that he knew that it would be willingly agreed to. Thus I think I have made a good bargain for you, though but an indifferent one for myself : but that is what I never minded in my life. You may, therefore, depend upon receiving from me the full of this defalcation, when and how you please, independently of your usual annual refreshment, which I will pay to Monsieur Larpent, whenever you de sire it. In the meantime, Cura ut valeas.

The person whom Mr. Wood intimated to me would be the Charg6 d* Affaires during your absence, is one Mr. Keith, the son of that Mr. Keith who was formerly Minis ter in Russia.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 331


LETTER CCCIX

LONDON, April 12, 1768.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I received, yesterday, your letter of the ist; in which you do not mention the state of your health, which I desire you will do for the future.

I believe you have guessed the true reason of Mr. Keith s mission ; but by a whisper that I have since heard, Keith is rather inclined to go to Turin, as Charge d* Affaires. I forgot to tell you, in my last, that I was almost positively assured that the instant you return to Dresden, Keith should decamp. I am persuaded that they will keep their words with me, as there is no one reason in the world why they should not. I will send your annual to Mr. Larpent, in a fortnight, and pay the forty shillings a-day quarterly, if there should be occasion ; for, in my own pri vate opinion, there will be no Charge <T Affaires sent. I agree with you, that point d argent, point cT Allemand, as was used to be said, and not without more reason, of the Swiss; but, as we have neither the inclination nor (I fear) the power to give subsidies, the Court of Vienna can give good things that cost them nothing, as archbishoprics, bishoprics, besides corrupting their ministers and favorites with places.

Elections here have been carried to a degree of frenzy hitherto unheard of ; that for the town of Northampton has cost the contending parties at least thirty thousand pounds

a side, and has sold his borough of , to two

members, for nine thousand pounds. As soon as Wilkes had lost his election for the city, he set up for the county of Middlesex, and carried it hollow, as the jockeys say. Here were great mobs and riots upon that occasion, and most of the windows in town broke, that had no lights for WILKES AND LIBERTY, who were thought to be insep arable. He will appear, the 2oth of this month, in the Court of King s Bench, to receive his sentence ; and then great riots are again expected, and probably will happen. God bless you !


332 LORD CHESTERFIELD S


LETTER CCCX

BATH, October 17, 1768.

MY DEAR FRIEND : Your last two letters, to myself and Grevenkop, have alarmed me extremely ; but I comfort myself a little, by hoping that you, like all people who suffer, think yourself worse than you are. A dropsy never comes so suddenly ; and I flatter myself, that it is only that gouty or rheumatic humor, which has plagued you so long, that has occasioned the temporary swelling of your legs. Above forty years ago, after a vio lent fever, my legs swelled as much as you describe yours to be ; I immediately thought that I had a dropsy ; but the Faculty assured me, that my complaint was only the effect of my fever, and would soon be cured ; and they said true. Pray let your amanuensis, whoever he may be, write an account regularly once a- week, either to Grevenkop or my self, for that is the same thing, of the state of your health.

I sent you, in four successive letters, as much of the Duchess of Somerset s" snuff as a letter could well convey to you. Have you received all or any of them ? and have they done you any good? Though, in your present con dition, you cannot go into company, I hope that you have some acquaintances that come and sit with you ; for if originally it was not good for man to be alone, it is much worse for a sick man to be so; he thinks too much of his distemper, and magnifies it. Some men of learning among the ecclesiastics, I dare say, would be glad to sit with you ; and you could give them as good as they brought.

Poor Harte, who is here still, is in a most miserable condition : he has entirely lost the use of his left side, and can hardly speak intelligibly. I was with him yesterday. He inquired after you with great affection, and was in the utmost concern when I showed him your letter.

My own health is as it has been ever since I was here last year. I am neither well nor ill, but UNWELL. I have in a manner lost the use of my legs ; for though I can make a shift to crawl upon even ground for a quarter of an hour,


LETTERS TO HIS SON 333

I cannot go up or down stairs, unless supported by a servant. God bless you and grant you a speedy recovery !


NOTE. This is the last of the letters of Lord Chesterfield to his son, Mr. Philip Stanhope, who died in November, 1768. The unexpected and distressing intelligence was an nounced by the lady to whom Mr. Stanhope had been mar ried for several years, unknown to his father. On learning that the widow had two sons, the issue of this marriage, Lord Chesterfield took upon himself the maintenance of his grandchildren. The letters which follow show how happily the writer adapted himself to the trying situation.


LETTER CCCXI To MRS. STANHOPE, THEN AT PARIS

LONDON, March 16, 1769.

MADAM : A troublesome and painful inflammation in my eyes obliges me to use another hand than my own to acknowledge the receipt of your letter from Avig non, of the 27th past.

I am extremely surprised that Mrs. du Bouchet should have any objection to the manner in which your late hus band desired to be buried, and which you, very properly, complied with. All I desire for my own burial is not to be buried alive; but how or where, I think must be en tirely indifferent to every rational creature.

I have no commission to trouble you with, during your stay at Paris; from whence, I wish you and the boys a good journey home, where I shall be very glad to see you all; and assure you of my being, with great truth, your faithful, humble servant,

CHESTERFIELD.


334 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

LETTER CCCXII To THE SAME, AT LONDON

MADAM : The last time that I had the pleasure of seeing you, I was so taken up in playing with the boys that I forgot their more important affairs. How soon would you have them placed at school? When I know your pleasure as to that, I will send to Monsieur Perny, to prepare everything for their reception. In the meantime, I beg that you will equip them thoroughly with clothes, linen, etc., all good, but plain; and give me the account, which I will pay ; for I do not intend that, from this time for ward .the two boys should cost you one shilling. I am, with great truth, Madam, your faithful, humble servant,

CHESTERFIELD.


LETTER CCCXIII

MADAM : As some day must be fixed for sending the boys to school, do you approve of the 8th of next month? By which time the weather will probably be warm and settled, and you will be able to equip them completely.

I will upon that day send my coach to you, to carry you and the boys to Loughborough House, with all their immense baggage. I must recommend to you, when you leave them there, to suppress, as well as you can, the over flowings of maternal tenderness ; which would grieve the poor boys the more, and give them a terror of their new establishment. I am, with great truth, Madam, your faith ful, humble servant,

CHESTERFIELD.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 335


LETTER CCCXIV

BATH, October n, 1769.

MADAM : Nobody can be more willing and ready to obey orders than I am ; but then I must like the orders and the orderer. Your orders and yourself come under this description ; and therefore I must give you an account of my arrival and existence, such as it is, here. I got hither last Sunday, the day after I left London, less fatigued than I expected to have been ; and now crawl about this place upon my three legs, but am kept in counte nance by many of my fellow-crawlers; the last part of the Sphinx s riddle approaches, and I shall soon end, as I be gan, upon all fours.

When you happen to see either Monsieur or Madame Perny, I beg you will give them this melancholic proof of my caducity, and tell them that the last time I went to see the boys, I carried the Michaelmas quarterage in my pocket ; and when I was there I totally forgot it; but assure them, that I have not the least intention to bilk them, and will pay them faithfully the two quarters together, at Christmas.

I hope our two boys are well, for then I am sure you are so. I am, with great truth and esteem, your most faithful, humble servant,

CHESTERFIELD.


LETTER CCCXV

BATH, October 28, 1769.

MADAM : Your kind anxiety for my health and life is more than, in my opinion, they are both worth; without the former the latter is a burden ; and, in deed, I am very weary of it. I think I have got some benefit by drinking these waters, and by bathing, for my old stiff, rheumatic limbs; for, I believe, I could now out- crawl a snail, or perhaps even a tortoise.


336 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

I hope the boys are well. Phil, I dare say, has been in some scrapes; but he will get triumphantly out of them, by dint of strength and resolution. I am, with great truth and esteem, your most faithful, humble servant,

CHESTERFIELD.


LETTER CCCXVI

BATH, November 5, 1769.

MADAM : I remember very well the paragraph which you quote from a letter of mine to Mrs. du Bouchet, and see no reason yet to retract that opinion, in general, which at least nineteen widows in twenty had authorized. I had not then the pleasure of your acquaintance : I had seen you but twice or thrice ; and I had no reason to think that you would deviate, as you have done, from other widows, so much as to put perpetual shackles upon your self, for the sake of your children. But (if I may use a vulgarism) one swallow makes no summer: five righteous were formerly necessary to save a city, and they could not be found ; so, till I find four more such righteous widows as yourself, I shall entertain my former notions of widow hood in general.

I can assure you that I drink here very soberly and cautiously, and at the same time keep so cool a diet that I do not find the least symptom of heat, much less of in flammation. By the way, I never had that complaint, in consequence of having drank these waters; for I have had it but four times, and always in the middle of summer. Mr. Hawkins is timorous, even to minutice, and my sister delights in them.

Charles will be a scholar, if you please ; but our little Philip, without being one, will be something or other as good, though I do not yet guess what. I am not of the opinion generally entertained in this country, that man lives by Greek and Latin alone ; that is, by knowing a great many words of two dead languages, which nobody living knows perfectly, and which are of no use in the common intercourse of life. Useful knowledge in my opinion con-


LETTERS TO HIS SON 337

sists of modern languages, history, and geography ; some Latin may be thrown into the bargain, in compliance with custom, and for closet amusement.

You are, by this time, certainly tired with this long let ter, which I could prove to you from Horace s own words (for I am a scholar} to be a bad one; he says, that water- drinkers can write nothing good: so I am, with real truth and esteem, your most faithful, humble servant,

CHESTERFIELD.


LETTER CCCXVII

BATH, October 9, 1770.

MADAM: I am extremely obliged to you for the kind part which you take in my health and life : as to the latter, I am as indifferent myself as any other body can be; but as to the former, I confess care and anxiety, for while I am to crawl upon this planet, I would willingly enjoy the health at least of an insect. How far these waters will restore me to that moderate degree of health, which alone I aspire at, I have not yet given them a fair trial, having drank them but one week ; the only dif ference I hitherto find is, that I sleep better than I did.

I beg that you will neither give yourself, nor Mr. Fitz- hugh, much trouble about the pine plants ; for as it is three years before they fruit, I might as well, at my age, plant oaks, and hope to have the advantage of their timber : how ever, somebody or other, God knows who, will eat them, as somebody or other will fell and sell the oaks I planted five- and-forty years ago.

I hope our boys are well ; my respects to them both. I am, with the greatest truth, your faithful and humble servant, CHESTERFIELD.

22


338 LORD CHESTERFIELD S


LETTER CCCXVIII

BATH, November 4, 1770.

MADAM : The post has been more favorable to you than I intended it should, for, upon my word, I answered your former letter the post after I had received it. However you have got a loss, as we say sometimes in Ireland. My friends from time to time require bills of health from me in these suspicious times, when the plague is busy in some parts of Europe. All I can say, in answer to their kind inquiries, is, that I have not the distemper properly called the plague ; but that I have all the plague of old age and of a shattered carcass. These waters have done me what little good I expected from them ; though by no means what I could have wished, for I wished them to be les eaux de Jouvence.

I had a letter, the other day, from our two boys ; Charles was very finely written, and Philip s very prettily : they are perfectly well, and say that they want nothing. What grown-up people will or can say as much ? I am, with the truest esteem, Madam, your most faithful servant.

CHESTERFIELD.


LETTER CCCXIX

BATH, October 27, 1771.

MADAM : Upon my word, you interest yourself in the state of my existence more than I do myself; for it is worth the care of neither of us. I ordered my valet de chambre, according to your orders, to inform you of my safe arrival here; to which I can add nothing, being neither better nor worse than I was then.

I am very glad that our boys are well. Pray give them the inclosed.

I am not at all surprised at Mr. s conversion, for

he was, at seventeen, the idol of old women, for his gravity, devotion, and dullness. I am, Madam, your most faithful, humble servant, CHESTERFIELD.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 339


LETTER CCCXX To CHARLES AND PHILIP STANHOPE

I RECEIVED a few days ago two the best written letters that ever I saw in my life ; the one signed Charles Stanhope, the other Philip Stanhope. As for you Charles, I did not wonder at it ; for you will take pains, and are a lover of letters; but you, idle rogue, you Phil, how came you to write so well that one can almost say of you two, et cantare pares et respondre parati! Charles will explain this Latin to you.

I am told, Phil, that you have got a nickname at school, from your intimacy with Master Strangeways ; and that they call you Master Strangeways; for to be rude, you are a strange boy. Is this true?

Tell me what you would have me bring you both from hence, and I will bring it you, when I come to town. In the meantime, God bless you both!

CHESTERFIELD.


APPENDIX JUVENILE SECTION


LORD CHESTERFIELD S LETTERS TO HIS SON

Written -when Ike Latter ivas between Five and Fourteen

of Age


I732I74I


CHESTERFIELD S LETTERS

LETTER I*

I AM told, Sir, you are preparing to travel, and that you begin by Holland ; I

therefore thought it my duty to wish you a prosperous journey, and favor able winds. I hope you will be so good as to acquaint me with your arrival at The Hague; and if, in the course of your travels, you should make any curious observations, be so kind to communicate them to me.

Holland, where you are going, is by far the finest and richest of the Seven United Provinces, which altogether form the republic. The other provinces are Guelderland, Zealand, Friesland, Utrecht, Groningen, and Overyssel : these seven provinces form what is called the States- General of the United Prov inces. This is a very powerful and a very considerable republic. I must tell you, that a republic is a free state, without any king. You will first go to The Hague, which is the most beautiful village in the world; for it is not a town. Amsterdam, reckoned the capital of the United Provinces, is a very fine rich city; there are, besides, in Holland, several considerable towns, such as Dort, Haerlem, Leyden, Delft, and Rotterdam.

You will observe, throughout Holland, the greatest cleanliness; the very streets are cleaner than our houses are here. Holland carries on a very great trade, particularly to China, Japan, and all over the East Indies.

You are going to have a great many holidays altogether; make the best use of them, by diverting yourself well. At your return hither, you must re gain the lost time, by learning better than ever. Adieu.


LETTER II

ISLEWORTH.

jy^Y DEAR CHILD : As you will, in time, read the ancient Greek and Latin poets, it is proper that you should have some notion of the foundation of poetry, and a general knowledge of those stories to which poets most com monly allude. You have already read the <( Poetical History, w and I hope you remember it. You will have found there the histories of gods and goddesses, whom the poets are continually mentioning. Even modern poets (that is to say, those of the present times) have adopted all the histories of the ancient ones.

For example: an English or a French poet, at the beginning of his work, invokes Apollo, the god of poetry; he also invokes the Nine Muses, who are the goddesses of poetry. He entreats them to be propitious or favorable, and to inspire him with their genius. For this reason I here send you the history of Apollo, and that of the Nine Muses, or Nine Sisters, as they are frequently called. Apollo is also often named the god of Parnassus, because he is sup posed to be frequently upon a mountain called Parnassus.

The making verses well is an agreeable talent, which I hope you will be possessed of; for as it is more difficult to express one s thoughts in verse than in prose, the being capable of doing it is more glorious. Adieu.

  • This letter is a mere pleasantry, Mr. Stanhope having been taken to Holland

"when he was but about five years of age.

(343)


344 LORD CHESTERFIELD S


LETTER III

4 POLLO was the son of Jupiter and Latona, who was delivered of him and Diana in the island of Delos. He is god of the sun, and thence gener ally is called Phoebus. He is also the god of poetry and of music, in which character he is represented with a lyre in his hand ; that instrument is a kind of harp. There was a famous temple at Delphos, dedicated to Apollo, where he pronounced oracles, that is to say, foretold what is to happen. He is often invoked by poets, to animate them with his fire, that they may be inspired to celebrate the praises of gods and of men.

The Nine Muses were daughters of Jupiter and of the goddess Mnemosyne, that is to say, the goddess of memory, to show that memory is necessary to arts and sciences. They are called Clio, Euterpe, Thalia, Melpomene, Terpsi chore, Erato, Polyhymnia, Urania, Calliope. They are the goddesses of poetry, history, music, and all the arts and sciences. The Nine Muses are represented by poets as very young, very handsome, and adorned with garlands of flowers. The mountains which they inhabit are called Parnassus, Helicon, and Pindus. There are two celebrated fountains which belong to them, named Hippocrene and Castalia. Poets, in their invocations, desire them to quit for a moment their Parnassus and Hippocrene, that they may assist them with their inspir ation to make verses.

Pegasus, the poetic horse, often mentioned by poets, has wings to his feet. He gave a kick against Mount Helicon, and the fountain of Hippocrene im mediately sprang out. When a poet is making verses, it is sometimes said he is mounted upon his Pegasus.


LETTER IV

VOU are the best boy in the world, and your last translation is still better than the former. This is just as it ought to be, to improve every day more and more. Although I now love you dearly, if you continue to go on so, I shall love you still more tenderly: if you improve and grow learned, every one will be fond of you, and desirous of your company; whereas, ignorant peo ple are shunned and despised. In order that I may not be ignorant myself, I read a great deal. The other day I went through the history of Dido, which I will now tell you.

Dido was daughter of Belus, king of Tyre, and was married to Sicheus, whom she dearly loved. But as Sicheus had immense riches, Pygmalion, Dido s brother, had him put to death and seized his treasures. Dido, fearful lest her brother might kill her too, fled to Africa, where she built the fine city of Car thage. Now, it happened that, just about the same time, ^Eneas also fled from the city of Troy, which had been taken and burnt by the Greeks; and as he was going, with many other Trojans, in his ships to Italy, he was thrown by a storm upon the coast of Africa, and landed at Carthage. Dido received him very kindly, and gave him leave to stay till he had refitted his fleet; but, un fortunately for her, she became in love with him. ^Eneas (as you may easily believe) was not cruel; so that matters were soon settled. When the ships were ready, fiLneas wanted to set sail for Italy, to which the gods had ordered him, that he might be the founder of Rome; but Dido opposed his departure, and reproached him with ingratitude, and the favors he had received. How ever, he left her, ran off in the night, and put to sea. Poor Dido, in despair at being abandoned by the man she loved, had a great pile of wood set on fire,


LETTERS TO HIS SON 345

threw herself into the flames and was burnt to death. When you are older, you will read all this story in Latin, written by Virgil; who has made a fine poem of it, called the (< yEneid. w If you should abandon Miss Pinkerton for Miss Williams, do you think she will do the same? Adieu, my dear!

I send you a very pretty epigram upon the subject of Dido; you may easily learn it by heart :

Infelix Dido! nulli bene nupta marito; Hoc pereunte fugis, hoc fugitnte peris*


LETTER V

I TOLD you, my dear, that I would send you some stories to amuse you; I therefore now give you the history of the siege of Troy, which is very en tertaining. Homer, an ancient Greek poet, has wrote upon this subject the finest epic poem that ever was. By the way, you are to know that an epic poem is a long poem upon some great event, or upon the actions of some great man.

The siege of Troy is so very famous for having lasted ten years, and also upon the account of the great number of heroes who were there, that one must by no means be ignorant of such an event. When you are older, you will read it all in the Greek of Homer.

Adieu ! you are the best child in the world.

I return you your letter corrected; for though it had but few faults, it is, however, proper that you should know them.


LETTER VI

Cause of the war between the Greeks and Trojans and of the besieging and tak ing of Troy.

LJEAVEN and earth were at peace, and the gods and goddesses enjoyed the most perfect tranquillity ; when the goddess Discord, who delights in con fusion and quarrels, displeased at this universal calm, resolved to excite dis sensions. In order to effect this, she threw among the goddesses a golden apple, upon which these words were written, To the fairest. M Immediately each of the goddesses wanted to have the apple, and each said she was the handsomest; for goddesses are as anxious about their beauty as mere mortal Jadies. The strife was, however, more particularly between Juno, the wife of Jupiter ; Venus, the goddess of love ; and Pallas, the goddess of arts and sci ences. At length they agreed to be judged by a shepherd, named Paris, who fed his flocks upon Mount Ida, and was, however, son to Priam, king of Troy. They appeared all three before Paris, and quite naked ; for, in order to judge critically, and to determine equitably, it is requisite that all should be seen Juno offered him the grandeurs of the world, if he would decide in her favor; Pallas promised him arts and sciences; but Venus, who tempted him with the most beautiful woman in the universe, prevailed, and he gave her the apple.

You may easily imagine how glad Venus was, and how angry Juno and Pallas were. Venus, in order to perform her promise, ordered him to go to Menelaus, in Greece, whose wife, named Helena, would fall in love with him : accordingly he went, and was kindly entertained by Menelaus ; but soon after, Paris ran away with Helena, and carried her off to Troy. Menelaus, irritated at this injurious breach of hospitality, complained to his brother Agamemnon,


346 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

king of Mycene, who engaged the Greeks to avenge the affront. Ambassadors were sent to Troy, to demand the restitution of Helena, and in case of a denial to declare war. Paris refused to restore her, upon which war was declared. It lasted ten years. I shall very soon send you the history of it


LETTER VII

ISLEWORTH, June 30, 1738.

1 NOW send you, my dear, a very short history of the siege of Troy, You will there see how justly the Trojans were punished for supporting Paris in his injustice.

I will send you soon the histories of several kings and heroes, who were in the Grecian army, and deserve to be known. I ought to have informed you that the city of Troy was in Asia; and that Greece is a country in Europe, which at present belongs to the Turks, and is part of what is called Turkey in Europe.

Considering the manner in which you now go on, you will in time be very learned ; I am even afraid lest you should soon know more than myself. How ever, I shall forgive you, and will be very happy to be esteemed ignorant in comparison of you. Adieu.

THE HISTORY OF THE SIEGE OF TROY

The Trojans having refused to restore Helen to her husband, the Greeks de clared war against them. Now there was in Greece a great number of kings, who furnished troops and commanded them in person. They all agreed to give the supreme command to Agamemnon, king of Mycene, and brother to Menelaus, husband to Helen.

They embarked, for Troy; but, meeting with contrary winds, were detained by them at Aulis. Upon which Calchas, the high priest, declared that those adverse winds were sent by the goddess Diana, who would, continue them till Iphigenia, daughter to Agamemnon, was sacrificed to her. Agamemnon obeyed, and sent for Iphigenia; but just as she was going to be sacrificed, Diana put a hind in her stead, and carried off Iphigenia to Tauros, where she made her one of her priestesses.

After this, the winds became favorable, and they pursued " their voyage to Troy, where they landed, and began the siege ; but the Trojans defended their city so well, that the siege lasted ten years. The Greeks, finding they could not take it by force, had recourse to stratagem : they made a great wooden horse, and inclosed in its body a number of armed men ; after which they pre tended to retire to their ships, and abandon the siege. The Trojans fell into this snare, and brought the horse into their town; which cost them dear; for, in the middle of the night, the men concealed in it got out, set fire to the city, opened the gates, and let in the Grecian army, that had returned under the walls of Troy. The Greeks sacked the city, and put all the inhabitants to the sword, except a very few who saved themselves by flight. Among these was yneas, whom I mentioned to you before ; and who fled with his father Anchises upon his shoulders, because he was old ; and led his son Ascanius by the hand, because he was young.

STORY OF AJAX

Ajaxwas one of the most valiant Greeks that went to the siege of Troy; he was son to Telamon, prince of Salamis. After Achilles had been killed, he demanded that hero s armor, as his nearest relation ; but Ulysses contested that


LETTERS TO HIS SON 347

point, and obtained the armor. Upon which Ajax went mad, and slaughtered all the sheep he met with, under a notion that they were so many Greeks. At last he killed himself.

STORY OF NESTOR

Nestor was the oldest and wisest of all the Greeks who were at the siege of Troy. He was above three hundred years old, so that^ on account of his ex perience, as well as his wisdom, the Grecian army was directed by his counsels. Even at this present time, it is said of a man. who is very old and very wise, he is a Nestor.

STORY OP ULYSSES

Ulysses was another prince who went to the siege of Troy : he was king of Ithaca, and son of Laertes. His wife s name was Penelope, with whom he was so much in love, that, unwilling to leave her, he feigned himself mad, in order to be excused going to the siege of Troy ; but this device being discovered, he was compelled to embark for Ilion. He was most artful and subtle of all the Greeks. During those ten years of his absence at Troy, Penelope had several lovers, but she gave encouragement to none ; so that even now, when a woman is commended for chastity, she is called a Penelope.

After the destruction of Troy, Ulysses was several "years before he reached his kingdom, being tossed about by tempests and various accidents. The voyages of Ulysses have been the subject of a very fine poem, written by Homer in Greek, and called the (< Odyssey, M Ulysses had one son, whose name was Telem- achus.

There were also many illustrious persons on the Trojan side. Priam was their king. He was very old, and had had fifty children by his wife Hecuba. After the taking of Troy, he was killed by Pyrrhus, the son of Achilles ; and Hecuba was made captive to Ulysses.

STORY OF HECTOR

Hector was the son to Priam, and the bravest of the Trojans ; Andromache was his wife, and his son s name Astyanax. He resolved to engage Achilles, who killed him, and then brutally fastened his dead body to his car, and dragged it in triumph round the walls of Troy.

After that city was taken, his wife Andromache became captive to Pyrrhus, the son of Achilles. He afterward fell in love with and married her.

STORY OF CASSANDRA

Cassandra, daughter of Priam, was so beautiful, that the god Apollo fell in love with her; and gave her the power of foretelling future events, upon con dition of her compliance with his desires. But as she deceived the god, by not gratifying his wishes, he ordered matters in such a manner, that, although she always foretold truth, nobody believed her. It is even now said of a per son who foretells the consequences of an affair, and is not believed, she is a Cassandra.

STORY OF AENEAS

^Eneas was a Trojan prince, son of Anchises, and of the goddess Venus, who protected him in all the dangers he underwent. His wife s name was Creusa; by whom he had a son called Ascanius, or lulus. When Troy was burnt, he made his escape, and carried his father Anchises upon his back ; for which reason he was surnamed the pious ^Eneas.

You already know what happened to him with Dido at Carthage. After that he went to Italy, where having killed his rival Turnus, he married Lavinia, daughter to King Latinus.

From ^neas and Lavinia was descended Romulus, the founder of Rome.


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LETTER VIII

ISLEWORTH, 2gth July.

jyi Y DEAR CHILD : I sent you in my last, the story of Atalanta who could not resist the temptation of gold. I will now give you the story of a woman, with whom no temptation whatever had any power : this was Daphne, daughter to the river Peneus. Apollo was violently in love with her; and Apollo was, as you know, a very accomplished god ; for he was young and handsome; besides which, he was god of the sun, of music, and of poetry. These are brilliant qualities ; but, notwithstanding, the nymph was coy, and the lover unsuccessful.

One day having met with her in the fields, he pursued, in order to have forced her. Daphne, to avoid him, ran as long as she was able; but at last, being quite spent, Apollo was just going to catch her in his arms, when the gods, who pitied her fate and approved her virtue, changed her into a laurel ; so that Apollo, instead of his dear Daphne, was surprised to find a tree in his arms. But, as a testimony of his love, he decreed the laurel to be the most honorable of all trees; and ordained victorious warriors and celebrated poets to be crowned with it : an injunction which was ever afterward observed by the ancients. You will even often find, among the modern poets, laurels for vic tories. Such a one is loaded with laurels; such a one has gathered laurels in the field of battle : this means, he has been victorious, and has distinguished himself by his bravery. I hope that, in time, you too will be famous for your courage. Valor is essential to a gentleman; besides that it adds brilliancy to bis character. Adieu.

LETTER IX

BATH, September 30, O. S. 1738.

]\yi Y DEAR CHILD : I am very glad to hear that you are returned from your travels well, and in good humor. The three days dance which you have borne, has not, I believe, been quite so agreeable as that which you are now going to renew with your dancing-master.

As I know you have a pleasure in learning, I take it for granted that you have resumed your studies; for time is precious, life short, and consequently one must not lose a single moment. A man of sense knows how to make the most of time, and puts out his whole sum either to interest or to pleasure; he is never idle, but constantly employed either in amusements or in study. It is a saying, that idleness is the mother of all vice. At least, it is certain that laziness is the inheritance of fools ; and nothing is so despicable as a sluggard. Cato the Censor, an old Roman of great virtue and much wisdom, used to say, there were but three actions of his life which he regretted. The first was, the having told a secret to his wife ; the second, that he had once gone by sea when he might have gone by land; and the third, the having passed one day without doing anything. Considering the manner in which you em ploy your time, I own that I am envious of the pleasure you will have in finding yourself more learned than other boys, even those who are older than yourself. What honor this will do you 1 What distinctions, what applause will follow wherever you go ! You must confess that this cannot but give you pleasure. The being desirous of surpassing them in merit and learning is a very laudable ambition ; whereas to wishing to outshine others in rank, in ex pense, in clothes, and in equipage, is a silly vanity, that makes a man appear ridiculous.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 349

Let us return to our geography, in order to amuse ourselves with maps* Now the days are short, you cannot walk out in the evening ; yet one must amuse one s self ; and there is nothing so entertaining as maps. Adieu I you are an excellent little boy.

Make my compliments to your mamma.


LETTER X

BATH, October 4, 1738.

II/IY DEAR CHILD : By my writing so often, and by the manner in which I write, you will easily see that I do not treat you as a little child, but as a boy who loves to learn, and is ambitious of receiving instructions. I am even per suaded, that, in reading my letters, you are attentive, not only to the subject of which they treat, but likewise to the orthography and to the style. It is of the greatest importance to write letters well ; as this is a talent which unavoid ably occurs every day of one s life, as well in business as in pleasure ; and inaccuracies in orthography or in style are never pardoned but in ladies. When you are older, you will read the (< Epistles w (that is to say Letters)^ of Cicero ; which are the most perfect models of good writing. A propos of Cicero, I must give you some account of him. He was an old Roman, who lived eighteen hundred years ago ; a man of great genius, and the most cele brated orator that ever was. Will it not be necessary to explain to you what an orator is ? I believe I must. An orator is a man who harangues in a pub lic assembly, and who speaks with eloquence ; that is to say, who reasons well, has a fine style, and chooses his words properly. Now never man suc ceeded better than Cicero in all those different points; he used sometimes to speak to the whole people of Rome assembled ; and, by the force of his eloquence, persuaded them to whatever he pleased. At other times, he used to undertake causes, and plead for his clients in courts of judicature; and in those causes he generally had all the suffrages, that is to say, all the opinions, all the decisions, in his favor. While the Roman republic enjoyed its freedom, he did very signal services to his country; but after it was enslaved by Julius Coesar, the first Emperor of the Romans, Cicero became suspected by the tyrants; and was at last put to death by order of Mark Antony, who hated him for the severity of his orations against him, at the time that he endeavored to obtain the sovereignty of Rome.

In case there should be any words in my letters which you do not per fectly understand, remember always to inquire the explanation from your mamma, or else to seek for them in the dictionary. Adieu.


LETTER XI

BATH, October n, 1738.

iyi Y DEAR CHILD : Having mentioned Cicero to you in my last, Cicero, the greatest orator that Rome ever produced (although it produced several), I this day introduce to your acquaintance Demosthenes, the most celebrated of the Grecian orators. To say the truth, I ought to have begun with Demos thenes, as the elder; for he lived about three hundred years before the other. Cicero even improved by reading his orations, as I hope you will in time profit by reading those of both. Let us return to Demosthenes. He was born at Ath ens, a celebrated city in Greece ; and so commanding was his eloquence that, for a considerable time, he absolutely governed the city, and persuaded the peo-


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pie to whatever he pleased. His elocution was not naturally good, for he stam mered ; but he got the better of that impediment by speaking with small peb bles in his mouth. He distinguished himself more particularly by his orations against Philip, King of Macedonia, who had designed the conquest of Greece. Those orations being against Philip, were from thence called Philippics. You see how useful it is to be able to speak well, to express one s self clearly, and to pronounce gracefully. The talent of speaking well is more essentially nec essary than any other to make us both agreeable and worthy of consideration. A propos of the city of Athens : I believe you at present know but little of it ; and yet it would be requisite to be well informed upon that subject ; for, if Athens was not the mother, at least she was the nurse to all the arts and sciences ; that is to say, though she did not invent, yet she improved them to the highest degree of perfection. It is true that arts and sciences first began in Egypt; but it is as certain that they were brought to perfection at Athens. The greatest philosophers (that is to say, men who loved and studied wisdom) were Athenians, as also the best poets, and the best orators. Arts likewise were there brought to the utmost perfection, such as sculpture, which means the art of cutting figures in stone and in marble ; architecture, or the art of build ing houses, temples, and theatres well. Painting, music, in short, every art flour ished at Athens. The Athenians had great delicacy of wit, and justness of taste ; they were polite and agreeable. That sort of lively, just, and pleasing wit, which they possessed was called Attic Salt, because salt has, as you know, something sharp and yet agreeable. Even now, it is said of a man who has that turn of wit, he has Attic salt ; which means Athenian. I hope you will have a good deal of that salt ; but this requires the learning many things, the comprehending and expressing them without hesitation ; for the best things lose much of their merit if they appear too studied. Adieu, my dear boy ; here is enough for this day.


LETTER XII

BATH, October 18, 1738.

JUIY DEAR CHILD : In my last I wrote to you concerning the celebrated city of Athens. I now resume the subject; because too much cannot be said of it, nor can you be too well instructed concerning it. The greatest men of antiquity were Athenians ; and that city produced the finest models of eloquence, poetry, philosophy, painting, sculpture, and, in short, of all the arts and sciences. On those models it was that the Romans afterward formed their taste, and on the same we must perfect ours. Plato, the greatest philosopher that ever existed, was an Athenian ; and such of his writings as still remain are superior to those of all the ancients. A philosopher is both a wise and a learned man. Plato was a disciple, that is to say, a scholar of Socrates, a celebrated philosopher, and the most virtuous among the ancients. Socrates himself never wrote, but by his discourses instructed the Athenians. On account of his virtues, all vicious peo ple were enemies to him ; they therefore accused him falsely, and he was most unjustly put to death.

Sophocles and Euripides, two famous tragedians, were both Athenians ; as was also Aristophanes, a famous comic poet who wrote comedies.

The Athenians were as celebrated for valor as for science. They more than once defeated, both by sea and land, the King of Persia, who invaded Greece with innumerable forces. Themistocles, Miltiades, and Alcibiades, were the most renowned of their generals. In short, the Athenians surpassed the other Greeks in everything, as much as Greece then outdid the rest of the world. You are soon to read the history of Greece, and it will give you much pleasure.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 351

I received your letter, and will not fail to execute your orders, respecting the case ; but let me know what sort of a case you want, as the word CASE means everything made to preserve another. So that I must know what it is that you would have in that case. Adieu.


LETTER XIII

BATH, October 30, 1738.

jyi Y DEAR CHILD : I received your letter, which is very well written ; by that I perceive that you improve, and learn well. This being the case, you may boldly ask for whatever you want. I shall not fail to bring you the case such as you require, excepting that it must not contain instruments for teeth, which are not necessary for you ; on the contrary they spoil the teeth, which ought to be kept very clean, but only with a sponge and warm water. In order to obtain whatever you wish from me, you need only be a good boy, and learn well. Be sides, consider what reputation you will thereby acquire ; other boys will admire you, grown-up people will esteem, and not treat you like a little boy.

In my two last letters I gave you a short account of the famous city of Athens, formerly so celebrated in Greece. We will now consider another Grecian city, equally renowned, but in another way ; this is Lacedemonia, or Sparta, which flourished at the same time as Athens. It was a warlike city, and all its citi zens were trained to arms ; they were exceedingly brave, and rigidly virtuous. Arts and sciences were not there cultivated, as at Athens ; their only study was war. The first duty was the love of their country, and they were per suaded that to die in defense of it was the most glorious of all actions. No instance ever occurred of a Lacedemonian running away. Luxury and ease were not admitted of at Sparta; and to prevent the corruption of manners, gold or silver was not allowed. Early inured to hardships, to strengthen their constitutions, they were brought up in the endurance of cold and heat, like wise to use the most laborious exercise. They spoke but little, and their answers were always short, and full of sense. To this day, a concise style, replete with meaning, is called a Laconic style, from Laconia, by which name Lacedemonia was called.

Lycurgus was their first legislator, which means, that he gave them laws. He was the most virtuous, and the wisest man that ever lived. A real proof of this is, that although he was king, he made them free. Pretending to go a journey for some time, he obliged all the Lacedemonians to make oath, that until his return they would observe his laws strictly. He then went away, and in order that they might never swerve from the laws he had established, he never returned ; thus, to promote the good of his country, he gave up his crown, and the pleasure of living in his native land. Adieu, in three weeks 1 shall see you.


LETTER XIV

1 AM glad to hear you study the Romam history ; for, of all ancient histories, it is the most instructive, and furnishes most examples of virtues, wisdom, and courage. The other great empires, as the Assyrian, Persian, and Mace donian, sprung up almost of a sudden, by favorable accidents, and the rapidity of their conquests ; but the Roman empire extended itself gradually, and surmounted the obstacles that opposed its aggrandisement, not less by virtue and wisdom, than by force of arms.


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Rome, which at length became the mistress of the world, was (as you know) in the beginning but a small city, founded by Romulus, her first king, at the head of an inconsiderable number of herdsmen and vagabonds, who had made him their chief. At the first survey Romulus made his people ; that is, the first time he took an account of the inhabitants, they amounted only to three thou sand foot, and three hundred horse ; whereas, toward the end of his reign, which lasted thirty-seven years, he reckoned forty-six thousand foot, and one thousand horse.

During the first two hundred and fifty years of Rome, as long as it was governed by kings, the Romans were engaged in frequent wars with their neighbors, who endeavored to crush in its infancy a state whose future great ness they dreaded, as the natural consequence of its virtue, courage, and wisdom.

Thus Rome employed its first two hundred and fifty years in struggling with the neighboring states, who were in that period entirely subdued; and two hundred and fifty more in conquering the rest of Italy ; so that we reckon five hundred years from the foundation of Rome to the entire conquest of Italy. And in the following two hundred years she attained to the empire of the world ; that is, in seven hundred years from the foundation of the city.


LETTER XV

DOMULUS, who (as I have already told you) was the founder and first king of Rome, not having sufficient inhabitants for his new city, considered every method by which he might augment their number; and to that end he issued out a proclamation, declaring, that it should be an ASYLUM, or, in other words, a sanctuary and place of safety, for such as were banished from the different cities of Italy. This device brought to him many people who quitted their respective towns, whether for debt, or on account of crimes which they had committed : an asylum being a place of protection for all who fly to it ; where, let their offenses be what they will, they cannot be apprehended or punished. Pray, is it not very astonishing, that from such a vile assemblage of vagrants and rogues, the wisest and most virtuous nation that ever existed should deduce its origin? The reason is this ; Romulus enacted such whole some laws, inspired his people with so great a love of glory and their country, and so firmly established religion, and the worship of the gods, that, for some succeeding ages, they continued a nation of heroes and virtuous men.


LETTER XVI

T HAVE often told you"how necessary it was to have a perfect knowledge of history; but cannot repeat it often enough. Cicero properly calls it testis temporum, lux veritatis, vita memories, magistra vitcz, nuntia vetustatis. By the help of history, a young man may, in some measure, acquire the experience of old age. In reading what has been done, he is apprised of what he has to do; and, the more he is informed of what is past, the better he will know how to conduct himself for the future.

Of all ancient histories, the Roman is the most interesting and instructive. It abounds most with accounts of illustrious men, and presents us with the greatest number of important events. It likewise spurs us on, more than any other, to virtuous actions, by showing how a small city, like Rome, founded


LETTERS TO HIS SON 353

by a handful of shepherds and vagabonds, could, in the space of seven hundred years, render herself mistress of the world by courage and virtue.

Hence it is that I have resolved to form a small abridgement of that his tory, in order to facilitate your acquiring the knowledge of it; and for the better imprinting it in your mind, I desire that by little and little, you would translate, and copy it fair into a book, which you must not fail to bring to me every Sunday.

The whole time of the Roman history, from Romulus down to Augustus Csesar, being seven hundred and twenty-three years, may be divided into three periods.

The first, under the seven kings, is of two hundred and forty-four years.

The second, from the expulsion of the kings, and establishment of the con suls, to the first Punic war, is likewise two hundred and forty-four years.

The third is, from the first Punic war down to the reign of Augustus Csesar, and last two hundred and thirty-five years : which three periods, added together, make up the seven hundred and twenty -three years above mentioned, from the foundation of Rome to the reign of Augustus Caesar.

In the reign of Augustus, Rome was at the summit of her greatness ; for she was mistress of the world, though no longer mistress of herself, having lost both her ancient liberty and her ancient virtue. Augustus established the imperial power, which soon degenerated into the most detestable and cruel tyranny, under the succeeding emperors; in consequence of which, Rome fell from her former greatness, in a shorter space of time than she had taken to ascend to it.

The first form of government established at Rome was MONARCHICAL; but a limited, not an absolute monarchy, as the power was divided between the king and the senate. The kingdom was elective, and not hereditary; that is, when one king died, another was chosen in his room, and the son of the de ceased king did not succeed him. Romulus, who was the founder of Rome, was also her first king : he was elected by the people, and he formed the first system of government. He appointed the senate, which consisted of one hun dred ; and divided the people into three orders, namely, PATRICIANS, who were of the first rank or order; KNIGHTS, of the second; and the third was the common people, whom he called PLEBEIANS.

Translate this into English, and bring it to me next Sunday, written upon the lines which I now send you.


LETTER XVII

DOMULUS and Remus were twins, and sons of Rhea Sylvia, daughter of Numitor, king of Alba. Rhea Sylvia was, by her uncle Amulius, shut up among the Vestals, and constrained by him to become one of their number, to prevent her having any children : for the Vestals were obliged to inviolable chastity. She nevertheless proved with child, and pretended she had been forced by the god Mars. When she was delivered of Romulus and Remus, Amulius commanded the infants to be thrown into the Tiber. They were in fact brought to the river, and exposed in their cradle ; but the water retiring, it remained on the dry ground. A she-wolf coming there to drink, suckled them till they were taken home by Faustulus, a shepherd, who educated them as his own. When they were grown up, they associated with a number of Latins, Albans, and shepherds, and founded Rome. Romulus, desirous of reigning alone, killed his brother Remus, and was declared king by his fol- 23


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lowers. On his advancement to the throne, he divided the people into three Tribes, and thirty CURI^E : into PATRICIANS, PLEBEIANS, SENATE, PATRONS, CLIENTS, and KNIGHTS. The Patricians were the most considerable of all. The common people were called Plebeians. The Patrons were of the most reputable sort, and protected a certain number of the lower class, who went under the denomination of their Clients. The Senate consisted of one hun dred persons, chosen from among the Patricians ; and the Knights were a select body of three hundred horsemen, who served as LIFE GUARDS to Rom ulus, to whom he gave the name of CELERES.

But Romulus, not satisfied with these regulations, instituted a form of re ligious worship ; establishing the AuRUSPiCES and AUGURS. These were priests ; and the business of the former was to inspect the entrails of the vic tim offered in sacrifice ; that of the latter, to observe the flying, chattering, or singing of birds, declaring whether the omens were favorable or not, before the undertaking of any enterprise.

Romulus, with a view of attracting people to his new city, declared it an asylum, or sanctuary, for all who were willing to establish their abode in it This expedient brought an infinite number of people, who flocked to him from the neighboring towns and country. An asylum signifies a place of< safety and protection for all such as are loaded with debts, or who have been guilty of crimes, and fly from justice. In Catholic countries, their churches are, at this very time, asylums for all sorts of criminals, who take shelter in them.

But Rome at this time had few or no women : to remedy which want. Romulus sent proposals of marriage to his neighbors the Sabines, who rejected them with disdain ; whereupon Romulus published throughout all the country that on a certain day he intended to celebrate the festival of the god CONSUS,* and invited the neighboring cities to assist at it. There was a great concourse from all parts on that occasion, particularly of the Sabines ; when, on a sudden, the Romans, at a signal given, seized, sword in hand, all the young women they could meet, and afterward married them. This remarkable event is called the Rape of the Sabines. Enraged at this affront and injustice, the Sabines declared war against the Romans : which was put an end to, and peace concluded, by the mediation of the Sabine women living at Rome. A strict union was made between the Romans and Sabines, who became one and the same people ; and Tatius, king of the Sabines, reigned jointly with Romulus ; but dying soon after, Romulus reigned again alone.

Pray observe, that the rape of the Sabines was more an advantageous than a just measure ; yet the utility of it should not warrant its injustice ; for we ought to endure every misfortune, even death, rather than be guilty of an in justice ; and indeed this is the only one that can be imputed to the Romans for many succeeding ages. An age, or century, means one hundred years.

Rome s growing power soon raised jealousy in her neighbors, so that Rom ulus was obliged to engage in several wars, from which he always came off victorious ; but as he began to behave himself tyrannically at home, and at tacked the privileges of the senate, with a view of reigning with more DES POTISM, he suddenly disappeared. The truth is, the senators killed him; but, as they apprehended the indignation of the people, Proculus Julius, a senator of great repute, protested before the people, that Romulus had appeared to him as a god ; assuring him that he had been taken up to heaven, and placed among the deities; and desired that the Romans should worship him under the name of QUIRINUS, which they accordingly did.

Take notice, that the Roman government, under Romulus, was a MIXED and FREE government, and the king so far from being absolute, that the

  • According to Plutarch the god of counsel.


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power was divided between him, the senate, and the people, much the same as it is between our King, the House of Lords, and House of Commons ; so that Romulus, attempting so horrible a piece of injustice, as to violate the privileges of the senate, and the liberties of the people, was deservedly punished, as all tyrants ought to be. Every man has a natural right to his liberty ; and whoever endeavors to ravish it from him deserves death more than the robber who attacks us for money on the highway.

Romulus directed the greatest part of his laws and regulations to war ; and formed them with the view of rendering his subjects a warlike people, as indeed they were, above all other. Yet it likewise proved fortunate for Rome, that his successor, Numa Pompilius, was a prince of a pacific disposition, who applied himself to the establishing good order in the city, and enacting laws for the encouragement of virtue and religion.

After the death of Romulus, there was a year s INTERREGNUM. An INTER REGNUM is the interval between the death of one king and the election of another, which can happen only in elective kingdoms, for, in hereditary monarchies, the moment a king dies, his son, or his nearest relation, immediately ascends the throne.

During the above INTERREGNUM, the senators alternately executed the functions of a sovereign ; but the people soon became tired of that sort of government, and demanded a king. The choice was difficult: as the Sabines on one side, and the Romans on the other, were desirous of a king being chosen from among themselves. However, there happened, at that time, to live in the little town of CURES, not far from Rome, a man in great reputation for his probity and justice, called NUMA POMPILIUS, who led a retired life, enjoying the sweets of repose, in a country solitude. It was unanimously agreed to choose him king, and embassadors were dispatched to notify to him his election ; but he far from being dazzled by so sudden and unexpected an elevation, refused the offer, and could scarce be prevailed on to accept it, by the repeated entreaties of the Romans, and of his nearest relations ; proving himself the more worthy of that high dignity, as he the less sought it. Remark, from that example of Numa Pompilius, how virtue forces her way, and shines through the obscurity of a retired life ; and that sooner or later it is always rewarded.

Numa, being now seated on the throne, applied himself to soften the manners of the Romans, and to inspire them with the love of peace, by exercising them in religious duties. He built a temple in honor of the god Janus, which was to be a public mark of war and peace, by keeping it open in time of war, and shut in time of peace. It remained closed during his whole long reign ; but from that time, down to the reign of Augustus Caesar, it was shut but twice ; once at the end of the first Punic war, and the second time, in the reign of Augustus,, after the fight of Actium, where he vanquished Mark Antony. The god Janus is always represented with two faces, one looking on the time past, and the other on the future; for which reason you will often find him, in the Latin poets, called JANUS BIFRONS, TWO-FRONTED JANUS. But to return to Numa; he pretended to have secret conferences with the nymph Egeria, the better to prepare the people (who are ever fond of what is marvelous) to receive his laws and ordinances as divine inspirations. In short, he inspired his subjects with the love of industry, frugality, and even of poverty. He died, universally regretted by his people, after a reign of forty-three years.

We may venture to say, that Rome was indebted for all her grandeur to these two kings, Romulus and Numa, who laid the foundations of it. Romulus took pains to form the Romans to war; Numa to peace and justice. Had it not been for Numa, they would have continued fierce and uncivilized; had it not been for Romulus, they would perhaps have fallen into indolence and


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obscurity; but it was the happy union of religious, civil, and military virtues that rendered them masters of the world.

Tullus Hostilius was elected king, immediately after the death of Numa Pompilius. This prince had as great talents for war, as his predecessor had for peace, and he soon found an opportunity to exercise them ; for the city of Alba, already jealous of the power of Rome, sought a pretext of coming to a rupture with her. War, in fact, was declared on both sides, and the two armies were ready to engage when an Alban proposed, in order to spare so great an effusion of blood, that a certain number of warriors should be chosen out of each army, on whose victory the fortune of both nations should depend.

Tullus Hostilius accepted the proposal, and there happening to be in the Alban army, three brothers, named Curiatii ; and in the Roman army, three brothers, calledHoratii, who were all much of the same age and strength, they were pitched upon for the champions, and joyfully accepted a choice which reflected so much honor on them. Then advancing in presence of both armies, the signal for combat was given. Two of the Horatii were soon killed by the Curiatii, who were themselves all three wounded. The third of the Horatii remained yet unhurt ; but not capable of encountering the three Curiatii all to gether, what he wanted in strength he supplied by stratagem. He pretended to run away, and having gained some ground, looked back and saw the three Curiatii pursuing him at some distance from each other, hastening with as much speed as their wounds permitted them ; he then returning, killed all three one after another.

The Romans received him joyfully in their camp ; but his sister, who was promised in marriage to one of the Curiatii, meeting him, poured forth a deluge of tears, reproaching him with the death of her lover ; whereupon the young conqueror, transported with rage, plunged his sword into her bosom. Justice condemned him to death; but having appealed to the people, he received his pardon, in consideration of the service he had rendered to his country.

Tullus Hostilius reigned thirty-two years, and conducted other wars against the Sabines and Latins. He was a prince possessed of great qualities, but too much addicted to war.


LETTER XVIII

Monday.

PVEAR BOY : I send you, here inclosed, your historical exercise for this week; and thank you for correcting some faults I had been guilty of in former papers. I shall be very glad to be taught by you; and I assure you, I would rather have you able to instruct me, than any other body in the world. I was very well pleased with your objections to my calling the brothers, that fought for the Romans and the Albans, the HORATII and the CURIATII, for which I can give you no better reason than usage and custom, which determine all languages. As to ancient proper names, there is no settled rule, and we must be guided by custom : for example, we say Ovid and Virgil, and not Ovidius and ^Virgilius, as they are in Latin ; but then we say Augustus Caesar, as in the Latin, and not August Caesar, which would be the true English.

We say Scipio Africanus, as in Latin, and not Scipio the African. We say Tacitus, and not Tacit : so that, in short, custom is the only rule to be observed in this case. But whatever custom and usage will allow it, I would rather choose not to alter the ancient proper names. They have more dignity, I think, in their own, than in our language. The French change most of the ancient proper names, and give them a French termination or ending, which


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sometimes sounds even ridiculous: as, for instance, they call the Emperor Titus, TITE ; and the historian Titus Livius, whom we commonly call in Eng lish Livy, they call TITE LIVE. I am very glad you started {this objection; for the only way to get knowledge is to inquire and object. Pray remember to ask questions, and to make your objections whenever you do not under stand, or have any doubts about anything.


LETTER XIX

COON after the death of Tullus Hostilius, the people placed upon the throne Ancus Marcius, grandson to Numa Pompilius. His first care was to re- establish divine worship, which had been somewhat neglected during the war like reign of his predecessor. He engaged in some wars, against his will, and always came off with advantage. He enlarged the city ; and died after a reign of twenty-four years ; a prince not inferior, whether in peace or war, to any of his predecessors.

One Lucumon, a Greek by birth, who had established himself at Rome in the reign of Ancus Marcius, was chosen king in his place, and took the name of Tarquin. He added a hundred senators to the former number ; carried on with success several wars against the neighboring states ; and enlarged, beau tified and strengthened the city. He made the aqueducts and common sewers* built the circus, and laid the foundation of the capitol ; the circus was a cele brated place at Rome, set apart for chariot-races, and other games.

Tarquin had destined for his successor Servius Tullius, one who, having been taken prisoner of war, was consequently a slave; which the sons of Ancus Marcius, now grown up, highly resenting, caused Tarquin to be assassinated, in the thirty-eighth year of his reign ; but the criminal deed of the sons of Ancus Marcius was attended with no success ; for the people elected Servius Tullius king, without asking the concurrence of the senate. This prince was engaged in various wars, which he happily concluded. He divided the people into nineteen tribes ; established the CENSUS, or general survey of the citizens ; and introduced the custom of giving liberty to slaves, called otherwise MANU MISSION. Servius intended to abdicate the crown, and form a perfect republic at Rome, when he was assassinated by his son-in-law, Tarquin the Proud. He reigned forty-four years, and was, without dispute, the best of all the kings of Rome.

Tarquin having ascended the throne, invited to royalty neither by the people nor senate, his conduct was suitable to such a beginning, and caused him to be surnamed the PROUD. He overturned the wise establishments of the kings, his predecessors, trampled upon the rights of the people, and governed as an arbitrary and despotic prince. He built a magnificent temple to Jupiter called the Capitol, because, in digging its foundation, the head of a man had been found there, which in Latin is called CAPUT. The Capitol was the most cele brated edifice in Rome.

The tyranny of Tarquin was already become odious and insupportable to the Romans ; when an atrocious act of his son Sextus administered to them an opportunity of asserting their liberty. This Sextus, falling in love with Lu- cretia, wife to Collatinus, who would not consent to his desires, ravished her. The lady discovered the whole matter to her husband, and to Brutus, and then Stabbed herself ; having first made them promise to revenge the outrage done to her honor. Whereupon they raised the people ; and Tarquin, with all his family, was expelled by a solemn decree, after having reigned twenty-five


358 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

years. Such is the fate that tyrants deserve, and all those who, in doing evil, and oppressing mankind, abuse that power which Providence has given.

In the reign of Tarquin, the books of the Sibyls were brought to Rome, and ever after preserved and consulted as oracles.

Tarquin, after his expulsion, made several attempts to reinstate himself, and raised some wars against the Romans. He engaged Porsenna, king of Hetruria* to espouse his interest, and make war upon them, in order to his restoration. Porsenna marched against the Romans, and defeated their forces, and most probably would have taken their city, had it not been for the extraordinary courage of Horatius Codes, who alone defended the pass of a bridge against the whole Tuscan army. Porsenna, struck with admiration and awe of so many prodigies of valor as he remarked every day in the Romans, thought proper to make peace with them and draw off his army.

They had many other wars with their neighbors, which I omit mentioning, as my purpose is to dwell only upon the most important events. Such is the following one, which happened about sixteen years after the establishing of consuls. The people were loaded with debts, and refused to enlist themselves in military service, unless those debts were canceled. This was a very press ing and critical conjuncture ; but the senate found an expedient, which was to create a Dictator, with a power so absolute as to be above all law ; which, however, was to last but a short time. Titus Largius was the personage named for the purpose ; who, having appeased the tumult, and restored tran quillity, laid down his high employment

The Romans had often, in succeeding times and on pressing occasions, re course to this expedient. It is remarkable that though that office was invested with an absolute and despotic power, not one dictator abused it for upward of an hundred years.

LETTER XX

XI/E are now come to an important epocha of the Roman history ; I mean the establishment of a free government.

Royalty being banished Rome, it was resolved to create, instead of a king, two consuls, whose authority should be annual; or in other words, was to last no longer than one year. The right of electing the consuls was left to the people ; but they could choose them only from among the patricians, that is from among men of the first rank. The two consuls were jointly invested with the same power the kings had before, with this essential difference, that their power ended with the year; and at the expiration of that term, they were obliged to give an account of their regency to the people ; a sure means to prevent the abuse of it. They were called consuls, from the Latin verb consulere, to counsel ; which intimated their being counselors to the republic.

The first consuls elected were L. Junius Brutus, and P. Collatinus, Lu- cretia s husband. The consuls held the same badges of dignity as the kings, excepting the crown and sceptre. They had the purple robe, and the curule chair, being a chair of ivory, set upon wheels. The consuls, senate, and people, took a solemn oath never to recall Tarquin or suffer a king in Rome.

Take notice of the form of the Roman Government. The power was divided between the consuls, senate, and people; each had their rights and privileges ; and from the time of that wise establishment Rome exalted herself, with a rapid progress, to such a high point of perfection and excellency, as is scarce to be conceived.

Remember, that the monarchical government lasted two hundred and forty- four years.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 359


LETTER XXI

-THE patricians, however, treated the people ungenerously, and abused the power which their rank and riches gave them. They threw into prison such of the plebeians as owed them money, and loaded them with irons. These harsh measures caused so great a discontent, that the people in a body abandoned Rome, and retired to a rising ground, three miles distant from the city, called MONS SACER. Such a general defection alarmed the senate and patricians ; who sent a deputation to persuade them to return, but to no pur pose. At length some of the wisest and most moderate of the senators were sent on that business, with full powers to conclude a peace on the best condi tions they could obtain. Agrippa, who spoke in behalf of the senate, finished his discourse with a fable, which made a great impression on the minds of fhe people. <( Formerly, * said he, (( the members of the human body, enraged that they should labor for the stomach, while that, remaining idle and indolent, quietly enjoyed those pleasures which were prepared for it, agreed to do noth ing; but, intending to reduce the stomach by famine, they found that all the members grew weak, and the whole body fell into an extreme [inani- tion.

Thus he compared the intestine division of the parts of the human body, with the division that separated the people from the senate. This application pleased them so much, that a reconciliation was effected on certain conditions ; the principal of which was, that the people should choose among themselves five new magistrates, who were called TRIBUNES OF THE PEOPLE. They were chosen every year, and nothing could be done without their consent. If a motion was made for preferring any law, and the tribunes of the people op posed it, the law could not pass ; and they were not even obliged to allege any reason for their opposition ; their merely pronouncing VETO was enough ; which signifies I FORBID. Take proper notice of this interesting epocha of the Roman history, this important alteration in the form of government, that secured for some ages the rights and privileges of the people, which the great are but too apt to infringe. This alteration happened in the year of Rome 261, twenty-one years after the expulsion of kings, and the establish ment of consuls.

Besides the tribunes, the people obtained two other new annual magistrates, called EDILES, who were subject to the authority of the tribunes, administered justice under them, took care of the building and reparation of temples and other public structures, and inspected provisions of all kinds.

Remember who were the principal magistrates of Rome. First, the con suls, whose office was annual, and who, between them, had the power of kings ; next, the dictator, created on extraordinary emergencies, and whose office usually lasted but six months.

The tribunes of the people were annual magistrates, who acted as guard ians of the rights of the commons, and protected them from the oppression of the patricians. With regard to the ediles, I have already mentioned their functions.

Some years after, two other new magistrates were created, called Censors. This office, at first, was to continue five years ; but it was soon confined to a year and a half. The authority of the censors was very great : their duty was the survey of the people, the laying on of taxes, and the censure of manners. They were empowered to expel any person from the senate whom they deemed unworthy of that assembly; and degrade a Roman knight by depriving him of his horse.


360 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

Not very long after, two Praetors were instituted. These magistrates were the chief officers of justice, and decided all law-suits. Here you have the list of the great magistrates of the Roman commonwealth, according to their order and institution.

The Consuls. The Ediles.

The Dictator. The Censors.

The Tribunes of the People. The Praetors.


LETTER XXII

N THE year of the city 300, the Romans had no written or fixed statutes, insomuch that the consuls and senators, who were appointed judges, were absolute arbiters of the fate of the citizens. The people, therefore, demanded that, instead of such arbitrary decisions, certain stated laws should be enacted, as directions for the administration of public affairs, and also with regard to private litigations. Whereupon the senators sent ambassadors to Athens in Greece, to study the laws of that country, and to collect such as they should find most suitable to the republic. When the ambassadors returned, ten persons (who were styled Decemviri) were elected for the institution of these new laws. They were invested with absolute power for a whole year; during which time all other magistracies were suspended. The decemviri caused their laws to be engraved on brazen tables ; which ever after were called the Laws of the Ten Tables.* These were placed in the most conspicuous part of the principal square in the city. When the term of the decemviri was expired, they refused to lay down their power ; but maintained it by force, and became the tyrants of the republic. This caused great tumults ; however, they were at length constrained to yield ; and Rome returned to its ancient form of govern ment.

About the year of Rome 365, the Gauls (that is to say, the French) entered Italy, and marched toward Rome with an army of above sixty thousand men. The Romans levied in haste an army of forty-thousand men, and sent it to encounter them. The two armies came to an engagement, in which the Romans received a total defeat. On the arrival of this bad news, all who had remained at Rome fled into the Capitol, or citadel, and there fortified themselves, as well as the shortness of time would permit. Three days after, Brennus, general of the Gauls, advanced to Rome with his army, and found the city abandoned; whereupon he laid siege to the Capitol, which was defended with incredible bravery. One night when the Gauls determined to surprise the Capitol, and had climbed up to the very ramparts, without being perceived, ;M. Manlius, awakened by the cackling of geese, alarmed the garrison, and saved the Capitol. At the same time Camillus, an illustrious Roman, who some time before had been banished from the city, having had information of the danger to which his country was exposed, came upon the Gauls in the rear, with as many troops as he could muster up about the country, and gave them a total overthrow. Admire in Camillus, this fine example, this greatness of soul : he who, having been unjustly banished, forgetful of the wrongs he had received, and actuated by the love of his country, more than the desire of revenge, comes to save those who sought his ruin.

  • More generally called the I^aws of the Twelve Tables, two having been added

since to the original ten.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 361

LETTER XXIII

BATH, March 28, 1739.

JUIY DEAR CHILD: I have received a letter from Mr. Maittaire, in which he gives a very good account [of you; and assures me that you improve in learning; upon which I immediately bought something very pretty, to bring you from hence. Consider now whether you ought not to love Mr. Maittaire, and do everything in your power to please him. He tells me, you are going to begin again what you have already learned ; you ought to be very atten tive and not repeat your lessons like a parrot, without knowing what they mean.

In my last I told you, that, in order to be a perfectly virtuous man, justice was not sufficient ; for that generosity and greatness of soul implied much more. You will understand this better by examples : here are some.

Alexander the Great, king of Macedonia, having conquered Darius, king of Persia, took an infinite number of prisoners ; and, among others, the wife and mother of Darius. Now, according to the laws of war, he might with justice have made slaves of them; but he had too much greatness of soul to make a bad use of his victory ; he therefore treated them as queens, and showed them the same attentions and respect, as if he had been their subject ; which Darius hearing of, said that Alexander deserved to be victorious, and was alone worthy to reign in his stead. Observe by this, how virtue and greatness of soul compel even enemies to bestow praises.

Julius Caesar, too, the first emperor of the Romans, was in eminent degree possessed of humanity, and this greatness of soul. After having vanquished Pompey the Great at the battle of Pharsalia, he pardoned those, whom, accord ing to the laws of war, he might have put to death ; and not only gave them their lives, but also restored them their fortunes, and their honors. Upon which Cicero, in one of his orations, makes this beautiful remark, speaking to Julius Caesar : Nihil enim potest fortuna ttta majus, qtiam rtt possis, aut natura tua melius, quam ut velis, conservare quamplurimos : which means, (< Fortune could not do more for you, than give you the power of saving so many people ; nor nature serve you better, than in giving you the will to do it. w You see by that, what glory and praise are gained by doing good ; besides the pleasure which is felt inwardly, and exceeds all others.

Adieu ! I shall conclude this letter, as Cicero often does his ; Jubeo t bene ualere : that is to say, I order you to be in good health.


LETTER XXIV

BATH, April 2, 1739.

jyi Y DEAR CHILD : I received your letter, with which I am extremely pleased ; it is very well written, though without lines. In the manner that you im prove, you soon will know more than many boys that are two or three years older than yourself : by that means you will acquire great reputation, and be esteemed by people of merit.

At present, let us continue to define the character of a man of probity. To such a one nothing is more essential than always to speak truth, and to be strictly observant of his promise. On the other hand, nothing is more infa mous and dishonorable than to tell lies and break our word.

During a war between the Romans and Carthaginians, Attilius Regulus, the Roman general, was defeated, and taken prisoner by the Carthaginians.


362 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

Notwithstanding their victory, they were desirous of making peace with the Romans. In order to obtain it they permitted Regulus to go to Rome, on condition that he pledged his word to return to Carthage ; not doubting that, to obtain his liberty, he would persuade the Romans to make peace. But that generous Roman scorned even liberty, when purchased to the detriment of his country. So that, far from persuading the Romans to make peace, he told them they ought to continue the war; for the Carthaginians were not in a situation to support it. After this he prepared to return to Carthage, according to the promise he had made. The Romans, particularly his relations and friends, advised him not to return ; because the Carthaginians, who were cruel, would most certainly put him to death. But rather than live with infamy by breaking his word, he preferred going to certain destruction; and returned to Carthage, where they put him to death by throwing him into a tub filled with spikes. Such a death is far preferable to life purchased by lies and infamy.

A man of probity and honor considers himself as interested in the welfare of all mankind. To such a character it is that Terence, in one of his come dies, attributes the saying, Homo sum, nihil humani a me alienum puto: which means, I am a man myself, and, as such, interested in whatever concerns man. Indeed, I am of opinion, that it is impossible to see any one unhappy without feeling for that person, and endeavoring to help him ; as, on the other hand, one is pleased to see people contended and happy. None but the most depraved souls can envy other people s happiness, or can rejoice at their mis fortunes. Adieu. Take care to be equally distinguished by the virtues of the heart, as by the advantages of the mind.


LETTER XXV

BATH, April 16, 1739.

R/IY DEAR BOY: I received your letter, and if you go on to learn at this rate, you will soon puzzle me, in Greek especially ; however, I shall not be sorry to be outdone by you, and the sooner you are too hard for me the better. I think, for the future, I shall call you little Polyglot, which is origi nally a Greek word, that signifies many tongues, or many languages. Mr. Maittaire writes me word that he intends to bring you acquainted with Horace, Virgil, Terence, and Martial, who are the most famous Latin poets ; therefore I think it may now be necessary to inform you a little, what poetry is, and the difference between poetry and prose. Prose, you know already, is the language of common conversation ; it is what you, and everybody speaks and writes. It requires no rhymes, nor no certain number of feet or syllables. But poetry is a more noble and sublime way of expressing one s thoughts. For example, in prose, you would say very properly, (< It is twelve of the clock at noon, M to mark the middle of the day ; but this would be too plain and flat in poetry ; and you would rather say, (< The chariot of the sun had already finished half its course. w In prose you would say, (< The beginning of the morning, or the break of day )} ; but that would not do in verse ; and you must rather say, (< Aurora spread her rosy mantle.^ Aurora, you know, is the goddess of the morning. This is what is called poetical diction. Latin and Greek verses have no rhymes, but consist of a certain number of feet and syllables. The hexameter verses have six feet; the pentameter have five feet. All French verses whatsoever have rhymes. But English verses, some have rhymes, and some have none : those that have no rhymes are called blank verses ; but though they have no rhymes, they have the same number of feet or syllables that verses in rhyme have. All our best English tragedies are writ in blank


LETTERS TO HIS SON 363

verse, of five feet, or ten syllables, for a foot in English verse is two syllables. For example, the famous tragedy of Cato begins thus:

The dawn is overcast, the morning lowers, And heavily in clouds brings on the day.

Here you see each of these verses has five] feet, or ten syllables, though they have no rhymes. English verses of five feet are called long verse, or heroic verse, because heroic poems are writ in that verse. As Homer s <( Ilias in Greek, and Virgil s <( yEneis M in Latin, are both written in long hexameter verses. Here is enough of poetry for this time, if you will but remember it; we will have some more of it hereafter. I shall see you next week in London, where I have very pretty things to give you, because I am sure you will deserve them. Adieu.


LETTER XXVI

ISLEWORTH, July 8.

I AM afraid, my dear child, that you think my letters too grave, for I know

you love to joke, and in that you are right ; I too like cheerfulness, and we shall often joke together. Sometimes, however, we must think seriously ; but in general one ought to be gay and lively. I would not wish such a jolly fel low as you should put up for a philosopher. When one is learning one ought to apply, afterward one should play and divert oneself.

In my last to you I wrote concerning the politeness of people of fashion, such as are used to courts, the elegant part of mankind. Their politeness is easy and natural; and you must distinguish it from the civilities of inferior people, and rustics, which are always constraining and troublesome. Those sort of people are full of ceremony, and overwhelm us with compliments.

For example, if you dine with a person in an ordinary sphere of life, instead of civilly offering to help you, he will press you to eat and drink whether you will or not, will heap things on your plate ; and to prove that you are wel come, he crams you till you are ready to burst.

A country squire stifles you with hearty embraces, and endeavoring to make you go before, throws you down. But a well-bred man shows a constant desire of pleasing, and takes care that his attentions for you be not troublesome. Few English are thoroughly polite ; either they are shamefaced or impudent ; whereas most French people are easy and polite in their manners. And, as by the better half you are a little Frenchman, so I hope you will at least be HALF polite. You will be the more distinguished in a country where polite ness is not very common.

I have already mentioned to you, that, if there should be any words in my letters which you do not understand, you are to desire your Mamma to explain them.

LETTER XXVII

TUNBRIDGE, July 15, I739-

PVEAR BOY : I thank you for your concern about my health ; which I would have given you an account of sooner, but that writing does not agree with these waters. I am better since I have been here; and shall therefore stay a month longer.

Signer Zamboni compliments me, through you, much more than I deserve ; but pray do you take care to deserve what he says of you ; and remember that praise, when it is not deserved, is the severest satire and abuse; and the


364 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

most effectual way of exposing people s vices and follies. This is a figure of speech called Irony; which is saying directly the contrary of what you mean; but yet it is not a lie, because you plainly show that you mean directly the contrary of what you say ; so that you deceive nobody. For example, if any one were to compliment a notorious knave for his singular honesty and probity, and an eminent fool for his wit and parts, the irony is plain, and everybody would discover the satire. Or, suppose that I were to commend you for your great attention to your book, and for your retaining and remembering what you once learned ; would not you plainly perceive the irony, and see that I laughed at you ? Therefore, whenever you are commended for anything, consider fairly with yourself, whether you deserve it or not, and if you do not deserve it, re member that you are only abused and laughed at ; and endeavor to deserve better for the future, and to prevent the irony.

Make my compliments to Mr. Maittaire, and return him my thanks for his letter. He tells me, that you are again to go over your Latin and Greek grammar ; so that, when I return, I expect to find you very perfect in it ; but if I do not, I shall compliment you upon your application and memory. Adieu.


LETTER XXVIII

ISLEWORTH, July 22.

jyi Y DEAR CHILD : We shall now, if you please, enter upon the subject of geography, and give you a general idea of that science, which is extremely useful and necessary, as it teaches us the situation of towns and countries, which are continually mentioned, and of which we must by no means be ignorant. You already know that the world is divided into four parts, which are Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. We will begin with Europe, because it contains the countries and kingdoms most frequently spoken of : such are, Sweden, Den mark, and Russia, toward the north : Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Turkey in Europe, to the south : and in the middle, England, France, Germany, and the United Provinces.

The knowledge of these things tends to cultivate and to form your mind ; but the most important business is to form your heart, that is, to make you an honest man. As such, you will abhor injustice, lies, pride, and avarice. If a person, though possessed of the finest understanding and greatest knowledge, should be a liar, cruel, proud, and covetous, he will be hated and detested by every human creature, and shunned like a wild beast. With respect to covet- ousness I yesterday read in Ovid s <( Metamorphoses w a pretty story on that subject.

A king named Midas, entreated the god Bacchus that everything he touched might turn into gold. Bacchus granted the request, so that whatever he touched was immediately transformed into gold. At first Midas was highly pleased with his riches, but soon found cause to repent, for he was very near dying of hunger. When he wanted to eat or drink, everything instantly turned into gold. He then perceived the folly of being so avaricious, and prayed to Bacchus to take back that gift of which he had been so desirous. The god, out of his goodness, relieved him, and Midas ate and drank as before.

The moral of this fable teaches us, that covetous people heap up riches without any view of making use of them : that they often refuse themselves the necessaries of life, and even die of hunger in the midst of their gold and riches.

You will find this story in the beginning of the eleventh book of (( Meta morphoses. w

Adieu, my dear boy.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 365


LETTER X XIX

ISLEWORTH, July.

jyi Y DEAR BOY : In my last, I gave you an example, taken from Ovid s (< Metamorphoses,^ of the fatal effects of avarice. I now send you another which is likewise in the (< Metamorphoses. It is the history of Hippomenes and Atalanta. Atalanta was a princess of extraordinary beauty, consequently she had many lovers ; but as she surpassed everybody in swiftness, she gave out that she would marry no man but such as could outrun her. Many suitors presented themselves ; she overcame them all, and caused them to be put to death. Hippomenes, son of Mars, was not, however, discouraged. He accepted the challenge, ran with her, and she would have surpassed him, had not Venus made him a present of three golden apples from the garden of the Hesperides, which he threw in her way. Atalanta, dazzled with the splendor of the apples stopped to gather them up ; by which means Hippomenes, who continued run ning, won the race. She, therefore, was obliged to accept of him for a husband ; but, eager to consummate their marriage, they lay together in the temple of Cybele, mother of the gods. That goddess, indignant at the affront, changed Hippomenes into a lion, and Atalanta into a lioness. So you see how the love of gold brought misfortune upon Atalanta. She, who had been insensible to the accomplishments and beauty of her other lovers, could not withstand the temptation of gold.

When you read my letters, I hope you will pay attention as well to the spelling as you do to the histories. You must likewise take notice of the man ner in which they are written : which ought to be easy and natural, not strained and florid. For instance, when you are about sending a billet doux, or love- letter, to Miss Pinkerton, you must only think of what you would say to her if you were both together, and then write it ; that renders the style easy and natural; though some people imagine the wording of a letter to be a great undertaking, and think they must write abundantly better than they talk, which is not at all necessary. Farewell ! You are a very good boy, and you learn exceedingly well.


LETTER XXX

Wednesday.

pvEAR BOY : I have lately met with some passages which show the opinion the ancients had of learning, and how necessary they thought it. As I know you think it so too, and are resolved to learn well, I thought you would be pleased with seeing those passages, which I here send you in the original Latin:

Pater familias qucesivit ab Aristippo, qtiid commodi consequuturus esset filius suus si eum literis institui curaret? Si nulhtm alium fructum pcrcipiet (re- spondit ille) hunc certe quod in theatre non sedebit lapis super lapidem. Tune erant theatri sedilia marmorea. Hoc response innuebat vir prudens, eos quorum ingenium excultum non fuisset, lapidum similes posse videri.

(< The father of a family asked Aristippus, what advantage his son would reap should he bring him up to learning ? If no other advantage (answered Aristippus) he will certainly have that of sitting in the theatre not as a stone upon a stone. At that time the seats in the theatre were of marble. By this answer, that judicious man hinted, that persons whose understandings were left unimproved might be considered as stones. w


366 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

Thus you see, that Aristippus looked upon an ignorant man as little better than the stone he sat upon. Diogenes considered an ignorant fellow as a beast, and not without reason.

Salst \ridebat Diogenes Sinopensis, inertiam et incur am Megarensium, qui liberos nullis bonis artibus instruebant, curam vero pecorum diligentem habebant ; dicebat enim malle se Megarensis alicujus esse arietem quam filium.

(< Diogenes of Sinope, with a good deal of humor, used to ridicule the in dolence and neglect of the inhabitants of Megara, who bestowed no liberal education on their children, yet took particular care of their cattle ; for, said he, I had much rather be a ram belonging to a man of Megara than his son. Cicero, speaking of learning, says, that one should have it, were it only for one s own pleasure, independent of all the other advantages of it.

Si non tantus fructus perciperetur ex liberalium artium studiis, quantum percipi constat, sed ex his delectatio sola peteretur; tamen h&c animi remissio judicanda esset libero homine dignissima. Nam ccctera neque temporum sunt, neque cetatum, neque locorum: at h<zc studia adolescentiam alunt senectutem ob- lectant, secundas res ornant, adversis perfugium ac solatium prccbent, delectant domi, non impediunt foris, pernoctant nobisctim, peregrinantur, rtisticantur.

<( Though we did not reap such advantages from the study of letters as we manifestly do, and that in the acquirement of learning pleasure only were the object in pursuit; yet that recreation of mind should be deemed very worthy of a liberal man. Other amusements are not always suitable to time and place ; nor are they of all ages and conditions. These studies are nourishment to youth, pleasure to old age, an ornament to posterity, a refuge and comfort in adversity. They divert us at home, are of no hindrance abroad ; they pass the night with us, accompany us when we travel, attend upon us in our rural retreats.

Seneca, to show the advantage and comfort of learning, says :

Si tempus in studia conferas, omne vitce fastidium effugeres, nee noctem fieri optabis tcedio lucis; nee tibi gravis eris, nee aliis supervacutis,

(< If you employ your time in study, you will avoid every disgust in life. You will not wish for night, nor be weary of the day. You will be neither a burden to yourself, nor unwelcome to others.

Translate these Latin passages at your leisure ; and remember how neces sary these great men thought learning was, both for the use and ornament, and the pleasure of life.


LETTER XXXI

July 24, 1739.

MY DEAR BOY : I was pleased with your asking me, the last time I saw you, why I had left off writing; for I looked upon it as a sign that you liked and minded my letters. If that be the case, you shall hear from me often enough; and my letters may be of use, if you will give attention to them ; otherwise it is only giving myself trouble to no purpose ; for it signifies nothing to read a thing once, if one does not mind and remember it. It is a sure sign of a little mind to be doing one thing, and at the same time to be either thinking of another, or not thinking at all. One should always think of what one is about ; when one is learning, one should not think of play ; and when one is at play, one should not think of one s learning. Besides that, if you do not mind your book while you are at it, it will be a double trouble to you, for you must learn it all over again.

One of the most important points of life is decency ; which is to do what is proper, and where it is proper; for many things are proper at one time


LETTERS TO HIS SON 367

and in one place, that are extremely improper in another; for example, it is very proper and decent that you should play some part of the day ; but you must feel that it would be very improper and indecent, if you were to fly your kite, or play at nine pins, while you are with Mr. Maittaire. It is very proper and decent to dance well ; but then you must dance only at balls, and places of entertainment; for you would be reckoned a fool, if you were to dance at church, or at a funeral. I hope, by these examples, you understand the mean ing of the word DECENCY; which in French is bienseance; in Latin, decorum; and in Greek, FLpeTrov. Cicero says of it, Sic hoc decorum, quod elucet in vitd, movet approbationem eorum quibuscum vivitur, ordine et constantid, et moder- atione dictorum omnium atque factorum: By which you see how necessary decency is, to gain the approbation of mankind. And, as I am sure you desire to gain Mr. Maittaire s approbation, without which you will never have mine, I dare say you will mind and give attention to whatever he says to you, and behave yourself seriously and decently, while you are with him ; afterward play, run, and jump, as much as ever you please.


LETTER X XXII

Friday.

pvEAR BOY : I was very glad when Mr. Maittaire told me, that you had more attention now than you used to have : for it is the only way to reap any benefit by what you learn. Without attention, it is impossible to remember, and without remembering, it is but time and labor lost to learn. I hope, too, that your attention is not only employed upon words, but upon the sense and meaning of those words; that is, that when you read, or get anything by heart, you observe the thoughts and reflections of the author, as well as his words. This attention will furnish you with materials, when you come to compose and invent upon any subject yourself ; for example, when you read of anger, envy, hatred, love, pity, or any of the passions, observe what the author says of them, and what good or ill effects he ascribes to them. Ob serve, too, the great difference between prose and verse, in treating the same subjects. In verse, the figures are stronger and bolder, and the diction or ex pressions loftier or higher, than in prose; nay, the words in verse are seldom put in the same order as in prose. Verse is full of metaphors, similes, and epithets. Epithets (by the way) are adjectives, which mark some particular quality of the thing or person to which they are added ; as, for example, Pius ^ENEAS, the pious ^Eneas ; Pius is the epithet : FAMA MENDAX, fame that lies ; MENDAX is the epithet : Ho6aUK.v A^fA/levf, Achilles swift of foot ; Ilo&zf -w/cvf is the epithet. This is the same in all languages; as, for instance, they say in French, Lenvie pdle et bleme, Vamour aveugle; in English, Pale, livid envy, Blind love. These adjectives are the epithets. Envy is always repre sented by the poets as pale, meagre, and pining away at other people s happi ness. Ovid says of Envy,

  • Vixque tenet lacrymas, quod nil lacrymabile cernit*

Which means, that Envy can scarce help crying when she sees nothing to cry at ; that is, she cries when she sees others happy. Envy is certainly one of the meanest and most tormenting of all passions, since there is hardly anybody that has not something for an envious man to envy. So that he can never be happy, while he sees anybody else so. Adieu.


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LETTER XXXIII

ISLEWORTH, September 10, 1739.

p\EAR BOY : Since you promise to give attention, and to mind what you learn, I shall give myself the trouble of writing to you again, and shall endeavor to instruct you in several things, that do not fall under Mr. Mait- taire s province ; and which, if they did, he could teach you much better than I can. I neither pretend nor propose to teach them you thoroughly; you are not yet of an age fit for it. I only mean to give you a general notion, at present, of some things that you must learn more particularly hereafter, and that will then be the easier to you, for having had a general idea of them now. For example, to give you some notion of history.

History is an account of whatever has been done by any country in gen eral, or by any number of people, or by any one man; thus the Roman his tory is an account of what the Romans did as a nation; the history of Catiline s conspiracy is an account of what was done by a particular number of people ; and the history of Alexander the Great, written by Quintus Curtius, is the account of the life and actions of one single man. History is, in short, an account or relation of anything that has been done.

History is divided into sacred and profane, ancient and modern.

Sacred history is the Bible, that is, the Old and New Testament. The Old Testament is the history of the Jews, who were God s chosen people ; and the New Testament is the history of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Profane history is an account of the Heathen gods, such as you read in Ovid s c< Metamorphoses,^ and which you will know a great deal more of when you come to read Homer, Virgil, and the other ancient poets.

Ancient history is the account of all the kingdoms and countries in the world, down to the end of the Roman empire.

Modern history is the account of the kingdoms and countries of the world, since the destruction of the Roman empire.

The perfect knowledge of history is extremely necessary ; because, as it informs us of what was done by other people, in former ages, it instructs us what to do in the like cases. Besides, as it is the common subject of conversation, it is a shame to be ignorant of it.

Geography must necessarily accompany history ; for it would not be enough to know what things were done formerly, but we must know where they were done ; and geography, you know, is the description of the earth, and shows us the situation of towns, countries, and rivers. For example, geography shows that England is in the north of Europe, that London is the chief town of Eng land, and that it is situated upon the river Thames, in the country of Middle sex ; and the same of other towns and countries. Geography is likewise di vided into ancient and modern ; many countries and towns having now very different names from what they had formerly ; and many towns which made a great figure in ancient* times, being now utterly destroyed and not existing: as the two famous towns of Troy in Asia, and Carthage in Africa : of both which there are not now the least remains.

Read this with attention, and then go to play with as much attention, and so farewell.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 369


LETTER XXXIV

ISLEWORTH, September 15, 1739.

r\EAR BOY : History must be accompanied with chronology as well as geogra phy, or else one has but a very confused notion of it ; for it is not suffi cient to know what things have been done, which history teaches us ; and where they have been done, which we learn by geography ; but one must know when they have been done, and that is the particular business of chronology. I will therefore give you a general notion of it.

Chronology (in French la Chronologie) fixes the dates of facts ; that is it in forms us when such and such things were done ; reckoning from certain periods of time, which are called eras or epochs : for example, in Europe, the two princi pal eras or epochs by which we reckon, are from the creation of the world to the birth of Christ, which was four thousand years ; and from the birth of Christ, to this time, which is one thousand seven hundred and thirty-nine years ; so that when one speaks of a thing that was done before the birth of Christ, one says, it was done in such a year of the world ; as for instance Rome was founded in the three thousand two hundred and twenty-fifth year of the world, which was about seven hundred and fifty years before the birth of Christ. And one says, that Charlemagne was made the first Emperor of Germany in the year eight hundred ; that is to say, eight hundred years after the birth of Christ. So that you see, the two great periods, eras, or epochs, from* whence we date everything, are the creation of the world, and the birth of Jesus Christ.

There is another term in chronology, called centuries which is only used in reckoning after the birth of Christ. A century means one hundred years ; consequently there have been seventeen centuries since the birth of Christ, and we are now in the eighteenth century. When anybody says, then, for example, that such a thing was done in the tenth century, they mean after the year nine hundred, and before the year one thousand, after the birth of Christ. When anybody makes a mistake in chronology, and says that a thing was done some years sooner or some years later, than it really was, that error is called an Anachronism. Chronology requires memory and attention ; both which you can have if you please ; and I shall try them both by asking you questions about this letter, the next time I see you.


LETTER XXXV

ISLEWORTH, September 27, 1739.

)EAR BOY : In my two last letters, I explained to you the meaning and use of history, geography, and chronology, and showed you the connection they had with one another; that is, how they were joined together, and de pended each upon the other. We will now consider history more particularly by itself. The most ancient histories of all are so mixed with fables, that is, with falsehoods and invention, that little credit is to be given to them. All the heathen gods and goddesses that you read of in the poets were only men and women ; but as they had either found out some useful invention, or had done a great deal of good in the countries where they lived, the people, who had a great veneration for them, made them gods and goddesses, when they died, addressed their prayers, and raised altars to them. Thus Bacchus, the god of wine, was only the first man who invented the making of wine, which pleased the people so much, that they made a god of him ; and may be they were drunk 24


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when they made him so. So Ceres, the goddess of plenty, who is always rep resented in pictures with wheat sheaves about her head, was only some good woman who invented plowing and sowing, and raising corn ; and the people who owed their bread to her, deified her, that is, made a goddess of her. The case is the same of all the other pagan gods and goddesses which you read of in profane and fabulous history.

The authentic, that is, the true ancient history, is divided into five remark able periods or eras, of the five great empires of the world. The first empire of the world was the Assyrian, which was destroyed by the Medes. The em pire of the Medes was overturned by the Persians ; and the empire of the Per sians was demolished by the Macedonians, under Alexander the Great. The empire of Alexander the Great lasted no longer than his life ; for, at his death, his generals divided the world among them, and went to war with one another ; till at last the Roman Empire arose, swallowed them all up, and Rome became the mistress of the world. Remember, then, that the five great empires that succeeded each other were these :

1. The Assyrian Empire, first established.

2. The Empire of the Medes.

3. The Persian Empire.

4. The Macedonian Empire.

5. The Roman Empire.

If ever you find a word that you do not understand, either in my letters or anywhere else, I hope you remember to ask your mamma the meaning of it Here are but three in this letter which you are likely not to understand ; these are :

CONNECTION, which is a noun substantive, that signifies a joining or tying together ; it comes from the verb to connect, which signifies to join.

For example, one says of any two people that are intimate friends, and much together, there is a great connection between them, or, they are mightily connected. One says so also of two things that have a resemblance, or a like ness to one another, there is a connection between them ; as for example, there is a great connection between poetry and painting, because they both express nature, and a strong and lively imagination is necessary for both.

DEIFY is a verb, which signifies to make a god ; it comes from the Latin word Deus, God, and Fio, I become. The Roman emperors were always deified after their death, though most of them were rather devils when alive.

AUTHENTIC, means TRUE ; something that may be depended upon, as coming from good authority. For example, one says, such a history is authen tic, such a piece of news is authentic ; that is, one may depend upon the truth of it.

I have just now received your letter, which is very well written.


LETTER XXXVI

ISLEWORTH.

THAT politeness which I mentioned, my dear child, in my former letters, regards only your equals and your superiors. There is also a certain polite ness due to your inferiors, of a different kind, tis true ; but whoever is without it is without good nature. We do not need to compliment those beneath us nor to talk of their doing us the honor, etc., but we ought to treat them with benevolence and mildness. We are all of the same species, and no distinction whatever is between us, except that which arises from fortune. For example, your footman and Lisette would be your equals were they as rich as you. Being poor, they are obliged to serve you. Therefore, you must not add to


LETTERS TO HIS SON 371

their misfortune by insulting or by ill treating them. If your situation is pref erable to theirs, be thankful to God, without either despising them, or being vain of your better fortune. You must, therefore, treat all your inferiors with affability and good manners, and not speak to them in a surly tone, nor with harsh expression, as if they were of a different species. A good heart never reminds people of their misfortune, but endeavors to alleviate, or, if possible, to make them forget it.

I am persuaded you will always act in that manner, otherwise I should not love you so much as I do. Adieu.


LETTER XXXVII

ISLEWORTH, September 19, 1739.

jyi Y DEAR CHILD : I am very well pleased with your last letter. The writing was very good, and the promise you make exceedingly fine. You must keep it, for an honest man never breaks his word. You engage to retain the instructions which I give you. That is sufficient, for though you do not properly comprehend them at present, age and reflection will, in time, make you understand them.

With respect to the contents of your letter, I believe you have had proper assistance ; indeed, I do not as yet expect that you can write a letter without help. You ought, however, to try, for nothing is more requisite than to write a good letter. Nothing in fact is more easy. Most persons who write ill, do so because they aim at writing better than they can, by which means they acquire a formal and unnatural style. Whereas, to write well, we must write easily and naturally. For instance, if you want to write a letter to me, you should only consider what you would say if you were with me, and then write it in plain terms, just as if you were conversing. I will suppose, then, that you sit down to write to me unassisted, and I imagine your letter would probably be much in these words :

My DEAR PAPA : I have been at Mr. Maittaire s this morning, where I have translated English into Latin and Latin into English, and so well, that at the end of my exercise he has writ optinie. I have likewise repeated a Greek verb, and pretty well. After this I ran home, like a little WILD BOY, and played till dinner-time. This became a serious task, for I ate like a wolf : and by that you may judge that I am in very good health. Adieu.

Well, sir, the above is a good letter, and yet very easily written, because it is exceedingly natural. Endeavor then sometimes to write to me of yourself, without minding either the beauty of the writing or the straightness of the lines. Take as little trouble as possible. By that means you will by degrees use yourself to write perfectly well, and with ease. Adieu. Come to me to morrow at twelve, or Friday morning at eight o clock.


LETTER XXXVIII

Thursday, ISLEWORTH.

JJEAR BOY : As I shall come to town next Saturday, I would have you to come to me on Sunday morning about ten o clock : and I would have you likewise tell Mr. Maittaire, that, if it be not troublesome to him, I should be extremely glad to see him at the same time. I would not have given him this trouble, but that it is uncertain when I can wait upon him in town. I do not


372 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

doubt but he will give me a good account of you, for I think you are now sensible of the advantages, the pleasure, and the necessity of learning well ; I think, too, you have an ambition to excel in whatever you do, and therefore will apply yourself. I must also tell you, that you are now talked of as an eminent scholar for your age ; and therefore your shame will be the greater, if you should not answer the expectations people have of you. Adieu.


LETTER XXXIX

Monday.

pvEAR BOY : It was a great pleasure to me, when Mr. Maittaire told me, yes terday, in your presence, that you began to mind your learning, and to give more attention. If you continue to do so, you will find two advantages in it : the one your own improvement, the other my kindness, which you must never expect, but when Mr. Maittaire tells me you deserve it. There is no doing anything well without application and industry. Industry (in Latin industria, and in Greek a/l^vom) is defined (that is, described) to be fre- quens exercitium circa rem honestam, unde aliquis industrius dicitur, hoc est studiosus vigilans: This I expect so much from you, that I do not doubt, in a little time, but that I shall hear you called Philip the industrious, or, if you like it better in Greek, ^i^tTnro^ ayxwop$. Most of the great men of antiquity had some epithet added to their names, describing some particular merit they had ; and why should not you endeavor to be distinguished by some honorable appellation? Parts and quickness, though very necessary, are not alone suf ficient ; attention and application must complete the business ; and both together will go a great way:

Accipite ergo animis, atque hcec mea figitc dicta.

Adieu.

We were talking yesterday of America, which I told you was first discovered by Christopher Columbus, a Genoese, through the encouragement of Ferdinando and Isabella, King and Queen of Spain, in 1491, that is, at the latter end of the fifteenth century ; but I forgot to tell you, that it took its name of America from one Vespucius Americus of Florence, who discovered South America, in 1497. The Spaniards began their conquests in America by the islands of St. Domingo and Cuba; and soon afterward Ferdinando Cortez, with a small army, landed upon the continent, took Mexico, and beat Montezuma, the Indian emperor. This encouraged other nations to go and try what they could get in this new-discovered world. The English have got there, New York, New Eng land, Jamaica, Barbadoes, Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, and some of the Leeward Islands. The Portuguese have got the Brazils; the Dutch, Cura- coa and Surinam; and the French, Martinico and New France.


LETTER XL

Monday.

p^EAR BOY : I have lately mentioned chronology to you, though slightly ; but, as it is very necessary you should know something of it, I will repeat it now a little more fully, in order to give you a better notion of it.

Chronology is the art of measuring and distinguishing time, or the doctrine of epochas, which you know, are particular and remarkable periods of time.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 373

The word chronology is compounded of the Greek words XP OV S> which signifies TIME, and Aoyof, which signifies DISCOURSE. Chronology and geog raphy are called the two eyes of history, because history can never be clear and well understood without them. History relates facts ; chronology tells us at what time, or when, those facts were done; and geography shows us in what place or country they were done. The Greeks measured their time by Olympiads, which was a space of four years, called in Greek Ohv[nria<;. This method of computation had its rise from the Olympic Games, which were cele brated the beginning of every fifth year, on the banks of the river Alpheus, near Olympia, a city in Greece. The Greeks, for example, would say that such a thing happened in such a year of such an Olympiad; as, for instance, that Alexander the Great died in the first year of the ii^th Olympiad. The first Olympiad was 774 years before Christ ; so, consequently, Christ was born in the first year of the I95th Olympiad.

The period or era from whence the Romans reckoned their time, was from the building of Rome ; which they marked thus, ab u. c., that is, ab Urbe con- dita. Thus, the kings were expelled, and the consular government established, the 244th ab U. c., that is, of Rome.

All Europe now reckons from the great epocha of the birth of Jesus Christ, which was 1738 years ago ; so that, when anybody asks, in what year did such or such a thing happen, they mean in what year since the birth of Christ.

For example : Charlemain, in French Charlemagne, was made Emperor of the West in the year 800 ; that is, 800 years after the birth of Christ; but, if we speak of any event or historical fact that happened before that time, we then say it happened so many years before Christ. For instance, we say Rome was built 750 years before Christ.

The Turks date from their Hegira, which was the year of the flight of their false prophet, Mahomet, from Mecca; and, as we say that such a thing was done in such a year of [Christ, they say such a thing was done in such a year of the Hegira. Their Hegira begins in the 622d year Christ, that is, above 1 100 years ago.

There are two great periods in Chronology, from which the nations of Eu rope date events. The first is the creation of the world ; the second, the birth of Jesus Christ.

Those events that happened before the birth of Christ are dated from the creation of the world. Those events which have happened since the birth of Christ are dated from that time; as the present year 1739. For example:

A. M.

Noah s flood happened in the year of the world ^56

Babylon was built by Semiramis in the year jgoo

Moses was born in the year 2400

Troy was taken by the Greeks in the year 2800

Rome was founded by Romulus in the year 3225

Alexander the Great conquered Persia 3674

Jesus Christ was born in the year of the world 4000

The meaning of A. M. at the top of these figures is Anno Mundi, the year of the world.

From the birth of Christ, all Christians date the events that have happened since that time; and that is called THE CHRISTIAN ERA. Sometimes we say, that such a thing happened in such a year of Christ, and sometimes we say in such a century. Now, a century is one hundred years from the birth of Christ; so that at the end of every hundred years a new century begins: and we are, consequently, now in the eighteenth century.


374 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

For example, as to the Christian era, or since the birth of Christ, Mahomet, the false prophet of the Turks, who established the Mahometan

religion, and writ the Alcoran, which is the Turkish book of religion,

died in the seventh century, that is, in the year of Christ 632

Charlemain was crowned emperor in the last year of the eighth century, that

is, in the year 800

Here the old Roman Empire ended.

William the Conqueror was crowned king of England in the eleventh cen tury, in the year 1066

The Reformation, that is, the Protestant religion, begun by Martin I^uther,

in the sixteenth century, in the year 1530

Gunpowder invented by one Bertholdus, a German monk, in the fourteenth

century, in the year 1380

Printing invented, at Haerlem in Holland, or at Strasburg, or at MentzJ[in

Germany, in the fifteenth century, about the year 1440

Adieu.


LETTER XLI

BATH, October 8, 1739.

Art Y DEAR CHILD: I am charmed with all your letters ; that which you wrote without help is very natural, consequently very good. Your English translation is a very just one ; and as for the Latin, considering how short a time you have been learning that language, I do not require it to be any bet ter. In short, hitherto you have gone on as well as possible ; only continue. More particularly, I congratulate you on the accuratissiml which Mr. Mait- taire has added to your last performances ; and it is very flattering to be de serving of such commendations. I am sure that single word must have af forded you more pleasure than two hours play. Besides, how exceedingly satisfactory it is to have done one s duty in any respect ! Nothing is so com fortable as a good conscience ; that only can make us easy and happy. ""* Pray do you know what conscience is ? It is what we feel when we have said or done anything. For instance, if I had injured any person, or had told a lie, though I might not be found out, yet I should feel myself guilty; conscience would torment me, and I must be unhappy. You have certainly read in Ovid s Metamorphoses," the fable of Prometheus, who stole fire from heaven to form man. Jupiter punished him, by chaining him to Mount Caucasus, and by sending a vulture that incessantly gnaws his liver. This fable is an in genious allegory, pointing out the perpetual torments of a bad conscience. Prometheus had stolen ; and the vulture that continually gnaws his liver means his conscience, which continually reproaches him with that crime. This is called an allegory when to represent one thing, we do it by means of an other. Poets often make use of allegories. Adieu.

Translate the following into French :

MY DEAR PAPA: It is true you do praise me, but it is also true that you make me earn those praises, by obliging me to work like a galley slave. No matter, glory cannot be too dearly purchased : such were the sentiments of Alexander the Great, and such are those of Philip the Little.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 375


LETTER XLII

BATH, October 17, 1739.

R/IY DEAR CHILD: Indeed, I believe you are the first boy, to whom (under the age of eight years) one has ever ventured to mention the figures of rhetoric, as I did in my last.* But I am of opinion, that we cannot begin to think too young ; and that the art which teaches us how to persuade the mind and touch the heart, must surely deserve the earliest attention.

You cannot but be convinced that a man who speaks and writes with elegance and grace, who makes choice of good words, and adorns and embellishes the subject upon which he either speaks or writes, will persuade better, and succeed more easily in obtaining what he wishes, than a man who does not explain himself clearly, speaks his language ill, or makes use of low and vulgar ex pressions, and who has neither grace or elegance in anything that he says. Now it is by Rhetoric that the art of speaking eloquently is taught ; and, though I cannot think of grounding you in it as yet, I would wish, however, to give you an idea of it suitable to your age.

The first thing you should attend to is, to speak whatever language you do speak in its greatest purity, and according to the rules of Grammar ; for we must never offend against grammar, nor make use of words which are net really words. This is not all ; for not to speak ill, is not sufficient ; we must speak well ; and the best method of attaining to that is, to read the best authors with attention ; and to observe how people of fashion speak, and those who express themselves best ; for shopkeepers, common people, footmen, and maid-servants all speak ill. They make use of low and vulgar expressions which people of rank never use. In Numbers, they join the singular and plural together ; in Genders, they confound masculine with feminine ; and in Tenses, they often take one for the other. In order to avoid all these faults, we must read with care, observe the turn and expressions of the best authors, and not pass a word which we do not understand, or concerning which we have the least doubt, without exactly inquiring the meaning of it. For example, when you read Ovid s (< Metamorphoses with Mr. Martin, you should ask him the meaning of every word you do not know, and also, whether it is a word which may be made use of in prose as well as in verse ; for, as I for merly told you, the language of poetry is different from that which is proper for common discourse ; and a man would be to blame, to make use of some words in prose, which are very happily applied in poetry. In the same man ner, when you read French with Mr. Pelnote, ask him the meaning of every word you meet with, that is new to you ; and desire him to give you ex amples of the various ways in which it may be used. All this requires only a little attention ; and yet there is nothing more useful. It is said that a man must be born a poet ; but that he can make himself an orator. Nascitur Poeta,fit Orator. This means, that to be a poet one must be born with a certain de gree of strength and vivacity of mind ; but that attention, reading, and labor are sufficient to form an orator. Adieu.

  • Not to be found.


376 LORD CHESTERFIELD S


LETTER XLIII

BATH, October 26, 1739.

pvEAR BOY: Though poetry differs much from oratory in many things, yet it makes use of the same figures in rhetoric ; nay, it abounds in metaphors, similes, and allegories ; and you may learn the purity of the language, and the ornaments of eloquence, as well by reading verse as prose. Poetical diction, that is, poetical language, is more sublime and lofty than prose, and takes liberties which are not allowed in prose, and are called poetical licences. This difference between verse and prose you will easily observe, if you read them both with attention. In verse, things are seldom said plainly and simply, as one would say them in prose ; but they are described and embellished : as, for example, what you hear the watchman say often in three words, A CLOUDY MORNING, is said thus in verse, in the tragedy of Cato :

The dawn is overcast, the morning lowers, And heavily in clouds brings on the day.

This is poetical diction, which would be improper in prose, though each word separately may be used in prose.

I will give you here a very pretty copy of verses of Mr. Waller s, which is extremely poetical and full of images. It is to a Lady who played upon the lute. The lute, by the way, is an instrument with many strings, which are played upon by the fingers.

Such moving sounds from such a careless touch;

So little she concerned, and we so rmch.

The trembling strings about her fingers crowd,

And tell their joy, for every kiss, aloud.

Small force there needs to make them tremble so,

Touch d by that hand, who would not tremble too?

Here I,ove takes stand, and, while she charms the ear,

Empties his quiver on the list ning deer.

Music so softens and disarms the mind, That not one arrow can resistance find. Thus the fair tyrant celebrates the prize, And acts herself the triumph of her eyes. So Nero once, with harp in hand, survey d His naming Rome: and, as it burnt, he played.

Mind all the poetical beauties of these verses. He supposes the sounds of the strings, when she touches them, to be the expression of their joy for kiss ing her fingers. Then, he compares the trembling of the strings to the trem bling of a lover, who is supposed to tremble with joy and awe, when touched by the person he loves. He represents Love (who, you know, is described as a little boy, with a bow, arrows, and a quiver) as standing by her and shoot ing his arrows at people s hearts, while her music softens and disarms them. Then he concludes with that fine simile of Nero, a very cruel Roman Emperor, who set Rome on fire, and played on a harp all the while it was burning: for, as love is represented by the poets as fire and flames ; so she, while peo ple were burning for love for her, played, as Nero did while Rome, which he had set on fire, was burning. Pray get these verses by heart against I see you. Adieu.

You will observe that these verses are all long, or heroic verses, that is, of ten syllables, or five feet; for a foot is two syllables.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 377

LETTER XLIV

BATH, October 19, 1739.

jyiY DEAR CHILD: If it is possible to be too modest, you are; and you de serve more than you require. An amber headed cane, and a pair of buckles are a recompense so far from being adequate to your deserts, that I shall add something more. Modesty is a very good quality, and which gener ally accompanies true merit ; it engages and captivates the minds of people ; as, on the other hand nothing is more shocking and disgustful than presump tion and impudence. We cannot like a man who is always commending and speaking well of himself, and who is the hero of his own story ; on the con trary, a man who endeavors to conceal his own merit, who sets that of other people in its true light, who speaks but little of himself, and with modesty; such a man makes a favorable impression upon the understanding of his hearers, and acquires their love and esteem.

There is, however, a great difference between modesty and an awkward bashfulness ; which is as ridiculous as true modesty is commendable. It is as absurd to be a simpleton, as to be an impudent fellow ; and one ought to know how to come into a room, speak to people, and answer them, without being out of countenance, or without embarrassment. The English are generally apt to be bashful, and have not those easy, free, and at the same time polite man ners, which the French have. A mean fellow, or a country bumpkin, is ashamed when he comes into good company ; he appears embarrassed, does not know what to do with his hands, is disconcerted when spoken to, answers with diffi culty, and almost stammers; whereas a gentleman, who is used to the world, comes into company with a graceful and proper assurance, speaks even to people he does not know, without embarrassment, and in a natural and easy manner. This is called usage of the world, and good-breeding; a most neces sary and important knowledge in the intercourse of life. It frequently happens that a man, with a great deal of sense, but with little usage of the world, is not so well received as one of inferior parts, but with a gentleman-like be havior.

These are matters worthy your attention ; reflect on them, and unite mod esty to a polite and easy assurance. Adieu.

I this instant receive your letter of the 27th, which is very well written.


LETTER XLV

BATH, November i, 1739.

r\EAR BOY : Let us return to oratory, or the art of speaking well ; which should never be entirely out of your thoughts, since it is so useful in every part of life, and so absolutely necessary in most. A man can make no figure without it, in parliament, in the church, or in the law ; and even in common conversation, a man that has acquired an easy and habitual eloquence, who speaks properly and accurately, will have a great advantage over those who speak incorrectly and inelegantly.

The business of oratory, as I have told you before, is to persuade people ; and you easily feel, that to please people is a great step toward persuading them. You must then, consequently, be sensible how advantageous it is for a man who speaks in public, whether it be in parliament, in the pulpit, or at the bar (that is, in the courts of law), to please his hearers so much as to gain their attention; which he can never do without the help of oratory. It is not


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enough to speak the language he speaks in, in its utmost purity, and according to the rules of grammar, but he must speak it elegantly, that is, he must use the best and the most expressive words, and put them in the best order. He should likewise adorn what he says by proper metaphors, similes, and other figures of rhetoric ; and he should enliven it, if he can, by quick and sprightly turns of wit. For example, suppose you had a mind to persuade Mr. Maittaire to give you a holiday, would you bluntly say to him, Give me a holiday ? That would certainly not be the way to persuade him to it. But you should endeavor first to please him, and gain his attention, by telling him that your experience of his goodness and indulgence encouraged you to ask a favor of him ; that, if he should not think proper to grant it, at least you hoped he would not take it ill that you asked it.

Then you should tell him what it was that you wanted ; that it was a holiday, for which you should give your reasons, as that you had such or such a thing to do, or such a place to go to. Then you might urge some arguments, why he should not refuse you; as, that you have seldom asked the favor, and that you seldom will ; and that the mind may sometimes require a little rest from labor as well as the body. This you may illustrate by a simile, and say, that as the bow is the stronger for being sometimes unstrung and unbent, so the mind will be capable of more attention for being now and then easy and relaxed.

This is a little oration, fit for such a little orator as you : but, however, it will make you understand what is meant by oratory and eloquence ; which is to persuade. I hope you will have that talent hereafter in greater matters.


LETTER XLVI

BATH, November 5, 1739.

r\EAR BOY : I am glad to hear that you went to see the Lord Mayor s Show, for I supposed it amused you, and besides I would have you to see every thing. It is a good way of getting knowledge, especially if you inquire care fully (as I hope you always do) after the meaning and the particulars of everything you see. You know then, to be sure, that the Lord Mayor is the head of the city of London, and that there is a new Lord Mayor chosen every year; that the city is governed by the Lord Mayor, the Court of Aldermen, and the Common Council. There are six-and-twenty Aldermen, who are the most considerable tradesmen of the city. The Common Council is very numer ous, and consists likewise of tradesmen ; who all belong to the several com panies, that you saw march in the procession, with their colors and streamers. The Lord Mayor is chosen every year out of the Court of Aldermen. There are but two lord mayors in England ; one for the city of London, and the other for the city of York. The mayors of the other towns are only called mayors, not lord mayors. People who have seen little, are apt to stare sillily, and wonder at every new thing they see ; but a man who has been bred in the world, looks at everything with coolness and sedateness, and makes proper observations upon what he sees.

You need not write to me any more after you receive this, for I shall go away from hence on Saturday or Sunday next. But you may come to me in Grosvenor-Square, on Wednesday the I4th, at ten o clock in the morning: where you shall find the things you bespoke, and something much better, as an additional reward for your learning well : For though people should not do well for the sake of rewards, yet those who do well ought in justice to be rewarded. One should do well for the sake of doing well, and virtue is its


LETTERS TO HIS SON 379

own reward ; that is, the consciousness of having done right makes one happy enough even without any other reward. Consciousness means that real and inward judgment that every man forms of his own actions. For example, one says, I am not conscious of any guilt ; that is, my heart does not tell me that I am guilty, I feel myself innocent, or I am conscious that I deserve to be punished ; that is, I feel that I have committed the fault for which I am to be punished. It comes from the Latin, conscire, and conscius. Horace says

Nil conscire sibi, nulla pallcscere culpa :

Which means to have nothing to reproach oneself with, and not to turn pale with the remorse of guilt. He says too,

Mens conscia recti :

That is, a mind conscious of having done right ; the greatest pleasure and happiness that any man can have. Adieu.


LETTER XLVII

November 20, 1739.

pvEAR BOY : As you are now reading the Roman history, I hope you do it with that care and attention which it deserves. The utility of history con sists principally in the examples it gives us of the virtue and vices of those who have gone before us : upon which we ought to make the proper observations. History animates and excites us to the love and the practice of virtue, by showing us the regard and veneration that was always paid to great and virtuous men in the times in which they lived, and the praise and glory with which their names are perpetuated and transmitted down to our times. The Roman history furnishes more examples of virtue and magnanimity, or great ness of mind, than any other. It was a common thing to see their consuls and dictators (who, you know, were their chief magistrates) taken from the plough to lead their armies against their enemies; and after victory, returning to their plough again, and passing the rest of their lives in modest retirement ; a retirement more glorious, if possible, than the victories that preceded it ! Many of their greatest men died so poor, that they were buried at [the ex pense of the public. Curius, who had no money of his own, refused a great sum of money that the Samnites offered him, saying that he saw no glory in having money himself, but in commanding those that had. Cicero relates it thus: Curio ad focum sedenti magnum auri pondus Samnites cum attuhssent, repudiati ab eo sunf. Non enim aurum habere praclarum sibi videri, sed Us qui haberent aurum, imperare. And Fabricius, who had often commanded the Roman armies, and as often triumphed over their enemies, was found by his fireside, eating those roots and herbs which he had planted and cultivated himself in his own field. Seneca tells it thus : Fabricius ad focum camat Was ipsas radices, quas, in agro repurgando triumphalis Senex, vulsis. Scipio, after a victory he had obtained in Spain, found among the prisoners a young princess of extreme beauty, who, he was informed, was soon to have been married to a man of quality of that country. He ordered her to be entertained and attended with the same care and respect as if she had been in her father s house ; and, as soon as he could find her lover, he gave her to him, and added to her portion the money that her father had brought for her ransom. Valerius Maximus says : Eximice forma: virginem accersitis parentibus, et sponso inviolatam tradidit, et Juvenis, et Calebs, et Victor. This was a most glorious example of moderation, continence, and generosity, which gained him the hearts of all the people of


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Spain, and made them say, as Livy tells us: Venisse Diis simillimum juvcntm, vincentem omnia, cum armis, turn benignitate, ac beneficiis.

Such are the rewards that always crown virtue, and such the characters that you should imitate, if you would be a great and a good man, which is the only way to be a happy one ! Adieu.


LETTER XLVIII

Monday.

rxEAR BOY : I was very sorry that Mr. Maittaire did not give me such an account of you yesterday, as I wished and expected. He takes so much pains to teach you, that he well deserves from you the returns of care and attention. Besides, pray consider, now that you have justly got the reputation of knowing much more than other boys of your age do, how shameful it would be for you to lose it, and to let other boys, that are now behind you, get be fore you. If you would but have attention, you have quickness enough to con ceive, and memory enough to retain ; but without attention while you are learn ing, all the time you employ at your book is thrown away; and your shame will be the greater, if you should be ignorant, when you had such opportu nities of learning. An ignorant man is insignificant and contemptible ; nobody cares for his company, and he can just be said to live, and that is all. There is a very pretty French epigram, upon the death of such an ignorant, insig nificant fellow, the sting of which is, that all that can be said of him is, that he was once alive, and that he is now dead. This is the epigram, which you may get by heart :

" Colas est mart de ntaladie,

Tu -veux que jen pleure I e sort. Que diable veux tu que fen disef Colas vivoit, Colas est mart.*

Take care not to deserve the name of Colas ; which I shall certainly give you if you do not learn well : and then that name will go about, and everybody will call you Colas, which will be much worse than Frisky.

You are now reading Mr. Rollin s (( Ancient History w ; pray remember to have your maps by you when you read it, and desire Monsieur Pelnote to show you in the maps all the places you read of. Adieu.


LETTER XLI X

Saturday.

r\EAR BOY : Since you choose the name of Polyglot, I hope you will take care to deserve it ; which you can only do by care and application. I con fess the name of Frisky and Colas are not quite so honorable ; but then re member, too, that there cannot be a stronger ridicule, than to call a man by an honorable name, when he is known not to deserve it. For example, it would be a manifest irony to call a very ugly fellow an Adonis (who, you know, was so handsome that Venus herself fell in love with him), or to call a cow ardly fellow an Alexander, or an ignorant fellow, Polyglot ; for everybody would discover the sneer; and Mr. Pope observes very truly, that

Praise undeserv d is satire in disguise."

Next to the doing of things that deserve to be written, there is nothing that gets a man more credit, or gives him more pleasure, than to write things


LETTERS TO HIS SON 381

that deserve to be read. The younger Pliny (for there were two Plinys, the uncle and the nephew) expresses it thus : Equidem beatos puto, quibus, Deo- rum munere datum est, aut facer e scribenda, aut legenda scriberc; beatissimos vero quibus utrumque.

Pray mind your Greek particularly; for to know Greek very well is to be really learned : there is no great credit in knowing Latin, for everybody knows it ; and it is only a shame not to know it. Besides that, you will understand Latin a great deal the better for understanding Greek very well ; a great number of Latin words, especially the technical words, being derived from the Greek. Technical words mean such particular words as relate to any art or science; from the Greek word re^^ which signifies art, and re^vcKOf, which signifies artificial. Thus, a dictionary that explains the terms of art is called a Lexicon Technicum, or a Technical Dictionary. Adieu.


LETTER L

LONGFORD, June 9, 1740.

pvEAR BOY : I write to you now, in the supposition that you continue to de serve my attention, as much as you did when I left London ; and that Mr. Maittaire would commend you as much now as he did the last time he was with me ; for otherwise, you know very well that I should not concern myself about you. Take care, therefore, that when I come to town, I may not find myself mistaken in the good opinion I entertained of you in my absence.

I hope you have got the linnets and bullfinches you so much wanted ; and I recommend the bullfinches to your imitation. Bullfinches, you must know, have no natural note of their own, and never sing unless taught, but will learn tunes better than any other birds. This they do by attention and memory ; and you may observe that while they are taught, they listen with great care, and never jump about and kick their heels. Mow, I really think it would be a great shame for you to be outdone by your own bullfinch.

I take it for granted that, by your late care and attention, you are now perfect in Latin verses ; and that you may at present be called, what Horace desired to be called, Romans fidicen Lyres. Your Greek, too, I dare say, keeps pace with your Latin, and you have all your paradigms ad unguem.

You cannot imagine what alterations and improvements I expect to find every day, now that you are more than octennis; and, at this age, non progredi would be regredi, which would be very shameful.

Adieu ! Do not write to me, for I shall be in no settled place to receive letters while I am in the country.


LETTER LI

LONDON, June 25, 1740.

pvEAR BOY : As I know you love reading, I send you this book for your amusement, and not by way of task or study. It is an Historical, Chron ological, and Geographical Dictionary; in which you may find almost every thing you can desire to know, whether ancient or modern. As historical, it gives you the history of all remarkable persons and things ; as chronological, it tells you the time when those persons lived, and when those things were done; and as geographical, it describes the situation of countries and cities.


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For example, would you know who Aristides the Just was, you will find there that he was of Athens ; that his distinguished honesty and integrity acquired him the name of Just; the most glorious appellation a man can have. You will likewise find, that he commanded the Athenian army at the battle of Platcea, where Mardonius, the Persian general, was defeated, and his army of three hundred thousand men utterly destroyed ; and that for all these virtues he was banished Athens by the Ostracism. You will then (it may be) be curious to know what the Ostracism is. If you look for it, you will find that the Athenians, being very jealous of their liberties, which they thought were the most in danger from those whose virtue and merit made them the most popu lar (that is, recommended them most to the favor of the people), contrived this Ostracism ; by which, if six thousand people gave in the name of any one man, written upon a shell, that person was immediately banished for ten years.

As to chronology, would you know when Charlemain was made Emperor of the West : look for the article Charlemagne, and you will find that, being already master of all Germany, France, and great part of Spain and Italy, he was declared emperor in the year 800.

As to the geographical part, if you would know the situation of any town or country that you read of, as, for instance, Persepolis, you will find where it was situated, by whom founded, and that it was burned by Alexander the Great, at the instigation of his mistress, Thais, in a drunken riot. In short, you will find a thousand entertaining stories to divert you, when you have leisure from your studies, or your play; for one must always be doing some thing, and never lavish away so valuable a thing as time ; which, if once lost, can never be regained. Adieu.


LETTER LI I


PHILIP CHESTERFIELD TO HIS DEAR LITTLE PHILIP STANHOPE

yoUR last letter afforded me very great satisfaction, both as it was elegantly penned, and because you promised in it to take great pains to attain de servedly true praise. But I must tell you ingenuously, that I suspect very much your having had, in composing it, the assistance of a good and able master ; under whose conduct and instruction it will be your own fault if you do not acquire elegancy of style, learning, and, in short, everything else becoming a wise and virtuous person. I earnestly entreat you, therefore, to imitate care fully so good a pattern : and the more attention and regard you show for him, the more I shall think you love and respect me.

I shall continue here a fortnight longer, drinking these waters, before I re turn to town; let me then find you sensibly improved in your learning. You must summon greater resolution and diligence. I shall bring you presents from hence, which you shall receive as rewards of your application and in dustry, provided I find you deserving of them ; if otherwise, expect reproof and chastisement for your sloth. Farewell.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 383


LETTER L 1 1 1

TUNBRIDGE, July 18, 1740.

r\EAR BOY : After Sparta and Athens, Thebes and Corinth were the most considerable cities in Greece. Thebes was in Boeotia, a province of Greece, famous for its thick, foggy air, and for the dullness and stupidity of its inhabitants, insomuch that calling a man a Botian, was the same as call ing him a stupid fellow : and Horace, speaking of a dull, heavy fellow, says, Bceotivn jurares, crasso in acre natum.

However, Thebes made itself very considerable for a time, under the con duct of Epaminondas, who was one of the greatest and most virtuous char acters of all antiquity. Thebes, like all the rest of Greece, fell under the absolute dominion of the kings of Macedon, Alexander s successors. Thebes was founded by Cadmus, who first brought letters into Greece. CEdipus was King of Thebes, whose very remarkable story is worth your reading.

The city of Corinth sometimes made a figure in defense of the common liberties of Greece ; but was chiefly considerable upon account of its great trade and commerce ; which enriched it so much, and introduced so much luxury, that, when it was burned by Mummius, the Roman consul, the number of golden, silver, brass, and copper statues and vases, that were then melted, made that famous metal called Corinthian brass, so much esteemed by the Romans.

There were, besides, many other little kingdoms and republics in Greece, which you will be acquainted with when you enter more particularly into that part of ancient history. But to inform yourself a little, at present, concerning Thebes and Corinth, turn to the following articles in Moreri :

Thebes Jocaste Pelopidas

Cadmus Sphynx Corinth

CEdipe Epaminondas Mummius.


LETTER LIV

TUNBRIDGE, July 29, 1740.

FNEAR BOY : Since you are so ready at the measure of Greek and Latin verses, as Mr. Maittaire writes me word you are, he will possibly, before it is very long, try your invention a little, and set you to make some of your own composition ; you should therefore begin to consider, not only the measure of the verses you read, but likewise the thoughts of the poet, and the similes, metaphors, and allusions, which are the ornaments of poetry, and raise it above prose, and distinguish it from prose as much as the measure does. This atten tion to the thoughts and diction of other poets, will suggest both matter, and the manner of expressing it, to you, when you come to invent, yourself. Thoughts are the same in every language, and a good thought in one language, is a good one in every other; thus, if you attend to the thoughts and images in French and English poetry, they will be of use to you, when you compose in Latin or Greek. I have met lately with a very pretty copy of English verses, which I here send you to learn by heart; but, first, I will give you the thought in prose, that you may observe how it is expressed and adorned by poetical diction.

The poet tells his mistress Florella, that she is so unkind to him, she will not even surfer him to look at herj^that, to avoid her cruelty, he addresses


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himself to other women, who receive him kindly ; but that, notwithstanding this, his heart always returns_to her, though she uses him so ill ; and then he concludes with his beautiful and apt simile, in which he compares his fate to that of exiles (that is, people who are banished from their own country) who though they are pitied in whatever country they go to, yet long to return to their own, where they are sure to be used ill and punished:

Why will Florella when I gaze,

My ravish d eyes reprove, And hide from them the only face They can behold with love ?

To shun her scorn, and ease my care,

I seek a nymph more kind, And, while I rove from fair to fair, Still gentler usage find.

But oh ! how faint is every joy,

Where nature has no part ! New beauties may my eyes employ, But you engage my heart.

  • So restless exiles, doom d to roam, ~|

Meet pity everywhere;

Yet languish for their native home, lle<

Though death attends them there." J

You will observe, that these verses have alternate rhymes ; that is, the third line rhymes to the first, and the fourth line to the second; the first and third lines having four feet each ; and the second and fourth having but three feet each. A foot, in English verse, is two syllables.

To use your ear a little to English verses, and to make you attend to the sense too, I have transposed the words of the following lines, which I would have you put in their proper order, and send me in your next:

I4fe consider cheat a when tis all I Hope with fool d, deceit men yet with favor Repay will to-morrow trust on think and Falser former day to-morrow s than the Worse lies blest be shall when and we says it Hope new some possess d cut off with we what.

Adieu.


LETTER LV

TUNBRIDGE, August 3, 1740.

r\EAR BOY: You have done the verses I sent you very well, excepting the last line, in which you have not placed the word as the sense requires; but even there it appears that you have an ear for poetry, because the line runs as smoothly and as harmoniously, in the order you have put the words, as it does in the true order, which is necessary for the sense. There is like wise one fault in your letter, but such a one as many older persons than you are would have committed. It is where you say, that I may not accuse you WITH being one of the Tubs of the Danaids ; whereas you should have said OF, instead of WITH : OF comes always after accuse, and WITH after reproach. Thus, suppose it were possible for me to suspect that you were ever giddy; I must either say, I accuse you OF giddiness, or I reproach you WITH giddiness. In order to keep your ear "in poetic tune, I send you a couple of stanzas of


LETTERS TO HIS SON 385

Mr. Waller s to a lady, who had sung a song to him of his own making, and who sung it so well, that he fell in love with her. The sense of it in prose is this. When you vouchsafe, Chloris, to sing the song I made, you do it so well, that I am caught, like a spirit in my own spell (that is, enchantment). My fate is like that of an eagle, who, being shot with an arrow, observes his own feathers in the arrow that kills him. I give you notice that the rhyme

is alternate.

So you excel self your Chloris,

You when thought breathe my vouchsafe to Spirit with this that spell like a

My teaching own caught am of my, I.

Mine one are eagle s that fate and

Who shaft may die that him on the Of feather own his a espied

Used he which soar with to high so.

SHAFT, I should tell you, is a poetical word for arrow ; and SOAR, signifies to rise high in the air. The poets often speak of Cupid s shafts, meaning his arrows ; the fatal shaft, the deadly shaft, are poetical expressions for an arrow that has wounded or killed anybody. Sagitta is Latin for an arrow, and arundo is Latin for the iron point of the arrow. You will often find in the Latin poets, lethalis arundo, that is, the deadly or the mortal point; venenata sagitta, that is, a poisoned arrow. Before gunpowder was invented, which is about three hundred years ago, people used to fight chiefly with bows and arrows.

Adieu, you are a very good boy.

LETTER LVI

TUNBRIDGE, AugUSt 14, 1740.

r\EAR BOY : I am very glad to hear from Mr. Maittaire, that you are so ready at scanning both Greek and Latin verses ; but I hope you mind the sense of the words, as well as the quantities. The great advantage of knowing many languages consists in understanding the sense of those nations, and authors, who speak and write those languages ; but not in being able to repeat the words like a parrot, without knowing their true force and meaning. The poets require your attention and observation more than the prose authors; poetry being more out of the common way than prose compositions are. Poets have greater liberties allowed them than prose writers, which is called the POETICAL LICENSE. Horace says that poets and painters have an equal privilege of attempting anything. Pictoribus atque poetis, quidlibef audendi, semper fuit aqua potestas. Fiction, that is, invention, is said to be the soul of poetry. For example : the poets give life to several inanimate things ; that is, to things that have no life ; as, for instance, they represent the passions, as love, fury, envy, etc., under human figures ; which figures are allegorical ; that is, represent the qualities and effects of those passions. Thus the poet repre sents love as a little boy, called Cupid, because love is the passion of young people chiefly. He is represented blind likewise ; because love makes no dis. tinction, and takes away the judgment. He has a bow and arrows, with which he is supposed to wound people, because love gives pain ; and he has a pair of wings to fly with, because love is changeable, and apt to fly from one object to another. Fury is likewise represented under the figures of three women, called the three Furies, Alecto, Megsera, and Tisiphone. They are described with lighted torches or flambeaux in their hands; because rage and fury is for setting fire to everything ; they are likewise drawn with serpents hissing about their heads; because serpents are poisonous and destructive animals. Envy is described as a woman, melancholy, pale, livid, and pining; because envious


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people are never pleased, but always repining at other people s happiness: she is supposed to feed upon serpents ; because envious people only comfort them selves with the misfortune of others. Ovid gives the following description of

Envy :

Videt intus edentcm

Vipereas carnes, vitiorum alimenta suorum Invidiam; visaque oculos avertit. At ilia Surgit humo pigrfr : semesarumque relinquit Corpora serpentum ; passuque incedit inerti. Utque Deam vidit formaque armisque decoram ; Ingemuit: vultumque ima ad suspiria duxit. Pallor in ore sedet : macies in cor pore toto : Nusquam recta acies: livent rubigine denies: Pectora felle virent, lingua est suffusa veneno, Risus abest, nisi quern visi movere dolores. Nee fruitur somno y vigilacibus excita curis : Sed videt ingratos, intabescitque videndo, Successus hominum ; carpitquc et carpitur una: Suppliciumque suunt est.

This is a beautiful poetical description of that wretched, mean passion of envy, which I hope you will have too generous a mind ever to be infected with ; but that, on the contrary, you will apply yourself to virtue and learning, in such a manner as to become an object of envy yourself. Adieu.


LETTER LVII

Monday.

r\EAR BOY : Since, by Mr. Maittaire s care, you learn your Latin and Greek out of the best authors, I wish you would, at the same time that you con strue the words, mind the sense and thoughts of those authors ; which will help your invention when you come to compose yourself, and at the same time form your taste. Taste, in its proper signification, means the taste of the plate in eating or drinking; but it is metaphorically used for the judgment one forms of any art or science. For example, if I say, such a man has a good taste in poetry, I mean that he judges well of poetry, and distinguishes rightly what is good and what is bad ; and finds out equally the beauty and the faults of the composition. Or if I say that such a man has a good taste in painting I mean the same thing; which is, that he is a good judge of pictures; and will dis tinguish not only good ones from bad ones, but very good ones from others not quite so good, but yet good ones. Avoir le gout bon, means the same thing in French: and nothing forms so true a taste, as the reading the ancient authors with attention. Description is a beautiful part of poetry, and much used by the best poets : it is likewise called painting, because it represents things in so lively and strong a manner, that we think we see them as in a picture. Thus Ovid describes the palace of the Sun, or Apollo :

" Regia Salt s erat sublimibus alto columnts,

Clara micante auro, flammasque imitante Pyropo.

Cujus ebur nitidum fasiigia summa tenebat;

Argenti bifores radiabant lumine valvee,

Materiem superabat opus: nam Mulciber illic

^Equora calarat medias ctngentia terras,

Terrarumque orbem, ccelumque quod immicet orbi*

Afterward he describes Phoebus himself sitting upon his throne:

[PurpureA velatus veste sedebat

  • L Solio Phoebus, Claris lucente smaragdis.

A dextra lecvaquc Dies, et Afensis, ft Ann us, Sarulaque, et posita spatiis trqualibus Horte


LETTERS TO HIS SON 387

Verque novum stabat, cinctum fiorente corona, Stabat nuda sEstas, et spicea serta gerebat. Stabat et Autumnus calcatis sordidus uvis, Et glacialis Hyems, canos hirsuta capillos*

Observe the invention in this description. As the sun is the great rule by which we measure time ; and as it marks out the years, the months, the days, and the seasons; so Ovid has represented Phoebus upon his throne, as the principal figure, attended by the Years, Days, Months, and Seasons, which he likewise represents as so many persons. This is properly invention and invention is the soul of poetry. Poets have their name upon that account from the Greek word Hoieu, which signifies, to make or invent. Adieu.

Translate these Latin verses, at your leisure, into English, and send your translation, in a letter, to my house in town. I mean English prose ; for I do not expect verses from you yet

LETTER LVIII

Friday.

pvEAR BOY : I mentioned, in my last, description, or painting, as one of the shining marks or characteristics of poetry. The likeness must be strong and lively ; and make us almost think that we see the thing before our eyes. Thus the following description of Hunger, or Famine, in Ovid, is so striking that one thinks one sees some poor famished wretch.


Famem lapidoso vidit in agro,


Unguibus et raras vellentem dentibus herbas. Hirtus erat crinis, cava lumina, pallor in ore, Labra incana situ, scabrtz rubigine fauces, Dura cult s, per quant spectari viscera possent ; Ossa sub incurvis extabant arida lumbis : Ventris erat pro ventre locus : pendere putares Pectus, et a spines tantum mode crate teneri*

Observe the propriety and significancy of the epithets. Lapidoso is the epithet to agro, because a stony ground produces very little grass. Raras is the epithet to herbas to mark how few and how scarce the herbs were, that Famine was tearing with her teeth and nails. You will easily find out the other epithets. I will now give you an excellent piece of painting, or description, in English verse ; it is in the Tragedy of Phaedra and Hippolytus. Phaedra was the second wife of the famous Theseus, one of the first kings of Athens : and Hippolytus was his son by his former wife. Look for the further particulars of their story in your dictionary, under the articles Phedre and Hippolite.

So when BRIGHT Venus yielded up her charms,

The BLEST Adonis languish d in her arms.

His IDLE horn on FRAGRANT myrtles hung ;

His arrows SCATTER D, and his bow UNSTRUNG.

Obscure, in coverts, lie his DREAMING hounds,

And bay the FANCIED boar with FEEBLE sounds.

For nobler sports he quits the SAVAGE fields.

And all the Hero to the I<over yields.*

I have marked the epithets, that you may the^better observe them. Venus is called BRIGHT, upon account of her beauty ; Adonis is called BLEST, because Venus was in love with him ; his horn is said to be IDLE, because he then laid it by, and made no use of it; the myrtles are called FRAGRANT, because the myrtle is a sweet-smelling tree ; moreover, the myrtle is the particular tree sacred to Venus ^SCATTERED arrows, because laid by here and there, carelessly. The bow UNSTRUNG ; it was the custom to unstring the bow when they did not use it, and it was the stronger for it afterward. DREAMING hounds : hounds that


388 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

are used to hunt, often dream they are hunting; as appears by their making the same noise, only not so loud, when they sleep, as they do when they are hunting some wild beast; therefore the sounds are called FEEBLE. SAVAGE fields ; so called from the roughness of field sports, in comparison to the tender ness and softness of love.

Adonis was extremely handsome, and a great sportsman ; he used to employ his whole time in hunting boars, and other wild beasts. Venus fell in love with him, and used frequently to come down to him ; he was at last killed by a wild boar, to the great grief of Venus. Look for Adonis in your dictionary ; for, though you have read his story in Ovid s <( Metamorphoses, I believe that excellent memory of yours wants refreshing. From hence, when a man is extremely handsome, he is called by metaphor, an Adonis. Adieu.

LETTE R LIX

Saturday.

pvEAR BOY : Your last translations were very well done ; and I believe you begin to apply yourself more. This you may depend upon, that the more you apply, the easier you will find your learning, and the sooner you will have done with it. But, as I have often told you before, it is not the words only that you should mind, but the sense and beauties of the authors you read ; which will furnish you with matter, and teach you to think justly upon sub jects. For example, if you were to say, in poetry, that it was morning, you would not barely say it was morning ; that would not be poetical ; but you would represent the morning under some image, or by description, as thus :

I/> ! from the ROSY East, her PURPLE doors

The Morn unfolds, adorn d with BLUSHING flowers.

The LESSEN D stars draw off and disappear,

Whose BRIGHT battalions, lastly, I,ucifer

Brings up, and quits his station in the rear.

Observe, that the day always rises in the east ; and therefore it is said from the rosy east ; ROSY is the epithet to east, because the break of day, or the aurora, is of a reddish, rosy color. Observe, too, that Lucifer is the name of that star that disappears the last in the morning ; for the astronomers have given names to most of the stars. The three last lines, which have the same rhymes, are called a triplet, which is always marked as I have marked it. The original Latin is thus in Ovid :


-Ecce vigil rutilo patefecit ab ortu


Purpureas Aurora fores, et plena rosarum Atria. Diffugiunt stellez, quarum agmina cogit Lucifer, et cceli statione novissimus exit*

Here is another way of saying that it is morning, as Virgil expresses it: " Et jam prima novo spargebat lumine terras Tithoni croceum linquens Aurora cubile ; Jam sole infuso, jam rebus luce retecsis.* Thus in English verse :

And now, Aurora, harbinger of day, Rose from the SAFFRON bed where Tithon lay, And sprinkled o er the world with NEW-BORN light The sun now shining, all things brought to sight.

Look in your dictionary for the articles AURORA and TITHON, where you will find their story. Tithon was the husband of Aurora. Aurora, in poetical language, means the break of day, or the first part of the morning. Harbinger (by the way) means forerunner, or a person who is sent before-hand, by another, upon a journey, to prepare things for him. The king has several har-


LETTERS TO HIS SON 389

binders, that go before him upon the road to prepare his lodging, and get everything ready. So Aurora, or the morning, is called by a metaphor the har binger of day, because it foreruns the day.

I expect very good verses, of your making, by the time you are ten years old ; and then you shall be called Poeta Decennis, which will be a very un common, and consequently, a glorious title. Adieu.

LETTER LX

Wednesday.

r\EAR BOY : In my last I sent you two or three poetical descriptions of the Morning ; I here send you some other parts of the day. The Noon, or Midday, that is twelve o clock, is thus described by Ovid: Feccrat exiguas jam Sol altissimus umbras. * And in another place,

Jamque dies rerum medias contraxerat umbras Et sol ex eequo, meta distabat utraque : M

Because the sun at noon is exactly in the middle of its course, and being then just perpendicular over our heads, makes the shadows very short ; whereas, when the sun shines on either side of us (as it does mornings and evenings), the shadows are very long; which you may observe any sunshiny day that you please. The evening is described thus by Ovid :

  • Jam labor exiguus Phaebo restabat ; equique

Pulsabant pedibus spatium declivis Olympi:*

Because the course of the sun, being supposed to be of one day, Phcebus,

(that is, the sun) is here said to have little more remaining business to do; and

his horses are represented as going down hill; which points out the evening;

the sun, in the evening, seeming to go downward. In another place, he says

" Jamque dies exactus erat, tempusque subibat,

Quod tu nee tenebras, nee possis dicere lucent : *

For, in the dusk of the evening, one can neither call it day or night. Night is described by Virgil in this manner:

Nox erat, et terras animalia fusa per omnes ; Alituum, pecudumque genus, sopor altus habebat*

What I mean by sending and explaining these things to you, is to use you to think and reflect a little yourself; and not to repeat words only like a par rot, without minding or knowing the sense and import of them. For example, when you read a description of anything, compare it with your own observa tions; and ask yourself this question, is this so? Have I ever observed it be fore? And if you have not observed it, take the first opportunity you can of doing it. For instance, if you have not already observed, that the shadows are long in the morning and evening, and short at noon, try it yourself, and see whether it is true or not. When you hear of the ROSY MORN, consider with yourself why it is so called, and whether it ought to be called so or not ; and observe the morning early, to see if it is not of a reddish, rosy color. When you hear of Night s spreading its sable (that is, black) wings over the world, consider whether the gradual spreading of the darkness does not extend itself in the sky like black wings. In short, use yourself to think and reflect upon everything you hear and see ; examine everything, and see whether it is true or not, without taking it upon trust. For example, if you should find in any author, THE BLUE or AZURE SUN, would you not immediately reflect, that could not be just, for the sun is always red? and that he who would call it so must be either blind, or a fool. When you read historical facts, think of them within yourself, and compare them with your own notions. For example, when you


390 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

read of the first Scipio, who, when he conquered Spain, took a beautiful Span ish princess prisoner, who was soon to have been married to a prince of that country, and returned her to her lover, not only untouched, but giving her a fortune besides, are you not struck with the virtue and generosity of that action? And can you help thinking with yourself, how virtuous it was in Scipio, who was a young man, unmarried, and a conqueror, to withstand the temptation of beauty; and how generous it was to give her a fortune, to make amends for the misfortunes of war? Another reflection too, that naturally occurs upon it, is how virtuous actions never fail to be rewarded by the commendation and applause of all posterity; for this happened above eighteen hundred years ago ; it is still remembered with honor ; and will be so long as letters subsist; not to mention the infinite pleasure Scipio must have felt himself, from such a virtuous and heroic action. I wish you more pleasure of that kind, than ever man had. Adieu.

LETTER LXI

BATH, October 14, 1740.

PVEAR BOY : Since I have recommended you to think upon subjects, and to consider things in their various lights and circumstances, I am persuaded you have made such a progress, that I shall sometimes desire your opinion upon difficult points, in order to form my own. For instance, though I have, in general, a great veneration for the manners and customs of the ancients, yet I am in some doubt whether the Ostracism of the Athenians was either just or prudent ; and should be glad to be determined by your opinion. You know very well that the Ostracism was the method of banishing those whose dis tinguished virtue made them popular, and consequently (as the Athenians thought) dangerous to the public liberty. And, if six thousand citizens of. Athens gave in the name of any one Athenian, written upon an oyster shell, (from whence it is called Ostracism), that man was banished from Athens for ten years. On one hand, it is certain, that a free people cannot be too careful or jealous of their liberty ; and it is certain too, that the love and applause of mankind will always attend a man of eminent and distinguished virtue ; and, consequently, they are more likely to give up their liberties to such a one, than to another of lesser merit. But then, on the other hand, it seems extraor dinary to discourage virtue upon any account ; since it is only by virtue that any society can flourish, and be considerable. There are many more argu ments on each side of this question, which will naturally occur to you; and, when you have considered them well, I desire you will write me your opinion whether the Ostracism was a right or a wrong thing, and your reasons for being of that opinion. Let nobody help you; but give me exactly your own sentiments, and your own reasons, whatever they are.

I hope Mr. Pelnot makes you read Rollin with great care and attention, and recapitulate to him whatever you have read that day ; I hope, too, that he makes you read aloud, distinctly, and observe the stops. Desire your mamma to tell him so from me ; and the same to Mr. Martin ; for it is a shame not to read perfectly well.

Make my compliments to Mr. Maittaire ; and take great care that he gives me a good account of you, at my return to London, or I shall be very angry at you. Adieu.

LETTER LXII

BATH, October 20, 1740.

I~\EAR BOY : I have often told you already, that nothing will help your in- vention more and teach you to think more justly, than reading, with care and attention, the ancient Greek and Latin authors, especially the poets, in vention being the soul of poetry ; that is to say, it animates and gives life


LETTERS TO HIS SON 391

to poetry, as the soul does to the body. I have often told you, too, that poets take the liberty of personifying inanimate things; that is, they describe and represent as persons, the passions, the appetites, and many other things, that have no figures nor persons belonging to them. For example, they represent Love as a little boy with wings, a bow and arrow, and a quiver. Rage and Fury they represent under the figures of three women, called the three Furies, with serpents hissing about their heads, lighted torches in their hands, and their faces red and inflamed. The description of Envy I have already sent you, and likewise the description of Hunger and Famine, out of Ovid s <( Meta morphoses. I now send you, out of the same book, the beautiful description ot the House or dwelling of Rumor, that is, common report. You will there find all the particularities of rumor ; how immediately it spreads itself everywhere; how it adds falsehoods to truths ; how it imposes upon the vulgar ; and how credulity, error, joy, and fear, dwell with it ; because credulous people believe lightly whatever they hear, and that all people in general are inclined to be lieve what they either wish or fear much. Pray translate these lines, at your leisure, into English, and send them me. Consider them yourself too, at the same time, and compare them with the observations you must already have made upon rumor, or common fame. Have not you observed how quickly a piece of news spreads itself all over the town? how it is first whispered about, then spoken aloud? how almost everybody that repeats it, adds something to it? how the vulgar, that is, the ordinary people, believe it immediately? and how other people give credit to it, according as they wish it true or not? All this you will find painted in the following lines ; which I desire you will weigh well. Hoc enim abs te rogo oro, postulo, flagito. Jubeo te bene valerc. Orbe locus medio est inter terrasque, fretumque, Ccetestesque plagas, triplicis confinia *mundi; Unde quod est usquam, quamvis rogionibus absit, Inspicitur penetratque cavas vox omnis ad *aures. Fama tenet, summaque domum sibi legit in arce: Innumerosque aditus, ac mille foramina tectis Addidit, et nullis inclusit limina portis. Nocte dieque patent. Tota est ex *aure sonanti. Tota fremit : vocesque refert : iteratque quod audit. Nulla quies intus, nullaque, silentia parte ; Nee tamen est clamor, sed parvse murmura vocis. Qualia de pelagi, si quis procul audiat, undis Esse solent : qualemve sonum ; cum Jupiter atras Increpuit *nubes, extrema tonitrua reddunt. Atria turba tenent: veniunt leve *vulgus, euntque, Mistaque cum veris, passim commenta vagantur Millia rumorum ; confusaque verba volutant. E quious hi vacuas implent sermonibus * auras : Hi narrata ferunt alid : mensuraque ficti Crescit. Et auditis aliquid novus adjicti auctor: Illic Credulitas, illic temerarius * Error, Fianaque *I,a2titia est, consternatique *Timores,

  • Seditioque * re fens dubioque, auctore Susurri.

Ipsa quid in ccelo rerum, pelagoque geratur, Et tellure, videt ; totumque inquirit in orbem."

N. B. I have underlined [printed in Italic characters} the epithets and marked the substantives they belong to, thus*.

Full in the midst of this created space, Betwixt heav n, earth, and skies, there stands a place, Confining on all three, with triple bound: Whence all things, tho remote, are view d around ; And thither bring their undulating sound.


392 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

The palace of loud fame, her seat of pow r,

Plac d on the summit of a lofty tow r,

A thousand winding entries, long and wide,

Receive of fresh reports a flowing tide.

A thousand crannies in the walls are made ;

Nor gate, nor bars exclude the busy trade.

Tis built of brass, the better to diffuse

The spreading sounds, and multiply the news,

Where echoes in repeated echoes play,

A mart for ever full, and open night and day.

Nor silence is within, nor voice express,

But a deaf noise of sounds that never cease ;

Confus d and chiding, like the hollow roar

Of tides receding from the insulted shore.

Or like the broken thunder heard from far,

When Jove at distance drives the rolling war.

The courts are filled with a tumultuous din

Of crowds, or issuing forth, or entering in ;

A thoroughfare of news; where some devise

Things never heard, some mingle truth with lies;

The troubled air with empty sounds they beat,

Intent to hear and eager to repeat.

Error sits brooding there, with added train

Of vain credulity, and joys as vain :

Suspicion, with Sedition join d, are near,

And rumors rais d, and murmurs mix d and panic fear,

Fame sits aloft, and sees the subject ground,

And seas about, and skies above, inquiring all around.

GARTH S *Ovid."

LETTER LXIII V

r\EAR BOY : The shortest and best way of learning a language is to know the roots of it; that is, those original, primitive words, of which many other words are made, by adding a letter, or a preposition to them, or by some such small variation, which makes some difference in the sense : thus, you will observe that the prepositions a, ab, abs, e, ex, pro, prce, per, inter, circutn, super, trans, and many others, when added to the primitive verb, or noun, alter its signification accordingly ; and when you have observed this in three or four instances, you will know it in all. It is likewise the same in Greek, where when you once know the roots, you will soon know the branches. Thus, in the paper I send you to get by heart, you will observe, that the verb fero, I carry, is the root of sixteen others, whose significations differ from the root, only by the addition of a letter or two, or a preposition ; which letters or preposition make the same alteration to all words to which they are added ; as, for example, ex, which signifies out, when joined to eo, I go, makes, I go out, exeo ; when joined to traho, I draw, it makes, I draw out, extraho ; and so in all other cases of the same nature. The preposition per, which signifies thoroughly or completely, as well as by, when joined to a verb or a noun, adds that signification to it ; when added to fero, I carry, it makes perfero, I carry thoroughly; when added to facio, I do, it makes perficio, I finish, I do thor oughly, I complete : when added to nouns, it has the same effect ; difficilis, hard ; Perdiffidlis, thoroughly, completely hard ; jucundus, agreeable ; perjucundus, thor oughly agreeable. If you attend to these observations, it will save you a great deal of trouble in looking in the dictionary. As you are now pretty well master of most of the rules, what you chiefly want, both in Latin and Greek, is the words, in order to construe authors ; and therefore I would advise you to write down, and learn by heart, every day, for your own amusement, besides what


LETTERS TO HIS SON 393

you do with Mr. Maittaire, ten words of Greek, Latin, and English, out of a dictionary or vocabulary, which will go a great way in a year s time, con sidering the words you know already, and those you will learn besides in construing with Mr. Maitaire. Adieu.

LETTE R LXI V

PVEAR BOY : I send you here a few more Latin roots, though I am not sure that you will like my roots so well as those that grow in your garden ; however, if you will attend to them, they may save you a great deal of trouble. These few will naturally point out many others to your own observation; and enable you, by comparison, to find out most derived and compound words, when once you know the original root of them. You are old enough now to make observations upon what you learn ; which, if you would be pleased to do, you cannot imagine how much time and trouble it would save you. Remember, you are now very near nine years old ; an age at which all boys ought to know a great deal, but you, particularly, a great deal more, considering the care and pains that have been employed about you ; and, if you do not answer those expectations, you will lose your char acter, which is the most mortifying thing that can happen to a generous mind. Everybody has ambition of some kind or other, and is vexed when that ambition is disappointed : the difference is, that the ambition of silly people is a silly and mistaken, ambition ; and the ambition of people of sense is a right and commendable one. For instance, the ambition of a silly boy of your age would be to have fine clothes, and money to throw away in idle follies : which, you plainly see, would be no proofs of merit in him, but only a folly in his parents, in dressing him out like a jackanapes, and giving him money to play the fool with. Whereas, a boy of good sense places his ambition in excelling other boys of his own age, and even older, in virtue and knowledge. His glory is in being known always to speak the truth, in showing good-nature and compassion, in learning quicker, and ap plying himself more than other boys. These are real proofs of merit in him, and consequently proper objects of ambition ; and will acquire him a solid reputation and character. This holds true in men as well as in boys ; the ambition of a silly fellow will be to have a fine equipage, a fine house, and fine clothes ; things which anybody that has as much money may have as well as he, for they are all to be bought; but the ambition of a man of sense and honor is, to be distinguished by a character and reputation of knowledge, truth, and virtue ; things which are not to be bought, and that can only be acquired by a good head and a good heart. Such was the am bition of the Lacedemonians and the Romans, when they made the greatest figure ; and such I hope yours will always be. Adieu !

LETTER LX V

you know so much more, and learn so much better than any boy of your age, that you see I do not treat you like a boy, but write to you upon subjects fit for men to think and consider of. When I send you examples of the virtues of the ancients, it is not only to inform you of those pieces of history, but to ANIMATE and excite you to follow those examples. You there see the advantages of virtue; how it is sure (sooner or later) to be rewarded, and with what praises and ENCOMIUMS the virtuous actions of the great men of antiquity have been perpetuated, and transmitted down to us. Julius Caesar, though a tyrant, and guilty of that great crime of enslaving his country, had, however, some virtues ; and was distinguished for his clemency and humanity ; of which there is this remarkable instance-.: Marcellus, a man


394 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

of CONSIDERATION in Rome, had taken part with Pompey in the civil war between him and Caesar, and had even acted with ZEAL and ACRIMONY against Caesar. However, after Caesar had conquered Pompey and was returned to Rome victorious, the senate INTERCEDED with him in favor of Marcellus, whom he not only pardoned, but took into his friendship. Cicero made an oration on purpose to compliment Caesar upon this act of good-nature and gener osity, in which, among many other things, he tells him that he looks upon his pardoning Marcellus as a greater action than all his victories. His words in Latin are these : Domuisti gentes immanitate barbaras, multitudine innumerabiles, locis infinitas, omni copiarum genere aoundantes: sed tamen ea vicisti, qua et naturam et conditionem ut vinci possent, habebant. Nulla est enim tanta vis, tanta copia, qua non ferro ac viribus debilitari frangique possit. Verum animum vincere; iracundiam cohibere; victoriam temperare; adversarium nobilitate, ingenio, virtute prtzsiantem non modo extollere jacentem, sed etiam amplificare ejus pristinam dignitatem: hcec qui faciat, non ego eum turn summis viris comparo, sed simillimum Deo judico.

It is certain that humanity is the particular CHARACTERISTIC oFa great mind; little vicious minds are full of anger and revenge, and are incapable of feeling the EXALTED pleasure by forgiving their enemies, and of bestowing marks of favor and generosity upon those of whom they have gotten the better. Adieu.

I have underlined [printed in Italic characters] those word s that I think you do not understand, to put you in mind to ask the meaning of them.

LETTER LXVI

Thursday.

MY DEAR CHILD : You are now reading the historical novel of (( Don Carlos, * written by the Abbe* of St. Real. The foundation of it is true ; the Abbe" has only embellished a little, in order to give it the turn of a novel ; and it is prettily written. A propos, I am in doubt whether you know what a novel is : it is- a little gallant history, which must contain a great deal of love, and not exceed one or two small volumes. The subject must be a love affair; the lovers are to meet with many difficulties and obstacles, to oppose the accomplishment of their wishes, but at last overcome them all; and the conclusion or catastrophe must leave them happy. A novel is a kind of abbreviation of a romance ; for a romance generally consists of twelve volumes, all filled with insipid love nonsense and most incredible adventures. The subject of a romance is sometimes a story entirely fictitious, that is to say, quite invented ; at other times a true story, but generally so changed and altered, that one cannot know it. For example, in Grand Cyrus, Clelia, and (< Cleopatra, * three celebrated romances, there is some true history ; but so blended with falsities and silly love adventures, that they confuse and cor rupt the mind, instead of forming and instructing it. The greatest heroes of antiquity are there represented in woods and forests, whining insipid love tales to their inhuman fair one, who answers them in the same style. In short, the reading of romances is a most frivolous occupation, and time merely thrown away. The old romances, written two or three hundred years ago, such as w Amadis of Gaul, w (< Orlando the Furious, and others, were stuffed with enchantments, magicians, giants, and such sort of impossibilities ; whereas, the more modern romances keep within the bounds of possibility but not of probability. For I would just as soon believe that the great Brutus, who expelled the Tarquins from Rome, was shut up by some magician in an enchanted castle, as imagine that he was making silly verses for the beauti ful Clelia, as he is represented in the romance of that name.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 395

Don Carlos, whose name is given to the novel you are now reading, was son to Philip II., king of Spain, who was himself son of the Emperor Charle- quin, or Charles V. This Charles V. was, at the same time, emperor of Ger many and king of Spain ; he was, besides, master of all Flanders, and the greatest part of Italy. He reigned long; but two or three years before his death, he abdicated the crown, and retired as a private man to the convent of St. Just, in Spain. He ceded the empire to his brother Ferdinand ; and Spain, America, Flanders and Italy to his son Philip II., who was very unlike him, for he was proud and cruel, even toward his son, Don Carlos, whom he put to death.

DON is a title which is given in Spain to every gentleman ; as MONSIEUR in France, and SIGNOR in Italy. For instance, if you were in Spain you would be called Don Philip. Adieu.

LETTER LXVII

Thursday.

pvEAR BOY : You will seldom hear from me without an admonition to think. All you learn, and all you can read, will be of little use, if you do not think and reason upon it yourself. One reads to know other people s thoughts ; but if we take them upon trust, without examining and comparing them with our own, it is really living upon other people s scraps, or retailing other people s goods. To know the thoughts of others, is of use, because it suggests thoughts to oneself, and helps one to form a judgment ; but to repeat other people s thoughts, without considering whether they are right or wrong, is the talent only of a parrot, or at most a player.

If NIGHT were given you as a subject to compose upon, you would do very well to look what the best authors have said upon it, in order to help your own invention ; but then you must think of it afterward yourself, and express in your own manner, or else you would be at best but a plagiary. A plagiary is a man who steals other people s thoughts; and puts them off for his own. You would find, for example, the following account of Night in Virgil: " Nox erat, ft placidum carpebant fessa soporem

Corpora per (arras ; sylvczque et s&va quicrant

sEquora: cum medio volvun/ur sidera lapsu;

Cum tacet omnis ager, pecude.s, pictaque volucres,

Quccque lacus late liquidos, qu&que aspera dumis

Rura tenent ; somno positce sub nocte silenti

Lenibant curas, et corda oblita laborum*

Here you see the effects of night ; that it brings rest to men when they are wearied with the labors of the day; that the stars move in their regular course; that flocks and birds repose themselves, and enjoy the quiet of the night. This, upon examination, you would find to be all true ; but then, upon con sideration too, you would find that it is not all that is to be said upon night ; and many more qualities and effects of night would occur to you. As, for instance, though night is in general the time of quiet and repose, yet it is often the time too for the commission and security of crimes, such as robberies, murders, and violations; which generally seek the advantage of darkness, as favorable for the escape of the guilty. Night, too, though it brings rest and refreshment to the innocent and virtuous, brings disquiet and horror to the guilty. The consciousness of their crimes torments them, and denies them sleep and quiet. You might, from these reflections, consider what would be the proper epithets to give to night 1 ; as for example, if you were to represent night in its most pleasing shape, as procuring quiet and refreshment from labor and toil, you might call it the FRIENDLY night, the SILENT night, the WELCOME night, the PEACEFUL night; but if, on the contrary, you were to


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represent it as inviting to the commission of crimes, you would call it the GUILTY night, the CONSCIOUS night, the HORRID night; with many other epithets, that carry along with them the idea of horror and guilt.: for an epithet to be proper must always be adapted (that is, suited) to the circumstances of the person or thing to which it is given. Thus Virgil, who generally gives yEneas the epithet of pious, because of his piety to the gods, and his duty to his father, calls him Dux ^Eneas, where he represents him making love to Dido, as a proper epithet for him in that situation ; because making love becomes a general much better that a man of singular piety.

Lay aside, for a few minutes the thoughts of play, and think of this

seriously.

Amoto quteramus seria ludo.

Adieu. You may come to me on Saturday morning, before you go to Mr. Maittaire.

LETTER LXVIII

Sunday.

pvEAR BOY : I shall not leave the subject of invention and thinking ; which I would have you apply to, as much as your age and giddiness will per mit. Use will make it every day easier to you, and age and observation will improve it. Virtue is a subject that deserves your and every man s attention ; and suppose I were to bid you make some verses, or give me your thoughts in prose, upon the subject of Virtue, how would you go about it ? Why, you would first consider what Virtue is, and then what are the effects and marks of it, both with regard to others and to oneself. You would find then, that Virtue consists in doing good, and in speaking truth ; that the effects of it are advantageous to all mankind, and to oneself in particular. Virtue makes us pity and relieve the misfortunes of mankind ; it makes us promote justice and good order in society; and in general, contributes to whatever tends to the real good of mankind. To ourselves it gives an inward comfort and satisfac tion, which nothing else can do, and which nothing can rob us of. All other advantages depend upon others, as much as upon ourselves. Riches, power, and greatness may be taken away from us by the violence and injustice of others, or by inevitable accidents, but Virtue depends only upon ourselves, and nobody can take it away from us. Sickness may deprive us of all the pleasure of the body; but it cannot deprive us of our Virtue, nor of the satisfaction which we feel from it. A virtuous man, under all the misfortunes of life, still finds an inward comfort and satisfaction, which makes him happier than any wicked man can be, with all the other advantages of life. If a man has acquired great power and riches by falsehood, injustice, and oppression, he cannot enjoy them ; because his conscience will torment him, and constantly reproach him with the means by which he got them. The stings of his con science will not even let him sleep quietly; but he will dream of his crimes; and in the daytime when alone, and when he has time to think, he will be uneasy and melancholy. He is afraid of everything; for as he knows man kind must hate him, he has reason to think they will hurt him if they can. Whereas, if a virtuous man be ever so poor, or unfortunate in the world, still his virtue is its own reward, and will comfort him under all afflictions. The quiet and satisfaction of his conscience make him cheerful by day, and sleep sound of nights ; he can be alone with pleasure, and is not afraid of his own thoughts. Besides this, he is universally esteemed and respected ; for even the most wicked people themselves cannot help admiring and respecting Virtue in others. All these, and many other advantages, you would ascribe to Virtue, if you were to compose upon that subject. A poet says:

" Ipsa quident Virtus, sibimet pulcherrima merces.*


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And Claudian has the following lines upon that subject : ipsa quidem Virtus prctium sibi, solaque latl Fortunes secura nitet : nee facibus ullis Erigitur ; plausuque petit clarescere vulgi. Nil opis externce cupiens, nil indiga laudis : Divitiis animosa suis, immotaque cunctis Casibus. ex alta mortalia despicit arce.*

Adieu.

LETTER LXIX

Wednesday.

r\EAR BOY : You behaved yourself so well at Mr. Boden s last Sunday, that you justly deserve commendation ; besides you encourage me to give you some rules of politeness and good-breeding, being persuaded that you will ob serve them. Know then, that as learning, honor, and virtue are absolutely necessary to gain you the esteem and admiration of mankind ; politeness and good-breeding are equally necessary to make you welcome and agreeable in conversation and common life. Great talents, such as honor, virtue, learning, and parts, are above the generality of the world ; who neither possess them themselves, nor judge of them rightly in others ; but all people are judges of the lesser talents, such as civility, affability, and an obliging, agreeable address and manner, because they feel the good effects of them, as making society easy and pleasing. Good sense, must, in many cases, determine good-breed ing ; because the same thing that would be civil at one time and to one per son, may be quite otherwise at another time, and to another person ; but there are some general rules of good-breeding that hold always true, and in all cases. As, for example, it is always extremely rude to answer only yes or no, to anybody, without adding sir, my lord, or madam, according to the quality of the person you speak to : as in French, you must always say, Monsieur, Milord, Madame, and Mademoiselle. I suppose you know that every married woman is, in French, Madame, and every unmarried one is Mademoiselle. It is likewise extremely rude not to give the proper attention, and a civil answer, when people speak to you; or to go away, or be doing something else, when they are speaking to you ; for that convinces them that you despise them, and do not think it worth your while to hear or answer what they say. I dare say I need not tell you how rude it is, to take the best place in a room, or to seize immediately upon what you like at table without offering first to help others; as If you considered nobody but yourself. On the con trary, you should always endeavor to procure all the conveniences you can to the people you are with. Besides being civil, which is absolutely necessary, the perfection of good-breeding is, to be civil with ease, and in a gentleman like manner. For this, you should observe the French people, who excel in it, and whose politeness seems as easy and natural as any other part of their conversation. Whereas the English are often awkward in their civilities, and, when they meun to be civil, are too much ashamed to get it out. But, pray do you remember never to be ashamed of doing what is right ; you would have a great deal of reason to be ashamed if you were not civil ; but what reason can you have to be ashamed of being civil ? And why not say a civil and obliging thing, as easily and as naturally as you would ask what o clock it is? This kind of bashfulness, which is justly called by the French mauvaisc honte, is the distinguishing character of an English booby ; who is frightened out of his wits when people of fashion speak to him ; and, when he is to answer them, blushes, stammers, and can hardly get out what he would say ; and be comes really ridiculous, from a groundless fear of being laughed at : whereas a real well-bred man would speak to all the kings in the world with as little concern, and as much ease, as he would speak to you.


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Remember, then, that to be civil, and to be civil with ease (which is prop erly called good-breeding), is the only way to be beloved and well received . in company ; that to be ill-bred and rude is intolerable, and the way to be kicked out of company; and that to be bashful is to be ridiculous. As I am sure you will mind and practice all this, I expect that when you are novennis, you will not only be the best scholar, but the best-bred boy in England of your age. Adieu.

LETTER LXX PHILIP CHESTERFIELD TO PHILIP STANHOPE, YET A LITTLE BOY,

BUT TO-MORROW GOING OUT OF CHILDHOOD

THIS is the last letter I shall write to you as to a little boy ; for to-morrow, if I am not mistaken, you will attain your ninth year; so that for the future, I will treat you as a YOUTH. You must now commence a different course of life, a different course of studies. No more levity; childish toys and play things must be thrown aside, and your mind directed to serious objects. What was not unbecoming of a child, would be disgraceful to a youth. Wherefore, endeavor with all your might to show a suitable change ; and, by learning good manners, politeness, and other accomplishments, to surpass those youths of your own age, whom hitherto you have surpassed when boys. Consider, I entreat you, how shameful it would be for you, should you let them get the better of you now. For instance, should Onslow, now a Westminster scholar, heretofore your companion, and a youth of nine years old, as you are ; should he, I say, deservedly obtain a place in school above you, what would you do ? Where would you run to hide yourself ? You would certainly be glad to quit a place where you could not remain with honor. If, therefore, you have any regard for your own reputation, and a desire to please me, see that, by unremitting attention and labor you may with justice be styled the HEAD of your class. So may the Almighty preserve you, and bestow upon you his choicest blessings! I shall add what Horace wishes for his Tibullus:

  • Gratia, fama, valetudo contingat abundd;

Et mundus victus, non deficiente crutwna ! *

Kalends of May, 1741.

LETTER LXXI

Tuesday.

pvEAR BOY: I wish I had as much reason to be satisfied with your remem- bering what you have once learned, as with your learning it ; but what signifies your learning anything soon, if you forget it as soon ? Memory de pends upon attention, and your forgetfulness proceeds singly from a want of attention. For example, I dare say, if I told you that such a day next week, you should have something that you liked, you would certainly remember the day, and call upon me for it. And why ? only because you would attend to it Now a Greek or a Latin verse is as easily retained as a day of the week, if you would give the same attention to it. I now remember, and can still repeat, all that I learned when I was of your age ; but it is because I then at tended to it, knowing that a little attention would save me the trouble of learn ing the same things over and over again. A man will never do anything well, that cannot command his attention immediately from one thing to another, as occasion requires. If while he is at his business, he thinks of his diversions, or, if while he is at his diversions, he thinks of his business, he will succeed in neither, but do both very awkwardly. Hoc age, was a maxim among the Ro mans, which means, do what you are about, and do that only. A little mind is always hurried by twenty things at once ; but a man of sense does but one thing at a time, and resolves to excel in it ; for whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well. Therefore remember to give yourself up entirely to the thing you


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are doing, be it what it will, whether your book or your play ; for if you have a right ambition, you will desire to excel all boys of your age, at cricket, or trap-ball, as well as in learning. You have one rival in learning, whom I am sure you ought to take particular care to excel, and that is your own pic ture. Remember what is written there, and consider what a shame it would be, if, when you are decennis, you should not have got further than when you were octennis. Who would not take pains to avoid such a disgrace ?

Another thing I must mention to you, which, though it be not of the same consequence, is, however, worth minding ; and that is, the trick you have got of looking close to your book when you read, which is only a trick, for I am sure you are not short-sighted. It is an ugly trick, and has a dull look, and, over and above, will spoil your eyes ; therefore always hold your book as far off as you can when you read, and you will soon come to read at a great distance. These little things are not to be neglected ; for the very best things receive some addition by a genteel and graceful manner of doing them. Demosthenes, the famous Grecian orator, being asked which were the three principal parts of an orator, answered, action, action, action; meaning that the force and persuasion of an orator consisted a great deal in his graceful action and good elocution. Adieu. You may come to me to-morrow morning, before you go to Mr. Maittaire.

LETTER LXXII

BRUSSELS, May |, 1741.

r\EAR BOY : I believe we are yet well enough together for you to be glad to hear of my safe arrival on this side of the water, which I crossed in four hours time from Dover to Calais. By the way, Calais was the last town that the English kept in France, after it was conquered by Henry V. ; and it was yielded up to France in the reign of the popish Queen Mary, daughter to Henry VIII. From Calais I went to Dunkirk, which belonged formerly to the Spaniards, and was taken by Oliver Cromwell ; but afterward shamefully sold to France, by King Charles II. From Dunkirk I went to Lisle, which is a very great, rich, and strong town, belonging to France, and the chief town of French Flanders. From Lisle I came to Ghent, which is the capital of that part of Flanders that belongs to the Queen of Hungary, as heiress of the House of Austria. It is a very large town, but neither rich nor strong. The Emperor Charles V. was born there, and his statue is upon a pillar in the middle of a great square. From Lisle I came here to Brussels, which is the chief town of Brabant, and a very fine one. Here the best camlets are made, and most of the fine laces that you see worn in England. You may follow me through this journey upon your map ; till you take it sometime hence, in reality.

I expect you to make prodigious improvements in your learning, by the time I see you again ; for now that you are past nine years old, you have no time to lose; and I wait with impatience for a good account of you from Mr. Maittaire. I dare not buy anything for you till then, for fear I should be obliged to keep it myself. But if I should have a very good account, there shall be very good rewards brought over. Adieu.

Make my compliments to your Mamma; and when you write to me send your letters to my house in town.

LETTER LXXIII

AIX-LA-CHAPELLE, June 8, N. S.

|M Y DEAR CHILD : It is now four days since I arrived here at Aix-la-Cha-

pelle ; from whence I take the liberty of assuring you of my respects ;

not doubting but you will be so good to forgive me if I importune you too

often with my letters. I know your time is valuable, and am sensible that it


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would be pity to interrupt the course of your studies, which I do not question but you pursue with great success and attention. However, setting aside all raillery, I hope you learn as you ought ; and that Mr. Maittaire is satisfied : otherwise I can assure you, that I shall be very much dissatisfied.

A PROPOS of learning ; I must tell you, that I have seen at Brussels a little boy of about your age ; he is son to the Comte de 1 Annoy ; he knows Latin perfectly ; he plays in comedy, and declaims in French tragedy most exquisitely well ; but this is because he applies, and retains whatever he has once learned. Besides all this, he is very polite ; and in the midst of a numerous company, whom he did not know, he was not in the least dis concerted, but spoke, and answered each person with good manners, and with ease.

This town is large, but rather ugly; it is called in Latin Aquisgranum. It is the first imperial and free city of the empire, and as such has the privilege of choosing its own magistrates, is governed by them, and is in possession of other rights, that cannot be infringed by the emperor. In the year 800, Charlemagne was here crowned Emperor ; and the crown used in that ceremony is still shown in the cathedral of this place. It is not famous for anything but its mineral waters, which occasion a great resort of people; they are very heating, and disagreeable to the taste, having the savor of rotten eggs.

The imperial towns have a voice at the diet of the empire, that is held at Ratisbon; which is the assembly of the empire; thither the electors, princes, and imperial towns send their deputies, to settle the affairs of the empire, jointly with the emperor, as our parliament does in England. By this you may see, that the empire of Germany is a free state, in which no law can be made without the consent of the emperor, the electors, the sov ereign princes, and the imperial towns. You ought to know the different forms of government of the different countries in Europe ; and when you read the histories of them, bestow a particular attention upon that circum stance. Adieu for this time.

LETTER LXXIV

July 25, N. S. 1741-

DEAR BOY: I have often told you in my former letters (and it is most certainly true), that the strictest and most scrupulous honor and virtue can alone make you esteemed and valued by mankind ; that parts and learning can alone make you admired and celebrated by them ; but that the posses sion of lesser talents was most absolutely necessary, toward making you liked, beloved, and sought after in private life. Of these lesser talents, good breeding is the principal and most necessary one, not only as it is very important in itself, but as it adds great lustre to the more solid advantages both of the heart and the mind. I have often touched upon good breed ing to you before ; so that this letter shall be upon the next necessary quali fication to it, which is a genteel and easy manner and carriage, wholly free from those odd tricks, ill habits, and awkwardnesses, which even many very worthy and sensible people have in their behavior. However trifling a genteel manner may sound, it is of very great consequence toward pleas ing in private life, especially the women, which, one time or other, you will think worth pleasing; and I have known many a man from his awkwardness give people such a dislike of him at first, that all his merit could not get the better of it afterward. Whereas a genteel manner prepossesses people in your favor, bends them toward you, and makes them wish to be like you. Awk wardness can proceed but from two causes ; either from not having kept good company, or from not having attended to it. As for your keeping good com-


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pany, I will take care of that ; do you take care to observe their ways and man ners, and to form your own upon them. Attention is absolutely necessary for this, as indeed it is for everything else ; and a man without attention is not fit to live in the world. When an awkward fellow first comes into a room, it is highly probable that his sword gets between his legs, and throws him down, or makes him stumble, at least; when he has recovered this accident, he goes and places himself in the very place of the whole room where he should not; there he soon lets his hat fall down, and, in taking it up again, throws down his cane ; in recovering his cane, his hat falls a second time, so that he is a quarter of an hour before he is in order again. If he drinks tea or coffee, he certainly scalds his mouth, and lets either the cup or the saucer fall, and spills either the tea or coffee in his breeches. At dinner, his awkwardness distinguishes itself particularly, as he has more to do; there he holds his knife, fork, and spoon differently from other people, eats with his knife, to the great danger of his mouth, picks his teeth with his fork, and puts his spoon, which has been in his throat twenty times, into the dishes again. If he is to carve, he can never hit the joint: but in his vain efforts to cut through the bone, scatters the sauce in everybody s face. He generally daubs himself with soup and grease, though his napkin is commonly stuck through a button-hole, and tickles his chin. When he drinks he infallibly coughs in his glass, and besprinkles the company. Besides all this, he has strange tricks and gestures ; such as snuffing up his nose, making faces, putting his finger in his nose, or blowing it and looking afterward in his handkerchief, so as to make the company sick. His hands are troublesome to him, when he has not something in them, and he does not know where to put them ; but they are in perpetual motion between his bosom and his breeches : he does not wear his clothes, and in short does nothing like other people. All this, I own, is not in any degree criminal ; but it is highly disagreeable and ridiculous in company, and ought most carefully to be avoided, by whoever desires to please.

From this account of what you should not do, you may easily judge what you should do ; and a due attention to the manners of people of fashion, and who have seen the world, will make it habitual and familiar to you.

There is, likewise, an awkwardness of expression and words, most carefully to be avoided ; such as false English, bad pronunciation, old sayings, and common proverbs ; which are so many proofs of having kept bad and low company. For example, if, instead of saying that tastes are different, and that every man has his own peculiar one, you should let off a proverb, and say, That what is one man s meat is another man s poison : or else, Everyone as they like, as the good man said when he kissed his cow, everybody would be persuaded that you had never kept company with anybody above footmen and housemaids.

Attention will do all this, and without attention nothing is to be done ; want of attention, which is really want of thought, is either folly or madness. You should not only have attention to everything, but a quickness of attention, so as to observe at once all the people in the room, their motions, their looks, and their words, and yet without staring at them, and seeming to be an ob server. This quick and unobserved observation is ot infinite advantage in life, and is to be acquired with care ; and, on the contrary, what is called ab sence, which is thoughtlessness, and want of attention about what is doing, makes a man so like either a fool or a madman, that, for my part, I see no real difference. A fool never has thought ; a madman has lost it ; and an ab sent man is, for the time, without it.

Adieu ! direct your next to me chez Monsieur Chabert, Banquier a Paris; and take care that I find the improvements I expect at my return. 26


402 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

LETTER LXXV

SPA, August 6, 1741.

T-NEAR BOY : I am very well pleased with the several performances you sent me, and still more so with Mr. Maittaire s letter, that accompanied them, in which he gives me a much better account of you than he did in his former. Laudari a laudato viro, was always a commendable ambition ; encourage that ambition, and continue to deserve the praises of the praise-worthy. While you do so, you shall have whatever you will from me ; and when you cease to do so, you shall have nothing.

I am glad you have begun to compose a little ; it will give you a habit of thinking upon subjects, which is at least as necessary as reading them^ therefore pray send me your thoughts upon this subject:

Non sibi, sed toti genitum se credere mundo.

It is apart of Cato s character in Lucan; who says that Cato did not think himself born for himself only, but for all mankind. Let me know then, whether you think that a man is born only for his own pleasure and ad vantage, or whether he is not obliged to contribute to the good of the society in which he lives, and of all mankind in general. This is certain, that every man receives advantages from society, which he could not have, if he were the only man in the world; therefore, is he not in some measure in debt to society ? and is he not obliged to do for others what they do for him ? You may do this in English or Latin, which you please ; for it is the think ing part, and not the language, that I mind in this case.

I warned you, in my last, against those disagreeable tricks and awkward nesses, which many people contract when they are young, by the negligence of their parents, and cannot quit of them when they are old; such as odd motions, strange postures, and ungenteel carriage. But there is likewise an awkwardness of the mind, that ought to be, and with care may be, avoided ; as, for instance, to mistake names ; to speak of Mr. What-d ye-call-him, or Mrs. Thingum, or How-d ye-call-her, is excessively awkward and ordinary. To call people by improper titles and appellations is so too; as, my Lord, for Sir; and Sir, for my Lord. To begin a story or narration when you are not perfect in it, and cannot go through with it, but are forced, pos sibly, to say in the middle of it, (< I have forgotten the rest, w is very un pleasant and bungling. One must be extremely exact, clear, and perspicuous, in everything one says, otherwise, instead of entertaining or informing others, one only tires and puzzles them. The voice and manner of speaking, too, are not to be neglected: some people almost shut their mouths when they speak, and mutter so that they are not to be understood; others speak so fast, and sputter, that they are not to be understood neither ; some always speak as loud as if they were talking to deaf people ; and others so low that one cannot hear them. All these habits are awkward and disagreeable, and are to be avoided by attention; they are the distinguishing marks of the ordinary people who have had no care taken of their education. You cannot imagine how necessary it is to mind all these little things; for I have seen many people with great talents ill received, for want of having these talents too ; and others well received, only from their little talents, and who have had no great ones. Adieu.

LETTER LX XVI

SPA, August 8.

jyi Y DEAR BOY : I always write to you with pleasure, when I can write to you with kindness; and with pain, when I am obliged to chide. You should, therefore, for my sake as well as your own, apply and behave your self in such a manner, that I might always receive good account of you.


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The last I had from Mr. Maittaire was so good a one, that you and I are at present extremely well together ; and I depend upon your taking care that we shall continue so.

I am sure you now hear a great deal of talk about the Queen of Hungary, and the wars which she is and will be engaged in ; it is therefore right that you should know a little of that matter. The last Emperor, Charles the Sixth, who was father to this Queen of Hungary, was the last male of the House of Austria ; and fearing that, as he had no sons, his dominions might at his death be divided between his daughters, and consequently weakened, he settled them all upon his eldest daughter, the Queen of Hungary, by a public act, which is called the Pragmatic Sanction. So that, at the death of the Emperor, she suc ceeded to Austria, Bohemia, Silesia, Hungary, Transylvania, Stiria, Carinthia, and the Tyrol ; in Germany, to all Flanders ; and to Parma, Placentia, Milan, and Mantua in Italy, besides Tuscany, which is her husband s. The House of Austria is descended from Rodolph, Count of Hapsbourg, who, about seven hundred years ago, acquired the Duchy of Austria. His descendants, partly by conquest, and partly by advantageous marriages, increased their dominions so considerably, that Charles the Fifth, who was Emperor about two hundred years ago, was at once in possession of the Empire, Spain, the West Indies, almost all Italy, and the Seventeen Provinces, which before that time composed the Duchy of Burgundy. When he grew old, he grew weary of government, retired into a monastery in Spain, and divided his dominions between his son Philip the Second, King of Spain, and his brother Ferdinand, who was elected Emperor in his room. To his son Philip, he gave Spain and the West Indies, Italy, and the Seventeen Provinces. To his brother, all he had in Germany. From that time to this, the Emperors have constantly been elected out of the House of Austria, as the best able to defend and support the dignity of the Empire. The Duke of Tuscany, who by his wife the Queen of Hungary is now in possession of many of those dominions, wants to be chosen Emperor ; but France, that was always jealous of the power of the House of Austria, supports the Elector of Bavaria, and wants to have him get some of those dominions from the Queen of Hungary, and be chosen Emperor : for which purpose they have now sent an army into Bavaria to his assistance. This short account may enable you to talk the politics now in fashion ; and if you have a mind to be more particularly informed about the House of Austria, look into your <( Historical Dictionary w for Rodolph de Hapsbourg, Autriche, and Charlequint. As Charles the Fifth inherited Spain by his mother, and the Seventeen Provinces by his grandmother, who, being only daughter of the last Duke of Burgundy, brought them in marriage to his grandfather, the Emperor Maximilian, tlie following distich was made upon the good fortune of the House of Austria in their

marriages :

Bella gerant alii ; tu,fclix Austria, nube ; Nam quce Mars alii s, dot tibi regna Venus.

And so good-night to you, my young politician.

LETTER LXXVII

r\EAR BOY : Since my last, I have changed considerably for the better : from the deserts of Spa to the pleasures of Paris ; which, when you come here, you will be better able to enjoy than I am. It is a most magnificent town, not near so big as London, but much finer ; the houses being much larger, and all built of stone. It was not only much enlarged, but embellished, by the magnificence of the last king, Lewis XIV. ; and a prodigious number of expensive buildings, and useful and charitable foundations, such as libraries, hos pitals, schools, etc., will long remain the monuments of the magnificence,


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humanity, and good government of that prince. The people here are well-bred, just as I would have you be : they are not awkwardly bashful and ashamed, like the English, but easily civil, without ceremony. Though they are very gay and lively, they have attention to everything, and always mind what they are about. I hope you do so too now, and that my highest expectations of your improvement will be more than answered, at my return ; for I expect to find you construe both Greek and Latin, and likewise translate into those languages pretty readily ; and also to make verses in them both, with some little invention of your own. All this may be, if you please ; and I am persuaded you would not have me disappointed. As to the genius of Poetry, I own, if nature had not given it you, you cannot have it; for it is a true maxim, that Poeta nascitur, non fit ; but then, that is only as to the invention and imagination of a poet; for everybody can, by application, make themselves masters of the mechanical part of poetry ; which consists in the numbers, rhymes, measures, and harmony of verse. Ovid was born with such a genius for poetry, that he says he could not help thinking in verse, whether he would or not : and that very often he spoke verses without intending it. It is much otherwise with oratory ; and the maxim there is, Orator fit; for it is certain that, by study and application, every man can make himself a pretty good orator; eloquence depending upon observation and care. Every man, if he pleases, may choose good words instead of bad ones, may speak properly instead of improperly, may be clear and perspicuous in his recitals, instead of dark and muddy ; may have grace instead of awkwardness in his motions and gestures ; and, in short, may be a very agreeable, instead of a very disagreeable speaker, if he will take care and pains. And surely it is very well worth while to take a great deal of pains to excel other men in that particular article in which they excel beasts. Demosthenes, the celebrated Greek orator, thought it so absolutely necessary to speak well, that, though he naturally stuttered, and had weak lungs, he re solved by application and care, to get the better of those disadvantages. Accordingly, he cured his stammering by putting small pebbles into his mouth ; and strengthened his lungs gradually, by using himself every day to speak aloud and distinctly for a considerable time. He likewise went often to the sea-shore, in stormy weather, when the sea made most noise, and there spoke as loud as he could in order to use himself to the noise and murmurs of the popular assemblies of the Athenians, before whom he was to speak. By such care, joined to the constant study of the best authors, he became at last the greatest orator of his own or any other age or country, though he was born without any one natural talent for it. Adieu ! Copy Demosthenes.

LETTER LXXVIII

LYONS, September i, N. S. 1741.

pvEAR BOY : I have received your Polyglot letter, with which I am very well pleased ; and for which it is reasonable you should be very well rewarded. I am glad to see invention and languages go together; for the latter signify very little without the former; but, well joined, they are very useful. Lan guage is only to express thoughts : and if a man is heedless, and does not give himself time to think, his words will be very frivolous and silly.

I left Paris five days ago ; and, that you may trace me, if you please, upon your map, I came here through Dijon, the capitol of Burgundy : I shall go from hence to Vienne, the second city in Dauphine" (for Grenoble is the cap ital), and from thence, down the Rhone, to Avignon, the chief town of the Comtat Venaissin, which" belongs to the pope ; then to Aix, the principal town of Provence ; then to Marseilles ; [then to Nimes and Montpellier ; and then back again. This is a very great and rich town, situated upon two fine rivers


LETTERS TO HIS SON 405

that join here, the Rhone and the Saone. Here is the great manufacture of gold, silver, and silk stuffs, which supplies almost all Europe. It was famous in the time of the Romans, and was called, in Latin, Lugdunum.

My rambling makes me both a less frequent, and a shorter correspondent, than otherwise I should be ; but I am persuaded, that you are now so sensible how necessary it is to learn and apply yourself, that you want no spur nor admonition to it. Go on then with diligence, to improve in learning, and, above all, in virtue and honor ; and you will make both me and yourself happy. Adieu.

LETTER LXXIX

MARSEILLES, September 22, N. S. 1741.

F^EAR BOY : You find this letter dated from Marseilles, a sea-port town in the Mediterranean sea. It has been famous and considerable, for these two thousand years at least, upon account of its trade and situation. It is called Massilia in Latin, and distinguished itself in favor of the Roman liberty against Julius Caesar. It was here, too, that Milo was banished for killing Clodius. You will find the particulars of these facts, if you look in your dic tionary for the articles MARSEILLES and MILON. It is now a very large and fine town, extremely rich from its commerce ; it is built in a semicircle round the port, which is always full of merchant ships of all nations. Here the king of France keeps his galleys, which are very long ships, rowed by oars, some of forty, some of fifty, and threescore oars. The people who row them are called galley slaves ; and are either prisoners taken from the Turks on the coast of Africa, or criminals, who, for various crimes committed in France, are con demned to row in the galleys, either for life, or for a certain number of years. They are chained by the legs with great iron chains, two and two together.

The prospect, for two leagues round this place, is the most pleasing that can be imagined ; consisting of high hills, covered with vineyards, olive-trees, fig-trees, and almond-trees ; with about six thousand little country houses inter spersed, which they all call here des Bastides.

Within about ten leagues of this place, as you will find in the map, is Toulon, another sea-port town upon the Mediterranean, not near so big as this, but much stronger ; there most of the French men-of-war are built and kept ; and likewise most of the naval stores, such as ropes, anchors, sails, masts, and whatever belongs to shipping.

If you look into your geographical "dictionary for PROVENCE, you will find the history of this country, which is worth your reading ; and when you are looking in your dictionary, look for DAUPHINE too, which is the next prov ince to this ; and there you will find when DAUPHINE was united to the crown of France, upon condition that the king of France s eldest son should always be called le Dauphin. You should, in truth, omit no one opportunity of informing yourself of modern history and geography, which are the common subjects of all conversation, and, consequently, it is a shame to be ignorant of them.

Since you have begun composition, I send you here another subject to compose a few lines upon :

Nil conscire sibi nulltt pallescere culpA.

Whoever observes that rule, will always be very happy. May you do it ! Adieu.

LETTER LXXX

PARIS, November 4, N. S. 1741.

pvEAR BOY : Our correspondence has been for some time suspended, by the hurry and dissipation of this place, which left me no time to write; and it will soon cease entirely by my return to England, which will be, I be lieve, in about a fortnight. I own I am impatient to see the great progress


406 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

which I am persuaded you have made, both in your learning and behavior, during my six months absence. I join behavior with learning, because it is almost as necessary ; and they should always go together, for their mutual advantage. Mere learning without good-breeding is pedantry, and good- breeding without learning is but frivolous ; whereas learning adds solidity to good-breeding, and good-breeding gives charms and graces to learning.

This place is, without dispute, the seat of true good-breeding; the people here are civil without ceremony, and familiar without rudeness. They are neither disagreeably forward, nor awkwardly bashful and shamefaced ; they speak to their superiors with as little concern, and as much ease, though with more respect, as to their inferiors ; and they speak to their inferiors with as much civility, though less respect, as to their superiors. They despise us, and with reason, for our ill-breeding : on the other hand, we despise them for their want of learning, and we are in the right of it ; so that you see the sure way to be admired by both nations, is to join learning and good-breeding. As to learning, consider that you have now but one year more with Mr. Maittaire, before you go to Westminster school, and that your credit will depend upon the place you are in there at first; and if you can, at under eleven years old, be put in the fourth form, above boys of thirteen or fourteen, it will give peo ple very favorable impressions of you, and be of great advantage to you for the future. As to good-breeding, you cannot attend to it too soon, or too much ; it must be acquired while young, or it is never quite easy; and if acquired young, will always last and be habitual. Horace says, quo semel est imbuta recens servabit odorem testa diu: to show the advantage of giving people good habits and impressions in their youth. I say nothing to you now as to honor, virtue, truth, and all moral duties, which are to be strictly observed at all ages and all times ; because I am sure you are convinced of the indispensable necessity of practicing them all ; and of the infamy, as well as the guilt of neglecting, or acting contrary to any of them. May you excel in them all, that you may be loved by everybody as you are hitherto by your, etc.


LETTER LXXXI

r\EAR BOY : Since you are now in modern history, it is necessary you should have a general notion o f the origin of all the present kingdoms and gov ernments of Europe, which are the objects of modern history.

The Romans, as you very well know, were masters of all Europe, as well as of a great part of Asia and Africa, till the third and fourth centuries, that is, about fourteen or fifteen hundred years ago ; at which time the Goths broke in upon them, beat them, made themselves masters of all Europe, and founded the several kingdoms of it.

These Goths were originally the inhabitants of the northern part of Europe, called Scandinavia, north of Sweden ; part of which is to this day called Goth land, and belongs to Sweden. They were extremely numerous, and extremely poor ; and finding that their own barren, cold country, was unable to support such great numbers of them, they left it, and went out in swarms to seek their fortunes in better countries. When they came into the northern parts of Germany, they beat those who opposed them, and received those who were willing to join them, as many of those northern people did ; such as the Van dals, the Huns, the Franks, who are all comprehended under the general name of Goths. Those who went westward were called the Visigoths ; and those who went eastward the Ostrogoths. Thus increasing in numbers and strength, they entirely subverted the Roman Empire, and made themselves masters of all Europe : and from hence modern history begins. That part of the Goths,


LETTERS TO HIS SON 407

who were called the Franks, settled themselves in Gaul and called it France ; the Angli, another set of them, came over here into Britain, since which time it is called England.

The Goths were a brave but barbarous nation. War was their whole busi ness, and they had not the least notion of arts, sciences, and learning ; on the contrary, they had an aversion to them, and destroyed, wherever they went, all books, manuscripts, pictures, statues, and all records and monuments of former times ; which is the cause that we have so few of those things now remaining ; and, at this time, a man that is ignorant of, and despises arts and sciences, is proverbially called a Goth or a Vandal.

The Gothic form of government was a wise one ; for though they had kings, their kings were little more than generals in time of war, and had very little power in the civil government ; and could do nothing without the consent of the principal people, who had regular assemblies for that purpose : from whence our parliaments are derived.

Europe continued, for many centuries, in the grossest and darkest ignorance, under the government of the Goths ; till at last, in the fifteenth century, that is, about three hundred years ago, learning, arts, and sciences revived a little ; and soon afterward flourished under Pope Leo X. in Italy, and under Francis I. in France : what ancient Greek and Latin manuscripts had escaped the fury of the Goths and Vandals were then recovered and published ; and paint ing and sculpture were carried to their highest perfection. What contributed the most to their improvement of learning was the invention of printing which was discovered at Harlem, in Holland, in the fifteenth century, in the year 1440, which is just three hundred years ago. Adieu !

Look in your dictionary for the following articles : Goths Vandals

Visigoths Alaric

Ostrogoths

LETTER LXXXII FRANCE

CRANCE, take it all in all, is the finest country in Europe ; for it is very large, very rich, and very fertile : the climate is admirable ; and never either too hot, as in Italy and in Spain, nor too cold, as^in Sweden and in Denmark. Toward the north, it is bounded by the Channel ; and toward the south, br the Mediterranean sea ; it is separated from Italy by the Alps ; which are high mountains, covered with snow the greatest part of the year ; and divided from Spain by the Pyrenean mountains, which are also very high. France is divided into twelve governments of provinces, which are,

Picardy Burgundy

Normandy Lyonnois

The Isle of France Guienne, or Gascony

Champagne Languedoc

Brittany Dauphine"

Orl^annois Provence

The French are generally very sensible and agreeable, with a great deal of vivacity and politeness. It is true, they are sometimes rather volatile ; but it is a brilliant sort of volatility. They are very brave. The government of France is an absolute monarchy, or rather despotism that is to say, the king does whatever he pleases, and the people are absolutely slaves.

Desire your mamma to show you the twelve provinces upon the map. An other time we will talk of the towns of France, which she will show you afterward.


408 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

Picardy

Picardy is the most northern province of all France. It is an open country, and produces hardly anything but corn. The capital town is Amiens. Abbe ville is another town in that province, considerable for the manufactory of woolen cloths established there. Calais is also another good town, and a sea port : there we usually land in our passage from hence to France.

Normandy

Normandy joins Picardy; its largest towns are Rouen and Caen. This province produces vast quantities of apples, with which they make cider. As for wine, there, as well as in Picardy, they make but little ; because being so far northward, grapes will not ripen. The Normans are reckoned litigious, and fond of lawsuits ; if they are asked a question they never return a direct answer; so that when a man gives an evasive answer, it is become a proverb to say, He answers like a Norman.

The Isle of France

Paris, the capital of the whole kingdom, is in the Isle of France ; its situa tion is upon the Seine, a small and even a muddy river. It is a large town, but not, by a great deal, so big as London.

Champagne

Rheims is the principal town of Champagne ; in that town the kings of France are crowned. This province produces the best wine in France, cham pagne.

Brittany

Brittany is divided into High and Low. In high Brittany is the town of Nantz, where the best brandy is made. Here is also St. Malo, a very good seaport. In Lower Brittany they speak a kind of language, which k has less similitude to French than it has to Welsh.

Orldannois

OreUannois contains several great and fine towns ; Orleans, rendered famous by Joan of Arc, commonly called the Maid of Orleans, who drove the English out of France ; Blois, the situation of which is charming, and where the best French is spoken ; Tours, that contains a manufactory of thick lutestring, called Gros de Tours.

Burgundy

Dijon is the capital of this province : the wine called Burgundy is one of the best wines in France.

Lyonnois

Lyons is the capital ; it is a very large fine town, and extremely rich, on account of the manufactures established here, of silks, and gold and silver stuffs, with which it supplies almost all Europe. Your fine silver waistcoat comes from thence.

Guienne, or Gas cony

There are considerable towns in Guienne ; as the town of Bourdeaux, which is very large and rich. Most of the wine drank at London, and called in Eng lish CLARET, comes from thence. It is an excellent place for good eating ; you have there ortolans and red ^partridge, in great abundance. In this province is the town of Perigueux, where they make delicious pasties of red partridges and truffles : Bayonne, from whence come excellent hams. The Gascons are the most lively people of France, but rather inclined to lying and boasting: particularly upon the articles of sense and courage ; so that it is said of a man who boasts and is presumptuous, He is a Gascon.

Languedoc

Languedoc is the most southern province of France, and consequently the warmest. It contains a great number of fine towns ; among others, Narbonne,


LETTERS TO HIS SON 409

famous for its excellent honey : and Nimes, celebrated on account of the an cient Roman Amphitheatre, which is still to be seen. In this province is also situated the town of Montpellier, the air of which is so pure and the climate so fine, that sick people, even from hence, are often sent thither for the re covery of their health.

Dauphine

Grenoble is the capital town. The King of France s eldest son, who is al ways called Dauphin, takes his title from this province.

Provence

Provence is a very fine province, and extremely fertile. It produces the best oil, with which it supplies other countries. The fields are full of orange, lemon, and olive trees. The capital is called Aix. In this province is, likewise, the town of Marseilles, a large and fine city, and celebrated sea-port, situated upon the Mediterranean : here the King of France s galleys are kept. Galleys are large ships with oars; and those who row are people condemned to it, as a punishment for some crime.

LETTER LXXXIII GERMANY

^ERMANY is a country of vast extent; the southern parts are not unpleas- ant; the northern exceedingly bad and desert.

It is divided into ten districts, which are called the ten circles of the Empire. The Emperor is head, but not master of the Empire ; for he can do but little without the consent of the electors, princes, and imperial free towns ; which altogether, form what is called the Diet of the Empire, that assembles in the town of Ratisbon.

There are nine electors, which are : the Electors of Mentz, Treves, Cologne, Bohemia, Bavaria, Saxony, Brandenburg, Palatine, Hanover.

These nine elect the Emperor, for the Empire is not hereditary ; that is to say, the son does not succeed his father; but when an Emperor dies, these nine electors assemble and choose another. The electors are sovereign princes ; those of Mentz, Treves, and Cologne, are ecclesiastics, being archbishops. The elector of Bohemia is King of Bohemia, and his capital town Prague. The elector of Bavaria s capital is Munich. The elector of Saxony is the most considerable of all the electors, and his electorate the finest; Dresden is the capital, and a beautiful town. The elector of Brandenburg is also King of Prussia, and master of a great extent of country ; the capital town of Brandenburg is Berlin. The two most considerable towns belonging to the Elector Palatine are Manheim and Dusseldorp. The elector of Hanover is also King of Eng land ; the capital town of that electorate is Hanover, a miserable capital of a miserable country.*

Besides the electors, there are other sovereign princes,"and powerful ones, as the landgrave of Hesse Cassel, the Duke of Wirtemberg, etc.

[The rest of this geographical description of Germany is lost.]

LETTER LXXXIV

\\ Y DEAR BOY : Let us now resume the subject upon Spain, and treat of

some particulars of which it is proper you should be informed. Spain is a very fine country, and of great extent, nor above half peopled, nor above half cultivated; for the reasons which I mentioned to you in my last letter, f

  • His lyordship is mistaken with regard to the country of Hanover, which is tolerably

good, rather pleasant, and not unfruitful, t This letter is wanting.


4 io LORD CHESTERFIELD S

It is divided into several provinces, which formerly were so many distinct kingdoms. Valencia, of all of them, is the most beautiful and fertile, produc ing excellent wines and delicious fruit.

The province of Andalusia is celebrated for its horses, the finest shaped and the best of any in Europe. It likewise produces the very best wool, which we make use of here in manufacturing our superfine cloths.

The town of Gibraltar, which belongs to us, was called in the time of the Romans, Gades; and that small strait, which you see on the map between Gibraltar and Africa, was named Fretum Gaditanum. Fable has rendered that town famous ; for it is pretended that Hercules terminated there his excursions, and that he erected two pillars, on which he wrote that there was no going any further, Ne plus ultra; thinking himself at the end of the world.

Spain had anciently many gold and silver mines, out of which the Romans extracted prodigious sums ; but they have been long since exhausted ; those of Peru and Mexico compensate for them abundantly.

The Spaniards are haughty and pompous in everything. The king always signs himself, I the King, Yo el Rey, as if he were the only king in the world; and the king s children are styled the INFANTS, as if there were no other infants in the world. The king s counsel is called Junta. The capital city of Spain is Madrid.

Spain was formerly a free country. Assemblies used to be held there of the most considerable people, who enjoyed great privileges ; something like our parliaments. These assemblies were named las Cortes, but they are of little authority at present: the king is absolute.

Give attention to all these things, and try to remember them.

They are seldom learned at school, and are acquired mostly by reading and conversation when we are become men ; but if you will only apply your self, you will know more of them at your leaving school, than other young gentlemen do at twenty years of age. Farewell, work hard. Caesar could not bear an equal at Rome ; why should you bear an equal at school?

LETTER LXXXV

ASIA

A SI A was the largest and most celebrated part of the ancient world. Adam, the first man, was created there ; and in it the first great monarchies had their rise, namely, the Assyrians, Medes, and Persians. The arts and sciences were also invented there. Asia is at present divided into six great parts : Turkey China

Persia Tartary

The Empire of the Mogul, or Indostan The Asiatic Islands.

Turkey in Asia contains an infinite number of countries formerly of great celebrity ; but now of note only on account of the merchandise which comes from thence. Almost every place mentioned in the Bible makes a part of Turkey; among the rest Palestine, of which the capital is the famous city of Jerusalem, the seat of the ancient kings of Judah ; there, by God s command, Solomon built the Temple of the Jews. The city of Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus, the Roman emperor.

Persia is also a part of Asia, and a very great empire : the capital city is Ispahan ; the present emperor s name Thamas Kouli Kan : he from a private station raised himself to the empire by skill and courage.

The empire of the Great Mogul, otherwise called Indostan, is contiguous to Persia. It is a very great and extremely rich country, with which we carry on a


LETTERS TO HIS SON 411

considerable trade. The capital city is Agra. Here are also two rivers, famous in antiquity, the Indus, and the Ganges.

China, a vast empire, is another part of Asia : it has two capital towns ; one in the northern parts, called Pekin : the other toward the south, called Nan kin. Tartary, which is an immense country, belongs to China. The Tartars conquered China not an hundred years ago.

The Asiatic islands are very numerous; the most considerable are those of Japan, which are extremely rich.

LETTER LXXXVI

j\/i Y DEAR CHILD : As in the description which I sent you of Italy,* I have mentioned the Pope, I believe you will wish to know who that person is. The Pope, then, is an old cheat, who calls himself the .Vicar of Jesus Christ; that is to say, the person who represents Jesus Christ upon earth, and has the power of saving people or of damning them. By virtue of this pretended power, he grants indulgences : that is to say, pardons for sins ; or else he thunders out excommunications ; this means, sending people to the devil. The Catholics, otherwise called Papists, are silly enough to believe this. Besides which, they believe the Pope to be infallible : that is, that he never can mistake ; that whatever he says is true, and whatever he does is right. Another absurdity : the Pope pretends to be the greatest prince in Christendom ; and takes place of all kings. The Protestant kings, however, do not allow this.

The Pope ;creates the Cardinals, who are seventy -two in number ; and higher in rank .than Bishops and Archbishops. The title given to a Cardinal is, your Eminence : and to the Pope, your Holiness. When a Pope dies, the Cardinals assemble to elect another; and that assembly is called a Conclave. Whenever a person is presented to the Pope, they kiss his foot, and not his hand, as we do to other princes. Laws made by the Pope are called Bulls. The palace he inhabits at Rome is called the Vatican, and contains the finest library in the world.

The Pope is, in reality, nothing more than Bishop of Rome ; but on the one side, weakness and superstition, and on the other, the artifice and ambi tion of the clergy, have made him what he is ; that is to say, a considerable prince, and head of the Catholic church.

We Protestants are not weak enough to give in to all this nonsense. We believe, and with reason, that God alone is infallible ; and that he alone can make people happy or miserable.

Adieu ! Divert yourself and be merry ; there is nothing like it.

LETTER LXXXVII

Monday.

pvEAR BOY : When I wrote to you last, we were in Egypt.f Now, if you please, we will travel a little to the northeast of Egypt, and visit the famous city of Jerusalem which we read so much of both in the Old and New Testament. It is the chief town of Judea, or Palestine, a country in the Kingdom of Syria ; as you will find, if you look into the map of Asia. It was anciently a very great and considerable city; where the kings of Judea resided and where Solomon built the famous temple of the Jews. It was often taken and plundered by neighboring princes ; but the Babylonians were the first that utterly destroyed it. Both the town and the temple was after ward rebuilt by the Jews, under Esdras and Zorobabel ; but, at last, was entirely burnt and ruined by the Roman emperor Titus. The emperor Adrian rebuilt it, in the year 132 ; since when it has been taken and plundered by

  • That description is not to be found.

t That letter is also wanting.


412 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

the Saracens, retaken by the Christians, and now, at last, belongs to the Turks. It k is a very inconsiderable place at present, and only famous upon account of what it has been formerly ; for Jesus Christ preached the Christian religion there, and was crucified by the Jews upon Mount Calvary. In the eighth century the Saracens got possession of it; and in the eleventh century many Christian princes in Europe joined, and went with a considerable army to take it from the Saracens. The war was called the Holy War ; and, as all those who went to it wore a cross upon their breasts, it was called a Croisado. The ignorance and superstition of those times made them think it meritorious to take the land, where Jesus Christ lived and died, out of the hands of In fidels ; that is, those who did not believe in Christ ; but it was, in truth, a no torious piece of injustice, to go and attack those who did not meddle with them.

Not far from Judea, you will find, in the map, the vast country of Arabia ; which is divided into three parts : Arabia Deserta, or the Desert, so called because it is hardly inhabited, and has immense deserts, where you see nothing but sand : Arabia Petrsea, or the Stony ; and Arabia Felix or the Happy : because it is a fine fruitful country, and produces gums and aromatics of all kinds. Hence comes the common saying, (< All the sweets of Arabia, B when you would say that anything has a very fine smell. Arabia Felix has two famous towns : Medina and Mecca ; because the famous impostor Mahomet, the great prophet of the Turks, was born at Medina, and buried at Mecca, where his tomb is now, to which the Turks often go in pilgrimage. Pilgrimage is a journey that people take to any place, on a religious account : and the person who takes that journey is called a pilgrim.

The Roman Catholics often go pilgrimages to our Lady of Loretto in Italy, and sometimes even to Jerusalem, in order to pray before a cross, or the figure of some saint or other; but these are all follies of weak and ignorant people. Adieu.

LETTER LXXXVIII

pvEAR BOY : In my last letter we traveled no farther than Arabia, but now we will go still more eastward, and visit Persia ; which is at present a very great and rich country, though it does not now make the same figure in the world that it did in antiquity. It was then the greatest kingdom in the known world, and the enemy that Greece dreaded the most, till it was con quered by Alexander the Great, in the reign of Darius. It had then four famous great cities, Ecbatana, Susa, Persepolis, and Babylon. Persepolis was burned to ashes by Alexander the Great, in a drunken fit, at the instigation of his mistress Thais, who prevailed with him to go with a lighted flambeau in his hand, and set fire to the town himself. The chief town of Persia at present is Ispahan ; and the King of Persia is called the Sophy of Persia, who is now Thamas Kouli Kan. Persia produces great quantities of silk and cotton, the cotton grows upon shrubs or bushes of about three feet high. The Persian horses are the best in the world, even better than the Arabians. The Persians have likewise great numbers of camels, which are animals much taller and stronger than horses, with great bumps upon the middle of their backs ; they can bear vast burdens, and can live without drinking. We bring a great many silks, and cotton stuffs here, from Persia, and particularly carpets for floors, which are much finer than the Turkey carpets. The Persians are of the Mahometan, that is, the Turkish religion : with this difference only that the Persians look upon Hali, a disciple of Mahomet s, as the greatest prophet, whereas the Turks hold Mahomet to be the greatest. The ancient Persians worshiped the sun. The government of Persia, like all the eastern kingdoms, is absolute and despotic; the people are slaves; and the kings tyrants. Adieu.


LETTERS TO HIS SON 413

LETTER LXXXIX

F\EAR BOY : On the east of Persia you will find in the map Indostan, or the country of the Great Mogul; which is a most extensive, fruitful, and rich country. The two chief towns are Agra and Delhi; and the two great rivers are the Indus and the Ganges. This country, as well as Persia, produces great quantities of silks and cottons ; we trade with it very much, and our East India company has a great settlement at Fort St. George. There are also great mines of diamonds, of which the Mogul takes the best for himself, and the others are sold, and most of them brought into Europe, There are likewise many elephants, whose teeth make the ivory that you see here. The Sophy of Persia, Thamas Kouli Kan, has lately conquered this country, and carried off many millions in jewels and money. The great empire of China joins on the east to Indostan; the two principal towns of which are, Pekin in the north, and Nankin in the south, as you will see in the map. We carry on a great trade with China, at the sea-port town of Canton, from whence we bring all our tea and china. China was conquered about a hundred years ago by the Tartars, who have settled in China, and made it the seat of empire. The Chinese are very ingenious, polite people. China is reckoned the most pop ulous country in the world. Beyond China, to the east, you will find the kingdom of Japan, which is an island, or rather a great number of islands together, which are called Japan : Jedo is the chief town. It produces gold and silver, and that fine wood, of which you see screens, cabinets, and tea- tables. It also produces a fine colored china, which is called Japan china, to distinguish it from the Chinese china. Adieu.

LETTER XC

I^ORTH of Persia, Indostan, and China, you will find, at the top of the map of Asia, Tartary, which is a country of prodigious extent. The northern parts of it are extremely barren, and full of deserts : some of the southern parts of it are tolerably good. The people are extremely rude and barbarous, living chiefly upon raw flesh, and lying generally upon the ground, or at best in tents. This vast country is divided into several principalities ; but all those princes are dependent upon one, who is called the Great Cham of Tartary. The commodities that are brought from thence into Europe are furs, flax, musk, manna, rhubarb, and other physical plants.

Another part of Asia, and the only one which we have not yet mentioned, is Turkey in Asia, which comprehends all those provinces in Asia that are under the empire of the Great Turk. They are only considerable at present from their extent; for they are poor, and little inhabited, upon account of the tyranny of the Turkish government.

Having done with Asia for the present, we will return to Africa, where hitherto we have only examined Egypt. Africa is, as you know, one of the four quarters of the world ; and is divided into nine principal parts, which are Egypt, Barbary, Biledugerid, Zaara, Nigritia, Guinea, Nubia, and Ethiopia. The Africans are the most ignorant and unpolished people in the world, little better than the lions, tigers, leopards, and other wild beasts, which that country produces in great numbers.

The most southern part of Africa is the Cape of Good Hope, where the Dutch have a settlement, and where our ships stop always, in their way to the East Indies. This is the country of the Hottentots, the most savage people in the whole world. The Africans that lie near the Mediterranean sea sell their children for slaves to go to the West Indies; and likewise sell all those prisoners that they take in war. We buy a great many of them to sell again to advantage in the West Indies.


4H LORD CHESTERFIELD S

LETTER XCI

BATH, June 28, 1742.

pvEAR BOY : Your promises give me great pleasure ; and your performance of them, which I rely upon, will give me still greater. I am sure you know that breaking of your word is a folly, a dishonor, and a crime. It is a folly, because nobody will trust you afterward ; and it is both a dishonor and a crime, truth being the first duty of religion and morality; and whoever has not truth, cannot be supposed to have any one good quality, and must become the detestation of God and man. Therefore I expect, from your truth and your honor, that you will do that, which, independently of your promise, your own interest and ambition ought to incline you to do ; that is to excel in everything you undertake. When I was of your age, I should have been ashamed if any boy of that age had learned his book better, or played at any play better than I did ; and I would not have rested a moment till I had got before him. Julius Caesar, who had a noble thirst of glory, used to say that he would rather be the first in a village than the second in Rome ; and he even cried when he saw the statue of Alexander the Great, with the reflection of how much more glory Alexander had acquired, at thirty years old, than he had at a much more advanced age. These are the sentiments to make people considerable ; and those who have them not, will pass their lives in obscurity and contempt; whereas, those who endeavor to excel all, are at least sure of excelling a great many. The sure way to excel in anything is only to have a close and undissipated attention while you are about it ; and then you need not be half the time that otherwise you must be; for long plodding, puzzling application is the business of dullness : but good parts attend regularly^ and take a thing immediately. Consider, then, which you would choose ; to attend diligently while you are learning, and thereby excel all other boys, get a great reputation, and have a great deal more time to play ; or else not mind your book, let boys even younger than yourself get before you, be laughed at by them for a dunce, and have no time to play at all ; for, I assure you, if you will not learn, you shall not play. What is the way, then, to arrive at that per fection which you promise me to aim at ? It is, first, to do your duty toward God and man ; without which everything else signifies nothing : secondly, to acquire great knowledge ; without which you will be a very contemptible man, though you may be a very honest one ; and, lastly, to be very well-bred ; without which you will be a very disagreeable, unpleasing man, though you should be an honest and a learned one.

Remember then these three things, and resolve to excel in them all; for they comprehend whatever is necessary and useful for this world or the next ; and in proportion as you improve in them you will enjoy the affection and ten derness of, Yours.

LETTER XCII

BATH, July 24, 1742.

r\EAR BOY : If you have as much pleasure in deserving and receiving praise, as I have in giving it you, when you deserve it, this letter will be very agreeable to you, for I write it merely to give you your just commendations, for your theme, which I received this morning. The diction, in all the three languages, is better than I could have expected : the English, particularly, is not inelegant ; the thoughts are just and sensible : and the historical examples with which you illustrate them are apt and pertinent. I showed your per formance to some men of letters here and at the same time told them your age ; at both which, considered together, they expressed gr at satisfaction, and some surprise ; and said, that if you went on at this rate, but for five or six years longer, you would distinguish yourself extremely, and become very con-


LETTERS TO HIS SON 415

siderable ; but then they added (for I must tell you all) that they observed many forward boys stop short on a sudden, from giddiness and inattention, and turn out great blockheads at last. I answered for you, that this would not happen to you, for that you was thoroughly sensible of the usefulness and ne cessity of knowledge ; that you knew it could not be acquired without pains and attention, and that you knew, too, that the next four or five years were the only time in your life in which you could acquire it. Of this, I must con fess, they doubted a little, and desired that I would remember to show them some of your exercises a year hence, which I promised I would do ; so, pray take care to advance, lest what is so much to your honor now, should then prove to your disgrace. Non progredi est regredi is a very true maxim in most things, but is particularly true with regard to learning. I am very glad Mr. Maittaire puts you upon making themes, for that will use you to think; and your writing them in English, as well as in Latin and Greek, will improve you in your own language, and teach you both to write and speak it with purity and elegance, which it is most absolutely necessary to do ; for though indeed the justness and strength of the thoughts are the most material points, and that words are but the dress of thoughts, yet, as a very handsome man or woman may be disfigured, and rendered even disagreeable, by an awkward, slovenly and ragged dress, so good thoughts may lose great part of their beauty, if expressed in low, improper, and inelegant words. People mistake very much, who imagine that they must of course speak their own language well, and that therefore they need not study it, or attend to it ; but you will soon find how false this way of reasoning is if you observe the English spoken by almost all English people, who have no learning. Most women, and all the ordinary people in general, speak in open defiance of all grammar, use words that are not English, and murder those that are ; and though indeed they make them selves understood, they do it so disagreeably, that what they say seldom makes amends for their manner of saying it. I have this day received a letter from Mr. Maittaire, in which he gives me a better account of you than usual ; which pleases me so much, that you shall be well rewarded for it when I see you ; that will be before it is very long, so you need not write to me anymore. Adieu.

As you are now in a way of themes, I send you this to exercise your thoughts upon against I come to town.

Saperc, et fan qute sentiat.

It is an epistle from Horace to Tibullus ; if you read the whole epistle, which is a short and an easy one, with Mr. Maittaire, you will see how those words are introduced ; then you will consider what are the advantages, and the means of acquiring them. If you can illustrate them by the examples of some who pos sess those talents eminently, it will do well. And if you can find out a simile very applicable to the possession, or the want of those talents, it will adorn the composition.

LETTER XCIII*

CNGLAND was originally called Britain, when the Romans, under Julius Caesar, first invaded it ; the Romans continued in Britain about four hundred years.

The Romans quitted Britain of themselves ; and then the Scotch, who went by the name of the Picts (from pingere to paint), because they painted their skins, attacked the Britons, and beat them : upon which the Britons called over

  • The rest of the letters on this subject being now recovered, they are here in

corporated. In the former editions only one letter was printed, which commenced with the reign of King Charles I.


416 LORD CHESTERFIELD S

the Angli, a people of Saxony, to their assistance against the Picts. The Angli came and beat the Picts ; but then beat the Britons too, and made themselves masters of the kingdom, which from their own name they called Anglia, from whence it was called England.

These Saxons divided England into seven kingdoms ; which were the Saxon Heptarchy, from ETnra, seven, and apxw, chief.

Afterward the Danes invaded England, and made themselves masters of it ; but were soon driven out again, and the Saxon government restored.

The last invasion of England was by the Normans, under William the Con queror, in 1066 ; that is, about seven hundred years ago.

Though William came in by conquest, he did not pretend to govern absolutely as a conqueror, but thought it the safest way to conform himself to the con stitution of this country. He was a great man.

His son, William Rufus, so called because he had red hair, succeeded him. He was killed accidentally by one of his own people as he was hunting. He died without children, and was succeeded by his younger brother, Henry the First.

Henry the First was a great king. As he had no sons he was succeeded by his nephew Stephen.

Stephen was attacked by the Empress Maud, who was daughter to Henry First, and had consequently a better right to the crown than Stephen. He agreed to a treaty with her, by which she let him reign for his life, and he obliged himself to settle the crown after his death upon her son, Henry the Second, who in effect succeeded him.

Henry the Second was a very great king; he conquered Ireland, and annexed it to the crown of England. He was succeeded by his son Richard the First.

Richard the First was remarkable by nothing, but by his playing the fool in a Croisado to Jerusalem ; a prevailing folly of those times, when the Christians thought to merit Heaven, by taking Jerusalem from the Turks. He was succeeded by John.

King John was oppressive and tyrannical; so that the people rose against him, and obliged him to give them a charter, confirming all their liberties and privileges ; which charter subsists to this day, and is called Magna Charta. He was succeeded by his son, Henry the Third.

Henry the Third had a long but troublesome reign, being in perpetual dis putes with the people and the nobles ; sometimes beating, sometimes beaten. He was succeeded by his son, Edward the First.

Edward the First was one of the greatest kings of England. He conquered the principality of Wales, and annexed it to the crown of England : since which time the eldest son of the king of England has always been Prince of Wales. He beat the Scotch several times. Many of our best laws were made in his reign. His son, Edward the Second, succeeded him.

Edward the Second was a wretched, weak creature, and always governed by favorites ; so that he was deposed, put into prison, and soon afterward put to death.

His son, Edward the Third, succeeded him ; and was one of the greatest kings England ever had. He declared war with France ; and with an army of thirty thousand men beat the French army of sixty thousand men, at the famous battle of Crecy, in Picardy, where above thirty thousand French were killed. His son, who was called the Black Prince, beat the French again at the battle of Poictiers and took the king of France prisoner. The French had above threescore thousand men ; and the Black Prince had but eight thousand. This king founded the order of the Garter. His son the Black Prince, died before


LETTERS TO HIS SON 417

him, so that he was succeeded by his grandson, Richard the Second, son to the Black Prince.

This Richard the Second had none of the virtues of his father, or grand fathers ; but was governed by favorites ; was profuse, necessitous, and endeavored to make himself absolute ; so that he was deposed, put into prison, and soon after put to death by Henry the Fourth, who succeeded him, and who was the first of the House of Lancaster.

Henry the Fourth was descended from Edward the Third, by John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, and had consequently no hereditary right to the Crown. He beat both the Scotch and the Welsh. He was a considerable man.

Henry the Fifth, his son, succeeded him; and was, without dispute, one of the greatest kings of England ; though he promised little while he was Prince of Wales, for he had led a dissolute and riotous life, even robbing sometimes upon the highway. But, as soon as he came to the throne, he left those shame ful courses, declared war to France, and entirely routed the French army, six times more numerous than his own, at the famous battle of Agincourt, in Picardy. He died before he had completed the conquest of France, and was succeeded by his son, Henry the Sixth, a minor who was left under the guardianship of his uncles, the Dukes of Bedford and Gloucester.

Henry the Sixth was so little like his father, that he soon lost all that his father had got; and though crowned king of France, at Paris, was driven out of France ; and of all his father s conquests, retained only Calais. It was a re markable accident that gave the first turn to the successes [of the English, in France. They were besieging the town of Orleans, when an ordinary girl, called Joanne d Arques, took it into her head that God had appointed her to drive the English out of France. Accordingly she attacked, at the head of the French troops, and entirely beat the English. The French call her La PuceUf (TOrleans. She was afterward taken by the English, and shamefully burned for a witch. Henry had not better success in England ; for being a weak man himself, and entirely governed by his wife, he was deposed by Edward the Fourth, of the House of York, who had the hereditary right^to the Crown.

Edward the Fourth did nothing considerable, except against the Scotch, whom he beat. He intended to have attempted the recovery of France ; but was prevented by his death. He left two sons under age ; the eldest of which was proclaimed king, by the name of Edward the Fifth. But the Duke of Gloucester, their uncle and guardian, murdered them both, to make way for himself to the throne. He was Richard the Third, commonly called Crook-Back Richard, because he was crooked.

Richard the Third was so cruel and sanguinary, that he soon became universally hated. Henry the Seventh, of the House of Lancaster, profited of the general hatred of the people to Richard, raised an army, and beat Richard at the battle of Bosworth-field, in Leicestershire, where Richard was killed.

Henry the Seventh was proclaimed king, and soon after married the daughter of Edward the Fourth ; re-uniting thereby the pretensions of both the Houses of York and Lancaster ; or, as they were then called, the White Rose and the Red; the White Rose being the arms of the House of York; and the Red Rose, the arms of the House of Lancaster. Henry the Seventh was a sullen, cunning, and covetous king, oppressing his subject