Philip Dormer Stanhope

[4th Earl Chesterfield]

Philip Dormer Stanhope Quotes

  • ''Absolute power can only be supported by error, ignorance and prejudice.''
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Nov. 25, 1751, Chesterfield's Letters to his Son and Others, p. 312, London, Dent (1796). Despite Chesterfield's comment, Francis Hastings, 10th Earl of Huntingdon (1729-1789), to whom this letter was addressed, continued to be a believer in arbitrary power.
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  • ''I do not think that a Physician should be admitted into the College till he could bring proofs of his having cured, in his own person, at least four incurable distempers.''
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Nov. 26, 1766, "Miscellaneous Pieces," Letters Written by the Late Right Honourable Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl, Earl of Chesterfield, to his Son, Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl, Esq, 5th ed., vol. IV, p. 360, London. The College referred to was the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.
  • ''I have, by long experience, found women to be like Telephus's spear: if one end kills, the other cures.''
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Feb. 2, 1759, 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, pp. 168-69, London (1774). Telephus, son of Hercules and Auge, was wounded, not by his own spear, but that of Achilles, who cured the wound by rubbing the rust of the same spear into it.
  • ''I love every-day senses, every-day wit and entertainment; a man who is only good on holidays, is good for very little.''
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Nov. 28, 1752, Letters Written by the Late Right Honourable Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl, Earl of Chesterfield, to his Son, Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl, Esq, 5th ed., vol. IV, p. 4, London (1774). Here Chesterfield uses "senses" to mean "enthusiasms" or "impulses."
  • ''Vice, in its true light, is so deformed, that it shocks us at first sight; and would hardly ever seduce us, if it did not at first wear the mask of some virtue.''
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. repr. in The Letters of the Earl of Chesterfield to His Son, vol. 1, no. 142, ed. Charles Strachey (1901). letter, Feb. 22, 1748 (1774).
  • ''All I can say, in answer to this kind queries [of friends] is that I have not the distemper called the Plague; but that I have all the plagues of old age, and of a shattered carcase.''
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Nov. 4, 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, pp. 283-84, London (1774). Letter addressed to his son's widow, Mrs. Eugenia Stanhope, 4th Earl.
  • ''Statesmen and beauties are very rarely sensible of the gradations of their decay; and, too sanguinely hoping to shine on in their meridian, often set with contempt and ridicule.''
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Feb. 26, 1754, Letters Written by the Late Right Honourable Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl, Earl of Chesterfield, to his Son, Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl, Esq, 5th ed., vol. IV, p. 61, London (1774).
  • ''In the ordinary course of things, how many succeed in society merely by virtue of their manners, while others, however meritorious, fail through lack of them? After all, it's only barbarians who wear uncut precious stones.''
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Nov. 5, 1750, The French Correspondence of the 4th Earl of Chesterfield, vol. I, p. 70, ed. Rex A. Barrell, trans. James Gray, Ottawa, Borealis Press (1980).
  • ''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.''
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Feb. 26, 1754, Letters Written by the Late Right Honourable Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl, Earl of Chesterfield, to his Son, Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl, Esq, 5th ed., vol. IV, p. 62, London (1774).
  • ''Gratitude is a burden upon our imperfect nature, and we are but too willing to ease ourselves of it, or at least to lighten it as much as we can.''
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694-1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Nov. 7, 1765, Chesterfield's Letters to his Son and Others, p. 289, London, Dent (1796). Written to his godson Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl (1755-1815), a distant relative of Chesterfield's, who eventually became his heir and successor.

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