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Quotations From 4TH EARL CHESTERFIELD, PHILIP DORMER STANHOPE

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  • Spirit is now a very fashionable word: to act with Spirit, to speak with Spirit, means only to act rashly, and to talk indiscreetly. An able man shows his Spirit by gentle words and resolute actions; he is neither hot nor timid.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Jan. 15, 1753, Letters Written by the Late Right Honourable Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl, Earl of Chesterfield, to his Son, Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl, Esq, 5th ed., vol. IV, p. 299, London (1774). One of the Maxims enclosed with Chesterfield's letter of this date.
  • Smooth your way to the head, through the heart. The way of reason is a good one; but it is commonly something longer, and perhaps not so sure.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Jan. 15, 1753, Letters Written by the Late Right Honourable Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl, Earl of Chesterfield, to his Son, Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl, Esq, 5th ed., vol. IV, p. 299, London (1774). One of the Maxims enclosed with Chesterfield's letter of this date.

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  • Indifference is commonly the mother of discretion.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Sept. 1749, The French Correspondence of the 4th Earl of Chesterfield, vol. I, p. 65, ed. Rex A. Barrell, trans. James Gray, Ottawa, Borealis Press (1980) I. 65.

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  • While I am to crawl upon this Planet, I would willingly enjoy the health at least of an insect.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Oct. 9, 1770, Letters Written by the Late Right Honourable Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl, Earl of Chesterfield, to his Son, Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl, Esq, 5th ed., vol. IV, p. 282, London (1774). This letter was addressed to his son's widow. Incidentally, Chesterfield's word for senility was "caducity."
  • Women are all so far Machiavellians that they are never either good or bad by halves; their passions are too strong, and their reason too weak, to do anything with moderation.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Sept. 14, 1764, Letters Written by the Late Right Honourable Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl, Earl of Chesterfield, to his Son, Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl, Esq, 5th ed., vol. IV, p. 215, London (1774).

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  • The scholar, without good breeding, is a pedant; the philosopher, a cynic; the soldier, a brute; and every man disagreeable.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Oct. 9, 1747, Letters Written by the Late Right Honourable Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl, Earl of Chesterfield, to his Son, Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl, Esq, 5th ed., vol. I, p. 281, London (1774).

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  • 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.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Dec. 31, 1757, Letters Written by the Late Right Honourable Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl, Earl of Chesterfield, to his Son, Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl, Esq, 5th ed., vol. IV, p. 120, London (1774).
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