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´╗┐Title: Complete Project Gutenberg Earl of Chesterfield Works
Author: Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of, 1694-1773
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Complete Project Gutenberg Earl of Chesterfield Works" ***

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                           LETTERS TO HIS SON


                      By the EARL OF CHESTERFIELD

                     on the Fine Art of becoming a

                            MAN OF THE WORLD

                                 and a


PG Editor's Notes:

O. S. and N. S.: On consultation with several specialists I have learned
that the abbreviations O. S. and N. S. relate to the difference between
the old Julian calender used in England and the Gregorian calender which
was the standard in Europe. In the mid 18th century it is said that this
once amounted to a difference of eleven days. To keep track of the
chronology of letters back and forth from England to France or other
countries in mainland Europe, Chesterfield inserted in dates the
designation O. S. (old style) and N. S. (new style).

Chesterfield demonstrates his classical education by frequent words and
sometimes entire paragraphs in various languages. In the 1901 text these
were in italics; in this etext edition I have substituted single
quotation marks around these, as in 'bon mot', and not attempted to
include the various accent marks of all the languages.

Only obvious typographical errors have been corrected. The original and
occasionally variable spelling is retained throughout.


The proud Lord Chesterfield would have turned in his grave had he known
that he was to go down to posterity as a teacher and preacher of the
gospel of not grace, but--"the graces, the graces, the graces." Natural
gifts, social status, open opportunities, and his ambition, all conspired
to destine him for high statesmanship. If anything was lacking in his
qualifications, he had the pluck and good sense to work hard and
persistently until the deficiency was made up. Something remained
lacking, and not all his consummate mastery of arts could conceal that
conspicuous want,--the want of heart.

Teacher and preacher he assuredly is, and long will be, yet no thanks are
his due from a posterity of the common people whom he so sublimely
despised. His pious mission was not to raise the level of the multitude,
but to lift a single individual upon a pedestal so high that his lowly
origin should not betray itself. That individual was his, Lord
Chesterfield's, illegitimate son, whose inferior blood should be given
the true blue hue by concentrating upon him all the externals of
aristocratic education.

Never had pupil so devoted, persistent, lavish, and brilliant a guide,
philosopher, and friend, for the parental relation was shrewdly merged in
these. Never were devotion and uphill struggle against doubts of success
more bitterly repaid. Philip Stanhope was born in 1732, when his father
was thirty-eight. He absorbed readily enough the solids of the ideal
education supplied him, but, by perversity of fate, he cared not a fig
for "the graces, the graces, the graces," which his father so wisely
deemed by far the superior qualities to be cultivated by the budding
courtier and statesman. A few years of minor services to his country were
rendered, though Chesterfield was breaking his substitute for a heart
because his son could not or would not play the superfine gentleman--on
the paternal model, and then came the news of his death, when only
thirty-six. What was a still greater shock to the lordly father, now
deaf, gouty, fretful, and at outs with the world, his informant reported
that she had been secretly married for several years to Young Hopeful,
and was left penniless with two boys. Lord Chesterfield was above all
things a practical philosopher, as hard and as exquisitely rounded and
polished as a granite column. He accepted the vanishing of his lifelong
dream with the admirable stolidity of a fatalist, and in those last days
of his radically artificial life he disclosed a welcome tenderness, a
touch of the divine, none the less so for being common duty, shown in the
few brief letters to his son's widow and to "our boys." This, and his
enviable gift of being able to view the downs as well as the ups of life
in the consoling humorous light, must modify the sterner judgment so
easily passed upon his characteristic inculcation, if not practice, of

The thirteenth-century mother church in the town from which Lord
Chesterfield's title came has a peculiar steeple, graceful in its lines,
but it points askew, from whatever quarter it is seen. The writer of
these Letters, which he never dreamed would be published, is the best
self-portrayed Gentleman in literature. In everything he was naturally a
stylist, perfected by assiduous art, yet the graceful steeple is somehow
warped out of the beauty of the perpendicular. His ideal Gentleman is the
frigid product of a rigid mechanical drill, with the mien of a posture
master, the skin-deep graciousness of a French Marechal, the calculating
adventurer who cuts unpretentious worthies to toady to society magnates,
who affects the supercilious air of a shallow dandy and cherishes the
heart of a frog. True, he repeatedly insists on the obligation of
truthfulness in all things, and of, honor in dealing with the world. His
Gentleman may; nay, he must, sail with the stream, gamble in moderation
if it is the fashion, must stoop to wear ridiculous clothes and ornaments
if they are the mode, though despising his weakness all to himself, and
no true Gentleman could afford to keep out of the little gallantries
which so effectively advertised him as a man of spirit sad charm. Those
repeated injunctions of honor are to be the rule, subject to these
exceptions, which transcend the common proprieties when the subject is
the rising young gentleman of the period and his goal social success. If
an undercurrent of shady morality is traceable in this Chesterfieldian
philosophy it must, of course, be explained away by the less perfect
moral standard of his period as compared with that of our day. Whether
this holds strictly true of men may be open to discussion, but his
lordship's worldly instructions as to the utility of women as
stepping-stones to favor in high places are equally at variance with the
principles he so impressively inculcates and with modern conceptions of
social honor. The externals of good breeding cannot be over-estimated, if
honestly come by, nor is it necessary to examine too deeply into the
prime motives of those who urge them upon a generation in whose eyes
matter is more important than manner. Superficial refinement is better
than none, but the Chesterfield pulpit cannot afford to shirk the duty of
proclaiming loud and far that the only courtesy worthy of respect is that
'politesse de coeur,' the politeness of the heart, which finds expression
in consideration for others as the ruling principle of conduct. This
militates to some extent against the assumption of fine airs without the
backing of fine behavior, and if it tends to discourage the effort to use
others for selfish ends, it nevertheless pays better in the long run.

Chesterfield's frankness in so many confessions of sharp practice almost
merits his canonization as a minor saint of society. Dr. Johnson has
indeed placed him on a Simeon Stylites pillar, an immortality of penance
from which no good member of the writers' guild is likely to pray his
deliverance. He commends the fine art and high science of dissimulation
with the gusto of an apostle and the authority of an expert. Dissimulate,
but do not simulate, disguise your real sentiments, but do not falsify
them. Go through the world with your eyes and ears open and mouth mostly
shut. When new or stale gossip is brought to you, never let on that you
know it already, nor that it really interests you. The reading of these
Letters is better than hearing the average comedy, in which the wit of a
single sentence of Chesterfield suffices to carry an act. His
man-of-the-world philosophy is as old as the Proverbs of Solomon, but
will always be fresh and true, and enjoyable at any age, thanks to his
pithy expression, his unfailing common sense, his sparkling wit and
charming humor. This latter gift shows in the seeming lapses from his
rigid rule requiring absolute elegance of expression at all times, when
an unexpected coarseness, in some provincial colloquialism, crops out
with picturesque force. The beau ideal of superfineness occasionally
enjoys the bliss of harking back to mother English.

Above all the defects that can be charged against the Letters, there
rises the substantial merit of an honest effort to exalt the gentle in
woman and man--above the merely genteel. "He that is gentil doeth gentil
deeds," runs the mediaeval saying which marks the distinction between the
genuine and the sham in behavior. A later age had it thus: "Handsome is
as handsome does," and in this larger sense we have agreed to accept the
motto of William of Wykeham, which declares that "Manners maketh Man."


BATH, October 9, O. S. 1746

DEAR BOY: Your distresses in your journey from Heidelberg to
Schaffhausen, your lying upon straw, your black bread, and your broken
'berline,' are proper seasonings for the greater fatigues and distresses
which you must expect in the course of your travels; and, if one had a
mind to moralize, one might call them the samples of the accidents, rubs,
and difficulties, which every man meets with in his journey through life.
In this journey, the understanding is the 'voiture' that must carry you
through; and in proportion as that is stronger or weaker, more or less in
repair, your journey will be better or worse; though at best you will now
and then find some bad roads, and some bad inns. Take care, therefore, to
keep that necessary 'voiture' in perfect good repair; examine, improve,
and strengthen it every day: it is in the power, and ought to be the
care, of every man to do it; he that neglects it, deserves to feel, and
certainly will feel, the fatal effects of that negligence.

'A propos' of negligence: I must say something to you upon that subject.
You know I have often told you, that my affection for you was not a weak,
womanish one; and, far from blinding me, it makes me but more
quick-sighted as to your faults; those it is not only my right, but my
duty to tell you of; and it is your duty and your interest to correct
them. In the strict scrutiny which I have made into you, I have (thank
God) hitherto not discovered any vice of the heart, or any peculiar
weakness of the head: but I have discovered laziness, inattention, and
indifference; faults which are only pardonable in old men, who, in the
decline of life, when health and spirits fail, have a kind of claim to
that sort of tranquillity. But a young man should be ambitious to shine,
and excel; alert, active, and indefatigable in the means of doing it;
and, like Caesar, 'Nil actum reputans, si quid superesset agendum.' You
seem to want that 'vivida vis animi,' which spurs and excites most young
men to please, to shine, to excel. Without the desire and the pains
necessary to be considerable, depend upon it, you never can be so; as,
without the desire and attention necessary to please, you never can
please. 'Nullum numen abest, si sit prudentia,' is unquestionably true,
with regard to everything except poetry; and I am very sure that any man
of common understanding may, by proper culture, care, attention, and
labor, make himself whatever he pleases, except a good poet. Your
destination is the great and busy world; your immediate object is the
affairs, the interests, and the history, the constitutions, the customs,
and the manners of the several parts of Europe. In this, any man of
common sense may, by common application, be sure to excel. Ancient and
modern history are, by attention, easily attainable. Geography and
chronology the same, none of them requiring any uncommon share of genius
or invention. Speaking and Writing, clearly, correctly, and with ease and
grace, are certainly to be acquired, by reading the best authors with
care, and by attention to the best living models. These are the
qualifications more particularly necessary for you, in your department,
which you may be possessed of, if you please; and which, I tell you
fairly, I shall be very angry at you, if you are not; because, as you
have the means in your hands, it will be your own fault only.

If care and application are necessary to the acquiring of those
qualifications, without which you can never be considerable, nor make a
figure in the world, they are not less necessary with regard to the
lesser accomplishments, which are requisite to make you agreeable and
pleasing in society. In truth, whatever is worth doing at all, is worth
doing well; and nothing can be done well without attention: I therefore
carry the necessity of attention down to the lowest things, even to
dancing and dress. Custom has made dancing sometimes necessary for a
young man; therefore mind it while you learn it that you may learn to do
it well, and not be ridiculous, though in a ridiculous act. Dress is of
the same nature; you must dress; therefore attend to it; not in order to
rival or to excel a fop in it, but in order to avoid singularity, and
consequently ridicule. Take great care always to be dressed like the
reasonable people of your own age, in the place where you are; whose
dress is never spoken of one way or another, as either too negligent or
too much studied.

What is commonly called an absent man, is commonly either a very weak, or
a very affected man; but be he which he will, he is, I am sure, a very
disagreeable man in company. He fails in all the common offices of
civility; he seems not to know those people to-day, whom yesterday he
appeared to live in intimacy with. He takes no part in the general
conversation; but, on the contrary, breaks into it from time to time,
with some start of his own, as if he waked from a dream. This (as I said
before) is a sure indication, either of a mind so weak that it is not
able to bear above one object at a time; or so affected, that it would be
supposed to be wholly engrossed by, and directed to, some very great and
important objects. Sir Isaac Newton, Mr. Locke, and (it may be) five or
six more, since the creation of the world, may have had a right to
absence, from that intense thought which the things they were
investigating required. But if a young man, and a man of the world, who
has no such avocations to plead, will claim and exercise that right of
absence in company, his pretended right should, in my mind, be turned
into an involuntary absence, by his perpetual exclusion out of company.
However frivolous a company may be, still, while you are among them, do
not show them, by your inattention, that you think them so; but rather
take their tone, and conform in some degree to their weakness, instead of
manifesting your contempt for them. There is nothing that people bear
more impatiently, or forgive less, than contempt; and an injury is much
sooner forgotten than an insult. If, therefore, you would rather please
than offend, rather be well than ill spoken of, rather be loved than
hated; remember to have that constant attention about you which flatters
every man's little vanity; and the want of which, by mortifying his
pride, never fails to excite his resentment, or at least his ill will.
For instance, most people (I might say all people) have their weaknesses;
they have their aversions and their likings, to such or such things; so
that, if you were to laugh at a man for his aversion to a cat, or cheese
(which are common antipathies), or, by inattention and negligence, to let
them come in his way, where you could prevent it, he would, in the first
case, think himself insulted, and, in the second, slighted, and would
remember both. Whereas your care to procure for him what he likes, and to
remove from him what he hates, shows him that he is at least an object of
your attention; flatters his vanity, and makes him possibly more your
friend, than a more important service would have done. With regard to
women, attentions still below these are necessary, and, by the custom of
the world, in some measure due, according to the laws of good-breeding.

My long and frequent letters, which I send you, in great doubt of their
success, put me in mind of certain papers, which you have very lately,
and I formerly, sent up to kites, along the string, which we called
messengers; some of them the wind used to blow away, others were torn by
the string, and but few of them got up and stuck to the kite. But I will
content myself now, as I did then, if some of my present messengers do
but stick to you. Adieu!


DEAR BOY: You are by this time (I suppose) quite settled and at home at
Lausanne; therefore pray let me know how you pass your time there, and
what your studies, your amusements, and your acquaintances are. I take it
for granted, that you inform yourself daily of the nature of the
government and constitution of the Thirteen Cantons; and as I am ignorant
of them myself, must apply to you for information. I know the names, but
I do not know the nature of some of the most considerable offices there;
such as the Avoyers, the Seizeniers, the Banderets, and the Gros Sautier.
I desire, therefore, that you will let me know what is the particular
business, department, or province of these several magistrates. But as I
imagine that there may be some, though, I believe, no essential
difference, in the governments of the several Cantons, I would not give
you the trouble of informing yourself of each of them; but confine my
inquiries, as you may your informations, to the Canton you reside in,
that of Berne, which I take to be the principal one. I am not sure
whether the Pays de Vaud, where you are, being a conquered country, and
taken from the Dukes of Savoy, in the year 1536, has the same share in
the government of the Canton, as the German part of it has. Pray inform
yourself and me about it.

I have this moment received yours from Berne, of the 2d October, N. S.
and also one from Mr. Harte, of the same date, under Mr. Burnaby's cover.
I find by the latter, and indeed I thought so before, that some of your
letters and some of Mr. Harte's have not reached me. Wherefore, for the
future, I desire, that both he and you will direct your letters for me,
to be left ches Monsieur Wolters, Agent de S. M. Britanique, a Rotterdam,
who will take care to send them to me safe. The reason why you have not
received letters either from me or from Grevenkop was that we directed
them to Lausanne, where we thought you long ago: and we thought it to no
purpose to direct to you upon your ROUTE, where it was little likely that
our letters would meet with you. But you have, since your arrival at
Lausanne, I believe, found letters enough from me; and it may be more
than you have read, at least with attention.

I am glad that you like Switzerland so well; and am impatient to hear how
other matters go, after your settlement at Lausanne. God bless you!


LONDON, December 2, O.S. 1746.

DEAR BOY: I have not, in my present situation,--[His Lordship was, in the
year 1746, appointed one of his Majesty's secretaries of state.]--time
to write to you, either so much or so often as I used, while I was in a
place of much more leisure and profit; but my affection for you must not
be judged of by the number of my letters; and, though the one lessens,
the other, I assure you, does not.

I have just now received your letter of the 25th past, N. S., and, by the
former post, one from Mr. Harte; with both which I am very well pleased:
with Mr. Harte's, for the good account which he gives me of you; with
yours, for the good account which you gave me of what I desired to be
informed of. Pray continue to give me further information of the form of
government of the country you are now in; which I hope you will know most
minutely before you leave it. The inequality of the town of Lausanne
seems to be very convenient in this cold weather; because going up hill
and down will keep you warm. You say there is a good deal of good
company; pray, are you got into it? Have you made acquaintances, and with
whom? Let me know some of their names. Do you learn German yet, to read,
write, and speak it?

Yesterday, I saw a letter from Monsieur Bochat to a friend of mine; which
gave me the greatest pleasure that I have felt this great while; because
it gives so very good an account of you. Among other things which
Monsieur Bochat says to your advantage, he mentions the tender uneasiness
and concern that you showed during my illness, for which (though I will
say that you owe it to me) I am obliged to you: sentiments of gratitude
not being universal, nor even common. As your affection for me can only
proceed from your experience and conviction of my fondness for you (for
to talk of natural affection is talking nonsense), the only return I
desire is, what it is chiefly your interest to make me; I mean your
invariable practice of virtue, and your indefatigable pursuit of
knowledge. Adieu! and be persuaded that I shall love you extremely, while
you deserve it; but not one moment longer.


LONDON, December 9, O. S. 1746.

DEAR BOY: Though I have very little time, and though I write by this post
to Mr. Harte, yet I cannot send a packet to Lausanne without a word or
two to yourself. I thank you for your letter of congratulation which you
wrote me, notwithstanding the pain it gave you. The accident that caused
the pain was, I presume, owing to that degree of giddiness, of which I
have sometimes taken the liberty to speak to you. The post I am now in,
though the object of most people's views and desires, was in some degree
inflicted upon me; and a certain concurrence of circumstances obliged me
to engage in it. But I feel that to go through with it requires more
strength of body and mind than I have: were you three or four years
older; you should share in my trouble, and I would have taken you into my
office; but I hope you will employ these three or four years so well as
to make yourself capable of being of use to me, if I should continue in
it so long. The reading, writing, and speaking the modern languages
correctly; the knowledge of the laws of nations, and the particular
constitution of the empire; of history, geography, and chronology, are
absolutely necessary to this business, for which I have always intended
you. With these qualifications you may very possibly be my successor,
though not my immediate one.

I hope you employ your whole time, which few people do; and that you put
every moment to, profit of some kind or other. I call company, walking,
riding, etc., employing one's time, and, upon proper occasions, very
usefully; but what I cannot forgive in anybody is sauntering, and doing
nothing at all, with a thing so precious as time, and so irrecoverable
when lost.

Are you acquainted with any ladies at Lausanne? and do you behave
yourself with politeness enough to make them desire your company?

I must finish: God bless you!


LONDON, February 24, O. S. 1747

SIR: In order that we may, reciprocally, keep up our French, which, for
want of practice, we might forget; you will permit me to have the honor
of assuring you of my respects in that language: and be so good to answer
me in the same. Not that I am apprehensive of your forgetting to speak
French: since it is probable that two-thirds of our daily prattle is in
that language; and because, if you leave off writing French, you may
perhaps neglect that grammatical purity, and accurate orthography, which,
in other languages, you excel in; and really, even in French, it is
better to write well than ill. However, as this is a language very proper
for sprightly, gay subjects, I shall conform to that, and reserve those
which are serious for English. I shall not therefore mention to you, at
present, your Greek or Latin, your study of the Law of Nature, or the Law
of Nations, the Rights of People, or of Individuals; but rather discuss
the subject of your Amusements and Pleasures; for, to say the truth, one
must have some. May I be permitted to inquire of what nature yours are?
Do they consist in little commercial play at cards in good company? are
they little agreeable suppers, at which cheerfulness and decency are
united? or, do you pay court to some fair one, who requires such
attentions as may be of use in contributing to polish you? Make me your
confidant upon this subject; you shall not find a severe censor: on the
contrary, I wish to obtain the employment of minister to your pleasures:
I will point them out, and even contribute to them.

Many young people adopt pleasures, for which they have not the least
taste, only because they are called by that name. They often mistake so
totally, as to imagine that debauchery is pleasure. You must allow that
drunkenness, which is equally destructive to body and mind, is a fine
pleasure. Gaming, that draws you into a thousand scrapes, leaves you
penniless, and gives you the air and manners of an outrageous madman, is
another most exquisite pleasure; is it not? As to running after women,
the consequences of that vice are only the loss of one's nose, the total
destruction of health, and, not unfrequently, the being run through the

These, you see, are all trifles; yet this is the catalogue of pleasures
of most of those young people, who never reflecting themselves, adopt,
indiscriminately, what others choose to call by the seducing name of
pleasure. I am thoroughly persuaded you will not fall into such errors;
and that, in the choice of your amusements, you will be directed by
reason, and a discerning taste. The true pleasures of a gentleman are
those of the table, but within the bound of moderation; good company,
that is to say, people of merit; moderate play, which amuses, without any
interested views; and sprightly gallant conversations with women of
fashion and sense.

These are the real pleasures of a gentleman; which occasion neither
sickness, shame, nor repentance. Whatever exceeds them, becomes low vice,
brutal passion, debauchery, and insanity of, mind; all of which, far from
giving satisfaction, bring on dishonor and disgrace. Adieu.


LONDON, March 6, O. S. 1747

DEAR BOY: Whatever you do, will always affect me, very sensibly, one way
or another; and I am now most agreeably affected, by two letters, which I
have lately seen from Lausanne, upon your subject; the one from Madame
St. Germain, the other from Monsieur Pampigny: they both give so good an
account of you, that I thought myself obliged, in justice both to them
and, to you, to let you know it. Those who deserve a good character,
ought to have the satisfaction of knowing that they have it, both as a
reward and as an encouragement. They write, that you are not only
'decrotte,' but tolerably well-bred; and that the English crust of
awkward bashfulness, shyness, and roughness (of which, by the bye, you
had your share) is pretty well rubbed off. I am most heartily glad of it;
for, as I have often told you, those lesser talents, of an engaging,
insinuating manner, an easy good-breeding, a genteel behavior and
address, are of infinitely more advantage than they are generally thought
to be, especially here in England. Virtue and learning, like gold, have
their intrinsic value but if they are not polished, they certainly lose a
great deal of their luster; and even polished brass will pass upon more
people than rough gold. What a number of sins does the cheerful, easy
good-breeding of the French frequently cover? Many of them want common
sense, many more common learning; but in general, they make up so much by
their manner, for those defects, that frequently they pass undiscovered:
I have often said, and do think, that a Frenchman, who, with a fund of
virtue, learning and good sense, has the manners and good-breeding of his
country, is the perfection of human nature. This perfection you may, if
you please, and I hope you will, arrive at. You know what virtue is: you
may have it if you will; it is in every man's power; and miserable is the
man who has it not. Good sense God has given you. Learning you already
possess enough of, to have, in a reasonable time, all that a man need
have. With this, you are thrown out early into the world, where it will
be your own fault if you do not acquire all, the other accomplishments
necessary to complete and adorn your character. You will do well to make
your compliments to Madame St. Germain and Monsieur Pampigny; and tell
them, how sensible you are of their partiality to you, in the
advantageous testimonies which, you are informed, they have given of you

Adieu. Continue to deserve such testimonies; and then you will not only
deserve, but enjoy my truest affection.


LONDON, March 27, O. S. 1747.

DEAR BOY: Pleasure is the rock which most young people split upon: they
launch out with crowded sails in quest of it, but without a compass to
direct their course, or reason sufficient to steer the vessel; for want
of which, pain and shame, instead of pleasure, are the returns of their
voyage. Do not think that I mean to snarl at pleasure, like a Stoic, or
to preach against it, like a parson; no, I mean to point it out, and
recommend it to you, like an Epicurean: I wish you a great deal; and my
only view is to hinder you from mistaking it.

The character which most young men first aim at, is that of a man of
pleasure; but they generally take it upon trust; and instead of
consulting their own taste and inclinations, they blindly adopt whatever
those with whom they chiefly converse, are pleased to call by the name of
pleasure; and a man of pleasure in the vulgar acceptation of that phrase,
means only, a beastly drunkard, an abandoned whoremaster, and a
profligate swearer and curser. As it may be of use to you. I am not
unwilling, though at the same time ashamed to own, that the vices of my
youth proceeded much more from my silly resolution of being, what I heard
called a man of pleasure, than from my own inclinations. I always
naturally hated drinking; and yet I have often drunk; with disgust at the
time, attended by great sickness the next day, only because I then
considered drinking as a necessary qualification for a fine gentleman,
and a man of pleasure.

The same as to gaming. I did not want money, and consequently had no
occasion to play for it; but I thought play another necessary ingredient
in the composition of a man of pleasure, and accordingly I plunged into
it without desire, at first; sacrificed a thousand real pleasures to it;
and made myself solidly uneasy by it, for thirty the best years of my

I was even absurd enough, for a little while, to swear, by way of
adorning and completing the shining character which I affected; but this
folly I soon laid aside, upon finding berth the guilt and the indecency
of it.

Thus seduced by fashion, and blindly adopting nominal pleasures, I lost
real ones; and my fortune impaired, and my constitution shattered, are, I
must confess, the just punishment of my errors.

Take warning then by them: choose your pleasures for yourself, and do not
let them be imposed upon you. Follow nature and not fashion: weigh the
present enjoyment of your pleasures against the necessary consequences of
them, and then let your own common sense determine your choice.

Were I to begin the world again, with the experience which I now have of
it, I would lead a life of real, not of imaginary pleasures. I would
enjoy the pleasures of the table, and of wine; but stop short of the
pains inseparably annexed to an excess of either. I would not, at twenty
years, be a preaching missionary of abstemiousness and sobriety; and I
should let other people do as they would, without formally and
sententiously rebuking them for it; but I would be most firmly resolved
not to destroy my own faculties and constitution; in complaisance to
those who have no regard to their own. I would play to give me pleasure,
but not to give me pain; that is, I would play for trifles, in mixed
companies, to amuse myself, and conform to custom; but I would take care
not to venture for sums; which, if I won, I should not be the better for;
but, if I lost, should be under a difficulty to pay: and when paid, would
oblige me to retrench in several other articles. Not to mention the
quarrels which deep play commonly occasions.

I would pass some of my time in reading, and the rest in the company of
people of sense and learning, and chiefly those above me; and I would
frequent the mixed companies of men and women of fashion, which, though
often frivolous, yet they unbend and refresh the mind, not uselessly,
because they certainly polish and soften the manners.

These would be my pleasures and amusements, if I were to live the last
thirty years over again; they are rational ones; and, moreover, I will
tell you, they are really the fashionable ones; for the others are not,
in truth, the pleasures of what I call people of fashion, but of those
who only call themselves so. Does good company care to have a man reeling
drunk among them? Or to see another tearing his hair, and blaspheming,
for having lost, at play, more than he is able to pay? Or a whoremaster
with half a nose, and crippled by coarse and infamous debauchery? No;
those who practice, and much more those who brag of them, make no part of
good company; and are most unwillingly, if ever, admitted into it. A real
man of fashion and pleasures observes decency: at least neither borrows
nor affects vices: and if he unfortunately has any, he gratifies them
with choice, delicacy, and secrecy.

I have not mentioned the pleasures of the mind (which are the solid and
permanent ones); because they do not come under the head of what people
commonly call pleasures; which they seem to confine to the senses. The
pleasure of virtue, of charity, and of learning is true and lasting
pleasure; with which I hope you will be well and long acquainted. Adieu!


LONDON, April 3, O. S. 1747

DEAR BOY: If I am rightly informed, I am now writing to a fine gentleman,
in a scarlet coat laced with gold, a brocade waistcoat, and all other
suitable ornaments. The natural partiality of every author for his own
works makes me very glad to hear that Mr. Harte has thought this last
edition of mine worth so fine a binding; and, as he has bound it in red,
and gilt it upon the back, I hope he will take care that it shall be
LETTERED too. A showish binding attracts the eyes, and engages the
attention of everybody; but with this difference, that women, and men who
are like women, mind the binding more than the book; whereas men of sense
and learning immediately examine the inside; and if they find that it
does not answer the finery on the outside, they throw it by with the
greater indignation and contempt. I hope that, when this edition of my
works shall be opened and read, the best judges will find connection,
consistency, solidity, and spirit in it. Mr. Harte may 'recensere' and
'emendare,' as much as he pleases; but it will be to little purpose, if
you do not cooperate with him. The work will be imperfect.

I thank you for your last information of our success in the
Mediterranean, and you say very rightly that a secretary of state ought
to be well informed. I hope, therefore, you will take care that I shall.
You are near the busy scene in Italy; and I doubt not but that, by
frequently looking at the map, you have all that theatre of the war very
perfect in your mind.

I like your account of the salt works; which shows that you gave some
attention while you were seeing them. But notwithstanding that, by your
account, the Swiss salt is (I dare say) very good, yet I am apt to
suspect that it falls a little short of the true Attic salt in which
there was a peculiar quickness and delicacy. That same Attic salt
seasoned almost all Greece, except Boeotia, and a great deal of it was
exported afterward to Rome, where it was counterfeited by a composition
called Urbanity, which in some time was brought to very near the
perfection of the original Attic salt. The more you are powdered with
these two kinds of salt, the better you will keep, and the more you will
be relished.

Adieu! My compliments to Mr. Harte and Mr. Eliot.


LONDON, April 14, O. S. 1747.

DEAR BOY: If you feel half the pleasure from the consciousness of doing
well, that I do from the informations I have lately received in your
favor from Mr. Harte, I shall have little occasion to exhort or admonish
you any more to do what your own satisfaction and self love will
sufficiently prompt you to. Mr. Harte tells me that you attend, that you
apply to your studies; and that beginning to understand, you begin to
taste them. This pleasure will increase, and keep pace with your
attention; so that the balance will be greatly to your advantage. You may
remember, that I have always earnestly recommended to you, to do what you
are about, be that what it will; and to do nothing else at the same time.
Do not imagine that I mean by this, that you should attend to and plod at
your book all day long; far from it; I mean that you should have your
pleasures too; and that you should attend to them for the time; as much
as to your studies; and, if you do not attend equally to both, you will
neither have improvement nor satisfaction from either. A man is fit for
neither business nor pleasure, who either cannot, or does not, command
and direct his attention to the present object, and, in some degree,
banish for that time all other objects from his thoughts. If at a ball, a
supper, or a party of pleasure, a man were to be solving, in his own
mind, a problem in Euclid, he would be a very bad companion, and make a
very poor figure in that company; or if, in studying a problem in his
closet, he were to think of a minuet, I am apt to believe that he would
make a very poor mathematician. There is time enough for everything, in
the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once; but there is not
time enough in the year, if you will do two things at a time. The
Pensionary de Witt, who was torn to pieces in the year 1672, did the
whole business of the Republic, and yet had time left to go to assemblies
in the evening, and sup in company. Being asked how he could possibly
find time to go through so much business, and yet amuse himself in the
evenings as he did, he answered, there was nothing so easy; for that it
was only doing one thing at a time, and never putting off anything till
to-morrow that could be done to-day. This steady and undissipated
attention to one object is a sure mark of a superior genius; as hurry,
bustle, and agitation are the never-failing symptoms of a weak and
frivolous mind. When you read Horace, attend to the justness of his
thoughts, the happiness of his diction, and the beauty of his poetry; and
do not think of Puffendorf de Homine el Cive; and, when you are reading
Puffendorf, do not think of Madame de St. Germain; nor of Puffendorf,
when you are talking to Madame de St. Germain.

Mr. Harte informs me, that he has reimbursed you of part of your losses
in Germany; and I consent to his reimbursing you of the whole, now that I
know you deserve it. I shall grudge you nothing, nor shall you want
anything that you desire, provided you deserve it; so that you see, it is
in your own power to have whatever you please.

There is a little book which you read here with Monsieur Codere entitled,
'Maniere de bien penser dans les Ouvrages d'Esprit,' written by Pyre
Bonhours. I wish you would read this book again at your leisure hours,
for it will not only divert you, but likewise form your taste, and give
you a just manner of thinking. Adieu!


LONDON, June 30, O. S. 1747

DEAR BOY: I was extremely pleased with the account which you gave me in
your last, of the civilities that you received in your Swiss progress;
and I have written, by this post, to Mr. Burnaby, and to the 'Avoyer,' to
thank them for their parts. If the attention you met with pleased you, as
I dare say it did, you will, I hope, draw this general conclusion from
it, that attention and civility please all those to whom they are paid;
and that you will please others in proportion as you are attentive and
civil to them.

Bishop Burnet has wrote his travels through Switzerland; and Mr. Stanyan,
from a long residence there, has written the best account, yet extant, of
the Thirteen Cantons; but those books will be read no more, I presume,
after you shall have published your account of that country. I hope you
will favor me with one of the first copies. To be serious; though I do
not desire that you should immediately turn author, and oblige the world
with your travels; yet, wherever you go, I would have you as curious and
inquisitive as if you did intend to write them. I do not mean that you
should give yourself so much trouble, to know the number of houses,
inhabitants, signposts, and tombstones, of every town that you go
through; but that you should inform yourself, as well as your stay will
permit you, whether the town is free, or to whom it belongs, or in what
manner: whether it has any peculiar privileges or customs; what trade or
manufactures; and such other particulars as people of sense desire to
know. And there would be no manner of harm if you were to take
memorandums of such things in a paper book to help your memory. The only
way of knowing all these things is to keep the best company, who can best
inform you of them. I am just now called away; so good night.


LONDON, July 20, O. S. 1747

DEAR BOY: In your Mamma's letter, which goes here inclosed, you will find
one from my sister, to thank you for the Arquebusade water which you sent
her; and which she takes very kindly. She would not show me her letter to
you; but told me that it contained good wishes and good advice; and, as I
know she will show your letter in answer to hers, I send you here
inclosed the draught of the letter which I would have you write to her. I
hope you will not be offended at my offering you my assistance upon this
occasion; because, I presume, that as yet, you are not much used to write
to ladies. 'A propos' of letter-writing, the best models that you can
form yourself upon are, Cicero, Cardinal d'Ossat, Madame Sevigne, and
Comte Bussy Rebutin. Cicero's Epistles to Atticus, and to his familiar
friends, are the best examples that you can imitate, in the friendly and
the familiar style. The simplicity and the clearness of Cardinal
d'Ossat's letters show how letters of business ought to be written; no
affected turns, no attempts at wit, obscure or perplex his matter; which
is always plainly and clearly stated, as business always should be. For
gay and amusing letters, for 'enjouement and badinage,' there are none
that equal Comte Bussy's and Madame Sevigne's. They are so natural, that
they seem to be the extempore conversations of two people of wit, rather,
than letters which are commonly studied, though they ought not to be so.
I would advise you to let that book be one in your itinerant library; it
will both amuse and inform you.

I have not time to add any more now; so good night.


LONDON, July 30, O. S. 1747

DEAR BOY: It is now four posts since I have received any letter, either
from you or from Mr. Harte. I impute this to the rapidity of your travels
through Switzerland; which I suppose are by this time finished.

You will have found by my late letters, both to you and Mr. Harte, that
you are to be at Leipsig by next Michaelmas; where you will be lodged in
the house of Professor Mascow, and boarded in the neighborhood of it,
with some young men of fashion. The professor will read you lectures upon
'Grotius de Jure Belli et Pacis,' the 'Institutes of Justinian' and the
'Jus Publicum Imperii;' which I expect that you shall not only hear, but
attend to, and retain. I also expect that you make yourself perfectly
master of the German language; which you may very soon do there, if you
please. I give you fair warning, that at Leipsig I shall have an hundred
invisible spies about you; and shall be exactly informed of everything
that you do, and of almost everything that you say. I hope that, in
consequence of those minute informations, I may be able to say of you,
what Velleius Paterculus says of Scipio; that in his whole life, 'nihil
non laudandum aut dixit, aut fecit, aut sensit.' There is a great deal of
good company in Leipsig, which I would have you frequent in the evenings,
when the studies of the day are over. There is likewise a kind of court
kept there, by a Duchess Dowager of Courland; at which you should get
introduced. The King of Poland and his Court go likewise to the fair at
Leipsig twice a year; and I shall write to Sir Charles Williams, the
king's minister there, to have you presented, and introduced into good
company. But I must remind you, at the same time, that it will be to a
very little purpose for you to frequent good company, if you do not
conform to, and learn their manners; if you are not attentive to please,
and well bred, with the easiness of a man of fashion. As you must attend
to your manners, so you must not neglect your person; but take care to be
very clean, well dressed, and genteel; to have no disagreeable attitudes,
nor awkward tricks; which many people use themselves to, and then cannot
leave them off. Do you take care to keep your teeth very clean, by
washing them constantly every morning, and after every meal? This is very
necessary, both to preserve your teeth a great while, and to save you a
great deal of pain. Mine have plagued me long, and are now falling out,
merely from want of care when I was your age. Do you dress well, and not
too well? Do you consider your air and manner of presenting yourself
enough, and not too much? Neither negligent nor stiff? All these things
deserve a degree of care, a second-rate attention; they give an
additional lustre to real merit. My Lord Bacon says, that a pleasing
figure is a perpetual letter of recommendation. It is certainly an
agreeable forerunner of merit, and smoothes the way for it.

Remember that I shall see you at Hanover next summer, and shall expect
perfection; which if I do not meet with, or at least something very near
it, you and I shall, not be very well together. I shall dissect and
analyze you with a microscope; so that I shall discover the least speck
or blemish. This is fair warning; therefore take your measures
accordingly. Yours.


LONDON, August 21, O. S. 1747.

DEAR BOY: I reckon that this letter has but a bare chance of finding you
at Lausanne; but I was resolved to risk it, as it is the last that I
shall write to you till you are settled at Leipsig. I sent you by the
last post, under cover to Mr. Harte, a letter of recommendation to one of
the first people at Munich; which you will take care to present to him in
the politest manner; he will certainly have you presented to the
electoral family; and I hope you will go through that ceremony with great
respect, good breeding, and ease. As this is the first court that ever
you will have been at, take care to inform yourself if there be any
particular, customs or forms to be observed, that you may not commit any
mistake. At Vienna men always make courtesies, instead of bows, to the
emperor; in France nobody bows at all to the king, nor kisses his hand;
but in Spain and England, bows are made, and hands are kissed. Thus every
court has some peculiarity or other, of which those who go to them ought
previously to inform themselves, to avoid blunders and awkwardnesses.

I have not time to say any more now, than to wish you good journey to
Leipsig; and great attention, both there and in going there. Adieu.


LONDON, September 21, O. S. 1747

DEAR BOY: I received, by the last post, your letter of the 8th, N. S.,
and I do not wonder that you are surprised at the credulity and
superstition of the Papists at Einsiedlen, and at their absurd stories of
their chapel. But remember, at the same time, that errors and mistakes,
however gross, in matters of opinion, if they are sincere, are to be
pitied, but not punished nor laughed at. The blindness of the
understanding is as much to be pitied as the blindness of the eye; and
there is neither jest nor guilt in a man's losing his way in either case.
Charity bids us set him right if we can, by arguments and persuasions;
but charity, at the same time, forbids, either to punish or ridicule his
misfortune. Every man's reason is, and must be, his guide; and I may as
well expect that every man should be of my size and complexion, as that
he should reason just as I do. Every man seeks for truth; but God only
knows who has found it. It is, therefore, as unjust to persecute, as it
is absurd to ridicule, people for those several opinions, which they
cannot help entertaining upon the conviction of their reason. It is the
man who tells, or who acts a lie, that is guilty, and not he who honestly
and sincerely believes the lie. I really know nothing more criminal, more
mean, and more ridiculous than lying. It is the production either of
malice, cowardice, or vanity; and generally misses of its aim in every
one of these views; for lies are always detected sooner or later. If I
tell a malicious lie, in order to affect any man's fortune or character,
I may indeed injure him for some time; but I shall be sure to be the
greatest sufferer myself at last; for as soon as ever I am detected (and
detected I most certainly shall be), I am blasted for the infamous
attempt; and whatever is said afterward, to the disadvantage of that
person, however true, passes for calumny. If I lie, or equivocate (for it
is the same thing), in order to excuse myself for something that I have
said or done, and to avoid the danger and the shame that I apprehend from
it, I discover at once my fear as well as my falsehood; and only
increase, instead of avoiding, the danger and the shame; I show myself to
be the lowest and the meanest of mankind, and am sure to be always
treated as such. Fear, instead of avoiding, invites danger; for concealed
cowards will insult known ones. If one has had the misfortune to be in
the wrong, there is something noble in frankly owning it; it is the only
way of atoning for it, and the only way of being forgiven. Equivocating,
evading, shuffling, in order to remove a present danger or inconveniency,
is something so mean, and betrays so much fear, that whoever practices
them always deserves to be, and often will be kicked. There is another
sort of lies, inoffensive enough in themselves, but wonderfully
ridiculous; I mean those lies which a mistaken vanity suggests, that
defeat the very end for which they are calculated, and terminate in the
humiliation and confusion of their author, who is sure to be detected.
These are chiefly narrative and historical lies, all intended to do
infinite honor to their author. He is always the hero of his own
romances; he has been in dangers from which nobody but himself ever
escaped; he has seen with his own eyes, whatever other people have heard
or read of: he has had more 'bonnes fortunes' than ever he knew women;
and has ridden more miles post in one day, than ever courier went in two.
He is soon discovered, and as soon becomes the object of universal
contempt and ridicule. Remember, then, as long as you live, that nothing
but strict truth can carry you through the world, with either your
conscience or your honor unwounded. It is not only your duty, but your
interest; as a proof of which you may always observe, that the greatest
fools are the greatest liars. For my own part, I judge of every man's
truth by his degree of understanding.

This letter will, I suppose, find you at Leipsig; where I expect and
require from you attention and accuracy, in both which you have hitherto
been very deficient. Remember that I shall see you in the summer; shall
examine you most narrowly; and will never forget nor forgive those
faults, which it has been in your own power to prevent or cure; and be
assured that I have many eyes upon you at Leipsig, besides Mr. Harte's.


LONDON, October 2, O. S. 1747

DEAR BOY: By your letter of the 18th past, N. S., I find that you are a
tolerably good landscape painter, and can present the several views of
Switzerland to the curious. I am very glad of it, as it is a proof of
some attention; but I hope you will be as good a portrait painter, which
is a much more noble science. By portraits, you will easily judge, that
I do not mean the outlines and the coloring of the human figure; but the
inside of the heart and mind of man. This science requires more
attention, observation, and penetration, than the other; as indeed it is
infinitely more useful. Search, therefore, with the greatest care, into
the characters of those whom you converse with; endeavor to discover
their predominant passions, their prevailing weaknesses, their vanities,
their follies, and their humors, with all the right and wrong, wise and
silly springs of human actions, which make such inconsistent and
whimsical beings of us rational creatures. A moderate share of
penetration, with great attention, will infallibly make these necessary
discoveries. This is the true knowledge of the world; and the world is
a country which nobody ever yet knew by description; one must travel
through it one's self to be acquainted with it. The scholar, who in the
dust of his closet talks or writes of the world, knows no more of it,
than that orator did of war, who judiciously endeavored to instruct
Hannibal in it. Courts and camps are the only places to learn the world
in. There alone all kinds of characters resort, and human nature is seen
in all the various shapes and modes, which education, custom, and habit
give it; whereas, in all other places, one local mode generally prevails,
and producing a seeming though not a real sameness of character. For
example, one general mode distinguishes an university, another a trading
town, a third a seaport town, and so on; whereas, at a capital, where the
Prince or the Supreme Power resides, some of all these various modes are
to be seen and seen in action too, exerting their utmost skill in pursuit
of their several objects. Human nature is the same all over the world;
but its operations are so varied by education and habit, that one must
see it in all its dresses in order to be intimately acquainted with it.
The passion of ambition, for instance, is the same in a courtier,
 a soldier, or an ecclesiastic; but, from their different educations and
habits, they will take very different methods to gratify it. Civility,
which is a disposition to accommodate and oblige others, is essentially
the same in every country; but good-breeding, as it is called, which is
the manner of exerting that disposition, is different in almost every
country, and merely local; and every man of sense imitates and conforms
to that local good-breeding of the place which he is at. A conformity
and flexibility of manners is necessary in the course of the world; that
is, with regard to all things which are not wrong in themselves. The
'versatile ingenium' is the most useful of all. It can turn itself
instantly from one object to another, assuming the proper manner for
each. It can be serious with the grave, cheerful with the gay, and
trifling with the frivolous. Endeavor by all means, to acquire this
talent, for it is a very great one.

As I hardly know anything more useful, than to see, from time to time,
pictures of one's self drawn by different hands, I send you here a sketch
of yourself, drawn at Lausanne, while you were there, and sent over here
by a person who little thought that it would ever fall into my hands: and
indeed it was by the greatest accident in the world that it did.


LONDON, October 9, O. S. 1747.

DEAR BOY: People of your age have, commonly, an unguarded frankness about
them; which makes them the easy prey and bubbles of the artful and the
experienced; they look upon every knave or fool, who tells them that he
is their friend, to be really so; and pay that profession of simulated
friendship, with an indiscreet and unbounded confidence, always to their
loss, often to their ruin. Beware, therefore, now that you are coming
into the world, of these preferred friendships. Receive them with great
civility, but with great incredulity too; and pay them with compliments,
but not with confidence. Do not let your vanity and self-love make you
suppose that people become your friends at first sight, or even upon a
short acquaintance. Real friendship is a slow grower and never thrives
unless engrafted upon a stock of known and reciprocal merit. There is
another kind of nominal friendship among young people, which is warm for
the time, but by good luck, of short duration. This friendship is hastily
produced, by their being accidentally thrown together, and pursuing the
course of riot and debauchery. A fine friendship, truly; and well
cemented by drunkenness and lewdness. It should rather be called a
conspiracy against morals and good manners, and be punished as such by
the civil magistrate. However, they have the impudence and folly to call
this confederacy a friendship. They lend one another money, for bad
purposes; they engage in quarrels, offensive and defensive for their
accomplices; they tell one another all they know, and often more too,
when, of a sudden, some accident disperses them, and they think no more
of each other, unless it be to betray and laugh, at their imprudent
confidence. Remember to make a great difference between companions and
friends; for a very complaisant and agreeable companion may, and often
does, prove a very improper and a very dangerous friend. People will, in
a great degree, and not without reason, form their opinion of you, upon
that which they have of your friends; and there is a Spanish proverb,
YOU ARE. One may fairly suppose, that the man who makes a knave or a fool
his friend, has something very bad to do or to conceal. But, at the same
time that you carefully decline the friendship of knaves and fools, if it
can be called friendship, there is no occasion to make either of them
your enemies, wantonly and unprovoked; for they are numerous bodies: and
I, would rather choose a secure neutrality, than alliance, or war with
either of them. You may be a declared enemy to their vices and follies,
without being marked out by them as a personal one. Their enmity is the
next dangerous thing to their friendship. Have a real reserve with almost
everybody; and have a seeming reserve with almost nobody; for it is very
disagreeable to seem reserved, and very dangerous not to be so. Few
people find the true medium; many are ridiculously mysterious and
reserved upon trifles; and many imprudently communicative of all they

The next thing to the choice of your friends, is the choice of your
company. Endeavor, as much as you can, to keep company with people above
you: there you rise, as much as you sink with people below you; for (as I
have mentioned before) you are whatever the company you keep is. Do not
mistake, when I say company above you, and think that I mean with regard
to, their birth: that is the least consideration; but I mean with regard
to their merit, and the light in which the world considers them.

There are two sorts of good company; one, which is called the beau monde,
and consists of the people who have the lead in courts, and in the gay
parts of life; the other consists of those who are distinguished by some
peculiar merit, or who excel in some particular and valuable art or
science. For my own part, I used to think myself in company as, much
above me, when I was with Mr. Addison and Mr. Pope, as if I had been with
all the princes in Europe. What I mean by low company, which should by
all means be avoided, is the company of those, who, absolutely
insignificant and contemptible in themselves, think they are honored by
being in your company; and who flatter every vice and every folly you
have, in order to engage you to converse with them. The pride of being
the first of the company is but too common; but it is very silly, and
very prejudicial. Nothing in the world lets down a character quicker than
that wrong turn.

You may possibly ask me, whether a man has it always in his power to get
the best company? and how? I say, Yes, he has, by deserving it; providing
he is but in circumstances which enable him to appear upon the footing of
a gentleman. Merit and good-breeding will make their way everywhere.
Knowledge will introduce him, and good-breeding will endear him to the
best companies: for, as I have often told you, politeness and
good-breeding are absolutely necessary to adorn any, or all other good
qualities or talents. Without them, no knowledge, no perfection whatever,
is seen in its best light. The scholar, without good-breeding, is a
pedant; the philosopher, a cynic; the soldier, a brute; and every man

I long to hear, from my several correspondents at Leipsig, of your
arrival there, and what impression you make on them at first; for I have
Arguses, with an hundred eyes each, who will watch you narrowly, and
relate to me faithfully. My accounts will certainly be true; it depends
upon you, entirely, of what kind they shall be. Adieu.


LONDON, October 16, O. S. 1747

DEAR BOY: The art of pleasing is a very necessary one to possess; but a
very difficult one to acquire. It can hardly be reduced to rules; and
your own good sense and observation will teach you more of it than I can.
Do as you would be done by, is the surest method that I know of pleasing.
Observe carefully what pleases you in others, and probably the same thing
in you will please others. If you are pleased with the complaisance and
attention of others to your humors, your tastes, or your weaknesses,
depend upon it the same complaisance and attention, on your part to
theirs, will equally please them. Take the tone of the company that you
are in, and do not pretend to give it; be serious, gay, or even trifling,
as you find the present humor of the company; this is an attention due
from every individual to the majority. Do not tell stories in company;
there is nothing more tedious and disagreeable; if by chance you know a
very short story, and exceedingly applicable to the present subject of
conversation, tell it in as few words as possible; and even then, throw
out that you do not love to tell stories; but that the shortness of it
tempted you. Of all things, banish the egotism out of your conversation,
and never think of entertaining people with your own personal concerns,
or private, affairs; though they are interesting to you, they are tedious
and impertinent to everybody else; besides that, one cannot keep one's
own private affairs too secret. Whatever you think your own excellencies
may be, do not affectedly display them in company; nor labor, as many
people do, to give that turn to the conversation, which may supply you
with an opportunity of exhibiting them. If they are real, they will
infallibly be discovered, without your pointing them out yourself, and
with much more advantage. Never maintain an argument with heat and
clamor, though you think or know yourself to be in the right: but give
your opinion modestly and coolly, which is the only way to convince; and,
if that does not do, try to change the conversation, by saying, with good
humor, "We shall hardly convince one another, nor is it necessary that we
should, so let us talk of something else."

Remember that there is a local propriety to be observed in all companies;
and that what is extremely proper in one company, may be, and often is,
highly improper in another.

The jokes, the 'bonmots,' the little adventures, which may do very well
in one company, will seem flat and tedious, when related in another. The
particular characters, the habits, the cant of one company, may give
merit to a word, or a gesture, which would have none at all if divested
of those accidental circumstances. Here people very commonly err; and
fond of something that has entertained them in one company, and in
certain circumstances, repeat it with emphasis in another, where it is
either insipid, or, it may be, offensive, by being ill-timed or
misplaced. Nay, they often do it with this silly preamble; "I will tell
you an excellent thing"; or, "I will tell you the best thing in the
world." This raises expectations, which, when absolutely disappointed,
make the relater of this excellent thing look, very deservedly, like a

If you would particularly gain the affection and friendship of particular
people, whether men or women, endeavor to find out the predominant
excellency, if they have one, and their prevailing weakness, which
everybody has; and do justice to the one, and something more than justice
to the other. Men have various objects in which they may excel, or at
least would be thought to excel; and, though they love to hear justice
done to them, where they know that they excel, yet they are most and best
flattered upon those points where they wish to excel, and yet are
doubtful whether they do or not. As, for example, Cardinal Richelieu, who
was undoubtedly the ablest statesman of his time, or perhaps of any
other, had the idle vanity of being thought the best poet too; he envied
the great Corneille his reputation, and ordered a criticism to be written
upon the "Cid." Those, therefore, who flattered skillfully, said little
to him of his abilities in state affairs, or at least but 'en passant,'
and as it might naturally occur. But the incense which they gave him, the
smoke of which they knew would turn his head in their favor, was as a
'bel esprit' and a poet. Why? Because he was sure of one excellency, and
distrustful as to the other. You will easily discover every man's
prevailing vanity, by observing his favorite topic of conversation; for
every man talks most of what he has most a mind to be thought to excel
in. Touch him but there, and you touch him to the quick. The late Sir
Robert Walpole (who was certainly an able man) was little open to
flattery upon that head; for he was in no doubt himself about it; but his
prevailing weakness was, to be thought to have a polite and happy turn to
gallantry; of which he had undoubtedly less than any man living: it was
his favorite and frequent subject of conversation: which proved, to those
who had any penetration, that it was his prevailing weakness. And they
applied to it with success.

Women have, in general, but one object, which is their beauty; upon
which, scarce any flattery is too gross for them to swallow. Nature has
hardly formed a woman ugly enough to be insensible to flattery upon her
person; if her face is so shocking, that she must in some degree, be
conscious of it, her figure and her air, she trusts, make ample amends
for it. If her figure is deformed, her face, she thinks, counterbalances
it. If they are both bad, she comforts herself that she has graces; a
certain manner; a 'je ne sais quoi,' still more engaging than beauty.
This truth is evident, from the studied and elaborate dress of the
ugliest women in the world. An undoubted, uncontested, conscious beauty,
is of all women, the least sensible of flattery upon that head; she knows
that it is her due, and is therefore obliged to nobody for giving it her.
She must be flattered upon her understanding; which, though she may
possibly not doubt of herself, yet she suspects that men may distrust.

Do not mistake me, and think that I mean to recommend to you abject and
criminal flattery: no; flatter nobody's vices or crimes: on the contrary,
abhor and discourage them. But there is no living in the world without a
complaisant indulgence for people's weaknesses, and innocent, though
ridiculous vanities. If a man has a mind to be thought wiser, and a woman
handsomer than they really are, their error is a comfortable one to
themselves, and an innocent one with regard to other people; and I would
rather make them my friends, by indulging them in it, than my enemies, by
endeavoring (and that to no purpose) to undeceive them.

There are little attentions likewise, which are infinitely engaging, and
which sensibly affect that degree of pride and self-love, which is
inseparable from human nature; as they are unquestionable proofs of the
regard and consideration which we have for the person to whom we pay
them. As, for example, to observe the little habits, the likings, the
antipathies, and the tastes of those whom we would gain; and then take
care to provide them with the one, and to secure them from the other;
giving them, genteelly, to understand, that you had observed that they
liked such a dish, or such a room; for which reason you had prepared it:
or, on the contrary, that having observed they had an aversion to such a
dish, a dislike to such a person, etc., you had taken care to avoid
presenting them. Such attention to such trifles flatters self-love much
more than greater things, as it makes people think themselves almost the
only objects of your thoughts and care.

These are some of the arcana necessary for your initiation in the great
society of the world. I wish I had known them better at your age; I have
paid the price of three-and-fifty years for them, and shall not grudge
it, if you reap the advantage. Adieu.


LONDON, October 30, O. S. 1747

DEAR BOY: I am very well pleased with your 'Itinerarium,' which you sent
me from Ratisbon. It shows me that you observe and inquire as you go,
which is the true end of traveling. Those who travel heedlessly from
place to place, observing only their distance from each other, and
attending only to their accommodation at the inn at night, set out fools,
and will certainly return so. Those who only mind the raree-shows of the
places which they go through, such as steeples, clocks, town-houses,
etc., get so little by their travels, that they might as well stay at
home. But those who observe, and inquire into the situations, the
strength, the weakness, the trade, the manufactures, the government, and
constitution of every place they go to; who frequent the best companies,
and attend to their several manners and characters; those alone travel
with advantage; and as they set out wise, return wiser.

I would advise you always to get the shortest description or history of
every place where you make any stay; and such a book, however imperfect,
will still suggest to you matter for inquiry; upon which you may get
better informations from the people of the place. For example; while you
are at Leipsig, get some short account (and to be sure there are many
such) of the present state of the town, with regard to its magistrates,
its police, its privileges, etc., and then inform yourself more minutely
upon all those heads in, conversation with the most intelligent people.
Do the same thing afterward with regard to the Electorate of Saxony: you
will find a short history of it in Puffendorf's Introduction, which will
give you a general idea of it, and point out to you the proper objects of
a more minute inquiry. In short, be curious, attentive, inquisitive, as
to everything; listlessness and indolence are always blameable, but, at
your age, they are unpardonable. Consider how precious, and how important
for all the rest of your life, are your moments for these next three or
four years; and do not lose one of them. Do not think I mean that you
should study all day long; I am far from advising or desiring it: but I
desire that you would be doing something or other all day long; and not
neglect half hours and quarters of hours, which, at the year's end,
amount to a great sum. For instance, there are many short intervals
during the day, between studies and pleasures: instead of sitting idle
and yawning, in those intervals, take up any book, though ever so
trifling a one, even down to a jest-book; it is still better than doing

Nor do I call pleasures idleness, or time lost, provided they are the
pleasures of a rational being; on the contrary, a certain portion of your
time, employed in those pleasures, is very usefully employed. Such are
public spectacles, assemblies of good company, cheerful suppers, and even
balls; but then, these require attention, or else your time is quite

There are a great many people, who think themselves employed all day, and
who, if they were to cast up their accounts at night, would find that
they had done just nothing. They have read two or three hours
mechanically, without attending to what they read, and consequently
without either retaining it, or reasoning upon it. From thence they
saunter into company, without taking any part in it, and without
observing the characters of the persons, or the subjects of the
conversation; but are either thinking of some trifle, foreign to the
present purpose, or often not thinking at all; which silly and idle
suspension of thought they would dignify with the name of ABSENCE and
DISTRACTION. They go afterward, it may be, to the play, where they gape
at the company and the lights; but without minding the very thing they
went to, the play.

Pray do you be as attentive to your pleasures as to your studies. In the
latter, observe and reflect upon all you read; and, in the former, be
watchful and attentive to all that you see and hear; and never have it
to say, as a thousand fools do, of things that were said and done before
their faces, that, truly, they did not mind them, because they were
thinking of something else. Why were they thinking of something else? and
if they were, why did they come there? The truth is, that the fools were
thinking of nothing. Remember the 'hoc age,' do what you are about, be
what it will; it is either worth doing well, or not at all. Wherever you
are, have (as the low vulgar expression is) your ears and your eyes about
you. Listen to everything that is said, and see everything that is done.
Observe the looks and countenances of those who speak, which is often a
surer way of discovering the truth than from what they say. But then keep
all those observations to yourself, for your own private use, and rarely
communicate them to others. Observe, without being thought an observer,
for otherwise people will be upon their guard before you.

Consider seriously, and follow carefully, I beseech you, my dear child,
the advice which from time to time I have given, and shall continue to
give you; it is at once the result of my long experience, and the effect
of my tenderness for you. I can have no interest in it but yours. You are
not yet capable of wishing yourself half so well as I wish you; follow
therefore, for a time at least, implicitly, advice which you cannot
suspect, though possibly you may not yet see the particular advantages of
it; but you will one day feel them. Adieu.


LONDON, November 6, O. S. 1747

DEAR BOY: Three mails are now due from Holland, so that I have no letter
from you to acknowledge; I write to you, therefore, now, as usual, by way
of flapper, to put you in mind of yourself. Doctor Swift, in his account
of the island of Laputa, describes some philosophers there who were so
wrapped up and absorbed in their abstruse speculations, that they would
have forgotten all the common and necessary duties of life, if they had
not been reminded of them by persons who flapped them, whenever they
observed them continue too long in any of those learned trances. I do not
indeed suspect you of being absorbed in abstruse speculations; but, with
great submission to you, may I not suspect that levity, inattention, and
too little thinking, require a flapper, as well as too deep thinking? If
my letters should happen to get to you when you are sitting by the fire
and doing nothing, or when you are gaping at the window, may they not be
very proper flaps, to put you in mind that you might employ your time
much better? I knew once a very covetous, sordid fellow, who used
frequently to say, "Take care of the pence; for the pounds will take care
of themselves." This was a just and sensible reflection in a miser. I
recommend to you to take care of the minutes; for hours will take care of
themselves. I am very sure, that many people lose two or three hours
every day, by not taking care of the minutes. Never think any portion of
time whatsoever too short to be employed; something or other may always
be done in it.

While you are in Germany, let all your historical studies be relative to
Germany; not only the general history of the empire as a collective body;
but the respective electorates, principalities, and towns; and also the
genealogy of the most considerable families. A genealogy is no trifle in
Germany; and they would rather prove their two-and-thirty quarters, than
two-and-thirty cardinal virtues, if there were so many. They are not of
Ulysses' opinion, who says very truly,

       ----Genus et proavos, et qua non fecimus ipsi;
        Vix ea nostra voco.

                         Good night.


LONDON, November 24, O. S. 1747

DEAR BOY: As often as I write to you (and that you know is pretty often),
so often I am in doubt whether it is to any purpose, and whether it is
not labor and paper lost. This entirely depends upon the degree of reason
and reflection which you are master of, or think proper to exert. If you
give yourself time to think, and have sense enough to think right, two
reflections must necessarily occur to you; the one is, that I have a
great deal of experience, and that you have none: the other is, that I am
the only man living who cannot have, directly or indirectly, any interest
concerning you, but your own. From which two undeniable principles, the
obvious and necessary conclusion is, that you ought, for your own sake,
to attend to and follow my advice.

If, by the application which I recommend to you, you acquire great
knowledge, you alone are the gainer; I pay for it. If you should deserve
either a good or a bad character, mine will be exactly what it is now,
and will neither be the better in the first case, nor worse in the
latter. You alone will be the gainer or the loser.

Whatever your pleasures may be, I neither can nor shall envy you them, as
old people are sometimes suspected by young people to do; and I shall
only lament, if they should prove such as are unbecoming a man of honor,
or below a man of sense. But you will be the real sufferer, if they are
such. As therefore, it is plain that I can have no other motive than that
of affection in whatever I say to you, you ought to look upon me as your
best, and, for some years to come, your only friend.

True friendship requires certain proportions of age and manners, and can
never subsist where they are extremely different, except in the relations
of parent and child, where affection on one side, and regard on the
other, make up the difference. The friendship which you may contract with
people of your own age may be sincere, may be warm; but must be, for some
time, reciprocally unprofitable, as there can be no experience on either
side. The young leading the young, is like the blind leading the blind;
(they will both fall into the ditch.) The only sure guide is, he who has
often gone the road which you want to go. Let me be that guide; who have
gone all roads, and who can consequently point out to you the best. If
you ask me why I went any of the bad roads myself, I will answer you very
truly, That it was for want of a good guide: ill example invited me one
way, and a good guide was wanting to show me a better. But if anybody,
capable of advising me, had taken the same pains with me, which I have
taken, and will continue to take with you, I should have avoided many
follies and inconveniences, which undirected youth run me into. My father
was neither desirous nor able to advise me; which is what, I hope, you
cannot say of yours. You see that I make use, only of the word advice;
because I would much rather have the assent of your reason to my advice,
than the submission of your will to my authority. This, I persuade
myself, will happen, from that degree of sense which I think you have;
and therefore I will go on advising, and with hopes of success.

You are now settled for some time at Leipsig; the principal object of
your stay there is the knowledge of books and sciences; which if you do
not, by attention and application, make yourself master of while you are
there, you will be ignorant of them all the rest of your life; and, take
my word for it, a life of ignorance is not only a very contemptible, but
a very tiresome one. Redouble your attention, then, to Mr. Harte, in your
private studies of the 'Literae Humaniores,' especially Greek. State your
difficulties, whenever you have any; and do not suppress them, either
from mistaken shame, lazy indifference, or in order to have done the
sooner. Do the same when you are at lectures with Professor Mascow, or
any other professor; let nothing pass till you are sure that you
understand it thoroughly; and accustom yourself to write down the capital
points of what you learn. When you have thus usefully employed your
mornings, you may, with a safe conscience, divert yourself in the
evenings, and make those evenings very useful too, by passing them in
good company, and, by observation and attention, learning as much of the
world as Leipsig can teach you. You will observe and imitate the manners
of the people of the best fashion there; not that they are (it may be)
the best manners in the world; but because they are the best manners of
the place where you are, to which a man of sense always conforms. The
nature of things (as I have often told you) is always and everywhere the
same; but the modes of them vary more or less, in every country; and an
easy and genteel conformity to them, or rather the assuming of them at
proper times, and in proper places, is what particularly constitutes a
man of the world, and a well-bred man.

Here is advice enough, I think, and too much, it may be, you will think,
for one letter; if you follow it, you will get knowledge, character, and
pleasure by it; if you do not, I only lose 'operam et oleum,' which, in
all events, I do not grudge you.

I send you, by a person who sets out this day for Leipsig, a small packet
from your Mamma, containing some valuable things which you left behind,
to which I have added, by way of new-year's gift, a very pretty
tooth-pick case; and, by the way, pray take great care of your teeth, and
keep them extremely clean. I have likewise sent you the Greek roots,
lately translated into English from the French of the Port Royal. Inform
yourself what the Port Royal is. To conclude with a quibble: I hope you
will not only feed upon these Greek roots, but likewise digest them
perfectly. Adieu.


LONDON, December 15, O. S. 1747

DEAR Boy: There is nothing which I more wish that you should know, and
which fewer people do know, than the true use and value of time. It is in
everybody's mouth; but in few people's practice. Every fool, who
slatterns away his whole time in nothings, utters, however, some trite
commonplace sentence, of which there are millions, to prove, at once, the
value and the fleetness of time. The sun-dials, likewise all over Europe,
have some ingenious inscription to that effect; so that nobody squanders
away their time, without hearing and seeing, daily, how necessary it is
to employ it well, and how irrecoverable it is if lost. But all these
admonitions are useless, where there is not a fund of good sense and
reason to suggest them, rather than receive them. By the manner in which
you now tell me that you employ your time, I flatter myself that you have
that fund; that is the fund which will make you rich indeed. I do not,
therefore, mean to give you a critical essay upon the use and abuse of
time; but I will only give you some hints with regard to the use of one
particular period of that long time which, I hope, you have before you; I
mean, the next two years. Remember, then, that whatever knowledge you do
not solidly lay the foundation of before you are eighteen, you will never
be the master of while you breathe. Knowledge is a comfortable and
necessary retreat and shelter for us in an advanced age; and if we do not
plant it while young, it will give us no shade when we grow old. I
neither require nor expect from you great application to books, after you
are once thrown out into the great world. I know it is impossible; and it
may even, in some cases, be improper; this, therefore, is your time, and
your only time, for unwearied and uninterrupted application. If you
should sometimes think it a little laborious, consider that labor is the
unavoidable fatigue of a necessary journey. The more hours a day you
travel, the sooner you will be at your journey's end. The sooner you are
qualified for your liberty, the sooner you shall have it; and your
manumission will entirely depend upon the manner in which you employ the
intermediate time. I think I offer you a very good bargain, when I
promise you, upon my word, that if you will do everything that I would
have you do, till you are eighteen, I will do everything that you would
have me do ever afterward.

I knew a gentleman, who was so good a manager of his time, that he would
not even lose that small portion of it, which the calls of nature obliged
him to pass in the necessary-house; but gradually went through all the
Latin poets, in those moments. He bought, for example, a common edition
of Horace, of which he tore off gradually a couple of pages, carried them
with him to that necessary place, read them first, and then sent them
down as a sacrifice to Cloacina: this was so much time fairly gained; and
I recommend you to follow his example. It is better than only doing what
you cannot help doing at those moments; and it will made any book, which
you shall read in that manner, very present in your mind. Books of
science, and of a grave sort, must be read with continuity; but there are
very many, and even very useful ones, which may be read with advantage by
snatches, and unconnectedly; such are all the good Latin poets, except
Virgil in his "AEneid": and such are most of the modern poets, in which
you will find many pieces worth reading, that will not take up above
seven or eight minutes. Bayle's, Moreri's, and other dictionaries, are
proper books to take and shut up for the little intervals of (otherwise)
idle time, that everybody has in the course of the day, between either
their studies or their pleasures. Good night.


LONDON, December 18, O. S. 1747.

DEAR Boy: As two mails are now due from Holland,

I have no letters of yours, or Mr. Harte's to acknowledge; so that this
letter is the effect of that 'scribendi cacoethes,' which my fears, my
hopes, and my doubts, concerning you give me. When I have wrote you a
very long letter upon any subject, it is no sooner gone, but I think I
have omitted something in it, which might be of use to you; and then I
prepare the supplement for the next post: or else some new subject occurs
to me, upon which I fancy I can give you some informations, or point out
some rules which may be advantageous to you. This sets me to writing
again, though God knows whether to any purpose or not; a few years more
can only ascertain that. But, whatever my success may be, my anxiety and
my care can only be the effects of that tender affection which I have for
you; and which you cannot represent to yourself greater than it really
is. But do not mistake the nature of that affection, and think it of a
kind that you may with impunity abuse. It is not natural affection, there
being in reality no such thing; for, if there were, some inward sentiment
must necessarily and reciprocally discover the parent to the child, and
the child to the parent, without any exterior indications, knowledge, or
acquaintance whatsoever; which never happened since the creation of the
world, whatever poets, romance, and novel writers, and such
sentiment-mongers, may be pleased to say to the contrary. Neither is my
affection for you that of a mother, of which the only, or at least the
chief objects, are health and life: I wish you them both most heartily;
but, at the same time, I confess they are by no means my principal care.

My object is to have you fit to live; which, if you are not, I do not
desire that you should live at all. My affection for you then is, and
only will be, proportioned to your merit; which is the only affection
that one rational being ought to have for another. Hitherto I have
discovered nothing wrong in your heart, or your head: on the contrary I
think I see sense in the one, and sentiments in the other. This
persuasion is the only motive of my present affection; which will either
increase or diminish, according to your merit or demerit. If you have the
knowledge, the honor, and probity, which you may have, the marks and
warmth of my affection shall amply reward them; but if you have them not,
my aversion and indignation will rise in the same proportion; and, in
that case, remember, that I am under no further obligation, than to give
you the necessary means of subsisting. If ever we quarrel, do not expect
or depend upon any weakness in my nature, for a reconciliation, as
children frequently do, and often meet with, from silly parents; I have
no such weakness about me: and, as I will never quarrel with you but upon
some essential point; if once we quarrel, I will never forgive. But I
hope and believe, that this declaration (for it is no threat) will prove
unnecessary. You are no stranger to the principles of virtue; and,
surely, whoever knows virtue must love it. As for knowledge, you have
already enough of it, to engage you to acquire more. The ignorant only,
either despise it, or think that they have enough: those who have the
most are always the most desirous to have more, and know that the most
they can have is, alas! but too little.

Reconsider, from time to time, and retain the friendly advice which I
send you. The advantage will be all your own.


LONDON, December 29, O. S. 1747

DEAR BOY: I have received two letters from you of the 17th and 22d, N.
S., by the last of which I find that some of mine to you must have
miscarried; for I have never been above two posts without writing to you
or to Mr. Harte, and even very long letters. I have also received a
letter from Mr. Harte, which gives me great satisfaction: it is full of
your praises; and he answers for you, that, in two years more, you will
deserve your manumission, and be fit to go into the world, upon a footing
that will do you honor, and give me pleasure.

I thank you for your offer of the new edition of 'Adamus Adami,' but I do
not want it, having a good edition of it at present. When you have read
that, you will do well to follow it with Pere Bougeant's 'Histoire du
Traite de Munster,' in two volumes quarto; which contains many important
anecdotes concerning that famous treaty, that are not in Adamus Adami.

You tell me that your lectures upon the 'Jus Publicum' will be ended at
Easter; but then I hope that Monsieur Mascow will begin them again; for I
would not have you discontinue that study one day while you are at
Leipsig. I suppose that Monsieur Mascow will likewise give you lectures
upon the 'Instrumentum Pacis,' and upon the capitulations of the late
emperors. Your German will go on of course; and I take it for granted
that your stay at Leipsig will make you a perfect master of that
language, both as to speaking and writing; for remember, that knowing any
language imperfectly, is very little better than not knowing it at all:
people being as unwilling to speak in a language which they do not
possess thoroughly, as others are to hear them. Your thoughts are
cramped, and appear to great disadvantage, in any language of which you
are not perfect master. Let modern history share part of your time, and
that always accompanied with the maps of the places in question;
geography and history are very imperfect separately, and, to be useful,
must be joined.

Go to the Duchess of Courland's as often as she and your leisure will
permit. The company of women of fashion will improve your manners, though
not your understanding; and that complaisance and politeness, which are
so useful in men's company, can only be acquired in women's.

Remember always, what I have told you a thousand times, that all the
talents in the world will want all their lustre, and some part of their
use too, if they are not adorned with that easy good-breeding, that
engaging manner, and those graces, which seduce and prepossess people in
your favor at first sight. A proper care of your person is by no means to
be neglected; always extremely clean; upon proper occasions fine. Your
carriage genteel, and your motions graceful. Take particular care of your
manner and address, when you present yourself in company. Let them be
respectful without meanness, easy without too much familiarity, genteel
without affectation, and insinuating without any seeming art or design.

You need not send me any more extracts of the German constitution; which,
by the course of your present studies, I know you must soon be acquainted
with; but I would now rather that your letters should be a sort of
journal of your own life. As, for instance, what company you keep, what
new acquaintances you make, what your pleasures are; with your own
reflections upon the whole: likewise what Greek and Latin books you read
and understand. Adieu!


           By the EARL OF CHESTERFIELD

           on the Fine Art of becoming a

              MAN OF THE WORLD

                 and a



January 2, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: I am edified with the allotment of your time at Leipsig; which
is so well employed from morning till night, that a fool would say you
had none left for yourself; whereas, I am sure you have sense enough to
know, that such a right use of your time is having it all to yourself;
nay, it is even more, for it is laying it out to immense interest, which,
in a very few years, will amount to a prodigious capital.

Though twelve of your fourteen 'Commensaux' may not be the liveliest
people in the world, and may want (as I easily conceive that they do) 'le
ton de la bonne campagnie, et les graces', which I wish you, yet pray
take care not to express any contempt, or throw out any ridicule; which I
can assure you, is not more contrary to good manners than to good sense:
but endeavor rather to get all the good you can out of them; and
something or other is to be got out of everybody. They will, at least,
improve you in the German language; and, as they come from different
countries, you may put them upon subjects, concerning which they must
necessarily be able to give you some useful informations, let them be
ever so dull or disagreeable in general: they will know something, at
least, of the laws, customs, government, and considerable families of
their respective countries; all which are better known than not, and
consequently worth inquiring into. There is hardly any body good for
every thing, and there is scarcely any body who is absolutely good for
nothing. A good chemist will extract some spirit or other out of every
substance; and a man of parts will, by his dexterity and management,
elicit something worth knowing out of every being he converses with.

As you have been introduced to the Duchess of Courland, pray go there as
often as ever your more necessary occupations will allow you. I am told
she is extremely well bred, and has parts. Now, though I would not
recommend to you, to go into women's company in search of solid
knowledge, or judgment, yet it has its use in other respects; for it
certainly polishes the manners, and gives 'une certaine tournure', which
is very necessary in the course of the world; and which Englishmen have
generally less of than any people in the world.

I cannot say that your suppers are luxurious, but you must own they are
solid; and a quart of soup, and two pounds of potatoes, will enable you
to pass the night without great impatience for your breakfast next
morning. One part of your supper (the potatoes) is the constant diet of
my old friends and countrymen,--[Lord Chesterfield, from the time he was
appointed Lord-lieutenant of Ireland, 1775, used always to call the Irish
his countrymen.]--the Irish, who are the healthiest and the strongest
bodies of men that I know in Europe.

As I believe that many of my letters to you and to Mr. Harte have
miscarried, as well as some of yours and his to me; particularly one of
his from Leipsig, to which he refers in a subsequent one, and which I
never received; I would have you, for the future, acknowledge the dates
of all the letters which either of you shall receive from me; and I will
do the same on my part.

That which I received by the last mail, from you, was of the 25th
November, N. S.; the mail before that brought me yours, of which I have
forgot the date, but which inclosed one to Lady Chesterfield: she will
answer it soon, and, in the mean time, thanks you for it.

My disorder was only a very great cold, of which I am entirely recovered.
You shall not complain for want of accounts from Mr. Grevenkop, who will
frequently write you whatever passes here, in the German language and
character; which will improve you in both. Adieu.


LONDON, January 15, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: I willingly accept the new-year's gift which you promise me for
next year; and the more valuable you make it, the more thankful I shall
be. That depends entirely upon you; and therefore I hope to be presented,
every year, with a new edition of you, more correct than the former, and
considerably enlarged and amended.

Since you do not care to be an assessor of the imperial chamber, and that
you desire an establishment in England; what do you think of being Greek
Professor at one of our universities? It is a very pretty sinecure, and
requires very little knowledge (much less than, I hope, you have already)
of that language. If you do not approve of this, I am at a loss to know
what else to propose to you; and therefore desire that you will inform me
what sort of destination you propose for yourself; for it is now time to
fix it, and to take our measures accordingly. Mr. Harte tells me that you
set up for a----------; if so, I presume it is in the view of succeeding
me in my office;--[A secretary of state.]--which I will very willingly
resign to you, whenever you shall call upon me for it. But, if you intend
to be the--------, or the-----------, there are some trifling
circumstances upon which you should previously take your resolution. The
first of which is, to be fit for it: and then, in order to be so, make
yourself master of ancient and, modern history, and languages. To know
perfectly the constitution, and form of government of every nation; the
growth and the decline of ancient and modern empires; and to trace out
and reflect upon the causes of both. To know the strength, the riches,
and the commerce of every country. These little things, trifling as they
may seem, are yet very necessary for a politician to know; and which
therefore, I presume, you will condescend to apply yourself to. There are
some additional qualifications necessary, in the practical part of
business, which may deserve some consideration in your leisure moments;
such as, an absolute command of your temper, so as not to be provoked to
passion, upon any account; patience, to hear frivolous, impertinent, and
unreasonable applications; with address enough to refuse, without
offending, or, by your manner of granting, to double the obligation;
dexterity enough to conceal a truth without telling a lie; sagacity
enough to read other people's countenances; and serenity enough not to
let them discover anything by yours; a seeming frankness with a real
reserve. These are the rudiments of a politician; the world must be your

Three mails are now due from Holland; so that I have no letters from you
to acknowledge. I therefore conclude with recommending myself to your
favor and protection when you succeed. Yours.


LONDON, January 29, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: I find, by Mr. Harte's last letter, that many of my letters to
you and him, have been frozen up on their way to Leipsig; the thaw has, I
suppose, by this time, set them at liberty to pursue their journey to
you, and you will receive a glut of them at once. Hudibras alludes, in
this verse,

        "Like words congealed in northern air,"

to a vulgar notion, that in Greenland words were frozen in their
utterance; and that upon a thaw, a very mixed conversation was heard in
the air, of all those words set at liberty. This conversation was, I
presume, too various and extensive to be much attended to: and may not
that be the case of half a dozen of my long letters, when you receive
them all at once? I think that I can, eventually, answer that question,
thus: If you consider my letters in their true light, as conveying to you
the advice of a friend, who sincerely wishes your happiness, and desires
to promote your pleasure, you will both read and attend to them; but, if
you consider them in their opposite, and very false light, as the
dictates of a morose and sermonizing father, I am sure they will be not
only unattended to, but unread. Which is the case, you can best tell me.
Advice is seldom welcome; and those who want it the most always like it
the least. I hope that your want of experience, of which you must be
conscious, will convince you, that you want advice; and that your good
sense will incline you to follow it.

Tell me how you pass your leisure hours at Leipsig; I know you have not
many; and I have too good an opinion of you to think, that, at this age,
you would desire more. Have you assemblies, or public spectacles? and of
what kind are they? Whatever they are, see them all; seeing everything,
is the only way not to admire anything too much.

If you ever take up little tale-books, to amuse you by snatches, I will
recommend two French books, which I have already mentioned; they will
entertain you, and not without some use to your mind and your manners.
One is, 'La Maniere de bien penser dans les Ouvrages d'Esprit', written
by Pere Bouhours; I believe you read it once in England, with Monsieur
Coderc; but I think that you will do well to read it again, as I know of
no book that will form your taste better. The other is, 'L'Art de plaire
dans la Conversation', by the Abbe de Bellegarde, and is by no means
useless, though I will not pretend to say, that the art of pleasing can
be reduced to a receipt; if it could, I am sure that receipt would be
worth purchasing at any price. Good sense, and good nature, are the
principal ingredients; and your own observation, and the good advice of
others, must give the right color and taste to it. Adieu! I shall always
love you as you shall deserve.


LONDON, February 9, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: You will receive this letter, not from a Secretary of State but
from a private man; for whom, at his time of life, quiet was as fit, and
as necessary, as labor and activity are for you at your age, and for many
years yet to come. I resigned the seals, last Saturday, to the King; who
parted with me most graciously, and (I may add, for he said so himself)
with regret. As I retire from hurry to quiet, and to enjoy, at my ease,
the comforts of private and social life, you will easily imagine that I
have no thoughts of opposition, or meddling with business. 'Otium cum
dignitate' is my object. The former I now enjoy; and I hope that my
conduct and character entitle me to some share of the latter. In short, I
am now happy: and I found that I could not be so in my former public

As I like your correspondence better than that of all the kings, princes,
and ministers, in Europe, I shall now have leisure to carry it on more
regularly. My letters to you will be written, I am sure, by me, and, I
hope, read by you, with pleasure; which, I believe, seldom happens,
reciprocally, to letters written from and to a secretary's office.

Do not apprehend that my retirement from business may be a hindrance to
your advancement in it, at a proper time: on the contrary, it will
promote it; for, having nothing to ask for myself, I shall have the
better title to ask for you. But you have still a surer way than this of
rising, and which is wholly in your own power. Make yourself necessary;
which, with your natural parts, you may, by application, do. We are in
general, in England, ignorant of foreign affairs: and of the interests,
views, pretensions, and policy of other courts. That part of knowledge
never enters into our thoughts, nor makes part of our education; for
which reason, we have fewer proper subjects for foreign commissions, than
any other country in Europe; and, when foreign affairs happen to be
debated in Parliament, it is incredible with how much ignorance. The
harvest of foreign affairs being then so great, and the laborers so few,
if you make yourself master of them, you will make yourself necessary;
first as a foreign, and then as a domestic minister for that department.

I am extremely well pleased with the account which you give me of the
allotment of your time. Do but go on so, for two years longer, and I will
ask no more of you. Your labors will be their own reward; but if you
desire any other, that I can add, you may depend upon it.

I am glad that you perceive the indecency and turpitude of those of your
'Commensaux', who disgrace and foul themselves with dirty w----s and
scoundrel gamesters. And the light in which, I am sure, you see all
reasonable and decent people consider them, will be a good warning to
you. Adieu.


LONDON, February 13, O. S. 1748

DEAR BOY: your last letter gave me a very satisfactory account of your
manner of employing your time at Leipsig. Go on so but for two years
more, and, I promise you, that you will outgo all the people of your age
and time. I thank you for your explanation of the 'Schriftsassen', and
'Amptsassen'; and pray let me know the meaning of the 'Landsassen'. I am
very willing that you should take a Saxon servant, who speaks nothing but
German, which will be a sure way of keeping up your German, after you
leave Germany. But then, I would neither have that man, nor him whom you
have already, put out of livery; which makes them both impertinent and
useless. I am sure, that as soon as you shall have taken the other
servant, your present man will press extremely to be out of livery, and
valet de chambre; which is as much as to say, that he will curl your hair
and shave you, but not condescend to do anything else. I therefore advise
you, never to have a servant out of livery; and, though you may not
always think proper to carry the servant who dresses you abroad in the
rain and dirt, behind a coach or before a chair, yet keep it in your
power to do so, if you please, by keeping him in livery.

I have seen Monsieur and Madame Flemming, who gave me a very good account
of you, and of your manners, which to tell you the plain truth, were what
I doubted of the most. She told me, that you were easy, and not ashamed:
which is a great deal for an Englishman at your age.

I set out for Bath to-morrow, for a month; only to be better than well,
and enjoy, in, quiet, the liberty which I have acquired by the
resignation of the seals. You shall hear from me more at large from
thence; and now good night to you.


BATH, February 18, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: The first use that I made of my liberty was to come here, where
I arrived yesterday. My health, though not fundamentally bad yet, for
want of proper attention of late, wanted some repairs, which these waters
never fail giving it. I shall drink them a month, and return to London,
there to enjoy the comforts of social life, instead of groaning under the
load of business. I have given the description of the life that I propose
to lead for the future, in this motto, which I have put up in the frize
of my library in my new house:--

     Nunc veterum libris, nunc somno, et inertibus horis
     Ducere sollicitae jucunda oblivia vitas.

I must observe to you upon this occasion, that the uninterrupted
satisfaction which I expect to find in that library, will be chiefly
owing to my having employed some part of my life well at your age. I wish
I had employed it better, and my satisfaction would now be complete; but,
however, I planted while young, that degree of knowledge which is now my
refuge and my shelter. Make your plantations still more extensive; they
will more than pay you for your trouble. I do not regret the time that I
passed in pleasures; they were seasonable; they were the pleasures of
youth, and I enjoyed them while young. If I had not, I should probably
have overvalued them now, as we are very apt to do what we do not know;
but, knowing them as I do, I know their real value, and how much they are
generally overrated. Nor do I regret the time that I have passed in
business, for the same reason; those who see only the outside of it,
imagine it has hidden charms, which they pant after; and nothing but
acquaintance can undeceive them. I, who have been behind the scenes, both
of pleasure and business, and have seen all the springs and pullies of
those decorations which astonish and dazzle the audience, retire, not
only without regret, but with contentment and satisfaction. But what I
do, and ever shall regret, is the time which, while young, I lost in mere
idleness, and in doing nothing. This is the common effect of the
inconsideracy of youth, against which I beg you will be most carefully
upon your guard. The value of moments, when cast up, is immense, if well
employed; if thrown away, their loss is irrecoverable. Every moment may
be put to some use, and that with much more pleasure, than if unemployed.
Do not imagine, that by the employment of time, I mean an uninterrupted
application to serious studies. No; pleasures are, at proper times, both
as necessary and as useful; they fashion and form you for the world; they
teach you characters, and show you the human heart in its unguarded
minutes. But then remember to make that use of them. I have known many
people, from laziness of mind, go through both pleasure and business with
equal inattention; neither enjoying the one, nor doing the other;
thinking themselves men of pleasure, because they were mingled with those
who were, and men of business, because they had business to do, though
they did not do it. Whatever you do, do it to the purpose; do it
thoroughly, not superficially. 'Approfondissez': go to the bottom of
things. Any thing half done or half known, is, in my mind, neither done
nor known at all. Nay worse, it often misleads. There is hardly any place
or any company, where you may not gain knowledge, if you please; almost
everybody knows some one thing, and is glad to talk upon that one thing.
Seek and you will find, in this world as well as in the next. See
everything; inquire into everything; and you may excuse your curiosity,
and the questions you ask which otherwise might be thought impertinent,
by your manner of asking them; for most things depend a great deal upon
the manner. As, for example, I AM AFRAID THAT I AM VERY TROUBLESOME WITH
that kind.

Now that you are in a Lutheran country, go to their churches, and observe
the manner of their public worship; attend to their ceremonies, and
inquire the meaning and intention of everyone of them. And, as you will
soon understand German well enough, attend to their sermons, and observe
their manner of preaching. Inform yourself of their church government:
whether it resides in the sovereign, or in consistories and synods.
Whence arises the maintenance of their clergy; whether from tithes, as in
England, or from voluntary contributions, or from pensions from the
state. Do the same thing when you are in Roman Catholic countries; go to
their churches, see all their ceremonies: ask the meaning of them, get
the terms explained to you. As, for instance, Prime, Tierce, Sexte,
Nones, Matins, Angelus, High Mass, Vespers, Complines, etc. Inform
yourself of their several religious orders, their founders, their rules,
their vows, their habits, their revenues, etc. But, when you frequent
places of public worship, as I would have you go to all the different
ones you meet with, remember, that however erroneous, they are none of
them objects of laughter and ridicule. Honest error is to be pitied, not
ridiculed. The object of all the public worships in the world is the
same; it is that great eternal Being who created everything. The
different manners of worship are by no means subjects of ridicule. Each
sect thinks its own is the best; and I know no infallible judge in this
world, to decide which is the best. Make the same inquiries, wherever you
are, concerning the revenues, the military establishment, the trade, the
commerce, and the police of every country. And you would do well to keep
a blank paper book, which the Germans call an ALBUM; and there, instead
of desiring, as they do, every fool they meet with to scribble something,
write down all these things as soon as they come to your knowledge from
good authorities.

I had almost forgotten one thing, which I would recommend as an object
for your curiosity and information, that is, the administration of
justice; which, as it is always carried on in open court, you may, and I
would have you, go and see it with attention and inquiry.

I have now but one anxiety left, which is concerning you. I would have
you be, what I know nobody is--perfect. As that is impossible, I would
have you as near perfection as possible. I know nobody in a fairer way
toward it than yourself, if you please. Never were so much pains taken
for anybody's education as for yours; and never had anybody those
opportunities of knowledge and improvement which you, have had, and still
have, I hope, I wish, I doubt, and fear alternately. This only I am sure
of, that you will prove either the greatest pain or the greatest pleasure
of, Yours.


BATH, February 22, O. S. 1748.

DEAR Boy: Every excellency, and every virtue, has its kindred vice or
weakness; and if carried beyond certain bounds, sinks into one or the
other. Generosity often runs into profusion, economy into avarice,
courage into rashness, caution into timidity, and so on:--insomuch that,
I believe, there is more judgment required, for the proper conduct of our
virtues, than for avoiding their opposite vices. 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. But
virtue is, in itself, so beautiful, that it charms us at first sight;
engages us more and more upon further acquaintance; and, as with other
beauties, we think excess impossible; it is here that judgment is
necessary, to moderate and direct the effects of an excellent cause. I
shall apply this reasoning, at present, not to any particular virtue, but
to an excellency, which, for want of judgment, is often the cause of
ridiculous and blamable effects; I mean, great learning; which, if not
accompanied with sound judgment, frequently carries us into error, pride,
and pedantry. As, I hope, you will possess that excellency in its utmost
extent, and yet without its too common failings, the hints, which my
experience can suggest, may probably not be useless to you.

Some learned men, proud of their knowledge, only speak to decide, and
give judgment without appeal; the consequence of which is, that mankind,
provoked by the insult, and injured by the oppression, revolt; and, in
order to shake off the tyranny, even call the lawful authority in
question. The more you know, the modester you should be: and (by the bye)
that modesty is the surest way of gratifying your vanity. Even where you
are sure, seem rather doubtful; represent, but do not pronounce, and, if
you would convince others, seem open to conviction yourself.

Others, to show their learning, or often from the prejudices of a school
education, where they hear of nothing else, are always talking of the
ancients, as something more than men, and of the moderns, as something
less. They are never without a classic or two in their pockets; they
stick to the old good sense; they read none of the modern trash; and will
show you, plainly, that no improvement has been made, in any one art or
science, these last seventeen hundred years. I would by no means have you
disown your acquaintance with the ancients: but still less would I have
you brag of an exclusive intimacy with them. Speak of the moderns without
contempt, and of the ancients without idolatry; judge them all by their
merits, but not by their ages; and if you happen to have an Elzevir
classic in your pocket neither show it nor mention it.

Some great scholars, most absurdly, draw all their maxims, both for
public and private life, from what they call parallel cases in the
ancient authors; without considering, that, in the first place, there
never were, since the creation of the world, two cases exactly parallel;
and, in the next place, that there never was a case stated, or even
known, by any historian, with every one of its circumstances; which,
however, ought to be known, in order to be reasoned from. Reason upon the
case itself, and the several circumstances that attend it, and act
accordingly; but not from the authority of ancient poets, or historians.
Take into your consideration, if you please, cases seemingly analogous;
but take them as helps only, not as guides. We are really so prejudiced
by our education, that, as the ancients deified their heroes, we deify
their madmen; of which, with all due regard for antiquity, I take
Leonidas and Curtius to have been two distinguished ones. And yet a solid
pedant would, in a speech in parliament, relative to a tax of two pence
in the pound upon some community or other, quote those two heroes, as
examples of what we ought to do and suffer for our country. I have known
these absurdities carried so far by people of injudicious learning, that
I should not be surprised, if some of them were to propose, while we are
at war with the Gauls, that a number of geese should be kept in the
Tower, upon account of the infinite advantage which Rome received IN A
PARALLEL CASE, from a certain number of geese in the Capitol. This way of
reasoning, and this way of speaking, will always form a poor politician,
and a puerile declaimer.

There is another species of learned men, who, though less dogmatical and
supercilious, are not less impertinent. These are the communicative and
shining pedants, who adorn their conversation, even with women, by happy
quotations of Greek and Latin; and who have contracted such a familiarity
with the Greek and Roman authors, that they, call them by certain names
or epithets denoting intimacy. As OLD Homer; that SLY ROGUE Horace; MARO,
instead of Virgil; and Naso, Instead of Ovid. These are often imitated by
coxcombs, who have no learning at all; but who have got some names and
some scraps of ancient authors by heart, which they improperly and
impertinently retail in all companies, in hopes of passing for scholars.
If, therefore, you would avoid the accusation of pedantry on one hand, or
the suspicion of ignorance on the other, abstain from learned
ostentation. Speak the language of the company that you are in; speak it
purely, and unlarded with any other. Never seem wiser, nor more learned,
than the people you are with. Wear your learning, like your watch, in a
private pocket: and do not pull it out and strike it; merely to show that
you have one. If you are asked what o'clock it is, tell it; but do not
proclaim it hourly and unasked, like the watchman.

Upon the whole, remember that learning (I mean Greek and Roman learning)
is a most useful and necessary ornament, which it is shameful not to be
master of; but, at the same time most carefully avoid those errors and
abuses which I have mentioned, and which too often attend it. Remember,
too, that great modern knowledge is still more necessary than ancient;
and that you had better know perfectly the present, than the old state of
Europe; though I would have you well acquainted with both.

I have this moment received your letter of the 17th, N. S. Though, I
confess, there is no great variety in your present manner of life, yet
materials can never be wanting for a letter; you see, you hear, or you
read something new every day; a short account of which, with your own
reflections thereupon, will make out a letter very well. But, since you
desire a subject, pray send me an account of the Lutheran establishment
in Germany; their religious tenets, their church government, the
maintenance, authority, and titles of their clergy.

'Vittorio Siri', complete, is a very scarce and very dear book here; but
I do not want it. If your own library grows too voluminous, you will not
know what to do with it, when you leave Leipsig. Your best way will be,
when you go away from thence, to send to England, by Hamburg, all the
books that you do not absolutely want.



BATH, March 1, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: By Mr. Harte's letter to Mr. Grevenkop, of the 21st February,
N. S., I find that you had been a great while without receiving any
letters from me; but by this time, I daresay you think you have received
enough, and possibly more than you have read; for I am not only a
frequent, but a prolix correspondent.

Mr. Harte says, in that letter, that he looks upon Professor Mascow to be
one of the ablest men in Europe, in treaty and political knowledge. I am
extremely glad of it; for that is what I would have you particularly
apply to, and make yourself perfect master of. The treaty part you must
chiefly acquire by reading the treaties themselves, and the histories and
memoirs relative to them; not but that inquiries and conversations upon
those treaties will help you greatly, and imprint them better in your
mind. In this course of reading, do not perplex yourself, at first, by
the multitude of insignificant treaties which are to be found in the
Corps Diplomatique; but stick to the material ones, which altered the
state of Europe, and made a new arrangement among the great powers; such
as the treaties of Munster, Nimeguen, Ryswick, and Utrecht.

But there is one part of political knowledge, which is only to be had by
inquiry and conversation; that is, the present state of every power in
Europe, with regard to the three important points, of strength, revenue,
and commerce. You will, therefore, do well, while you are in Germany, to
inform yourself carefully of the military force, the revenues, and the
commerce of every prince and state of the empire; and to write down those
informations in a little book, for that particular purpose. To give you a
specimen of what I mean:--


   The revenue is about L500,000 a year.

   The military establishment, in time of war, may be about 25,000 men;
   but that is the utmost.

   The trade is chiefly linens, exported from Stade.

   There are coarse woolen manufactures for home-consumption.

   The mines of Hartz produce about L100,000 in silver, annually.

Such informations you may very easily get, by proper inquiries, of every
state in Germany if you will but prefer useful to frivolous

There are many princes in Germany, who keep very few or no troops, unless
upon the approach of danger, or for the sake of profit, by letting them
out for subsidies, to great powers: In that case, you will inform
yourself what number of troops they could raise, either for their own
defense, or furnish to other powers for subsidies.

There is very little trouble, and an infinite use, in acquiring of this
knowledge. It seems to me even to be a more entertaining subject to talk
upon, than 'la pluie et le beau tens'.

Though I am sensible that these things cannot be known with the utmost
exactness, at least by you yet, you may, however, get so near the truth,
that the difference will be very immaterial.

Pray let me know if the Roman Catholic worship is tolerated in Saxony,
anywhere but at Court; and if public mass-houses are allowed anywhere
else in the electorate. Are the regular Romish clergy allowed; and have
they any convents?

Are there any military orders in Saxony, and what? Is the White Eagle a
Saxon or a Polish order? Upon what occasion, and when was it founded?
What number of knights?

Adieu! God bless you; and may you turn out what I wish!


BATH, March 9, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: I must from time to time, remind you of what I have often
recommended to you, and of what you cannot attend to too much; SACRIFICE
TO THE GRACES. The different effects of the same things, said or done,
when accompanied or abandoned by them, is almost inconceivable. They
prepare the way to the heart; and the heart has such an influence over
the understanding, that it is worth while to engage it in our interest.
It is the whole of women, who are guided by nothing else: and it has so
much to say, even with men, and the ablest men too, that it commonly
triumphs in every struggle with the understanding. Monsieur de
Rochefoucault, in his "Maxims," says, that 'l'esprit est souvent la dupe
du coeur.' If he had said, instead of 'souvent, tresque toujours', I fear
he would have been nearer the truth. This being the case, aim at the
heart. Intrinsic merit alone will not do; it will gain you the general
esteem of all; but not the particular affection, that is, the heart of
any. To engage the affections of any particular person, you must, over
and above your general merit, have some particular merit to that person
by services done, or offered; by expressions of regard and esteem; by
complaisance, attentions, etc., for him. And the graceful manner of doing
all these things opens the way to the heart, and facilitates, or rather
insures, their effects. From your own observation, reflect what a
disagreeable impression an awkward address, a slovenly figure, an
ungraceful manner of speaking, whether stuttering, muttering, monotony,
or drawling, an unattentive behavior, etc., make upon you, at first
sight, in a stranger, and how they prejudice you against him, though for
aught you know, he may have great intrinsic sense and merit. And reflect,
on the other hand, how much the opposites of all these things prepossess
you, at first sight, in favor of those who enjoy them. You wish to find
all good qualities in them, and are in some degree disappointed if you do
not. A thousand little things, not separately to be defined, conspire to
form these graces, this je ne sais quoi, that always please. A pretty
person, genteel motions, a proper degree of dress, an harmonious voice,
something open and cheerful in the countenance, but without laughing; a
distinct and properly varied manner of speaking: All these things, and
many others, are necessary ingredients in the composition of the pleasing
je ne sais quoi, which everybody feels, though nobody can describe.
Observe carefully, then, what displeases or pleases you in others, and be
persuaded, that in general; the same things will please or displease them
in you. Having mentioned laughing, I must particularly warn you against
it: and I could 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 in 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. True wit, or sense, never yet made anybody laugh; they are
above it: They please the mind, and give a cheerfulness to the
countenance. But it is low buffoonery, or silly accidents, that always
excite laughter; and that is what people of sense and breeding should
show themselves above. A man's going to sit down, in the supposition that
he has a chair behind him, and falling down upon his breech for want of
one, sets a whole company a laughing, when all the wit in the world would
not do it; a plain proof, in my mind, how low and unbecoming a thing
laughter is: not to mention the disagreeable noise that it makes, and the
shocking distortion of the face that it occasions. Laughter is easily
restrained, by a very little reflection; but as it is generally connected
with the idea of gaiety, people do not enough attend to its absurdity. 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. Many people,
at first, from awkwardness and 'mauvaise honte', have got a very
disagreeable and silly trick of laughing whenever they speak; and I know
a man of very good parts, Mr. Waller, who cannot say the commonest thing
without laughing; which makes those, who do not know him, take him at
first for a natural fool. This, and many other very disagreeable habits,
are owing to mauvaise honte at their first setting out in the world. They
are ashamed in company, and so disconcerted, that they do not know what
they do, and try a thousand tricks to keep themselves in countenance;
which tricks afterward grow habitual to them. Some put their fingers in
their nose, others scratch their heads, others twirl their hats; in
short, every awkward, ill-bred body has his trick. But the frequency does
not justify the thing, and all these vulgar habits and awkwardnesses,
though not criminal indeed, are most carefully to be guarded against, as
they are great bars in the way of the art of pleasing. Remember, that to
please is almost to prevail, or at least a necessary previous step to it.
You, who have your fortune to make, should more particularly study this
art. You had not, I must tell you, when you left England, 'les manieres
prevenantes'; and I must confess they are not very common in England; but
I hope that your good sense will make you acquire them abroad. If you
desire to make yourself considerable in the world (as, if you have any
spirit, you do), it must be entirely your own doing; for I may very
possibly be out of the world at the time you come into it. Your own rank
and fortune will not assist you; your merit and your manners can alone
raise you to figure and fortune. I have laid the foundations of them, by
the education which I have given you; but you must build the
superstructure yourself.

I must now apply to you for some informations, which I dare say you can,
and which I desire you will give me.

Can the Elector of Saxony put any of his subjects to death for high
treason, without bringing them first to their trial in some public court
of justice?

Can he, by his own authority, confine any subject in prison as long as he
pleases, without trial?

Can he banish any subject out of his dominions by his own authority?

Can he lay any tax whatsoever upon his subjects, without the consent of
the states of Saxony? and what are those states? how are they elected?
what orders do they consist of? Do the clergy make part of them? and
when, and how often do they meet?

If two subjects of the elector's are at law, for an estate situated in
the electorate, in what court must this suit be tried? and will the
decision of that court be final, or does there lie an appeal to the
imperial chamber at Wetzlaer?

What do you call the two chief courts, or two chief magistrates, of civil
and criminal justice?

What is the common revenue of the electorate, one year with another?

What number of troops does the elector now maintain? and what is the
greatest number that the electorate is able to maintain?

I do not expect to have all these questions answered at once; but you
will answer them, in proportion as you get the necessary and authentic

You are, you see, my German oracle; and I consult you with so much faith,
that you need not, like the oracles of old, return ambiguous answers;
especially as you have this advantage over them, too, that I only consult
you about past end present, but not about what is to come.

I wish you a good Easter-fair at Leipsig. See, with attention all the
shops, drolls, tumblers, rope-dancers, and 'hoc genus omne': but inform
yourself more particularly of the several parts of trade there. Adieu.


LONDON, March 25, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: I am in great joy at the written and the verbal accounts which
I have received lately of you.

The former, from Mr. Harte; the latter, from Mr. Trevanion, who is
arrived here: they conspire to convince me that you employ your time well
at Leipsig. I am glad to find you consult your own interest and your own
pleasure so much; for the knowledge which you will acquire in these two
years is equally necessary for both. I am likewise particularly pleased
to find that you turn yourself to that sort of knowledge which is more
peculiarly necessary for your destination: for Mr. Harte tells me you
have read, with attention, Caillieres, Pequet, and Richelieu's "Letters."
The "Memoirs" of the Cardinal de Retz will both entertain and instruct
you; they relate to a very interesting period of the French history, the
ministry of Cardinal Mazarin, during the minority of Lewis XIV. The
characters of all the considerable people of that time are drawn, in a
short, strong, and masterly manner; and the political reflections, which
are most of them printed in italics, are the justest that ever I met
with: they are not the labored reflections of a systematical closet
politician, who, without the least experience of business, sits at home
and writes maxims; but they are the reflections which a great and able
man formed from long experience and practice in great business. They are
true conclusions, drawn from facts, not from speculations.

As modern history is particularly your business, I will give you some
rules to direct your study of it. It begins, properly with Charlemagne,
in the year 800. But as, in those times of ignorance, the priests and
monks were almost the only people that could or did write, we have
scarcely any histories of those times but such as they have been pleased
to give us, which are compounds of ignorance, superstition, and party
zeal. So that a general notion of what is rather supposed, than really
known to be, the history of the five or six following centuries, seems to
be sufficient; and much time would be but ill employed in a minute
attention to those legends. But reserve your utmost care, and most
diligent inquiries, from the fifteenth century, and downward. Then
learning began to revive, and credible histories to be written; Europe
began to take the form, which, to some degree, it still retains: at least
the foundations of the present great powers of Europe were then laid.
Lewis the Eleventh made France, in truth, a monarchy, or, as he used to
say himself, 'la mit hors de Page'. Before his time, there were
independent provinces in France, as the Duchy of Brittany, etc., whose
princes tore it to pieces, and kept it in constant domestic confusion.
Lewis the Eleventh reduced all these petty states, by fraud, force, or
marriage; for he scrupled no means to obtain his ends.

About that time, Ferdinand King of Aragon, and Isabella his wife, Queen
of Castile, united the whole Spanish monarchy, and drove the Moors out of
Spain, who had till then kept position of Granada. About that time, too,
the house of Austria laid the great foundations of its subsequent power;
first, by the marriage of Maximilian with the heiress of Burgundy; and
then, by the marriage of his son Philip, Archduke of Austria, with Jane,
the daughter of Isabella, Queen of Spain, and heiress of that whole
kingdom, and of the West Indies. By the first of these marriages, the
house of Austria acquired the seventeen provinces, and by the latter,
Spain and America; all which centered in the person of Charles the Fifth,
son of the above-mentioned Archduke Philip, the son of Maximilian. It was
upon account of these two marriages, that the following Latin distich was

        Bella gerant alii, Tu felix Austria nube;
        Nam qua, Mars aliis; dat tibi regna Venus.

This immense power, which the Emperor Charles the Fifth found himself
possessed of, gave him a desire for universal power (for people never
desire all till they have gotten a great deal), and alarmed France; this
sowed the seeds of that jealousy and enmity, which have flourished ever
since between those two great powers. Afterward the House of Austria was
weakened by the division made by Charles the Fifth of his dominions,
between his son, Philip the Second of Spain, and his brother Ferdinand;
and has ever since been dwindling to the weak condition in which it now
is. This is a most interesting part of the history of Europe, of which it
is absolutely necessary that you should be exactly and minutely informed.

There are in the history of most countries, certain very remarkable eras,
which deserve more particular inquiry and attention than the common run
of history. Such is the revolt of the Seventeen Provinces, in the reign
of Philip the Second of Spain, which ended in forming the present
republic of the Seven United Provinces, whose independency was first
allowed by Spain at the treaty of Munster. Such was the extraordinary
revolution of Portugal, in the year 1640, in favor of the present House
of Braganza. Such is the famous revolution of Sweden, when Christian the
Second of Denmark, who was also king of Sweden, was driven out by
Gustavus Vasa. And such also is that memorable era in Denmark, of 1660;
when the states of that kingdom made a voluntary surrender of all their
rights and liberties to the Crown, and changed that free state into the
most absolute monarchy now in Europe. The Acta Regis, upon that occasion,
are worth your perusing. These remarkable periods of modern history
deserve your particular attention, and most of them have been treated
singly by good historians, which are worth your reading. The revolutions
of Sweden, and of Portugal, are most admirably well written by L'Abbe de
Vertot; they are short, and will not take twelve hours' reading. There is
another book which very well deserves your looking into, but not worth
your buying at present, because it is not portable; if you can borrow or
hire it, you should; and that is, 'L' Histoire des Traits de Paix, in two
volumes, folio, which make part of the 'Corps Diplomatique'. You will
there find a short and clear history, and the substance of every treaty
made in Europe, during the last century, from the treaty of Vervins.
Three parts in four of this book are not worth your reading, as they
relate to treaties of very little importance; but if you select the most
considerable ones, read them with attention, and take some notes, it will
be of great use to you. Attend chiefly to those in which the great powers
of Europe are the parties; such as the treaty of the Pyrenees, between
France and Spain; the treaties of Nimeguen and Ryswick; but, above all,
the treaty of Munster should be most circumstantially and minutely known
to you, as almost every treaty made since has some reference to it. For
this, Pere Bougeant is the best book you can read, as it takes in the
thirty years' war, which preceded that treaty. The treaty itself, which
is made a perpetual law of the empire, comes in the course of your
lectures upon the 'Jus Publicum Imperii'.

In order to furnish you with materials for a letter, and at the same time
to inform both you and myself of what it is right that we should know,
pray answer me the following questions:

How many companies are there in the Saxon regiments of foot? How many men
in each company?

How many troops in the regiments of horse and dragoons; and how many men
in each?

What number of commissioned and non-commissioned officers in a company of
foot, or in a troop of horse or dragoons? N. B. Noncommissioned officers
are all those below ensigns and cornets.

What is the daily pay of a Saxon foot soldier, dragoon, and trooper?

What are the several ranks of the 'Etat Major-general'? N. B. The Etat
Major-general is everything above colonel. The Austrians have no
brigadiers, and the French have no major-generals in their Etat Major.
What have the Saxons? Adieu!


LONDON, March 27, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: This little packet will be delivered to you by one Monsieur
Duval, who is going to the fair at Leipsig. He is a jeweler, originally
of Geneva, but who has been settled here these eight or ten years, and a
very sensible fellow: pray do be very civil to him.

As I advised you, some time ago, to inform yourself of the civil and
military establishments of as many of the kingdoms and states of Europe,
as you should either be in yourself, or be able to get authentic accounts
of, I send you here a little book, in which, upon the article of Hanover,
I have pointed out the short method of putting down these informations,
by way of helping your memory. The book being lettered, you can
immediately turn to whatever article you want; and, by adding interleaves
to each letter, may extend your minutes to what particulars you please.
You may get such books made anywhere; and appropriate each, if you
please, to a particular object. I have myself found great utility in this
method. If I had known what to have sent you by this opportunity I would
have done it. The French say, 'Que les petits presens entretiennent
l'amite et que les grande l'augmentent'; but I could not recollect that
you wanted anything, or at least anything that you cannot get as well at
Leipsig as here. Do but continue to deserve, and, I assure you, that you
shall never want anything I can give.

Do not apprehend that my being out of employment may be any prejudice to
you. Many things will happen before you can be fit for business; and when
you are fit, whatever my situation may be, it will always be in my power
to help you in your first steps; afterward you must help yourself by your
own abilities. Make yourself necessary, and, instead of soliciting, you
will be solicited. The thorough knowledge of foreign affairs, the
interests, the views, and the manners of the several courts in Europe,
are not the common growth of this country. It is in your power to acquire
them; you have all the means. Adieu!  Yours.



LONDON, April 1, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: I have not received any letter, either from you or from Mr.
Harte, these three posts, which I impute wholly to accidents between this
place and Leipsig; and they are distant enough to admit of many. I always
take it for granted that you are well, when I do not hear to the
contrary; besides, as I have often told you, I am much more anxious about
your doing well, than about your being well; and, when you do not write,
I will suppose that you are doing something more useful. Your health will
continue, while your temperance continues; and at your age nature takes
sufficient care of the body, provided she is left to herself, and that
intemperance on one hand, or medicines on the other, do not break in upon
her. But it is by no means so with the mind, which, at your age
particularly, requires great and constant care, and some physic. Every
quarter of an hour, well or ill employed, will do it essential and
lasting good or harm. It requires also a great deal of exercise, to bring
it to a state of health and vigor. Observe the difference there is
between minds cultivated, and minds uncultivated, and you will, I am
sure, think that you cannot take too much pains, nor employ too much of
your time in the culture of your own. A drayman is probably born with as
good organs as Milton, Locke, or Newton; but, by culture, they are as
much more above him as he is above his horse. Sometimes, indeed,
extraordinary geniuses have broken out by the force of nature, without
the assistance of education; but those instances are too rare for anybody
to trust to; and even they would make a much greater figure, if they had
the advantage of education into the bargain. If Shakespeare's genius had
been cultivated, those beauties, which we so justly admire in him, would
have been undisgraced by those extravagancies, and that nonsense, with
which they are frequently accompanied. People are, in general, what they
are made, by education and company, from fifteen to five-and-twenty;
consider well, therefore, the importance of your next eight or nine
years; your whole depends upon them. I will tell you sincerely, my hopes
and my fears concerning you. I think you will be a good scholar; and that
you will acquire a considerable stock of knowledge of various kinds; but
I fear that you neglect what are called little, though, in truth, they
are very material things; I mean, a gentleness of manners, an engaging
address, and an insinuating behavior; they are real and solid advantages,
and none but those who do not know the world, treat them as trifles. I am
told that you speak very quick, and not distinctly; this is a most
ungraceful and disagreeable trick, which you know I have told you of a
thousand times; pray attend carefully to the correction of it. An
agreeable and, distinct manner of speaking adds greatly to the matter;
and I have known many a very good speech unregarded, upon account of the
disagreeable manner in which it has been delivered, and many an
indifferent one applauded, from the contrary reason. Adieu!


LONDON, April 15, O. S. 1748

DEAR BOY: Though I have no letters from you to acknowledge since my last
to you, I will not let three posts go from hence without a letter from
me. My affection always prompts me to write to you; and I am encouraged
to do it, by the hopes that my letters are not quite useless. You will
probably receive this in the midst of the diversions of Leipsig fair; at
which, Mr. Harte tells me, that you are to shine in fine clothes, among
fine folks. I am very glad of it, as it is time that you should begin to
be formed to the manners of the world in higher life. Courts are the best
schools for that sort of learning. You are beginning now with the outside
of a court; and there is not a more gaudy one than that of Saxony. Attend
to it, and make your observations upon the turn and manners of it, that
you may hereafter compare it with other courts which you will see; And,
though you are not yet able to be informed, or to judge of the political
conduct and maxims of that court, yet you may remark the forms, the
ceremonies, and the exterior state of it. At least see everything that
you can see, and know everything that you can know of it, by asking
questions. See likewise everything at the fair, from operas and plays,
down to the Savoyard's raree-shows.

Everything is worth seeing once; and the more one sees, the less one
either wonders or admires.

Make my compliments to Mr. Harte, and tell him that I have just now
received his letter, for which I thank him. I am called away, and my
letter is therefore very much shortened. Adieu.

I am impatient to receive your answers to the many questions that I have
asked you.


LONDON, April 26, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: I am extremely pleased with your continuation of the history of
the Reformation; which is one of those important eras that deserves your
utmost attention, and of which you cannot be too minutely informed. You
have, doubtless, considered the causes of that great event, and observed
that disappointment and resentment had a much greater share in it, than a
religious zeal or an abhorrence of the errors and abuses of popery.

Luther, an Augustine monk, enraged that his order, and consequently
himself, had not the exclusive privilege of selling indulgences, but that
the Dominicans were let into a share of that profitable but infamous
trade, turns reformer, and exclaims against the abuses, the corruption,
and the idolatry, of the church of Rome; which were certainly gross
enough for him to have seen long before, but which he had at least
acquiesced in, till what he called the rights, that is, the profit, of
his order came to be touched. It is true, the church of Rome furnished
him ample matter for complaint and reformation, and he laid hold of it

This seems to me the true cause of that great and necessary, work; but
whatever the cause was, the effect was good; and the Reformation spread
itself by its own truth and fitness; was conscientiously received by
great numbers in Germany, and other countries; and was soon afterward
mixed up with the politics of princes; and, as it always happens in
religious disputes, became the specious covering of injustice and

Under the pretense of crushing heresy, as it was called, the House of
Austria meant to extend and establish its power in the empire; as, on the
other hand, many Protestant princes, under the pretense of extirpating
idolatry, or at least of securing toleration, meant only to enlarge their
own dominions or privileges. These views respectively, among the chiefs
on both sides, much more than true religious motives, continued what were
called the religious wars in Germany, almost uninterruptedly, till the
affairs of the two religions were finally settled by the treaty of

Were most historical events traced up to their true causes, I fear we
should not find them much more noble or disinterested than Luther's
disappointed avarice; and therefore I look with some contempt upon those
refining and sagacious historians, who ascribe all, even the most common
events, to some deep political cause; whereas mankind is made up of
inconsistencies, and no man acts invariably up to his predominant
character. The wisest man sometimes acts weakly, and the weakest
sometimes wisely. Our jarring passions, our variable humors, nay, our
greater or lesser degree of health and spirits, produce such
contradictions in our conduct, that, I believe, those are the oftenest
mistaken, who ascribe our actions to the most seemingly obvious motives;
and I am convinced, that a light supper, a good night's sleep, and a fine
morning, have sometimes made a hero of the same man, who, by an
indigestion, a restless night, and rainy morning, would, have proved a
coward. Our best conjectures, therefore, as to the true springs of
actions, are but very uncertain; and the actions themselves are all that
we must pretend to know from history. That Caesar was murdered by
twenty-three conspirators, I make no doubt: but I very much doubt that
their love of liberty, and of their country, was their sole, or even
principal motive; and I dare say that, if the truth were known, we should
find that many other motives at least concurred, even in the great Brutus
himself; such as pride, envy, personal pique, and disappointment. Nay, I
cannot help carrying my Pyrrhonism still further, and extending it often
to historical facts themselves, at least to most of the circumstances
with which they are related; and every day's experience confirms me in
this historical incredulity. Do we ever hear the most recent fact related
exactly in the same way, by the several people who were at the same time
eyewitnesses of it? No. One mistakes, another misrepresents, and others
warp it a little to their own, turn of mind, or private views. A man who
has been concerned in a transaction will not write it fairly; and a man
who has not, cannot. But notwithstanding all this uncertainty, history is
not the less necessary to be known, as the best histories are taken for
granted, and are the frequent subjects both of conversation and writing.
Though I am convinced that Caesar's ghost never appeared to Brutus, yet I
should be much ashamed to be ignorant of that fact, as related by the
historians of those times. Thus the Pagan theology is universally
received as matter for writing and conversation, though believed now by
nobody; and we talk of Jupiter, Mars, Apollo, etc., as gods, though we
know, that if they ever existed at all, it was only as mere mortal men.
This historical Pyrrhonism, then, proves nothing against the study and
knowledge of history; which, of all other studies, is the most necessary
for a man who is to live in the world. It only points out to us, not to
be too decisive and peremptory; and to be cautious how we draw inferences
for our own practice from remote facts, partially or ignorantly related;
of which we can, at best, but imperfectly guess, and certainly not know
the real motives. The testimonies of ancient history must necessarily be
weaker than those of modern, as all testimony grows weaker and weaker, as
it is more and more remote from us. I would therefore advise you to study
ancient history, in general, as other people, do; that is, not to be
ignorant of any or those facts which are universally received, upon the
faith of the best historians; and whether true or false, you have them as
other people have them. But modern history, I mean particularly that of
the last three centuries, is what I would have you apply to with the
greatest attention and exactness. There the probability of coming at the
truth is much greater, as the testimonies are much more recent; besides,
anecdotes, memoirs, and original letters, often come to the aid of modern
history. The best memoirs that I know of are those of Cardinal de Retz,
which I have once before recommended to you; and which I advise you to
read more than once, with attention. There are many political maxims in
these memoirs, most of which are printed in italics; pray attend to, and
remember them. I never read them but my own experience confirms the truth
of them. Many of them seem trifling to people who are not used to
business; but those who are, feel the truth of them.

It is time to put an end to this long rambling letter; in which if any
one thing can be of use to you, it will more than pay the trouble I have
taken to write it. Adieu! Yours.


LONDON, May 10, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: I reckon that this letter will find you just returned from
Dresden, where you have made your first court caravanne. What inclination
for courts this taste of them may have given you, I cannot tell; but this
I think myself sure of, from your good sense, that in leaving Dresden,
you have left dissipation too; and have resumed at Leipsig that
application which, if you like courts, can alone enable you to make a
good figure at them. A mere courtier, without parts or knowledge, is the
most frivolous and contemptible of all beings; as, on the other hand, a
man of parts and knowledge, who acquires the easy and noble manners of a
court, is the most perfect. It is a trite, commonplace observation, that
courts are the seats of falsehood and dissimulation. That, like many, I
might say most, commonplace observations, is false. Falsehood and
dissimulation are certainly to be found at courts; but where are they not
to be found? Cottages have them, as well as courts; only with worse
manners. A couple of neighboring farmers in a village will contrive and
practice as many tricks, to over-reach each other at the next market, or
to supplant each other in the favor, of the squire, as any two courtiers
can do to supplant each other in the favor of their prince.

Whatever poets may write, or fools believe, of rural innocence and truth,
and of the perfidy of courts, this is most undoubtedly true that
shepherds and ministers are both men; their nature and passions the same,
the modes of them only different.

Having mentioned commonplace observations, I will particularly caution
you against either using, believing, or approving them. They are the
common topics of witlings and coxcombs; those, who really have wit, have
the utmost contempt for them, and scorn even to laugh at the pert things
that those would-be wits say upon such subjects.

Religion is one of their favorite topics; it is all priest-craft; and an
invention contrived and carried on by priests of all religions, for their
own power and profit; from this absurd and false principle flow the
commonplace, insipid jokes, and insults upon the clergy. With these
people, every priest, of every religion, is either a public or a
concealed unbeliever, drunkard, and whoremaster; whereas, I conceive,
that priests are extremely like other men, and neither the better nor the
worse for wearing a gown or a surplice: but if they are different from
other people, probably it is rather on the side of religion and morality,
or, at least, decency, from their education and manner of life.

Another common topic for false wit, and cool raillery, is matrimony.
Every man and his wife hate each other cordially, whatever they may
pretend, in public, to the contrary. The husband certainly wishes his
wife at the devil, and the wife certainly cuckolds her husband. Whereas,
I presume, that men and their wives neither love nor hate each other the
more, upon account of the form of matrimony which has been said over
them. The cohabitation, indeed, which is the consequence of matrimony,
makes them either love or hate more, accordingly as they respectively
deserve it; but that would be exactly the same between any man and woman
who lived together without being married.

These and many other commonplace reflections upon nations or professions
in general (which are at least as often false as true), are the poor
refuge of people who have neither wit nor invention of their own, but
endeavor to shine in company by second-hand finery. I always put these
pert jackanapes out of countenance, by looking extremely grave, when they
expect that I should laugh at their pleasantries; and by saying WELL, AND
SO, as if they had not done, and that the sting were still to come. This
disconcerts them, as they have no resources in themselves, and have but
one set of jokes to live upon. Men of parts are not reduced to these
shifts, and have the utmost contempt for them, they find proper subjects
enough for either useful or lively conversations; they can be witty
without satire or commonplace, and serious without being dull. The
frequentation of courts checks this petulancy of manners; the
good-breeding and circumspection which are necessary, and only to be
learned there, correct those pertnesses. I do not doubt but that you are
improved in your manners by the short visit which you have made at
Dresden; and the other courts, which I intend that you shall be better
acquainted with, will gradually smooth you up to the highest polish. In
courts, a versatility of genius and softness of manners are absolutely
necessary; which some people mistake for abject flattery, and having no
opinion of one's own; whereas it is only the decent and genteel manner of
maintaining your own opinion, and possibly of bringing other people to
it. The manner of doing things is often more important than the things
themselves; and the very same thing may become either pleasing or
offensive, by the manner of saying or doing it. 'Materiam superabat
opus', is often said of works of sculpture; where though the materials
were valuable, as silver, gold, etc., the workmanship was still more so.
This holds true, applied to manners; which adorn whatever knowledge or
parts people may have; and even make a greater impression upon nine in
ten of mankind, than the intrinsic value of the materials. On the other
hand, remember, that what Horace says of good writing is justly
applicable to those who would make a good figure in courts, and
distinguish themselves in the shining parts of life; 'Sapere est
principium et fons'. A man who, without a good fund of knowledge and
parts, adopts a court life, makes the most ridiculous figure imaginable.
He is a machine, little superior to the court clock; and, as this points
out the hours, he points out the frivolous employment of them. He is, at
most, a comment upon the clock; and according to the hours that it
strikes, tells you now it is levee, now dinner, now supper time, etc. The
end which I propose by your education, and which (IF YOU PLEASE) I shall
certainly attain, is to unite in you all the knowledge of a scholar with
the manners of a courtier; and to join, what is seldom joined by any of
my countrymen, books and the world. They are commonly twenty years old
before they have spoken to anybody above their schoolmaster, and the
fellows of their college. If they happen to have learning, it is only
Greek and Latin, but not one word of modern history, or modern languages.
Thus prepared, they go abroad, as they call it; but, in truth, they stay
at home all that while; for being very awkward, confoundedly ashamed, and
not speaking the languages, they go into no foreign company, at least
none good; but dine and sup with one another only at the tavern. Such
examples, I am sure, you will not imitate, but even carefully avoid. You
will always take care to keep the best company in the place where you
are, which is the only use of traveling: and (by the way) the pleasures
of a gentleman are only to be found in the best company; for that not
which low company, most falsely and impudently, call pleasure, is only
the sensuality of a swine.

I ask hard and uninterrupted study from you but one year more; after
that, you shall have every day more and more time for your amusements. A
few hours each day will then be sufficient for application, and the
others cannot be better employed than in the pleasures of good company.


LONDON, May 31, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: I received yesterday your letter of the 16th, N. S., and have,
in consequence of it, written this day to Sir Charles Williams, to thank
him for all the civilities he has shown you. Your first setting out at
court has, I find, been very favorable; and his Polish Majesty has
distinguished you. I hope you received that mark of distinction with
respect and with steadiness, which is the proper behavior of a man of
fashion. People of a low, obscure education cannot stand the rays of
greatness; they are frightened out of their wits when kings and great men
speak to them; they are awkward, ashamed, and do not know what nor how to
answer; whereas, 'les honnetes gens' are not dazzled by superior rank:
they know, and pay all the respect that is due to it; but they do it
without being disconcerted; and can converse just as easily with a king
as with any one of his subjects. That is the great advantage of being
introduced young into good company, and being used early to converse with
one's superiors. How many men have I seen here, who, after having had the
full benefit of an English education, first at school, and then at the
university, when they have been presented to the king, did not know
whether they stood upon their heads or their heels! If the king spoke to
them, they were annihilated; they trembled, endeavored to put their hands
in their pockets, and missed them; let their hats fall, and were ashamed
to take them up; and in short, put themselves in every attitude but the
right, that is, the easy and natural one. The characteristic of a
well-bred man, is to converse with his inferiors without insolence, and
with his superiors with respect and ease. He talks to kings without
concern; he trifles with women of the first condition with familiarity,
gayety, but respect; and converses with his equals, whether he is
acquainted with them or not, upon general common topics, that are not,
however, quite frivolous, without the least concern of mind or
awkwardness of body: neither of which can appear to advantage, but when
they are perfectly easy.

The tea-things, which Sir Charles Williams has given you, I would have
you make a present of to your Mamma, and send them to her by Duval when
he returns. You owe her not only duty, but likewise great obligations for
her care and tenderness; and, consequently, cannot take too many
opportunities of showing your gratitude.

I am impatient to receive your account of Dresden, and likewise your
answers to the many questions that I asked you.

Adieu for this time, and God bless you!


LONDON, May 27, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: This and the two next years make so important a period of your
life, that I cannot help repeating to you my exhortations, my commands,
and (what I hope will be still more prevailing with you than either) my
earnest entreaties, to employ them well. Every moment that you now lose,
is so much character and advantage lost; as, on the other hand, every
moment that you now employ usefully, is so much time wisely laid out, at
most prodigious interest. These two years must lay the foundations of all
the knowledge that you will ever have; you may build upon them afterward
as much as you please, but it will be too late to lay any new ones. Let
me beg of you, therefore, to grudge no labor nor pains to acquire, in
time, that stock of knowledge, without which you never can rise, but must
make a very insignificant figure in the world. Consider your own
situation; you have not the advantage of rank or fortune to bear you up;
I shall, very probably, be out of the world before you can properly be
said to be in it. What then will you have to rely on but your own merit?
That alone must raise you, and that alone will raise you, if you have but
enough of it. I have often heard and read of oppressed and unrewarded
merit, but I have oftener (I might say always) seen great merit make its
way, and meet with its reward, to a certain degree at least, in spite of
all difficulties. By merit, I mean the moral virtues, knowledge, and
manners; as to the moral virtues, I say nothing to you; they speak best
for themselves, nor can I suspect that they want any recommendation with
you; I will therefore only assure you, that without them you will be most

As to knowledge, I have often told you, and I am persuaded you are
thoroughly convinced, how absolutely necessary it is to you, whatever
your destination may be. But as knowledge has a most extensive meaning,
and as the life of man is not long enough to acquire, nor his mind
capable of entertaining and digesting, all parts of knowledge, I will
point out those to which you should particularly apply, and which, by
application, you may make yourself perfect master of. Classical
knowledge, that is, Greek and Latin, is absolutely necessary for
everybody; because everybody has agreed to think and to call it so. And
the word ILLITERATE, in its common acceptation, means a man who is
ignorant of those two languages. You are by this time, I hope, pretty
near master of both, so that a small part of the day dedicated to them,
for two years more, will make you perfect in that study. Rhetoric, logic,
a little geometry, and a general notion of astronomy, must, in their
turns, have their hours too; not that I desire you should be deep in any
one of these; but it is fit you should know something of them all. The
knowledge more particularly useful and necessary for you, considering
your destination, consists of modern languages, modern history,
chronology, and geography, the laws of nations, and the 'jus publicum
Imperii'. You must absolutely speak all the modern Languages, as purely
and correctly as the natives of the respective countries: for whoever
does not speak a language perfectly and easily, will never appear to
advantage in conversation, nor treat with others in it upon equal terms.
As for French, you have it very well already; and must necessarily, from
the universal usage of that language, know it better and better every
day: so that I am in no pain about that: German, I suppose, you know
pretty well by this time, and will be quite master of it before you leave
Leipsig: at least, I am sure you may. Italian and Spanish will come in
their turns, and, indeed, they are both so easy, to one who knows Latin
and French, that neither of them will cost you much time or trouble.
Modern history, by which I mean particularly the history of the last
three centuries, should be the object of your greatest and constant
attention, especially those parts of it which relate more immediately to
the great powers of Europe. This study you will carefully connect with
chronology and geography; that is, you will remark and retain the dates
of every important event; and always read with the map by you, in which
you will constantly look for every place mentioned: this is the only way
of retaining geography; for, though it is soon learned by the lump, yet,
when only so learned, it is still sooner forgot.

Manners, though the last, and it may be the least ingredient of real
merit, are, however, very far from being useless in its composition; they
adorn, and give an additional force and luster to both virtue and
knowledge. They prepare and smooth the way for the progress of both; and
are, I fear, with the bulk of mankind, more engaging than either.
Remember, then, the infinite advantage of manners; cultivate and improve
your own to the utmost good sense will suggest the great rules to you,
good company will do the rest. Thus you see how much you have to do; and
how little time to do it in: for when you are thrown out into the world,
as in a couple of years you must be, the unavoidable dissipation of
company, and the necessary avocations of some kind of business or other,
will leave you no time to undertake new branches of knowledge: you may,
indeed, by a prudent allotment of your time, reserve some to complete and
finish the building; but you will never find enough to lay new
foundations. I have such an opinion of your understanding, that I am
convinced you are sensible of these truths; and that, however hard and
laborious your present uninterrupted application may seem to you, you
will rather increase than lessen it. For God's sake, my dear boy, do not
squander away one moment of your time, for every moment may be now most
usefully employed. Your future fortune, character, and figure in the
world, entirely depend upon your use or abuse of the two next years. If
you do but employ them well, what may you not reasonably expect to be, in
time? And if you do not, what may I not reasonably fear you will be? You
are the only one I ever knew, of this country, whose education was, from
the beginning, calculated for the department of foreign affairs; in
consequence of which, if you will invariably pursue, and diligently
qualify yourself for that object, you may make yourself absolutely
necessary to the government, and, after having received orders as a
minister abroad, send orders, in your turn, as Secretary of State at
home. Most of our ministers abroad have taken up that department
occasionally, without having ever thought of foreign affairs before; many
of them, without speaking any one foreign language; and all of them
without manners which are absolutely necessary toward being well
received, and making a figure at foreign courts. They do the business
accordingly, that is, very ill: they never get into the secrets of these
courts, for want of insinuation and address: they do not guess at their
views, for want of knowing their interests: and, at last, finding
themselves very unfit for, soon grow weary of their commissions, and are
impatient to return home, where they are but too justly laid aside and
neglected. Every moment's conversation may, if you please, be of use to
you; in this view, every public event, which is the common topic of
conversation, gives you an opportunity of getting some information. For
example, the preliminaries of peace, lately concluded at Aix-la-Chapelle,
will be the common subject of most conversations; in which you will take
care to ask the proper questions: as, what is the meaning of the Assiento
contract for negroes, between England and Spain; what the annual ship;
when stipulated; upon what account suspended, etc. You will likewise
inform yourself about Guastalla, now given to Don Philip, together with
Parma and Placentia; who they belonged to before; what claim or
pretensions Don Philip had to them; what they are worth; in short,
everything concerning them. The cessions made by the Queen of Hungary to
the King of Sardinia, are, by these preliminaries, confirmed and secured
to him: you will inquire, therefore, what they are, and what they are
worth. This is the kind of knowledge which you should be most thoroughly
master of, and in which conversation will help you almost as much as
books: but both are best. There are histories of every considerable
treaty, from that of Westphalia to that of Utrecht, inclusively; all
which I would advise you to read. Pore Bougeant's, of the treaty of
Westphalia, is an excellent one; those of Nimeguen, Ryswick, and Utrecht,
are not so well written; but are, however, very useful. 'L'Histoire des
Traites de Paix', in two volumes, folio, which I recommended to you some
time ago, is a book that you should often consult, when you hear mention
made of any treaty concluded in the seventeenth century.

Upon the whole, if you have a mind to be considerable, and to shine
hereafter, you must labor hard now. No quickness of parts, no vivacity,
will do long, or go far, without a solid fund of knowledge; and that fund
of knowledge will amply repay all the pains that you can take in
acquiring it. Reflect seriously, within yourself, upon all this, and ask
yourself whether I can have any view, but your interest, in all that I
recommend to you. It is the result of my experience, and flows from that
tenderness and affection with which, while you deserve them, I shall be,

Make my compliments to Mr. Harte, and tell him that I have received his
letter of the 24th, N. S.


LONDON, May 31, O. S. 1748

DEAR BOY: I have received, with great satisfaction, your letter of the
28th N. S., from Dresden: it finishes your short but clear account of the
Reformation which is one of those interesting periods of modern history,
that can not be too much studied nor too minutely known by you. There are
many great events in history, which, when once they are over, leave
things in the situation in which they found them. As, for instance, the
late war; which, excepting the establishment in Italy for Don Philip,
leave things pretty much in state quo; a mutual restitution of all
acquisitions being stipulated by the preliminaries of the peace. Such
events undoubtedly deserve your notice, but yet not so minutely as those,
which are not only important in themselves, but equally (or it may be
more) important by their consequences too: of this latter sort were the
progress of the Christian religion in Europe; the Invasion of the Goths;
the division of the Roman empire into Western and Eastern; the
establishment and rapid progress of Mahometanism; and, lastly, the
Reformation; all which events produced the greatest changes in the
affairs of Europe, and to one or other of which, the present situation of
all the parts of it is to be traced up.

Next to these, are those events which more immediately effect particular
states and kingdoms, and which are reckoned entirely local, though their
influence may, and indeed very often does, indirectly, extend itself
further, such as civil wars and revolutions, from which a total change in
the form of government frequently flows. The civil wars in England, in
the reign of King Charles I., produced an entire change of the government
here, from a limited monarchy to a commonwealth, at first, and afterward
to absolute power, usurped by Cromwell, under the pretense of protection,
and the title of Protector.

The Revolution in 1688, instead of changing, preserved one form of
government; which King James II. intended to subvert, and establish
absolute power in the Crown.

These are the two great epochs in our English history, which I recommend
to your particular attention.

The league formed by the House of Guise, and fomented by the artifices of
Spain, is a most material part of the history of France. The foundation
of it was laid in the reign of Henry II., but the superstructure was
carried on through the successive reigns of Francis II., Charles IX. and
Henry III., till at last it was crushed, partly, by the arms, but more by
the apostasy of Henry IV.

In Germany, great events have been frequent, by which the imperial
dignity has always either gotten or lost; and so it they have affected
the constitution of the empire. The House of Austria kept that dignity to
itself for near two hundred years, during which time it was always
attempting extend its power, by encroaching upon the rights and
privileges of the other states of the empire; till at the end of the
bellum tricennale, the treaty of Munster, of which France is guarantee,
fixed the respective claims.

Italy has been constantly torn to pieces, from the time of the Goths, by
the Popes and the Anti-popes, severally supported by other great powers
of Europe, more as their interests than as their religion led them; by
the pretensions also of France, and the House of Austria, upon Naples,
Sicily, and the Milanese; not to mention the various lesser causes of
squabbles there, for the little states, such as Ferrara, Parma,
Montserrat, etc.

The Popes, till lately, have always taken a considerable part, and had
great influence in the affairs of Europe; their excommunications, bulls,
and indulgences, stood instead of armies in the time of ignorance and
bigotry; but now that mankind is better informed, the spiritual authority
of the Pope is not only less regarded, but even despised by the Catholic
princes themselves; and his Holiness is actually little more than Bishop
of Rome, with large temporalities, which he is not likely to keep longer
than till the other greater powers in Italy shall find their conveniency
in taking them from him. Among the modern Popes, Leo the Tenth, Alexander
the Sixth, and Sextus Quintus, deserve your particular notice; the first,
among other things, for his own learning and taste, and for his
encouragement of the reviving arts and sciences in Italy. Under his
protection, the Greek and Latin classics were most excellently translated
into Italian; painting flourished and arrived at its perfection; and
sculpture came so near the ancients, that the works of his time, both in
marble and bronze, are now called Antico-Moderno.

Alexander the Sixth, together with his natural son Caesar Borgia, was
famous for his wickedness, in which he, and his son too, surpassed all
imagination. Their lives are well worth your reading. They were poisoned
themselves by the poisoned wine which they had prepared for others; the
father died of it, but Caesar recovered.

Sixtus the Fifth was the son of a swineherd, and raised himself to the
popedom by his abilities: he was a great knave, but an able and singular

Here is history enough for to-day: you shall have some more soon. Adieu.


LONDON, June 21, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: Your very bad enunciation runs so much in my head, and gives me
such real concern, that it will be the subject of this, and, I believe,
of many more letters. I congratulate both you and myself, that, was
informed of it (as I hope) in time to prevent it: and shall ever think
myself, as hereafter you will, I am sure think yourself, infinitely
obliged to Sir Charles Williams for informing me of it. Good God! if this
ungraceful and disagreeable manner of speaking had, either by your
negligence or mine, become habitual to you, as in a couple of years more
it would have been, what a figure would you have made in company, or in a
public assembly? Who would have liked you in the one or attended you; in
the other? Read what Cicero and Quintilian say of enunciation, and see
what a stress they lay upon the gracefulness of it; nay, Cicero goes
further, and even maintains, that a good figure is necessary for an
orator; and particularly that he must not be vastus, that is, overgrown
and clumsy. He shows by it that he knew mankind well, and knew the powers
of an agreeable figure and a graceful, manner. Men, as well as women, are
much oftener led by their hearts than by their understandings. The way to
the heart is through the senses; please their eyes and their ears and the
work is half done. I have frequently known a man's fortune decided for
ever by his first address. If it is pleasing, people are hurried
involuntarily into a persuasion that he has a merit, which possibly he
has not; as, on the other hand, if it is ungraceful, they are immediately
prejudiced against him, and unwilling to allow him the merit which it may
be he has. Nor is this sentiment so unjust and unreasonable as at first
it may seem; for if a man has parts, he must know of what infinite
consequence it is to him to have a graceful manner of speaking, and a
genteel and pleasing address; he will cultivate and improve them to the
utmost. Your figure is a good one; you have no natural defect in the
organs of speech; your address may be engaging, and your manner of
speaking graceful, if you will; so that if you are not so, neither I nor
the world can ascribe it to anything but your want of parts. What is the
constant and just observation as to all actors upon the stage? Is it not,
that those who have the best sense, always speak the best, though they
may happen not to have the best voices? They will speak plainly,
distinctly, and with the proper emphasis, be their voices ever so bad.
Had Roscius spoken QUICK, THICK, and UNGRACEFULLY, I will answer for it,
that Cicero would not have thought him worth the oration which he made in
his favor. Words were given us to communicate our ideas by: and there
must be something inconceivably absurd in uttering them in such a manner
as that either people cannot understand them, or will not desire to
understand them. I tell you, truly and sincerely, that I shall judge of
your parts by your speaking gracefully or ungracefully. If you have
parts, you will never be at rest till you have brought yourself to a
habit of speaking most gracefully; for I aver, that it is in your power
--You will desire Mr. Harte, that you may read aloud to him every day;
and that he will interrupt and correct you every time that you read too
fast, do not observe the proper stops, or lay a wrong emphasis. You will
take care to open your teeth when you speak; to articulate every word
distinctly; and to beg of Mr. Harte, Mr. Eliot, or whomsoever you speak
to, to remind and stop you, if you ever fall into the rapid and
unintelligible mutter. You will even read aloud to yourself, and time
your utterance to your own ear; and read at first much slower than you
need to do, in order to correct yourself of that shameful trick of
speaking faster than you ought. In short, if you think right, you will
make it your business; your study, and your pleasure to speak well.
Therefore, what I have said in this, and in my last, is more than
sufficient, if you have sense; and ten times more would not be
sufficient, if you have not; so here I rest it.

Next to graceful speaking, a genteel carriage, and a graceful manner of
presenting yourself, are extremely necessary, for they are extremely
engaging: and carelessness in these points is much more unpardonable in a
young fellow than affectation. It shows an offensive indifference about
pleasing. I am told by one here, who has seen you lately, that you are
awkward in your motions, and negligent of your person: I am sorry for
both; and so will you be, when it will be too late, if you continue so
some time longer. Awkwardness of carriage is very alienating; and a total
negligence of dress and air is an impertinent insult upon custom and
fashion. You remember Mr.------very well, I am sure, and you must
consequently remember his, extreme awkwardness: which, I can assure you,
has been a great clog to his parts and merit, that have, with much
difficulty, but barely counterbalanced it at last. Many, to whom I have
formerly commended him, have answered me, that they were sure he could
not have parts, because he was so awkward: so much are people, as I
observed to you before, taken by the eye. Women have great influence as
to a man's fashionable character; and an awkward man will never have
their votes; which, by the way, are very numerous, and much oftener
counted than weighed. You should therefore give some attention to your
dress, and the gracefulness of your motions. I believe, indeed, that you
have no perfect model for either at Leipsig, to form yourself upon; but,
however, do not get a habit of neglecting either; and attend properly to
both, when you go to courts, where they are very necessary, and where you
will have good masters and good models for both. Your exercises of
riding, fencing, and dancing, will civilize and fashion your body and
your limbs, and give you, if you will but take it, 'l'air d'un honnete

I will now conclude with suggesting one reflection to you; which is, that
you should be sensible of your good fortune, in having one who interests
himself enough in you, to inquire into your faults, in order to inform
you of them. Nobody but myself would be so solicitous, either to know or
correct them; so that you might consequently be ignorant of them
yourself; for our own self-love draws a thick veil between us and our
faults. But when you hear yours from me, you may be sure that you hear
them from one who for your sake only desires to correct them; from one
whom you cannot suspect of any, partiality but in your favor; and from
one who heartily wishes that his care of you, as a father, may, in a
little time, render every care unnecessary but that of a friend. Adieu.

P. S. I condole with you for the untimely and violent death of the
tuneful Matzel.


LONDON, July 1, O. S. 1748.

DEAR Boy: I am extremely well pleased with the course of studies which
Mr. Harte informs me you are now in, and with the degree of application
which he assures me you have to them. It is your interest to do so, as
the advantage will be all your own. My affection for you makes me both
wish and endeavor that you may turn out well; and, according as you do
turn out, I shall either be proud or ashamed of you. But as to mere
interest, in the common acceptation of that word, it would be mine that
you should turn out ill; for you may depend upon it, that whatever you
have from me shall be most exactly proportioned to your desert. Deserve a
great deal, and you shall have a great deal; deserve a little, and you
shall have but a little; and be good for nothing at all, and, I assure
you, you shall have nothing at all.

Solid knowledge, as I have often told you, is the first and great
foundation of your future fortune and character; for I never mention to
you the two much greater points of Religion and Morality, because I
cannot possibly suspect you as to either of them. This solid knowledge
you are in a fair way of acquiring; you may, if you please; and I will
add, that nobody ever had the means of acquiring it more in their power
than you have. But remember, that manners must adorn knowledge, and
smooth its way through the world. Like a great rough diamond, it may do
very well in a closet by way of curiosity, and also for its intrinsic
value; but it will never be worn or shine if it is not polished. It is
upon this article, I confess, that I suspect you the most, which makes me
recur to it so often; for I fear that you are apt to show too little
attention to everybody, and too much contempt to many. Be convinced, that
there are no persons so insignificant and inconsiderable, but may, some
time or other, have it in their power to be of use to you; which they
certainly will not, if you have once shown them contempt. Wrongs are
often forgiven; but contempt never is. Our pride remembers it forever. It
implies a discovery of weaknesses, which we are much more careful to
conceal than crimes. Many a man will confess his crimes to a common
friend, but I never knew a man who would tell his silly weaknesses to his
most intimate one--as many a friend will tell us our faults without
reserve, who will not so much as hint at our follies; that discovery is
too mortifying to our self-love, either to tell another, or to be told of
one's self. You must, therefore, never expect to hear of your weaknesses,
or your follies, from anybody but me; those I will take pains to
discover, and whenever I do, shall tell you of them.

Next to manners are exterior graces of person and address, which adorn
manners, as manners adorn knowledge. To say that they please, engage, and
charm, as they most indisputably do, is saying that one should do
everything possible to acquire them. The graceful manner of speaking is,
particularly, what I shall always holloa in your ears, as Hotspur
holloaed MORTIMER to Henry IV., and, like him too, I have aimed to have a
starling taught to say, SPEAK DISTINCTLY AND GRACEFULLY, and send him
you, to replace your loss of the unfortunate Matzel, who, by the way, I
am told, spoke his language very distinctly and gracefully.

As by this time you must be able to write German tolerably well, I desire
that you will not fail to write a German letter, in the German character,
once every fortnight, to Mr. Grevenkop: which will make it more familiar
to you, and enable me to judge how you improve in it.

Do not forget to answer me the questions, which I asked you a great while
ago, in relation to the constitution of Saxony; and also the meaning of
the words 'Landsassii and Amptsassii'.

I hope you do not forget to inquire into the affairs of trade and
commerce, nor to get the best accounts you can of the commodities and
manufactures, exports and imports of the several countries where you may
be, and their gross value.

I would likewise have you attend to the respective coins, gold, silver,
copper, etc., and their value, compared with our coin's; for which
purpose I would advise you to put up, in a separate piece of paper, one
piece of every kind, wherever you shall be, writing upon it the name and
the value. Such a collection will be curious enough in itself; and that
sort of knowledge will be very useful to you in your way of business,
where the different value of money often comes in question.

I am doing to Cheltenham to-morrow, less for my health; which is pretty
good, than for the dissipation and amusement of the journey. I shall stay
about a fortnight.

L'Abbe Mably's 'Droit de l'Europe', which Mr. Harte is so kind as to send
me, is worth your reading. Adieu.


CHELTENHAM, July 6, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: Your school-fellow, Lord Pulteney,--[Only child of the Right
Hon. William Pulteney, Earl of Bath. He died before his father.]--set out
last week for Holland, and will, I believe, be at Leipsig soon after this
letter: you will take care to be extremely civil to him, and to do him
any service that you can while you stay there; let him know that I wrote
to you to do so. As being older, he should know more than you; in that
case, take pains to get up to him; but if he does not, take care not to
let him feel his inferiority. He will find it out of himself without your
endeavors; and that cannot be helped: but nothing is more insulting, more
mortifying and less forgiven, than avowedly to take pains to make a man
feel a mortifying inferiority in knowledge, rank, fortune, etc. In the
two last articles, it is unjust, they not being in his power: and in the
first it is both ill-bred and ill-natured. Good-breeding, and
good-nature, do incline us rather to raise and help people up to
ourselves, than to mortify and depress them, and, in truth, our own
private interest concurs in it, as it is making ourselves so many
friends, instead of so many enemies. The constant practice of what the
French call 'les Attentions', is a most necessary ingredient in the art
of pleasing; they flatter the self-love of those to whom they are shown;
they engage, they captivate, more than things of much greater importance.
The duties of social life every man is obliged to discharge; but these
attentions are voluntary acts, the free-will offerings of good-breeding
and good nature; they are received, remembered, and returned as such.
Women, particularly, have a right to them; and any omission in that
respect is downright ill-breeding.

Do you employ your whole time in the most useful manner? I do not mean,
do you study all day long? nor do I require it. But I mean, do you make
the most of the respective allotments of your time? While you study, is
it with attention? When you divert yourself, is it with spirit? Your
diversions may, if you please, employ some part of your time very
usefully. It depends entirely upon the nature of them. If they are futile
and frivolous it is time worse than lost, for they will give you an habit
of futility. All gaming, field-sports, and such sort of amusements, where
neither the understanding nor the senses have the least share, I look
upon as frivolous, and as the resources of little minds, who either do
not think, or do not love to think. But the pleasures of a man of parts
either flatter the senses or improve the mind; I hope at least, that
there is not one minute of the day in which you do nothing at all.
Inaction at your age is unpardonable.

Tell me what Greek and Latin books you can now read with ease. Can you
open Demosthenes at a venture, and understand him? Can you get through an
"Oration" of Cicero, or a "Satire" of Horace, without difficulty? What
German books do you read, to make yourself master of that language? And
what French books do you read for your amusement? Pray give me a
particular and true account of all this; for I am not indifferent as to
any one thing that relates to you. As, for example, I hope you take great
care to keep your whole person, particularly your mouth, very clean;
common decency requires it, besides that great cleanliness is very
conducive to health. But if you do not keep your mouth excessively clean,
by washing it carefully every morning, and after every meal, it will not
only be apt to smell, which is very disgusting and indecent, but your
teeth will decay and ache, which is both a great loss and a great pain. A
spruceness of dress is also very proper and becoming at your age; as the
negligence of it implies an indifference about pleasing, which does not
become a young fellow. To do whatever you do at all to the utmost
perfection, ought to be your aim at this time of your life; if you can
reach perfection, so much the better; but at least, by attempting it, you
will get much nearer than if you never attempted it at all.

Adieu! SPEAK GRACEFULLY AND DISTINCTLY if you intend to converse ever
with, Yours.

P. S. As I was making up my letter, I received yours of the 6th, O. S. I
like your dissertation upon Preliminary Articles and Truces. Your
definitions of both are true. Those are matters which I would have you be
master of; they belong to your future department, But remember too, that
they are matters upon which you will much oftener have occasion to speak
than to write; and that, consequently, it is full as necessary to speak
gracefully and distinctly upon them as to write clearly and elegantly. I
find no authority among the ancients, nor indeed among the moderns, for
indistinct and unintelligible utterance. The Oracles indeed meant to be
obscure; but then it was by the ambiguity of the expression, and not by
the inarticulation of the words. For if people had not thought, at least,
they understood them, they would neither have frequented nor presented
them as they did. There was likewise among the ancients, and is still
among the moderns, a sort of people called Ventriloqui, who speak from
their bellies, on make the voice seem to come from some other part of the
room than that where they are. But these Ventriloqui speak very
distinctly and intelligibly. The only thing, then, that I can find like a
precedent for your way of speaking (and I would willingly help you to one
if I could) is the modern art 'de persifler', practiced with great
success by the 'Petits maitres' at Paris. This noble art consists in
picking out some grave, serious man, who neither understands nor expects,
raillery, and talking to him very quick, and inarticulate sounds; while
the man, who thinks that he did not hear well; or attend sufficiently,
says, 'Monsieur? or 'Plait-il'? a hundred times; which affords matter of
much mirth to those ingenious gentlemen. Whether you would follow, this
precedent, I submit to you.

Have you carried no English or French comedies of tragedies with you to
Leipsig? If you have, I insist upon your reciting some passages of them
every day to Mr. Harte in the most distinct and graceful manner, as if
you were acting them upon a stage.

The first part of my letter is more than an answer to your questions
concerning Lord Pulteney.


LONDON, July, 20, O. S. 1748

DEAR BOY: There are two sorts of understandings; one of which hinders a
man from ever being considerable, and the other commonly makes him
ridiculous; I mean the lazy mind, and the trifling, frivolous mind:
Yours, I hope, is neither. The lazy mind will not take the trouble of
going to the bottom of anything; but, discouraged by the first
difficulties (and everything worth knowing or having is attained with
some), stops short, contents, itself with easy, and consequently
superficial knowledge, and prefers a great degree of ignorance to a small
degree of trouble. These people either think, or represent most things as
impossible; whereas, few things are so to industry and activity. But
difficulties seem to them, impossibilities, or at least they pretend to
think them so--by way of excuse for their laziness. An hour's attention
to the same subject is too laborious for them; they take everything in
the light in which it first presents itself; never consider, it in all
its different views; and, in short, never think it through. The
consequence of this is that when they come to speak upon these subjects,
before people who have considered them with attention; they only discover
their own ignorance and laziness, and lay themselves open to answers that
put them in confusion. Do not then be discouraged by the first
difficulties, but 'contra audentior ito'; and resolve to go to the bottom
of all those things which every gentleman ought to know well. Those arts
or sciences which are peculiar to certain professions, need not be deeply
known by those who are not intended for those professions. As, for
instance; fortification and navigation; of both which, a superficial and
general knowledge, such as the common course of conversation, with a very
little inquiry on your part, will give you, is sufficient. Though, by the
way, a little more knowledge of fortification may be of some use to you;
as the events of war, in sieges, make many of the terms, of that science
occur frequently in common conversation; and one would be sorry to say,
like the Marquis de Mascarille in Moliere's 'Precieuses Ridicules', when
he hears of 'une demie lune, Ma foi! c'etoit bien une lune toute
entiere'. But those things which every gentleman, independently of
profession, should know, he ought to know well, and dive into all the
depth of them. Such are languages, history, and geography ancient and
modern, philosophy, rational logic; rhetoric; and, for you particularly,
the constitutions and the civil and military state of every country in
Europe: This, I confess; is a pretty large circle of knowledge, attended
with some difficulties, and requiring some trouble; which, however; an
active and industrious mind will overcome; and be amply repaid. The
trifling and frivolous mind is always busied, but to little purpose; it
takes little objects for great ones, and throws away upon trifles that
time and attention which only important things deserve. Knick-knacks;
butterflies; shells, insects, etc., are the subjects of their most
serious researches. They contemplate the dress, not the characters of the
company they keep. They attend more to the decorations of a play than the
sense of it; and to the ceremonies of a court more than to its politics.
Such an employment of time is an absolute loss of it. You have now, at
most, three years to employ either well or ill; for, as I have often told
you, you will be all your life what you shall be three years hence. For
God's sake then reflect. Will you throw this time away either in
laziness, or in trifles? Or will you not rather employ every moment of it
in a manner that must so soon reward you with so much pleasure, figure,
and character? I cannot, I will not doubt of your choice. Read only
useful books; and never quit a subject till you are thoroughly master of
it, but read and inquire on till then. When you are in company, bring the
conversation to some useful subject, but 'a portee' of that company.
Points of history, matters of literature, the customs of particular
countries, the several orders of knighthood, as Teutonic, Maltese, etc.,
are surely better subjects of conversation, than the weather, dress, or
fiddle-faddle stories, that carry no information along with them. The
characters of kings and great men are only to be learned in conversation;
for they are never fairly written during their lives. This, therefore, is
an entertaining and instructive subject of conversation, and will
likewise give you an opportunity of observing how very differently
characters are given, from the different passions and views of those who
give them. Never be ashamed nor afraid of asking questions: for if they
lead to information, and if you accompany them with some excuse, you will
never be reckoned an impertinent or rude questioner. All those things, in
the common course of life, depend entirely upon the manner; and, in that
respect, the vulgar saying is true, 'That one man can better steal a
horse, than another look over the hedge.' There are few things that may
not be said, in some manner or other; either in a seeming confidence, or
a genteel irony, or introduced with wit; and one great part of the
knowledge of the world consists in knowing when and where to make use of
these different manners. The graces of the person, the countenance, and
the way of speaking, contribute so much to this, that I am convinced, the
very same thing, said by a genteel person in an engaging way, and
GRACEFULLY and distinctly spoken, would please, which would shock, if
MUTTERED out by an awkward figure, with a sullen, serious countenance.
The poets always represent Venus as attended by the three Graces, to
intimate that even beauty will not do without: I think they should have
given Minerva three also; for without them, I am sure learning is very
unattractive. Invoke them, then, DISTINCTLY, to accompany all your words
and motions. Adieu.

P. S. Since I wrote what goes before, I have received your letter, OF NO
DATE, with the inclosed state of the Prussian forces: of which, I hope,
you have kept a copy; this you should lay in a 'portefeuille', and add to
it all the military establishments that you can get of other states and
kingdoms: the Saxon establishment you may, doubtless, easily find. By the
way, do not forget to send me answers to the questions which I sent you
some time ago, concerning both the civil and the ecclesiastical affairs
of Saxony.

Do not mistake me, and think I only mean that you should speak elegantly
with regard to style, and the purity of language; but I mean, that you
should deliver and pronounce what you say gracefully and distinctly; for
which purpose I will have you frequently read very loud, to Mr. Harte,
recite parts of orations, and speak passages of plays; for, without a
graceful and pleasing enunciation, all your elegancy of style, in
speaking, is not worth one farthing.

I am very glad that Mr. Lyttelton approves of my new house, and
particularly of my CANONICAL--[James Brydges, duke of Chandos, built a
most magnificent and elegant house at CANNONS, about eight miles from
London. It was superbly furnished with fine pictures, statues, etc.,
which, after his death, were sold, by auction. Lord Chesterfield
purchased the hall-pillars, the floor; and staircase with double flights;
which are now in Chesterfield House, London.]--pillars. My bust of Cicero
is a very fine one, and well preserved; it will have the best place in my
library, unless at your return you bring me over as good a modern head of
your own, which I should like still better. I can tell you, that I shall
examine it as attentively as ever antiquary did an old one.

Make my compliments to Mr. Harte, at whose recovery I rejoice.


LONDON, August 2, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: Duval the jeweler, is arrived, and was with me three or four
days ago. You will easily imagine that I asked him a few questions
concerning you; and I will give you the satisfaction of knowing that,
upon the whole, I was very well pleased with the account he gave me. But,
though he seemed to be much in your interest, yet he fairly owned to me
that your utterance was rapid, thick, and ungraceful. I can add nothing
to what I have already said upon this subject; but I can and do repeat
the absolute necessity of speaking distinctly and gracefully, or else of
not speaking at all, and having recourse to signs. He tells me that you
are pretty fat for one of your age: this you should attend to in a proper
way; for if, while very young; you should grow fat, it would be
troublesome, unwholesome, and ungraceful; you should therefore, when you
have time, take very strong exercise, and in your diet avoid fattening
things. All malt liquors fatten, or at least bloat; and I hope you do not
deal much in them.  I look upon wine and water to be, in every respect;
much wholesomer.

Duval says there is a great deal of very good company at Madame
Valentin's and at another lady's, I think one Madame Ponce's, at Leipsig.
Do you ever go to either of those houses, at leisure times? It would not,
in my mind, be amiss if you did, and would give you a habit of
ATTENTIONS; they are a tribute which all women expect; and which all men,
who would be well received by them; must pay. And, whatever the mind may
be, manners at least are certainly improved by the company of women of

I have formerly told you, that you should inform yourself of the several
orders, whether military or religious, of the respective countries where
you may be. The Teutonic Order is the great Order of Germany, of which I
send you inclosed a short account. It may serve to suggest questions to
you for more particular inquiries as to the present state of it, of which
you ought to be minutely informed. The knights, at present, make vows, of
which they observe none, except it be that of not marrying; and their
only object now is, to arrive, by seniority, at the Commanderies in their
respective provinces; which are, many of them, very lucrative. The Order
of Malta is, by a very few years, prior to the Teutonic, and owes its
foundation to the same causes. These' knights were first called Knights
Hospitaliers of St. John of Jerusalem, then Knights of Rhodes; and in
the year 1530, Knights of Malta, the Emperor Charles V. having granted
them that island, upon condition of their defending his island of Sicily
against the Turks, which they effectually did. L'Abbe de Vertot has
written the history of Malta, but it is the least valuable of all his
works; and moreover, too long for you to read. But there is a short
history, of all the military orders whatsoever, which I would advise you
to get, as there is also of all the religious orders; both which are
worth your having and consulting, whenever you meet with any of them in
your way; as, you will very frequently in Catholic countries. For my own
part, I find that I remember things much better, when I recur, to my
books for them, upon some particular occasion, than by reading them 'tout
de suite'. As, for example, if I were to read the history of all the
military or religious orders, regularly one after another, the latter
puts the former out of my head; but when I read the history of any one,
upon account, of its having been the object of conversation or dispute, I
remember it much better. It is the same in geography, where, looking for
any particular place in the map, upon some particular account, fixes it
in one's memory forever. I hope you have worn out your maps by frequent,
use of that sort. Adieu.


In the ages of ignorance, which is always the mother of superstition, it
was thought not only just, but meritorious, to propagate religion by fire
and sword, and to take away the lives and properties of unbelievers.
This enthusiasm produced the several crusades, in the 11th, 12th, and
following centuries, the object of which was, to recover the Holy Land
out of, the hands of the Infidels, who, by the way, were the lawful
possessors. Many honest enthusiasts engaged in those crusades, from a
mistaken principle of religion, and from the pardons granted by the Popes
for all the sins of those pious adventurers; but many more knaves adopted
these holy wars, in hopes of conquest and plunder. After Godfrey of
Bouillon, at the head of these knaves and fools, had taken Jerusalem, in
the year 1099, Christians of various nations remained in that city; among
the rest, one good honest German, that took particular care of his
countrymen who came thither in pilgrimages. He built a house for their
reception, and an hospital dedicated to the Virgin. This little
establishment soon became a great one, by the enthusiasm of many
considerable people who engaged in it, in order to drive the Saracens out
of the Holy Land. This society then began to take its first form; and its
members were called Marian Teutonic Knights. Marian, from their chapel
sacred to the Virgin Mary; Teutonic, from the German, or Teuton, who was
the author of it, and Knights from the wars which they were to carry on
against the Infidels.

These knights behaved themselves so bravely, at first; that Duke
Frederick of Swabia, who was general of the German army in the Holy Land,
sent, in the year 1191, to the Emperor Henry VI. and Pope Celestine III.
to desire that this brave and charitable fraternity might be incorporated
into a regular order of knighthood; which was accordingly done, and rules
and a particular habit were given them. Forty knights, all of noble
families, were at first created by the King of Jerusalem and other
princes then in the army. The first grand master of this order was Henry
Wallpot, of a noble family upon the Rhine. This order soon began to
operate in Europe; drove all the Pagans out of Prussia, and took
possession of it. Soon after, they got Livonia and Courland, and invaded
even Russia, where they introduced the Christian religion. In 1510, they
elected Albert, Marquis of Bradenburg, for their grand master, who,
turning Protestant, soon afterward took Prussia from the order, and kept
it for himself, with the consent of Sigismund, King of Poland, of whom it
was to hold. He then quitted his grand mastership and made himself
hereditary Duke of that country, which is thence called Ducal Prussia.
This order now consists of twelve provinces; viz., Alsatia, Austria,
Coblentz, and Etsch, which are the four under the Prussian jurisdiction;
Franconia, Hesse, Biessen, Westphalia, Lorraine, Thuringia, Saxony, and
Utrecht, which eight are of the German jurisdiction. The Dutch now
possess all that the order had in Utrecht. Every one of the provinces
have their particular Commanderies; and the most ancient of these
Commandeurs is called the Commandeur Provincial. These twelve Commandeurs
are all subordinate to the Grand Master of Germany as their chief, and
have the right of electing the grand master. The elector of Cologne is at
present 'Grand Maitre'.

This order, founded by mistaken Christian zeal, upon the anti-Christian
principles of violence and persecution, soon grew strong by the weakness
and ignorance of the time; acquired unjustly great possessions, of which
they justly lost the greatest part by their ambition and cruelty, which
made them feared and hated by all their neighbors.

I have this moment received your letter of the 4th, N. S., and have only
time to tell you that I can by no means agree to your cutting off your
hair. I am very sure that your headaches cannot proceed from thence. And
as for the pimples upon your head, they are only owing to the heat of the
season, and consequently will not last long. But your own hair is, at
your age, such an ornament, and a wig, however well made, such a
disguise, that I will upon no account whatsoever have you cut off your
hair. Nature did not give it to you for nothing, still less to cause you
the headache. Mr. Eliot's hair grew so ill and bushy, that he was in the
right to cut it off. But you have not the same reason.


LONDON, August 23, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: Your friend, Mr. Eliot, has dined with me twice since I
returned here, and I can say with truth that while I had the seals, I
never examined or sifted a state prisoner with so much care and curiosity
as I did him. Nay, I did more; for, contrary to the laws of this country,
I gave him in some manner, the QUESTION ordinary and extraordinary; and I
have infinite pleasure in telling you that the rack which I put him to,
did not extort from him one single word that was not such as I wished to
hear of you. I heartily congratulate you upon such an advantageous
testimony, from so creditable a witness. 'Laudati a laudato viro', is one
of the greatest pleasures and honors a rational being can have; may you
long continue to deserve it! Your aversion to drinking and your dislike
to gaming, which Mr. Eliot assures me are both very strong, give me, the
greatest joy imaginable, for your sake: as the former would ruin both
your constitution and understanding, and the latter your fortune and
character. Mr. Harte wrote me word some time ago, and Mr. Eliot confirms
it now, that you employ your pin money in a very different manner, from
that in which pin money is commonly lavished: not in gew-gaws and
baubles, but in buying good and useful books. This is an excellent
symptom, and gives me very good hopes. Go on thus, my dear boy, but for
these next two years, and I ask no more. You must then make such a figure
and such a fortune in the world as I wish you, and as I have taken all
these pains to enable you to do. After that time I allow you to be as
idle as ever you please; because I am sure that you will not then please
to be so at all. The ignorant and the weak are only idle; but those who
have once acquired a good stock of knowledge, always desire to increase
it. Knowledge is like power in this respect, that those who have the
most, are most desirous of having more. It does not clog, by possession,
but increases desire; which is the case of very few pleasures.

Upon receiving this congratulatory letter, and reading your own praises,
I am sure that it must naturally occur to you, how great a share of them
you owe to Mr. Harte's care and attention; and, consequently, that your
regard and affection for him must increase, if there be room for it, in
proportion as you reap, which you do daily, the fruits of his labors.

I must not, however, conceal from you that there was one article in which
your own witness, Mr. Eliot, faltered; for, upon my questioning him home
as to your manner of speaking, he could not say that your utterance was
either distinct or graceful. I have already said so much to you upon this
point that I can add nothing. I will therefore only repeat this truth,
which is, that if you will not speak distinctly and graceful, nobody will
desire to hear you. I am glad to learn that Abbe Mably's 'Droit Public de
l'Europe' makes a part of your evening amusements. It is a very useful
book, and gives a clear deduction of the affairs of Europe, from the
treaty of Munster to this time.  Pray read it with attention, and with
the proper maps; always recurring to them for the several countries or
towns yielded, taken, or restored. Pyre Bougeant's third volume will give
you the best idea of the treaty of Munster, and open to you the several
views of the belligerent' and contracting parties, and there never were
greater than at that time. The House of Austria, in the war immediately
preceding that treaty, intended to make itself absolute in the empire,
and to overthrow the rights of the respective states of it. The view of
France was to weaken and dismember the House of Austria to such a degree,
as that it should no longer be a counterbalance to that of Bourbon.
Sweden wanted possessions on the continent of Germany, not only to supply
the necessities of its own poor and barren country, but likewise to hold
the balance in the empire between the House of Austria and the States.
The House of Brandenburg wanted to aggrandize itself by pilfering in the
fire; changed sides occasionally, and made a good bargain at last; for I
think it got, at the peace, nine or ten bishoprics secularized. So that
we may date, from the treaty of Munster, the decline of the House of
Austria, the great power of the House of Bourbon, and the aggrandizement
of that of Bradenburg: which, I am much mistaken, if it stops where it is

Make my compliments to Lord Pulteney, to whom I would have you be not
only attentive, but useful, by setting him (in case he wants it) a good
example of application and temperance. I begin to believe that, as I
shall be proud of you, others will be proud too of imitating you: Those
expectations of mine seem now so well grounded, that my disappointment,
and consequently my anger, will be so much the greater if they fail; but
as things stand now, I am most affectionately and tenderly, Yours.


LONDON, August 30, O. S. 1748

DEAR BOY: Your reflections upon the conduct of France, from the treaty of
Munster to this time, are very just; and I am very glad to find, by them,
that you not only read, but that you think and reflect upon what you
read. Many great readers load their memories, without exercising their
judgments; and make lumber-rooms of their heads instead of furnishing
them usefully; facts are heaped upon facts without order or distinction,
and may justly be said to compose that

        '-----Rudis indigestaque moles
        Quem dixere chaos'.

Go on, then, in the way of reading that you are in; take nothing for
granted, upon the bare authority of the author; but weigh and consider,
in your own mind, the probability of the facts and the justness of the
reflections. Consult different authors upon the same facts, and form your
opinion upon the greater or lesser degree of probability arising from the
whole, which, in my mind, is the utmost stretch of historical faith;
certainty (I fear) not being to be found. When a historian pretends to
give you the causes and motives of events, compare those causes and
motives with the characters and interests of the parties concerned, and
judge for yourself whether they correspond or not. Consider whether you
cannot assign others more probable; and in that examination, do not
despise some very mean and trifling causes of the actions of great men;
for so various and inconsistent is human nature, so strong and changeable
are our passions, so fluctuating are our wills, and so much are our minds
influenced by the accidents of our bodies that every man is more the man
of the day, than a regular consequential character. The best have
something bad, and something little; the worst have something good, and
sometimes something great; for I do not believe what Velleius Paterculus
(for the sake of saying a pretty thing) says of Scipio, 'Qui nihil non
laudandum aut fecit, aut dixit, aut sensit'. As for the reflections of
historians, with which they think it necessary to interlard their
histories, or at least to conclude their chapters (and which, in the
French histories, are always introduced with a 'tant il est vrai', and in
the English, SO TRUE IT IS), do not adopt them implicitly upon the credit
of the author, but analyze them yourself, and judge whether they are true
or not.

But to return to the politics of France, from which I have digressed. You
have certainly made one further reflection, of an advantage which France
has, over and above its abilities in the cabinet and the skill of its
negotiators, which is (if I may use the expression) its SOLENESS,
continuity of riches and power within itself, and the nature of its
government. Near twenty millions of people, and the ordinary revenue of
above thirteen millions sterling a year, are at the absolute disposal of
the Crown. This is what no other power in Europe can say; so that
different powers must now unite to make a balance against France; which
union, though formed upon the principle of their common interest, can
never be so intimate as to compose a machine so compact and simple as
that of one great kingdom, directed by one will, and moved by one
interest. The Allied Powers (as we have constantly seen) have, besides
the common and declared object of their alliance, some separate and
concealed view to which they often sacrifice the general one; which makes
them, either directly or indirectly, pull different ways. Thus, the
design upon Toulon failed in the year 1706, only from the secret view of
the House of Austria upon Naples: which made the Court of Vienna,
notwithstanding the representations of the other allies to the contrary,
send to Naples the 12,000 men that would have done the business at
Toulon. In this last war too, the same causes had the same effects: the
Queen of Hungary in secret thought of nothing but recovering of Silesia,
and what she had lost in Italy; and, therefore, never sent half that
quota which she promised, and we paid for, into Flanders; but left that
country to the maritime powers to defend as they could. The King of
Sardinia's real object was Savona and all the Riviera di Ponente; for
which reason he concurred so lamely in the invasion of Provence, where
the Queen of Hungary, likewise, did not send one-third of the force
stipulated, engrossed as she was by her oblique views upon the plunder of
Genoa, and the recovery of Naples. Insomuch that the expedition into
Provence, which would have distressed France to the greatest degree, and
have caused a great detachment from their army in Flanders, failed
shamefully, for want of every one thing necessary for its success.
Suppose, therefore, any four or five powers who, all together, shall be
equal, or even a little superior, in riches and strength to that one
power against which they are united; the advantage will still be greatly
on the side of that single power, because it is but one. The power and
riches of Charles V. were, in themselves, certainly superior to those of
Frances I., and yet, upon the whole, he was not an overmatch for him.
Charles V.'s dominions, great as they were, were scattered and remote
from each other; their constitutions different; wherever he did not
reside, disturbances arose; whereas the compactness of France made up the
difference in the strength. This obvious reflection convinced me of the
absurdity of the treaty of Hanover, in 1725, between France and England,
to which the Dutch afterward acceded; for it was made upon the
apprehensions, either real or pretended, that the marriage of Don Carlos
with the eldest archduchess, now Queen of Hungary, was settled in the
treaty of Vienna, of the same year, between Spain and the late Emperor
Charles VI., which marriage, those consummate politicians said would
revive in Europe the exorbitant power of Charles V. I am sure, I heartily
wish it had; as, in that case, there had been, what there certainly is
not now, one power in Europe to counterbalance that of France; and then
the maritime powers would, in reality, have held the balance of Europe in
their hands. Even supposing that the Austrian power would then have been
an overmatch for that of France (which, by the way, is not clear), the
weight of the maritime powers, then thrown into the scale of France,
would infallibly have made the balance at least even. In which case too,
the moderate efforts of the maritime powers on the side of France would
have been sufficient; whereas now, they are obliged to exhaust and beggar
themselves; and that too ineffectually, in hopes to support the
shattered; beggared, and insufficient House of Austria.

This has been a long political dissertation; but I am informed that
political subjects are your favorite ones; which I am glad of,
considering your destination. You do well to get your materials all
ready, before you begin your work. As you buy and (I am told) read books
of this kind, I will point out two or three for your purchase and
perusal; I am not sure that I have not mentioned them before, but that is
no matter, if you have not got them. 'Memoires pour servir a l'Histoire
du 17ieme Siecle', is a most useful book for you to recur to for all the
facts and chronology of that country: it is in four volumes octavo, and
very correct and exact. If I do not mistake, I have formerly recommended
to you, 'Les Memoires du Cardinal de Retz'; however, if you have not yet
read them, pray do, and with the attention which they deserve. You will
there find the best account of a very interesting period of the minority
of Lewis XIV. The characters are drawn short, but in a strong and
masterly manner; and the political reflections are the only just and
practical ones that I ever saw in print: they are well worth your
transcribing. 'Le Commerce des Anciens, par Monsieur Huet. Eveque
d'Avranche', in one little volume octavo, is worth your perusal, as
commerce is a very considerable part of political knowledge. I need not,
I am sure, suggest to you, when you read the course of commerce, either
of the ancients or of the moderns, to follow it upon your map; for there
is no other way of remembering geography correctly, but by looking
perpetually in the map for the places one reads of, even though one knows
before, pretty near, where they are.

Adieu! As all the accounts which I receive of you grow better and better,
so I grow more and more affectionately, Yours.


LONDON, September 5, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: I have received yours, with the inclosed German letter to Mr.
Gravenkop, which he assures me is extremely well written, considering the
little time that you have applied yourself to that language. As you have
now got over the most difficult part, pray go on diligently, and make
yourself absolutely master of the rest. Whoever does not entirely possess
a language, will never appear to advantage, or even equal to himself,
either in speaking or writing it. His ideas are fettered, and seem
imperfect or confused, if he is not master of all the words and phrases
necessary to express them. I therefore desire, that you will not fail
writing a German letter once every fortnight to Mr. Gravenkop; which will
make the writing of that language familiar to you; and moreover, when you
shall have left Germany and be arrived at Turin, I shall require you to
write even to me in German; that you may not forget with ease what you
have with difficulty learned. I likewise desire, that while you are in
Germany, you will take all opportunities of conversing in German, which
is the only way of knowing that, or any other language, accurately. You
will also desire your German master to teach you the proper titles and
superscriptions to be used to people of all ranks; which is a point so
material, in Germany, that I have known many a letter returned unopened,
because one title in twenty has been omitted in the direction.

St. Thomas's day now draws near, when you are to leave Saxony and go to
Berlin; and I take it for granted, that if anything is yet wanting to
complete your knowledge of the state of that electorate, you will not
fail to procure it before you go away. I do not mean, as you will easily
believe, the number of churches, parishes, or towns; but I mean the
constitution, the revenues, the troops, and the trade of that electorate.
A few questions, sensibly asked, of sensible people, will produce you the
necessary informations; which I desire you will enter in your little
book, Berlin will be entirely a new scene to you, and I look upon it, in
a manner, as your first step into the great world; take care that step be
not a false one, and that you do not stumble at the threshold. You will
there be in more company than you have yet been; manners and attentions
will therefore be more necessary. Pleasing in company is the only way of
being pleased in it yourself. Sense and knowledge are the first and
necessary foundations for pleasing in company; but they will by no means
do alone, and they will never be perfectly welcome if they are not
accompanied with manners and attentions. You will best acquire these by
frequenting the companies of people of fashion; but then you must resolve
to acquire them, in those companies, by proper care and observation; for
I have known people, who, though they have frequented good company all
their lifetime, have done it in so inattentive and unobserving a manner,
as to be never the better for it, and to remain as disagreeable, as
awkward, and as vulgar, as if they had never seen any person of fashion.
When you go into good company (by good company is meant the people of the
first fashion of the place) observe carefully their turn, their manners,
their address; and conform your own to them. But this is not all neither;
go deeper still; observe their characters, and pray, as far as you can,
into both their hearts and their heads. Seek for their particular merit,
their predominant passion, or their prevailing weakness; and you will
then know what to bait your hook with to catch them. Man is a composition
of so many, and such various ingredients, that it requires both time and
care to analyze him: for though we have all the same ingredients in our
general composition, as reason, will, passions, and appetites; yet the
different proportions and combinations of them in each individual,
produce that infinite variety of characters, which, in some particular or
other, distinguishes every individual from another. Reason ought to
direct the whole, but seldom does. And he who addresses himself singly to
another man's reason, without endeavoring to engage his heart in his
interest also, is no more likely to succeed, than a man who should apply
only to a king's nominal minister, and neglect his favorite. I will
recommend to your attentive perusal, now that you are going into the
world, two books, which will let you as much into the characters of men,
as books can do. I mean, 'Les Reflections Morales de Monsieur de la
Rochefoucault, and Les Caracteres de la Bruyere': but remember, at the
same time, that I only recommend them to you as the best general maps to
assist you in your journey, and not as marking out every particular
turning and winding that you will meet with. There your own sagacity and
observation must come to their aid. La Rochefoucault, is, I know, blamed,
but I think without reason, for deriving all our actions from the source
of self-love. For my own part, I see a great deal of truth, and no harm
at all, in that opinion. It is certain that we seek our own happiness in
everything we do; and it is as certain, that we can only find it in doing
well, and in conforming all our actions to the rule of right reason,
which is the great law of nature. It is only a mistaken self-love that is
a blamable motive, when we take the immediate and indiscriminate
gratification of a passion, or appetite, for real happiness. But am I
blamable if I do a good action, upon account of the happiness which that
honest consciousness will give me? Surely not. On the contrary, that
pleasing consciousness is a proof of my virtue. The reflection which is
the most censured in Monsieur de la Rochefoucault's book as a very
ill-natured one, is this, 'On trouve dans le malheur de son meilleur ami,
quelque chose qui ne des plait pas'. And why not? Why may I not feel a
very tender and real concern for the misfortune of my friend, and yet at
the same time feel a pleasing consciousness at having discharged my duty
to him, by comforting and assisting him to the utmost of my power in that
misfortune? Give me but virtuous actions, and I will not quibble and
chicane about the motives. And I will give anybody their choice of these
two truths, which amount to the same thing: He who loves himself best is
the honestest man; or, The honestest man loves himself best.

The characters of La Bruyere are pictures from the life; most of them
finely drawn, and highly colored. Furnish your mind with them first, and
when you meet with their likeness, as you will every day, they will
strike you the more. You will compare every feature with the original;
and both will reciprocally help you to discover the beauties and the

As women are a considerable, or, at least a pretty numerous part of
company; and as their suffrages go a great way toward establishing a
man's character in the fashionable part of the world (which is of great
importance to the fortune and figure he proposes to make in it), it is
necessary to please them. I will therefore, upon this subject, let you
into certain Arcana that will be very useful for you to know, but which
you must, with the utmost care, conceal and never seem to know. Women,
then, are only children of a larger growth; they have an entertaining
tattle, and sometimes wit; but for solid reasoning, good sense, I never
knew in my life one that had it, or who reasoned or acted consequentially
for four-and-twenty hours together. Some little passion or humor always
breaks upon their best resolutions. Their beauty neglected or
controverted, their age increased, or their supposed understandings
depreciated, instantly kindles their little passions, and overturns any
system of consequential conduct, that in their most reasonable moments
they might have been capable of forming. A man of sense only trifles with
them, plays with them, humors and flatters them, as he does with a
sprightly forward child; but he neither consults them about, nor trusts
them with serious matters; though he often makes them believe that he
does both; which is the thing in the world that they are proud of; for
they love mightily to be dabbling in business (which by the way they
always spoil); and being justly distrustful that men in general look upon
them in a trifling light, they almost adore that man who talks more
seriously to them, and who seems to consult and trust them; I say, who
seems; for weak men really do, but wise ones only seem to do it. No
flattery is either too high or too low for them. They will greedily
swallow the highest, and gratefully accept of the lowest; and you may
safely flatter any woman from her understanding down to the exquisite
taste of her fan. Women who are either indisputably beautiful, or
indisputably ugly, are best flattered, upon the score of their
understandings; but those who are in a state of mediocrity, are best
flattered upon their beauty, or at least their graces; for every woman
who is not absolutely ugly thinks herself handsome; but not hearing often
that she is so, is the more grateful and the more obliged to the few who
tell her so; whereas a decided and conscious beauty looks upon every
tribute paid to her beauty only as her due; but wants to shine, and to be
considered on the side of her understanding; and a woman who is ugly
enough to know that she is so, knows that she has nothing left for it but
her understanding, which is consequently and probably (in more senses
than one) her weak side. But these are secrets which you must keep
inviolably, if you would not, like Orpheus, be torn to pieces by the
whole sex; on the contrary, a man who thinks of living in the great
world, must be gallant, polite, and attentive to please the women. They
have, from the weakness of men, more or less influence in all courts;
they absolutely stamp every man's character in the beau monde, and make
it either current, or cry it down, and stop it in payments. It is,
therefore; absolutely necessary to manage, please, and flatter them and
never to discover the least marks of contempt, which is what they never
forgive; but in this they are not singular, for it is the same with men;
who will much sooner forgive an injustice than an insult. Every man is
not ambitious, or courteous, or passionate; but every man has pride
enough in his composition to feel and resent the least slight and
contempt. Remember, therefore, most carefully to conceal your contempt,
however just, wherever you would not make an implacable enemy. Men are
much more unwilling to have their weaknesses and their imperfections
known than their crimes; and if you hint to a man that you think him
silly, ignorant, or even ill-bred, or awkward, he will hate you more and
longer, than if you tell him plainly, that you think him a rogue. Never
yield to that temptation, which to most young men is very strong; of
exposing other people's weaknesses and infirmities, for the sake either
of diverting the company, or showing your own superiority. You may get
the laugh on your side by it for the present; but you will make enemies
by it forever; and even those who laugh with you then, will, upon
reflection, fear; and consequently hate you; besides that it is
ill-natured, and a good heart desires rather to conceal than expose other
people's weaknesses or misfortunes. If you have wit, use it to please,
and not to hurt: you may shine, like the sun in the temperate zones,
without scorching. Here it is wished for; under the Line it is dreaded.

These are some of the hints which my long experience in the great world
enables me to give you; and which, if you attend to them, may prove
useful to you in your journey through it. I wish it may be a prosperous
one; at least, I am sure that it must be your own fault if it is not.

Make my compliments to Mr. Harte, who, I am very sorry to hear, is not
well. I hope by this time he is recovered. Adieu!


LONDON, September 13, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: I have more than once recommended to you the "Memoirs" of the
Cardinal de Retz, and to attend particularly to the political reflections
interspersed in that excellent work. I will now preach a little upon two
or three of those texts.

In the disturbances at Paris, Monsieur de Beaufort, who was a very
popular, though a very weak man, was the Cardinal's tool with the

Proud of his popularity, he was always for assembling the people of Paris
together, thinking that he made a great figure at the head of them. The
Cardinal, who was factious enough, was wise enough at the same time to
avoid gathering the people together, except when there was occasion, and
when he had something particular for them to do. However, he could not
always check Monsieur de Beaufort; who having assembled them once very
unnecessarily, and without any determined object, they ran riot, would
not be kept within bounds by their leaders, and did their cause a great
deal of harm: upon which the Cardinal observes most judiciously, 'Que
Monsieur de Beaufort me savoit pas, que qui assemble le peuple, l'emeut'.
It is certain, that great numbers of people met together, animate each
other, and will do something, either good or bad, but oftener bad; and
the respective individuals, who were separately very quiet, when met
together in numbers, grow tumultuous as a body, and ripe for any mischief
that may be pointed out to them by the leaders; and, if their leaders
have no business for them, they will find some for themselves. The
demagogues, or leaders of popular factions, should therefore be very
careful not to assemble the people unnecessarily, and without a settled
and well-considered object. Besides that, by making those popular
assemblies too frequent, they make them likewise too familiar, and
consequently less respected by their enemies. Observe any meetings of
people, and you will always find their eagerness and impetuosity rise or
fall in proportion to their numbers: when the numbers are very great, all
sense and reason seem to subside, and one sudden frenzy to seize on all,
even the coolest of them.

Another very just observation of the Cardinal's is, That, the things
which happen in our own times, and which we see ourselves, do not
surprise us near so much as the things which we read of in times past,
though not in the least more extraordinary; and adds, that he is
persuaded that when Caligula made his horse a Consul, the people of Rome,
at that time, were not greatly surprised at it, having necessarily been
in some degree prepared for it, by an insensible gradation of
extravagances from the same quarter. This is so true that we read every
day, with astonishment, things which we see every day without surprise.
We wonder at the intrepidity of a Leonidas, a Codrus, and a Curtius; and
are not the least surprised to hear of a sea-captain, who has blown up
his ship, his crew, and himself, that they might not fall into the hands
of the enemies of his country. I cannot help reading of Porsenna and
Regulus, with surprise and reverence, and yet I remember that I saw,
without either, the execution of Shepherd,--[James Shepherd, a
coach-painter's apprentice, was executed at Tyburn for high treason,
March 17, 1718, in the reign of George I.]--a boy of eighteen years old,
who intended to shoot the late king, and who would have been pardoned, if
he would have expressed the least sorrow for his intended crime; but, on
the contrary, he declared that if he was pardoned he would attempt it
again; that he thought it a duty which he owed to his country, and that
he died with pleasure for having endeavored to perform it. Reason equals
Shepherd to Regulus; but prejudice, and the recency of the fact, make
Shepherd a common malefactor and Regulus a hero.

Examine carefully, and reconsider all your notions of things; analyze
them, and discover their component parts, and see if habit and prejudice
are not the principal ones; weigh the matter upon which you are to form
your opinion, in the equal and impartial scales of reason. It is not to
be conceived how many people, capable of reasoning, if they would, live
and die in a thousand errors, from laziness; they will rather adopt the
prejudices of others, than give themselves the trouble of forming
opinions of their own. They say things, at first, because other people
have said them, and then they persist in them, because they have said
them themselves.

The last observation that I shall now mention of the Cardinal's is, "That
a secret is more easily kept by a good many people, than one commonly
imagines." By this he means a secret of importance, among people
interested in the keeping of it. And it is certain that people of
business know the importance of secrecy, and will observe it, where they
are concerned in the event. To go and tell any friend, wife, or mistress,
any secret with which they have nothing to do, is discovering to them
such an unretentive weakness, as must convince them that you will tell it
to twenty others, and consequently that they may reveal it without the
risk of being discovered. But a secret properly communicated only to
those who are to be concerned in the thing in question, will probably be
kept by them though they should be a good many. Little secrets are
commonly told again, but great ones are generally kept. Adieu!


LONDON, September 20, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: I wait with impatience for your accurate history of the
'Chevaliers Forte Epees', which you promised me in your last, and which I
take to be the forerunner of a larger work that you intend to give the
public, containing a general account of all the religious and military
orders of Europe. Seriously, you will do well to have a general notion of
all those orders, ancient and modern; both as they are frequently the
subjects of conversation, and as they are more or less interwoven with
the histories of those times. Witness the Teutonic Order, which, as soon
as it gained strength, began its unjust depredations in Germany, and
acquired such considerable possessions there; and the Order of Malta
also, which continues to this day its piracies upon the Infidels. Besides
one can go into no company in Germany, without running against Monsieur
le Chevalier, or Monsieur le Commandeur de l' Ordre Teutonique. It is the
same in all the other parts of Europe with regard to the Order of Malta,
where you never go into company without meeting two or three Chevaliers
or Commandeurs, who talk of their 'Preuves', their 'Langues', their
'Caravanes', etc., of all which things I am sure you would not willingly
be ignorant. On the other hand, I do not mean that you should have a
profound and minute knowledge of these matters, which are of a nature
that a general knowledge of them is fully sufficient. I would not
recommend you to read Abbe Vertot's "History of the Order of Malta," in
four quarto volumes; that would be employing a great deal of good time
very ill. But I would have you know the foundations, the objects, the
INSIGNIA, and the short general history of them all.

As for the ancient religious military orders, which were chiefly founded
in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, such as Malta, the Teutonic, the
Knights Templars, etc., the injustice and the wickedness of those
establishments cannot, I am sure, have escaped your observation. Their
pious object was, to take away by force other people's property, and to
massacre the proprietors themselves if they refused to give up that
property, and adopt the opinions of these invaders. What right or
pretense had these confederated Christians of Europe to the Holy Land?
Let them produce their grant of it in the Bible. Will they say, that the
Saracens had possessed themselves of it by force, and that, consequently,
they had the same right? Is it lawful then to steal goods because they
were stolen before? Surely not. The truth is, that the wickedness of
many, and the weakness of more, in those ages of ignorance and
superstition, concurred to form those flagitious conspiracies against the
lives and properties of unoffending people. The Pope sanctified the
villany, and annexed the pardon of sins to the perpetration of it. This
gave rise to the Crusaders, and carried such swarms of people from Europe
to the conquests of the Holy Land. Peter the Hermit, an active and
ambitious priest, by his indefatigable pains, was the immediate author of
the first crusade; kings, princes, all professions and characters united,
from different motives, in this great undertaking, as every sentiment,
except true religion and morality, invited to it. The ambitious hoped for
kingdoms; the greedy and the necessitous for plunder; and some were
enthusiasts enough to hope for salvation, by the destruction of a
considerable number of their fellow creatures, who had done them no
injury. I cannot omit, upon this occasion, telling you that the Eastern
emperors at Constantinople (who, as Christians, were obliged at least to
seem to favor these expeditions), seeing the immense numbers of the
'Croisez', and fearing that the Western Empire might have some mind to
the Eastern Empire too, if it succeeded against the Infidels, as
'l'appetit vient en mangeant'; these Eastern emperors, very honestly,
poisoned the waters where the 'Croisez' were to pass, and so destroyed
infinite numbers of them.

The later orders of knighthood, such as the Garter in England; the
Elephant in Denmark; the Golden Fleece in Burgundy; the St. Esprit, St.
Michel, St. Louis, and St. Lazare, in France etc., are of a very
different nature and were either the invitations to, or the rewards of;
brave actions in fair war; and are now rather the decorations of the
favor of the prince, than the proofs of the merit of the subject.
However, they are worth your inquiries to a certain degree, and
conversation will give you frequent opportunities for them. Wherever you
are, I would advise you to inquire into the respective orders of that
country, and to write down a short account of them. For example, while
you are in Saxony, get an account of l'Aigle Blanc and of what other
orders there may be, either Polish or Saxon; and, when you shall be at
Berlin, inform yourself of three orders, l'Aigle Noir, la Generosite et
le Vrai Merite, which are the only ones that I know of there. But
whenever you meet with straggling ribands and stars, as you will with a
thousand in Germany, do not fail to inquire what they are, and to take a
minute of them in your memorandum book; for it is a sort of knowledge
that costs little to acquire, and yet it is of some use. Young people
have frequently an incuriousness about them, arising either from
laziness, or a contempt of the object, which deprives them of several
such little parts of knowledge, that they afterward wish they had
acquired. If you will put conversation to profit, great knowledge may be
gained by it; and is it not better (since it is full as easy) to turn it
upon useful than upon useless subjects? People always talk best upon what
they know most, and it is both pleasing them and improving one's self, to
put them upon that subject. With people of a particular profession, or of
a distinguished eminency in any branch of learning, one is not at a loss;
but with those, whether men or women, who properly constitute what is
called the beau monde, one must not choose deep subjects, nor hope to get
any knowledge above that of orders, ranks, families, and court anecdotes;
which are therefore the proper (and not altogether useless) subjects of
that kind of conversation. Women, especially, are to be talked to as
below men and above children. If you talk to them too deep, you only
confound them, and lose your own labor; if you talk to them too
frivolously, they perceive and resent the contempt. The proper tone for
them is, what the French call the 'Entregent', and is, in truth, the
polite jargon of good company. Thus, if you are a good chemist, you may
extract something out of everything.

A propos of the beau monde, I must again and again recommend the Graces
to you: There is no doing without them in that world; and, to make a good
figure in that world, is a great step toward making one in the world of
business, particularly that part of it for which you are destined. An
ungraceful manner of speaking, awkward motions, and a disagreeable
address, are great clogs to the ablest man of business, as the opposite
qualifications are of infinite advantage to him. I am told there is a
very good dancing-master at Leipsig. I would have you dance a minuet very
well, not so much for the sake of the minuet itself (though that, if
danced at all, ought to be danced, well), as that it will give you a
habitual genteel carriage and manner of presenting yourself.

Since I am upon little things, I must mention another, which, though
little enough in itself, yet as it occurs at, least once in every day,
deserves some attention; I mean Carving. Do you use yourself to carve
ADROITLY and genteelly, without hacking half an hour across a bone;
without bespattering the company with the sauce; and without overturning
the glasses into your neighbor's pockets? These awkwardnesses are
extremely disagreeable; and, if often repeated, bring ridicule. They are
very easily avoided by a little attention and use.

How trifling soever these things may seem, or really be in themselves,
they are no longer so when above half the world thinks them otherwise.
And, as I would have you 'omnibus ornatum--excellere rebus', I think
nothing above or below my pointing out to you, or your excelling in. You
have the means of doing it, and time before you to make use of them. Take
my word for it, I ask nothing now but what you will, twenty years hence,
most heartily wish that you had done. Attention to all these things, for
the next two or three years, will save you infinite trouble and endless
regrets hereafter. May you, in the whole course of your life, have no
reason for any one just regret! Adieu.

Your Dresden china is arrived, and I have sent it to your Mamma.


LONDON, September 27, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: I have received your Latin "Lecture upon War," which though it
is not exactly the same Latin that Caesar, Cicero, Horace, Virgil, and
Ovid spoke, is, however, as good Latin as the erudite Germans speak or
write. I have always observed that the most learned people, that is,
those who have read the most Latin, write the worst; and that
distinguishes the Latin of gentleman scholar from that of a pedant. A
gentleman has, probably, read no other Latin than that of the Augustan
age; and therefore can write no other, whereas the pedant has read much
more bad Latin than good, and consequently writes so too. He looks upon
the best classical books, as books for school-boys, and consequently
below him; but pores over fragments of obscure authors, treasures up the
obsolete words which he meets with there, and uses them upon all
occasions to show his reading at the expense of his judgment. Plautus is
his favorite author, not for the sake of the wit and the vis comica of
his comedies, but upon account of the many obsolete words, and the cant
of low characters, which are to be met with nowhere else. He will rather
use 'olli' than 'illi', 'optume' than 'optima', and any bad word rather
than any good one, provided he can but prove, that strictly speaking, it
is Latin; that is, that it was written by a Roman. By this rule, I might
now write to you in the language of Chaucer or Spenser, and assert that I
wrote English, because it was English in their days; but I should be a
most affected puppy if I did so, and you would not understand three words
of my letter. All these, and such like affected peculiarities, are the
characteristics of learned coxcombs and pedants, and are carefully
avoided by all men of sense.

I dipped accidentally, the other day, into Pitiscus's preface to his
"Lexicon," where I found a word that puzzled me, and which I did not
remember ever to have met with before. It is the adverb 'praefiscine',
which means, IN A GOOD HOUR; an expression which, by the superstition of
it, appears to be low and vulgar. I looked for it: and at last I found
that it is once or twice made use of in Plautus, upon the strength of
which this learned pedant thrusts it into his preface. Whenever you write
Latin, remember that every word or phrase which you make use of, but
cannot find in Caesar, Cicero, Livy, Horace, Virgil; and Ovid, is bad,
illiberal Latin, though it may have been written by a Roman.

I must now say something as to the matter of the "Lecture," in which I
confess there is one doctrine laid down that surprises me: It is this,
'Quum vero hostis sit lenta citave morte omnia dira nobis minitans
quocunque bellantibus negotium est; parum sane interfuerit quo modo eum
obruere et interficere satagamus, si ferociam exuere cunctetur. Ergo
veneno quoque uti fas est', etc., whereas I cannot conceive that the use
of poison can, upon any account, come within the lawful means of
self-defense. Force may, without doubt, be justly repelled by force, but
not by treachery and fraud; for I do not call the stratagems of war, such
as ambuscades, masked batteries, false attacks, etc., frauds or
treachery: They are mutually to be expected and guarded against; but
poisoned arrows, poisoned waters, or poison administered to your enemy
(which can only be done by treachery), I have always heard, read, and
thought, to be unlawful and infamous means of defense, be your danger
ever so great: But 'si ferociam exuere cunctetur'; must I rather die than
poison this enemy? Yes, certainly, much rather die than do a base or
criminal action; nor can I be sure, beforehand, that this enemy may not,
in the last moment, 'ferociam exuere'. But the public lawyers, now, seem
to me rather to warp the law, in order to authorize, than to check, those
unlawful proceedings of princes and states; which, by being become
common, appear less criminal, though custom can never alter the nature of
good and ill.

Pray let no quibbles of lawyers, no refinements of casuists, break into
the plain notions of right and wrong, which every man's right reason and
plain common sense suggest to him. To do as you would be done by, is the
plain, sure, and undisputed rule of morality and justice. Stick to that;
and be convinced that whatever breaks into it, in any degree, however
speciously it may be turned, and however puzzling it may be to answer it,
is, notwithstanding, false in itself, unjust, and criminal. I do not know
a crime in the world, which is not by the casuists among the Jesuits
(especially the twenty-four collected, I think, by Escobar) allowed, in
some, or many cases, not to be criminal. The principles first laid down
by them are often specious, the reasonings plausible, but the conclusion
always a lie: for it is contrary, to that evident and undeniable rule of
justice which I have mentioned above, of not doing to anyone what you
would not have him do to you. But, however, these refined pieces of
casuistry and sophistry, being very convenient and welcome to people's
passions and appetites, they gladly accept the indulgence, without
desiring to detect the fallacy or the reasoning: and indeed many, I might
say most people, are not able to do it; which makes the publication of
such quibblings and refinements the more pernicious. I am no skillful
casuist nor subtle disputant; and yet I would undertake to justify and
qualify the profession of a highwayman, step by step, and so plausibly,
as to make many ignorant people embrace the profession, as an innocent,
if not even a laudable one; and puzzle people of some degree of
knowledge, to answer me point by point. I have seen a book, entitled
'Quidlibet ex Quolibet', or the art of making anything out of anything;
which is not so difficult as it would seem, if once one quits certain
plain truths, obvious in gross to every understanding, in order to run
after the ingenious refinements of warm imaginations and speculative
reasonings. Doctor Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne, a very worthy, ingenious,
and learned man, has written a book, to prove that there is no such thing
as matter, and that nothing exists but in idea: that you and I only fancy
ourselves eating, drinking, and sleeping; you at Leipsig, and I at
London: that we think we have flesh and blood, legs, arms, etc., but that
we are only spirit. His arguments are, strictly speaking, unanswerable;
but yet I am so far from being convinced by them, that I am determined to
go on to eat and drink, and walk and ride, in order to keep that MATTER,
which I so mistakenly imagine my body at present to consist of, in as
good plight as possible. Common sense (which, in truth, very uncommon) is
the best sense I know of: abide by it, it will counsel you best. Read and
hear, for your amusement, ingenious systems, nice questions subtilly
agitated, with all the refinements that warm imaginations suggest; but
consider them only as exercitations for the mind, and turn always to
settle with common sense.

I stumbled, the other day, at a bookseller's, upon "Comte Gabalis," in
two very little volumes, which I had formerly read. I read it over again,
and with fresh astonishment. Most of the extravagances are taken from the
Jewish Rabbins, who broached those wild notions, and delivered them in
the unintelligible jargon which the Caballists and Rosicrucians deal in
to this day. Their number is, I believe, much lessened, but there are
still some; and I myself have known two; who studied and firmly believed
in that mystical nonsense. What extravagancy is not man capable of
entertaining, when once his shackled reason is led in triumph by fancy
and prejudice! The ancient alchemists give very much into this stuff, by
which they thought they should discover the philosopher's stone; and some
of the most celebrated empirics employed it in the pursuit of the
universal medicine. Paracelsus, a bold empiric and wild Caballist,
asserted that he had discovered it, and called it his 'Alkahest'. Why or
wherefore, God knows; only that those madmen call nothing by an
intelligible name. You may easily get this book from The Hague: read it,
for it will both divert and astonish you, and at the same time teach you
'nil admirari'; a very necessary lesson.

Your letters, except when upon a given subject, are exceedingly laconic,
and neither answer my desires nor the purpose of letters; which should be
familiar conversations, between absent friends. As I desire to live with
you upon the footing of an intimate friend, and not of a parent, I could
wish that your letters gave me more particular accounts of yourself, and
of your lesser transactions. When you write to me, suppose yourself
conversing freely with me by the fireside. In that case, you would
naturally mention the incidents of the day; as where you had been, who
you had seen, what you thought of them, etc. Do this in your letters:
acquaint me sometimes with your studies, sometimes with your diversions;
tell me of any new persons and characters that you meet with in company,
and add your own observations upon them: in short, let me see more of you
in your letters. How do you go on with Lord Pulteney, and how does he go
on at Leipsig? Has he learning, has he parts, has he application? Is he
good or ill-natured? In short, What is he? at least, what do you think
him? You may tell me without reserve, for I promise you secrecy. You are
now of an age that I am desirous to begin a confidential correspondence
with you; and as I shall, on my part, write you very freely my opinion
upon men and things, which I should often be very unwilling that anybody
but you and Mr. Harte should see, so, on your part, if you write me
without reserve, you may depend upon my inviolable secrecy. If you have
ever looked into the "Letters" of Madame de Sevigne to her daughter,
Madame de Grignan, you must have observed the ease, freedom, and
friendship of that correspondence; and yet, I hope and I believe, that
they did not love one another better than we do. Tell me what books you
are now reading, either by way of study or amusement; how you pass your
evenings when at home, and where you pass them when abroad. I know that
you go sometimes to Madame Valentin's assembly; What do you do there? Do
you play, or sup, or is it only 'la belle conversation?' Do you mind your
dancing while your dancing-master is with you? As you will be often under
the necessity of dancing a minuet, I would have you dance it very well.
Remember, that the graceful motion of the arms, the giving your hand, and
the putting on and pulling off your hat genteelly, are the material parts
of a gentleman's dancing. But the greatest advantage of dancing well is,
that it necessarily teaches you to present yourself, to sit, stand, and
walk, genteelly; all of which are of real importance to a man of fashion.

I should wish that you were polished before you go to Berlin; where, as
you will be in a great deal of good company, I would have you have the
right manners for it. It is a very considerable article to have 'le ton
de la bonne compagnie', in your destination particularly. The principal
business of a foreign minister is, to get into the secrets, and to know
all 'les allures' of the courts at which he resides; this he can never
bring about but by such a pleasing address, such engaging manners, and
such an insinuating behavior, as may make him sought for, and in some
measure domestic, in the best company and the best families of the place.
He will then, indeed, be well informed of all that passes, either by the
confidences made him, or by the carelessness of people in his company,
who are accustomed to look upon him as one of them, and consequently are
not upon their guard before him. For a minister who only goes to the
court he resides at, in form, to ask an audience of the prince or the
minister upon his last instructions, puts them upon their guard, and will
never know anything more than what they have a mind that he should know.
Here women may be put to some use. A king's mistress, or a minister's
wife or mistress, may give great and useful informations; and are very
apt to do it, being proud to show that they have been trusted. But then,
in this case, the height of that sort of address, which, strikes women,
is requisite; I mean that easy politeness, genteel and graceful address,
and that 'exterieur brilliant' which they cannot withstand. There is a
sort of men so like women, that they are to be taken just in the same
way; I mean those who are commonly called FINE MEN; who swarm at all
courts; who have little reflection, and less knowledge; but, who by their
good breeding, and 'train-tran' of the world, are admitted into all
companies; and, by the imprudence or carelessness of their superiors,
pick up secrets worth knowing, which are easily got out of them by proper
address. Adieu.


BATH, October 12, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: I came here three days ago upon account of a disorder in my
stomach, which affected my head and gave me vertigo. I already find
myself something better; and consequently do not doubt but that the
course of these waters will set me quite right. But however and wherever
I am, your welfare, your character, your knowledge, and your morals,
employ my thoughts more than anything that can happen to me, or that I
can fear or hope for myself. I am going off the stage, you are coming
upon it; with me what has been, has been, and reflection now would come
too late; with you everything is to come, even, in some manner,
reflection itself; so that this is the very time when my reflections, the
result of experience, may be of use to you, by supplying the want of
yours. As soon as you leave Leipsig, you will gradually be going into the
great world; where the first impressions that you shall give of yourself
will be of great importance to you; but those which you shall receive
will be decisive, for they always stick. To keep good company, especially
at your first setting out, is the way to receive good impressions. If you
ask me what I mean by good company, I will confess to you that it is
pretty difficult to define; but I will endeavor to make you understand it
as well as I can.

Good company is not what respective sets of company are pleased either to
call or think themselves, but it is that company which all the people of
the place call, and acknowledge to be, good company, notwithstanding some
objections which they may form to some of the individuals who compose it.
It consists chiefly (but by no means without exception) of people of
considerable birth, rank, and character; for people of neither birth nor
rank are frequently, and very justly admitted into it, if distinguished
by any peculiar merit, or eminency in any liberal art or science. Nay, so
motly a thing is good company, that many people, without birth, rank, or
merit, intrude into it by their own forwardness, and others slide into it
by the protection of some considerable person; and some even of
indifferent characters and morals make part of it. But in the main, the
good part preponderates, and people of infamous and blasted characters
are never admitted. In this fashionable good company, the best manners
and the best language of the place are most unquestionably to be learned;
for they establish and give the tone to both, which are therefore called
the language and manners of good company: there being no legal tribunal
to ascertain either.

A company, consisting wholly of people of the first quality, cannot, for
that reason, be called good company, in the common acceptation of the
phrase, unless they are, into the bargain, the fashionable and accredited
company of the place; for people of the very first quality can be as
silly, as ill-bred, and as worthless, as people of the meanest degree. On
the other hand, a company consisting entirely of people of very low
condition, whatever their merit or parts may be, can never be called good
company; and consequently should not be much frequented, though by no
means despised.

A company wholly composed of men of learning, though greatly to be valued
and respected, is not meant by the words GOOD COMPANY; they cannot have
the easy manners and, 'tournure' of the world, as they do not live in it.
If you can bear your part well in such a company, it is extremely right
to be in it sometimes, and you will be but more esteemed in other
companies, for having a place in that. But then do not let it engross
you; for if you do, you will be only considered as one of the 'literati'
by profession; which is not the way either, to shine, or rise in the

The company of professed wits and pests is extremely inviting to most
young men; who if they have wit themselves, are pleased with it, and if
they have none, are sillily proud of being one of it: but it should be
frequented with moderation and judgment, and you should by no means give
yourself up to it. A wit is a very unpopular denomination, as it carries
terror along with it; and people in general are as much afraid of a live
wit, in company, as a woman is of a gun, which she thinks may go off of
itself, and do her a mischief. Their acquaintance is, however, worth
seeking, and their company worth frequenting; but not exclusively of
others, nor to such a degree as to be considered only as one of that
particular set.

But the company, which of all others you should most carefully avoid, is
that low company, which, in every sense of the word, is low indeed; low
in rank, low in parts, low in manners, and low in merit. You will,
perhaps, be surprised that I should think it necessary to warn you
against such company, but yet I do not think it wholly, unnecessary, from
the many instances which I have seen of men of sense and rank,
discredited, verified, and undone, by keeping such company.

Vanity, that source of many of our follies, and of some of our crimes,
has sunk many a man into company, in every light infinitely, below
himself, for the sake of being the first man in it. There he dictates, is
applauded, admired; and, for the sake of being the Coryphceus of that
wretched chorus, disgraces and disqualifies himself soon for any better
company. Depend upon it, you will sink or rise to the level of the
company which you commonly keep: people will judge of you, and not
unreasonably, by that. There is good sense in the Spanish saying, "Tell
me whom you live with, and I will tell you who you are." Make it
therefore your business, wherever you are, to get into that company which
everybody in the place allows to be the best company next to their own;
which is the best definition that I can give you of good company. But
here, too, one caution is very necessary, for want of which many young
men have been ruined, even in good company.

Good company (as I have before observed) is composed of a great variety
of fashionable people, whose characters and morals are very different,
though their manners are pretty much the same. When a young man, new in
the world, first gets into that company, he very rightly determines to
conform to, and imitate it. But then he too often, and fatally, mistakes
the objects of his imitation. He has often heard that absurd term of
genteel and fashionable vices. He there sees some people who shine, and
who in general are admired and esteemed; and observes that these people
are whoremasters, drunkards, or gamesters, upon which he adopts their
vices, mistaking their defects for their perfections, and thinking that
they owe their fashions and their luster to those genteel vices. Whereas
it is exactly the reverse; for these people have acquired their
reputation by their parts, their learning, their good-breeding, and other
real accomplishments: and are only blemished and lowered, in the opinions
of all reasonable people, and of their own, in time, by these genteel and
fashionable vices. A whoremaster, in a flux, or without a nose, is a very
genteel person, indeed, and well worthy of imitation. A drunkard,
vomiting up at night the wine of the day, and stupefied by the headache
all the next, is, doubtless, a fine model to copy from. And a gamester,
tearing his hair, and blaspheming, for having lost more than he had in
the world, is surely a most amiable character. No; these are alloys, and
great ones too, which can never adorn any character, but will always
debase the best. To prove this, suppose any man, without parts and some
other good qualities, to be merely a whoremaster, a drunkard, or a
gamester; how will he be looked upon by all sorts of people? Why, as a
most contemptible and vicious animal. Therefore it is plain, that in
these mixed characters, the good part only makes people forgive, but not
approve, the bad.

I will hope and believe that you will have no vices; but if,
unfortunately, you should have any, at least I beg of you to be content
with your own, and to adopt no other body's.

The adoption of vice has, I am convinced, ruined ten times more young men
than natural inclinations.

As I make no difficulty of confessing my past errors, where I think the
confession may be of use to you, I will own that when I first went to the
university, I drank and smoked, notwithstanding the aversion I had to
wine and tobacco, only because I thought it genteel, and that it made me
look like a man. When I went abroad, I first went to The Hague, where
gaming was much in fashion, and where I observed that many people of
shining rank and character gamed too. I was then young enough, and silly
enough, to believe that gaming was one of their accomplishments; and, as
I aimed at perfection, I adopted gaming as a necessary step to it. Thus I
acquired by error the habit of a vice which, far from adorning my
character, has, I am conscious, been a great blemish in it.

Imitate then, with discernment and judgment, the real perfections of the
good company into which you may get; copy their politeness, their
carriage, their address, and the easy and well-bred turn of their
conversation; but remember that, let them shine ever so bright, their
vices, if they have any, are so many spots which you would no more
imitate, than you would make an artificial wart upon your face, because
some very handsome man had the misfortune to have a natural one upon his:
but, on the contrary, think how much handsomer he would have been without

Having thus confessed some of my 'egaremens', I will now show you a
little of my right side. I always endeavored to get into the best company
wherever I was, and commonly succeeded. There I pleased to some degree by
showing a desire to please. I took care never to be absent or 'distrait';
but on the contrary, attended to everything that was said, done, or even
looked, in company; I never failed in the minutest attentions and was
never 'journalier'. These things, and not my 'egaremens', made me
fashionable. Adieu! This letter is full long enough.


BATH, October 19, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: Having in my last pointed out what sort of company you should
keep, I will now give you some rules for your conduct in it; rules which
my own experience and observation enable me to lay down, and communicate
to you, with some degree of confidence. I have often given you hints of
this kind before, but then it has been by snatches; I will now be more
regular and methodical. I shall say nothing with regard to your bodily
carriage and address, but leave them to the care of your dancing-master,
and to your own attention to the best models; remember, however, that
they are of consequence.

Talk often, but never long: in that case, if you do not please, at least
you are sure not to tire your hearers. Pay your own reckoning, but do not
treat the whole company; this being one of the very few cases in which
people do not care to be treated, everyone being fully convinced that he
has wherewithal to pay.

Tell stories very seldom, and absolutely never but where they are very
apt and very short. Omit every circumstance that is not material, and
beware of digressions. To have frequent recourse to narrative betrays
great want of imagination.

Never hold anybody by the button or the hand, in order to be heard out;
for, if people are not willing to hear you, you had much better hold your
tongue than them.

Most long talkers single out some one unfortunate man in company
(commonly him whom they observe to be the most silent, or their next
neighbor) to whisper, or at least in a half voice, to convey a continuity
of words to. This is excessively ill-bred, and in some degree a fraud;
conversation-stock being a joint and common property. But, on the other
hand, if one of these unmerciful talkers lays hold of you, hear him with
patience (and at least seeming attention), if he is worth obliging; for
nothing will oblige him more than a patient hearing, as nothing would
hurt him more than either to leave him in the midst of his discourse, or
to discover your impatience under your affliction.

Take, rather than give, the tone of the company you are in. If you have
parts, you will show them, more or less, upon every subject; and if you
have not, you had better talk sillily upon a subject of other people's
than of your own choosing.

Avoid as much as you can, in mixed companies, argumentative, polemical
conversations; which, though they should not, yet certainly do, indispose
for a time the contending parties toward each other; and, if the
controversy grows warm and noisy, endeavor to put an end to it by some
genteel levity or joke. I quieted such a conversation-hubbub once, by
representing to them that, though I was persuaded none there present
would repeat, out of company, what passed in it, yet I could not answer
for the discretion of the passengers in the street, who must necessarily
hear all that was said.

Above all things, and upon all occasions, avoid speaking of yourself, if
it be possible. Such is the natural pride and vanity of our hearts, that
it perpetually breaks out, even in people of the best parts, in all the
various modes and figures of the egotism.

Some, abruptly, speak advantageously of themselves, without either
pretense or provocation. They are impudent. Others proceed more artfully,
as they imagine; and forge accusations against themselves, complain of
calumnies which they never heard, in order to justify themselves, by
exhibiting a catalogue of their many virtues. They acknowledge it may,
indeed, seem odd that they should talk in that manner of themselves; it
is what they do not like, and what they never would have done; no; no
tortures should ever have forced it from them, if they had, not been thus
unjustly and monstrously accused. But, in these cases; justice is surely
due to one's self, as well as to others; and when our character is
attacked, we may say in our own justification, what otherwise we never
would have said. This thin veil of Modesty drawn before Vanity, is much
too transparent to conceal it, even from very moderate discernment.

Others go more modestly and more slyly still (as they think) to work; but
in my mind still more ridiculously. They confess themselves (not without
some degree of shame and confusion) into all the Cardinal Virtues, by
first degrading them into weaknesses and then owning their misfortune in
being made up of those weaknesses. They cannot see people suffer without
sympathizing with, and endeavoring to help them. They cannot see people
want, without relieving them, though truly their own circumstances cannot
very well afford it. They cannot help speaking truth, though they know
all the imprudence of it. In short, they know that, with all these
weaknesses, they are not fit to live in the world, much less to thrive in
it. But they are now too old to change, and must rub on as well as they
can. This sounds too ridiculous and 'outre', almost, for the stage; and
yet, take my word for it, you will frequently meet with it upon the
common stage of the world. And here I will observe, by the bye, that you
will often meet with characters in nature so extravagant, that a discreet
dramatist would not venture to set them upon the stage in their true and
high coloring.

This principle of vanity and pride is so strong in human nature that it
descends even to the lowest objects; and one often sees people angling
for praise, where, admitting all they say to be true (which, by the way,
it seldom is), no just praise is to be caught. One man affirms that he
has rode post an hundred miles in six hours; probably it is a lie: but
supposing it to be true, what then? Why he is a very good post-boy, that
is all. Another asserts, and probably not without oaths, that he has
drunk six or eight bottles of wine at a sitting; out of charity, I will
believe him a liar; for, if I do not, I must think him a beast.

Such, and a thousand more, are the follies and extravagances, which
vanity draws people into, and which always defeat their own purpose; and
as Waller says, upon another subject,--

     "Make the wretch the most despised,
     Where most he wishes to be prized."

The only sure way of avoiding these evils, is never to speak of yourself
at all. But when, historically, you are obliged to mention yourself, take
care not to drop one single word that can directly or indirectly be
construed as fishing for applause. Be your character what it will, it
will be known; and nobody will take it upon your own word. Never imagine
that anything you can say yourself will varnish your defects, or add
lustre to your perfections! but, on the contrary, it may, and nine times
in ten, will, make the former more glaring and the latter obscure. If you
are silent upon your own subject, neither envy, indignation, nor
ridicule, will obstruct or allay the applause which you may really
deserve; but if you publish your own panegyric upon any occasion, or in
any shape whatsoever, and however artfully dressed or disguised, they
will all conspire against you, and you will be disappointed of the very
end you aim at.

Take care never to seem dark and mysterious; which is not only a very
unamiable character, but a very suspicious one too; if you seem
mysterious with others, they will be really so with you, and you will
know nothing. The height of abilities is to have 'volto sciolto' and
'pensieri stretti'; that is, a frank, open, and ingenuous exterior, with
a prudent interior; to be upon your own guard, and yet, by a seeming
natural openness, to put people off theirs. Depend upon it nine in ten of
every company you are in will avail themselves of every indiscreet and
unguarded expression of yours, if they can turn it to their own
advantage. A prudent reserve is therefore as necessary as a seeming
openness is prudent. Always look people in the face when you speak to
them: the not doing it is thought to imply conscious guilt; besides that
you lose the advantage of serving by their countenances what impression
your discourse makes upon them. In order to know people's real
sentiments, I trust much more to my eyes than to my ears: for they can
say whatever they have a mind I should hear; but they can seldom help
looking, what they have no intention that I should know.

Neither retail nor receive scandal willingly; defamation of others may
for the present gratify the malignity of the pride of our hearts; cool
reflection will draw very disadvantageous conclusions from such a
disposition; and in the case of scandal, as in that of robbery, the
receiver is always thought, as bad as the thief.

Mimicry, which is the common and favorite amusement of little low minds,
is in the utmost contempt with great ones. It is the lowest and most
illiberal of all buffoonery. Pray, neither practice it yourself, nor
applaud it in others. Besides that the person mimicked is insulted; and,
as I have often observed to you before, an insult is never forgiven.

I need not (I believe) advise you to adapt your conversation to the
people you are conversing with: for I suppose you would not, without this
caution, have talked upon the same subject, and in the same manner, to a
minister of state, a bishop, a philosopher, a captain, and a woman. A man
of the world must, like the chameleon, be able to take every different
hue; which is by no means a criminal or abject, but a necessary
complaisance; for it relates only to manners and not to morals.

One word only as to swearing, and that, I hope and believe, is more than
is necessary. You may sometimes hear some people in good company
interlard their discourse with oaths, by way of embellishment, as they
think, but you must observe, too, that those who do so are never those
who contribute, in any degree, to give that company the denomination of
good company. They are always subalterns, or people of low education; for
that practice, besides that it has no one temptation to plead, is as
silly and as illiberal as it is wicked.

Loud laughter is the mirth of the mob, who are only pleased with silly
things; for true wit or good sense never excited a laugh since the
creation of the world. A man of parts and fashion is therefore only seen
to smile; but never heard to laugh.

But to conclude this long letter; all the above-mentioned rules, however
carefully you may observe them, will lose half their effect, if
unaccompanied by the Graces. Whatever you say, if you say it with a
supercilious, cynical face, or an embarrassed countenance, or a silly,
disconcerted grin, will be ill received. If, into the bargain, YOU MUTTER
received. If your air and address are vulgar, awkward, and gauche, you
may be esteemed indeed, if you have great intrinsic merit; but you will
never, please; and without pleasing you will rise but heavily. Venus,
among the ancients, was synonymous with the Graces, who were always
supposed to accompany her; and Horace tells us that even Youth and
Mercury, the god of Arts and Eloquence, would not do without her:

     'Parum comis sine to Juventas Mercuriusque.'

They are not inexorable Ladies, and may be had if properly, and
diligently pursued. Adieu.


BATH, October 29, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: My anxiety for your success increases in proportion as the time
approaches of your taking your part upon the great stage of the world.
The audience will form their opinion of you upon your first appearance
(making the proper allowance for your inexperience), and so far it will
be final, that, though it may vary as to the degrees, it will never
totally change. This consideration excites that restless attention with
which I am constantly examining how I can best contribute to the
perfection of that character, in which the least spot or blemish would
give me more real concern, than I am now capable of feeling upon any
other account whatsoever.

I have long since done mentioning your great religious and moral duties,
because I could not make your understanding so bad a compliment as to
suppose that you wanted, or could receive, any new instructions upon
those two important points. Mr. Harte, I am sure, has not neglected them;
and, besides, they are so obvious to common sense and reason, that
commentators may (as they often do) perplex, but cannot make them
clearer. My province, therefore, is to supply by my experience your
hitherto inevitable inexperience in the ways of the world. People at your
age are in a state of natural ebriety; and want rails, and 'gardefous',
wherever they go, to hinder them from breaking their necks. This
drunkenness of youth is not only tolerated, but even pleases, if kept
within certain bounds of discretion and decency. These bounds are the
point which it is difficult for the drunken man himself to find out; and
there it is that the experience of a friend may not only serve, but save

Carry with you, and welcome, into company all the gaiety and spirits, but
as little of the giddiness, of youth as you can. The former will charm;
but the latter will often, though innocently, implacably offend. Inform
yourself of the characters and situations of the company, before you give
way to what your imagination may prompt you to say. There are, in all
companies, more wrong beads than right ones, and many more who deserve,
than who like censure. Should you therefore expatiate in the praise of
some virtue, which some in company notoriously want; or declaim against
any vice, which others are notoriously infected with, your reflections,
however general and unapplied, will, by being applicable, be thought
personal and leveled at those people. This consideration points out to
you, sufficiently, not to be suspicious and captious yourself, nor to
suppose that things, because they may be, are therefore meant at you. The
manners of well-bred people secure one from those indirect and mean
attacks; but if, by chance, a flippant woman or a pert coxcomb lets off
anything of that kind, it is much better not to seem to understand, than
to reply to it.

Cautiously avoid talking of either your own or other people's domestic
affairs. Yours are nothing to them but tedious; theirs are nothing to
you. The subject is a tender one: and it is odds but that you touch
somebody or other's sore place: for, in this case, there is no trusting
to specious appearances; which may be, and often are, so contrary to the
real situations of things, between men and their wives, parents and their
children, seeming friends, etc., that, with the best intentions in the
world, one often blunders disagreeably.

Remember that the wit, humor, and jokes, of most mixed companies are
local. They thrive in that particular soil, but will not often bear
transplanting. Every company is differently circumstanced, has its
particular cant and jargon; which may give occasion to wit and mirth
within that circle, but would seem flat and insipid in any other, and
therefore will not bear repeating. Nothing makes a man look sillier than
a pleasantry not relished or not understood; and if he meets with a
profound silence when he expected a general applause, or, what is worse,
if he is desired to explain the bon mot, his awkward and embarrassed
situation is easier imagined' than described. 'A propos' of repeating;
take great care never to repeat (I do not mean here the pleasantries) in
one company what you hear in another. Things, seemingly indifferent, may,
by circulation, have much graver consequences than you would imagine.
Besides, there is a general tacit trust in conversation, by which a man
is obliged not to report anything out of it, though he is not immediately
enjoined to secrecy. A retailer of this kind is sure to draw himself into
a thousand scrapes and discussions, and to be shyly and uncomfortably
received wherever he goes.

You will find, in most good company, some people who only keep their
place there by a contemptible title enough; these are what we call VERY
GOOD-NATURED FELLOWS, and the French, 'bons diables'. The truth is, they
are people without any parts or fancy, and who, having no will of their
own, readily assent to, concur in, and applaud, whatever is said or done
in the company; and adopt, with the same alacrity, the most virtuous or
the most criminal, the wisest or the silliest scheme, that happens to be
entertained by the majority of the company. This foolish, and often
criminal complaisance flows from a foolish cause,--the want of any other
merit. I hope that you will hold your place in company by a nobler
tenure, and that you will hold it (you can bear a quibble, I believe,
yet) 'in capite'. Have a will and an opinion of your own, and adhere to
them steadily; but then do it with good humor, good-breeding, and (if you
have it) with urbanity; for you have not yet heard enough either to
preach or censure.

All other kinds of complaisance are not only blameless, but necessary in
good company. Not to seem to perceive the little weaknesses, and the idle
but innocent affectations of the company, but even to flatter them, in a
certain manner, is not only very allowable, but, in truth, a sort of
polite duty. They will be pleased with you, if you do; and will certainly
not be reformed by you if you do not.

For instance: you will find, in every group of company, two principal
figures, viz., the fine lady and the fine gentleman who absolutely give
the law of wit, language, fashion, and taste, to the rest of that
society. There is always a strict, and often for the time being, a tender
alliance between these two figures. The lady looks upon her empire as
founded upon the divine right of beauty (and full as good a divine right
it is as any king, emperor, or pope, can pretend to); she requires, and
commonly meets with, unlimited passive obedience. And why should she not
meet with it? Her demands go no higher than to have her unquestioned
preeminence in beauty, wit, and fashion, firmly established. Few
sovereigns (by the way) are so reasonable. The fine gentleman's claims of
right are, 'mutatis mutandis', the same; and though, indeed, he is not
always a wit 'de jure', yet, as he is the wit 'de facto' of that company,
he is entitled to a share of your allegiance, and everybody expects at
least as much as they are entitled to, if not something more. Prudence
bids you make your court to these joint sovereigns; and no duty, that I
know of, forbids it. Rebellion here is exceedingly dangerous, and
inevitably punished by banishment, and immediate forfeiture of all your
wit, manners, taste, and fashion; as, on the other hand, a cheerful
submission, not without some flattery, is sure to procure you a strong
recommendation and most effectual pass, throughout all their, and
probably the neighboring, dominions. With a moderate share of sagacity,
you will, before you have been half an hour in their company, easily
discover those two principal figures: both by the deference which you
will observe the whole company pay them, and by that easy, careless, and
serene air, which their consciousness of power gives them. As in this
case, so in all others, aim always at the highest; get always into the
highest company, and address yourself particularly to the highest in it.
The search after the unattainable philosopher's stone has occasioned a
thousand useful discoveries, which otherwise would never have been made.

What the French justly call 'les manieres nobles' are only to be acquired
in the very best companies. They are the distinguishing characteristics
of men of fashion: people of low education never wear them so close, but
that some part or other of the original vulgarism appears. 'Les manieres
nobles' equally forbid insolent contempt, or low envy and jealousy. Low
people, in good circumstances, fine clothes, and equipages, will
insolently show contempt for all those who cannot afford as fine clothes,
as good an equipage, and who have not (as their term is) as much money in
their pockets: on the other hand, they are gnawed with envy, and cannot
help discovering it, of those who surpass them in any of these articles;
which are far from being sure criterions of merit. They are likewise
jealous of being slighted; and, consequently, suspicious and captious;
they are eager and hot about trifles because trifles were, at first,
their affairs of consequence. 'Les manieres nobles' imply exactly the
reverse of all this. Study them early; you cannot make them too habitual
and familiar to you.

Just as I had written what goes before, I received your letter of the
24th, N. S., but I have not received that which you mention for Mr.
Harte. Yours is of the kind that I desire; for I want to see your private
picture, drawn by yourself, at different sittings; for though, as it is
drawn by yourself, I presume you will take the most advantageous
likeness, yet I think that I have skill enough in that kind of painting
to discover the true features, though ever so artfully colored, or thrown
into skillful lights and shades.

By your account of the German play, which I do not know whether I should
call tragedy or comedy, the only shining part of it (since I am in a way
of quibbling) seems to have been the fox's tail. I presume, too, that the
play has had the same fate with the squib, and has gone off no more. I
remember a squib much better applied, when it was made the device of the
colors of a French regiment of grenadiers; it was represented bursting,
with this motto under it: 'Peream dum luceam'.

I like the description of your PIC-NIC; where I take it for granted, that
your cards are only to break the formality of a circle, and your
SYMPOSION intended more to promote conversation than drinking. Such an
AMICABLE COLLISION, as Lord Shaftesbury very prettily calls it, rubs off
and smooths those rough corners which mere nature has given to the
smoothest of us. I hope some part, at least, of the conversation is in
German. 'A propos': tell me do you speak that language correctly, and do
you write it with ease? I have no doubt of your mastering the other
modern languages, which are much easier, and occur much oftener; for
which reason, I desire that you will apply most diligently to German,
while you are in Germany, that you may speak and write that language most

I expect to meet Mr. Eliot in London, in about three weeks, after which
you will soon see him at Leipsig. Adieu.


LONDON, November 18, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: Whatever I see or whatever I hear, my first consideration is,
whether it can in any way be useful to you. As a proof of this, I went
accidentally the other day into a print-shop, where, among many others, I
found one print from a famous design of Carlo Maratti, who died about
thirty years ago, and was the last eminent painter in Europe: the subject
is 'il Studio del Disegno'; or "The School of Drawing." An old man,
supposed to be the master, points to his scholars, who are variously
employed in perspective, geometry, and the observation of the statues of
antiquity. With regard to perspective, of which there are some little
specimens, he has wrote, 'Tanto che basti', that is, "As much as is
sufficient"; with regard to geometry, 'Tanto che basti' again; with
regard to the contemplation of the ancient statues, there is written,
'Non mai a bastanza',--"There never can be enough." But in the clouds, at
the top of the piece, are represented the three Graces, with this just
sentence written over them, 'Senza di noi ogni fatica e vana', that is,
"Without us, all labor is vain." This everybody allows to be true in
painting; but all people do not seem to consider, as I hope you will,
that this truth is full as applicable to every other art or science;
indeed to everything that is to be said or done. I will send you the
print itself by Mr. Eliot, when he returns; and I will advise you to make
the same use of it that the Roman Catholics say they do of the pictures
and images of their saints, which is, only to remind them of those; for
the adoration they disclaim. Nay, I will go further, as the transition
from Popery to Paganism is short and easy, I will classically end
poetically advise you to invoke, and sacrifice to them every day, and all
the day. It must be owned, that the Graces do not seem to be natives of
Great Britain; and, I doubt, the best of us here have more of rough than
polished diamond.

Since barbarism drove them out of Greece and Rome, they seem to have
taken refuge in France, where their temples are numerous, and their
worship the established one. Examine yourself seriously, why such and
such people please and engage you, more than such and such others, of
equal merit; and you will always find that it is because the former have
the Graces and the latter not. I have known many a woman with an exact
shape, and a symmetrical assemblage of beautiful features, please nobody;
while others, with very moderate shapes and features, have charmed
everybody. Why? because Venus will not charm so much, without her
attendant Graces, as they will without her. Among men, how often have I
seen the most solid merit and knowledge neglected, unwelcome, or even
rejected, for want of them! While flimsy parts, little knowledge, and
less merit, introduced by the Graces, have been received, cherished, and
admired. Even virtue, which is moral beauty, wants some of its charms if
unaccompanied by them.

If you ask me how you shall acquire what neither you nor I can define or
ascertain, I can only answer, BY OBSERVATION. Form yourself, with regard
to others, upon what you feel pleases you in them. I can tell you the
importance, the advantage, of having the Graces; but I cannot give them
you: I heartily wish I could, and I certainly would; for I do not know a
better present that I could make you. To show you that a very wise,
philosophical, and retired man thinks upon that subject as I do, who have
always lived in the world, I send you, by Mr. Eliot, the famous Mr.
Locke's book upon education; in which you will end the stress that he
lays upon the Graces, which he calls (and very truly) good-breeding. I
have marked all the parts of that book that are worth your attention; for
as he begins with the child, almost from its birth, the parts relative to
its infancy would be useless to you. Germany is, still less than England,
the seat of the Graces; however, you had as good not say so while you are
there. But the place which you are going to, in a great degree, is; for I
have known as many well-bred, pretty men come from Turin, as from any
part of Europe. The late King Victor Amedee took great pains to form such
of his subjects as were of any consideration, both to business and
manners; the present king, I am told, follows his example: this, however,
is certain, that in all courts and congresses, where there are various
foreign ministers, those of the King of Sardinia are generally the
ablest, the politest, and 'les plus delies'. You will therefore, at
Turin, have very good models to form yourself upon: and remember, that
with regard to the best models, as well as to the antique Greek statues
in the print, 'non mai a bastanza'. Observe every word, look, and motion
of those who are allowed to be the most accomplished persons there.
Observe their natural and careless, but genteel air; their unembarrassed
good-breeding; their unassuming, but yet unprostituted dignity. Mind
their decent mirth, their discreet frankness, and that 'entregent' which,
as much above the frivolous as below the important and the secret, is the
proper medium for conversation in mixed companies. I will observe, by the
bye, that the talent of that light 'entregent' is often of great use to a
foreign minister; not only as it helps him to domesticate himself in many
families, but also as it enables him to put by and parry some subjects of
conversation, which might possibly lay him under difficulties both what
to say and how to look.

Of all the men that ever I knew in my life (and I knew him extremely
well), the late Duke of Marlborough possessed the graces in the highest
degree, not to say engrossed them; and indeed he got the most by them;
for I will venture (contrary to the custom of profound historians, who
always assign deep causes for great events), to ascribe the better half
of the Duke of Marlborough's greatness and riches to those graces. He was
eminently illiterate; wrote bad English and spelled it still worse. He
had no share of what is commonly called PARTS: that is, he had no
brightness, nothing shining in his genius. He had most undoubtedly, an
excellent good plain understanding with sound judgment. But these alone,
would probably have raised him but something higher than they found him;
which was page to King James the Second's queen. There the Graces
protected and promoted him; for while he was an ensign of the Guards, the
Duchess of Cleveland, then favorite mistress to King Charles the Second,
struck by those very Graces, gave him five thousand pounds, with which he
immediately bought an annuity for his life of five hundred pounds a year,
of my grandfather Halifax; which was the foundation of his subsequent
fortune. His figure was beautiful; but his manner was irresistible, by
either man or woman. It was by this engaging, graceful manner, that he
was enabled, during all his war, to connect the various and jarring
powers of the Grand Alliance, and to carry them on to the main object of
the war, notwithstanding their private and separate views, jealousies,
and wrongheadednesses. Whatever court he went to (and he was often
obliged to go himself to some resty and refractory ones), he as
constantly prevailed, and brought them into his measures. The Pensionary
Heinsius, a venerable old minister, grown gray in business, and who had
governed the republic of the United Provinces for more than forty years,
was absolutely governed by the Duke of Marlborough, as that republic
feels to this day. He was always cool; and nobody ever observed the least
variation in his countenance; he could refuse more gracefully than other
people could grant; and those who went away from him the most
dissatisfied as to the substance of their business, were yet personally
charmed with him and, in some degree, comforted by his manner. With all
his gentleness and gracefulness, no man living was more conscious of his
situation, nor maintained his dignity better.

With the share of knowledge which you have already gotten, and with the
much greater which I hope you will soon acquire, what may you not expect
to arrive at, if you join all these graces to it? In your destination
particularly, they are in truth half your business: for, if you once gain
the affections as well as the esteem of the prince or minister of the
court to which you are sent, I will answer for it, that will effectually
do the business of the court that sent you; otherwise it is up-hill work.
Do not mistake, and think that these graces which I so often and so
earnestly recommend to you, should only accompany important transactions,
and be worn only 'les jours de gala'; no, they should, if possible,
accompany every, the least thing you do or say; for, if you neglect them
in little things, they will leave you in great ones. I should, for
instance, be extremely concerned to see you even drink a cup of coffee
ungracefully, and slop yourself with it, by your awkward manner of
holding it; nor should I like to see your coat buttoned, or your shoes
buckled awry. But I should be outrageous, if I heard you mutter your
words unintelligibly, stammer, in your speech, or hesitate, misplace, and
mistake in your narrations; and I should run away from you with greater
rapidity, if possible, than I should now run to embrace you, if I found
you destitute of all those graces which I have set my heart upon their
making you one day, 'omnibus ornatum excellere rebus'.

This subject is inexhaustible, as it extends to everything that is to be
said or done: but I will leave it for the present, as this letter is
already pretty long. Such is my desire, my anxiety for your perfection,
that I never think I have said enough, though you may possibly think that
I have said too much; and though, in truth, if your own good sense is not
sufficient to direct you, in many of these plain points, all that I or
anybody else can say will be insufficient. But where you are concerned, I
am the insatiable man in Horace, who covets still a little corner more to
complete the figure of his field. I dread every little corner that may
deform mine, in which I would have (if possible) no one defect.

I this moment receive yours of the 17th, N. S., and cannot condole with
you upon the secession of your German 'Commensaux'; who both by your and
Mr. Harte's description, seem to be 'des gens d'une amiable absence';
and, if you can replace them by any other German conversation, you will
be a gainer by the bargain. I cannot conceive, if you understand German
well enough to read any German book, how the writing of the German
character can be so difficult and tedious to you, the twenty-four letters
being very soon learned; and I do not expect that you should write yet
with the utmost purity and correctness, as to the language: what I meant
by your writing once a fortnight to Grevenkop, was only to make the
written character familiar to you. However, I will be content with one in
three weeks or so.

I believe you are not likely to see Mr. Eliot again soon, he being still
in Cornwall with his father; who, I hear, is not likely to recover.


LONDON, November 29, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: I delayed writing to you till I could give you some account of
the motions of your friend Mr. Eliot; for whom I know you have, and very
justly, the most friendly concern. His father and he came to town
together, in a post-chaise a fortnight ago, the rest of the family
remaining in Cornwall. His father, with difficulty, survived the journey,
and died last Saturday was seven-night. Both concern and decency confined
your friend, till two days ago, when I saw him; he has determined, and I
think very prudently, to go abroad again; but how soon, it is yet
impossible for him to know, as he must necessarily put his own private
affairs in some order first; but I conjecture that he may possibly join
you at Turin; sooner, to be sure, not. I am very sorry that you are
likely to be so long without the company and the example of so valuable a
friend; and therefore I hope that you will make it up to yourself, as
well as you can at this distance, by remembering and following his
example. Imitate that application of his, which has made him know all
thoroughly, and to the bottom. He does not content himself with the
surface of knowledge; but works in the mine for it, knowing that it lies
deep. Pope says, very truly, in his "Essay on Criticism":--

     A little learning is a dangerous thing;
     Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.

I shall send you by a ship that goes to Hamburg next week (and by which
Hawkins sends Mr. Harte some things that he wrote for) all those which I
propose sending you by Mr. Eliot, together with a very little box that I
am desired to forward to Mr. Harte. There will be, likewise, two letters
of recommendation for you to Monsieur Andrie and Comte Algarotti, at
Berlin, which you will take care to deliver to them, as soon as you shall
be rigged and fitted out to appear there. They will introduce you into
the best company, and I depend upon your own good sense for your avoiding
of bad. If you fall into bad and low company there, or anywhere else, you
will be irrecoverably lost; whereas, if you keep good company, and
company above yourself, your character and your fortune will be immovably

I have not time to-day, upon account of the meeting of the parliament, to
make this letter of the usual length; and indeed, after the volumes that
I have written to you, all I can add must be unnecessary. However, I
shall probably, 'ex abundanti', return soon to my former prolixity; and
you will receive more and more last words from, Yours.


LONDON, December 6, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: I am at present under very great concern for the loss of a most
affectionate brother, with whom I had always lived in the closest
friendship. My brother John died last Friday night, of a fit of the gout,
which he had had for about a month in his hands and feet, and which fell
at last upon his stomach and head. As he grew, toward the last,
lethargic, his end was not painful to himself. At the distance which you
are at from hence, you need not go into mourning upon this occasion, as
the time of your mourning would be near over, before you could put it on.

By a ship which sails this week for Hamburg, I shall send you those
things which I proposed to have sent you by Mr. Eliot, viz., a little box
from your Mamma; a less box for Mr. Harte; Mr. Locke's book upon
education; the print of Carlo Maratti, which I mentioned to you some time
ago; and two letters of recommendation, one to Monsieur Andrie and the
other to Comte Algarotti, at Berlin. Both those gentlemen will, I am
sure, be as willing as they are able to introduce you into the best
company; and I hope you will not (as many of your countrymen are apt to
do) decline it. It is in the best companies only; that you can learn the
best manners and that 'tournure', and those graces, which I have so often
recommended to you, as the necessary means of making a figure in the

I am most extremely pleased with the account which Mr. Harte gives me of
your progress in Greek, and of your having read Hesiod almost critically.
Upon this subject I suggest but one thing to you, of many that I might
suggest; which is, that you have now got over the difficulties of that
language, and therefore it would be unpardonable not to persevere to your
journey's end, now that all the rest of your way is down hill.

I am also very well pleased to hear that you have such a knowledge of,
and taste for curious books and scarce and valuable tracts. This is a
kind of knowledge which very well becomes a man of sound and solid
learning, but which only exposes a man of slight and superficial reading;
therefore, pray make the substance and matter of such books your first
object, and their title-pages, indexes, letter, and binding, but your
second. It is the characteristic of a man of parts and good judgment to
know, and give that degree of attention that each object deserves.
Whereas little minds mistake little objects for great ones, and lavish
away upon the former that time and attention which only the latter
deserve. To such mistakes we owe the numerous and frivolous tribes of
insect-mongers, shell-mongers, and pursuers and driers of butterflies,
etc. The strong mind distinguishes, not only between the useful and the
useless, but likewise between the useful and the curious. He applies
himself intensely to the former; he only amuses himself with the latter.
Of this little sort of knowledge, which I have just hinted at, you will
find at least as much as you need wish to know, in a superficial but
pretty French book, entitled, 'Spectacle de la Nature'; which will amuse
you while you read it, and give you a sufficient notion of the various
parts of nature. I would advise you to read it, at leisure hours. But
that part of nature, which Mr. Harte tells me you have begun to study
with the Rector magnificus, is of much greater importance, and deserves
much more attention; I mean astronomy. The vast and immense planetary
system, the astonishing order and regularity of those innumerable worlds,
will open a scene to you, which not only deserves your attention as a
matter of curiosity, or rather astonishment; but still more, as it will
give you greater, and consequently juster, ideas of that eternal and
omnipotent Being, who contrived, made, and still preserves that universe,
than all the contemplation of this, comparatively, very little orb, which
we at present inhabit, could possibly give you. Upon this subject,
Monsieur Fontenelle's 'Pluralite des Mondes', which you may read in two
hours' time, will both inform and please you. God bless you! Yours.


LONDON, December 13, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: The last four posts have brought me no letters, either from you
or from Mr. Harte, at which I am uneasy; not as a mamma would be, but as
a father should be: for I do not want your letters as bills of health;
you are young, strong, and healthy, and I am, consequently, in no pain
about that: moreover, were either you or Mr. Harte ill, the other would
doubtless write me word of it. My impatience for yours or Mr. Harte's
letters arises from a very different cause, which is my desire to hear
frequently of the state and progress of your mind. You are now at that
critical period of life when every week ought to produce fruit or flowers
answerable to your culture, which I am sure has not been neglected; and
it is by your letters, and Mr. Harte's accounts of you, that, at this
distance, I can only judge at your gradations to maturity; I desire,
therefore, that one of you two will not fail to write to me once a week.
The sameness of your present way of life, I easily conceive, would not
make out a very interesting letter to an indifferent bystander; but so
deeply concerned as I am in the game you are playing, even the least move
is to me of importance, and helps me to judge of the final event.

As you will be leaving Leipsig pretty soon after you shall have received
this letter, I here send you one inclosed to deliver to Mr. Mascow. It is
to thank him for his attention and civility to you, during your stay with
him: and I take it for granted, that you will not fail making him the
proper compliments at parting; for the good name that we leave behind at
one place often gets before us to another, and is of great use. As Mr.
Mascow is much known and esteemed in the republic of letters, I think it
would be of advantage to you, if you got letters of recommendation from
him to some of the learned men at Berlin. Those testimonials give a
lustre, which is not to be despised; for the most ignorant are forced to
seem, at least, to pay a regard to learning, as the most wicked are to
virtue. Such is their intrinsic worth.

Your friend Duval dined with me the other day, and complained most
grievously that he had not heard from you above a year; I bid him abuse
you for it himself; and advised him to do it in verse, which, if he was
really angry, his indignation would enable him to do. He accordingly
brought me, yesterday, the inclosed reproaches and challenge, which he
desired me to transmit to you. As this is his first essay in English
poetry, the inaccuracies in the rhymes and the numbers are very
excusable. He insists, as you will find, upon being answered in verse;
which I should imagine that you and Mr. HARTE, together, could bring
about; as the late Lady Dorchester used to say, that she and Dr.
Radcliffe, together, could cure a fever. This is however sure, that it
now rests upon you; and no man can say what methods Duval may take, if
you decline his challenge. I am sensible that you are under some
disadvantages in this proffered combat. Your climate, at this time of the
year especially, delights more in the wood fire, than in the poetic fire;
and I conceive the Muses, if there are any at Leipsig, to be rather
shivering than singing; nay, I question whether Apollo is even known
there as god of Verse, or as god of Light: perhaps a little as god of
Physic. These will be fair excuses, if your performance should fall
something short; though I do not apprehend that it will.

While you have been at Leipsig, which is a place of study more than of
pleasure or company, you have had all opportunities of pursuing your
studies uninterruptedly; and have had, I believe, very few temptations to
the contrary. But the case will be quite different at Berlin, where the
splendor and dissipation of a court and the 'beau monde', will present
themselves to you in gaudy shapes, attractive enough to all young people.
Do not think, now, that like an old fellow, I am going to advise you to
reject them, and shut yourself up in your closet: quite the contrary; I
advise you to take your share, and enter into them with spirit and
pleasure; but then I advise you, too, to allot your time so prudently, as
that learning may keep pace with pleasures; there is full time, in the
course of the day, for both, if you do but manage that time right and
like a good economist. The whole morning, if diligently and attentively
devoted to solid studies, will go a great way at the year's end; and the
evenings spent in the pleasures of good company, will go as far in
teaching you a knowledge, not much less necessary than the other, I mean
the knowledge of the world. Between these two necessary studies, that of
books in the morning, and that of the world in the evening, you see that
you will not have one minute to squander or slattern away. Nobody ever
lent themselves more than I did, when I was young, to the pleasures and
dissipation of good company. I even did it too much. But then, I can
assure you, that I always found time for serious studies; and, when I
could find it no other way, I took it out of my sleep, for I resolved
always to rise early in the morning, however late I went to bed at night;
and this resolution I have kept so sacred, that, unless when I have been
confined to my bed by illness, I have not, for more than forty years,
ever been in bed at nine o'clock in the morning but commonly up before

When you are at Berlin, remember to speak German as often as you can, in
company; for everybody there will speak French to you, unless you let
them know that you can speak German, which then they will choose to
speak. Adieu.


LONDON, December 20, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: I received last Saturday by three mails, which came in at once,
two letters from Mr. Harte, and yours of the 8th, N. S.

It was I who mistook your meaning, with regard to your German letters,
and not you who expressed it ill. I thought it was the writing of the
German character that took up so much of your time, and therefore I
advised you, by the frequent writing of that character, to make it easy
and familiar to you: But, since it is only the propriety and purity of
the German language which make your writing it so tedious and laborious,
I will tell you I shall not be nice upon that article; and did not expect
that you should yet be master of all the idioms, delicacies, and
peculiarities of that difficult language. That can only come by use,
especially frequent speaking; therefore, when you shall be at Berlin, and
afterward at Turin, where you will meet many Germans, pray take all
opportunities of conversing in German, in order not only to keep what you
have got of that language, but likewise to improve and perfect yourself
in it. As to the characters, you form them very well, and as you yourself
own, better than your English ones; but then let me ask you this
question: Why do you not form your Roman characters better? for I
maintain, that it is in every man's power to write what hand he pleases;
and, consequently, that he ought to write a good one. You form,
particularly, your 'ee' and your 'll' in zigzag, instead of making them
straight, as thus, 'ee', 'll'; a fault very easily mended. You will not,
I believe, be angry with this little criticism, when I tell you, that by
all the accounts I have had of late from Mr. Harte and others, this is
the only criticism that you give me occasion to make. Mr. Harte's last
letter, of the 14th, N. S., particularly, makes me extremely happy, by
assuring me that, in every respect, you do exceedingly well. I am not
afraid, by what I now say, of making you too vain; because I do not think
that a just consciousness and an honest pride of doing well, can be
called vanity; for vanity is either the silly affectation of good
qualities which one has not, or the sillier pride of what does not
deserve commendation in itself. By Mr. Harte's account, you are got very
near the goal of Greek and Latin; and therefore I cannot suppose that, as
your sense increases, your endeavors and your speed will slacken in
finishing the small remains of your course. Consider what lustre and
'eclat' it will give you, when you return here, to be allowed to be the
best scholar, for a gentleman, in England; not to mention the real
pleasure and solid comfort which such knowledge will give you throughout
your whole life. Mr. Harte tells me another thing, which, I own, I did
not expect: it is, that when you read aloud, or repeat parts of plays,
you speak very properly and distinctly. This relieves me from great
uneasiness, which I was under upon account of your former bad
enunciation. Go on, and attend most diligently to this important article.
It is, of all Graces (and they are all necessary), the most necessary

Comte Pertingue, who has been here about a fortnight, far from
disavowing, confirms all that Mr. Harte has said to your advantage. He
thinks that he shall be at Turin much about the time of your arrival
there, and pleases himself with the hopes of being useful to you. Though,
should you get there before him, he says that Comte du Perron, with whom
you are a favorite, will take that care. You see, by this one instance,
and in the course of your life you will see by a million of instances, of
what use a good reputation is, and how swift and advantageous a harbinger
it is, wherever one goes. Upon this point, too, Mr. Harte does you
justice, and tells me that you are desirous of praise from the
praiseworthy. This is a right and generous ambition; and without which, I
fear, few people would deserve praise.

But here let me, as an old stager upon the theatre of the world, suggest
one consideration to you; which is, to extend your desire of praise a
little beyond the strictly praiseworthy; or else you may be apt to
discover too much contempt for at least three parts in five of the world,
who will never forgive it you. In the mass of mankind, I fear, there is
too great a majority of fools and, knaves; who, singly from their number,
must to a certain degree be respected, though they are by no means
respectable. And a man who will show every knave or fool that he thinks
him such, will engage in a most ruinous war, against numbers much
superior to those that he and his allies can bring into the field. Abhor
a knave, and pity a fool in your heart; but let neither of them,
unnecessarily, see that you do so. Some complaisance and attention to
fools is prudent, and not mean; as a silent abhorrence of individual
knaves is often necessary and not criminal.

As you will now soon part with Lord Pulteney, with whom, during your stay
together at Leipsig, I suppose you have formed a connection, I imagine
that you will continue it by letters, which I would advise you to do.
They tell me that he is good-natured, and does not want parts; which are
of themselves two good reasons for keeping it up; but there is also a
third reason, which, in the course of the world, is not to be despised:
His father cannot live long, and will leave him an immense fortune;
which, in all events will make him of some consequence; and, if he has
parts into the bargain, of very great consequence; so that his
friendship, may be extremely well worth your cultivating, especially as
it will not cost you above one letter in one month.

I do not know whether this letter will find you at Leipsig: at least, it
is the last that I shall direct there. My next to either you or Mr.
Harte will be directed to Berlin; but as I do not know to what house or
street there, I suppose it will remain at the posthouse till you send for
it. Upon your arrival at Berlin you will send me your particular
direction; and also, pray be minute in your accounts of your reception
there, by those whom I recommend you to, as well as by those to whom they
present you. Remember, too, that you are going to a polite and literate
court, where the Graces will best introduce you.

Adieu. God bless you, and may you continue to deserve my love, as much as
you now enjoy it!

P. S. Lady Chesterfield bids me tell you, that she decides entirely in
your favor against Mr. Grevenkop, and even against herself; for she does
not think that she could, at this time, write either so good a character
or so good German. Pray write her a German letter upon that subject, in
which you may tell her, that, like the rest of the world, you approve of
her judgment, because it is in your favor; and that you true Germans
cannot allow Danes to be competent judges of your language, etc.


LONDON, December 30, O. S. 1748.

DEAR BOY: I direct this letter to Berlin, where, I suppose, it will
either find you, or at least wait but a very little time for you. I
cannot help being anxious for your success, at this your first appearance
upon the great stage of the world; for, though the spectators are always
candid enough to give great allowances, and to show great indulgence to a
new actor; yet, from the first impressions which he makes upon them, they
are apt to decide, in their own minds, at least, whether he will ever be
a good one, or not. If he seems to understand what he says, by speaking
it properly; if he is attentive to his part, instead of staring
negligently about him; and if, upon the whole, he seems ambitious to
please, they willingly pass over little awkwardnesses and inaccuracies,
which they ascribe to a commendable modesty in a young and inexperienced
actor. They pronounce that he will be a good one in time; and, by the
encouragement which they give him, make him so the sooner. This, I hope,
will be your case: you have sense enough to understand your part; a
constant attention, and ambition to excel in it, with a careful
observation of the best actors, will inevitably qualify you, if not for
the first, at least for considerable parts.

Your dress (as insignificant a thing as dress is in itself) is now become
an object worthy of some attention; for, I confess, I cannot help forming
some opinion of a man's sense and character from his dress; and I believe
most people do as well as myself. Any affectation whatsoever in dress
implies, in my mind, a flaw in the understanding. Most of our young
fellows here display some character or other by their dress; some affect
the tremendous, and wear a great and fiercely cocked hat, an enormous
sword, a short waistcoat and a black cravat; these I should be almost
tempted to swear the peace against, in my own defense, if I were not
convinced that they are but meek asses in lions' skins. Others go in
brown frocks, leather breeches, great oaken cudgels in their hands, their
hats uncocked, and their hair unpowdered; and imitate grooms,
stage-coachmen, and country bumpkins so well in their outsides, that I do
not make the least doubt of their resembling them equally in their
insides. A man of sense carefully avoids any particular character in his
dress; he is accurately clean for his own sake; but all the rest is for
other people's. He dresses as well, and in the same manner, as the people
of sense and fashion of the place where he is. If he dresses better, as
he thinks, that is, more than they, he is a fop; if he dresses worse, he
is unpardonably negligent. But, of the two, I would rather have a young
fellow too much than too little dressed; the excess on that side will
wear off, with a little age and reflection; but if he is negligent at
twenty, he will be a sloven at forty, and stink at fifty years old. Dress
yourself fine, where others are fine; and plain where others are plain;
but take care always that your clothes are well made, and fit you, for
otherwise they will give you a very awkward air. When you are once well
dressed for the day think no more of it afterward; and, without any
stiffness for fear of discomposing that dress, let all your motions be as
easy and natural as if you had no clothes on at all. So much for dress,
which I maintain to be a thing of consequence in the polite world.

As to manners, good-breeding, and the Graces, I have so often entertained
you upon those important subjects, that I can add nothing to what I have
formerly said. Your own good sense will suggest to you the substance of
them; and observation, experience, and good company, the several modes of
them. Your great vivacity, which I hear of from many people, will be no
hindrance to your pleasing in good company: on the contrary, will be of
use to you, if tempered by good-breeding and accompanied by the Graces.
But then, I suppose your vivacity to be a vivacity of parts, and not a
constitutional restlessness; for the most disagreeable composition that I
know in the world, is that of strong animal spirits, with a cold genius.
Such a fellow is troublesomely active, frivolously busy, foolishly
lively; talks much with little meaning, and laughs more, with less reason
whereas, in my opinion, a warm and lively genius with a cool
constitution, is the perfection of human nature.

Do what you will at Berlin, provided you do but do something all day
long. All that I desire of you is, that you will never slattern away one
minute in idleness and in doing of nothing. When you are (not) in company,
learn what either books, masters, or Mr. Harte, can teach you; and when
you are in company, learn (what company can only teach you) the
characters and manners of mankind. I really ask your pardon for giving
you this advice; because, if you are a rational creature and thinking
being, as I suppose, and verily believe you are, it must be unnecessary,
and to a certain degree injurious. If I did not know by experience, that
some men pass their whole time in doing nothing, I should not think it
possible for any being, superior to Monsieur Descartes' automatons, to
squander away, in absolute idleness, one single minute of that small
portion of time which is allotted us in this world.

I have lately seen one Mr. Cranmer, a very sensible merchant, who told me
that he had dined with you, and seen you often at Leipsig. And yesterday
I saw an old footman of mine, whom I made a messenger, who told me that
he had seen you last August. You will easily imagine, that I was not the
less glad to see them because they had seen you; and I examined them both
narrowly, in their respective departments; the former as to your mind,
the latter, as to your body. Mr. Cranmer gave me great satisfaction, not
only by what he told me of himself concerning you, but by what he was
commissioned to tell me from Mr. Mascow. As he speaks German perfectly
himself, I asked him how you spoke it; and he assured me very well for
the time, and that a very little more practice would make you perfectly
master of it. The messenger told me that you were much grown, and, to the
best of his guess, within two inches as tall as I am; that you were
plump, and looked healthy and strong; which was all that I could expect,
or hope, from the sagacity of the person.

I send you, my dear child (and you will not doubt it), very sincerely,
the wishes of the season. May you deserve a great number of happy
New-years; and, if you deserve, may you have them. Many New-years,
indeed, you may see, but happy ones you cannot see without deserving
them. These, virtue, honor, and knowledge, alone can merit, alone can
procure, 'Dii tibi dent annos, de te nam cetera sumes', was a pretty
piece of poetical flattery, where it was said: I hope that, in time, it
may be no flattery when said to you. But I assure you, that wherever I
cannot apply the latter part of the line to you with truth, I shall
neither say, think, or wish the former. Adieu!


           By the EARL OF CHESTERFIELD

           on the Fine Art of becoming a

              MAN OF THE WORLD

                 and a



LONDON, January 10, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: I have received your letter of the 31st December, N. S. Your
thanks for my present, as you call it, exceed the value of the present;
but the use, which you assure me that you will make of it, is the thanks
which I desire to receive. Due attention to the inside of books, and due
contempt for the outside, is the proper relation between a man of sense
and his books.

Now that you are going a little more into the world; I will take this
occasion to explain my intentions as to your future expenses, that you
may know what you have to expect from me, and make your plan accordingly.
I shall neither deny nor grudge you any money, that may be necessary for
either your improvement or your pleasures: I mean the pleasures of a
rational being. Under the head of improvement, I mean the best books, and
the best masters, cost what they will; I also mean all the expense of
lodgings, coach, dress; servants, etc., which, according to the several
places where you may be, shall be respectively necessary to enable you to
keep the best company. Under the head of rational pleasures, I
comprehend, first, proper charities, to real and compassionate objects of
it; secondly, proper presents to those to whom you are obliged, or whom
you desire to oblige; thirdly, a conformity of expense to that of the
company which you keep; as in public spectacles; your share of little
entertainments; a few pistoles at games of mere commerce; and other
incidental calls of good company. The only two articles which I will
never supply, are the profusion of low riot, and the idle lavishness of
negligence and laziness. A fool squanders away, without credit or
advantage to himself, more than a man of sense spends with both. The
latter employs his money as he does his time, and never spends a shilling
of the one, nor a minute of the other, but in something that is either
useful or rationally pleasing to himself or others. The former buys
whatever he does not want, and does not pay for what he does want. He
cannot withstand the charms of a toyshop; snuff-boxes, watches, heads of
canes, etc., are his destruction. His servants and tradesmen conspire
with his own indolence to cheat him; and, in a very little time, he is
astonished, in the midst of all the ridiculous superfluities, to find
himself in want of all the real comforts and necessaries of life. Without
care and method, the largest fortune will not, and with them, almost the
smallest will, supply all necessary expenses. As far as you can possibly,
pay ready money for everything you buy and avoid bills. Pay that money,
too, yourself, and not through the hands of any servant, who always
either stipulates poundage, or requires a present for his good word, as
they call it. Where you must have bills (as for meat and drink, clothes,
etc.), pay them regularly every month, and with your own hand. Never,
from a mistaken economy, buy a thing you do not want, because it is
cheap; or from a silly pride, because it is dear. Keep an account in a
book of all that you receive, and of all that you pay; for no man who
knows what he receives and what he pays ever runs out. I do not mean that
you should keep an account of the shillings and half-crowns which you may
spend in chair-hire, operas, etc.: they are unworthy of the time, and of
the ink that they would consume; leave such minutia to dull, penny-wise
fellows; but remember, in economy, as well as in every other part of
life, to have the proper attention to proper objects, and the proper
contempt for little ones. A strong mind sees things in their true
proportions; a weak one views them through a magnifying medium, which,
like the microscope, makes an elephant of a flea: magnifies all little
objects, but cannot receive great ones. I have known many a man pass for
a miser, by saving a penny and wrangling for twopence, who was undoing
himself at the same time by living above his income, and not attending to
essential articles which were above his 'portee'. The sure characteristic
of a sound and strong mind, is to find in everything those certain
bounds, 'quos ultra citrave nequit consistere rectum'. These boundaries
are marked out by a very fine line, which only good sense and attention
can discover; it is much too fine for vulgar eyes. In manners, this line
is good-breeding; beyond it, is troublesome ceremony; short of it, is
unbecoming negligence and inattention. In morals, it divides ostentatious
puritanism from criminal relaxation; in religion, superstition from
impiety: and, in short, every virtue from its kindred vice or weakness. I
think you have sense enough to discover the line; keep it always in your
eye, and learn to walk upon it; rest upon Mr. Harte, and he will poise
you till you are able to go alone. By the way, there are fewer people who
walk well upon that line, than upon the slack rope; and therefore a good
performer shines so much the more.

Your friend Comte Pertingue, who constantly inquires after you, has
written to Comte Salmour, the Governor of the Academy at Turin, to
prepare a room for you there immediately after the Ascension: and has
recommended you to him in a manner which I hope you will give him no
reason to repent or be ashamed of. As Comte Salmour's son, now residing
at The Hague, is my particular acquaintance, I shall have regular and
authentic accounts of all that you do at Turin.

During your stay at Berlin, I expect that you should inform yourself
thoroughly of the present state of the civil, military, and
ecclesiastical government of the King of Prussia's dominions;
particularly of the military, which is upon a better footing in that
country than in any other in Europe.

You will attend at the reviews, see the troops exercised, and inquire
into the numbers of troops and companies in the respective regiments of
horse, foot, and dragoons; the numbers and titles of the commissioned and
non-commissioned officers in the several troops and companies; and also
take care to learn the technical military terms in the German language;
for though you are not to be a military man, yet these military matters
are so frequently the subject of conversation, that you will look very
awkwardly if you are ignorant of them. Moreover, they are commonly the
objects of negotiation, and, as such, fall within your future profession.
You must also inform yourself of the reformation which the King of
Prussia has lately made in the law; by which he has both lessened the
number, and shortened the duration of law-suits; a great work, and worthy
of so great a prince! As he is indisputably the ablest prince in Europe,
every part of his government deserves your most diligent inquiry, and
your most serious attention. It must be owned that you set out well, as a
young politician, by beginning at Berlin, and then going to Turin, where
you will see the next ablest monarch to that of Prussia; so that, if you
are capable of making political reflections, those two princes will
furnish you with sufficient matter for them.

I would have you endeavor to get acquainted with Monsieur de Maupertuis,
who is so eminently distinguished by all kinds of learning and merit,
that one should be both sorry and ashamed of having been even a day in
the same place with him, and not to have seen him. If you should have no
other way of being introduced to him, I will send you a letter from
hence. Monsieur Cagenoni, at Berlin, to whom I know you are recommended,
is a very able man of business, thoroughly informed of every part of
Europe; and his acquaintance, if you deserve and improve it as you should
do, may be of great use to you.

Remember to take the best dancing-master at Berlin, more to teach you to
sit, stand, and walk gracefully, than to dance finely. The Graces, the
Graces; remember the Graces! Adieu!


LONDON, January 24, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: I have received your letter of the 12th, N. S., in which I was
surprised to find no mention of your approaching journey to Berlin,
which, according to the first plan, was to be on the 20th, N. S., and
upon which supposition I have for some time directed my letters to you,
and Mr. Harte, at Berlin. I should be glad that yours were more minute
with regard to your motions and transactions; and I desire that, for the
future, they may contain accounts of what and who you see and hear, in
your several places of residence; for I interest myself as much in the
company you keep, and the pleasures you take, as in the studies you
pursue; and therefore, equally desire to be informed of them all. Another
thing I desire, which is, that you will acknowledge my letters by their
dates, that I may know which you do, and which you do not receive.

As you found your brain considerably affected by the cold, you were very
prudent not to turn it to poetry in that situation; and not less
judicious in declining the borrowed aid of a stove, whose fumigation,
instead of inspiration, would at best have produced what Mr. Pope calls a
souterkin of wit. I will show your letter to Duval, by way of
justification for not answering his challenge; and I think he must allow
the validity of it; for a frozen brain is as unfit to answer a challenge
in poetry, as a blunt sword is for a single combat.

You may if you please, and therefore I flatter myself that you will,
profit considerably by your stay at Berlin, in the article of manners and
useful knowledge. Attention to what you will see and hear there, together
with proper inquiries, and a little care and method in taking notes of
what is more material, will procure you much useful knowledge. Many young
people are so light, so dissipated, and so incurious, that they can
hardly be said to see what they see, or hear what they hear: that is,
they hear in so superficial and inattentive a manner, that they might as
well not see nor hear at all. For instance, if they see a public
building, as a college, an hospital, an arsenal, etc., they content
themselves with the first 'coup d'oeil', and neither take the time nor
the trouble of informing themselves of the material parts of them; which
are the constitution, the rules, and the order and economy in the inside.
You will, I hope, go deeper, and make your way into the substance of
things. For example, should you see a regiment reviewed at Berlin or
Potsdam, instead of contenting yourself with the general glitter of the
collective corps, and saying, 'par maniere d'acquit', that is very fine,
I hope you will ask what number of troops or companies it consists of;
what number of officers of the Etat Major, and what number of
subalternes; how many 'bas officiers', or non-commissioned officers, as
sergeants, corporals, 'anspessades, frey corporals', etc., their pay,
their clothing, and by whom; whether by the colonels, or captains, or
commissaries appointed for that purpose; to whom they are accountable;
the method of recruiting, completing, etc.

The same in civil matters: inform yourself of the jurisdiction of a court
of justice; of the rules and numbers and endowments of a college, or an
academy, and not only of the dimensions of the respective edifices; and
let your letters to me contain these informations, in proportion as you
acquire them.

I often reflect, with the most flattering hopes, how proud I shall be of
you, if you should profit, as you may, of the opportunities which you
have had, still have, and will have, of arriving at perfection; and, on
the other hand, with dread of the grief and shame you will give me if you
do not. May the first be the case! God bless you!


LONDON, February 7, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: You are now come to an age capable of reflection, and I hope
you will do, what, however, few people at your age do, exert it for your
own sake in the search of truth and sound knowledge. I will confess (for
I am not unwilling to discover my secrets to you) that it is not many
years since I have presumed to reflect for myself. Till sixteen or
seventeen I had no reflection; and for many years after that, I made no
use of what I had. I adopted the notions of the books I read, or the
company I kept, without examining whether they were just or not; and I
rather chose to run the risk of easy error, than to take the time and
trouble of investigating truth. Thus, partly from laziness, partly from
dissipation, and partly from the 'mauvaise honte' of rejecting
fashionable notions, I was (as I have since found) hurried away by
prejudices, instead of being guided by reason; and quietly cherished
error, instead of seeking for truth. But since I have taken the trouble
of reasoning for myself, and have had the courage to own that I do so,
you cannot imagine how much my notions of things are altered, and in how
different a light I now see them, from that in which I formerly viewed
them, through the deceitful medium of prejudice or authority. Nay, I may
possibly still retain many errors, which, from long habit, have perhaps
grown into real opinions; for it is very difficult to distinguish habits,
early acquired and long entertained, from the result of our reason and

My first prejudice (for I do not mention the prejudices of boys, and
women, such as hobgoblins, ghosts, dreams, spilling salt, etc.) was my
classical enthusiasm, which I received from the books I read, and the
masters who explained them to me. I was convinced there had been no
common sense nor common honesty in the world for these last fifteen
hundred years; but that they were totally extinguished with the ancient
Greek and Roman governments. Homer and Virgil could have no faults,
because they were ancient; Milton and Tasso could have no merit, because
they were modern. And I could almost have said, with regard to the
ancients, what Cicero, very absurdly and unbecomingly for a philosopher,
says with regard to Plato, 'Cum quo errare malim quam cum aliis recte
sentire'. Whereas now, without any extraordinary effort of genius, I have
discovered that nature was the same three thousand years ago as it is at
present; that men were but men then as well as now; that modes and
customs vary often, but that human nature is always the same. And I can
no more suppose that men were better, braver, or wiser, fifteen hundred
or three thousand years ago, than I can suppose that the animals or
vegetables were better then than they are now. I dare assert too, in
defiance of the favorers of the ancients, that Homer's hero, Achilles,
was both a brute and a scoundrel, and consequently an improper character
for the hero of an epic poem; he had so little regard for his country,
that he would not act in defense of it, because he had quarreled with
Agamemnon about a w---e; and then afterward, animated by private
resentment only, he went about killing people basely, I will call it,
because he knew himself invulnerable; and yet, invulnerable as he was, he
wore the strongest armor in the world; which I humbly apprehend to be a
blunder; for a horse-shoe clapped to his vulnerable heel would have been
sufficient. On the other hand, with submission to the favorers of the
moderns, I assert with Mr. Dryden, that the devil is in truth the hero of
Milton's poem; his plan, which he lays, pursues, and at last executes,
being the subject of the poem. From all which considerations I
impartially conclude that the ancients had their excellencies and their
defects, their virtues and their vices, just like the moderns; pedantry
and affectation of learning decide clearly in favor of the former; vanity
and ignorance, as peremptorily in favor of the latter. Religious
prejudices kept pace with my classical ones; and there was a time when I
thought it impossible for the honestest man in the world to be saved out
of the pale of the Church of England, not considering that matters of
opinion do not depend upon the will; and that it is as natural, and as
allowable, that another man should differ in opinion from me, as that I
should differ from him; and that if we are both sincere, we are both
blameless; and should consequently have mutual indulgence for each other.

The next prejudices that I adopted were those of the 'beau monde', in
which as I was determined to shine, I took what are commonly called the
genteel vices to be necessary. I had heard them reckoned so, and without
further inquiry I believed it, or at least should have been ashamed to
have denied it, for fear of exposing myself to the ridicule of those whom
I considered as the models of fine gentlemen. But I am now neither
ashamed nor afraid to assert that those genteel vices, as they are
falsely called, are only so many blemishes in the character of even a man
of the world and what is called a fine gentleman, and degrade him in the
opinions of those very people, to whom he, hopes to recommend himself by
them. Nay, this prejudice often extends so far, that I have known people
pretend to vices they had not, instead of carefully concealing those they

Use and assert your own reason; reflect, examine, and analyze everything,
in order to form a sound and mature judgment; let no (authority) impose
upon your understanding, mislead your actions, or dictate your
conversation. Be early what, if you are not, you will when too late wish
you had been. Consult your reason betimes: I do not say that it will
always prove an unerring guide; for human reason is not infallible; but
it will prove the least erring guide that you can follow. Books and
conversation may assist it; but adopt neither blindly and implicitly; try
both by that best rule, which God has given to direct us, reason. Of all
the troubles, do not decline, as many people do, that of thinking. The
herd of mankind can hardly be said to think; their notions are almost all
adoptive; and, in general, I believe it is better that it should be so,
as such common prejudices contribute more to order and quiet than their
own separate reasonings would do, uncultivated and unimproved as they
are. We have many of those useful prejudices in this country, which I
should be very sorry to see removed. The good Protestant conviction, that
the Pope is both Antichrist and the Whore of Babylon, is a more effectual
preservative in this country against popery, than all the solid and
unanswerable arguments of Chillingworth.

The idle story of the pretender's having been introduced in a warming pan
into the queen's bed, though as destitute of all probability as of all
foundation, has been much more prejudicial to the cause of Jacobitism
than all that Mr. Locke and others have written, to show the
unreasonableness and absurdity of the doctrines of indefeasible
hereditary right, and unlimited passive obedience. And that silly,
sanguine notion, which is firmly entertained here, that one Englishman
can beat three Frenchmen, encourages, and has sometimes enabled, one
Englishman in reality to beat two.

A Frenchman ventures, his life with alacrity 'pour l'honneur du Roi';
were you to change the object, which he has been taught to have in view,
and tell him that it was 'pour le bien de la Patrie', he would very
probably run away. Such gross local prejudices prevail with the herd of
mankind, and do not impose upon cultivated, informed, and reflecting
minds. But then they are notions equally false, though not so glaringly
absurd, which are entertained by people of superior and improved
understandings, merely for want of the necessary pains to investigate,
the proper attention to examine, and the penetration requisite to
determine the truth. Those are the prejudices which I would have you
guard against by a manly exertion and attention of your reasoning
faculty. To mention one instance of a thousand that I could give you: It
is a general prejudice, and has been propagated for these sixteen hundred
years, that arts and sciences cannot flourish under an absolute
government; and that genius must necessarily be cramped where freedom is
restrained. This sounds plausible, but is false in fact. Mechanic arts,
as agriculture, etc., will indeed be discouraged where the profits and
property are, from the nature of the government, insecure. But why the
despotism of a government should cramp the genius of a mathematician, an
astronomer, a poet, or an orator, I confess I never could discover. It
may indeed deprive the poet or the orator of the liberty of treating of
certain subjects in the manner they would wish, but it leaves them
subjects enough to exert genius upon, if they have it. Can an author with
reason complain that he is cramped and shackled, if he is not at liberty
to publish blasphemy, bawdry, or sedition? all which are equally
prohibited in the freest governments, if they are wise and well regulated
ones. This is the present general complaint of the French authors; but
indeed chiefly of the bad ones. No wonder, say they, that England
produces so many great geniuses; people there may think as they please,
and publish what they think. Very true, but what hinders them from
thinking as they please? If indeed they think in manner destructive of
all religion, morality, or good manners, or to the disturbance of the
state, an absolute government will certainly more effectually prohibit
them from, or punish them for publishing such thoughts, than a free one
could do. But how does that cramp the genius of an epic, dramatic, or
lyric poet? or how does it corrupt the eloquence of an orator in the
pulpit or at the bar? The number of good French authors, such as
Corneille, Racine, Moliere, Boileau, and La Fontaine, who seemed to
dispute it with the Augustan age, flourished under the despotism of Lewis
XIV.; and the celebrated authors of the Augustan age did not shine till
after the fetters were riveted upon the Roman people by that cruel and
worthless Emperor. The revival of letters was not owing, neither, to any
free government, but to the encouragement and protection of Leo X. and
Francis I; the one as absolute a pope, and the other as despotic a
prince, as ever reigned. Do not mistake, and imagine that while I am only
exposing a prejudice, I am speaking in favor of arbitrary power; which
from my soul I abhor, and look upon as a gross and criminal violation of
the natural rights of mankind. Adieu.


LONDON, February 28, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: I was very much pleased with the account that you gave me of
your reception at Berlin; but I was still better pleased with the account
which Mr. Harte sent me of your manner of receiving that reception; for
he says that you behaved yourself to those crowned heads with all the
respect and modesty due to them; but at the same time, without being any
more embarrassed than if you had been conversing with your equals. This
easy respect is the perfection of good-breeding, which nothing but
superior good sense, or a long usage of the world, can produce, and as in
your case it could not be the latter, it is a pleasing indication to me
of the former.

You will now, in the course of a few months, have been rubbed at three of
the considerable courts of Europe,-Berlin, Dresden, and Vienna; so that I
hope you will arrive at Turin tolerably smooth and fit for the last
polish. There you may get the best, there being no court I know of that
forms more well-bred, and agreeable people. Remember now, that
good-breeding, genteel carriage, address, and even dress (to a certain
degree), are become serious objects, and deserve a part of your

The day, if well employed, is long enough for them all. One half of it
bestowed upon your studies and your exercises, will finish your mind and
your body; the remaining part of it, spent in good company, will form
your manners, and complete your character. What would I not give to have
you read Demosthenes critically in the morning, and understand him better
than anybody; at noon, behave yourself better than any person at court;
and in the evenings, trifle more agreeably than anybody in mixed
companies? All this you may compass if you please; you have the means,
you have the opportunities. Employ them, for God's sake, while you may,
and make yourself that all-accomplished man that I wish to have you. It
entirely depends upon these two years; they are the decisive ones.

I send you here inclosed a letter of recommendation to Monsieur Capello,
at Venice, which you will deliver him immediately upon your arrival,
accompanying it with compliments from me to him and Madame, both of whom
you have seen here. He will, I am sure, be both very civil and very
useful to you there, as he will also be afterward at Rome, where he is
appointed to go ambassador. By the way, wherever you are, I would advise
you to frequent, as much as you can, the Venetian Ministers; who are
always better informed of the courts they reside at than any other
minister; the strict and regular accounts, which they are obliged to give
to their own government, making them very diligent and inquisitive.

You will stay at Venice as long as the Carnival lasts; for though I am
impatient to have you at Turin, yet I would wish you to see thoroughly
all that is to be seen at so singular a place as Venice, and at so
showish a time as the Carnival. You will take also particular care to
view all those meetings of the government, which strangers are allowed to
see; as the Assembly of the Senate, etc., and also to inform yourself of
that peculiar and intricate form of government. There are books which
give an account of it, among which the best is Amelot de la Houssaye,
which I would advise you to read previously; it will not only give you a
general notion of that constitution, but also furnish you with materials
for proper questions and oral informations upon the place, which are
always the best. There are likewise many very valuable remains, in
sculpture and paintings, of the best masters, which deserve your

I suppose you will be at Vienna as soon as this letter will get thither;
and I suppose, too, that I must not direct above one more to you there.
After which, my next shall be directed to you at Venice, the only place
where a letter will be likely to find you, till you are at Turin; but you
may, and I desire that you will write to me, from the several places in
your way, from whence the post goes.

I will send you some other letters for Venice, to Vienna, or to your
banker at Venice, to whom you will, upon your arrival there, send for
them: For I will take care to have you so recommended from place to
place, that you shall not run through them, as most of your countrymen
do, without the advantage of seeing and knowing what best deserves to be
seen and known; I mean the men and the manners.

God bless you, and make you answer my wishes: I will now say, my hopes!


DEAR BOY: I direct this letter to your banker at Venice, the surest place
for you to meet with it, though I suppose that it will be there some time
before you; for, as your intermediate stay anywhere else will be short,
and as the post from hence, in this season of easterly winds is
uncertain, I direct no more letters to Vienna; where I hope both you and
Mr. Harte will have received the two letters which I sent you
respectively; with a letter of recommendation to Monsieur Capello, at
Venice, which was inclosed in mine to you. I will suppose too, that the
inland post on your side of the water has not done you justice; for I
received but one single letter from you, and one from Mr. Harte, during
your whole stay at Berlin; from whence I hoped for, and expected very
particular accounts.

I persuade myself, that the time you stay at Venice will be properly
employed, in seeing all that is to be seen in that extraordinary place:
and in conversing with people who can inform you, not of the raree-shows
of the town, but of the constitution of the government; for which purpose
I send you the inclosed letters of recommendation from Sir James Grey,
the King's Resident at Venice, but who is now in England. These, with
mine to Monsieur Capello, will carry you, if you will go, into all the
best company at Venice.

But the important point; and the important place, is Turin; for there I
propose your staying a considerable time, to pursue your studies, learn
your exercises, and form your manners. I own, I am not without my anxiety
for the consequence of your stay there, which must be either very good or
very bad. To you it will be entirely a new scene. Wherever you have
hitherto been, you have conversed, chiefly, with people wiser and
discreeter than yourself; and have been equally out of the way of bad
advice or bad example; but in the Academy at Turin you will probably meet
with both, considering the variety of young fellows about your own age;
among whom it is to be expected that some will be dissipated and idle,
others vicious and profligate. I will believe, till the contrary appears,
that you have sagacity enough to distinguish the good from the bad
characters; and both sense and virtue enough to shun the latter, and
connect yourself with the former: but however, for greater security, and
for your sake alone, I must acquaint you that I have sent positive orders
to Mr. Harte to carry you off, instantly, to a place which I have named
to him, upon the very first symptom which he shall discover in you, of
drinking, gaming, idleness, or disobedience to his orders; so that,
whether Mr. Harte informs me or not of the particulars, I shall be able
to judge of your conduct in general by the time of your stay at Turin. If
it is short, I shall know why; and I promise you, that you shall soon
find that I do; but if Mr. Harte lets you continue there, as long as I
propose that you should, I shall then be convinced that you make the
proper use of your time; which is the only thing I have to ask of you.
One year is the most that I propose you should stay at Turin; and that
year, if you employ it well, perfects you. One year more of your late
application, with Mr. Harte, will complete your classical studies. You
will be likewise master of your exercises in that time; and will have
formed yourself so well at that court, as to be fit to appear
advantageously at any other. These will be the happy effects of your
year's stay at Turin, if you behave, and apply yourself there as you have
done at Leipsig; but if either ill advice, or ill example, affect and
seduce you, you are ruined forever. I look upon that year as your
decisive year of probation; go through it well, and you will be all
accomplished, and fixed in my tenderest affection forever; but should the
contagion of vice of idleness lay hold of you there, your character, your
fortune, my hopes, and consequently my favor are all blasted, and you are
undone. The more I love you now, from the good opinion I have of you, the
greater will be my indignation if I should have reason to change it.
Hitherto you have had every possible proof of my affection, because you
have deserved it; but when you cease to deserve it, you may expect every
possible mark of my resentment. To leave nothing doubtful upon this
important point I will tell you fairly, beforehand, by what rule I shall
judge of your conduct--by Mr. Harte's accounts. He will not I am sure,
nay, I will say more, he cannot be in the wrong with regard to you. He
can have no other view but your good; and you will, I am sure, allow that
he must be a better judge of it than you can possibly be at your age.
While he is satisfied, I shall be so too; but whenever he is dissatisfied
with you, I shall be much more so. If he complains, you must be guilty;
and I shall not have the least regard for anything that you may allege in
your own defense.

I will now tell you what I expect and insist upon from you at Turin:
First, that you pursue your classical and other studies every morning
with Mr. Harte, as long and in whatever manner Mr. Harte shall be pleased
to require; secondly, that you learn, uninterruptedly, your exercises of
riding, dancing, and fencing; thirdly, that you make yourself master of
the Italian language; and lastly, that you pass your evenings in the best
company. I also require a strict conformity to the hours and rules of the
Academy. If you will but finish your year in this manner at Turin, I have
nothing further to ask of you; and I will give you everything that you
can ask of me. You shall after that be entirely your own master; I shall
think you safe; shall lay aside all authority over you, and friendship
shall be our mutual and only tie. Weigh this, I beg of you, deliberately
in your own mind; and consider whether the application and the degree of
restraint which I require but for one year more, will not be amply repaid
by all the advantages, and the perfect liberty, which you will receive at
the end of it. Your own good sense will, I am sure, not allow you to
hesitate one moment in your choice. God bless you! Adieu.

P. S. Sir James Grey's letters not being yet sent to me, as I thought
they would, I shall inclose them in my next, which I believe will get to
Venice as soon as you.


LONDON, April 12, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: I received, by the last mail, a letter from Mr. Harte, dated
Prague, April the 1st, N. S., for which I desire you will return him my
thanks, and assure him that I extremely approve of what he has done, and
proposes eventually to do, in your way to Turin. Who would have thought
you were old enough to have been so well acquainted with the heroes of
the 'Bellum Tricennale', as to be looking out for their great-grandsons
in Bohemia, with that affection with which, I am informed, you seek for
the Wallsteins, the Kinskis, etc. As I cannot ascribe it to your age, I
must to your consummate knowledge of history, that makes every country,
and every century, as it were, your own. Seriously, I am told, that you
are both very strong and very correct in history; of which I am extremely
glad. This is useful knowledge.

Comte du Perron and Comte Lascaris are arrived here: the former gave me a
letter from Sir Charles Williams, the latter brought me your orders. They
are very pretty men, and have both knowledge and manners; which, though
they always ought, seldom go together. I examined them, particularly
Comte Lascaris, concerning you; their report is a very favorable one,
especially on the side of knowledge; the quickness of conception which
they allow you I can easily credit; but the attention which they add to
it pleases me the more, as I own I expected it less. Go on in the pursuit
and the increase of knowledge; nay, I am sure you will, for you now know
too much to stop; and, if Mr. Harte would let you be idle, I am convinced
you would not. But now that you have left Leipsig, and are entered into
the great world, remember there is another object that must keep pace
with, and accompany knowledge; I mean manners, politeness, and the
Graces; in which Sir Charles Williams, though very much your friend, owns
that you are very deficient. The manners of Leipsig must be shook off;
and in that respect you must put on the new man. No scrambling at your
meals, as at a German ordinary; no awkward overturns of glasses, plates,
and salt-cellars; no horse play. On the contrary, a gentleness of
manners, a graceful carriage, and an insinuating address, must take their
place. I repeat, and shall never cease repeating to you, THE GRACES, THE

I desire that as soon as ever you get to Turin you will apply yourself
diligently to the Italian language; that before you leave that place, you
may know it well enough to be able to speak tolerably when you get to
Rome; where you will soon make yourself perfectly master of Italian, from
the daily necessity you will be under of speaking it. In the mean time, I
insist upon your not neglecting, much less forgetting, the German you
already know; which you may not only continue but improve, by speaking it
constantly to your Saxon boy, and as often as you can to the several
Germans you will meet in your travels. You remember, no doubt, that you
must never write to me from Turin, but in the German language and

I send you the inclosed letter of recommendation to Mr. Smith the King's
Consul at Venice; who can, and I daresay will, be more useful to you
there than anybody. Pray make your court, and behave your best, to
Monsieur and Madame Capello, who will be of great use to you at Rome.
Adieu! Yours tenderly.


LONDON, April 19, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: This letter will, I believe, still find you at Venice in all
the dissipation of masquerades, ridottos, operas, etc. With all my heart;
they are decent evening's amusements, and very properly succeed that
serious application to which I am sure you devote your mornings. There
are liberal and illiberal pleasures as well as liberal and illiberal
arts: There are some pleasures that degrade a gentleman as much as some
trades could do. Sottish drinking, indiscriminate gluttony, driving
coaches, rustic sports, such as fox-chases, horse-races, etc., are in my
opinion infinitely below the honest and industrious profession of a
tailor and a shoemaker, which are said to 'deroger'.

As you are now in a musical country, where singing, fiddling, and piping,
are not only the common topics of conversation, but almost the principal
objects of attention, I cannot help cautioning you against giving in to
those (I will call them illiberal) pleasures (though music is commonly
reckoned one of the liberal arts) to the degree that most of your
countrymen do, when they travel in Italy. If you love music, hear it; go
to operas, concerts, and pay fiddlers to play to you; but I insist upon
your neither piping nor fiddling yourself. It puts a gentleman in a very
frivolous, contemptible light; brings him into a great deal of bad
company; and takes up a great deal of time, which might be much better
employed. Few things would mortify me more, than to see you bearing a
part in a concert, with a fiddle under your chin, or a pipe in your

I have had a great deal of conversation with Comte du Perron and Comte
Lascaris upon your subject: and I will tell you, very truly, what Comte
du Perron (who is, in my opinion, a very pretty man) said of you: 'Il a
de l'esprit, un savoir peu commun a son age, une grande vivacite, et
quand il aura pris des manieres il sera parfait; car il faut avouer qu'il
sent encore le college; mars cela viendra'. I was very glad to hear, from
one whom I think so good a judge, that you wanted nothing but 'des
manieres', which I am convinced you will now soon acquire, in the company
which henceforward you are likely to keep. But I must add, too, that if
you should not acquire them, all the rest will be of little use to you.
By 'manieres', I do not mean bare common civility; everybody must have
that who would not be kicked out of company; but I mean engaging,
insinuating, shining manners; distinguished politeness, an almost
irresistible address; a superior gracefulness in all you say and do. It
is this alone that can give all your other talents their full lustre and
value; and, consequently, it is this which should now be thy principal
object of your attention. Observe minutely, wherever you go, the allowed
and established models of good-breeding, and form yourself upon them.
Whatever pleases you most in others, will infallibly please others in
you. I have often repeated this to you; now is your time of putting it in

Pray make my compliments to Mr. Harte, and tell him I have received his
letter from Vienna of the 16th N. S., but that I shall not trouble him
with an answer to it till I have received the other letter which he
promises me, upon the subject of one of my last. I long to hear from him
after your settlement at Turin: the months that you are to pass there
will be very decisive ones for you. The exercises of the Academy, and the
manners of courts must be attended to and acquired; and, at the same
time, your other studies continued. I am sure you will not pass, nor
desire, one single idle hour there: for I do not foresee that you can, in
any part of your life, put out six months to greater interest, than those
next six at Turin.

We will talk hereafter about your stay at Rome and in other parts of
Italy. This only I will now recommend to you; which is, to extract the
spirit of every place you go to. In those places which are only
distinguished by classical fame, and valuable remains of antiquity, have
your classics in your hand and in your head; compare the ancient
geography and descriptions with the modern, and never fail to take notes.
Rome will furnish you with business enough of that sort; but then it
furnishes you with many other objects well deserving your attention, such
as deep ecclesiastical craft and policy. Adieu.


LONDON, April 27, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: I have received your letter from Vienna, of the 19th N. S.,
which gives me great uneasiness upon Mr. Harte's account. You and I have
reason to interest ourselves very particularly in everything that relates
to him. I am glad, however, that no bone is broken or dislocated; which
being the case, I hope he will have been able to pursue his journey to
Venice. In that supposition I direct this letter to you at Turin; where
it will either find, or at least not wait very long for you, as I
calculate that you will be there by the end of next month, N. S. I hope
you reflect how much you have to do there, and that you are determined to
employ every moment of your time accordingly. You have your classical and
severer studies to continue with Mr. Harte; you have your exercises to
learn; the turn and manners of a court to acquire; reserving always some
time for the decent amusements and pleasures of a gentleman. You see I am
never against pleasures; I loved them myself when I was of your age, and
it is as reasonable that you should love them now. But I insist upon it
that pleasures are very combinable with both business and studies, and
have a much better relish from the mixture. The man who cannot join
business and pleasure is either a formal coxcomb in the one, or a sensual
beast in the other. Your evenings I therefore allot for company,
assemblies, balls, and such sort of amusements, as I look upon those to
be the best schools for the manners of a gentleman; which nothing can
give but use, observation, and experience. You have, besides, Italian to
learn, to which I desire you will diligently apply; for though French is,
I believe, the language of the court at Turin, yet Italian will be very
necessary for you at Rome, and in other parts of Italy; and if you are
well grounded in it while you are at Turin (as you easily may, for it is
a very easy language), your subsequent stay at Rome will make you perfect
in it. I would also have you acquire a general notion of fortification; I
mean so far as not to be ignorant of the terms, which you will often hear
mentioned in company, such as ravelin, bastion; glacis, contrescarpe,
etc. In order to this, I do not propose that you should make a study of
fortification, as if you were to be an engineer, but a very easy way of
knowing as much as you need know of them, will be to visit often the
fortifications of Turin, in company with some old officer or engineer,
who will show and explain to you the several works themselves; by which
means you will get a clearer notion of them than if you were to see them
only upon paper for seven years together. Go to originals whenever you
can, and trust to copies and descriptions as little as possible. At your
idle hours, while you are at Turin, pray read the history of the House of
Savoy, which has produced a great many very great men. The late king,
Victor Amedee, was undoubtedly one, and the present king is, in my
opinion, another. In general, I believe that little princes are more
likely to be great men than those whose more extensive dominions and
superior strength flatter them with a security, which commonly produces
negligence and indolence. A little prince, in the neighborhood of great
ones, must be alert and look out sharp, if he would secure his own
dominions: much more still if he would enlarge them. He must watch for
conjunctures or endeavor to make them. No princes have ever possessed
this art better than those of the House of Savoy; who have enlarged their
dominions prodigiously within a century by profiting of conjunctures.

I send you here inclosed a letter from Comte Lascaris, who is a warm
friend of yours: I desire that you will answer it very soon and
cordially, and remember to make your compliments in it to Comte du
Perron. A young man should never be wanting in those attentions; they
cost little and bring in a great deal, by getting you people's good word
and affection. They gain the heart, to which I have always advised you to
apply yourself particularly; it guides ten thousand for one that, reason

I cannot end this letter or (I believe) any other, without repeating my
recommendation of THE GRACES. They are to be met with at Turin: for God's
sake, sacrifice to them, and they will be propitious. People mistake
grossly, to imagine that the least awkwardness, either in matter or
manner, mind or body, is an indifferent thing and not worthy of
attention. It may possibly be a weakness in me, but in short we are all
so made: I confess to you fairly, that when you shall come home and that
I first see you, if I find you ungraceful in your address, and awkward in
your person and dress, it will be impossible for me to love you half so
well as I should otherwise do, let your intrinsic merit and knowledge be
ever so great. If that would be your case with me, as it really would,
judge how much worse it might be with others, who have not the same
affection and partiality for you, and to whose hearts you must make your
own way.

Remember to write to me constantly while you are in Italy, in the German
language and character, till you can write to me in Italian; which will
not be till you have been some time at Rome.

Adieu, my dear boy: may you turn out what Mr. Harte and I wish you. I
must add that if you do not, it will be both your own fault and your own


LONDON, May 15, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: This letter will, I hope, find you settled to your serious
studies, and your necessary exercises at Turin, after the hurry and the
dissipation of the Carnival at Venice. I mean that your stay at Turin
should, and I flatter myself that it will, be an useful and ornamental
period of your education; but at the same time I must tell you, that all
my affection for you has never yet given me so much anxiety, as that
which I now feel. While you are in danger, I shall be in fear; and you
are in danger at Turin. Mr. Harte will by his care arm you as well as he
can against it; but your own good sense and resolution can alone make you
invulnerable. I am informed, there are now many English at the Academy at
Turin; and I fear those are just so many dangers for you to encounter.
Who they are, I do not know; but I well know the general ill conduct, the
indecent behavior, and the illiberal views, of my young countrymen.
abroad; especially wherever they are in numbers together. Ill example is
of itself dangerous enough; but those who give it seldom stop there; they
add their infamous exhortations and invitations; and, if they fail, they
have recourse to ridicule, which is harder for one of your age and
inexperience to withstand than either of the former. Be upon your guard,
therefore, against these batteries, which will all be played upon you.
You are not sent abroad to converse with your own countrymen: among them,
in general, you will get, little knowledge, no languages, and, I am sure,
no manners. I desire that you will form no connections, nor (what they
impudently call) friendships with these people; which are, in truth, only
combinations and conspiracies against good morals and good manners. There
is commonly, in young people, a facility that makes them unwilling to
refuse anything that is asked of them; a 'mauvaise honte' that makes them
ashamed to refuse; and, at the same time, an ambition of pleasing and
shining in the company they keep: these several causes produce the best
effect in good company, but the very worst in bad. If people had no vices
but their own, few would have so many as they have. For my own part, I
would sooner wear other people's clothes than their vices; and they would
sit upon me just as well. I hope you will have none; but if ever you
have, I beg, at least, they may be all your own. Vices of adoption are,
of all others, the most disgraceful and unpardonable. There are degrees
in vices, as well as in virtues; and I must do my countrymen the justice
to say, that they generally take their vices in the lower degree. Their
gallantry is the infamous mean debauchery of stews, justly attended and
rewarded by the loss of their health, as well as their character. Their
pleasures of the table end in beastly drunkenness, low riot, broken
windows, and very often (as they well deserve), broken bones. They game
for the sake of the vice, not of the amusement; and therefore carry it to
excess; undo, or are undone by their companions. By such conduct, and in
such company abroad, they come home, the unimproved, illiberal, and
ungentlemanlike creatures that one daily sees them, that is, in the park
and in the streets, for one never meets them in good company; where they
have neither manners to present themselves, nor merit to be received.
But, with the manners of footmen and grooms, they assume their dress too;
for you must have observed them in the streets here, in dirty blue
frocks, with oaken sticks in their ends, and their hair greasy and
unpowdered, tucked up under their hats of an enormous size. Thus finished
and adorned by their travels, they become the disturbers of play-houses;
they break the windows, and commonly the landlords, of the taverns where
they drink; and are at once the support, the terror, and the victims, of
the bawdy-houses they frequent. These poor mistaken people think they
shine, and so they do indeed; but it is as putrefaction shines in the

I am not now preaching to you, like an old fellow, upon their religious
or moral texts; I am persuaded that you do not want the best instructions
of that kind: but I am advising you as a friend, as a man of the world,
as one who would not have you old while you are young, but would have you
to take all the pleasures that reason points out, and that decency
warrants. I will therefore suppose, for argument's sake (for upon no
other account can it be supposed), that all the vices above mentioned
were perfectly innocent in themselves: they would still degrade, vilify,
and sink those who practiced them; would obstruct their rising in the
world by debasing their characters; and give them low turn of mind, and
manners absolutely inconsistent with their making any figure in upper
life and great business.

What I have now said, together with your own good sense, is, I hope,
sufficient to arm you against the seduction, the invitations, or the
profligate exhortations (for I cannot call them temptations) of those
unfortunate young people. On the other hand, when they would engage you
in these schemes, content yourself with a decent but steady refusal;
avoid controversy upon such plain points. You are too young to convert
them; and, I trust, too wise to be converted by them. Shun them not only
in reality, but even in appearance, if you would be well received in good
company; for people will always be shy of receiving a man who comes from
a place where the plague rages, let him look ever so healthy. There are
some expressions, both in French and English, and some characters, both
in those two and in other countries, which have, I dare say, misled many
young men to their ruin. 'Une honnete debauche, une jolie debauche; "An
agreeable rake, a man of pleasure." Do not think that this means
debauchery and profligacy; nothing like it. It means, at most, the
accidental and unfrequent irregularities of youth and vivacity, in
opposition to dullness, formality, and want of spirit. A 'commerce
galant', insensibly formed with a woman of fashion; a glass of wine or
two too much, unwarily taken in the warmth and joy of good company; or
some innocent frolic, by which nobody is injured, are the utmost bounds
of that life of pleasure, which a man of sense and decency, who has a
regard for his character, will allow himself, or be allowed by others.
Those who transgress them in the hopes of shining, miss their aim, and
become infamous, or at least, contemptible.

The length or shortness of your stay at Turin will sufficiently inform me
(even though Mr. Harte should not) of your conduct there; for, as I have
told you before, Mr. Harte has the strictest orders to carry you away
immediately from thence, upon the first and least symptom of infection
that he discovers about you; and I know him to be too conscientiously
scrupulous, and too much your friend and mine not to execute them
exactly. Moreover, I will inform you, that I shall have constant accounts
of your behavior from Comte Salmour, the Governor of the Academy, whose
son is now here, and my particular friend. I have, also, other good
channels of intelligence, of which I do not apprise you. But, supposing
that all turns out well at Turin, yet, as I propose your being at Rome
for the jubilee, at Christmas, I desire that you will apply yourself
diligently to your exercises of dancing, fencing, and riding at the
Academy; as well for the sake of your health and growth, as to fashion
and supple you. You must not neglect your dress neither, but take care to
be 'bien mis'. Pray send for the best operator for the teeth at Turin,
where I suppose there is some famous one; and let him put yours in
perfect order; and then take care to keep them so, afterward, yourself.
You had very good teeth, and I hope they are so still; but even those who
have bad ones, should keep them clean; for a dirty mouth is, in my mind,
ill manners. In short, neglect nothing that can possibly please. A
thousand nameless little things, which nobody can describe, but which
everybody feels, conspire to form that WHOLE of pleasing; as the several
pieces of a Mosaic work though, separately, of little beauty or value,
when properly joined, form those beautiful figures which please
everybody. A look, a gesture, an attitude, a tone of voice, all bear
their parts in the great work of pleasing. The art of pleasing is more
particularly necessary in your intended profession than perhaps in any
other; it is, in truth, the first half of your business; for if you do
not please the court you are sent to, you will be of very little use to
the court you are sent from. Please the eyes and the ears, they will
introduce you to the heart; and nine times in ten, the heart governs the

Make your court particularly, and show distinguished attentions to such
men and women as are best at court, highest in the fashion, and in the
opinion of the public; speak advantageously of them behind their backs,
in companies whom you have reason to believe will tell them again.
Express your admiration of the many great men that the House of Savoy has
produced; observe that nature, instead of being exhausted by those
efforts, seems to have redoubled them, in the person of the present King,
and the Duke of Savoy; wonder, at this rate, where it will end, and
conclude that it must end in the government of all Europe. Say this,
likewise, where it will probably be repeated; but say it unaffectedly,
and, the last especially, with a kind of 'enjouement'. These little arts
are very allowable, and must be made use of in the course of the world;
they are pleasing to one party, useful to the other, and injurious to

What I have said with regard to my countrymen in general, does not extend
to them all without exception; there are some who have both merit and
manners. Your friend, Mr. Stevens, is among the latter; and I approve of
your connection with him. You may happen to meet with some others, whose
friendship may be of great use to you hereafter, either from their
superior talents, or their rank and fortune; cultivate them; but then I
desire that Mr. Harte may be the judge of those persons.

Adieu my dear child! Consider seriously the importance of the two next
years to your character, your figure, and your fortune.


LONDON, May 22, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: I recommended to you, in my last, an innocent piece of art;
that of flattering people behind their backs, in presence of those who,
to make their own court, much more than for your sake, will not fail to
repeat and even amplify the praise to the party concerned. This is, of
all flattery, the most pleasing, and consequently the most effectual.
There are other, and many other, inoffensive arts of this kind, which are
necessary in the course of the world, and which he who practices the
earliest, will please the most, and rise the soonest. The spirits and
vivacity of youth are apt to neglect them as useless, or reject them as
troublesome. But subsequent knowledge and experience of the world reminds
us of their importance, commonly when it is too late. The principal of
these things is the mastery of one's temper, and that coolness of mind,
and serenity of countenance, which hinders us from discovering by words,
actions, or even looks, those passions or sentiments by which we are
inwardly moved or agitated; and the discovery of which gives cooler and
abler people such infinite advantages over us, not only in great
business, but in all the most common occurrences of life. A man who does
not possess himself enough to hear disagreeable things without visible
marks of anger and change of countenance, or agreeable ones, without
sudden bursts of joy and expansion of countenance, is at the mercy of
every artful knave or pert coxcomb; the former will provoke or please you
by design, to catch unguarded words or looks by which he will easily
decipher the secrets of your heart, of which you should keep the key
yourself, and trust it with no man living. The latter will, by his
absurdity, and without intending it, produce the same discoveries of
which other people will avail themselves. You will say, possibly, that
this coolness must be constitutional, and consequently does not depend
upon the will: and I will allow that constitution has some power over us;
but I will maintain, too, that people very often, to excuse themselves,
very unjustly accuse their constitutions. Care and reflection, if
properly used, will get the better: and a man may as surely get a habit
of letting his reason prevail over his constitution, as of letting, as
most people do, the latter prevail over the former. If you find yourself
subject to sudden starts of passion or madness (for I see no difference
between them but in their duration), resolve within yourself, at least,
never to speak one word while you feel that emotion within you.
Determine, too, to keep your countenance as unmoved and unembarrassed as
possible; which steadiness you may get a habit of, by constant attention.
I should desire nothing better, in any negotiation, than to have to do
with one of those men of warm, quick passions; which I would take care to
set in motion. By artful provocations I would extort rash unguarded
expressions; and, by hinting at all the several things that I could
suspect, infallibly discover the true one, by the alteration it
occasioned in the countenance of the person. 'Volto sciolto con pensieri
stretti', is a most useful maxim in business. It is so necessary at some
games, such as 'Berlan Quinze', etc., that a man who had not the command
of his temper and countenance, would infallibly be outdone by those who
had, even though they played fair. Whereas, in business, you always play
with sharpers; to whom, at least, you should give no fair advantages. It
may be objected, that I am now recommending dissimulation to you; I both
own and justify it. It has been long said, 'Qui nescit dissimulare nescit
regnare': I go still further, and say, that without some dissimulation no
business can be carried on at all. It is SIMULATION that is false, mean,
and criminal: that is the cunning which Lord Bacon calls crooked or
left-handed wisdom, and which is never made use of but by those who have
not true wisdom. And the same great man says, that dissimulation is only
to hide our own cards, whereas simulation is put on, in order to look
into other people's. Lord Bolingbroke, in his "Idea of a Patriot King,"
which he has lately published, and which I will send you by the first
opportunity, says very justly that simulation is a STILETTO,--not only an
unjust but an unlawful weapon, and the use of it very rarely to be
excused, never justified. Whereas dissimulation is a shield, as secrecy
is armor; and it is no more possible to preserve secrecy in business,
without same degree of dissimulation, than it is to succeed in business
without secrecy. He goes on, and says, that those two arts of
dissimulation and secrecy are like the alloy mingled with pure ore: a
little is necessary, and will not debase the coin below its proper
standard; but if more than that little be employed (that is, simulation
and cunning), the coin loses its currency, and the coiner his credit.

Make yourself absolute master, therefore, of your temper and your
countenance, so far, at least, as that no visible change do appear in
either, whatever you may feel inwardly. This may be difficult, but it is
by no means impossible; and, as a man of sense never attempts
impossibilities on one hand, on the other, he is never discouraged by
difficulties: on the contrary, he redoubles his industry and his
diligence; he perseveres, and infallibly prevails at last. In any point
which prudence bids you pursue, and which a manifest utility attends, let
difficulties only animate your industry, not deter you from the pursuit.
If one way has failed, try another; be active, persevere, and you will
conquer. Some people are to be reasoned, some flattered, some
intimidated, and some teased into a thing; but, in general, all are to be
brought into it at last, if skillfully applied to, properly managed, and
indefatigably attacked in their several weak places. The time should
likewise be judiciously chosen; every man has his 'mollia tempora', but
that is far from being all day long; and you would choose your time very
ill, if you applied to a man about one business, when his head was full
of another, or when his heart was full of grief, anger, or any other
disagreeable sentiment.

In order to judge of the inside of others, study your own; for men in
general are very much alike; and though one has one prevailing passion,
and another has another, yet their operations are much the same; and
whatever engages or disgusts, pleases or offends you, in others will,
'mutatis mutandis', engage, disgust, please, or offend others, in you.
Observe with the utmost attention all the operations of your own mind,
the nature of your passions, and the various motives that determine your
will; and you may, in a great degree, know all mankind. For instance, do
you find yourself hurt and mortified when another makes you feel his
superiority, and your own inferiority, in knowledge, parts, rank, or
fortune? You will certainly take great care not to make a person whose
good will, good word, interest, esteem, or friendship, you would gain,
feel that superiority in you, in case you have it. If disagreeable
insinuations, sly sneers, or repeated contradictions, tease and irritate
you, would you use them where you wish to engage and please? Surely not,
and I hope you wish to engage and please, almost universally. The
temptation of saying a smart and witty thing, or 'bon mot'; and the
malicious applause with which it is commonly received, has made people
who can say them, and, still oftener, people who think they can, but
cannot, and yet try, more enemies, and implacable ones too, than any one
other thing that I know of: When such things, then, shall happen to be
said at your expense (as sometimes they certainly will), reflect
seriously upon the sentiments of uneasiness, anger, and resentment which
they excite in you; and consider whether it can be prudent, by the same
means, to excite the same sentiments in others against you. It is a
decided folly to lose a friend for a jest; but, in my mind, it is not a
much less degree of folly to make an enemy of an indifferent and neutral
person, for the sake of a 'bon mot'. When things of this kind happen to
be said of you, the most prudent way is to seem not to suppose that they
are meant at you, but to dissemble and conceal whatever degree of anger
you may feel inwardly; but, should they be so plain that you cannot be
supposed ignorant of their meaning, to join in the laugh of the company
against yourself; acknowledge the hit to be a fair one, and the jest a
good one, and play off the whole thing in seeming good humor; but by no
means reply in the same way; which only shows that you are hurt, and
publishes the victory which you might have concealed. Should the thing
said, indeed injure your honor or moral character, there is but one
proper reply; which I hope you never will have occasion to make.

As the female part of the world has some influence, and often too much,
over the male, your conduct with regard to women (I mean women of
fashion, for I cannot suppose you capable of conversing with any others)
deserves some share in your reflections. They are a numerous and
loquacious body: their hatred would be more prejudicial than their
friendship can be advantageous to you. A general complaisance and
attention to that sex is therefore established by custom, and certainly
necessary. But where you would particularly please anyone, whose
situation, interest, or connections, can be of use to you, you must show
particular preference. The least attentions please, the greatest charm
them. The innocent but pleasing flattery of their persons, however gross,
is greedily swallowed and kindly digested: but a seeming regard for their
understandings, a seeming desire of, and deference for, their advice,
together with a seeming confidence in their moral virtues, turns their
heads entirely in your favor. Nothing shocks them so much as the least
appearance of that contempt which they are apt to suspect men of
entertaining of their capacities; and you may be very sure of gaining
their friendship if you seem to think it worth gaining. Here
dissimulation is very often necessary, and even simulation sometimes
allowable; which, as it pleases them, may, be useful to you, and is
injurious to nobody.

This torn sheet, which I did not observe when I began upon it, as it
alters the figure, shortens, too, the length of my letter. It may very
well afford it: my anxiety for you carries me insensibly to these
lengths. I am apt to flatter myself, that my experience, at the latter
end of my life, may be of use to you at the beginning of yours; and I do
not grudge the greatest trouble, if it can procure you the least
advantage. I even repeat frequently the same things, the better to
imprint them on your young, and, I suppose, yet giddy mind; and I shall
think that part of my time the best employed, that contributes to make
you employ yours well. God bless you, child!


LONDON, June 16, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: I do not guess where this letter will find you, but I hope it
will find you well: I direct it eventually to Laubach; from whence I
suppose you have taken care to have your letters sent after you. I
received no account from Mr. Harte by last post, and the mail due this
day is not yet come in; so that my informations come down no lower than
the 2d June, N. S., the date of Mr. Harte's last letter. As I am now easy
about your health, I am only curious about your motions, which I hope
have been either to Inspruck or Verona; for I disapprove extremely of
your proposed long and troublesome journey to Switzerland. Wherever you
may be, I recommend to you to get as much Italian as you can, before you
go either to Rome or Naples: a little will be of great use to you upon
the road; and the knowledge of the grammatical part, which you can easily
acquire in two or three months, will not only facilitate your progress,
but accelerate your perfection in that language, when you go to those
places where it is generally spoken; as Naples, Rome, Florence, etc.

Should the state of your health not yet admit of your usual application
to books, you may, in a great degree, and I hope you will, repair that
loss by useful and instructive conversations with Mr. Harte: you may, for
example, desire him to give you in conversation the outlines, at least,
of Mr. Locke's logic; a general notion of ethics, and a verbal epitome of
rhetoric; of all which Mr. Harte will give you clearer ideas in half an
hour, by word of mouth, than the books of most of the dull fellows who
have written upon those subjects would do in a week.

I have waited so long for the post, which I hoped would come, that the
post, which is just going out, obliges me to cut this letter short. God
bless you, my dear child! and restore you soon to perfect health!

My compliments to Mr. Harte; to whose care your life is the least thing
that you owe.


LONDON, June 22, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: The outside of your letter of the 7th N. S., directed by your
own hand, gave me more pleasure than the inside of any other letter ever
did. I received it yesterday at the same time with one from Mr. Harts of
the 6th. They arrived at a very proper time, for they found a
consultation of physicians in my room, upon account of a fever which I
had for four or five days, but which has now entirely left me. As Mr.
YOUR SWELLINGS COME AND GO VARIABLY, but as he mentions nothing of your
coughing, spitting, or sweating, the doctors take it for granted that you
are entirely free from those three bad symptoms: and from thence
conclude, that, the pain which you sometimes feel upon your lungs is only
symptomatical of your rheumatic disorder, from the pressure of the
muscles which hinders the free play of the lungs. But, however, as the
lungs are a point of the utmost importance and delicacy, they insist upon
your drinking, in all events, asses' milk twice a day, and goats' whey as
often as you please, the oftener the better: in your common diet, they
recommend an attention to pectorals, such as sago, barley, turnips, etc.
These rules are equally good in rheumatic as in consumptive cases; you
will therefore, I hope, strictly observe them; for I take it for granted
that you are above the silly likings or dislikings, in which silly people
indulge their tastes, at the expense of their health.

I approve of your going to Venice, as much as I disapproved of your going
to Switzerland. I suppose that you are by this time arrived; and, in that
supposition, I direct this letter there. But if you should find the heat
too great, or the water offensive, at this time of the year, I would have
you go immediately to Verona, and stay there till the great heats are
over, before you return to Venice.

The time which you will probably pass at Venice will allow you to make
yourself master of that intricate and singular form of government, of
which few of our travelers know anything. Read, ask, and see everything
that is relative to it. There are likewise many valuable remains of the
remotest antiquity, and many fine pieces of the Antico-moderno, all which
deserve a different sort of attention from that which your countrymen
commonly give them. They go to see them, as they go to see the lions, and
kings on horseback, at the Tower here, only to say that they have seen
them. You will, I am sure, view them in another light; you will consider
them as you would a poem, to which indeed they are akin. You will observe
whether the sculptor has animated his stone, or the painter his canvas,
into the just expression of those sentiments and passions which should
characterize and mark their several figures. You will examine, likewise,
whether in their groups there be a unity of action, or proper relation; a
truth of dress and manners. Sculpture and painting are very justly called
liberal arts; a lively and strong imagination, together with a just
observation, being absolutely necessary to excel in either; which, in my
opinion, is by no means the case of music, though called a liberal art,
and now in Italy placed even above the other two; a proof of the decline
of that country. The Venetian school produced many great painters, such
as Paul Veronese, Titian, Palma, etc., of whom you will see, as well in
private houses as in churches, very fine pieces. The Last Supper, of Paul
Veronese, in the church of St. George, is reckoned his capital
performance, and deserves your attention; as does also the famous picture
of the Cornaro Family, by Titian. A taste for sculpture and painting is,
in my mind, as becoming as a taste for fiddling and piping is unbecoming,
a man of fashion. The former is connected with history and poetry; the
latter, with nothing that I know of but bad company.

Learn Italian as fast as ever you can, that you may be able to understand
it tolerably, and speak it a little before you go to Rome and Naples:
There are many good historians in that language, and excellent
translations of the ancient Greek and Latin authors; which are called the
Collana; but the only two Italian poets that deserve your acquaintance
are Ariosto and Tasso; and they undoubtedly have great merit.

Make my compliments to Mr. Harte, and tell him that I have consulted
about his leg, and that if it was only a sprain, he ought to keep a tight
bandage about the part, for a considerable time, and do nothing else to
it. Adieu! 'Jubeo te bene valere'.


LONDON, July 6, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: As I am now no longer in pain about your health, which I trust
is perfectly restored; and as, by the various accounts I have had of you,
I need not be in pain about your learning, our correspondence may, for
the future, turn upon less important points, comparatively; though still
very important ones: I mean, the knowledge of the world, decorum,
manners, address, and all those (commonly called little) accomplishments,
which are absolutely necessary to give greater accomplishments their
full, value and lustre.

Had I the admirable ring of Gyges, which rendered the wearer invisible;
and had I, at the same time, those magic powers, which were very common
formerly, but are now very scarce, of transporting myself, by a wish, to
any given place, my first expedition would be to Venice, there to
RECONNOITRE you, unseen myself. I would first take you in the morning, at
breakfast with Mr. Harte, and attend to your natural and unguarded
conversation with him; from whence, I think, I could pretty well judge of
your natural turn of mind. How I should rejoice if I overheard you asking
him pertinent questions upon useful subjects! or making judicious
reflections upon the studies of that morning, or the occurrences of the
former day! Then I would follow you into the different companies of the
day, and carefully observe in what manner you presented yourself to, and
behaved yourself with, men of sense and dignity; whether your address was
respectful, and yet easy; your air modest, and yet unembarrassed; and I
would, at the same time, penetrate into their thoughts, in order to know
whether your first 'abord' made that advantageous impression upon their
fancies, which a certain address, air, and manners, never fail doing. I
would afterward follow you to the mixed companies of the evening; such as
assemblies, suppers, etc., and there watch if you trifled gracefully and
genteelly: if your good-breeding and politeness made way for your parts
and knowledge. With what pleasure should I hear people cry out, 'Che
garbato cavaliere, com' e pulito, disinvolto, spiritoso'! If all these
things turned out to my mind, I would immediately assume my own shape,
become visible, and embrace you: but if the contrary happened, I would
preserve my invisibility, make the best of my way home again, and sink my
disappointment upon you and the world. As, unfortunately, these
supernatural powers of genii, fairies, sylphs, and gnomes, have had the
fate of the oracles they succeeded, and have ceased for some time, I must
content myself (till we meet naturally, and in the common way) with Mr.
Harte's written accounts of you, and the verbal ones which I now and then
receive from people who have seen you. However, I believe it would do you
no harm, if you would always imagine that I were present, and saw and
heard everything you did and said.

There is a certain concurrence of various little circumstances which
compose what the French call 'l'aimable'; and which, now that you are
entering into the world, you ought to make it your particular study to
acquire. Without them, your learning will be pedantry, your conversation
often improper, always unpleasant, and your figure, however good in
itself, awkward and unengaging. A diamond, while rough, has indeed its
intrinsic value; but, till polished, is of no use, and would neither be
sought for nor worn. Its great lustre, it is true, proceeds from its
solidity and strong cohesion of parts; but without the last polish, it
would remain forever a dirty, rough mineral, in the cabinets of some few
curious collectors. You have; I hope, that solidity and cohesion of
parts; take now as much pains to get the lustre. Good company, if you
make the right use of it, will cut you into shape, and give you the true
brilliant polish. A propos of diamonds: I have sent you by Sir James
Gray, the King's Minister, who will be at Venice about the middle of
September, my own diamond buckles; which are fitter for your young feet
than for my old ones: they will properly adorn you; they would only
expose me. If Sir James finds anybody whom he can trust, and who will be
at Venice before him, he will send them by that person; but if he should
not, and that you should be gone from Venice before he gets there, he
will in that case give them to your banker, Monsieur Cornet, to forward
to you, wherever you may then be. You are now of an age, at which the
adorning your person is not only not ridiculous, but proper and becoming.
Negligence would imply either an indifference about pleasing, or else an
insolent security of pleasing, without using those means to which others
are obliged to have recourse. A thorough cleanliness in your person is as
necessary for your own health, as it is not to be offensive to other
people. Washing yourself, and rubbing your body and limbs frequently with
a fleshbrush, will conduce as much to health as to cleanliness. A
particular attention to the cleanliness of your mouth, teeth, hands, and
nails, is but common decency, in order not to offend people's eyes and

I send you here inclosed a letter of recommendation to the Duke of
Nivernois, the French Ambassador at Rome; who is, in my opinion, one of
the prettiest men I ever knew in my life. I do not know a better model
for you to form yourself upon; pray observe and frequent him as much as
you can. He will show you what manners and graces are. I shall, by
successive posts, send you more letters, both for Rome and Naples, where
it will be your own fault entirely if you do not keep the very best

As you will meet swarms of Germans wherever you go, I desire that you
will constantly converse with them in their own language, which will
improve you in that language, and be, at the same time, an agreeable
piece of civility to them.

Your stay in Italy will, I do not doubt, make you critically master of
Italian; I know it may, if you please, for it is a very regular, and
consequently a very easy language. Adieu! God bless you!


LONDON, July 20, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: I wrote to Mr. Harte last Monday, the 17th, O. S., in answer to
his letter of the 20th June, N. S., which I had received but the day
before, after an interval of eight posts; during which I did not know
whether you or he existed, and indeed I began to think that you did not.
By that letter you ought at this time to be at Venice; where I hope you
are arrived in perfect health, after the baths of Tiefler, in case you
have made use of them. I hope they are not hot baths, if your lungs are
still tender.

Your friend, the Comte d'Einsiedlen, is arrived here: he has been at my
door, and I have been at his; but we have not yet met. He will dine with
me some day this week. Comte Lascaris inquires after you very frequently,
and with great affection; pray answer the letter which I forwarded to you
a great while ago from him. You may inclose your answer to me, and I will
take care to give it him. Those attentions ought never to be omitted;
they cost little, and please a great deal; but the neglect of them
offends more than you can yet imagine. Great merit, or great failings,
will make you be respected or despised; but trifles, little attentions,
mere nothings, either done, or neglected, will make you either liked or
disliked, in the general run of the world. Examine yourself why you like
such and such people, and dislike such and such others; and you will
find, that those different sentiments proceed from very slight causes.
Moral virtues are the foundation of society in general, and of friendship
in particular; but attentions, manners, and graces, both adorn and
strengthen them. My heart is so set upon your pleasing, and consequently
succeeding in the world, that possibly I have already (and probably shall
again) repeat the same things over and over to you. However, to err, if I
do err, on the surer side, I shall continue to communicate to you those
observations upon the world which long experience has enabled me to make,
and which I have generally found to hold true. Your youth and talents,
armed with my experience, may go a great way; and that armor is very much
at your service, if you please to wear it. I premise that it is not my
imagination, but my memory, that gives you these rules: I am not writing
pretty; but useful reflections. A man of sense soon discovers, because he
carefully observes, where, and how long, he is welcome; and takes care to
leave the company, at least as soon as he is wished out of it. Fools
never perceive where they are either ill-timed or illplaced.

I am this moment agreeably stopped, in the course of my reflections, by
the arrival of Mr. Harte's letter of the 13th July, N. S., to Mr.
Grevenkop, with one inclosed for your Mamma. I find by it that many of
his and your letters to me must have miscarried; for he says that I have
had regular accounts of you: whereas all those accounts have been only
his letter of the 6th and yours of the 7th June, N. S.; his of the 20th
June, N. S., to me; and now his of the 13th July, N. S., to Mr.
Grevenkop. However, since you are so well, as Mr. Harte says you are, all
is well. I am extremely glad that you have no complaint upon your lungs;
but I desire that you will think you have, for three or four months to
come. Keep in a course of asses' or goats' milk, for one is as good as
the other, and possibly the latter is the best; and let your common food
be as pectoral as you can conveniently make it. Pray tell Mr. Harte that,
according to his desire, I have wrote a letter of thanks to Mr. Firmian.
I hope you write to him too, from time to time. The letters of
recommendation of a man of his merit and learning will, to be sure, be of
great use to you among the learned world in Italy; that is, provided you
take care to keep up to the character he gives you in them; otherwise
they will only add to your disgrace.

Consider that you have lost a good deal of time by your illness; fetch it
up now that you are well. At present you should be a good economist of
your moments, of which company and sights will claim a considerable
share; so that those which remain for study must be not only attentively,
but greedily employed. But indeed I do not suspect you of one single
moment's idleness in the whole day. Idleness is only the refuge of weak
minds, and the holiday of fools. I do not call good company and liberal
pleasures, idleness; far from it: I recommend to you a good share of

I send you here inclosed a letter for Cardinal Alexander Albani, which
you will give him, as soon as you get to Rome, and before you deliver any
others; the Purple expects that preference; go next to the Duc de
Nivernois, to whom you are recommended by several people at Paris, as
well as by myself. Then you may carry your other letters occasionally.

Remember to pry narrowly into every part of the government of Venice:
inform yourself of the history of that republic, especially of its most
remarkable eras; such as the Ligue de eambray, in 1509, by which it had
like to have been destroyed; and the conspiracy formed by the Marquis de
Bedmar, the Spanish Ambassador, to subject it to the Crown of Spain. The
famous disputes between that republic and the Pope are worth your
knowledge; and the writings of the celebrated and learned Fra Paolo di
Sarpi, upon that occasion, worth your reading. It was once the greatest
commercial power in Europe, and in the 14th and 15th centuries made a
considerable figure; but at present its commerce is decayed, and its
riches consequently decreased; and, far from meddling now with the
affairs of the Continent, it owes its security to its neutrality and
inefficiency; and that security will last no longer than till one of the
great Powers in Europe engrosses the rest of Italy; an event which this
century possibly may, but which the next probably will see.

Your friend Comte d'Ensiedlen and his governor, have been with me this
moment, and delivered me your letter from Berlin, of February the 28th,
N. S. I like them both so well that I am glad you did; and still gladder
to hear what they say of you. Go on, and continue to deserve the praises
of those who deserve praises themselves. Adieu.

I break open this letter to acknowledge yours of the 30th June, N. S.,
which I have but this instant received, though thirteen days antecedent
in date to Mr. Harte's last. I never in my life heard of bathing four
hours a day; and I am impatient to hear of your safe arrival at Venice,
after so extraordinary an operation.


LONDON, July 30, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: Mr. Harte's letters and yours drop in upon me most irregularly;
for I received, by the last post, one from Mr. Harte, of the 9th, N. S.,
and that which Mr. Grevenkop had received from him, the post before, was
of the 13th; at last, I suppose, I shall receive them all.

I am very glad that my letter, with Dr. Shaw's opinion, has lessened your
bathing; for since I was born, I never heard of bathing four hours a-day;
which would surely be too much, even in Medea's kettle, if you wanted (as
you do not yet) new boiling.

Though, in that letter of mine, I proposed your going to Inspruck, it was
only in opposition to Lausanne, which I thought much too long and painful
a journey for you; but you will have found, by my subsequent letters,
that I entirely approved of Venice; where I hope you have now been some
time, and which is a much better place for you to reside at, till you go
to Naples, than either Tieffer or Laubach. I love capitals extremely; it
is in capitals that the best company is always to be found; and
consequently, the best manners to be learned. The very best provincial
places have some awkwardness, that distinguish their manners from those
of the metropolis. 'A propos' of capitals, I send you here two letters of
recommendation to Naples, from Monsieur Finochetti, the Neapolitan
Minister at The Hague; and in my next I shall send you two more, from the
same person, to the same place.

I have examined Comte d'Einsiedlen so narrowly concerning you, that I
have extorted from him a confession that you do not care to speak German,
unless to such as understand no other language. At this rate, you will
never speak it well, which I am very desirous that you should do, and of
which you would, in time, find the advantage. Whoever has not the command
of a language, and does not speak it with facility, will always appear
below himself when he converses in that language; the want of words and
phrases will cramp and lame his thoughts. As you now know German enough
to express yourself tolerably, speaking it very often will soon make you
speak it very well: and then you will appear in it whatever you are. What
with your own Saxon servant and the swarms of Germans you will meet with
wherever you go, you may have opportunities of conversing in that
language half the day; and I do very seriously desire that you will, or
else all the pains that you have already taken about it are lost. You
will remember likewise, that, till you can write in Italian, you are
always to write to me in German.

Mr. Harte's conjecture concerning your distemper seems to be a very
reasonable one; it agrees entirely with mine, which is the universal rule
by which every man judges of another man's opinion. But, whatever may
have been the cause of your rheumatic disorder, the effects are still to
be attended to; and as there must be a remaining acrimony in your blood,
you ought to have regard to that, in your common diet as well as in your
medicines; both which should be of a sweetening alkaline nature, and
promotive of perspiration. Rheumatic complaints are very apt to return,
and those returns would be very vexatious and detrimental to you; at your
age, and in your course of travels. Your time is, now particularly,
inestimable; and every hour of it, at present, worth more than a year
will be to you twenty years hence. You are now laying the foundation of
your future character and fortune; and one single stone wanting in that
foundation is of more consequence than fifty in the superstructure; which
can always be mended and embellished if the foundation is solid. To carry
on the metaphor of building: I would wish you to be a Corinthian edifice
upon a Tuscan foundation; the latter having the utmost strength and
solidity to support, and the former all possible ornaments to decorate.
The Tuscan column is coarse, clumsy, and unpleasant; nobody looks at it
twice; the Corinthian fluted column is beautiful and attractive; but
without a solid foundation, can hardly be seen twice, because it must
soon tumble down. Yours affectionately.


LONDON, August 7, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: By Mr. Harte's letter to me of the 18th July N. S., which I
received by the last post, I am at length informed of the particulars
both of your past distemper, and of your future motions. As to the
former, I am now convinced, and so is Dr. Shaw, that your lungs were only
symptomatically affected; and that the rheumatic tendency is what you are
chiefly now to guard against, but (for greater security) with due
attention still to your lungs, as if they had been, and still were, a
little affected. In either case, a cooling, pectoral regimen is equally
good. By cooling, I mean cooling in its consequences, not cold to the
palate; for nothing is more dangerous than very cold liquors, at the very
time that one longs for them the most; which is, when one is very hot.
Fruit, when full ripe, is very wholesome; but then it must be within
certain bounds as to quantity; for I have known many of my countrymen die
of bloody-fluxes, by indulging in too great a quantity of fruit, in those
countries where, from the goodness and ripeness of it, they thought it
could do them no harm. 'Ne quid nimis', is a most excellent rule in
everything; but commonly the least observed, by people of your age, in

As to your future motions, I am very well pleased with them, and greatly
prefer your intended stay at Verona to Venice, whose almost stagnating
waters must, at this time of the year, corrupt the air. Verona has a pure
and clear air, and, as I am informed, a great deal of good company.
Marquis Maffei, alone, would be worth going there for. You may, I think,
very well leave Verona about the middle of September, when the great
heats will be quite over, and then make the best of your way to Naples;
where, I own, I want to have you by way of precaution (I hope it is
rather over caution) in case of the last remains of a pulmonic disorder.
The amphitheatre at Verona is worth your attention; as are also many
buildings there and at Vicenza, of the famous Andrea Palladio, whose
taste and style of buildings were truly antique. It would not be amiss,
if you employed three or four days in learning the five orders of
architecture, with their general proportions; and you may know all that
you need know of them in that time. Palladio's own book of architecture
is the best you can make use of for that purpose, skipping over the
mechanical part of it, such as the materials, the cement, etc.

Mr. Harte tells me, that your acquaintance with the classics is renewed;
the suspension of which has been so short, that I dare say it has
produced no coldness. I hope and believe, you are now so much master of
them, that two hours every day, uninterruptedly, for a year or two more,
will make you perfectly so; and I think you cannot now allot them a
greater share than that of your time, considering the many other things
you have to learn and to do. You must know how to speak and write Italian
perfectly; you must learn some logic, some geometry, and some astronomy;
not to mention your exercises, where they are to be learned; and, above
all, you must learn the world, which is not soon learned; and only to be
learned by frequenting good and various companies.

Consider, therefore, how precious every moment of time is to you now. The
more you apply to your business, the more you will taste your pleasures.
The exercise of the mind in the morning whets the appetite for the
pleasures of the evening, as much as the exercise of the body whets the
appetite for dinner. Business and pleasure, rightly understood, mutually
assist each other, instead of being enemies, as silly or dull people
often think them. No man tastes pleasures truly, who does not earn them
by previous business, and few people do business well, who do nothing
else. Remember that when I speak of pleasures, I always mean the elegant
pleasures of a rational being, and, not the brutal ones of a swine. I
mean 'la bonne Chere', short of gluttony; wine, infinitely short of
drunkenness; play, without the least gaming; and gallantry without
debauchery. There is a line in all these things which men of sense, for
greater security, take care to keep a good deal on the right side of; for
sickness, pain, contempt and infamy, lie immediately on the other side of
it. Men of sense and merit, in all other respects, may have had some of
these failings; but then those few examples, instead of inviting us to
imitation, should only put us the more upon our guard against such
weaknesses: and whoever thinks them fashionable, will not be so himself;
I have often known a fashionable man have some one vice; but I never in
my life knew a vicious man a fashionable man. Vice is as degrading as it
is criminal. God bless you, my dear child!


LONDON, August 20, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: Let us resume our reflections upon men, their characters, their
manners, in a word, our reflections upon the world. They may help you to
form yourself, and to know others; a knowledge very useful at all ages,
very rare at yours. It seems as if it were nobody's business to
communicate it to young men. Their masters teach them, singly, the
languages or the sciences of their several departments; and are indeed
generally incapable of teaching them the world: their parents are often
so too, or at least neglect doing it, either from avocations,
indifference, or from an opinion that throwing them into the world (as
they call it) is the best way of teaching it them. This last notion is in
a great degree true; that is, the world can doubtless never be well known
by theory: practice is absolutely necessary; but surely it is of great
use to a young man, before he sets out for that country full of mazes,
windings, and turnings, to have at least a general map of it, made by
some experienced traveler.

There is a certain dignity of manners absolutely necessary, to make even
the most valuable character either respected or respectable.--[Meaning
worthy of respect.]

Horse-play, romping, frequent and loud fits of laughter, jokes, waggery,
and indiscriminate familiarity, will sink both merit and knowledge into a
degree of contempt. They compose at most a merry fellow; and a merry
fellow was never yet a respectable man. Indiscriminate familiarity either
offends your superiors, or else dubbs you their dependent and led
captain. It gives your inferiors just, but troublesome and improper
claims of equality. A joker is near akin to a buffoon; and neither of
them is the least related to wit. Whoever is admitted or sought for, in
company, upon any other account than that of his merit and manners, is
never respected there, but only made use of. We will have such-a-one, for
he sings prettily; we will invite such-a-one to a ball, for he dances
well; we will have such-a-one at supper, for he is always joking and
laughing; we will ask another, because he plays deep at all games, or
because he can drink a great deal. These are all vilifying distinctions,
mortifying preferences, and exclude all ideas of esteem and regard.
Whoever is HAD (as it is called) in company for the sake of any one thing
singly, is singly that thing and will never be considered in any other
light; consequently never respected, let his merits be what they will.

This dignity of manners, which I recommend so much to you, is not only as
different from pride, as true courage is from blustering, or true wit
from joking; but is absolutely inconsistent with it; for nothing vilifies
and degrades more than pride. The pretensions of the proud man are
oftener treated with sneer and contempt, than with indignation; as we
offer ridiculously too little to a tradesman, who asks ridiculously too
much for his goods; but we do not haggle with one who only asks a just
and reasonable price.

Abject flattery and indiscriminate assentation degrade as much as
indiscriminate contradiction and noisy debate disgust. But a modest
assertion of one's own opinion, and a complaisant acquiescence to other
people's, preserve dignity.

Vulgar, low expressions, awkward motions and address, vilify, as they
imply either a very low turn of mind, or low education and low company.

Frivolous curiosity about trifles, and a laborious attention to little
objects which neither require nor deserve a moment's thought, lower a
man; who from thence is thought (and not unjustly) incapable of greater
matters. Cardinal de Retz, very sagaciously, marked out Cardinal Chigi
for a little mind, from the moment that he told him he had wrote three
years with the same pen, and that it was an excellent good one still.

A certain degree of exterior seriousness in looks and motions gives
dignity, without excluding wit and decent cheerfulness, which are always
serious themselves. A constant smirk upon the face, and a whifing
activity of the body, are strong indications of futility. Whoever is in a
hurry, shows that the thing he is about is too big for him. Haste and
hurry are very different things.

I have only mentioned some of those things which may, and do, in the
opinion of the world, lower and sink characters, in other respects
valuable enough,--but I have taken no notice of those that affect and
sink the moral characters. They are sufficiently obvious. A man who has
patiently been kicked may as well pretend to courage, as a man blasted by
vices and crimes may to dignity of any kind. But an exterior decency and
dignity of manners will even keep such a man longer from sinking, than
otherwise he would be: of such consequence is the [****], even though
affected and put on! Pray read frequently, and with the utmost attention,
nay, get by heart, if you can, that incomparable chapter in Cicero's
"Offices," upon the [****], or the Decorum. It contains whatever is
necessary for the dignity of manners.

In my next I will send you a general map of courts; a region yet
unexplored by you, but which you are one day to inhabit. The ways are
generally crooked and full of turnings, sometimes strewed with flowers,
sometimes choked up with briars; rotten ground and deep pits frequently
lie concealed under a smooth and pleasing surface; all the paths are
slippery, and every slip is dangerous. Sense and discretion must
accompany you at your first setting out; but, notwithstanding those, till
experience is your guide, you will every now and then step out of your
way, or stumble.

Lady Chesterfield has just now received your German letter, for which she
thanks you; she says the language is very correct; and I can plainly see
that the character is well formed, not to say better than your English
character. Continue to write German frequently, that it may become quite
familiar to you. Adieu.


LONDON, August 21, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: By the last letter that I received from Mr. Harte, of the 31st
July, N. S., I suppose you are now either at Venice or Verona, and
perfectly re covered of your late illness: which I am daily more and more
convinced had no consumptive tendency; however, for some time still,
'faites comme s'il y en avoit', be regular, and live pectorally.

You will soon be at courts, where, though you will not be concerned, yet
reflection and observation upon what you see and hear there may be of use
to you, when hereafter you may come to be concerned in courts yourself.
Nothing in courts is exactly as it appears to be; often very different;
sometimes directly contrary. Interest, which is the real spring of
everything there, equally creates and dissolves friendship, produces and
reconciles enmities: or, rather, allows of neither real friendships nor
enmities; for, as Dryden very justly observes, POLITICIANS NEITHER LOVE
NOR HATE. This is so true, that you may think you connect yourself with
two friends to-day, and be obliged tomorrow to make your option between
them as enemies; observe, therefore, such a degree of reserve with your
friends as not to put yourself in their power, if they should become your
enemies; and such a degree of moderation with your enemies, as not to
make it impossible for them to become your friends.

Courts are, unquestionably, the seats of politeness and good-breeding;
were they not so, they would be the seats of slaughter and desolation.
Those who now smile upon and embrace, would affront and stab each other,
if manners did not interpose; but ambition and avarice, the two
prevailing passions at courts, found dissimulation more effectual than
violence; and dissimulation introduced that habit of politeness, which
distinguishes the courtier from the country gentleman. In the former case
the strongest body would prevail; in the latter, the strongest mind.

A man of parts and efficiency need not flatter everybody at court; but he
must take great care to offend nobody personally; it being in the power
of every man to hurt him, who cannot serve him. Homer supposes a chain
let down from Jupiter to the earth, to connect him with mortals. There
is, at all courts, a chain which connects the prince or the minister with
the page of the back stairs, or the chamber-maid. The king's wife, or
mistress, has an influence over him; a lover has an influence over her;
the chambermaid, or the valet de chambre, has an influence over both, and
so ad infinitum. You must, therefore, not break a link of that chain, by
which you hope to climb up to the prince.

You must renounce courts if you will not connive at knaves, and tolerate
fools. Their number makes them considerable. You should as little quarrel
as connect yourself with either.

Whatever you say or do at court, you may depend upon it, will be known;
the business of most of those, who crowd levees and antichambers, being
to repeat all that they see or hear, and a great deal that they neither
see nor hear, according as they are inclined to the persons concerned, or
according to the wishes of those to whom they hope to make their court.
Great caution is therefore necessary; and if, to great caution, you can
join seeming frankness and openness, you will unite what Machiavel
reckons very difficult but very necessary to be united; 'volto sciolto e
pensieri stretti'.

Women are very apt to be mingled in court intrigues; but they deserve
attention better than confidence; to hold by them is a very precarious

I am agreeably interrupted in these reflections by a letter which I have
this moment received from Baron Firmian. It contains your panegyric, and
with the strongest protestations imaginable that he does you only
justice. I received this favorable account of you with pleasure, and I
communicate it to you with as much. While you deserve praise, it is
reasonable you should know that you meet with it; and I make no doubt,
but that it will encourage you in persevering to deserve it. This is one
paragraph of the Baron's letter: Ses moeurs dans un age si tendre,
reglees selon toutes les loix d'une morale exacte et sensee; son
application (that is what I like) a tout ce qui s'appelle etude serieuse,
et Belles Lettres,--"Notwithstanding his great youth, his manners are
regulated by the most unexceptionable rules of sense and of morality. His
application THAT IS WHAT I LIKE to every kind of serious study, as well
as to polite literature, without even the least appearance of
ostentatious pedantry, render him worthy of your most tender affection;
and I have the honor of assuring you, that everyone cannot but be pleased
with the acquisition of his acquaintance or of his friendship. I have
profited of it, both here and at Vienna; and shall esteem myself very
happy to make use of the permission he has given me of continuing it by
letter."  Reputation, like health, is preserved and increased by the same
means by which it is acquired. Continue to desire and deserve praise, and
you will certainly find it. Knowledge, adorned by manners, will
infallibly procure it. Consider, that you have but a little way further
to get to your journey's end; therefore, for God's sake, do not slacken
your pace; one year and a half more of sound application, Mr. Harte
assures me, will finish this work; and when this work is finished well,
your own will be very easily done afterward. 'Les Manieres et les Graces'
are no immaterial parts of that work; and I beg that you will give as
much of your attention to them as to your books. Everything depends upon
them; 'senza di noi ogni fatica e vana'. The various companies you now go
into will procure them you, if you will carefully observe, and form
yourself upon those who have them.

Adieu! God bless you! and may you ever deserve that affection with which
I am now, Yours.


LONDON, September 5, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: I have received yours from Laubach, of the 17th of August, N.
S., with the inclosed for Comte Lascaris; which I have given him, and
with which he is extremely pleased, as I am with your account of
Carniola. I am very glad that you attend to, and inform yourself of, the
political objects of the country you go through. Trade and manufactures
are very considerable, not to say the most important ones; for, though
armies and navies are the shining marks of the strength of countries,
they would be very ill paid, and consequently fight very ill, if
manufactures and commerce did not support them. You have certainly
observed in Germany the inefficiency of great powers, with great tracts
of country and swarms of men; which are absolutely useless, if not paid
by other powers who have the resources of manufactures and commerce. This
we have lately experienced to be the case of the two empresses of Germany
and Russia: England, France, and Spain, must pay their respective allies,
or they may as well be without them.

I have not the least objection to your taking, into the bargain, the
observation of natural curiosities; they are very welcome, provided they
do not take up the room of better things. But the forms of government,
the maxims of policy, the strength or weakness, the trade and commerce,
of the several countries you see or hear of are the important objects,
which I recommend to your most minute inquiries, and most serious
attention. I thought that the republic of Venice had by this time laid
aside that silly and frivolous piece of policy, of endeavoring to conceal
their form of government; which anybody may know, pretty nearly, by
taking the pains to read four or five books, which explain all the great
parts of it; and as for some of the little wheels of that machine, the
knowledge of them would be as little useful to others as dangerous to
themselves. Their best policy (I can tell them) is to keep quiet, and to
offend no one great power, by joining with another. Their escape, after
the Ligue of Cambray, should prove a useful lesson to them.

I am glad you frequent the assemblies at Venice. Have you seen Monsieur
and Madame Capello, and how did they receive you? Let me know who are the
ladies whose houses you frequent the most. Have you seen the Comptesse
d'Orselska, Princess of Holstein? Is Comte Algarotti, who was the TENANT
there, at Venice?

You will, in many parts of Italy, meet with numbers of the Pretender's
people (English, Scotch, and Irish fugitives), especially at Rome;
probably the Pretender himself. It is none of your business to declare
war to these people, as little as it is your interest, or, I hope, your
inclination, to connect yourself with them; and therefore I recommend to
you a perfect neutrality. Avoid them as much as you can with decency and
good manners; but when you cannot, avoid any political conversation or
debates with them; tell them that you do not concern yourself with
political matters: that you are neither maker nor a deposer of kings;
that when you left England, you left a king in it, and have not since
heard either of his death, or of any revolution that has happened; and
that you take kings and kingdoms as you find them; but enter no further
into matters with them, which can be of no use, and might bring on heats
and quarrels. When you speak of the old Pretender, you will call him only
the Chevalier de St. George;--but mention him as seldom as possible.
Should he chance to speak to you at any assembly (as, I am told, he
sometimes does to the English), be sure that you seem not to know him;
and answer him civilly, but always either in French or in Italian; and
give him, in the former, the appellation of Monsieur, and in the latter,
of Signore. Should you meet with the Cardinal of York, you will be under
no difficulty; for he has, as Cardinal, an undoubted right to 'Eminenza'.
Upon the whole, see any of those people as little as possible; when you
do see them, be civil to them, upon the footing of strangers; but never
be drawn into any altercations with them about the imaginary right of
their king, as they call him.

It is to no sort of purpose to talk to those people of the natural rights
of mankind, and the particular constitution of this country. Blinded by
prejudices, soured by misfortunes, and tempted by their necessities, they
are as incapable of reasoning rightly, as they have hitherto been of
acting wisely. The late Lord Pembroke never would know anything that he
had not a mind to know; and, in this case, I advise you to follow his
example. Never know either the father or the two sons, any otherwise than
as foreigners; and so, not knowing their pretensions, you have no
occasion to dispute them.

I can never help recommending to you the utmost attention and care, to
acquire 'les Manieres, la Tournure, et les Graces, d'un galant homme, et
d'un homme de cour'. They should appear in every look, in every action;
in your address, and even in your dress, if you would either please or
rise in the world. That you may do both (and both are in your power) is
most ardently wished you, by Yours.

P. S. I made Comte Lascaris show me your letter, which I liked very well;
the style was easy and natural, and the French pretty correct. There were
so few faults in the orthography, that a little more observation of the
best French authors would make you a correct master of that necessary

I will not conceal from you, that I have lately had extraordinary good
accounts of you, from an unexpected and judicious person, who promises me
that, with a little more of the world, your manners and address will
equal your knowledge. This is the more pleasing to me, as those were the
two articles of which I was the most doubtful. These commendations will
not, I am persuaded, make you vain and coxcomical, but only encourage you
to go on in the right way.


LONDON, September 12, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: It seems extraordinary, but it is very true, that my anxiety
for you increases in proportion to the good accounts which I receive of
you from all hands. I promise myself so much from you, that I dread the
least disappointment. You are now so near the port, which I have so long
wished and labored to bring you safe into, that my concern would be
doubled, should you be shipwrecked within sight of it. The object,
therefore, of this letter is (laying aside all the authority of a parent)
to conjure you as a friend, by the affection you have for me (and surely
you have reason to have some), and by the regard you have for yourself,
to go on, with assiduity and attention, to complete that work which, of
late, you have carried on so well, and which is now so near being
finished. My wishes and my plan were to make you shine and distinguish
yourself equally in the learned and the polite world. Few have been able
to do it. Deep learning is generally tainted with pedantry, or at least
unadorned by manners: as, on the other hand, polite manners and the turn
of the world are too often unsupported by knowledge, and consequently end
contemptibly, in the frivolous dissipation of drawing-rooms and ruelles.
You are now got over the dry and difficult parts of learning; what
remains requires much more time than trouble. You have lost time by your
illness; you must regain it now or never. I therefore most earnestly
desire, for your own sake, that for these next six months, at least six
hours every morning, uninterruptedly, may be inviolably sacred to your
studies with Mr. Harte. I do not know whether he will require so much;
but I know that I do, and hope you will, and consequently prevail with
him to give you that time; I own it is a good deal: but when both you and
he consider that the work will be so much better, and so much sooner
done, by such an assiduous and continued application, you will, neither
of you, think it too much, and each will find his account in it. So much
for the mornings, which from your own good sense, and Mr. Harte's
tenderness and care of you, will, I am sure, be thus well employed. It is
not only reasonable, but useful too, that your evenings should be devoted
to amusements and pleasures: and therefore I not only allow, but
recommend, that they should be employed at assemblies, balls, SPECTACLES,
and in the best companies; with this restriction only, that the
consequences of the evening's diversions may not break in upon the
morning's studies, by breakfastings, visits, and idle parties into the
country. At your age, you need not be ashamed, when any of these morning
parties are proposed, to say that you must beg to be excused, for you are
obliged to devote your mornings to Mr. Harte; that I will have it so; and
that you dare not do otherwise. Lay it all upon me; though I am persuaded
it will be as much your own inclination as it is mine. But those
frivolous, idle people, whose time hangs upon their own hands, and who
desire to make others lose theirs too, are not to be reasoned with: and
indeed it would be doing them too much honor. The shortest civil answers
are the best; I CANNOT, I DARE NOT, instead of I WILL NOT; for if you
were to enter with them into the necessity of study end the usefulness of
knowledge, it would only furnish them with matter for silly jests; which,
though I would not have you mind, I would not have you invite. I will
suppose you at Rome studying six hours uninterruptedly with Mr. Harte,
every morning, and passing your evenings with the best company of Rome,
observing their manners and forming your own; and I will suppose a number
of idle, sauntering, illiterate English, as there commonly is there,
living entirely with one another, supping, drinking, and sitting up late
at each other's lodgings; commonly in riots and scrapes when drunk, and
never in good company when sober. I will take one of these pretty
fellows, and give you the dialogue between him and yourself; such as, I
dare say, it will be on his side; and such as, I hope, it will be on

Englishman. Will you come and breakfast with me tomorrow? there will be
four or five of our countrymen; we have provided chaises, and we will
drive somewhere out of town after breakfast.

Stanhope. I am very sorry I cannot; but I am obliged to be at home all

Englishman. Why, then, we will come and breakfast with you.

Stanhope. I can't do that neither; I am engaged.

Englishman. Well, then, let it be the next day.

Stanhope. To tell you the truth, it can be no day in the morning; for I
neither go out, nor see anybody at home before twelve.

Englishman. And what the devil do you do with yourself till twelve

Stanhope. I am not by myself; I am with Mr. Harte.

Englishman. Then what the devil do you do with him?

Stanhope. We study different things; we read, we converse.

Englishman. Very pretty amusement indeed! Are you to take orders then?

Stanhope. Yes, my father's orders, I believe I must take.

Englishman. Why hast thou no more spirit, than to mind an old fellow a
thousand miles off?

Stanhope. If I don't mind his orders he won't mind my draughts.

Englishman. What, does the old prig threaten then? threatened folks live
long; never mind threats.

Stanhope. No, I can't say that he has ever threatened me in his life; but
I believe I had best not provoke him.

Englishman. Pooh! you would have one angry letter from the old fellow,
and there would be an end of it.

Stanhope. You mistake him mightily; he always does more than he says. He
has never been angry with me yet, that I remember, in his life; but if I
were to provoke him, I am sure he would never forgive me; he would be
coolly immovable, and I might beg and pray, and write my heart out to no

Englishman. Why, then, he is an old dog, that's all I can say; and pray
are you to obey your dry-nurse too, this same, and what's his name--Mr.

Stanhope. Yes.

Englishman. So he stuffs you all morning with Greek, and Latin, and
Logic, and all that. Egad I have a dry-nurse too, but I never looked into
a book with him in my life; I have not so much as seen the face of him
this week, and don't care a louse if I never see it again.

Stanhope. My dry-nurse never desires anything of me that is not
reasonable, and for my own good; and therefore I like to be with him.

Englishman. Very sententious and edifying, upon my word! at this rate you
will be reckoned a very good young man.

Stanhope. Why, that will do me no harm.

Englishman. Will you be with us to-morrow in the evening, then? We shall
be ten with you; and I have got some excellent good wine; and we'll be
very merry.

Stanhope. I am very much obliged to you, but I am engaged for all the
evening, to-morrow; first at Cardinal Albani's; and then to sup at the
Venetian Ambassadress's.

Englishman. How the devil can you like being always with these
foreigners? I never go among them with all their formalities and
ceremonies. I am never easy in company with them, and I don't know why,
but I am ashamed.

Stanhope. I am neither ashamed nor afraid; I am very, easy with them;
they are very easy with me; I get the language, and I see their
characters, by conversing with them; and that is what we are sent abroad
for, is it not?

Englishman. I hate your modest women's company; your women of fashion as
they call 'em; I don't know what to say to them, for my part.

Stanhope. Have you ever conversed with them?

Englishman. No; I never conversed with them; but have been sometimes in
their company, though much against my will.

Stanhope. But at least they have done you no hurt; which is, probably,
more than you can say of the women you do converse with.

Englishman. That's true, I own; but for all that, I would rather keep
company with my surgeon half the year, than with your women of fashion
the year round.

Stanhope. Tastes are different, you know, and every man follows his own.

Englishman. That's true; but thine's a devilish odd one, Stanhope. All
morning with thy dry-nurse; all the evening in formal fine company; and
all day long afraid of Old Daddy in England. Thou art a queer fellow, and
I am afraid there is nothing to be made of thee.

Stanhope. I am afraid so too.

Englishman. Well, then, good night to you; you have no objection, I hope,
to my being drunk to-night, which I certainly will be.

Stanhope. Not in the least; nor to your being sick tomorrow, which you as
certainly will be; and so good night, too.

You will observe, that I have not put into your mouth those good
arguments which upon such an occasion would, I am sure, occur to you; as
piety and affection toward me; regard and friendship for Mr. Harte;
respect for your own moral character, and for all the relative duties of
man, son, pupil, and citizen. Such solid arguments would be thrown away
upon such shallow puppies. Leave them to their ignorance and to their
dirty, disgraceful vices. They will severely feel the effects of them,
when it will be too late. Without the comfortable refuge of learning, and
with all the sickness and pains of a ruined stomach, and a rotten
carcass, if they happen to arrive at old age, it is an uneasy and
ignominious one. The ridicule which such fellows endeavor to throw upon
those who are not like them, is, in the opinion of all men of sense, the
most authentic panegyric. Go on, then, my dear child, in the way you are
in, only for a year and a half more: that is all I ask of you. After
that, I promise that you shall be your own master, and that I will
pretend to no other title than that of your best and truest friend. You
shall receive advice, but no orders, from me; and in truth you will want
no other advice but such as youth and inexperience must necessarily
require. You shall certainly want nothing that is requisite, not only for
your conveniency, but also for your pleasures; which I always desire
shall be gratified. You will suppose that I mean the pleasures 'd'un
honnete homme'.

While you are learning Italian, which I hope you do with diligence, pray
take care to continue your German, which you may have frequent
opportunities of speaking. I would also have you keep up your knowledge
of the 'Jus Publicum Imperii', by looking over, now and then, those
INESTIMABLE MANUSCRIPTS which Sir Charles Williams, who arrived here last
week, assures me you have made upon that subject. It will be of very
great use to you, when you come to be concerned in foreign affairs; as
you shall be (if you qualify yourself for them) younger than ever any
other was: I mean before you are twenty. Sir Charles tells me, that he
will answer for your learning; and that, he believes, you will acquire
that address, and those graces, which are so necessary to give it its
full lustre and value. But he confesses, that he doubts more of the
latter than of the former. The justice which he does Mr. Harte, in his
panegyrics of him, makes me hope that there is likewise a great deal of
truth in his encomiums of you. Are you pleased with, and proud of the
reputation which you have already acquired? Surely you are, for I am sure
I am. Will you do anything to lessen or forfeit it? Surely you will not.
And will you not do all you can to extend and increase it? Surely you
will. It is only going on for a year and a half longer, as you have gone
on for the two years last past, and devoting half the day only to
application; and you will be sure to make the earliest figure and fortune
in the world, that ever man made. Adieu.


LONDON, September 22, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: If I had faith in philters and love potions, I should suspect
that you had given Sir Charles Williams some, by the manner in which he
speaks of you, not only to me, but to everybody else. I will not repeat
to you what he says of the extent and correctness of your knowledge, as
it might either make you vain, or persuade you that you had already
enough of what nobody can have too much. You will easily imagine how many
questions I asked, and how narrowly I sifted him upon your subject; he
answered me, and I dare say with truth, just as I could have wished; till
satisfied entirely with his accounts of your character and learning, I
inquired into other matters, intrinsically indeed of less consequence,
but still of great consequence to every man, and of more to you than to
almost any man: I mean, your address, manners, and air. To these
questions, the same truth which he had observed before, obliged him to
give me much less satisfactory answers. And as he thought himself, in
friendship both to you and me, obliged to tell me the disagreeable as
well as the agreeable truths, upon the same principle I think myself
obliged to repeat them to you.

He told me then, that in company you were frequently most PROVOKINGLY
inattentive, absent; and distrait; that you came into a room, and
presented yourself, very awkwardly; that at table you constantly threw
down knives, forks, napkins, bread, etc., and that you neglected your
person and dress, to a degree unpardonable at any age, and much more so
at yours.

These things, howsoever immaterial they may seem to people who do not
know the world, and the nature of mankind, give me, who know them to be
exceedingly material, very great concern. I have long distrusted you, and
therefore frequently admonished you, upon these articles; and I tell you
plainly, that I shall not be easy till I hear a very different account of
them. I know no one thing more offensive to a company than that
inattention and DISTRACTION. It is showing them the utmost contempt; and
people never forgive contempt. No man is distrait with the man he fears,
or the woman he loves; which is a proof that every man can get the better
of that DISTRACTION, when he thinks it worth his while to do so; and,
take my word for it, it is always worth his while. For my own part, I
would rather be in company with a dead man, than with an absent one; for
if the dead man gives me no pleasure; at least he shows me no contempt;
whereas, the absent man, silently indeed, but very plainly, tells me that
he does not think me worth his attention. Besides, can an absent man make
any observations upon the characters customs, and manners of the
company? No. He may be in the best companies all his lifetime (if they
will admit him, which, if I were they, I would not) and never be one jot
the wiser. I never will converse with an absent man; one may as well talk
to a deaf one. It is, in truth, a practical blunder, to address ourselves
to a man who we see plainly neither hears, minds, or understands us.
Moreover, I aver that no man is, in any degree, fit for either business
or conversation, who cannot and does not direct and command his attention
to the present object, be that what it will. You know, by experience,
that I grudge no expense in your education, but I will positively not
keep you a Flapper. You may read, in Dr. Swift, the description of these
flappers, and the use they were of to your friends the Laputans; whose
minds (Gulliver says) are so taken up with intense speculations, that
they neither can speak nor attend to the discourses of others, without
being roused by some external traction upon the organs of speech and
hearing; for which reason, those people who are able to afford it, always
keep a flapper in their family, as one of their domestics; nor ever walk
about, or make visits without him. This flapper is likewise employed
diligently to attend his master in his walks; and, upon occasion, to give
a soft flap upon his eyes, because he is always so wrapped up in
cogitation, that he is in manifest danger of falling down every
precipice, and bouncing his head against every post, and, in the streets,
of jostling others, or being jostled into the kennel himself. If
CHRISTIAN will undertake this province into the bargain, with all my
heart; but I will not allow him any increase of wages upon that score. In
short, I give you fair warning, that, when we meet, if you are absent in
mind, I will soon be absent in body; for it will be impossible for me to
stay in the room; and if at table you throw down your knife, plate,
bread, etc., and hack the wing of a chicken for half an hour, without
being able to cut it off, and your sleeve all the time in another dish, I
must rise from the table to escape the fever you would certainly give me.
Good God! how I should be shocked, if you came into my room, for the
first time, with two left legs, presenting yourself with all the graces
and dignity of a tailor, and your clothes hanging upon you, like those in
Monmouth street, upon tenter-hooks! whereas, I expect, nay, require, to
see you present yourself with the easy and genteel air of a man of
fashion, who has kept good company. I expect you not only well dressed
but very well dressed; I expect a gracefulness in all your motions, and
something particularly engaging in your address, All this I expect, and
all this it is in your power, by care and attention, to make me find; but
to tell you the plain truth, if I do not find it, we shall not converse
very much together; for I cannot stand inattention and awkwardness; it
would endanger my health. You have often seen, and I have as often made
you observe L----'s distinguished inattention and awkwardness. Wrapped
up, like a Laputan, in intense thought, and possibly sometimes in no
thought at all (which, I believe, is very often the case with absent
people), he does not know his most intimate acquaintance by sight, or
answers them as if he were at cross purposes. He leaves his hat in one
room, his sword in another, and would leave his shoes in a third, if his
buckles, though awry, did not save them: his legs and arms, by his
awkward management of them, seem to have undergone the question
extraordinaire; and his head, always hanging upon one or other of his
shoulders, seems to have received the first stroke upon a block. I
sincerely value and esteem him for his parts, learning, and virtue; but,
for the soul of me, I cannot love him in company. This will be
universally the case, in common life, of every inattentive, awkward man,
let his real merit and knowledge be ever so great. When I was of your
age, I desired to shine, as far as I was able, in every part of life; and
was as attentive to my manners, my dress, and my air, in company of
evenings, as to my books and my tutor in the mornings. A young fellow
should be ambitious to shine in everything--and, of the two, always
rather overdo than underdo. These things are by no means trifles: they
are of infinite consequence to those who are to be thrown into the great
world, and who would make a figure or a fortune in it. It is not
sufficient to deserve well; one must please well too. Awkward,
disagreeable merit will never carry anybody far. Wherever you find a good
dancing-master, pray let him put you upon your haunches; not so much for
the sake of dancing, as for coming into a room, and presenting yourself
genteelly and gracefully. Women, whom you ought to endeavor to please,
cannot forgive vulgar and awkward air and gestures; 'il leur faut du
brillant'. The generality of men are pretty like them, and are equally
taken by the same exterior graces.

I am very glad that you have received the diamond buckles safe; all I
desire in return for them is, that they may be buckled even upon your
feet, and that your stockings may not hide them. I should be sorry that
you were an egregious fop; but, I protest, that of the two, I would
rather have you a fop than a sloven. I think negligence in my own dress,
even at my age, when certainly I expect no advantages from my dress,
would be indecent with regard to others. I have done with fine clothes;
but I will have my plain clothes fit me, and made like other people's: In
the evenings, I recommend to you the company of women of fashion, who
have a right to attention and will be paid it. Their company will smooth
your manners, and give you a habit of attention and respect, of which you
will find the advantage among men.

My plan for you, from the beginning, has been to make you shine equally
in the learned and in the polite world; the former part is almost
completed to my wishes, and will, I am persuaded, in a little time more,
be quite so. The latter part is still in your power to complete; and I
flatter myself that you will do it, or else the former part will avail
you very little; especially in your department, where the exterior
address and graces do half the business; they must be the harbingers of
your merit, or your merit will be very coldly received; all can, and do
judge of the former, few of the latter.

Mr. Harte tells me that you have grown very much since your illness; if
you get up to five feet ten, or even nine inches, your figure will
probably be a good one; and if well dressed and genteel, will probably
please; which is a much greater advantage to a man than people commonly
think. Lord Bacon calls it a letter of recommendation.

I would wish you to be the omnis homo, 'l'homme universel'. You are
nearer it, if you please, than ever anybody was at your age; and if you
will but, for the course of this next year only, exert your whole
attention to your studies in the morning, and to your address, manners,
air and tournure in the evenings, you will be the man I wish you, and the
man that is rarely seen.

Our letters go, at best, so irregularly, and so often miscarry totally,
that for greater security I repeat the same things. So, though I
acknowledged by last post Mr. Harte's letter of the 8th September, N. S.,
I acknowledge it again by this to you. If this should find you still at
Verona, let it inform you that I wish you would set out soon for Naples;
unless Mr. Harte should think it better for you to stay at Verona, or any
other place on this side Rome, till you go there for the Jubilee. Nay, if
he likes it better, I am very willing that you should go directly from
Verona to Rome; for you cannot have too much of Rome, whether upon
account of the language, the curiosities, or the company. My only reason
for mentioning Naples, is for the sake of the climate, upon account of
your health; but if Mr. Harte thinks that your health is now so well
restored as to be above climate, he may steer your course wherever he
thinks proper: and, for aught I know, your going directly to Rome, and
consequently staying there so much the longer, may be as well as anything
else. I think you and I cannot put our affairs in better hands than in
Mr. Harte's; and I will stake his infallibility against the Pope's, with
some odds on his side. Apropos of the Pope: remember to be presented to
him before you leave Rome, and go through the necessary ceremonies for
it, whether of kissing his slipper or his b---h; for I would never
deprive myself of anything that I wanted to do or see, by refusing to
comply with an established custom. When I was in Catholic countries, I
never declined kneeling in their churches at the elevation, nor
elsewhere, when the Host went by. It is a complaisance due to the custom
of the place, and by no means, as some silly people have imagined, an
implied approbation of their doctrine. Bodily attitudes and situations
are things so very indifferent in themselves, that I would quarrel with
nobody about them. It may, indeed, be improper for Mr. Harte to pay that
tribute of complaisance, upon account of his character.

This letter is a very long, and possibly a very tedious one; but my
anxiety for your perfection is so great, and particularly at this
critical and decisive period of your life, that I am only afraid of
omitting, but never of repeating, or dwelling too long upon anything that
I think may be of the least use to you. Have the same anxiety for
yourself, that I have for you, and all will do well. Adieu! my dear


LONDON, September 27, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: A vulgar, ordinary way of thinking, acting, or speaking,
implies a low education, and a habit of low company. Young people
contract it at school, or among servants, with whom they are too often
used to converse; but after they frequent good company, they must want
attention and observation very much, if they do not lay it quite aside;
and, indeed, if they do not, good company will be very apt to lay them
aside. The various kinds of vulgarisms are infinite; I cannot pretend to
point them out to you; but I will give some samples, by which you may
guess at the rest.

A vulgar man is captious and jealous; eager and impetuous about trifles.
He suspects himself to be slighted, thinks everything that is said meant
at him: if the company happens to laugh, he is persuaded they laugh at
him; he grows angry and testy, says something very impertinent, and draws
himself into a scrape, by showing what he calls a proper spirit, and
asserting himself. A man of fashion does not suppose himself to be either
the sole or principal object of the thoughts, looks, or words of the
company; and never suspects that he is either slighted or laughed at,
unless he is conscious that he deserves it. And if (which very seldom
happens) the company is absurd or ill-bred enough to do either, he does
not care twopence, unless the insult be so gross and plain as to require
satisfaction of another kind. As he is above trifles, he is never
vehement and eager about them; and, wherever they are concerned, rather
acquiesces than wrangles. A vulgar man's conversation always savors
strongly of the lowness of his education and company. It turns chiefly
upon his domestic affairs, his servants, the excellent order he keeps in
his own family, and the little anecdotes of the neighborhood; all which
he relates with emphasis, as interesting matters. He is a man gossip.

Vulgarism in language is the next and distinguishing characteristic of
bad company and a bad education. A man of fashion avoids nothing with
more care than that. Proverbial expressions and trite sayings are the
flowers of the rhetoric of a vulgar man. Would he say that men differ in
their tastes; he both supports and adorns that opinion by the good old
saying, as he respectfully calls it, that WHAT IS ONE MAN'S MEAT, IS
ANOTHER MAN'S POISON. If anybody attempts being SMART, as he calls it,
upon him, he gives them TIT FOR TAT, aye, that he does. He has always
some favorite word for the time being; which, for the sake of using
often, he commonly abuses. Such as VASTLY angry, VASTLY kind, VASTLY
handsome, and VASTLY ugly. Even his pronunciation of proper words carries
the mark of the beast along with it. He calls the earth YEARTH; he is
OBLEIGED, not OBLIGED to you. He goes TO WARDS, and not TOWARDS, such a
place. He sometimes affects hard words, by way of ornament, which he
always mangles like a learned woman. A man of fashion never has recourse
to proverbs and vulgar aphorisms; uses neither favorite words nor hard
words; but takes great care to speak very correctly and grammatically,
and to pronounce properly; that is, according to the usage of the best

An awkward address, ungraceful attitudes and actions, and a certain
left-handedness (if I may use that word), loudly proclaim low education
and low company; for it is impossible to suppose that a man can have
frequented good company, without having catched something, at least, of
their air and motions. A new raised man is distinguished in a regiment by
his awkwardness; but he must be impenetrably dull, if, in a month or
two's time, he cannot perform at least the common manual exercise, and
look like a soldier. The very accoutrements of a man of fashion are
grievous encumbrances to a vulgar man. He is at a loss what to do with
his hat, when it is not upon his head; his cane (if unfortunately he
wears one) is at perpetual war with every cup of tea or coffee he drinks;
destroys them first, and then accompanies them in their fall. His sword
is formidable only to his own legs, which would possibly carry him fast
enough out of the way of any sword but his own. His clothes fit him so
ill, and constrain him so much, that he seems rather, their prisoner than
their proprietor. He presents himself in company like a criminal in a
court of justice; his very air condemns him; and people of fashion will
no more connect themselves with the one, than people of character will
with the other. This repulse drives and sinks him into low company; a
gulf from whence no man, after a certain age, ever emerged.

'Les manieres nobles et aisees, la tournure d'un homme de condition, le
ton de la bonne compagnie, les graces, le jeune sais quoi, qui plait',
are as necessary to adorn and introduce your intrinsic merit and
knowledge, as the polish is to the diamond; which, without that polish,
would never be worn, whatever it might weigh. Do not imagine that these
accomplishments are only useful with women; they are much more so with
men. In a public assembly, what an advantage has a graceful speaker, with
genteel motions, a handsome figure, and a liberal air, over one who shall
speak full as much good sense, but destitute of these ornaments? In
business, how prevalent are the graces, how detrimental is the want of
them? By the help of these I have known some men refuse favors less
offensively than others granted them. The utility of them in courts and
negotiations is inconceivable. You gain the hearts, and consequently the
secrets, of nine in ten, that you have to do with, in spite even of their
prudence; which will, nine times in ten, be the dupe of their hearts and
of their senses. Consider the importance of these things as they deserve,
and you will not lose one minute in the pursuit of them.

You are traveling now in a country once so famous both for arts and arms,
that (however degenerate at present) it still deserves your attention and
reflection. View it therefore with care, compare its former with its
present state, and examine into the causes of its rise and its decay.
Consider it classically and politically, and do not run through it, as
too many of your young countrymen do, musically, and (to use a ridiculous
word) KNICK-KNACKICALLY. No piping nor fiddling, I beseech you; no days
lost in poring upon almost imperceptible 'intaglios and cameos': and do
not become a virtuoso of small wares. Form a taste of painting,
sculpture, and architecture, if you please, by a careful examination of
the works of the best ancient and modern artists; those are liberal arts,
and a real taste and knowledge of them become a man of fashion very well.
But, beyond certain bounds, the man of taste ends, and the frivolous
virtuoso begins.

Your friend Mendes, the good Samaritan, dined with me yesterday. He has
more good-nature and generosity than parts. However, I will show him all
the civilities that his kindness to you so justly deserves. He tells me
that you are taller than I am, which I am very glad of: I desire that you
may excel me in everything else too; and, far from repining, I shall
rejoice at your superiority. He commends your friend Mr. Stevens
extremely; of whom too I have heard so good a character from other
people, that I am very glad of your connection with him. It may prove of
use to you hereafter. When you meet with such sort of Englishmen abroad,
who, either from their parts or their rank, are likely to make a figure
at home, I would advise you to cultivate them, and get their favorable
testimony of you here, especially those who are to return to England
before you. Sir Charles Williams has puffed you (as the mob call it) here
extremely. If three or four more people of parts do the same, before you
come back, your first appearance in London will be to great advantage.
Many people do, and indeed ought, to take things upon trust; many more
do, who need not; and few dare dissent from an established opinion.


LONDON, October 2, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: I received by the last post your letter of the 22d September,
N. S., but I have not received that from Mr. Harte to which you refer,
and which you say contained your reasons for leaving Verona, and
returning to Venice; so that I am entirely ignorant of them. Indeed the
irregularity and negligence of the post provoke me, as they break the
thread of the accounts I want to receive from you, and of the
instructions and orders which I send you, almost every post. Of these
last twenty posts.

I am sure that I have wrote eighteen, either to you or to Mr. Harte, and
it does not appear by your letter, that all or even any of my letters
have been received. I desire for the future, that both you and Mr. Harte
will constantly, in your letters, mention the dates of mine. Had it not
been for their miscarriage, you would not have, been in the uncertainty
you seem to be in at present, with regard to your future motions. Had you
received my letters, you would have been by this time at Naples: but we
must now take things where they are.

Upon the receipt, then, of this letter, you will as soon as conveniently
you can, set out for Rome; where you will not arrive too long before the
jubilee, considering the difficulties of getting lodgings, and other
accommodations there at this time. I leave the choice of the route to
you; but I do by no means intend that you should leave Rome after the
jubilee, as you seem to hint in your letter: on the contrary, I will have
Rome your headquarters for six months at least; till you shall have, in a
manner, acquired the 'Jus Civitatis' there. More things are to be seen
and learned there, than in any other town in Europe; there are the best
masters to instruct, and the best companies to polish you. In the spring
you may make (if you please) frequent excursions to Naples; but Rome must
still be your headquarters, till the heats of June drive you from thence
to some other place in Italy, which we shall think of by that time. As to
the expense which you mention, I do not regard it in the least; from your
infancy to this day, I never grudged any expense in your education, and
still less do it now, that it is become more important and decisive: I
attend to the objects of your expenses, but not to the sums. I will
certainly not pay one shilling for your losing your nose, your money, or
your reason; that is, I will not contribute to women, gaming, and
drinking. But I will most cheerfully supply, not only every necessary,
but every decent expense you can make. I do not care what the best
masters cost. I would have you as well dressed, lodged, and attended, as
any reasonable man of fashion is in his travels. I would have you have
that pocket-money that should enable you to make the proper expense 'd'un
honnete homme'. In short, I bar no expense, that has neither vice nor
folly for its object; and under those two reasonable restrictions, draw,
and welcome.

As for Turin, you may go there hereafter, as a traveler, for a month or
two; but you cannot conveniently reside there as an academician, for
reasons which I have formerly communicated to Mr. Harte, and which Mr.
Villettes, since his return here, has shown me in a still stronger light
than he had done by his letters from Turin, of which I sent copies to Mr.
Harte, though probably he never received them.

After you have left Rome, Florence is one of the places with which you
should be thoroughly acquainted. I know that there is a great deal of
gaming there; but, at the same time, there are in every place some people
whose fortunes are either too small, or whose understandings are too good
to allow them to play for anything above trifles; and with those people
you will associate yourself, if you have not (as I am assured you have
not, in the least) the spirit of gaming in you. Moreover, at suspected
places, such as Florence, Turin, and Paris, I shall be more attentive to
your draughts, and such as exceed a proper and handsome expense will not
be answered; for I can easily know whether you game or not without being

Mr. Harte will determine your route to Rome as he shall think best;
whether along the coast of the Adriatic, or that of the Mediterranean, it
is equal to me; but you will observe to come back a different way from
that you went.

Since your health is so well restored, I am not sorry that you have
returned to Venice, for I love capitals. Everything is best at capitals;
the best masters, the best companions, and the best manners. Many other
places are worth seeing, but capitals only are worth residing at. I am
very glad that Madame Capello received you so well. Monsieur I was sure
would: pray assure them both of my respects, and of my sensibility of
their kindness to you. Their house will be a very good one for you at
Rome; and I would advise you to be domestic in it if you can. But Madame,
I can tell you, requires great attentions. Madame Micheli has written a
very favorable account of you to my friend the Abbe Grossa Testa, in a
letter which he showed me, and in which there are so many civil things to
myself, that I would wish to tell her how much I think myself obliged to
her. I approve very much of the allotment of your time at Venice; pray go
on so for a twelvemonth at least, wherever you are. You will find your
own account in it.

I like your last letter, which gives me an account of yourself, and your
own transactions; for though I do not recommend the EGOTISM to you, with
regard to anybody else, I desire that you will use it with me, and with
me only. I interest myself in all that you do; and as yet (excepting Mr.
Harte) nobody else does. He must of course know all, and I desire to know
a great deal.

I am glad you have received, and that you like the diamond buckles. I am
very willing that you should make, but very unwilling that you should CUT
a figure with them at the jubilee; the CUTTING A FIGURE being the very
lowest vulgarism in the English language; and equal in elegancy to Yes,
my Lady, and No, my Lady. The word VAST and VASTLY, you will have found
by my former letter that I had proscribed out of the diction of a
gentleman, unless in their proper signification of sizes and BULK. Not
only in language, but in everything else, take great care that the first
impressions you give of yourself may be not only favorable, but pleasing,
engaging, nay, seducing. They are often decisive; I confess they are a
good deal so with me: and I cannot wish for further acquaintance with a
man whose first 'abord' and address displease me.

So many of my letters have miscarried, and I know so little which, that I
am forced to repeat the same thing over and over again eventually. This
is one. I have wrote twice to Mr. Harte, to have your picture drawn in
miniature, while you were at Venice; and send it me in a letter: it is
all one to me whether in enamel or in watercolors, provided it is but
very like you. I would have you drawn exactly as you are, and in no
whimsical dress: and I lay more stress upon the likeness of the picture,
than upon the taste and skill of the painter. If this be not already
done, I desire that you will have it done forthwith before you leave
Venice; and inclose it in a letter to me, which letter, for greater
security, I would have you desire Sir James Gray to inclose in his packet
to the office; as I, for the same, reason, send this under his cover. If
the picture be done upon vellum, it will be the most portable. Send me,
at the same time, a thread of silk of your own length exactly. I am
solicitous about your figure; convinced, by a thousand instances, that a
good one is a real advantage. 'Mens sana in corpore sano', is the first
and greatest blessing. I would add 'et pulchro', to complete it. May you
have that and every other! Adieu.

Have you received my letters of recommendation to Cardinal Albani and the
Duke de Nivernois, at Rome?


LONDON, October 9, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: If this letter finds you at all, of which I am very doubtful,
it will find you at Venice, preparing for your journey to Rome; which, by
my last letter to Mr. Harte, I advised you to make along the coast of the
Adriatic, through Rimini, Loretto, Ancona, etc., places that are all
worth seeing; but not worth staying at. And such I reckon all places
where the eyes only are employed. Remains of antiquity, public buildings,
paintings, sculptures, etc., ought to be seen, and that with a proper
degree of attention; but this is soon done, for they are only outsides.
It is not so with more important objects; the insides of which must be
seen; and they require and deserve much more attention. The characters,
the heads, and the hearts of men, are the useful science of which I
would have you perfect master. That science is best taught and best
learned in capitals, where every human passion has its object, and exerts
all its force or all its art in the pursuit. I believe there is no place
in the world, where every passion is busier, appears in more shapes, and
is conducted with more art, than at Rome. Therefore, when you are there,
do not imagine that the Capitol, the Vatican, and the Pantheon, are the
principal objects of your curiosity. But for one minute that you bestow
upon those, employ ten days in informing yourself of the nature of that
government, the rise and decay of the papal power, the politics of that
court, the 'Brigues' of the cardinals, the tricks of the Conclaves; and,
in general, everything that relates to the interior of that extraordinary
government, founded originally upon the ignorance and superstition of
mankind, extended by the weakness of some princes, and the ambition of
others; declining of late in proportion as knowledge has increased; and
owing its present precarious security, not to the religion, the
affection, or the fear of the temporal powers, but to the jealousy of
each other. The Pope's excommunications are no longer dreaded; his
indulgences little solicited, and sell very cheap; and his territories
formidable to no power, are coveted by many, and will, most undoubtedly,
within a century, be scantled out among the great powers, who have now a
footing in Italy, whenever they can agree upon the division of the bear's
skin. Pray inform yourself thoroughly of the history of the popes and the
popedom; which, for many centuries, is interwoven with the history of all
Europe. Read the best authors who treat of these matters, and especially
Fra Paolo, 'De Beneficiis', a short, but very material book. You will
find at Rome some of all the religious orders in the Christian world.
Inform yourself carefully of their origin, their founders, their rules,
their reforms, and even their dresses: get acquainted with some of all of
them, but particularly with the Jesuits; whose society I look upon to be
the most able and best governed society in the world. Get acquainted, if
you can, with their General, who always resides at Rome; and who, though
he has no seeming power out of his own society, has (it may be) more real
influence over the whole world, than any temporal prince in it. They have
almost engrossed the education of youth; they are, in general, confessors
to most of the princes of Europe; and they are the principal missionaries
out of it; which three articles give them a most extensive influence and
solid advantages; witness their settlement in Paraguay. The Catholics in
general declaim against that society; and yet are all governed by
individuals of it. They have, by turns, been banished, and with infamy,
almost every country in Europe; and have always found means to be
restored, even with triumph. In short, I know no government in the world
that is carried on upon such deep principles of policy, I will not add
morality. Converse with them, frequent them, court them; but know them.

Inform yourself, too, of that infernal court, the Inquisition; which,
though not so considerable at Rome as in Spain and Portugal, will,
however, be a good sample to you of what the villainy of some men can
contrive, the folly of others receive, and both together establish, in
spite of the first natural principles of reason, justice, and equity.

These are the proper and useful objects of the attention of a man of
sense, when he travels; and these are the objects for which I have sent
you abroad; and I hope you will return thoroughly informed of them.

I receive this very moment Mr. Harte's letter of the 1st October, N. S.,
but I never received his former, to which he refers in this, and you
refer in your last; in which he gave me the reasons for your leaving
Verona so soon; nor have I ever received that letter in which your case
was stated by your physicians. Letters to and from me have worse luck
than other people's; for you have written to me, and I to you, for these
last three months, by way of Germany, with as little success as before.

I am edified with your morning applications, and your evening gallantries
at Venice, of which Mr. Harte gives me an account. Pray go on with both
there, and afterward at Rome; where, provided you arrive in the beginning
of December, you may stay at Venice as much longer as you please.

Make my compliments to Sir James Gray and Mr. Smith, with my
acknowledgments for the great civilities they show you.

I wrote to Mr. Harte by the last post, October the 6th, O. S., and will
write to him in a post or two upon the contents of his last. Adieu!
'Point de distractions'; and remember the GRACES.


LONDON, October 17, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: I have at last received Mr. Harte's letter of the 19th
September, N. S., from Verona. Your reasons for leaving that place were
very good ones; and as you stayed there long enough to see what was to be
seen, Venice (as a capital) is, in my opinion, a much better place for
your residence. Capitals are always the seats of arts and sciences, and
the best companies. I have stuck to them all my lifetime, and I advise
you to do so too.

You will have received in my three or four last letters my directions for
your further motions to another capital, where I propose that your stay
shall be pretty considerable. The expense, I am well aware, will be so
too; but that, as I told you before, will have no weight when your
improvement and advantage are in the other scale. I do not care a groat
what it is, if neither vice nor folly are the objects of it, and if Mr.
Harte gives his sanction.

I am very well pleased with your account of Carniola; those are the kind
of objects worthy of your inquiries and knowledge. The produce, the
taxes, the trade, the manufactures, the strength, the weakness, the
government of the several countries which a man of sense travels through,
are the material points to which he attends; and leaves the steeples, the
market-places, and the signs, to the laborious and curious researches of
Dutch and German travelers.

Mr. Harte tells me, that he intends to give you, by means of Signor
Vicentini, a general notion of civil and military architecture; with
which I am very well pleased. They are frequent subjects of conversation;
and it is very right that you should have some idea of the latter, and a
good taste of the former; and you may very soon learn as much as you need
know of either. If you read about one-third of Palladio's book of
architecture with some skillful person, and then, with that person,
examine the best buildings by those rules, you will know the different
proportions of the different orders; the several diameters of their
columns; their intercolumniations, their several uses, etc. The
Corinthian Order is chiefly used in magnificent buildings, where ornament
and decoration are the principal objects; the Doric is calculated for
strength, and the Ionic partakes of the Doric strength, and of the
Corinthian ornaments. The Composite and the Tuscan orders are more
modern, and were unknown to the Greeks; the one is too light, the other
too clumsy. You may soon be acquainted with the considerable parts of
civil architecture; and for the minute and mechanical parts of it, leave
them to masons, bricklayers, and Lord Burlington, who has, to a certain
extent, lessened himself by knowing them too well. Observe the same
method as to military architecture; understand the terms, know the
general rules, and then see them in execution with some skillful person.
Go with some engineer or old officer, and view with care the real
fortifications of some strong place; and you will get a clearer idea of
bastions, half-moons, horn-works, ravelins, glacis, etc., than all the
masters in the world could give you upon paper. And thus much I would, by
all means, have you know of both civil and military architecture.

I would also have you acquire a liberal taste of the two liberal arts of
painting and sculpture; but without descending into those minutia, which
our modern virtuosi most affectedly dwell upon. Observe the great parts
attentively; see if nature be truly represented; if the passions are
strongly expressed; if the characters are preserved; and leave the
trifling parts, with their little jargon, to affected puppies. I would
advise you also, to read the history of the painters and sculptors, and I
know none better than Felibien's. There are many in Italian; you will
inform yourself which are the best. It is a part of history very
entertaining, curious enough, and not quite useless. All these sort of
things I would have you know, to a certain degree; but remember, that
they must only be the amusements, and not the business of a man of parts.

Since writing to me in German would take up so much of your time, of
which I would not now have one moment wasted, I will accept of your
composition, and content myself with a moderate German letter once a
fortnight, to Lady Chesterfield or Mr. Gravenkop. My meaning was only
that you should not forget what you had already learned of the German
language and character; but, on the contrary, that by frequent use it
should grow more easy and familiar. Provided you take care of that, I do
not care by what means: but I do desire that you will every day of your
life speak German to somebody or other (for you will meet with Germans
enough), and write a line or two of it every day to keep your hand in.
Why should you not (for instance) write your little memorandums and
accounts in that language and character? by which, too, you would have
this advantage into the bargain, that, if mislaid, few but yourself could
read them.

I am extremely glad to hear that you like the assemblies at Venice well
enough to sacrifice some suppers to them; for I hear that you do not
dislike your suppers neither. It is therefore plain, that there is
somebody or something at those assemblies, which you like better than
your meat. And as I know that there is none but good company at those
assemblies, I am very glad to find that you like good company so well. I
already imagine that you are a little, smoothed by it; and that you have
either reasoned yourself, or that they have laughed you out of your
absences and DISTRACTIONS; for I cannot suppose that you go there to
insult them. I likewise imagine, that you wish to be welcome where you
wish to go; and consequently, that you both present and behave yourself
there 'en galant homme, et pas in bourgeois'.

If you have vowed to anybody there one of those eternal passions which I
have sometimes known, by great accident, last three months, I can tell
you that without great attention, infinite politeness, and engaging air
and manners, the omens will be sinister, and the goddess unpropitious.
Pray tell me what are the amusements of those assemblies? Are they little
commercial play, are they music, are they 'la belle conversation', or are
they all three? 'Y file-t-on le parfait amour? Y debite-t-on les beaux
sentimens? Ou est-ce yu'on y parle Epigramme? And pray which is your
department? 'Tutis depone in auribus'. Whichever it is, endeavor to shine
and excel in it. Aim at least at the perfection of everything that is
worth doing at all; and you will come nearer it than you would imagine;
but those always crawl infinitely short of it whose aim is only
mediocrity. Adieu.

P. S. By an uncommon diligence of the post, I have this moment received
yours of the 9th, N. S.


LONDON, October 24, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: By my last I only acknowledged, by this I answer, your letter
of the 9th October, N. S.

I am very glad that you approved of my letter of September the 12th, O.
S., because it is upon that footing that I always propose living with
you. I will advise you seriously, as a friend of some experience, and I
will converse with you cheerfully as a companion; the authority of a
parent shall forever be laid aside; for, wherever it is exerted, it is
useless; since, if you have neither sense nor sentiments enough to follow
my advice as a friend, your unwilling obedience to my orders as a father
will be a very awkward and unavailing one both to yourself and me.
Tacitus, speaking of an army that awkwardly and unwillingly obeyed its
generals only from the fear of punishment, says, they obeyed indeed, 'Sed
ut qua mallent jussa Imperatorum interpretari, quam exequi'. For my own
part, I disclaim such obedience.

You think, I find, that you do not understand Italian; but I can tell
you, that, like the 'Bourgeois Gentilhomme', who spoke prose without
knowing it, you understand a great deal, though you do not know that you
do; for whoever understands French and Latin so well as you do,
understands at least half the Italian language, and has very little
occasion for a dictionary. And for the idioms, the phrases, and the
delicacies of it, conversation and a little attention will teach them
you, and that soon; therefore, pray speak it in company, right or wrong,
'a tort ou a travers', as soon as ever you have got words enough to ask a
common question, or give a common answer. If you can only say 'buon
giorno', say it, instead of saying 'bon jour', I mean to every Italian;
the answer to it will teach you more words, and insensibly you will be
very soon master of that easy language. You are quite right in not
neglecting your German for it, and in thinking that it will be of more
use to you; it certainly will, in the course of your business; but
Italian has its use too, and is an ornament into the bargain; there being
many very polite and good authors in that language. The reason you assign
for having hitherto met with none of my swarms of Germans in Italy, is a
very solid one; and I can easily conceive, that the expense necessary for
a traveler must amount to a number of thalers, groschen, and kreutzers,
tremendous to a German fortune. However, you will find several at Rome,
either ecclesiastics, or in the suite of the Imperial Minister; and more,
when you come into the Milanese, among the Queen of Hungary's officers.
Besides, you have a Saxon servant, to whom I hope you speak nothing but

I have had the most obliging letter in the world from Monsieur Capello,
in which he speaks very advantageously of you, and promises you his
protection at Rome. I have wrote him an answer by which I hope I have
domesticated you at his hotel there; which I advise you to frequent as
much as you can. 'Il est vrai qui'il ne paie pas beaucaup de sa figure';
but he has sense and knowledge at bottom, with a great experience of
business, having been already Ambassador at Madrid, Vienna, and London.
And I am very sure that he will be willing to give you any informations,
in that way, that he can.

Madame was a capricious, whimsical, fine lady, till the smallpox, which
she got here, by lessening her beauty, lessened her humors too; but, as I
presume it did not change her sex, I trust to that for her having such a
share of them left, as may contribute to smooth and polish you. She,
doubtless, still thinks that she has beauty enough remaining to entitle
her to the attentions always paid to beauty; and she has certainly rank
enough to require respect. Those are the sort of women who polish a young
man the most, and who give him that habit of complaisance, and that
flexibility and versatility of manners which prove of great use to him
with men, and in the course of business.

You must always expect to hear, more or less, from me, upon that
important subject of manners, graces, address, and that undefinable 'je
ne sais quoi' that ever pleases. I have reason to believe that you want
nothing else; but I have reason to fear too, that you want those: and
that want will keep you poor in the midst of all the plenty of knowledge
which you may have treasured up. Adieu.


LONDON, November 3, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: From the time that you have had life, it has been the principle
and favorite object of mine, to make you as perfect as the imperfections
of human nature will allow: in this view, I have grudged no pains nor
expense in your education; convinced that education, more than nature, is
the cause of that great difference which you see in the characters of
men. While you were a child, I endeavored to form your heart habitually
to virtue and honor, before your understanding was capable of showing you
their beauty and utility. Those principles, which you then got, like your
grammar rules, only by rote, are now, I am persuaded, fixed and confirmed
by reason. And indeed they are so plain and clear, that they require but
a very moderate degree of understanding, either to comprehend or practice
them. Lord Shaftesbury says, very prettily, that he would be virtuous for
his own sake, though nobody were to know it; as he would be clean for his
own sake, though nobody were to see him. I have therefore, since you have
had the use of your reason, never written to you upon those subjects:
they speak best for themselves; and I should now just as soon think of
warning you gravely not to fall into the dirt or the fire, as into
dishonor or vice. This view of mine, I consider as fully attained. My
next object was sound and useful learning. My own care first, Mr. Harte's
afterward, and OF LATE (I will own it to your praise) your own
application, have more than answered my expectations in that particular;
and, I have reason to believe, will answer even my wishes. All that
remains for me then to wish, to recommend, to inculcate, to order, and to
insist upon, is good-breeding; without which, all your other
qualifications will be lame, unadorned, and to a certain degree
unavailing. And here I fear, and have too much reason to believe, that
you are greatly deficient. The remainder of this letter, therefore, shall
be (and it will not be the last by a great many) upon that subject.

A friend of yours and mine has very justly defined good-breeding to be,
FROM THEM. Taking this for granted (as I think it cannot be disputed), it
is astonishing to me that anybody who has good sense and good nature (and
I believe you have both), can essentially fail in good-breeding. As to
the modes of it, indeed, they vary according to persons, and places, and
circumstances; and are only to be acquired by observation and experience:
but the substance of it is everywhere and eternally the same. Good
manners are, to particular societies, what good morals are to society in
general; their cement and their security. And, as laws are enacted to
enforce good morals, or at least to prevent the ill effects of bad ones;
so there are certain rules of civility, universally implied and received,
to enforce good manners and punish bad ones. And, indeed, there seems to
me to be less difference, both between the crimes and between the
punishments than at first one would imagine. The immoral man, who invades
another man's property, is justly hanged for it; and the ill-bred man,
who, by his ill-manners, invades and disturbs the quiet and comforts of
private life, is by common consent as justly banished society. Mutual
complaisances, attentions, and sacrifices of little conveniences, are as
natural an implied compact between civilized people, as protection and
obedience are between kings and subjects; whoever, in either case,
violates that compact, justly forfeits all advantages arising from it.
For my own part, I really think, that next to the consciousness of doing
a good action, that of doing a civil one is the most pleasing; and the
epithet which I should covet the most, next to that of Aristides, would
be that of well-bred. Thus much for good-breeding in general; I will now
consider some of the various modes and degrees of it.

Very few, scarcely any, are wanting in the respect which they should show
to those whom they acknowledge to be infinitely their superiors; such as
crowned heads, princes, and public persons of distinguished and eminent
posts. It is the manner of showing that respect which is different. The
man of fashion and of the world, expresses it in its fullest extent; but
naturally, easily, and without concern: whereas a man, who is not used to
keep good company, expresses it awkwardly; one sees that he is not used
to it, and that it costs him a great deal: but I never saw the worst-bred
man living guilty of lolling, whistling, scratching his head, and
such-like indecencies, in company that he respected. In such companies,
therefore, the only point to be attended to is to show that respect,
which everybody means to show, in an easy, unembarrassed, and graceful
manner. This is what observation and experience must teach you.

In mixed companies, whoever is admitted to make part of them, is, for the
time at least, supposed to be upon a footing of equality with the rest:
and consequently, as there is no one principal object of awe and respect,
people are apt to take a greater latitude in their behavior, and to be
less upon their guard; and so they may, provided it be within certain
bounds, which are upon no occasion to be transgressed. But, upon these
occasions, though no one is entitled to distinguished marks of respect,
everyone claims, and very justly, every mark of civility and
good-breeding. Ease is allowed, but carelessness and negligence are
strictly forbidden. If a man accosts you, and talks to you ever so dully
or frivolously, it is worse than rudeness, it is brutality, to show him,
by a manifest inattention to what he says, that you think him a fool or a
blockhead, and not worth hearing. It is much more so with regard to
women; who, of whatever rank they are, are entitled, in consideration of
their sex, not only to an attentive, but an officious good-breeding from
men. Their little wants, likings, dislikes, preferences, antipathies,
fancies, whims, and even impertinencies, must be officiously attended to,
flattered, and, if possible, guessed at and anticipated by a well-bred
man. You must never usurp to yourself those conveniences and 'agremens'
which are of common right; such as the best places, the best dishes,
etc., but on the contrary, always decline them yourself, and offer them
to others; who, in their turns, will offer them to you; so that, upon the
whole, you will in your turn enjoy your share of the common right. It
would be endless for me to enumerate all the particular instances in
which a well-bred man shows his good-breeding in good company; and it
would be injurious to you to suppose that your own good sense will not
point them out to you; and then your own good-nature will recommend, and
your self-interest enforce the practice.

There is a third sort of good-breeding, in which people are the most apt
to fail, from a very mistaken notion that they cannot fail at all. I mean
with regard to one's most familiar friends and acquaintances, or those
who really are our inferiors; and there, undoubtedly, a greater degree of
ease is not only allowed, but proper, and contributes much to the
comforts of a private, social life. But that ease and freedom have their
bounds too, which must by no means be violated. A certain degree of
negligence and carelessness becomes injurious and insulting, from the
real or supposed inferiority of the persons: and that delightful liberty
of conversation among a few friends is soon destroyed, as liberty often
has been, by being carried to licentiousness. But example explains things
best, and I will put a pretty strong case. Suppose you and me alone
together; I believe you will allow that I have as good a right to
unlimited freedom in your company, as either you or I can possibly have
in any other; and I am apt to believe too, that you would indulge me in
that freedom as far as anybody would. But, notwithstanding this, do you
imagine that I should think there were no bounds to that freedom? I
assure you, I should not think so; and I take myself to be as much tied
down by a certain degree of good manners to you, as by other degrees of
them to other people. Were I to show you, by a manifest inattention to
what you said to me, that I was thinking of something else the whole
time; were I to yawn extremely, snore, or break wind in your company, I
should think that I behaved myself to you like a beast, and should not
expect that you would care to frequent me. No. The most familiar and
intimate habitudes, connections, and friendships, require a degree of
good-breeding, both to preserve and cement them. If ever a man and his
wife, or a man and his mistress, who pass nights as well as days
together, absolutely lay aside all good-breeding, their intimacy will
soon degenerate into a coarse familiarity, infallibly productive of
contempt or disgust. The best of us have our bad sides, and it is as
imprudent, as it is ill-bred, to exhibit them. I shall certainly not use
ceremony with you; it would be misplaced between us: but I shall
certainly observe that degree of good-breeding with you, which is, in the
first place, decent, and which I am sure is absolutely necessary to make
us like one another's company long.

I will say no more, now, upon this important subject of good-breeding,
upon which I have already dwelt too long, it may be, for one letter; and
upon which I shall frequently refresh your memory hereafter; but I will
conclude with these axioms:

That the deepest learning, without good-breeding, is unwelcome and
tiresome pedantry, and of use nowhere but in a man's own closet; and
consequently of little or no use at all.

That a man, Who is not perfectly well-bred, is unfit for good company and
unwelcome in it; will consequently dislike it soon, afterward renounce
it; and be reduced to solitude, or, what is worse, low and bad company.

That a man who is not well-bred, is full as unfit for business as for

Make then, my dear child, I conjure you, good-breeding the great object
of your thoughts and actions, at least half the day. Observe carefully
the behavior and manners of those who are distinguished by their
good-breeding; imitate, nay, endeavor to excel, that you may at least
reach them; and be convinced that good-breeding is, to all worldly
qualifications, what charity is to all Christian virtues. Observe how it
adorns merit, and how often it covers the want of it. May you wear it to
adorn, and not to cover you! Adieu.


LONDON, November 14, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: There is a natural good-breeding which occurs to every man of
common sense, and is practiced by every man, of common good-nature. This
good-breeding is general, independent of modes, and consists in endeavors
to please and oblige our fellow-creatures by all good offices, short of
moral duties. This will be practiced by a good-natured American savage,
as essentially as by the best-bred European. But then, I do not take it
to extend to the sacrifice of our own conveniences, for the sake of other
people's. Utility introduced this sort of good-breeding as it introduced
commerce; and established a truck of the little 'agremens' and pleasures
of life. I sacrifice such a conveniency to you, you sacrifice another to
me; this commerce circulates, and every individual finds his account in
it upon the whole. The third sort of good-breeding is local, and is
variously modified, in not only different countries, but in different
towns of the same country. But it must be founded upon the two former
sorts; they are the matter to which, in this case, fashion and custom
only give the different shapes and impressions. Whoever has the two first
sorts will easily acquire this third sort of good-breeding, which depends
singly upon attention and observation. It is, properly, the polish, the
lustre, the last finishing stroke of good-breeding. It is to be found
only in capitals, and even there it varies; the good-breeding of Rome
differing, in some things, from that of Paris; that of Paris, in others,
from that of Madrid; and that of Madrid, in many things, from that of
London. A man of sense, therefore, carefully attends to the local manners
of the respective places where he is, and takes for his models those
persons whom he observes to be at the head of fashion and good-breeding.
He watches how they address themselves to their superiors, how they
accost their equals, and how they treat their inferiors; and lets none of
those little niceties escape him which are to good-breeding what the last
delicate and masterly touches are to a good picture; and of which the
vulgar have no notion, but by which good judges distinguish the master.
He attends even to their air, dress, and motions, and imitates them,
liberally, and not servilely; he copies, but does not mimic. These
personal graces are of very great consequence. They anticipate the
sentiments, before merit can engage the understanding; they captivate the
heart, and give rise, I believe, to the extravagant notions of charms and
philters. Their effects were so surprising, that they were reckoned
supernatural. The most graceful and best-bred men, and the handsomest and
genteelest women, give the most philters; and, as I verily believe,
without the least assistance of the devil. Pray be not only well dressed,
but shining in your dress; let it have 'du brillant'. I do not mean by a
clumsy load of gold and silver, but by the taste and fashion of it. The
women like and require it; they think it an attention due to them; but,
on the other hand, if your motions and carriage are not graceful,
genteel, and natural, your fine clothes will only display your
awkwardness the more. But I am unwilling to suppose you still awkward;
for surely, by this time, you must have catched a good air in good
company. When you went from hence you were naturally awkward; but your
awkwardness was adventitious and Westmonasterial. Leipsig, I apprehend,
is not the seat of the Graces; and I presume you acquired none there. But
now, if you will be pleased to observe what people of the first fashion
do with their legs and arms, heads and bodies, you will reduce yours to
certain decent laws of motion. You danced pretty well here, and ought to
dance very well before you come home; for what one is obliged to do
sometimes, one ought to be able to do well. Besides, 'la belle danse
donne du brillant a un jeune homme'. And you should endeavor to shine. A
calm serenity, negative merit and graces, do not become your age. You
should be 'alerte, adroit, vif'; be wanted, talked of, impatiently
expected, and unwillingly parted with in company. I should be glad to
hear half a dozen women of fashion say, 'Ou est donc le petit Stanhope?
due ne vient-il? Il faut avouer qu'il est aimable'. All this I do not
mean singly with regard to women as the principal object; but, with
regard to men, and with a view of your making yourself considerable. For
with very small variations, the same things that please women please men;
and a man whose manners are softened and polished by women of fashion,
and who is formed by them to an habitual attention and complaisance, will
please, engage, and connect men, much easier and more than he would
otherwise. You must be sensible that you cannot rise in the world,
without forming connections, and engaging different characters to
conspire in your point. You must make them your dependents without their
knowing it, and dictate to them while you seem to be directed by them.
Those necessary connections can never be formed, or preserved, but by an
uninterrupted series of complaisance, attentions, politeness, and some
constraint. You must engage their hearts, if you would have their
support; you must watch the 'mollia tempora', and captivate them by the
'agremens' and charms of conversation. People will not be called out to
your service, only when you want them; and, if you expect to receive
strength from them, they must receive either pleasure or advantage from

I received in this instant a letter from Mr. Harte, of the 2d N. S.,
which I will answer soon; in the meantime, I return him my thanks for it,
through you. The constant good accounts which he gives me of you, will
make me suspect him of partiality, and think him 'le medecin tant mieux'.
Consider, therefore, what weight any future deposition of his against you
must necessarily have with me. As, in that case, he will be a very
unwilling, he must consequently be a very important witness. Adieu!


DEAR Boy: My last was upon the subject of good-breeding; but I think it
rather set before you the unfitness and disadvantages of ill-breeding,
than the utility and necessity of good; it was rather negative than
positive. This, therefore, should go further, and explain to you the
necessity, which you, of all people living, lie under, not only of being
positively and actively well-bred, but of shining and distinguishing
yourself by your good-breeding. Consider your own situation in every
particular, and judge whether it is not essentially your interest, by
your own good-breeding to others, to secure theirs to you and that, let
me assure you, is the only way of doing it; for people will repay, and
with interest too, inattention with inattention, neglect with neglect,
and ill manners with worse: which may engage you in very disagreeable
affairs. In the next place, your profession requires, more than any
other, the nicest and most distinguished good-breeding. You will
negotiate with very little success, if you do not previously, by your
manners, conciliate and engage the affections of those with whom you are
to negotiate. Can you ever get into the confidence and the secrets of the
courts where you may happen to reside, if you have not those pleasing,
insinuating manners, which alone can procure them? Upon my word, I do not
say too much, when I say that superior good-breeding, insinuating
manners, and genteel address, are half your business. Your knowledge will
have but very little influence upon the mind, if your manners prejudice
the heart against you; but, on the other hand, how easily will you DUPE
the understanding, where you have first engaged the heart? and hearts are
by no means to be gained by that mere common civility which everybody
practices. Bowing again to those who bow to you, answering dryly those
who speak to you, and saying nothing offensive to anybody, is such
negative good-breeding that it is only not being a brute; as it would be
but a very poor commendation of any man's cleanliness to say that he did
not stink. It is an active, cheerful, officious, seducing, good-breeding
that must gain you the good-will and first sentiments of men, and the
affections of the women. You must carefully watch and attend to their
passions, their tastes, their little humors and weaknesses, and 'aller au
devant'. You must do it at the same time with alacrity and
'empressement', and not as if you graciously condescended to humor their

For instance, suppose you invited anybody to dine or sup with you, you
ought to recollect if you had observed that they had any favorite dish,
and take care to provide it for them; and when it came you should say,
YOU LIKED, AND THEREFORE I PROCURED SOME. The more trifling these things
are, the more they prove your attention for the person, and are
consequently the more engaging. Consult your own breast, and recollect
how these little attentions, when shown you by others, flatter that
degree of self-love and vanity from which no man living is free. Reflect
how they incline and attract you to that person, and how you are
propitiated afterward to all which that person says or does. The same
causes will have the same effects in your favor. Women, in a great
degree, establish or destroy every man's reputation of good-breeding; you
must, therefore, in a manner, overwhelm them with these attentions: they
are used to them, they expect them, and, to do them justice, they
commonly requite them. You must be sedulous, and rather over officious
than under, in procuring them their coaches, their chairs, their
conveniences in public places: not see what you should not see; and
rather assist, where you cannot help seeing. Opportunities of showing
these attentions present themselves perpetually; but if they do not, make
them. As Ovid advises his lover, when he sits in the Circus near his
mistress, to wipe the dust off her neck, even if there be none: 'Si
nullus, tamen excute nullum'. Your conversation with women should always
be respectful; but, at the same time, enjoue, and always addressed to
their vanity. Everything you say or do should convince them of the regard
you have (whether you have it or not) for their beauty, their wit, or
their merit. Men have possibly as much vanity as women, though of another
kind; and both art and good-breeding require, that, instead of
mortifying, you should please and flatter it, by words and looks of
approbation. Suppose (which is by no means improbable) that, at your
return to England, I should place you near the person of some one of the
royal family; in that situation, good-breeding, engaging address, adorned
with all the graces that dwell at courts, would very probably make you a
favorite, and, from a favorite, a minister; but all the knowledge and
learning in the world, without them, never would. The penetration of
princes seldom goes deeper than the surface.

It is the exterior that always engages their hearts; and I would never
advise you to give yourself much trouble about their understanding.
Princes in general (I mean those 'Porphyrogenets' who are born and bred
in purple) are about the pitch of women; bred up like them, and are to be
addressed and gained in the same manner. They always see, they seldom
weigh. Your lustre, not your solidity, must take them; your inside will
afterward support and secure what your outside has acquired. With weak
people (and they undoubtedly are three parts in four of mankind)
good-breeding, address, and manners are everything; they can go no
deeper; but let me assure you that they are a great deal even with people
of the best understandings. Where the eyes are not pleased, and the heart
is not flattered, the mind will be apt to stand out. Be this right or
wrong, I confess I am so made myself. Awkwardness and ill-breeding shock
me to that degree, that where I meet with them, I cannot find in my heart
to inquire into the intrinsic merit of that person--I hastily decide in
myself that he can have none; and am not sure that I should not even be
sorry to know that he had any. I often paint you in my imagination, in
your present 'lontananza', and, while I view you in the light of ancient
and modern learning, useful and ornamental knowledge, I am charmed with
the prospect; but when I view you in another light, and represent you
awkward, ungraceful, ill-bred, with vulgar air and manners, shambling
toward me with inattention and DISTRACTIONS, I shall not pretend to
describe to you what I feel; but will do as a skillful painter did
formerly--draw a veil before the countenance of the father.

I dare say you know already enough of architecture, to know that the
Tuscan is the strongest and most solid of all the orders; but at the same
time, it is the coarsest and clumsiest of them. Its solidity does
extremely well for the foundation and base floor of a great edifice; but
if the whole building be Tuscan, it will attract no eyes, it will stop no
passengers, it will invite no interior examination; people will take it
for granted that the finishing and furnishing cannot be worth seeing,
where the front is so unadorned and clumsy. But if, upon the solid Tuscan
foundation, the Doric, the Ionic, and the Corinthian orders rise
gradually with all their beauty, proportions, and ornaments, the fabric
seizes the most incurious eye, and stops the most careless passenger; who
solicits admission as a favor, nay, often purchases it. Just so will it
fare with your little fabric, which, at present, I fear, has more of the
Tuscan than of the Corinthian order. You must absolutely change the whole
front, or nobody will knock at the door. The several parts, which must
compose this new front, are elegant, easy, natural, superior
good-breeding; an engaging address; genteel motions; an insinuating
softness in your looks, words, and actions; a spruce, lively air,
fashionable dress; and all the glitter that a young fellow should have.

I am sure you would do a great deal for my sake; and therefore consider
at your return here, what a disappointment and concern it would be to me,
if I could not safely depute you to do the honors of my house and table;
and if I should be ashamed to present you to those who frequent both.
Should you be awkward, inattentive, and distrait, and happen to meet Mr.
L-----at my table, the consequences of that meeting must be fatal; you
would run your heads against each other, cut each other's fingers,
instead of your meat, or die by the precipitate infusion of scalding

This is really so copious a subject, that there is no end of being either
serious or ludicrous upon it. It is impossible, too, to enumerate or
state to you the various cases in good-breeding; they are infinite; there
is no situation or relation in the world so remote or so intimate, that
does not require a degree of it. Your own good sense must point it out to
you; your own good-nature must incline, and your interest prompt you to
practice it; and observation and experience must give you the manner, the
air and the graces which complete the whole.

This letter will hardly overtake you, till you are at or near Rome. I
expect a great deal in every way from your six months' stay there. My
morning hopes are justly placed in Mr. Harte, and the masters he will
give you; my evening ones, in the Roman ladies: pray be attentive to
both. But I must hint to you, that the Roman ladies are not 'les femmes
savantes, et ne vous embrasseront point pour Pamour du Grec. They must
have 'ilgarbato, il leggiadro, it disinvolto, il lusinghiero, quel non so
che, che piace, che alletta, che incanta'.

I have often asserted, that the profoundest learning and the politest
manners were by no means incompatible, though so seldom found united in
the same person; and I have engaged myself to exhibit you, as a proof of
the truth of this assertion. Should you, instead of that, happen to
disprove me, the concern indeed would be mine, but the loss will be
yours. Lord Bolingbroke is a strong instance on my side of the question;
he joins to the deepest erudition, the most elegant politeness and
good-breeding that ever any courtier and man of the world was adorned
with. And Pope very justly called him "All-accomplished St. John," with
regard to his knowledge and his manners. He had, it is true, his faults;
which proceeded from unbounded ambition, and impetuous passions; but they
have now subsided by age and experience; and I can wish you nothing
better than to be, what he is now, without being what he has been
formerly. His address pre-engages, his eloquence persuades, and his
knowledge informs all who approach him. Upon the whole, I do desire, and
insist, that from after dinner till you go to bed, you make
good-breeding, address, and manners, your serious object and your only
care. Without them, you will be nobody; with them, you may be anything.

Adieu, my dear child! My compliments to Mr. Harte.


LONDON, November 24, O. S. 1749.

DEAR Boy: Every rational being (I take it for granted) proposes to
himself some object more important than mere respiration and obscure
animal existence. He desires to distinguish himself among his
fellow-creatures; and, 'alicui negotio intentus, prreclari facinoris, aut
artis bonae, faman quaerit'. Caesar, when embarking in a storm, said,
that it was not necessary he should live; but that it was absolutely
necessary he should get to the place to which he was going. And Pliny
leaves mankind this only alternative; either of doing what deserves to be
written, or of writing what deserves to be read. As for those who do
neither, 'eorum vitam mortemque juxta aestumo; quoniam de utraque
siletur'. You have, I am convinced, one or both of these objects in view;
but you must know and use the necessary means, or your pursuit will be
vain and frivolous. In either case, 'Sapere est princihium et fons'; but
it is by no means all. That knowledge must be adorned, it must have
lustre as well as weight, or it will be oftener taken, for lead than for
gold. Knowledge you have, and will have: I am easy upon that article. But
my business, as your friend, is not to compliment you upon what you have,
but to tell you with freedom what you want; and I must tell you plainly,
that I fear you want everything but knowledge.

I have written to you so often, of late, upon good-breeding, address,
'les manieres liantes', the Graces, etc., that I shall confine this
letter to another subject, pretty near akin to them, and which, I am
sure, you are full as deficient in; I mean Style.

Style is the dress of thoughts; and let them be ever so just, if your
style is homely, coarse, and vulgar, they will appear to as much
disadvantage, and be as ill received as your person, though ever so well
proportioned, would, if dressed in rags, dirt, and tatters. It is not
every understanding that can judge of matter; but every ear can and does
judge, more or less, of style: and were I either to speak or write to the
public, I should prefer moderate matter, adorned with all the beauties
and elegancies of style, to the strongest matter in the world, ill-worded
and ill-delivered. Your business is negotiation abroad, and oratory in
the House of Commons at home. What figure can you make, in either case,
if your style be inelegant, I do not say bad? Imagine yourself writing an
office-letter to a secretary of state, which letter is to be read by the
whole Cabinet Council, and very possibly afterward laid before
parliament; any one barbarism, solecism, or vulgarism in it, would, in a
very few days, circulate through the whole kingdom, to your disgrace and
ridicule. For instance, I will suppose you had written the following
letter from The Hague to the Secretary of State at London; and leave you
to suppose the consequences of it:

MY LORD: I HAD, last night, the honor of your Lordship's letter of the
24th; and will SET ABOUT DOING the orders contained THEREIN; and IF so BE
that I can get that affair done by the next post, I will not fail FOR TO
give your Lordship an account of it by NEXT POST. I have told the French
Minister, AS HOW THAT IF that affair be not soon concluded, your Lordship
would think it ALL LONG OF HIM; and that he must have neglected FOR TO
have wrote to his court about it. I must beg leave to put your Lordship
in mind AS HOW, that I am now full three quarter in arrear; and if SO BE
that I do not very soon receive at least one half year, I shall CUT A
VERY BAD FIGURE; FOR THIS HERE place is very dear. I shall be VASTLY
BEHOLDEN to your Lordship for THAT THERE mark of your favor; and so I
REST or REMAIN, Your, etc.

You will tell me, possibly, that this is a caricatura of an illiberal and
inelegant style: I will admit it; but assure you, at the same time, that
a dispatch with less than half these faults would blow you up forever. It
is by no means sufficient to be free from faults, in speaking and
writing; but you must do both correctly and elegantly. In faults of this
kind, it is not 'ille optimus qui minimis arguetur'; but he is
unpardonable who has any at all, because it is his own fault: he need
only attend to, observe, and imitate the best authors.

It is a very true saying, that a man must be born a poet, but that he may
make himself an orator; and the very first principle of an orator is to
speak his own language, particularly, with the utmost purity and
elegance. A man will be forgiven even great errors in a foreign language;
but in his own, even the least slips are justly laid hold of and

A person of the House of Commons, speaking two years ago upon naval
affairs; asserted, that we had then the finest navy UPON THE FACE OF THE
YEARTH. This happy mixture of blunder and vulgarism, you may easily
imagine, was matter of immediate ridicule; but I can assure you that it
continues so still, and will be remembered as long as he lives and
speaks. Another, speaking in defense of a gentleman, upon whom a censure
was moved, happily said that he thought that gentleman was more LIABLE to
be thanked and rewarded, than censured. You know, I presume, that LIABLE
can never be used in a good sense.

You have with you three or four of the best English authors, Dryden,
Atterbury, and Swift; read them with the utmost care, and with a
particular view to their language, and they may possibly correct that
CURIOUS INFELICITY OF DICTION, which you acquired at Westminster. Mr.
Harte excepted, I will admit that you have met with very few English
abroad, who could improve your style; and with many, I dare say, who
speak as ill as yourself, and, it may be, worse; you must, therefore,
take the more pains, and consult your authors and Mr. Harte the more. I
need not tell you how attentive the Romans and Greeks, particularly the
Athenians, were to this object. It is also a study among the Italians and
the French; witness their respective academies and dictionaries for
improving and fixing their languages. To our shame be it spoken, it is
less attended to here than in any polite country; but that is no reason
why you should not attend to it; on the contrary, it will distinguish you
the more. Cicero says, very truly, that it is glorious to excel other men
in that very article, in which men excel brutes; SPEECH.

Constant experience has shown me, that great purity and elegance of
style, with a graceful elocution, cover a multitude of faults, in either
a speaker or a writer. For my own part, I confess (and I believe most
people are of my mind) that if a speaker should ungracefully mutter or
stammer out to me the sense of an angel, deformed by barbarism and
solecisms, or larded with vulgarisms, he should never speak to me a
second time, if I could help it. Gain the heart, or you gain nothing; the
eyes and the ears are the only roads to the heart. Merit and knowledge
will not gain hearts, though they will secure them when gained. Pray,
have that truth ever in your mind. Engage the eyes by your address, air,
and motions; soothe the ears by the elegance and harmony of your diction;
the heart will certainly follow; and the whole man, or woman, will as
certainly follow the heart. I must repeat it to you, over and over again,
that with all the knowledge which you may have at present, or hereafter
acquire, and with all merit that ever man had, if you have not a graceful
address, liberal and engaging manners, a prepossessing air, and a good
degree of eloquence in speaking and writing; you will be nobody; but will
have the daily mortification of seeing people, with not one-tenth part of
your merit or knowledge, get the start of you, and disgrace you, both in
company and in business.

You have read "Quintilian," the best book in the world to form an orator;
pray read 'Cicero de Oratore', the best book in the world to finish one.
Translate and retranslate from and to Latin, Greek, and English; make
yourself a pure and elegant English style: it requires nothing but
application. I do not find that God has made you a poet; and I am very
glad that he has not: therefore, for God's sake, make yourself an orator,
which you may do. Though I still call you boy, I consider you no longer
as such; and when I reflect upon the prodigious quantity of manure that
has been laid upon you, I expect that you should produce more at
eighteen, than uncultivated soils do at eight-and-twenty.

Pray tell Mr. Harte that I have received his letter of the 13th, N. S.
Mr. Smith was much in the right not to let you go, at this time of the
year, by sea; in the summer you may navigate as much as you please; as,
for example, from Leghorn to Genoa, etc. Adieu.


LONDON, November 27, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: While the Roman Republic flourished, while glory was pursued,
and virtue practiced, and while even little irregularities and
indecencies, not cognizable by law, were, however, not thought below the
public care, censors were established, discretionally to supply, in
particular cases, the inevitable defects of the law, which must and can
only be general. This employment I assume to myself with regard to your
little republic, leaving the legislative power entirely to Mr. Harte; I
hope, and believe, that he will seldom, or rather never, have occasion to
exert his supreme authority; and I do by no means suspect you of any
faults that may require that interposition. But, to tell you the plain
truth, I am of opinion that my censorial power will not be useless to
you, nor a sinecure to me. The sooner you make it both, the better for us
both. I can now exercise this employment only upon hearsay, or, at most,
written evidence; and therefore shall exercise it with great lenity and
some diffidence; but when we meet, and that I can form my judgment upon
ocular and auricular evidence, I shall no more let the least impropriety,
indecorum, or irregularity pass uncensured, than my predecessor Cato did.
I shall read you with the attention of a critic, not with the partiality
of an author: different in this respect, indeed, from most critics, that
I shall seek for faults only to correct and not to expose them. I have
often thought, and still think, that there are few things which people in
general know less, than how to love and how to hate. They hurt those they
love by a mistaken indulgence, by a blindness, nay, often by a partiality
to their faults. Where they hate they hurt themselves, by ill-timed
passion and rage. Fortunately for you, I never loved you in that mistaken
manner. From your infancy, I made you the object of my most serious
attention, and not my plaything. I consulted your real good, not your
humors or fancies; and I shall continue to do so while you want it, which
will probably be the case during our joint lives; for, considering the
difference of our ages, in the course of nature, you will hardly have
acquired experience enough of your own, while I shall be in condition of
lending you any of mine. People in general will much better bear being,
told of their vices or crimes, than of their little failings and
weaknesses. They, in some degree, justify or excuse (as they think) the
former, by strong passions, seductions, and artifices of others, but to
be told of, or to confess, their little failings and weaknesses, implies
an inferiority of parts, too mortifying to that self-love and vanity,
which are inseparable from our natures. I have been intimate enough with
several people to tell them that they had said or done a very criminal
thing; but I never was intimate enough with any man, to tell him, very
seriously, that he had said or done a very foolish one. Nothing less than
the relation between you and me can possibly authorize that freedom; but
fortunately for you, my parental rights, joined to my censorial powers,
give it me in its fullest extent, and my concern for you will make me
exert it. Rejoice, therefore, that there is one person in the world who
can and will tell you what will be very useful to you to know, and yet
what no other man living could or would tell you. Whatever I shall tell
you of this kind, you are very sure, can have no other motive than your
interest; I can neither be jealous nor envious of your reputation or
fortune, which I must be both desirous and proud to establish and
promote; I cannot be your rival either in love or in business; on the
contrary, I want the rays of your rising to reflect new lustre upon my
setting light. In order to this, I shall analyze you minutely, and
censure you freely, that you may not (if possible) have one single spot,
when in your meridian.

There is nothing that a young fellow, at his first appearance in the
world, has more reason to dread, and consequently should take more pains
to avoid, than having any ridicule fixed upon him. It degrades him with
the most reasonable part of mankind; but it ruins him with the rest; and
I have known many a man undone by acquiring a ridiculous nickname: I
would not, for all the riches in the world, that you should acquire one
when you return to England. Vices and crimes excite hatred and reproach;
failings, weaknesses, and awkwardnesses, excite ridicule; they are laid
hold of by mimics, who, though very contemptible wretches themselves,
often, by their buffoonery, fix ridicule upon their betters. The little
defects in manners, elocution, address, and air (and even of figure,
though very unjustly), are the objects of ridicule, and the causes of
nicknames. You cannot imagine the grief it would give me, and the
prejudice it would do you, if, by way of distinguishing you from others
of your name, you should happen to be called Muttering Stanhope, Absent
Stanhope, Ill-bred Stanhope, or Awkward, Left-legged Stanhope: therefore,
take great care to put it out of the power of Ridicule itself to give you
any of these ridiculous epithets; for, if you get one, it will stick to
you, like the envenomed shirt. The very first day that I see you, I shall
be able to tell you, and certainly shall tell you, what degree of danger
you are in; and I hope that my admonitions, as censor, may prevent the
censures of the public. Admonitions are always useful; is this one or
not? You are the best judge; it is your own picture which I send you,
drawn, at my request, by a lady at Venice: pray let me know how far, in
your conscience, you think it like; for there are some parts of it which
I wish may, and others, which I should be sorry were. I send you,
literally, the copy of that part of her letter, to her friend here, which
relates to you.--[In compliance to your orders, I have examined young
Stanhope carefully, and think I have penetrated into his character. This
is his portrait, which I take to be a faithful one. His face is pleasing,
his countenance sensible, and his look clever. His figure is at present
rather too square; but if he shoots up, which he has matter and years
for, he will then be of a good size. He has, undoubtedly, a great fund of
acquired knowledge; I am assured that he is master of the learned
languages. As for French, I know he speaks it perfectly, and, I am told,
German as well. The questions he asks are judicious; and denote a thirst
after knowledge. I cannot say that he appears equally desirous of
pleasing, for he seems to neglect attentions and the graces. He does not
come into a room well, nor has he that easy, noble carriage, which would
be proper for him. It is true, he is as yet young and inexperienced; one
may therefore reasonably hope that his exercises, which he has not yet
gone through, and good company, in which he is still a novice, will
polish, and give all that is wanting to complete him. What seems
necessary for that purpose, would, be an attachment to some woman of
fashion, and who knows the world. Some Madame de l'Ursay would be the
proper person. In short, I can assure you, that he has everything which
Lord Chesterfield can wish him, excepting that carriage, those graces,
and the style used in the best company; which he will certainly acquire
in time, and by frequenting the polite world. If he should not, it would
be great pity, since he so well deserves to possess them. You know their
importance. My Lord, his father, knows it too, he being master of them
all. To conclude, if little Stanhope acquires the graces, I promise you
he will make his way; if not, he will be stopped in a course, the goal of
which he might attain with honor.]

Tell Mr. Harte that I have this moment received his letter of the 22d, N.
S., and that I approve extremely of the long stay you have made at
Venice. I love long residences at capitals; running post through
different places is a most unprofitable way of traveling, and admits of
no application. Adieu.

You see, by this extract, of what consequence other people think these
things. Therefore, I hope you will no longer look upon them as trifles.
It is the character of an able man to despise little things in great
business: but then he knows what things are little, and what not. He does
not suppose things are little, because they are commonly called so: but
by the consequences that may or may not attend them. If gaining people's
affections, and interesting their hearts in your favor, be of
consequence, as it undoubtedly is, he knows very well that a happy
concurrence of all those, commonly called little things, manners, air,
address, graces, etc., is of the utmost consequence, and will never be at
rest till he has acquired them. The world is taken by the outside of
things, and we must take the world as it is; you nor I cannot set it
right. I know, at this time, a man of great quality and station, who has
not the parts of a porter; but raised himself to the station he is in,
singly by having a graceful figure, polite manners, and an engaging
address; which, by the way, he only acquired by habit; for he had not
sense enough to get them by reflection. Parts and habit should conspire
to complete you. You will have the habit of good company, and you have
reflection in your power.


LONDON, December 5, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: Those who suppose that men in general act rationally, because
they are called rational creatures, know very little of the world, and if
they act themselves upon that supposition, will nine times in ten find
themselves grossly mistaken. That man is, 'animal bipes, implume,
risibile', I entirely agree; but for the 'rationale', I can only allow it
him 'in actu primo' (to talk logic) and seldom in 'actu secundo'. Thus,
the speculative, cloistered pedant, in his solitary cell, forms systems
of things as they should be, not as they are; and writes as decisively
and absurdly upon war, politics, manners, and characters, as that pedant
talked, who was so kind as to instruct Hannibal in the art of war. Such
closet politicians never fail to assign the deepest motives for the most
trifling actions; instead of often ascribing the greatest actions to the
most trifling causes, in which they would be much seldomer mistaken. They
read and write of kings, heroes, and statesmen, as never doing anything
but upon the deepest principles of sound policy. But those who see and
observe kings, heroes, and statesmen, discover that they have headaches,
indigestions, humors, and passions, just like other people; everyone of
which, in their turns, determine their wills, in defiance of their
reason. Had we only read in the "Life of Alexander," that he burned
Persepolis, it would doubtless have been accounted for from deep policy:
we should have been told, that his new conquest could not have been
secured without the destruction of that capital, which would have been
the constant seat of cabals, conspiracies, and revolts. But, luckily, we
are informed at the same time, that this hero, this demi-god, this son
and heir of Jupiter Ammon, happened to get extremely drunk with his
w---e; and, by way of frolic, destroyed one of the finest cities in the
world. Read men, therefore, yourself, not in books but in nature. Adopt
no systems, but study them yourself. Observe their weaknesses, their
passions, their humors, of all which their understandings are, nine times
in ten, the dupes. You will then know that they are to be gained,
influenced, or led, much oftener by little things than by great ones;
and, consequently, you will no longer think those things little, which
tend to such great purposes.

Let us apply this now to the particular object of this letter; I mean,
speaking in, and influencing public assemblies. The nature of our
constitution makes eloquence more useful, and more necessary, in this
country than in any other in Europe. A certain degree of good sense and
knowledge is requisite for that, as well as for everything else; but
beyond that, the purity of diction, the elegance of style, the harmony of
periods, a pleasing elocution, and a graceful action, are the things
which a public speaker should attend to the most; because his audience
certainly does, and understands them the best; or rather indeed
understands little else. The late Lord Chancellor Cowper's strength as an
orator lay by no means in his reasonings, for he often hazarded very weak
ones. But such was the purity and elegance of his style, such the
propriety and charms of his elocution, and such the gracefulness of his
action, that he never spoke without universal applause; the ears and the
eyes gave him up the hearts and the understandings of the audience. On
the contrary, the late Lord Townshend always spoke materially, with
argument and knowledge, but never pleased. Why? His diction was not only
inelegant, but frequently ungrammatical, always vulgar; his cadences
false, his voice unharmonious, and his action ungraceful. Nobody heard
him with patience; and the young fellows used to joke upon him, and
repeat his inaccuracies. The late Duke of Argyle, though the weakest
reasoner, was the most pleasing speaker I ever knew in my life. He
charmed, he warmed, he forcibly ravished the audience; not by his matter
certainly, but by his manner of delivering it. A most genteel figure, a
graceful, noble air, an harmonious voice, an elegance of style, and a
strength of emphasis, conspired to make him the most affecting,
persuasive, and applauded speaker I ever saw. I was captivated like
others; but when I came home, and coolly considered what he had said,
stripped of all those ornaments in which he had dressed it, I often found
the matter flimsy, the arguments weak, and I was convinced of the power
of those adventitious concurring circumstances, which ignorance of
mankind only calls trifling ones. Cicero, in his book 'De Oratore', in
order to raise the dignity of that profession which he well knew himself
to be at the head of, asserts that a complete orator must be a complete
everything, lawyer, philosopher, divine, etc. That would be extremely
well, if it were possible: but man's life is not long enough; and I hold
him to be the completest orator, who speaks the best upon that subject
which occurs; whose happy choice of words, whose lively imagination,
whose elocution and action adorn and grace his matter, at the same time
that they excite the attention and engage the passions of his audience.

You will be of the House of Commons as soon as you are of age; and you
must first make a figure there, if you would make a figure, or a fortune,
in your country. This you can never do without that correctness and
elegance in your own language, which you now seem to neglect, and which
you have entirely to learn. Fortunately for you, it is to be learned.
Care and observation will do it; but do not flatter yourself, that all
the knowledge, sense, and reasoning in the world will ever make you a
popular and applauded speaker, without the ornaments and the graces of
style, elocution, and action. Sense and argument, though coarsely
delivered, will have their weight in a private conversation, with two or
three people of sense; but in a public assembly they will have none, if
naked and destitute of the advantages I have mentioned. Cardinal de Retz
observes, very justly, that every numerous assembly is a mob, influenced
by their passions, humors, and affections, which nothing but eloquence
ever did or ever can engage. This is so important a consideration for
everybody in this country, and more particularly for you, that I
earnestly recommend it to your most serious care and attention. Mind your
diction, in whatever language you either write or speak; contract a habit
of correctness and elegance. Consider your style, even in the freest
conversation and most familiar letters. After, at least, if not before,
you have said a thing, reflect if you could not have said it better.
Where you doubt of the propriety or elegance of a word or a phrase,
consult some good dead or living authority in that language. Use yourself
to translate, from various languages into English; correct those
translations till they satisfy your ear, as well as your understanding.
And be convinced of this truth, that the best sense and reason in the
world will be as unwelcome in a public assembly, without these ornaments,
as they will in public companies, without the assistance of manners and
politeness. If you will please people, you must please them in their own
way; and, as you cannot make them what they should be, you must take them
as they are. I repeat it again, they are only to be taken by 'agremens',
and by what flatters their senses and their hearts. Rabelais first wrote
a most excellent book, which nobody liked; then, determined to conform to
the public taste, he wrote Gargantua and Pantagruel, which everybody
liked, extravagant as it was. Adieu.


LONDON, December 9, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: It is now above forty years since I have never spoken nor
written one single word, without giving myself at least one moment's time
to consider whether it was a good or a bad one, and whether I could not
find out a better in its place. An unharmonious and rugged period, at
this time, shocks my ears; and I, like all the rest of the world, will
willingly exchange and give up some degree of rough sense, for a good
degree of pleasing sound. I will freely and truly own to you, without
either vanity or false modesty, that whatever reputation I have acquired
as a speaker, is more owing to my constant attention to my diction than
to my matter, which was necessarily just the same as other people's. When
you come into parliament, your reputation as a speaker will depend much
more upon your words, and your periods, than upon the subject. The same
matter occurs equally to everybody of common sense, upon the same
question; the dressing it well, is what excites the attention and
admiration of the audience.

It is in parliament that I have set my heart upon your making a figure;
it is there that I want to have you justly proud of yourself, and to make
me justly proud of you. This means that you must be a good speaker there;
I use the word MUST, because I know you may if you will. The vulgar, who
are always mistaken, look upon a speaker and a comet with the same
astonishment and admiration, taking them both for preternatural
phenomena. This error discourages many young men from attempting that
character; and good speakers are willing to have their talent considered
as something very extraordinary, if not, a peculiar gift of God to his
elect. But let you and me analyze and simplify this good speaker; let us
strip him of those adventitious plumes with which his own pride, and the
ignorance of others, have decked him, and we shall find the true
definition of him to be no more than this: A man of good common sense who
reasons justly and expresses himself elegantly on that subject upon which
he speaks. There is, surely, no witchcraft in this. A man of sense,
without a superior and astonishing degree of parts, will not talk
nonsense upon any subject; nor will he, if he has the least taste or
application, talk inelegantly. What then does all this mighty art and
mystery of speaking in parliament amount to? Why, no more than this: that
the man who speaks in the House of Commons, speaks in that House, and to
four hundred people, that opinion upon a given subject which he would
make no difficulty of speaking in any house in England, round the fire,
or at table, to any fourteen people whatsoever; better judges, perhaps,
and severer critics of what he says, than any fourteen gentlemen of the
House of Commons.

I have spoken frequently in parliament, and not always without some
applause; and therefore I can assure you, from my experience, that there
is very little in it. The elegance of the style, and the turn of the
periods, make the chief impression upon the hearers. Give them but one or
two round and harmonious periods in a speech, which they will retain and
repeat; and they will go home as well satisfied as people do from an
opera, humming all the way one or two favorite tunes that have struck
their ears, and were easily caught. Most people have ears, but few have
judgment; tickle those ears, and depend upon it, you will catch their
judgments, such as they are.

Cicero, conscious that he was at the top of his profession (for in his
time eloquence was a profession), in order to set himself off, defines in
his treatise 'De Oratore', an orator to be such a man as never was, nor
never will be; and, by his fallacious argument, says that he must know
every art and science whatsoever, or how shall he speak upon them? But,
with submission to so great an authority, my definition of an orator is
extremely different from, and I believe much truer than his. I call that
man an orator, who reasons justly, and expresses himself elegantly, upon
whatever subject he treats. Problems in geometry, equations in algebra,
processes in chemistry, and experiments in anatomy, are never, that I
have heard of, the object of eloquence; and therefore I humbly conceive,
that a man may be a very fine speaker, and yet know nothing of geometry,
algebra, chemistry, or anatomy. The subjects of all parliamentary debates
are subjects of common sense singly.

Thus I write whatever occurs to me, that I think may contribute either to
form or inform you. May my labor not be in vain! and it will not, if you
will but have half the concern for yourself that I have for you. Adieu.


LONDON; December 12, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: Lord Clarendon in his history says of Mr. John Hampden THAT HE
MISCHIEF. I shall not now enter into the justness of this character of
Mr. Hampden, to whose brave stand against the illegal demand of
ship-money we owe our present liberties; but I mention it to you as the
character, which with the alteration of one single word, GOOD, instead of
MISCHIEF, I would have you aspire to, and use your utmost endeavors to
deserve. The head to contrive, God must to a certain degree have given
you; but it is in your own power greatly to improve it, by study,
observation, and reflection. As for the TONGUE TO PERSUADE, it wholly
depends upon yourself; and without it the best head will contrive to very
little purpose. The hand to execute depends likewise, in my opinion, in a
great measure upon yourself. Serious reflection will always give courage
in a good cause; and the courage arising from reflection is of a much
superior nature to the animal and constitutional courage of a foot
soldier. The former is steady and unshaken, where the 'nodus' is 'dignus
vindice'; the latter is oftener improperly than properly exerted, but
always brutally.

The second member of my text (to speak ecclesiastically) shall be the
subject of my following discourse; THE TONGUE TO PERSUADE--as judicious,
preachers recommend those virtues, which they think their several
audiences want the most; such as truth and continence, at court;
disinterestedness, in the city; and sobriety, in the country.

You must certainly, in the course of your little experience, have felt
the different effects of elegant and inelegant speaking. Do you not
suffer, when people accost you in a stammering or hesitating manner, in
an untuneful voice, with false accents and cadences; puzzling and
blundering through solecisms, barbarisms, and vulgarisms; misplacing even
their bad words, and inverting all method? Does not this prejudice you
against their matter, be it what it will; nay, even against their
persons? I am sure it does me. On the other hand, do you not feel
yourself inclined, prepossessed, nay, even engaged in favor of those who
address you in the direct contrary manner? The effects of a correct and
adorned style of method and perspicuity, are incredible toward
persuasion; they often supply the want of reason and argument, but, when
used in the support of reason and argument, they are irresistible. The
French attend very much to the purity and elegance of their style, even
in common conversation; insomuch that it is a character to say of a man
'qu'il narre bien'. Their conversations frequently turn upon the
delicacies of their language, and an academy is employed in fixing it.
The 'Crusca', in Italy, has the same object; and I have met with very few
Italians, who did not speak their own language correctly and elegantly.
How much more necessary is it for an Englishman to do so, who is to speak
it in a public assembly, where the laws and liberties of his country are
the subjects of his deliberation? The tongue that would persuade there,
must not content itself with mere articulation. You know what pains
Demosthenes took to correct his naturally bad elocution; you know that he
declaimed by the seaside in storms, to prepare himself for the noise of
the tumultuous assemblies he was to speak to; and you can now judge of
the correctness and elegance of his style. He thought all these things of
consequence, and he thought right; pray do you think so too? It is of the
utmost consequence to you to be of that opinion. If you have the least
defect in your elocution, take the utmost care and pains to correct it.
Do not neglect your style, whatever language you speak in, or whoever you
speak to, were it your footman. Seek always for the best words and the
happiest expressions you can find. Do not content yourself with being
barely understood; but adorn your thoughts, and dress them as you would
your person; which, however well proportioned it might be, it would be
very improper and indecent to exhibit naked, or even worse dressed than
people of your sort are.

I have sent you in a packet which your Leipsig acquaintance, Duval, sends
to his correspondent at Rome, Lord Bolingbroke's book,--["Letters on the
Spirit of Patriotism," on the Idea of a Patriot King which he published
about a year ago.]--I desire that you will read it over and over again,
with particular attention to the style, and to all those beauties of
oratory with which it is adorned. Till I read that book, I confess I did
not know all the extent and powers of the English language. Lord
Bolingbroke has both a tongue and a pen to persuade; his manner of
speaking in private conversation is full as elegant as his writings;
whatever subject he either speaks or writes upon, he adorns with the most
splendid eloquence; not a studied or labored eloquence, but such a
flowing happiness of diction, which (from care perhaps at first) is
become so habitual to him, that even his most familiar conversations, if
taken down in writing, would bear the press, without the least correction
either as to method or style. If his conduct, in the former part of his
life, had been equal to all his natural and acquired talents, he would
most justly have merited the epithet of all-accomplished. He is himself
sensible of his past errors: those violent passions which seduced him in
his youth, have now subsided by age; and take him as he is now, the
character of all-accomplished is more his due than any man's I ever knew
in my life.

But he has been a most mortifying instance of the violence of human
passions and of the weakness of the most exalted human reason. His
virtues and his vices, his reason and his passions, did not blend
themselves by a gradation of tints, but formed a shining and sudden
contrast. Here the darkest, there the most splendid colors; and both
rendered more shining from their proximity. Impetuosity, excess, and
almost extravagance, characterized not only his passions, but even his
senses. His youth was distinguished by all the tumult and storm of
pleasures, in which he most licentiously triumphed, disdaining all
decorum. His fine imagination has often been heated and exhausted, with
his body, in celebrating and deifying the prostitute of the night; and
his convivial joys were pushed to all the extravagance of frantic
Bacchanals. Those passions were interrupted but by a stronger ambition.
The former impaired both his constitution and his character, but the
latter destroyed both his fortune and his reputation.

He has noble and generous sentiments, rather than fixed reflected
principles of good nature and friendship; but they are more violent than
lasting, and suddenly and often varied to their opposite extremes, with
regard to the same persons. He receives the common attentions of civility
as obligations, which he returns with interest; and resents with passion
the little inadvertencies of human nature, which he repays with interest
too. Even a difference of opinion upon a philosophical subject would
provoke, and prove him no practical philosopher at least.

Notwithstanding the dissipation of his youth, and the tumultuous
agitation of his middle age, he has an infinite fund of various and
almost universal knowledge, which, from the clearest and quickest
conception, and happiest memory, that ever man was blessed with, he
always carries about him. It is his pocket-money, and he never has
occasion to draw upon a book for any sum. He excels more particularly in
history, as his historical works plainly prove. The relative political
and commercial interests of every country in Europe, particularly of his
own, are better known to him, than perhaps to any man in it; but how
steadily he has pursued the latter, in his public conduct, his enemies,
of all parties and denominations, tell with joy.

He engaged young, and distinguished himself in business; and his
penetration was almost intuition. I am old enough to have heard him speak
in parliament. And I remember that, though prejudiced against him by
party, I felt all the force and charms of his eloquence. Like Belial in
Milton, "he made the worse appear the better cause." All the internal and
external advantages and talents of an orator are undoubtedly his. Figure,
voice, elocution, knowledge, and, above all, the purest and most florid
diction, with the justest metaphors and happiest images, had raised him
to the post of Secretary at War, at four-and-twenty years old, an age at
which others are hardly thought fit for the smallest employments.

During his long exile in France, he applied himself to study with his
characteristical ardor; and there he formed and chiefly executed the plan
of a great philosophical work. The common bounds of human knowledge are
too narrow for his warm and aspiring imagination. He must go 'extra
flammantia maenia Mundi', and explore the unknown and unknowable regions
of metaphysics; which open an unbounded field for the excursion of an
ardent imagination; where endless conjectures supply the defect of
unattainable knowledge, and too often usurp both its name and its

He has had a very handsome person, with a most engaging address in his
air and manners; he has all the dignity and good-breeding which a man of
quality should or can have, and which so few, in this country at least,
really have.

He professes himself a deist; believing in a general Providence, but
doubting of, though by no means rejecting (as is commonly supposed) the
immortality of the soul and a future state.

Upon the whole, of this extraordinary man, what can we say, but, alas,
poor human nature!

In your destination, you will have frequent occasions to speak in public;
to princes and states abroad; to the House of Commons at home; judge,
then, whether eloquence is necessary for you or not; not only common
eloquence, which is rather free from faults than adorned by beauties; but
the highest, the most shining degree of eloquence. For God's sake, have
this object always in your view and in your thoughts. Tune your tongue
early to persuasion; and let no jarring, dissonant accents ever fall from
it, Contract a habit of speaking well upon every occasion, and neglect
yourself in no one. Eloquence and good-breeding, alone, with an exceeding
small degree of parts and knowledge, will carry a man a great way; with
your parts and knowledge, then, how far will they not carry you? Adieu.


LONDON, December 16, O. S. 1749.

DEAR Boy: This letter will, I hope, find you safely arrived and well
settled at Rome, after the usual distresses and accidents of a winter
journey; which are very proper to teach you patience. Your stay there I
look upon as a very important period of your life; and I do believe that
you will fill it up well. I hope you will employ the mornings diligently
with Mr. Harte, in acquiring weight; and the evenings in the best
companies at Rome, in acquiring lustre. A formal, dull father, would
recommend to you to plod out the evenings, too, at home, over a book by a
dim taper; but I recommend to you the evenings for your pleasures, which
are as much a part of your education, and almost as necessary a one, as
your morning studies. Go to whatever assemblies or SPECTACLES people of
fashion go to, and when you are there do as they do. Endeavor to outshine
those who shine there the most, get the 'Garbo', the 'Gentilezza', the
'Leggeadria' of the Italians; make love to the most impertinent beauty
of condition that you meet with, and be gallant with all the rest. Speak
Italian, right or wrong, to everybody; and if you do but laugh at
yourself first for your bad Italian, nobody else will laugh at you for
it. That is the only way to speak it perfectly; which I expect you will
do, because I am sure you may, before you leave Rome. View the most
curious remains of antiquity with a classical spirit; and they will clear
up to you many passages of the classical authors; particularly the Trajan
and Antonine Columns; where you find the warlike instruments, the
dresses, and the triumphal ornaments of the Romans. Buy also the prints
and explanations of all those respectable remains of Roman grandeur, and
compare them with the originals. Most young travelers are contented with
a general view of those things, say they are very fine, and then go about
their business. I hope you will examine them in a very different way.
'Approfondissez' everything you see or hear; and learn, if you can, the
WHY and the WHEREFORE. Inquire into the meaning and the objects of the
innumerable processions, which you will see at Rome at this time. Assist
at all the ceremonies, and know the reason, or at least the pretenses of
them, and however absurd they may be, see and speak of them with great
decency. Of all things, I beg of you not to herd with your own
countrymen, but to be always either with the Romans, or with the foreign
ministers residing at Rome. You are sent abroad to see the manners and
characters, and learn the languages of foreign countries; and not to
converse with English, in English; which would defeat all those ends.
Among your graver company, I recommend (as I have done before) the
Jesuits to you; whose learning and address will both please and improve
you; inform yourself, as much as you can, of the history, policy, and
practice of that society, from the time of its founder, Ignatius of
Loyola, who was himself a madman. If you would know their morality, you
will find it fully and admirably stated in 'Les Lettres d'un Provincial',
by the famous Monsieur Pascal; and it is a book very well worth your
reading. Few people see what they see, or hear what they hear; that is,
they see and hear so inattentively and superficially, that they are very
little the better for what they do see and hear. This, I dare say,
neither is, nor will be your case. You will understand, reflect upon, and
consequently retain, what you see and hear. You have still two years
good, but no more, to form your character in the world decisively; for,
within two months after your arrival in England, it will be finally and
irrevocably determined, one way or another, in the opinion of the public.
Devote, therefore, these two years to the pursuit of perfection; which
ought to be everybody's object, though in some particulars unattainable;
those who strive and labor the most, will come the nearest to it. But,
above all things, aim at it in the two important arts of speaking and
pleasing; without them all your other talents are maimed and crippled.
They are the wings upon which you must soar above other people; without
them you will only crawl with the dull mass of mankind. Prepossess by
your air, address, and manners; persuade by your tongue; and you will
easily execute what your head has contrived. I desire that you will send
me very minute accounts from Rome, not of what you see, but, of who you
see; of your pleasures and entertainments. Tell me what companies you
frequent most, and how you are received.


LONDON, December 19, O. S. 1749.

DEAR BOY: The knowledge of mankind is a very use ful knowledge for
everybody; a most necessary one for you, who are destined to an active,
public life. You will have to do with all sorts of characters; you
should, therefore, know them thoroughly, in order to manage them ably.
This knowledge is not to be gotten systematically; you must acquire it
yourself by your own observation and sagacity; I will give you such hints
as I think may be useful land-marks in your intended progress.

I have often told you (and it is most true) that, with regard to mankind,
we must not draw general conclusions from certain particular principles,
though, in the main, true ones. We must not suppose that, because a man
is a rational animal, he will therefore always act rationally; or,
because he has such or such a predominant passion, that he will act
invariably and consequentially in the pursuit of it. No. We are
complicated machines: and though we have one main-spring, that gives
motion to the whole, we have an infinity of little wheels, which, in
their turns, retard, precipitate, and sometimes stop that motion. Let us
exemplify. I will suppose ambition to be (as it commonly is) the
predominant passion of a minister of state; and I will suppose that
minister to be an able one. Will he, therefore, invariably pursue the
object of that predominant passion? May I be sure that he will do so and
so, because he ought? Nothing less. Sickness or low spirits, may damp
this predominant passion; humor and peevishness may triumph over it;
inferior passions may, at times, surprise it and prevail. Is this
ambitious statesman amorous? Indiscreet and unguarded confidences, made
in tender moments, to his wife or his mistress, may defeat all his
schemes. Is he avaricious? Some great lucrative object, suddenly
presenting itself, may unravel all the work of his ambition. Is he
passionate? Contradiction and provocation (sometimes, it may be, too,
artfully intended) may extort rash and inconsiderate expressions, or
actions destructive of his main object. Is he vain, and open to flattery?
An artful, flattering favorite may mislead him; and even laziness may, at
certain moments, make him neglect or omit the necessary steps to that
height at which he wants to arrive. Seek first, then, for the predominant
passion of the character which you mean to engage and influence, and
address yourself to it; but without defying or despising the inferior
passions; get them in your interest too, for now and then they will have
their turns. In many cases, you may not have it in your power to
contribute to the gratification of the prevailing passion; then take the
next best to your aid. There are many avenues to every man; and when you
cannot get at him through the great one, try the serpentine ones, and you
will arrive at last.

There are two inconsistent passions, which, however, frequently accompany
each other, like man and wife; and which, like man and wife too, are
commonly clogs upon each other. I mean ambition and avarice: the latter
is often the true cause of the former, and then is the predominant
passion. It seems to have been so in Cardinal Mazarin, who did anything,
submitted to anything, and forgave anything, for the sake of plunder. He
loved and courted power, like a usurer, because it carried profit along
with it. Whoever should have formed his opinion, or taken his measures,
singly, from the ambitious part of Cardinal Mazarin's character, would
have found himself often mistaken. Some who had found this out, made
their fortunes by letting him cheat them at play. On the contrary,
Cardinal Richelieu's prevailing passion seems to have been ambition, and
his immense riches only the natural consequences of that ambition
gratified; and yet, I make no doubt, but that ambition had now and then
its turn with the former, and avarice with the latter. Richelieu (by the
way) is so strong a proof of the inconsistency of human nature, that I
cannot help observing to you, that while he absolutely governed both his
king and his country, and was, in a great degree, the arbiter of the fate
of all Europe, he was more jealous of the great reputation of Corneille
than of the power of Spain; and more flattered with being thought (what
he was not) the best poet, than with being thought (what he certainly
was) the greatest statesman in Europe; and affairs stood still while he
was concerting the criticism upon the Cid. Could one think this possible,
if one did not know it to be true? Though men are all of one composition,
the several ingredients are so differently proportioned in each
individual, that no two are exactly alike; and no one at all times like
himself. The ablest man will sometimes do weak things; the proudest man,
mean things; the honestest man, ill things; and the wickedest man, good
ones. Study individuals then, and if you take (as you ought to do,) their
outlines from their prevailing passion, suspend your last finishing
strokes till you have attended to, and discovered the operations of their
inferior passions, appetites, and humors. A man's general character may
be that of the honestest man of the world: do not dispute it; you might
be thought envious or ill-natured; but, at the same time, do not take
this probity upon trust to such a degree as to put your life, fortune, or
reputation in his power. This honest man may happen to be your rival in
power, in interest, or in love; three passions that often put honesty to
most severe trials, in which it is too often cast; but first analyze this
honest man yourself; and then only you will be able to judge how far you
may, or may not, with safety trust him.

Women are much more like each other than men: they have, in truth, but
two passions, vanity and love; these are their universal characteristics.
An Agrippina may sacrifice them to ambition, or a Messalina to lust; but
those instances are rare; and, in general, all they say, and all they do,
tends to the gratification of their vanity or their love. He who flatters
them most, pleases them best; and they are the most in love with him, who
they think is the most in love with them. No adulation is too strong for
them; no assiduity too great; no simulation of passion too gross; as, on
the other hand, the least word or action that can possibly be construed
into a slight or contempt, is unpardonable, and never forgotten. Men are
in this respect tender too, and will sooner forgive an injury than an
insult. Some men are more captious than others; some are always
wrongheaded; but every man living has such a share of vanity, as to be
hurt by marks of slight and contempt. Every man does not pretend to be a
poet, a mathematician, or a statesman, and considered as such; but every
man pretends to common sense, and to fill his place in the world with
common decency; and, consequently, does not easily forgive those
negligences, inattentions and slights which seem to call in question, or
utterly deny him both these pretensions.

Suspect, in general, those who remarkably affect any one virtue; who
raise it above all others, and who, in a manner, intimate that they
possess it exclusively. I say suspect them, for they are commonly
impostors; but do not be sure that they are always so; for I have
sometimes known saints really religious, blusterers really brave,
reformers of manners really honest, and prudes really chaste. Pry into
the recesses of their hearts yourself, as far as you are able, and never
implicitly adopt a character upon common fame; which, though generally
right as to the great outlines of characters, is always wrong in some

Be upon your guard against those who upon very slight acquaintance,
obtrude their unasked and unmerited friendship and confidence upon you;
for they probably cram you with them only for their own eating; but, at
the same time, do not roughly reject them upon that general supposition.
Examine further, and see whether those unexpected offers flow from a warm
heart and a silly head, or from a designing head and a cold heart; for
knavery and folly have often the same symptoms. In the first case, there
is no danger in accepting them, 'valeant quantum valere possunt'. In the
latter case, it may be useful to seem to accept them, and artfully to
turn the battery upon him who raised it.

There is an incontinency of friendship among young fellows, who are
associated by their mutual pleasures only, which has, very frequently,
bad consequences. A parcel of warm hearts and inexperienced heads, heated
by convivial mirth, and possibly a little too much wine, vow, and really
mean at the time, eternal friendships to each other, and indiscreetly
pour out their whole souls in common, and without the least reserve.
These confidences are as indiscreetly repealed as they were made; for new
pleasures and new places soon dissolve this ill-cemented connection; and
then very ill uses are made of these rash confidences. Bear your part,
however, in young companies; nay, excel, if you can, in all the social
and convivial joy and festivity that become youth. Trust them with your
love tales, if you please; but keep your serious views secret. Trust
those only to some tried friend, more experienced than yourself, and who,
being in a different walk of life from you, is not likely to become your
rival; for I would not advise you to depend so much upon the heroic
virtue of mankind, as to hope or believe that your competitor will ever
be your friend, as to the object of that competition.

These are reserves and cautions very necessary to have, but very
imprudent to show; the 'volto sciolto' should accompany them. Adieu.


DEAR BOY: Great talents and great virtues (if you should have them) will
procure you the respect and the admiration of mankind; but it is the
lesser talents, the 'leniores virtutes', which must procure you their
love and affection. The former, unassisted and unadorned by the latter,
will extort praise; but will, at the same time, excite both fear and
envy; two sentiments absolutely incompatible with love and affection.

Caesar had all the great vices, and Cato all the great virtues, that men
could have. But Caesar had the 'leniores virtutes' which Cato wanted, and
which made him beloved, even by his enemies, and gained him the hearts of
mankind, in spite of their reason: while Cato was not even beloved by his
friends, notwithstanding the esteem and respect which they could not
refuse to his virtues; and I am apt to think, that if Caesar had wanted,
and Cato possessed, those 'leniores virtutes', the former would not have
attempted (at least with success), and the latter could have protected,
the liberties of Rome. Mr. Addison, in his "Cato," says of Caesar (and I
believe with truth),

     "Curse on his virtues, they've undone his country."

By which he means those lesser, but engaging virtues of gentleness,
affability, complaisance, and good humor. The knowledge of a scholar, the
courage of a hero, and the virtue of a Stoic, will be admired; but if the
knowledge be accompanied with arrogance, the courage with ferocity, and
the virtue with inflexible severity, the man will never be loved. The
heroism of Charles XII. of Sweden (if his brutal courage deserves that
name) was universally admired, but the man nowhere beloved. Whereas Henry
IV. of France, who had full as much courage, and was much longer engaged
in wars, was generally beloved upon account of his lesser and social
virtues. We are all so formed, that our understandings are generally the
DUPES of our hearts, that is, of our passions; and the surest way to the
former is through the latter, which must be engaged by the 'leniores
virtutes' alone, and the manner of exerting them. The insolent civility
of a proud man is (for example) if possible, more shocking than his
rudeness could be; because he shows you by his manner that he thinks it
mere condescension in him; and that his goodness alone bestows upon you
what you have no pretense to claim. He intimates his protection, instead
of his friendship, by a gracious nod, instead of a usual bow; and rather
signifies his consent that you may, than his invitation that you should
sit, walk, eat, or drink with him.

The costive liberality of a purse-proud man insults the distresses it
sometimes relieves; he takes care to make you feel your own misfortunes,
and the difference between your situation and his; both which he
insinuates to be justly merited: yours, by your folly; his, by his
wisdom. The arrogant pedant does not communicate, but promulgates his
knowledge. He does not give it you, but he inflicts it upon you; and is
(if possible) more desirous to show you your own ignorance than his own
learning. Such manners as these, not only in the particular instances
which I have mentioned, but likewise in all others, shock and revolt that
little pride and vanity which every man has in his heart; and obliterate
in us the obligation for the favor conferred, by reminding us of the
motive which produced, and the manner which accompanied it.

These faults point out their opposite perfections, and your own good
sense will naturally suggest them to you.

But besides these lesser virtues, there are what may be called the lesser
talents, or accomplishments, which are of great use to adorn and
recommend all the greater; and the more so, as all people are judges of
the one, and but few are of the other. Everybody feels the impression,
which an engaging address, an agreeable manner of speaking, and an easy
politeness, makes upon them; and they prepare the way for the favorable
reception of their betters. Adieu.


LONDON, December 26, O. S. 1749.

MY DEAR FRIEND: The new year is the season in which custom seems more
particularly to authorize civil and harmless lies, under the name of
compliments. People reciprocally profess wishes which they seldom form;
and concern, which they seldom feel. This is not the case between you and
me, where truth leaves no room for compliments.

'Dii tibi dent annos, de to nam caetera sumes', was said formerly to one
by a man who certainly did not think it. With the variation of one word
only, I will with great truth say it to you. I will make the first part
conditional by changing, in the second, the 'nam' into 'si'. May you live
as long as you are fit to live, but no longer! or may you rather die
before you cease to be fit to live, than after! My true tenderness for
you makes me think more of the manner than of the length of your life,
and forbids me to wish it prolonged, by a single day, that should bring
guilt, reproach, and shame upon you. I have not malice enough in my
nature, to wish that to my greatest enemy. You are the principal object
of all my cares, the only object of all my hopes; I have now reason to
believe, that you will reward the former, and answer the latter; in that
case, may you live long, for you must live happy; 'de te nam caetera
sumes'. Conscious virtue is the only solid foundation of all happiness;
for riches, power, rank, or whatever, in the common acceptation of the
word, is supposed to constitute happiness, will never quiet, much less
cure, the inward pangs of guilt. To that main wish, I will add those of
the good old nurse of Horace, in his epistle to Tibullus: 'Sapere', you
have it in a good degree already. 'Et fari ut possit quae sentiat'. Have
you that? More, much more is meant by it, than common speech or mere
articulation. I fear that still remains to be wished for, and I earnestly
wish it to you. 'Gratia and Fama' will inevitably accompany the
above-mentioned qualifications. The 'Valetudo' is the only one that is
not in your own power; Heaven alone can grant it you, and may it do so
abundantly! As for the 'mundus victus, non deficiente crumena', do you
deserve, and I will provide them.

It is with the greatest pleasure that I consider the fair prospect which
you have before you. You have seen, read, and learned more, at your age,
than most young fellows have done at two or three-and-twenty. Your
destination is a shining one, and leads to rank, fortune, and
distinction. Your education has been calculated for it; and, to do you
justice, that education has not been thrown away upon you. You want but
two things, which do not want conjuration, but only care, to acquire:
eloquence and manners; that is, the graces of speech, and the graces of
behavior. You may have them; they are as much in your power as powdering
your hair is; and will you let the want of them obscure (as it certainly
will do) that shining prospect which presents itself to you. I am sure
you will not. They are the sharp end, the point of the nail that you are
driving, which must make way first for the larger and more solid parts to
enter. Supposing your moral character as pure, and your knowledge as
sound, as I really believe them both to be; you want nothing for that
perfection, which I have so constantly wished you, and taken so much
pains to give you, but eloquence and politeness. A man who is not born
with a poetical genius, can never be a poet, or at best an extremely bad
one; but every man, who can speak at all, can speak elegantly and
correctly if he pleases, by attending to the best authors and orators;
and, indeed, I would advise those who do not speak elegantly, not to
speak at all; for I am sure they will get more by their silence than by
their speech. As for politeness: whoever keeps good company, and is not
polite, must have formed a resolution, and take some pains not to be so;
otherwise he would naturally and insensibly take the air, the address,
and the turn of those he converses with. You will, probably, in the
course of this year, see as great a variety of good company in the
several capitals you will be at, as in any one year of your life; and
consequently must (I should hope) catch some of their manners, almost
whether you will or not; but, as I dare say you will endeavor to do it, I
am convinced you will succeed, and that I shall have pleasure of finding
you, at your return here, one of the best-bred men in Europe.

I imagine, that when you receive my letters, and come to those parts of
them which relate to eloquence and politeness, you say, or at least
think, What, will he never have done upon those two subjects? Has he not
said all he can say upon them? Why the same thing over and over again? If
you do think or say so, it must proceed from your not yet knowing the
infinite importance of these two accomplishments, which I cannot
recommend to you too often, nor inculcate too strongly. But if, on the
contrary, you are convinced of the utility, or rather the necessity of
those two accomplishments, and are determined to acquire them, my
repeated admonitions are only unnecessary; and I grudge no trouble which
can possibly be of the least use to you.

I flatter myself, that your stay at Rome will go a great way toward
answering all my views: I am sure it will, if you employ your time, and
your whole time, as you should. Your first morning hours, I would have
you devote to your graver studies with Mr. Harte; the middle part of the
day I would have employed in seeing things; and the evenings in seeing
people. You are not, I hope, of a lazy, inactive turn, in either body or
mind; and, in that case, the day is full long enough for everything;
especially at Rome, where it is not the fashion, as it is here and at
Paris, to embezzle at least half of it at table. But if, by accident, two
or three hours are sometimes wanting for some useful purpose, borrow them
from your sleep. Six, or at most seven hours sleep is, for a constancy,
as much as you or anybody can want; more is only laziness and dozing; and
is, I am persuaded, both unwholesome and stupefying. If, by chance, your
business, or your pleasures, should keep you up till four or five o'clock
in the morning, I would advise you, however, to rise exactly at your
usual time, that you may not lose the precious morning hours; and that
the want of sleep may force you to go to bed earlier the next night. This
is what I was advised to do when very young, by a very wise man; and
what, I assure you, I always did in the most dissipated part of my life.
I have very often gone to bed at six in the morning and rose,
notwithstanding, at eight; by which means I got many hours in the morning
that my companions lost; and the want of sleep obliged me to keep good
hours the next, or at least the third night. To this method I owe the
greatest part of my reading: for, from twenty to forty, I should
certainly have read very little, if I had not been up while my
acquaintances were in bed. Know the true value of time; snatch, seize,
and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no
procrastination; never put off till to-morrow what you can do today. That
was the rule of the famous and unfortunate Pensionary De Witt; who, by
strictly following it, found time, not only to do the whole business of
the republic, but to pass his evenings at assemblies and suppers, as if
he had had nothing else to do or think of.

Adieu, my dear friend, for such I shall call you, and as such I shall,
for the future, live with you; for I disclaim all titles which imply an
authority, that I am persuaded you will never give me occasion to

'Multos et felices', most sincerely, to Mr. Harte.

              LETTERS TO HIS SON


           By the EARL OF CHESTERFIELD

           on the Fine Art of becoming a

              MAN OF THE WORLD

                 and a



LONDON, January 8, O. S. 1750

DEAR BOY: I have seldom or never written to you upon the subject of
religion and morality; your own reason, I am persuaded, has given you
true notions of both; they speak best for themselves; but if they wanted
assistance, you have Mr. Harte at hand, both for precept and example; to
your own reason, therefore, and to Mr. Harte, shall I refer you for the
reality of both, and confine myself in this letter to the decency, the
utility, and the necessity of scrupulously preserving the appearances of
both. When I say the appearances of religion, I do not mean that you
should talk or act like a missionary or an enthusiast, nor that you
should take up a controversial cudgel against whoever attacks the sect
you are of; this would be both useless and unbecoming your age; but I
mean that you should by no means seem to approve, encourage, or applaud,
those libertine notions, which strike at religions equally, and which are
the poor threadbare topics of halfwits and minute philosophers. Even
those who are silly enough to laugh at their jokes, are still wise enough
to distrust and detest their characters; for putting moral virtues at the
highest, and religion at the lowest, religion must still be allowed to be
a collateral security, at least, to virtue, and every prudent man will
sooner trust to two securities than to one. Whenever, therefore, you
happen to be in company with those pretended 'Esprits forts', or with
thoughtless libertines, who laugh at all religion to show their wit, or
disclaim it, to complete their riot, let no word or look of yours
intimate the least approbation; on the contrary, let a silent gravity
express your dislike: but enter not into the subject and decline such
unprofitable and indecent controversies. Depend upon this truth, that
every man is the worse looked upon, and the less trusted for being
thought to have no religion; in spite of all the pompous and specious
epithets he may assume, of 'Esprit fort', freethinker, or moral
philosopher; and a wise atheist (if such a thing there is) would, for his
own interest and character in this world, pretend to some religion.

Your moral character must be not only pure, but, like Caesar's wife,
unsuspected. The least speck or blemish upon it is fatal. Nothing
degrades and vilifies more, for it excites and unites detestation and
contempt. There are, however, wretches in the world profligate enough to
explode all notions of moral good and evil; to maintain that they are
merely local, and depend entirely upon the customs and fashions of
different countries; nay, there are still, if possible, more
unaccountable wretches; I mean those who affect to preach and propagate
such absurd and infamous notions without believing them themselves. These
are the devil's hypocrites. Avoid, as much as possible, the company of
such people; who reflect a degree of discredit and infamy upon all who
converse with them. But as you may, sometimes, by accident, fall into
such company, take great care that no complaisance, no good-humor, no
warmth of festal mirth, ever make you seem even to acquiesce, much less
to approve or applaud, such infamous doctrines. On the other hand, do not
debate nor enter into serious argument upon a subject so much below it:
but content yourself with telling these APOSTLES that you know they are
not, serious; that you have a much better opinion of them than they would
have you have; and that, you are very sure, they would not practice the
doctrine they preach. But put your private mark upon them, and shun them
forever afterward.

There is nothing so delicate as your moral character, and nothing which
it is your interest so much to preserve pure. Should you be suspected of
injustice, malignity, perfidy, lying, etc., all the parts and knowledge
in the world will never procure you esteem, friendship, or respect. A
strange concurrence of circumstances has sometimes raised very bad men to
high stations, but they have been raised like criminals to a pillory,
where their persons and their crimes, by being more conspicuous, are only
the more known, the more detested, and the more pelted and insulted. If,
in any case whatsoever, affectation and ostentation are pardonable, it is
in the case of morality; though even there, I would not advise you to a
pharisaical pomp of virtue. But I will recommend to you a most scrupulous
tenderness for your moral character, and the utmost care not to say or do
the least thing that may ever so slightly taint it. Show yourself, upon
all occasions, the advocate, the friend, but not the bully of virtue.
Colonel Chartres, whom you have certainly heard of (who was, I believe,
the most notorious blasted rascal in the world, and who had, by all sorts
of crimes, amassed immense wealth), was so sensible of the disadvantage
of a bad character, that I heard him once say, in his impudent,
profligate manner, that though he would not give one farthing for virtue,
he would give ten thousand pounds for a character; because he should get
a hundred thousand pounds by it; whereas, he was so blasted, that he had
no longer an opportunity of cheating people. Is it possible, then, that
an honest man can neglect what a wise rogue would purchase so dear?

There is one of the vices above mentioned, into which people of good
education, and, in the main, of good principles, sometimes fall, from
mistaken notions of skill, dexterity, and self-defense, I mean lying;
though it is inseparably attended with more infamy and loss than any
other. The prudence and necessity of often concealing the truth,
insensibly seduces people to violate it. It is the only art of mean
capacities, and the only refuge of mean spirits. Whereas, concealing the
truth, upon proper occasions, is as prudent and as innocent, as telling a
lie, upon any occasion, is infamous and foolish. I will state you a case
in your own department. Suppose you are employed at a foreign court, and
that the minister of that court is absurd or impertinent enough to ask
you what your instructions are? will you tell him a lie, which as soon as
found out (and found out it certainly will be) must destroy your credit,
blast your character, and render you useless there? No. Will you tell him
the truth then, and betray your trust? As certainly, No. But you will
answer with firmness, That you are surprised at such a question, that you
are persuaded he does not expect an answer to it; but that, at all
events, he certainly will not have one. Such an answer will give him
confidence in you; he will conceive an opinion of your veracity, of which
opinion you may afterward make very honest and fair advantages. But if,
in negotiations, you are looked upon as a liar and a trickster, no
confidence will be placed in you, nothing will be communicated to you,
and you will be in the situation of a man who has been burned in the
cheek; and who, from that mark, cannot afterward get an honest livelihood
if he would, but must continue a thief.

Lord Bacon, very justly, makes a distinction between simulation and
dissimulation; and allows the latter rather than the former; but still
observes, that they are the weaker sort of politicians who have recourse
to either. A man who has strength of mind and strength of parts, wants
neither of them. Certainly (says he) the ablest men that ever were, have
all had an openness and frankness of dealing, and a name of certainty and
veracity; but then, they were like horses well managed; for they could
tell, passing well, when to stop or turn; and at such times, when they
thought the case indeed required some dissimulation, if then they used
it, it came to pass that the former opinion spread abroad of their good
faith and clearness of dealing, made them almost invisible.

There are people who indulge themselves in a sort of lying, which they
reckon innocent, and which in one sense is so; for it hurts nobody but
themselves. This sort of lying is the spurious offspring of vanity,
begotten upon folly: these people deal in the marvelous; they have seen
some things that never existed; they have seen other things which they
never really saw, though they did exist, only because they were thought
worth seeing. Has anything remarkable been said or done in any place, or
in any company? they immediately present and declare themselves eye or
ear witnesses of it. They have done feats themselves, unattempted, or at
least unperformed by others. They are always the heroes of their own
fables; and think that they gain consideration, or at least present
attention, by it. Whereas, in truth, all that they get is ridicule and
contempt, not without a good degree of distrust; for one must naturally
conclude, that he who will tell any lie from idle vanity, will not
scruple telling a greater for interest. Had I really seen anything so
very extraordinary as to be almost incredible I would keep it to myself,
rather than by telling it give anybody room to doubt, for one minute, of
my veracity. It is most certain, that the reputation of chastity is not
so necessary for a women, as that of veracity is for a man; and with
reason; for it is possible for a woman to be virtuous, though not
strictly chaste, but it is not possible for a man to be virtuous without
strict veracity. The slips of the poor women are sometimes mere bodily
frailties; but a lie in a man is a vice of the mind and of the heart. For
God's sake be scrupulously jealous of the purity of your moral character;
keep it immaculate, unblemished, unsullied; and it will be unsuspected.
Defamation and calumny never attack, where there is no weak place; they
magnify, but they do not create.

There is a very great difference between the purity of character, which I
so earnestly recommend to you, and the stoical gravity and austerity of
character, which I do by no means recommend to you. At your age, I would
no more wish you to be a Cato than a Clodius. Be, and be reckoned, a man
of pleasure as well as a man of business. Enjoy this happy and giddy time
of your life; shine in the pleasures, and in the company of people of
your own age. This is all to be done, and indeed only can be done,
without the least taint to the purity of your moral character; for those
mistaken young fellows, who think to shine by an impious or immoral
licentiousness, shine only from their stinking, like corrupted flesh, in
the dark. Without this purity, you can have no dignity of character; and
without dignity of character it is impossible to rise in the world. You
must be respectable, if you will be respected. I have known people
slattern away their character, without really polluting it; the
consequence of which has been, that they have become innocently
contemptible; their merit has been dimmed, their pretensions unregarded,
and all their views defeated. Character must be kept bright, as well as
clean. Content yourself with mediocrity in nothing. In purity of
character and in politeness of manners labor to excel all, if you wish to
equal many. Adieu.


LONDON, January 11, O. S. 1750

MY DEAR FRIEND: Yesterday I received a letter from Mr. Harte, of the 31st
December, N. S., which I will answer soon; and for which I desire you to
return him my thanks now. He tells me two things that give me great
satisfaction: one is that there are very few English at Rome; the other
is, that you frequent the best foreign companies. This last is a very
good symptom; for a man of sense is never desirous to frequent those
companies, where he is not desirous to please, or where he finds that he
displeases; it will not be expected in those companies, that, at your
age, you should have the 'Garbo', the 'Disinvoltura', and the
'Leggiadria' of a man of five-and-twenty, who has been long used to keep
the best companies; and therefore do not be discouraged, and think
yourself either slighted or laughed at, because you see others, older and
more used to the world, easier, more familiar, and consequently rather
better received in those companies than yourself. In time your turn will
come; and if you do but show an inclination, a desire to please, though
you should be embarrassed or even err in the means, which must
necessarily happen to you at first, yet the will (to use a vulgar
expression) will be taken for the deed; and people, instead of laughing
at you, will be glad to instruct you. Good sense can only give you the
great outlines of good-breeding; but observation and usage can alone give
you the delicate touches, and the fine coloring. You will naturally
endeavor to show the utmost respect to people of certain ranks and
characters, and consequently you will show it; but the proper, the
delicate manner of showing that respect, nothing but observation and time
can give.

I remember that when, with all the awkwardness and rust of Cambridge
about me, I was first introduced into good company, I was frightened out
of my wits. I was determined to be, what I thought, civil; I made fine
low bows, and placed myself below everybody; but when I was spoken to, or
attempted to speak myself, 'obstupui, steteruntque comae, et vox faucibus
haesit'. If I saw people whisper, I was sure it was at me; and I thought
myself the sole object of either the ridicule or the censure of the whole
company, who, God knows, did not trouble their heads about me. In this
way I suffered, for some time, like a criminal at the bar; and should
certainly have renounced all polite company forever, if I had not been so
convinced of the absolute necessity of forming my manners upon those of
the best companies, that I determined to persevere and suffer anything,
or everything, rather than not compass that point. Insensibly it grew
easier to me; and I began not to bow so ridiculously low, and to answer
questions without great hesitation or stammering: if, now and then, some
charitable people, seeing my embarrassment, and being 'desoevre'
themselves, came and spoke to me, I considered them as angels sent to
comfort me, and that gave me a little courage. I got more soon afterward,
and was intrepid enough to go up to a fine woman, and tell her that I
thought it a warm day; she answered me, very civilly, that she thought so
too; upon which the conversation ceased, on my part, for some time, till
she, good-naturedly resuming it, spoke to me thus: "I see your
embarrassment, and I am sure that the few words you said to me cost you a
great deal; but do not be discouraged for that reason, and avoid good
company. We see that you desire to please, and that is the main point;
you want only the manner, and you think that you want it still more than
you do. You must go through your noviciate before you can profess
good-breeding: and, if you will be my novice, I will present you my
acquaintance as such."

You will easily imagine how much this speech pleased me, and how
awkwardly I answered it; I hemmed once or twice (for it gave me a bur in
my throat) before I could tell her that I was very much obliged to her;
that it was true, that I had a great deal of reason to distrust my own
behavior, not being used to fine company; and that I should be proud of
being her novice, and receiving her instructions.

As soon as I had fumbled out this answer, she called up three or four
people to her, and said: Savez-vous (for she was a foreigner, and I was
abroad) que j'ai entrepris ce jeune homme, et qu'il le faut rassurer?
Pour moi, je crois en avoir fait----[Do you know that I have undertaken
this young man, and he must be encouraged? As for me, I think I have made
a conquest of him; for he just now ventured to tell me, although
tremblingly, that it is warm. You will assist me in polishing him. He
must necessarily have a passion for somebody; if he does not think me
worthy of being the object, he will seek out some other. However, my
novice, do not disgrace yourself by frequenting opera girls and
actresses; who will not require of you sentiments and politeness, but
will be your ruin in every respect. I repeat it to you, my friend, if
you should get into low, mean company, you will be undone. Those
creatures will destroy your fortune and your health, corrupt your morals,
and you will never acquire the style of good company.]

The company laughed at this lecture, and I was stunned with it. I did not
know whether she was serious or in jest. By turns I was pleased, ashamed,
encouraged, and dejected. But when I found afterward, that both she, and
those to whom she had presented me, countenanced and protected me in
company, I gradually got more assurance, and began not to be ashamed of
endeavoring to be civil. I copied the best masters, at first servilely,
afterward more freely, and at last I joined habit and invention.

All this will happen to you, if you persevere in the desire of pleasing
and shining as a man of the world; that part of your character is the
only one about which I have at present the least doubt. I cannot
entertain the least suspicion of your moral character; your learned
character is out of question. Your polite character is now the only
remaining object that gives me the least anxiety; and you are now in the
right way of finishing it. Your constant collision with good company
will, of course, smooth and polish you. I could wish that you would say,
to the five or six men or women with whom you are the most acquainted,
that you are sensible that, from youth and inexperience, you must make
many mistakes in good-breeding; that you beg of them to correct you,
without reserve, wherever they see you fail; and that you shall take such
admonition as the strongest proofs of their friendship. Such a confession
and application will be very engaging to those to whom you make them.
They will tell others of them, who will be pleased with that disposition,
and, in a friendly manner, tell you of any little slip or error. The Duke
de Nivernois--[At that time Ambassador from the Court of France to
Rome.]--would, I am sure, be charmed, if you dropped such a thing to him;
adding, that you loved to address yourself always to the best masters.
Observe also the different modes of good-breeding of several nations, and
conform yourself to them respectively. Use an easy civility with the
French, more ceremony with the Italians, and still more with the Germans;
but let it be without embarrassment and with ease. Bring it by use to be
habitual to you; for, if it seems unwilling and forced; it will never
please. 'Omnis Aristippum decuit color, et res'. Acquire an easiness and
versatility of manners, as well as of mind; and, like the chameleon, take
the hue of the company you are with.

There is a sort of veteran women of condition, who having lived always in
the 'grande monde', and having possibly had some gallantries, together
with the experience of five-and-twenty, or thirty years, form a young
fellow better than all the rules that can be given him. These women,
being past their bloom, are extremely flattered by the least attention
from a young fellow; and they will point out to him those manners and
ATTENTIONS that pleased and engaged them, when they were in the pride of
their youth and beauty. Wherever you go, make some of those women your
friends; which a very little matter will do. Ask their advice, tell them
your doubts or difficulties as to your behavior; but take great care not
to drop one word of their experience; for experience implies age; and the
suspicion of age, no woman, let her be ever so old, ever forgives. I long
for your picture, which Mr. Harte tells me is now drawing. I want to see
your countenance, your air, and even your dress; the better they all
three are, the better I am not wise enough to despise any one of them.
Your dress, at least, is in your own power, and I hope that you mind it
to a proper degree. Yours, Adieu.


LONDON, January 18, O. S. 1750

MY DEAR FRIEND: I consider the solid part of your little edifice as so
near being finished and completed, that my only remaining care is about
the embellishments; and that must now be your principal care too. Adorn
yourself with all those graces and accomplishments, which, without
solidity, are frivolous; but without which solidity is, to a great
degree, useless. Take one man, with a very moderate degree of knowledge,
but with a pleasing figure, a prepossessing address, graceful in all that
he says and does, polite, 'liant', and, in short, adorned with all the
lesser talents: and take another man, with sound sense and profound
knowledge, but without the above-mentioned advantages; the former will
not only get the better of the latter, in every pursuit of every KIND,
but in truth there will be no sort of competition between them. But can
every man acquire these advantages? I say, Yes, if he please, suppose he
is in a situation and in circumstances to frequent good company.
Attention, observation, and imitation, will most infallibly do it.

When you see a man whose first 'abord' strikes you, prepossesses you in
his favor, and makes you entertain a good opinion of him, you do not know
why, analyze that 'abord', and examine, within yourself, the several
parts that composed it; and you will generally find it to be the result,
the happy assemblage of modesty unembarrassed, respect without timidity,
a genteel, but unaffected attitude of body and limbs, an open, cheerful,
but unsmirking countenance, and a dress, by no means negligent, and yet
not foppish. Copy him, then, not servilely, but as some of the greatest
masters of painting have copied others; insomuch that their copies have
been equal to the originals, both as to beauty and freedom. When you see
a man who is universally allowed to shine as an agreeable, well-bred man,
and a fine gentleman (as, for example, the Duke de Nivernois), attend to
him, watch him carefully; observe in what manner he addresses himself to
his superiors, how he lives with his equals, and how he treats his
inferiors. Mind his turn of conversation in the several situations of
morning visits, the table, and the evening amusements. Imitate, without
mimicking him; and be his duplicate, but not his ape. You will find that
he takes care never to say or do any thing that can be construed into a
slight, or a negligence; or that can, in any degree, mortify people's
vanity and self-love; on the contrary, you will perceive that he makes
people pleased with him, by making them first pleased with themselves: he
shows respect, regard, esteem and attention, where they are severally
proper: he sows them with care, and he reaps them in plenty.

These amiable accomplishments are all to be acquired by use and
imitation; for we are, in truth, more than half what we are by imitation.
The great point is, to choose good models and to study them with care.
People insensibly contract, not only the air, the manners, and the vices,
of those with whom they commonly converse, but their virtues too, and
even their way of thinking. This is so true, that I have known very plain
understandings catch a certain degree of wit, by constantly conversing
with those who had a great deal. Persist, therefore, in keeping the best
company, and you will insensibly become like them; but if you add
attention and observation, you will very soon become one of them. The
inevitable contagion of company shows you the necessity of keeping the
best, and avoiding all other; for in everyone, something will stick. You
have hitherto, I confess, had very few opportunities of keeping polite
company. Westminster school is, undoubtedly, the seat of illiberal
manners and brutal behavior. Leipsig, I suppose, is not the seat of
refined and elegant manners. Venice, I believe, has done something; Rome,
I hope, will do a great deal more; and Paris will, I dare say, do all
that you want; always supposing that you frequent the best companies, and
in the intention of improving and forming yourself; for without that
intention nothing will do.

I here subjoin a list of all those necessary, ornamental accomplishments
(without which, no man living can either please, or rise in the world)
which hitherto I fear you want, and which only require your care and
attention to possess.

To speak elegantly, whatever language you speak in; without which nobody
will hear you with pleasure, and consequently you will speak to very
little purpose.

An agreeable and distinct elocution; without which nobody will hear you
with patience: this everybody may acquire, who is not born with some
imperfection in the organs of speech. You are not; and therefore it is
wholly in your power. You need take much less pains for it than
Demosthenes did.

A distinguished politeness of manners and address; which common sense,
observation, good company, and imitation, will infallibly give you if you
will accept it.

A genteel carriage and graceful motions, with the air of a man of
fashion: a good dancing-master, with some care on your part, and some
imitation of those who excel, will soon bring this about.

To be extremely clean in your person, and perfectly well dressed,
according to the fashion, be that what it will: Your negligence of your
dress while you were a schoolboy was pardonable, but would not be so now.

Upon the whole, take it for granted, that without these accomplishments,
all you know, and all you can do, will avail you very little. Adieu.


LONDON, January 25, O. S. 1750

MY DEAR FRIEND: It is so long since I have heard from you, that I suppose
Rome engrosses every moment of your time; and if it engrosses it in the
manner I could wish, I willingly give up my share of it. I would rather
'prodesse quam conspici'. Put out your time, but to good interest; and I
do not desire to borrow much of it. Your studies, the respectable remains
of antiquity, and your evening amusements cannot, and indeed ought not,
to leave you much time to write. You will, probably, never see Rome
again; and therefore you ought to see it well now; by seeing it well, I
do not mean only the buildings, statues, and paintings, though they
undoubtedly deserve your attention: but I mean seeing into the
constitution and government of it. But these things certainly occur to
your own common sense.

How go, your pleasures at Rome? Are you in fashion there? that is, do you
live with the people who are?--the only way of being so yourself, in
time. Are you domestic enough in any considerable house to be called 'le
petit Stanhope'? Has any woman of fashion and good-breeding taken the
trouble of abusing and laughing at you amicably to your face? Have you
found a good 'decrotteuse'.  For those are the steps by which you must
rise to politeness. I do not presume to ask if you have any attachment,
because I believe you will not make me your confident; but this I will
say, eventually, that if you have one, 'il faut bien payer d'attentions
et de petits soin', if you would have your sacrifice propitiously
received. Women are not so much taken by beauty as men are, but prefer
those men who show them the most attention.

        Would you engage the lovely fair?
        With gentlest manners treat her;
        With tender looks and graceful air,
        In softest accents greet her.

        Verse were but vain, the Muses fail,
        Without the Graces' aid;
        The God of Verse could not prevail
        To stop the flying maid.

        Attention by attentions gain,
        And merit care by cares;
        So shall the nymph reward your pain;
        And Venus crown your prayers.
                    Probatum est.

A man's address and manner weigh much more with them than his beauty;
and, without them, the Abbati and Monsignori will get the better of you.
This address and manner should be exceedingly respectful, but at the same
time easy and unembarrassed. Your chit-chat or 'entregent' with them
neither can, nor ought to be very solid; but you should take care to turn
and dress up your trifles prettily, and make them every now and then
convey indirectly some little piece of flattery. A fan, a riband, or a
head-dress, are great materials for gallant dissertations, to one who has
got 'le ton leger et aimable de la bonne compagnie'. At all events, a man
had better talk too much to women, than too little; they take silence for
dullness, unless where they think that the passion they have inspired
occasions it; and in that case they adopt the notion that

          Silence in love betrays more woe
          Than words, though ne'er so witty;
          The beggar that is dumb, we know,
          Deserves a double pity.

'A propos' of this subject: what progress do you make in that language,
in which Charles the Fifth said that he would choose to speak to his
mistress? Have you got all the tender diminutives, in 'etta, ina', and
'ettina', which, I presume, he alluded to? You already possess, and, I
hope, take care not to forget, that language which he reserved for his
horse. You are absolutely master, too, of that language in which he said
he would converse with men; French. But, in every language, pray attend
carefully to the choice of your words, and to the turn of your
expression. Indeed, it is a point of very great consequence. To be heard
with success, you must be heard with pleasure: words are the dress of
thoughts; which should no more be presented in rags, tatters, and dirt,
than your person should. By the way, do you mind your person and your
dress sufficiently? Do you take great care of your teeth? Pray have them
put in order by the best operator at Rome. Are you be-laced, bepowdered,
and be-feathered, as other young fellows are, and should be? At your age,
'il faut du brillant, et meme un peu de fracas, mais point de mediocre;
il faut un air vif, aise et noble. Avec les hommes, un maintien
respectueux et en meme tems respectable; avec les femmes, un caquet
leger, enjoue, et badin, mais toujours fort poli'.

To give you an opportunity of exerting your talents, I send you, here
inclosed, a letter of recommendation from Monsieur Villettes to Madame de
Simonetti at Milan; a woman of the first fashion and consideration there;
and I shall in my next send you another from the same person to Madame
Clerici, at the same place. As these two ladies' houses are the resort of
all the people of fashion at Milan, those two recommendations will
introduce you to them all. Let me know, in due time, if you have received
these two letters, that I may have them renewed, in case of accidents.

Adieu, my dear friend! Study hard; divert yourself heartily; distinguish
carefully between the pleasures of a man of fashion, and the vices of a
scoundrel; pursue the former, and abhor the latter, like a man of sense.


LONDON, February 5, O. S. 1750

MY DEAR FRIEND: Very few people are good economists of their fortune, and
still fewer of their time; and yet of the two, the latter is the most
precious. I heartily wish you to be a good economist of both: and you are
now of an age to begin to think seriously of those two important
articles. Young people are apt to think that they have so much time
before them, that they may squander what they please of it, and yet have
enough left; as very great fortunes have frequently seduced people to a
ruinous profusion. Fatal mistakes, always repented of, but always too
late! Old Mr. Lowndes, the famous Secretary of the Treasury in the reigns
of King William, Queen Anne, and King George the First, used to
THEMSELVES. To this maxim, which he not only preached but practiced, his
two grandsons at this time owe the very considerable fortunes that he
left them.

This holds equally true as to time; and I most earnestly recommend to you
the care of those minutes and quarters of hours, in the course of the
day, which people think too short to deserve their attention; and yet, if
summed up at the end of the year, would amount to a very considerable
portion of time. For example: you are to be at such a place at twelve, by
appointment; you go out at eleven, to make two or three visits first;
those persons are not at home, instead of sauntering away that
intermediate time at a coffeehouse, and possibly alone, return home,
write a letter, beforehand, for the ensuing post, or take up a good book,
I do not mean Descartes, Malebranche, Locke, or Newton, by way of
dipping; but some book of rational amusement and detached pieces, as
Horace, Boileau, Waller, La Bruyere, etc. This will be so much time
saved, and by no means ill employed. Many people lose a great deal of
time by reading: for they read frivolous and idle books, such as the
absurd romances of the two last centuries; where characters, that never
existed, are insipidly displayed, and sentiments that were never felt,
pompously described: the Oriental ravings and extravagances of the
"Arabian Nights," and Mogul tales; or, the new flimsy brochures that now
swarm in France, of fairy tales, 'Reflections sur le coeur et l'esprit,
metaphysique de l'amour, analyse des beaux sentimens', and such sort of
idle frivolous stuff, that nourishes and improves the mind just as much
as whipped cream would the body. Stick to the best established books in
every language; the celebrated poets, historians, orators, or
philosophers. By these means (to use a city metaphor) you will make fifty
PER CENT. Of that time, of which others do not make above three or four,
or probably nothing at all.

Many people lose a great deal of their time by laziness; they loll and
yawn in a great chair, tell themselves that they have not time to begin
anything then, and that it will do as well another time. This is a most
unfortunate disposition, and the greatest obstruction to both knowledge
and business. At your age, you have no right nor claim to laziness; I
have, if I please, being emeritus. You are but just listed in the world,
and must be active, diligent, indefatigable. If ever you propose
commanding with dignity, you must serve up to it with diligence. Never
put off till tomorrow what you can do to-day.

Dispatch is the soul of business; and nothing contributes more to
dispatch than method. Lay down a method for everything, and stick to it
inviolably, as far as unexpected incidents may allow. Fix one certain
hour and day in the week for your accounts, and keep them together in
their proper order; by which means they will require very little time,
and you can never be much cheated. Whatever letters and papers you keep,
docket and tie them up in their respective classes, so that you may
instantly have recourse to any one. Lay down a method also for your
reading, for which you allot a certain share of your mornings; let it be
in a consistent and consecutive course, and not in that desultory and
unmethodical manner, in which many people read scraps of different
authors, upon different subjects. Keep a useful and short commonplace
book of what you read, to help your memory only, and not for pedantic
quotations. Never read history without having maps and a chronological
book, or tables, lying by you, and constantly recurred to; without which
history is only a confused heap of facts. One method more I recommend to
you, by which I have found great benefit, even in the most dissipated
part of my life; that is, to rise early, and at the same hour every
morning, how late soever you may have sat up the night before. This
secures you an hour or two, at least, of reading or reflection before the
common interruptions of the morning begin; and it will save your
constitution, by forcing you to go to bed early, at least one night in

You will say, it may be, as many young people would, that all this order
and method is very troublesome, only fit for dull people, and a
disagreeable restraint upon the noble spirit and fire of youth. I deny
it; and assert, on the contrary, that it will procure you both more time
and more taste for your pleasures; and, so far from being troublesome to
you, that after you have pursued it a month, it would be troublesome to
you to lay it aside. Business whets the appetite, and gives a taste to
pleasure, as exercise does to food; and business can never be done
without method; it raises the spirits for pleasures; and a SPECTACLE, a
ball, an assembly, will much more sensibly affect a man who has employed,
than a man who has lost, the preceding part of the day; nay, I will
venture to say, that a fine lady will seem to have more charms to a man
of study or business, than to a saunterer. The same listlessness runs
through his whole conduct, and he is as insipid in his pleasures, as
inefficient in everything else.

I hope you earn your pleasures, and consequently taste them; for, by the
way, I know a great many men, who call themselves men of pleasure, but
who, in truth, have none. They adopt other people's indiscriminately, but
without any taste of their own. I have known them often inflict excesses
upon themselves because they thought them genteel; though they sat as
awkwardly upon them as other people's clothes would have done. Have no
pleasures but your own, and then you will shine in them. What are yours?
Give me a short history of them. 'Tenez-vous votre coin a table, et dans
les bonnes compagnies? y brillez-vous du cote de la politesse, de
d'enjouement, du badinage? Etes-vous galant? Filex-vous le parfait amour?
Est-il question de flechir par vos soins et par vos attentions les
rigueurs de quelque fiere Princesse'? You may safely trust me; for though
I am a severe censor of vice and folly, I am a friend and advocate for
pleasures, and will contribute all in my power to yours.

There is a certain dignity to be kept up in pleasures, as well as in
business. In love, a man may lose his heart with dignity; but if he loses
his nose, he loses his character into the bargain. At table, a man may
with decency have a distinguishing palate; but indiscriminate
voraciousness degrades him to a glutton. A man may play with decency; but
if he games, he is disgraced. Vivacity and wit make a man shine in
company; but trite jokes and loud laughter reduce him to a buffoon. [see
Mark Twain's identical advice in his 'Speeches' D.W.] Every virtue, they
say, has its kindred vice; every pleasure, I am sure, has its neighboring
disgrace. Mark carefully, therefore, the line that separates them, and
rather stop a yard short, than step an inch beyond it.

I wish to God that you had as much pleasure in following my advice, as I
have in giving it you! and you may the more easily have it, as I give you
none that is inconsistent with your pleasure. In all that I say to you,
it is your interest alone that I consider: trust to my experience; you
know you may to my affection. Adieu.

I have received no letter yet from you or Mr. Harte.


LONDON, February 8, O. S. 1750

MY DEAR FRIEND: You have, by this time, I hope and believe, made such a
progress in the Italian language, that you can read it with ease; I mean,
the easy books in it; and indeed, in that, as well as in every other
language, the easiest books are generally the best; for, whatever author
is obscure and difficult in his own language, certainly does not think
clearly. This is, in my opinion, the case of a celebrated Italian author;
to whom the Italians, from the admiration they have of him, have given
the epithet of il divino; I mean Dante. Though I formerly knew Italian
extremely well, I could never understand him; for which reason I had done
with him, fully convinced that he was not worth the pains necessary to
understand him.

The good Italian authors are, in my mind, but few; I mean, authors of
invention; for there are, undoubtedly, very good historians and excellent
translators. The two poets worth your reading, and, I was going to say,
the only two, are Tasso and Ariosto. Tasso's 'Gierusalemme Liberata' is
altogether unquestionably a fine poem, though--it has some low, and many
false thoughts in it: and Boileau very justly makes it the mark of a bad
taste, to compare 'le Clinquant Tasse a l' Or de Virgile'. The image,
with which he adorns the introduction of his epic poem, is low and
disgusting; it is that of a froward, sick, puking child, who is deceived
into a dose of necessary physic by 'du bon-bon'. These verses are these:

     "Cosi all'egro fanciul porgiamo aspersi
     Di soavi licor gli orli del vaso:
     Succhi amari ingannato intanto ei beve,
     E dall' inganno suo vita riceve."

However, the poem, with all its faults about it, may justly be called a
fine one.

If fancy, imagination, invention, description, etc., constitute a poet,
Ariosto is, unquestionably, a great one. His "Orlando," it is true, is a
medley of lies and truths--sacred and profane--wars, loves, enchantments,
giants, madheroes, and adventurous damsels, but then, he gives it you
very fairly for what it is, and does not pretend to put it upon you for
the true 'epopee', or epic poem. He says:

     "Le Donne, i Cavalier, l'arme, gli amori
     Le cortesie, l'audaci imprese, io canto."

The connections of his stories are admirable, his reflections just, his
sneers and ironies incomparable, and his painting excellent. When
Angelica, after having wandered over half the world alone with Orlando,
pretends, notwithstanding,

     "---ch'el fior virginal cosi avea salvo,
     Come selo porto dal matern' alvo."

The author adds, very gravely,--

     "Forse era ver, ma non pero credibile
     A chi del senso suo fosse Signore."

Astolpho's being carried to the moon by St. John, in order to look for
Orlando's lost wits, at the end of the 34th book, and the many lost
things that he finds there, is a most happy extravagancy, and contains,
at the same time, a great deal of sense. I would advise you to read this
poem with attention. It is, also, the source of half the tales, novels,
and plays, that have been written since.

The 'Pastor Fido' of Guarini is so celebrated, that you should read it;
but in reading it, you will judge of the great propriety of the
characters. A parcel of shepherds and shepherdesses, with the TRUE
PASTORAL' SIMPLICITY, talk metaphysics, epigrams, 'concetti', and
quibbles, by the hour to each other.

The Aminto del Tasso, is much more what it is intended to be, a pastoral:
the shepherds, indeed, have their 'concetti' and their antitheses; but
are not quite so sublime and abstracted as those in Pastor Fido. I think
that you will like it much the best of the two.

Petrarca is, in my mind, a sing-song, love-sick poet; much admired,
however, by the Italians: but an Italian who should think no better of
him than I do, would certainly say that he deserved his 'Laura' better
than his 'Lauro'; and that wretched quibble would be reckoned an
excellent piece of Italian wit.

The Italian prose-writers (of invention I mean) which I would recommend
to your acquaintance, are Machiavello and Boccacio; the former, for the
established reputation which he has acquired, of a consummate politician
(whatever my own private sentiments may be of either his politics or his
morality): the latter, for his great invention, and for his natural and
agreeable manner of telling his stories.

Guicciardini, Bentivoglio, Davila, etc., are excellent historians, and
deserved being read with attention. The nature of history checks, a
little, the flights of Italian imaginations; which, in works of
invention, are very high indeed. Translations curb them still more: and
their translations of the classics are incomparable; particularly the
first ten, translated in the time of Leo the Tenth, and inscribed to him,
under the title of Collana. That original Collana has been lengthened
since; and if I mistake not, consist now of one hundred and ten volumes.

From what I have said, you will easily guess that I meant to put you upon
your guard; and not let your fancy be dazzled and your taste corrupted by
the concetti, the quaintnesses, and false thoughts, which are too much
the characteristics of the Italian and Spanish authors. I think you are
in no great danger, as your taste has been formed upon the best ancient
models, the Greek and Latin authors of the best ages, who indulge
themselves in none of the puerilities I have hinted at. I think I may
say, with truth; that true wit, sound taste, and good sense, are now, as
it were, engrossed by France and England. Your old acquaintances, the
Germans, I fear, are a little below them; and your new acquaintances, the
Italians, are a great deal too much above them. The former, I doubt,
crawl a little; the latter, I am sure, very often fly out of sight.

I recommended to you a good many years ago, and I believe you then read,
La maniere de bien penser dans les ouvrages d'esprit par le Pere
Bouhours; and I think it is very well worth your reading again, now that
you can judge of it better. I do not know any book that contributes more
to form a true taste; and you find there, into the bargain, the most
celebrated passages, both of the ancients and the moderns, which refresh
your memory with what you have formerly read in them separately. It is
followed by a book much of the same size, by the same author, entitled,
'Suite des Pensees ingenieuses'.

To do justice to the best English and French authors, they have not given
into that false taste; they allow no thoughts to be good, that are not
just and founded upon truth. The age of Lewis XIV. was very like the
Augustan; Boileau, Moliere, La Fontaine, Racine, etc., established the
true, and exposed the false taste. The reign of King Charles II.
(meritorious in no other respect) banished false taste out of England,
and proscribed puns, quibbles, acrostics, etc. Since that, false wit has
renewed its attacks, and endeavored to recover its lost empire, both in
England and France; but without success; though, I must say, with more
success in France than in England. Addison, Pope, and Swift, have
vigorously defended the rights of good sense, which is more than can be
said of their contemporary French authors, who have of late had a great
tendency to 'le faux brillant', 'le raffinement, et l'entortillement'.
And Lord Roscommon would be more in the right now, than he was then, in
saying that,

     "The English bullion of one sterling line,
     Drawn to French wire, would through whole pages shine."

Lose no time, my dear child, I conjure you, in forming your taste, your
manners, your mind, your everything; you have but two years' time to do
it in; for whatever you are, to a certain degree, at twenty, you will be,
more or less, all the rest of your life. May it be a long and happy one.


LONDON, February 22, O. S. 1750

MY DEAR FRIEND: If the Italian of your letter to Lady Chesterfield was
all your own, I am very well satisfied with the progress which you have
made in that language in so short a time; according to that gradation,
you will, in a very little time more, be master of it. Except at the
French Ambassador's, I believe you hear only Italian spoke; for the
Italians speak very little French, and that little generally very ill.
The French are even with them, and generally speak Italian as ill; for I
never knew a Frenchman in my life who could pronounce the Italian ce, ci,
or ge, gi. Your desire of pleasing the Roman ladies will of course give
you not only the desire, but the means of speaking to them elegantly in
their own language. The Princess Borghese, I am told, speaks French both
ill and unwillingly; and therefore you should make a merit to her of your
application to her language. She is, by a kind of prescription (longer
than she would probably wish), at the head of the 'beau monde' at Rome;
and can, consequently, establish or destroy a young fellow's fashionable
character. If she declares him 'amabile e leggiadro', others will think
him so, or at least those who do not will not dare to say so. There are
in every great town some such women, whose rank, beauty, and fortune have
conspired to place them at the head of the fashion. They have generally
been gallant, but within certain decent bounds. Their gallantries have
taught, both them and their admirers, good-breeding; without which they
could keep up no dignity, but would be vilified by those very gallantries
which put them in vogue. It is with these women, as with ministers and
favorites at court; they decide upon fashion and characters, as these do
of fortunes and preferments. Pay particular court, therefore, wherever
you are, to these female sovereigns of the 'beau monde'; their
recommendation is a passport through all the realms of politeness. But
then, remember that they require minute officious attentions. You should,
if possible, guess at and anticipate all their little fancies and
inclinations; make yourself familiarly and domestically useful to them,
by offering yourself for all their little commissions, and assisting in
doing the honors of their houses, and entering with seeming unction into
all their little grievances, bustles, and views; for they are always
busy. If you are once 'ben ficcato' at the Palazzo Borghese, you twill
soon be in fashion at Rome; and being in fashion will soon fashion you;
for that is what you must now think of very seriously.

I am sorry that there is no good dancing-master at Rome, to form your
exterior air and carriage; which, I doubt, are not yet the genteelest in
the world. But you may, and I hope you will, in the meantime, observe the
air and carriage of those who are reckoned to have the best, and form
your own upon them. Ease, gracefulness, and dignity, compose the air and
address of a man of fashion; which is as unlike the affected attitudes
and motions of a 'petit maitre', as it is to the awkward, negligent,
clumsy, and slouching manner of a booby.

I am extremely pleased with the account Mr. Harte has given me of the
allotment of your time at Rome. Those five hours every morning, which you
employ in serious studies with Mr. Harte, are laid out with great
interest, and will make you rich all the rest of your life. I do not look
upon the subsequent morning hours, which you pass with your Ciceroni, to
be ill-disposed of; there is a kind of connection between them; and your
evening diversions in good company are, in their way, as useful and
necessary. This is the way for you to have both weight and lustre in the
world; and this is the object which I always had in view in your

Adieu, my friend! go on and prosper.

Mr. Grevenkop has just received Mr. Harte's letter of the 19th N. S.


LONDON, March 8, O. S. 1750

Young as you are, I hope you are in haste to live; by living, I mean
living with lustre and honor to yourself, with utility to society; doing
what may deserve to be written, or writing what may deserve to be read; I
should wish both. Those who consider life in that light, will not idly
lavish one moment. The present moments are the only ones we are sure of,
and as such the most valuable; but yours are doubly so at your age; for
the credit, the dignity, the comfort, and the pleasure of all your future
moments, depend upon the use you make of your present ones.

I am extremely satisfied with your present manner of employing your time;
but will you always employ it as well? I am far from meaning always in
the same way; but I mean as well in proportion, in the variation of age
and circumstances. You now, study five hours every morning; I neither
suppose that you will, nor desire that you should do so for the rest of
your life. Both business and pleasure will justly and equally break in
upon those hours. But then, will you always employ the leisure they leave
you in useful studies? If you have but an hour, will you improve that
hour, instead of idling it away? While you have such a friend and monitor
with you as Mr. Harte, I am sure you will. But suppose that business and
situations should, in six or seen months, call Mr. Harte away from you;
tell me truly, what may I expect and depend upon from you, when left to
yourself? May I be sure that you will employ some part of every day, in
adding something to that stock of knowledge which he will have left you?
May I hope that you will allot one hour in the week to the care of your
own affairs, to keep them in that order and method which every prudent
man does? But, above all, may I be convinced that your pleasures,
whatever they may be, will be confined within the circle of good company,
and people of fashion? Those pleasures I recommend to you; I will promote
them I will pay for them; but I will neither pay for, nor suffer, the
unbecoming, disgraceful, and degrading pleasures (they should not be
called pleasures), of low and profligate company. I confess the pleasures
of high life are not always strictly philosophical; and I believe a Stoic
would blame, my indulgence; but I am yet no Stoic, though turned of
five-and-fifty; and I am apt to think that you are rather less so, at
eighteen. The pleasures of the table, among people of the first fashion,
may indeed sometimes, by accident, run into excesses: but they will never
sink into a continued course of gluttony and drunkenness. The gallantry
of high life, though not strictly justifiable, carries, at least, no
external marks of infamy about it. Neither the heart nor the constitution
is corrupted by it; neither nose nor character lost by it; manners,
possibly, improved. Play, in good company, is only play, and not gaming;
not deep, and consequently not dangerous nor dishonorable. It is only the
interacts of other amusements.

This, I am sure, is not talking to you like an old man, though it is
talking to you like an old friend; these are not hard conditions to ask
of you. I am certain you have sense enough to know how reasonable they
are on my part, how advantageous they are on yours: but have you
resolution enough to perform them? Can you withstand the examples, and
the invitations, of the profligate, and their infamous missionaries? For
I have known many a young fellow seduced by a 'mauvaise honte', that made
him ashamed to refuse. These are resolutions which you must form, and
steadily execute for yourself, whenever you lose the friendly care and
assistance of your Mentor. In the meantime, make a greedy use of him;
exhaust him, if you can, of all his knowledge; and get the prophet's
mantle from him, before he is taken away himself.

You seem to like Rome. How do you go on there? Are you got into the
inside of that extraordinary government? Has your Abbate Foggini
discovered many of those mysteries to you? Have you made an acquaintance
with some eminent Jesuits? I know no people in the world more
instructive. You would do very well to take one or two such sort of
people home with you to dinner every day. It would be only a little
'minestra' and 'macaroni' the more; and a three or four hours'
conversation 'de suite' produces a thousand useful informations, which
short meetings and snatches at third places do not admit of; and many of
those gentlemen are by no means unwilling to dine 'gratis'. Whenever you
meet with a man eminent in any way, feed him, and feed upon him at the
same time; it will not only improve you, but give you a reputation of
knowledge, and of loving it in others.

I have been lately informed of an Italian book, which I believe may be of
use to you, and which, I dare say, you may get at Rome, written by one
Alberti, about fourscore or a hundred years ago, a thick quarto. It is a
classical description of Italy; from whence, I am assured, that Mr.
Addison, to save himself trouble, has taken most of his remarks and
classical references. I am told that it is an excellent book for a
traveler in Italy.

What Italian books have you read, or are you reading? Ariosto. I hope, is
one of them. Pray apply yourself diligently to Italian; it is so easy a
language, that speaking it constantly, and reading it often, must, in six
months more, make you perfect master of it: in which case you will never
forget it; for we only forget those things of which we know but little.

But, above all things, to all that you learn, to all that you say, and to
all that you do, remember to join the Graces. All is imperfect without
them; with them everything is at least tolerable. Nothing could hurt me
more than to find you unattended by them. How cruelly should I be
shocked, if, at our first meeting, you should present yourself to me
without them! Invoke them, and sacrifice to them every moment; they are
always kind, where they are assiduously courted. For God's sake, aim at
perfection in everything: 'Nil actum reputans si quid superesset agendum.
Adieu. Yours most tenderly.


LONDON, March 19, O. S. 1750.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I acknowledge your last letter of the 24th February, N.
S. In return for your earthquake, I can tell you that we have had here
more than our share of earthquakes; for we had two very strong ones in
eight-and-twenty days. They really do too much honor to our cold climate;
in your warm one, they are compensated by favors from the sun, which we
do not enjoy.

I did not think that the present Pope was a sort of man to build seven
modern little chapels at the expense of so respectable a piece of
antiquity as the Coliseum. However, let his Holiness's taste of 'virtu'
be ever so bad, pray get somebody to present you to him before you leave
Rome; and without hesitation kiss his slipper, or whatever else the
etiquette of that Court requires. I would have you see all those
ceremonies; and I presume that you are, by this time, ready enough at
Italian to understand and answer 'il Santo Padre' in that language. I
hope, too, that you have acquired address and usage enough of the world
to be presented to anybody, without embarrassment or disapprobation. If
that is not yet quite perfect, as I cannot suppose it is entirely, custom
will improve it daily, and habit at last complete it. I have for some
time told you, that the great difficulties are pretty well conquered. You
have acquired knowledge, which is the 'principium et fons'; but you have
now a variety of lesser things to attend to, which collectively make one
great and important object. You easily guess that I mean the graces, the
air, address, politeness, and, in short, the whole 'tournure' and
'agremens' of a man of fashion; so many little things conspire to form
that 'tournure', that though separately they seem too insignificant to
mention, yet aggregately they are too material for me (who think for you
down to the very lowest things) to omit. For instance, do you use
yourself to carve, eat and drink genteelly, and with ease? Do you take
care to walk, sit, stand, and present yourself gracefully? Are you
sufficiently upon your guard against awkward attitudes, and illiberal,
ill-bred, and disgusting habits, such as scratching yourself, putting
your fingers in your mouth, nose, and ears? Tricks always acquired at
schools, often too much neglected afterward; but, however, extremely
ill-bred and nauseous. For I do not conceive that any man has a right to
exhibit, in company, any one excrement more than another. Do you dress
well, and think a little of the brillant in your person? That, too, is
necessary, because it is 'prevenant'. Do you aim at easy, engaging, but,
at the same time, civil or respectful manners, according to the company
you are in? These, and a thousand other things, which you will observe in
people of fashion better than I can describe them, are absolutely
necessary for every man; but still more for you, than for almost any man
living. The showish, the shining, the engaging parts of the character of
a fine gentleman, should (considering your destination) be the principal
objects, of your present attention.

When you return here, I am apt to think that you will find something
better to do than to run to Mr. Osborne's at Gray's Inn, to pick up
scarce books. Buy good books and read them; the best books are the
commonest, and the last editions are always the best, if the editors are
not blockheads, for they may profit of the former. But take care not to
understand editions and title-pages too well. It always smells of
pedantry, and not always of learning. What curious books I have--they are
indeed but few--shall be at your service. I have some of the old Collana,
and the Machiavel of 1550. Beware of the 'Bibliomanie'.

In the midst of either your studies or your pleasures, pray never lose
view of the object of your destination: I mean the political affairs of
Europe. Follow them politically, chronologically, and geographically,
through the newspapers, and trace up the facts which you meet with there
to their sources: as, for example, consult the treaties Neustadt and Abo,
with regard to the disputes, which you read of every day in the public
papers, between Russia and Sweden. For the affairs of Italy, which are
reported to be the objects of present negotiations, recur to the
quadruple alliance of the year 1718, and follow them down through their
several variations to the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, 1748; in which (by
the bye) you will find the very different tenures by which the Infant Don
Philip, your namesake, holds Parma and Placentia. Consult, also, the
Emperor Charles the Sixth's Act of Cession of the kingdoms of Naples and
Sicily, being a point which, upon the death of the present King of Spain,
is likely to occasion some disputes; do not lose the thread of these
matters; which is carried on with great ease, but if once broken, is
resumed with difficulty.

Pray tell Mr. Harte, that I have sent his packet to Baron Firmian by
Count Einsiedlen, who is gone from hence this day for Germany, and passes
through Vienna in his way to Italy; where he is in hopes of crossing upon
you somewhere or other. Adieu, my friend.


LONDON, March 29, O. S. 1750

MY DEAR FRIEND: You are now, I suppose, at Naples, in a new scene of
'Virtu', examining all the curiosities of Herculaneum, watching the
eruptions of Mount Vesuvius, and surveying the magnificent churches and
public buildings, by which Naples is distinguished.

You have a court there into the bargain, which, I hope, you frequent and
attend to. Polite manners, a versatility of mind, a complaisance even to
enemies, and the 'volto sciolto', with the 'pensieri stretti', are only
to be learned at courts, and must be well learned by whoever would either
shine or thrive in them. Though they do not change the nature, they
smooth and soften the manners of mankind. Vigilance, dexterity, and
flexibility supply the place of natural force; and it is the ablest mind,
not the strongest body that prevails there. Monsieur and Madame Fogliani
will, I am sure, show you all the politeness of courts; for I know no
better bred people than they are. Domesticate yourself there while you
stay at Naples, and lay aside the English coldness and formality. You
have also a letter to Comte Mahony, whose house I hope you frequent, as
it is the resort of the best company. His sister, Madame Bulkeley, is now
here; and had I known of your going so soon to Naples, I would have got
you, 'ex abundanti', a letter from her to her brother. The conversation
of the moderns in the evening is full as necessary for you, as that of
the ancients in the morning.

You would do well, while you are at Naples, to read some very short
history of that kingdom. It has had great variety of masters, and has
occasioned many wars; the general history of which will enable you to ask
many proper questions, and to receive useful informations in return.
Inquire into the manner and form of that government; for constitution it
has none, being an absolute one; but the most absolute governments have
certain customs and forms, which are more or less observed by their
respective tyrants. In China it is the fashion for the emperors, absolute
as they are, to govern with justice and equity; as in the other Oriental
monarchies, it is the custom to govern by violence and cruelty. The King
of France, as absolute, in fact, as any of them, is by custom only more
gentle; for I know of no constitutional bar to his will. England is now,
the only monarchy in the world, that can properly be said to have a
constitution; for the people's rights and liberties are secured by laws;
and I cannot reckon Sweden and Poland to be monarchies, those two kings
having little more to say than the Doge of Venice. I do not presume to
say anything of the constitution of the empire to you, who are
'jurisperitorum Germanicorum facile princeps'.

When you write to me, which, by the way, you do pretty seldom, tell me
rather whom you see, than what you see. Inform me of your evening
transactions and acquaintances; where, and how you pass your evenings;
what people of learning you have made acquaintance with; and, if you will
trust me with so important an affair, what belle passion inflames you. I
interest myself most in what personally concerns you most; and this is a
very critical year in your life. To talk like a virtuoso, your canvas is,
I think, a good one, and RAPHAEL HARTE has drawn the outlines admirably;
nothing is now wanting but the coloring of Titian, and the Graces, the
'morbidezza' of Guido; but that is a great deal. You must get them soon,
or you will never get them at all. 'Per la lingua Italiana, sono sicuro
ch'ella n'e adesso professore, a segno tale ch'io non ardisca dirle altra
cosa in quela lingua se non. Addio'.


LONDON, April 26, O. S. 1756.

MY DEAR FRIEND: As your journey to Paris approaches, and as that period
will, one way or another, be of infinite consequence to you, my letters
will henceforward be principally calculated for that meridian. You will
be left there to your own discretion, instead of Mr. Harte's, and you
will allow me, I am sure, to distrust a little the discretion of
eighteen. You will find in the Academy a number of young fellows much
less discreet than yourself. These will all be your acquaintances; but
look about you first, and inquire into their respective characters,
before you form any connections among them; and, 'caeteris paribus',
single out those of the most considerable rank and family. Show them a
distinguishing attention; by which means you will get into their
respective houses, and keep the best company. All those French young
fellows are excessively 'etourdis'; be upon your guard against scrapes
and quarrels; have no corporal pleasantries with them, no 'jeux de
mains', no 'coups de chambriere', which frequently bring on quarrels. Be
as lively as they, if you please, but at the same time be a little wiser
than they. As to letters, you will find most of them ignorant; do not
reproach them with that ignorance, nor make them feel your superiority.
It is not their faults, they are all bred up for the army; but, on the
other, hand, do not allow their ignorance and idleness to break in upon
those morning hours which you may be able to allot to your serious,
studies. No breakfastings with them, which consume a great deal of time;
but tell them (not magisterially and sententiously) that you will read
two or three hours in the morning, and that for the rest of the day you
are very much at their service. Though, by the way, I hope you will keep
wiser company in the evenings.

I must insist upon your never going to what is called the English
coffee-house at Paris, which is the resort of all the scrub English, and
also of the fugitive and attainted Scotch and Irish; party quarrels and
drunken squabbles are very frequent there; and I do not know a more
degrading place in all Paris. Coffee-houses and taverns are by no means
creditable at Paris. Be cautiously upon your guard against the infinite
number of fine-dressed and fine-spoken 'chevaliers d'industrie' and
'avanturiers' which swarm at Paris: and keep everybody civilly at arm's
length, of whose real character or rank you are not previously informed.
Monsieur le Comte or Monsieur le Chevalier, in a handsome laced coat, 'et
tres bien mis', accosts you at the play, or some other public place; he
conceives at first sight an infinite regard for you: he sees that you are
a stranger of the first distinction; he offers you his services, and
wishes nothing more ardently than to contribute, as far as may be in his
little power, to procure you 'les agremens de Paris'. He is acquainted
with some ladies of condition, 'qui prefrent une petite societe agreable,
et des petits soupers aimables d'honnetes gens, au tumulte et a la
dissipation de Paris'; and he will with the greatest pleasure imaginable
have the honor of introducing you to those ladies of quality. Well, if
you were to accept of this kind offer, and go with him, you would find
'au troisieme; a handsome, painted and p----d strumpet, in a tarnished
silver or gold second-hand robe, playing a sham party at cards for
livres, with three or four sharpers well dressed enough, and dignified by
the titles of Marquis, Comte, and Chevalier. The lady receives you in the
most polite and gracious manner, and with all those 'complimens de
routine' which every French woman has equally. Though she loves
retirement, and shuns 'le grande monde', yet she confesses herself
obliged to the Marquis for having procured her so inestimable, so
accomplished an acquaintance as yourself; but her concern is how to amuse
you: for she never suffers play at her house for above a livre; if you
can amuse yourself with that low play till supper, 'a la bonne heure'.
Accordingly you sit down to that little play, at which the good company
takes care that you shall win fifteen or sixteen livres, which gives them
an opportunity of celebrating both your good luck and your good play.
Supper comes up, and a good one it is, upon the strength of your being
able to pay for it. 'La Marquise en fait les honneurs au mieux, talks
sentiments, 'moeurs et morale', interlarded with 'enjouement', and
accompanied with some oblique ogles, which bid you not despair in time.
After supper, pharaoh, lansquenet, or quinze, happen accidentally to be
mentioned: the Marquise exclaims against it, and vows she will not suffer
it, but is at last prevailed upon by being assured 'que ce ne sera que
pour des riens'. Then the wished-for moment is come, the operation
begins: you are cheated, at best, of all the money in your pocket, and if
you stay late, very probably robbed of your watch and snuff-box, possibly
murdered for greater security. This I can assure you, is not an
exaggerated, but a literal description of what happens every day to some
raw and inexperienced stranger at Paris. Remember to receive all these
civil gentlemen, who take such a fancy to you at first sight, very
coldly, and take care always to be previously engaged, whatever party
they propose to you. You may happen sometimes, in very great and good
companies, to meet with some dexterous gentlemen, who may be very
desirous, and also very sure, to win your money, if they can but engage
you to play with them. Therefore lay it down as an invariable rule never
to play with men, but only with women of fashion, at low play, or with
women and men mixed. But, at the same time, whenever you are asked to
play deeper than you would, do not refuse it gravely and sententiously,
alleging the folly of staking what would be very inconvenient to one to
lose, against what one does not want to win; but parry those invitations
ludicrously, 'et en badinant'. Say that, if you were sure to lose, you
might possibly play, but that as you may as well win, you dread
'l'embarras des richesses', ever since you have seen what an encumbrance
they were to poor Harlequin, and that, therefore, you are determined
never to venture the winning above two louis a-day; this sort of light
trifling way of declining invitations to vice and folly, is more becoming
your age, and at the same time more effectual, than grave philosophical
refusals. A young fellow who seems to have no will of his own, and who
does everything that is asked of him, is called a very good-natured, but
at the same time, is thought a very silly young fellow. Act wisely, upon
solid principles, and from true motives, but keep them to yourself, and
never talk sententiously. When you are invited to drink, say that you
wish you could, but that so little makes you both drunk and sick, 'que le
jeu me vaut pas la chandelle'.

Pray show great attention, and make your court to Monsieur de la
Gueriniere; he is well with Prince Charles and many people of the first
distinction at Paris; his commendations will raise your character there,
not to mention that his favor will be of use to you in the Academy
itself. For the reasons which I mentioned to you in my last, I would have
you be interne in the Academy for the first six months; but after that, I
promise you that you shall have lodgings of your own 'dans un hotel
garni', if in the meantime I hear well of you, and that you frequent, and
are esteemed in the best French companies. You want nothing now, thank
God, but exterior advantages, that last polish, that 'tournure du monde',
and those graces, which are so necessary to adorn, and give efficacy to,
the most solid merit. They are only to be acquired in the best companies,
and better in the best French companies than in any other. You will not
want opportunities, for I shall send you letters that will establish you
in the most distinguished companies, not only of the beau monde, but of
the beaux esprits, too. Dedicate, therefore, I beg of you, that whole
year to your own advantage and final improvement, and do not be diverted
from those objects by idle dissipations, low seduction, or bad example.
After that year, do whatever you please; I will interfere no longer in
your conduct; for I am sure both you and I shall be safe then. Adieu!


LONDON, April 30, O. S. 1750

MY DEAR FRIEND: Mr. Harte, who in all his letters gives you some dash of
panegyric, told me in his last a thing that pleases me extremely; which
was that at Rome you had constantly preferred the established Italian
assemblies to the English conventicles setup against them by dissenting
English ladies. That shows sense, and that you know what you are sent
abroad for. It is of much more consequence to know the 'mores multorem
hominum' than the 'urbes'. Pray continue this judicious conduct wherever
you go, especially at Paris, where, instead of thirty, you will find
above three hundred English, herding together and conversing with no one
French body.

The life of 'les Milords Anglois' is regularly, or, if you will,
irregularly, this. As soon as they rise, which is very late, they
breakfast together, to the utter loss of two good morning hours. Then
they go by coachfuls to the Palais, the Invalides, and Notre-Dame; from
thence to the English coffee-house, where they make up their tavern party
for dinner. From dinner, where they drink quick, they adjourn in clusters
to the play, where they crowd up the stage, dressed up in very fine
clothes, very ill-made by a Scotch or Irish tailor. From the play to the
tavern again, where they get very drunk, and where they either quarrel
among themselves, or sally forth, commit some riot in the streets, and
are taken up by the watch. Those who do not speak French before they go,
are sure to learn none there. Their tender vows are addressed to their
Irish laundress, unless by chance some itinerant Englishwoman, eloped
from her husband, or her creditors, defrauds her of them. Thus they
return home, more petulant, but not more informed, than when they left
it; and show, as they think, their improvement by affectedly both
speaking and dressing in broken French:--

          "Hunc to Romane caveito."

Connect yourself, while you are in France, entirely with the French;
improve yourself with the old, divert yourself with the young; conform
cheerfully to their customs, even to their little follies, but not to
their vices. Do not, however, remonstrate or preach against them, for
remonstrances do not suit with your age. In French companies in general
you will not find much learning, therefore take care not to brandish
yours in their faces. People hate those who make them feel their own
inferiority. Conceal all your learning carefully, and reserve it for the
company of les Gens d'Eglise, or les Gens de Robe; and even then let them
rather extort it from you, than find you over-willing to draw it. Your
are then thought, from that seeming unwillingness, to have still more
knowledge than it may be you really have, and with the additional merit
of modesty into the bargain. A man who talks of, or even hints at, his
'bonnes fortunes', is seldom believed, or, if believed, much blamed;
whereas a man who conceals with care is often supposed to have more than
he has, and his reputation of discretion gets him others. It is just so
with a man of learning; if he affects to show it, it is questioned, and
he is reckoned only superficial; but if afterward it appears that he
really has it, he is pronounced a pedant. Real merit of any kind, 'ubi
est non potest diu celari'; it will be discovered, and nothing can
depreciate it but a man's exhibiting it himself. It may not always be
rewarded as it ought, but it will always be known. You will in general
find the women of the beau monde at Paris more instructed than the men,
who are bred up singly for the army, and thrown into it at twelve or
thirteen years old; but then that sort of education, which makes them
ignorant of books, gives them a great knowledge of the world, an easy
address, and polite manners.

Fashion is more tyrannical at Paris than in any other place in the world;
it governs even more absolutely than their king, which is saying a great
deal. The least revolt against it is punished by proscription. You must
observe, and conform to all the 'minutiae' of it, if you will be in
fashion there yourself; and if you are not in fashion, you are nobody.
Get, therefore, at all events, into the company of those men and women
'qui donnent le ton'; and though at first you should be admitted upon
that shining theatre only as a 'persona muta', persist, persevere, and
you will soon have a part given you. Take great care never to tell in one
company what you see or hear in another, much less to divert the present
company at the expense of the last; but let discretion and secrecy be
known parts of your character. They will carry you much further, and much
safer than more shining talents. Be upon your guard against quarrels at
Paris; honor is extremely nice there, though the asserting of it is
exceedingly penal. Therefore, 'point de mauvaises plaisanteries, point de
jeux de main, et point de raillerie piquante'.

Paris is the place in the world where, if you please, you may the best
unite the 'utile' and the 'dulce'. Even your pleasures will be your
improvements, if you take them with the people of the place, and in high
life. From what you have hitherto done everywhere else, I have just
reason to believe, that you will do everything that you ought at Paris.
Remember that it is your decisive moment; whatever you do there will be
known to thousands here, and your character there, whatever it is, will
get before you here. You will meet with it at London. May you and I both
have reason to rejoice at that meeting! Adieu.


LONDON, May 8, O. S. 1750

MY DEAR FRIEND: At your age the love of pleasures is extremely natural,
and the enjoyment of them not unbecoming: but the danger, at your age, is
mistaking the object, and setting out wrong in the pursuit. The character
of a man of pleasure dazzles young eyes; they do not see their way to it
distinctly, and fall into vice and profligacy. I remember a strong
instance of this a great many years ago. A young fellow, determined to
shine as a man of pleasure, was at the play called the "Libertine
Destroyed," a translation of 'Le Festin de Pierre' of Molieire's. He was
so struck with what he thought the fine character of the libertine, that
he swore he would be the LIBERTINE DESTROYED. Some friends asked him,
whether he had not better content himself with being only the libertine,
but without being DESTROYED? to which he answered with great warmth, "No,
for that being destroyed was the perfection of the whole." This,
extravagant as it seems in this light, is really the case of many an
unfortunate young fellow, who, captivated by the name of pleasures,
rushes indiscriminately, and without taste, into them all, and is finally
DESTROYED. I am not stoically advising, nor parsonically preaching to you
to be a Stoic at your age; far from it: I am pointing out to you the
paths to pleasures, and am endeavoring only to quicken and heighten them
for you. Enjoy pleasures, but let them be your own, and then you will
taste them; but adopt none; trust to nature for genuine ones. The
pleasures that you would feel you must earn; the man who gives himself up
to all, feels none sensibly. Sardanapalus, I am convinced, never felt any
in his life. Those only who join serious occupations with pleasures, feel
either as they should do. Alcibiades, though addicted to the most
shameful excesses, gave some time to philosophy, and some to business.
Julius Caesar joined business with pleasure so properly, that they
mutually assisted each other; and though he was the husband of all the
wives at Rome, he found time to be one of the best scholars, almost the
best orator, and absolutely the best general there. An uninterrupted life
of pleasures is as insipid as contemptible. Some hours given every day to
serious business must whet both the mind and the senses, to enjoy those
of pleasure. A surfeited glutton, an emaciated sot, and an enervated
rotten whoremaster, never enjoy the pleasures to which they devote
themselves; but they are only so many human sacrifices to false gods. The
pleasures of low life are all of this mistaken, merely sensual, and
disgraceful nature; whereas, those of high life, and in good company
(though possibly in themselves not more moral) are more delicate, more
refined, less dangerous, and less disgraceful; and, in the common course
of things, not reckoned disgraceful at all. In short, pleasure must not,
nay, cannot, be the business of a man of sense and character; but it may
be, and is, his relief, his reward. It is particularly so with regard to
the women; who have the utmost contempt for those men, that, having no
character nor consideration with their own sex, frivolously pass their
whole time in 'ruelles' and at 'toilettes'. They look upon them as their
lumber, and remove them whenever they can get better furniture. Women
choose their favorites more by the ear than by any other of their senses
or even their understandings. The man whom they hear the most commended
by the men, will always be the best received by them. Such a conquest
flatters their vanity, and vanity is their universal, if not their
strongest passion. A distinguished shining character is irresistible with
them; they crowd to, nay, they even quarrel for the danger in hopes of
the triumph. Though, by the way (to use a vulgar expression), she who
conquers only catches a Tartar, and becomes the slave of her captive.
'Mais c'est la leur affaire'. Divide your time between useful occupations
and elegant pleasures. The morning seems to belong to study, business, or
serious conversations with men of learning and figure; not that I exclude
an occasional hour at a toilette. From sitting down to dinner, the proper
business of the day is pleasure, unless real business, which must never
be postponed for pleasure, happens accidentally to interfere. In good
company, the pleasures of the table are always carried to a certain point
of delicacy and gratification, but never to excess and riot. Plays,
operas, balls, suppers, gay conversations in polite and cheerful
companies, properly conclude the evenings; not to mention the tender
looks that you may direct and the sighs that you may offer, upon these
several occasions, to some propitious or unpropitious female deity, whose
character and manners will neither disgrace nor corrupt yours. This is
the life of a man of real sense and pleasure; and by this distribution of
your time, and choice of your pleasures, you will be equally qualified
for the busy, or the 'beau monde'. You see I am not rigid, and do not
require that you and I should be of the same age. What I say to you,
therefore, should have the more weight, as coming from a friend, not a
father. But low company, and their low vices, their indecent riots and
profligacy, I never will bear nor forgive.

I have lately received two volumes of treaties, in German and Latin, from
Hawkins, with your orders, under your own hand, to take care of them for
you, which orders I shall most dutifully and punctually obey, and they
wait for you in my library, together with your great collection of rare
books, which your Mamma sent me upon removing from her old house.

I hope you not only keep up, but improve in your German, for it will be
of great use to you when you cone into business; and the more so, as you
will be almost the only Englishman who either can speak or understand it.
Pray speak it constantly to all Germans, wherever you meet them, and you
will meet multitudes of them at Paris. Is Italian now become easy and
familiar to you? Can you speak it with the same fluency that you can
speak German? You cannot conceive what an advantage it will give you in
negotiations to possess Italian, German, and French perfectly, so as to
understand all the force and finesse of those three languages. If two men
of equal talents negotiate together, he who best understands the language
in which the negotiation is carried on, will infallibly get the better of
the other. The signification and force of one single word is often of
great consequence in a treaty, and even in a letter.

Remember the GRACES, for without them 'ogni fatica e vana'. Adieu.


LONDON, May 17, O. S. 1750

MY DEAR FRIEND: Your apprenticeship is near out, and you are soon to set
up for yourself; that approaching moment is a critical one for you, and
an anxious one for me. A tradesman who would succeed in his way, must
begin by establishing a character of integrity and good manners; without
the former, nobody will go to his shop at all; without the latter, nobody
will go there twice. This rule does not exclude the fair arts of trade.
He may sell his goods at the best price he can, within certain bounds. He
may avail himself of the humor, the whims, and the fantastical tastes of
his customers; but what he warrants to be good must be really so, what he
seriously asserts must be true, or his first fraudulent profits will soon
end in a bankruptcy. It is the same in higher life, and in the great
business of the world. A man who does not solidly establish, and really
deserve, a character of truth, probity, good manners, and good morals, at
his first setting out in the world, may impose, and shine like a meteor
for a very short time, but will very soon vanish, and be extinguished
with contempt. People easily pardon, in young men, the common
irregularities of the senses: but they do not forgive the least vice of
the heart. The heart never grows better by age; I fear rather worse;
always harder. A young liar will be an old one; and a young knave will
only be a greater knave as he grows older. But should a bad young heart,
accompanied with a good head (which, by the way, very seldom is the
case), really reform in a more advanced age, from a consciousness of its
folly, as well as of its guilt; such a conversion would only be thought
prudential and political, but never sincere. I hope in God, and I verily.
believe, that you want no moral virtue. But the possession of all the
moral virtues, in 'actu primo', as the logicians call it, is not
sufficient; you must have them in 'actu secundo' too; nay, that is not
sufficient neither--you must have the reputation of them also. Your
character in the world must be built upon that solid foundation, or it
will soon fall, and upon your own head. You cannot, therefore, be too
careful, too nice, too scrupulous, in establishing this character at
first, upon which your whole depends. Let no conversation, no example, no
fashion, no 'bon mot', no silly desire of seeming to be above, what most
knaves, and many fools, call prejudices, ever tempt you to avow, excuse,
extenuate, or laugh at the least breach of morality; but show upon all
occasions, and take all occasions to show, a detestation and abhorrence
of it. There, though young, you ought to be strict; and there only, while
young, it becomes you to be strict and severe. But there, too, spare the
persons while you lash the crimes. All this relates, as you easily judge,
to the vices of the heart, such as lying, fraud, envy, malice,
detraction, etc., and I do not extend it to the little frailties of
youth, flowing from high spirits and warm blood. It would ill become you,
at your age, to declaim against them, and sententiously censure a
gallantry, an accidental excess of the table, a frolic, an inadvertency;
no, keep as free from them yourself as you can: but say nothing against
them in others. They certainly mend by time, often by reason; and a man's
worldly character is not affected by them, provided it be pure in all
other respects.

To come now to a point of much less, but yet of very great consequence at
your first setting out. Be extremely upon your guard against vanity, the
common failing of inexperienced youth; but particularly against that kind
of vanity that dubs a man a coxcomb; a character which, once acquired, is
more indelible than that of the priesthood. It is not to be imagined by
how many different ways vanity defeats its own purposes. One man decides
peremptorily upon every subject, betrays his ignorance upon many, and
shows a disgusting presumption upon the rest. Another desires to appear
successful among the women; he hints at the encouragement he has
received, from those of the most distinguished rank and beauty, and
intimates a particular connection with some one; if it is true, it is
ungenerous; if false, it is infamous: but in either case he destroys the
reputation he wants to get. Some flatter their vanity by little
extraneous objects, which have not the least relation to themselves; such
as being descended from, related to, or acquainted with, people of
distinguished merit and eminent characters. They talk perpetually of
their grandfather such-a-one, their uncle such-a-one, and their intimate
friend Mr. Such-a-one, with whom, possibly, they are hardly acquainted.
But admitting it all to be as they would have it, what then? Have they
the more merit for those accidents? Certainly not. On the contrary, their
taking up adventitious, proves their want of intrinsic merit; a rich man
never borrows. Take this rule for granted, as a never-failing one: That
you must never seem to affect the character in which you have a mind to
shine. Modesty is the only sure bait when you angle for praise. The
affectation of courage will make even a brave man pass only for a bully;
as the affectation of wit will make a man of parts pass for a coxcomb. By
this modesty I do not mean timidity and awkward bashfulness. On the
contrary, be inwardly firm and steady, know your own value whatever it
may be, and act upon that principle; but take great care to let nobody
discover that you do know your own value. Whatever real merit you have,
other people will discover, and people always magnify their own
discoveries, as they lessen those of others.

For God's sake, revolve all these things seriously in your thoughts,
before you launch out alone into the ocean of Paris. Recollect the
observations that you have yourself made upon mankind, compare and
connect them with my instructions, and then act systematically and
consequentially from them; not 'au jour la journee'. Lay your little plan
now, which you will hereafter extend and improve by your own
observations, and by the advice of those who can never mean to mislead
you; I mean Mr. Harte and myself.


LONDON, May 24., O. S. 1750

MY DEAR FRIEND: I received yesterday your letter of the 7th, N. S., from
Naples, to which place I find you have traveled, classically, critically,
and 'da virtuoso'. You did right, for whatever is worth seeing at, all,
is worth seeing well, and better than most people see it. It is a poor
and frivolous excuse, when anything curious is talked of that one has
seen, to say, I SAW IT, BUT REALLY I DID NOT MUCH MIND IT. Why did they
go to see it, if they would not mind it? or why not mind it when they saw
it? Now that you are at Naples, you pass part of your time there 'en
honnete homme, da garbato cavaliere', in the court and the best
companies. I am told that strangers are received with the utmost
hospitality at Prince-------'s, 'que lui il fait bonne chere, et que
Madame la Princesse donne chere entire; mais que sa chair est plus que
hazardee ou mortifiee meme'; which in plain English means, that she is
not only tender, but rotten. If this be true, as I am pretty sure it is,
one may say to her in a little sense, 'juvenumque prodis, publics cura'.

Mr. Harte informs me that you are clothed in sumptuous apparel; a young
fellow should be so; especially abroad, where fine clothes are so
generally the fashion. Next to their being fine, they should be well
made, and worn easily for a man is only the less genteel for a fine coat,
if, in wearing it, he shows a regard for it, and is not as easy in it as
if it were a plain one.

I thank you for your drawing, which I am impatient to see, and which I
shall hang up in a new gallery that I am building at Blackheath, and very
fond of; but I am still more impatient for another copy, which I wonder I
have not yet received, I mean the copy of your countenance. I believe,
were that a whole length, it would still fall a good deal short of the
dimensions of the drawing after Dominichino, which you say is about eight
feet high; and I take you, as well as myself, to be of the family of the
Piccolomini. Mr. Bathurst tells me that he thinks you rather taller than
I am; if so, you may very possibly get up to five feet eight inches,
which I would compound for, though I would wish you five feet ten. In
truth, what do I not wish you, that has a tendency to perfection? I say a
tendency only, for absolute perfection is not in human nature, so that it
would be idle to wish it. But I am very willing to compound for your
coming nearer to perfection than the generality of your contemporaries:
without a compliment to you, I think you bid fair for that. Mr. Harte
affirms (and if it were consistent with his character would, I believe,
swear) that you have no vices of the heart; you have undoubtedly a stock
of both ancient and modern learning, which I will venture to say nobody
of your age has, and which must now daily increase, do what you will.
What, then, do you want toward that practicable degree of perfection
which I wish you? Nothing but the knowledge, the turn, and the manners of
the world; I mean the 'beau monde'. These it is impossible that you can
yet have quite right; they are not given, they must be learned. But then,
on the other hand, it is impossible not to acquire them, if one has a
mind to them; for they are acquired insensibly, by keeping good company,
if one has but the least attention to their characters and manners.

Every man becomes, to a certain degree, what the people he generally
converses with are. He catches their air, their manners, and even their
way of thinking. If he observes with attention, he will catch them soon,
but if he does not, he will at long run contract them insensibly. I know
nothing in the world but poetry that is not to be acquired by application
and care. The sum total of this is a very comfortable one for you, as it
plainly amounts to this in your favor, that you now want nothing but what
even your pleasures, if they are liberal ones, will teach you. I
congratulate both you and myself upon your being in such a situation,
that, excepting your exercises, nothing is now wanting but pleasures to
complete you. Take them, but (as I am sure you will) with people of the
first fashion, whereever you are, and the business is done; your
exercises at Paris, which I am sure you will attend to, will supple and
fashion your body; and the company you will keep there will, with some
degree of observation on your part, soon give you their air, address,
manners, in short, 'le ton de la bonne compagnie'. Let not these
considerations, however, make you vain: they are only between you and me
but as they are very comfortable ones, they may justly give you a manly
assurance, a firmness, a steadiness, without which a man can neither be
well-bred, or in any light appear to advantage, or really what he is.
They may justly remove all, timidity, awkward bashfulness, low diffidence
of one's self, and mean abject complaisance to every or anybody's
opinion. La Bruyere says, very truly, 'on ne vaut dans ce monde, que ce
que l'on veut valoir'. It is a right principle to proceed upon in the
world, taking care only to guard against the appearances and outward
symptoms of vanity. Your whole then, you see, turns upon the company you
keep for the future. I have laid you in variety of the best at Paris,
where, at your arrival you will find a cargo of letters to very different
sorts of people, as 'beaux esprils, savants, et belles dames'. These, if
you will frequent them, will form you, not only by their examples,
advice, and admonitions in private, as I have desired them to do; and
consequently add to what you have the only one thing now needful.

Pray tell me what Italian books you have read, and whether that language
is now become familiar to you.

Read Ariosto and Tasso through, and then you will have read all the
Italian poets who in my opinion are worth reading. In all events, when
you get to Paris, take a good Italian master to read Italian with you
three times a week; not only to keep what you have already, which you
would otherwise forget, but also to perfect you in the rest. It is a
great pleasure, as well as a great advantage, to be able to speak to
people of all nations, and well, in their own language. Aim at perfection
in everything, though in most things it is unattainable; however, they
who aim at it, and persevere, will come much nearer it, than those whose
laziness and despondency make them give it up as unattainable. 'Magnis
tamen excidit ausis' is a degree of praise which will always attend a
noble and shining temerity, and a much better sign in a young fellow,
than 'serpere humi, tutus nimium timidusque procellae'. For men as well
as women:

        "---------born to be controlled,
        Stoop to the forward and the bold."

A man who sets out in the world with real timidity and diffidence has not
an equal chance for it; he will be discouraged, put by, or trampled upon.
But to succeed, a man, especially a young one, should have inward
firmness, steadiness, and intrepidity, with exterior modesty and SEEMING
diffidence. He must modestly, but resolutely, assert his own rights and
privileges. 'Suaviter in modo', but 'fortiter in re'. He should have an
apparent frankness and openness, but with inward caution and closeness.
All these things will come to you by frequenting and observing good
company. And by good company, I mean that sort of company which is called
good company by everybody of that place. When all this is over, we shall
meet; and then we will talk over, tete-a-tete, the various little
finishing strokes which conversation and, acquaintance occasionally
suggest, and which cannot be methodically written.

Tell Mr. Harte that I have received his two letters of the 2d and 8th N.
S., which, as soon as I have received a third, I will answer. Adieu, my
dear! I find you will do.


LONDON, June 5, O. S. 1750

MY DEAR FRIEND: I have received your picture, which I have long waited
for with impatience: I wanted to see your countenance from whence I am
very apt, as I believe most people are, to form some general opinion of
the mind. If the painter has taken you as well as he has done Mr. Harte
(for his picture is by far the most like I ever saw in my life), I draw
good conclusions from your countenance, which has both spirit and finesse
in it. In bulk you are pretty well increased since I saw you; if your
height has not increased in proportion, I desire that you will make haste
to, complete it. Seriously, I believe that your exercises at Paris will
make you shoot up to a good size; your legs, by all accounts, seem to
promise it. Dancing excepted, the wholesome part is the best part of
those academical exercises. 'Ils degraissent leur homme'.

'A propos' of exercises, I have prepared everything for your reception at
Monsieur de la Gueriniere's, and your room, etc., will be ready at your
arrival. I am sure you must be sensible how much better it will be for
you to be interne in the Academy for the first six or seven months at
least, than to be 'en hotel garni', at some distance from it, and obliged
to go to it every morning, let the weather be what it will, not to
mention the loss of time too; besides, by living and boarding in the
Academy, you will make an acquaintance with half the young fellows of
fashion at Paris; and in a very little while be looked upon as one of
them in all French companies: an advantage that has never yet happened to
any one Englishman that I have known. I am sure you do not suppose that
the difference of the expense, which is but a trifle, has any weight with
me in this resolution. You have the French language so perfectly, and you
will acquire the French 'tournure' so soon, that I do not know anybody
likely to pass their time so well at Paris as yourself. Our young
countrymen have generally too little French, and too bad address, either
to present themselves, or be well received in the best French companies;
and, as a proof of it, there is no one instance of an Englishman's having
ever been suspected of a gallantry with a French woman of condition,
though every French woman of condition is more than suspected of having a
gallantry. But they take up with the disgraceful and dangerous commerce
of prostitutes, actresses, dancing-women, and that sort of trash; though,
if they had common address, better achievements would be extremely easy.
'Un arrangement', which is in plain English a gallantry, is, at Paris, as
necessary a part of a woman of fashion's establishment, as her house,
stable, coach, etc. A young fellow must therefore be a very awkward one,
to be reduced to, or of a very singular taste, to prefer drabs and danger
to a commerce (in the course of the world not disgraceful) with a woman
of health, education, and rank. Nothing sinks a young man into low
company, both of women and men, so surely as timidity and diffidence of
himself. If he thinks that he shall not, he may depend upon it he will
not please. But with proper endeavors to please, and a degree of
persuasion that he shall, it is almost certain that he will. How many
people does one meet with everywhere, who, with very moderate parts, and
very little knowledge, push themselves pretty far, simply by being
sanguine, enterprising, and persevering? They will take no denial from
man or woman; difficulties do not discourage them; repulsed twice or
thrice, they rally, they charge again, and nine times in ten prevail at
last. The same means will much sooner, and, more certainly, attain the
same ends, with your parts and knowledge. You have a fund to be sanguine
upon, and good forces to rally. In business (talents supposed) nothing is
more effectual or successful, than a good, though concealed opinion of
one's self, a firm resolution, and an unwearied perseverance. None but
madmen attempt impossibilities; and whatever is possible, is one way or
another to be brought about. If one method fails, try another, and suit
your methods to the characters you have to do with. At the treaty of the
Pyrenees, which Cardinal Mazarin and Don Louis de Haro concluded, 'dans
l'Isle des Faisans', the latter carried some very important points by his
constant and cool perseverance.

The Cardinal had all the Italian vivacity and impatience; Don Louis all
the Spanish phlegm and tenaciousness. The point which the Cardinal had
most at heart was, to hinder the re-establishment of the Prince of Conde,
his implacable enemy; but he was in haste to conclude, and impatient to
return to Court, where absence is always dangerous. Don Louis observed
this, and never failed at every conference to bring the affair of the
Prince of Conde upon the tapis. The Cardinal for some time refused even
to treat upon it. Don Louis, with the same 'sang froid', as constantly
persisted, till he at last prevailed: contrary to the intentions and the
interest both of the Cardinal and of his Court. Sense must distinguish
between what is impossible, and what is only difficult; and spirit and
perseverance will get the better of the latter. Every man is to be had
one way or another, and every woman almost any way. I must not omit one
thing, which is previously necessary to this, and, indeed, to everything
else; which is attention, a flexibility of attention; never to be wholly
engrossed by any past or future object, but instantly directed to the
present one, be it what it will. An absent man can make but few
observations; and those will be disjointed and imperfect ones, as half
the circumstance must necessarily escape him. He can pursue nothing
steadily, because his absences make him lose his way. They are very
disagreeable, and hardly to be tolerated in old age; but in youth they
cannot be forgiven. If you find that you have the least tendency to them,
pray watch yourself very carefully, and you may prevent them now; but if
you let them grow into habit, you will find it very difficult to cure
them hereafter, and a worse distemper I do not know.

I heard with great satisfaction the other day, from one who has been
lately at Rome, that nobody was better received in the best companies
than yourself. The same thing, I dare say, will happen to you at Paris;
where they are particularly kind to all strangers, who will be civil to
them, and show a desire of pleasing. But they must be flattered a little,
not only by words, but by a seeming preference given to their country,
their manners, and their customs; which is but a very small price to pay
for a very good reception. Were I in Africa, I would pay it to a negro
for his goodwill. Adieu.


LONDON, June 11, O. S. 1750

MY DEAR FRIEND: The President Montesquieu (whom you will be acquainted
with at Paris), after having laid down in his book, 'De l'Esprit des
Lois', the nature and principles of the three different kinds of
government, viz, the democratical, the monarchical, and the despotic,
treats of the education necessary for each respective form. His chapter
upon the education proper for the monarchical I thought worth
transcribing and sending to you. You will observe that the monarchy which
he has in his eye is France:--

"In monarchies, the principal branch of education is not taught in
colleges or academies. It commences, in some measure, at our setting out
in the world; for this is the school of what we call honor, that
universal preceptor, which ought everywhere to be our guide.

"Here it is that we constantly hear three rules or maxims, viz: That we
should have a certain nobleness in our virtues, a kind of frankness in
our morals, and a particular politeness in our behavior.

"The virtues we are here taught, are less what we owe to others, than to
ourselves; they are not so much what draws us toward society, as what
distinguishes us from our fellow-citizens.

"Here the actions of men are judged, not as virtuous, but as shining; not
as just, but as great; not as reasonable, but as extraordinary.

"When honor here meets with anything noble in our actions, it is either a
judge that approves them, or a sophister by whom they are excused.

"It allows of gallantry, when united with the idea of sensible affection,
or with that of conquest; this is the reason why we never meet with so
strict a purity of morals in monarchies as in republican governments.

"It allows of cunning and craft, when joined with the notion of greatness
of soul or importance of affairs; as, for instance, in politics, with
whose finenesses it is far from being offended.

"It does not forbid adulation, but when separate from the idea of a large
fortune, and connected only with the sense of our mean condition.

"With regard to morals, I have observed, that the education of monarchies
ought to admit of a certain frankness and open carriage. Truth,
therefore, in conversation, is here a necessary point. But is it for the
sake of truth. By no means. Truth is requisite only, because a person
habituated to veracity has an air of boldness and freedom. And, indeed, a
man of this stamp seems to lay a stress only on the things themselves,
not on the manner in which they are received.

"Hence it is, that in proportion as this kind of frankness is commended,
that of the common people is despised, which has nothing but truth and
simplicity for its object.

"In fine, the education of monarchies requires a certain politeness of
behavior. Man, a sociable animal, is formed to please in society; and a
person that would break through the rules of decency, so as to shock
those he conversed with, would lose the public esteem, and become
incapable of doing any good.

"But politeness, generally speaking, does not derive its original from so
pure a source. It arises from a desire of distinguishing ourselves. It is
pride that renders us polite; we are flattered with being taken notice of
for a behavior that shows we are not of a mean condition, and that we
have not been bred up with those who in all ages are considered as the
scum of the people.

"Politeness, in monarchies, is naturalized at court. One man excessively
great renders everybody else little. Hence that regard which is paid to
our fellow-subjects; hence that politeness, equally pleasing to those by
whom, as to those toward whom, it is practiced; because it gives people
to understand that a person actually belongs, or at least deserves to
belong, to the court.

"A court air consists in quitting a real for a borrowed greatness. The
latter pleases the courtier more than the former. It inspires him with a
certain disdainful modesty, which shows itself externally, but whose
pride insensibly diminishes in proportion to his distance from the source
of this greatness.

"At court we find a delicacy of taste in everything; a delicacy arising
from the constant use of the superfluities of life; from the variety, and
especially the satiety of pleasures; from the multiplicity and even
confusion of fancies, which, if they are not agreeable, are sure of being
well received.

"These are the things which properly fall within the province of
education, in order to form what we call a man of honor, a man possessed
of all the qualities and virtues requisite in this kind of government.

"Here it is that honor interferes with everything, mixing even with
people's manner of thinking, and directing their very principles.

"To this whimsical honor it is owing that the virtues are only just what
it pleases; it adds rules of its own invention to everything prescribed
to us; it extends or limits our duties according to its own fancy,
whether they proceed from religion, politics, or morality.

"There is nothing so strongly inculcated in monarchies, by the laws, by
religion, and honor, as submission to the Prince's will, but this very
honor tells us, that the Prince never ought to command a dishonorable
action, because this would render us incapable of serving him.

"Crillon refused to assassinate the Duke of Guise, but offered to fight
him. After the massacre of St. Bartholomew, Charles IX., having sent
orders to the governors in the several provinces for the Huguenots to be
murdered, Viscount Dorte, who commanded at Bayonne, wrote thus to the
King: 'Sire, Among the inhabitants of this town, and your Majesty's
troops, I could not find so much as one executioner; they are honest
citizens and brave soldiers. We jointly, therefore, beseech your Majesty
to command our arms and lives in things that are practicable.' This great
and generous soul looked upon a base action as a thing impossible.

"There is nothing that honor more strongly recommends to the nobility,
than to serve their Prince in a military capacity. And indeed this is
their favorite profession, because its dangers, its success, and even its
miscarriages, are the road to grandeur. Yet this very law, of its own
making, honor chooses to explain; and in case of any affront, it requires
or permits us to retire.

"It insists also, that we should be at liberty either to seek or to
reject employments; a liberty which it prefers even to an ample fortune.

"Honor, therefore, has its supreme laws, to which education is obliged to
conform. The chief of these are, that we are permitted to set a value
upon our fortune, but are absolutely forbidden to set any upon our lives.

"The second is, that when we are raised to a post or preferment, we
should never do or permit anything which may seem to imply that we look
upon ourselves as inferior to the rank we hold.

"The third is, that those things which honor forbids are more rigorously
forbidden, when the laws do not concur in the prohibition; and those it
commands are more strongly insisted upon, when they happen not to be
commanded by law."

Though our government differs considerably from the French, inasmuch as
we have fixed laws and constitutional barriers for the security of our
liberties and properties, yet the President's observations hold pretty
near as true in England as in France. Though monarchies may differ a good
deal, kings differ very little. Those who are absolute desire to continue
so, and those who are not, endeavor to become so; hence the same maxims
and manners almost in all courts: voluptuousness and profusion
encouraged, the one to sink the people into indolence, the other into
poverty--consequently into dependence. The court is called the world here
as well as at Paris; and nothing more is meant by saying that a man knows
the world, than that he knows courts. In all courts you must expect to
meet with connections without friendship, enmities without hatred, honor
without virtue, appearances saved, and realities sacrificed; good manners
with bad morals; and all vice and virtues so disguised, that whoever has
only reasoned upon both would know neither when he first met them at
court. It is well that you should know the map of that country, that when
you come to travel in it, you may do it with greater safety.

From all this you will of yourself draw this obvious conclusion: That you
are in truth but now going to the great and important school, the world;
to which Westminster and Leipsig were only the little preparatory
schools, as Marylebone, Windsor, etc., are to them. What you have already
acquired will only place you in the second form of this new school,
instead of the first. But if you intend, as I suppose you do, to get into
the shell, you have very different things to learn from Latin and Greek:
and which require much more sagacity and attention than those two dead
languages; the language of pure and simple nature; the language of nature
variously modified and corrupted by passions, prejudices, and habits; the
language of simulation and dissimulation: very hard, but very necessary
to decipher. Homer has not half so many, nor so difficult dialects, as
the great book of the school you are now going to. Observe, therefore,
progressively, and with the greatest attention, what the best scholars in
the form immediately above you do, and so on, until you get into the
shell yourself. Adieu.

Pray tell Mr. Harte that I have received his letter of the 27th May, N.
S., and that I advise him never to take the English newswriters
literally, who never yet inserted any one thing quite right. I have both
his patent and his mandamus, in both which he is Walter, let the
newspapers call him what they please.


LONDON, July 9, O. S. 1750.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I should not deserve that appellation in return from you,
if I did not freely and explicitly inform you of every corrigible defect
which I may either hear of, suspect, or at any time discover in you.
Those who, in the common course of the world, will call themselves your
friends; or whom, according to the common notions of friendship, you may
possibly think such, will never tell you of your faults, still less of
your weaknesses. But, on the contrary, more desirous to make you their
friend, than to prove themselves yours, they will flatter both, and, in
truth, not be sorry for either. Interiorly, most people enjoy the
inferiority of their best friends. The useful and essential part of
friendship, to you, is reserved singly for Mr. Harte and myself: our
relations to you stand pure and unsuspected of all private views. In
whatever we say to you, we can have no interest but yours. We are
therefore authorized to represent, advise, and remonstrate; and your
reason must tell you that you ought to attend to and believe us.

I am credibly informed, that there is still a considerable hitch or
hobble in your enunciation; and that when you speak fast you sometimes
speak unintelligibly. I have formerly and frequently laid my thoughts
before you so fully upon this subject, that I can say nothing new upon it
now. I must therefore only repeat, that your whole depends upon it. Your
trade is to speak well, both in public and in private. The manner of your
speaking is full as important as the matter, as more people have ears to
be tickled, than understandings to judge. Be your productions ever so
good, they will be of no use, if you stifle and strangle them in their
birth. The best compositions of Corelli, if ill executed and played out
of tune, instead of touching, as they do when well performed, would only
excite the indignation of the hearer's, when murdered by an unskillful
performer. But to murder your own productions, and that 'coram Populo',
is a MEDEAN CRUELTY, which Horace absolutely forbids. Remember of what
importance Demosthenes, and one of the Gracchi, thought ENUNCIATION; and
read what stress Cicero and Quintilian lay upon it; even the herb-women
at Athens were correct judges of it. Oratory, with all its graces, that
of enunciation in particular, is full as necessary in our government as
it ever was in Greece or Rome. No man can make a fortune or a figure in
this country, without speaking, and speaking well in public. If you will
persuade, you must first please; and if you will please, you must tune
your voice to harmony, you must articulate every syllable distinctly,
your emphasis and cadences must be strongly and properly marked; and the
whole together must be graceful and engaging: If you do not speak in that
manner, you had much better not speak at all. All the learning you have,
or ever can have, is not worth one groat without it. It may be a comfort
and an amusement to you in your closet, but can be of no use to you in
the world. Let me conjure you, therefore, to make this your only object,
till you have absolutely conquered it, for that is in your power; think
of nothing else, read and speak for nothing else. Read aloud, though
alone, and read articulately and distinctly, as if you were reading in
public, and on the most important occasion. Recite pieces of eloquence,
declaim scenes of tragedies to Mr. Harte, as if he were a numerous
audience. If there is any particular consonant which you have a
difficulty in articulating, as I think you had with the R, utter it
millions and millions of times, till you have uttered it right. Never
speak quick, till you have first learned to speak well. In short, lay
aside every book, and every thought, that does not directly tend to this
great object, absolutely decisive of your future fortune and figure.

The next thing necessary in your destination, is writing correctly,
elegantly, and in a good hand too; in which three particulars, I am sorry
to tell you, that you hitherto fail. Your handwriting is a very bad one,
and would make a scurvy figure in an office-book of letters, or even in a
lady's pocket-book. But that fault is easily cured by care, since every
man, who has the use of his eyes and of his right hand, can write
whatever hand he pleases. As to the correctness and elegance of your
writing, attention to grammar does the one, and to the best authors the
other. In your letter to me of the 27th June, N. S., you omitted the date
of the place, so that I only conjectured from the contents that you were
at Rome.

Thus I have, with the truth and freedom of the tenderest affection, told
you all your defects, at least all that I know or have heard of. Thank
God, they are all very curable; they must be cured, and I am sure, you
will cure them. That once done, nothing remains for you to acquire, or
for me to wish you, but the turn, the manners, the address, and the
GRACES, of the polite world; which experience, observation, and good
company; will insensibly give you. Few people at your age have read,
seen, and known, so much as you have; and consequently few are so near as
yourself to what I call perfection, by which I only, mean being very near
as well as the best. Far, therefore, from being discouraged by what you
still want, what you already have should encourage you to attempt, and
convince you that by attempting you will inevitably obtain it. The
difficulties which you have surmounted were much greater than any you
have now to encounter. Till very lately, your way has been only through
thorns and briars; the few that now remain are mixed with roses. Pleasure
is now the principal remaining part of your education. It will soften and
polish your manners; it will make you pursue and at last overtake the
GRACES. Pleasure is necessarily reciprocal; no one feels, who does not at
the same time give it. To be pleased one must please. What pleases you in
others, will in general please them in you. Paris is indisputably the
seat of the GRACES; they will even court you, if you are not too coy.
Frequent and observe the best companies there, and you will soon be
naturalized among them; you will soon find how particularly attentive
they are to the correctness and elegance of their language, and to the
graces of their enunciation: they would even call the understanding of a
man in question, who should neglect or not know the infinite advantages
arising from them. 'Narrer, reciter, declamer bien', are serious studies
among them, and well deserve to be so everywhere. The conversations, even
among the women, frequently turn upon the elegancies and minutest
delicacies of the French language. An 'enjouement', a gallant turn,
prevails in all their companies, to women, with whom they neither are,
nor pretend to be, in love; but should you (as may very possibly happen)
fall really in love there with some woman of fashion and sense (for I do
not suppose you capable of falling in love with a strumpet), and that
your rival, without half your parts or knowledge, should get the better
of you, merely by dint of manners, 'enjouement, badinage', etc., how
would you regret not having sufficiently attended to those
accomplishments which you despised as superficial and trifling, but which
you would then find of real consequence in the course of the world! And
men, as well as women, are taken by those external graces. Shut up your
books, then, now as a business, and open them only as a pleasure; but let
the great book of the world be your serious study; read it over and over,
get it by heart, adopt its style, and make it your own.

When I cast up your account as it now stands, I rejoice to see the
balance so much in your favor; and that the items per contra are so few,
and of such a nature, that they may be very easily cancelled. By way of
debtor and creditor, it stands thus:

Creditor.  By French          Debtor. To English
        German               Enunciation
        Italian               Manners
      Jus |Gentium

This, my dear friend, is a very true account; and a very encouraging one
for you. A man who owes so little can clear it off in a very little time,
and, if he is a prudent man, will; whereas a man who, by long negligence,
owes a great deal, despairs of ever being able to pay; and therefore
never looks into his account at all.

When you go to Genoa, pray observe carefully all the environs of it, and
view them with somebody who can tell you all the situations and
operations of the Austrian army, during that famous siege, if it deserves
to be called one; for in reality the town never was besieged, nor had the
Austrians any one thing necessary for a siege. If Marquis Centurioni, who
was last winter in England, should happen to be there, go to him with my
compliments, and he will show you all imaginable civilities.

I could have sent you some letters to Florence, but that I knew Mr. Mann
would be of more use to you than all of them. Pray make him my
compliments. Cultivate your Italian, while you are at Florence, where it
is spoken in its utmost purity, but ill pronounced.

Pray save me the seed of some of the best melons you eat, and put it up
dry in paper. You need not send it me; but Mr. Harte will bring it in his
pocket when he comes over. I should likewise be glad of some cuttings of
the best figs, especially la Pica gentile and the Maltese; but as this is
not the season for them, Mr. Mann will, I dare say, undertake that
commission, and send them to me at the proper time by Leghorn. Adieu.
Endeavor to please others, and divert yourself as much as ever you can,
in 'honnete et galant homme'.

P. S. I send you the inclosed to deliver to Lord Rochford, upon your
arrival at Turin.


LONDON, August 6, O. S. 1750

MY DEAR FRIEND: Since your letter from Sienna, which gave me a very
imperfect account both of your illness and your recovery, I have not
received one word either from you or Mr. Harte. I impute this to the
carelessness of the post simply: and the great distance between us at
present exposes our letters to those accidents. But when you come to
Paris, from whence the letters arrive here very regularly, I shall insist
upon you writing to me constantly once a week; and that upon the same
day, for instance, every Thursday, that I may know by what mail to expect
your letter. I shall also require you to be more minute in your account
of yourself than you have hitherto been, or than I have required, because
of the informations which I receive from time to time from Mr. Harte. At
Paris you will be out of your time, and must set up for yourself; it is
then that I shall be very solicitous to know how you carry on your
business. While Mr. Harte was your partner, the care was his share, and
the profit yours. But at Paris, if you will have the latter, you must
take the former along with it. It will be quite a new world to you; very
different from the little world that you have hitherto seen; and you will
have much more to do in it. You must keep your little accounts constantly
every morning, if you would not have them run into confusion, and swell
to a bulk that would frighten you from ever looking into them at all. You
must allow some time for learning what you do not know, and some for
keeping what you do know; and you must leave a great deal of time for
your pleasures; which (I repeat it, again) are now become the most
necessary part of your education. It is by conversations, dinners,
suppers, entertainments, etc., in the best companies, that you must be
formed for the world. 'Les manieres les agremens, les graces' cannot be
learned by theory; they are only to be got by use among those who have
them; and they are now the main object of your life, as they are the
necessary steps to your fortune. A man of the best parts, and the
greatest learning, if he does not know the world by his own experience
and observation, will be very absurd; and consequently very unwelcome in
company. He may say very good things; but they will probably be so
ill-timed, misplaced, or improperly addressed, that he had much better
hold his tongue. Full of his own matter, and uninformed of; or
inattentive to, the particular circumstances and situations of the
company, he vents it indiscriminately; he puts some people out of
countenance; he shocks others; and frightens all, who dread what may come
out next. The most general rule that I can give you for the world, and
which your experience will convince you of the truth of, is, Never to
give the tone to the company, but to take it from them; and to labor more
to put them in conceit with themselves, than to make them admire you.
Those whom you can make like themselves better, will, I promise you, like
you very well.

A system-monger, who, without knowing anything of the world by
experience, has formed a system, of it in his dusty cell, lays it down,
for example, that (from the general nature of mankind) flattery is
pleasing. He will therefore flatter. But how? Why, indiscriminately. And
instead of repairing and heightening the piece judiciously, with soft
colors and a delicate pencil,--with a coarse brush and a great deal of
whitewash, he daubs and besmears the piece he means to adorn. His
flattery offends even his patron; and is almost too gross for his
mistress. A man of the world knows the force of flattery as well as he
does; but then he knows how, when, and where to give it; he proportions
his dose to the constitution of the patient. He flatters by application,
by inference, by comparison, by hint, and seldom directly. In the course
of the world, there is the same difference in everything between system
and practice.

I long to have you at Paris, which is to be your great school; you will
be then in a manner within reach of me.

Tell me, are you perfectly recovered, or do you still find any remaining
complaint upon your lungs? Your diet should be cooling, and at the same
time nourishing. Milks of all kinds are proper for you; wines of all
kinds bad. A great deal of gentle, and no violent exercise, is good for
you. Adieu. 'Gratia, fama, et valetudo, contingat, abunde!'


LONDON, October 22, O. S. 1750

MY DEAR FRIEND: This letter will, I am persuaded, find you, and I hope
safely, arrived at Montpelier; from whence I trust that Mr. Harte's
indisposition will, by being totally removed, allow you to get to Paris
before Christmas. You will there find two people who, though both
English, I recommend in the strongest manner possible to your attention;
and advise you to form the most intimate connections with them both, in
their different ways. The one is a man whom you already know something
of, but not near enough: it is the Earl of Huntingdon; who, next to you,
is the truest object of my affection and esteem; and who (I am proud to
say it) calls me, and considers me as his adopted father. His parts are
as quick as his knowledge is extensive; and if quality were worth putting
into an account, where every other item is so much more valuable, he is
the first almost in this country: the figure he will make in it, soon
after he returns to it, will, if I am not more mistaken than ever I was
in my life, equal his birth and my hopes. Such a connection will be of
infinite advantage to you; and, I can assure you, that he is extremely
disposed to form it upon my account; and will, I hope and believe, desire
to improve and cement it upon your own.

In our parliamentary government, connections are absolutely necessary;
and, if prudently formed and ably maintained, the success of them is
infallible. There are two sorts of connections, which I would always
advise you to have in view. The first I will call equal ones; by which I
mean those, where the two connecting parties reciprocally find their
account, from pretty near an equal degree of parts and abilities. In
those, there must be a freer communication; each must see that the other
is able, and be convinced that he is willing to be of use to him. Honor
must be the principle of such connections; and there must be a mutual
dependence, that present and separate interest shall not be able to break
them. There must be a joint system of action; and, in case of different
opinions, each must recede a little, in order at last to form an
unanimous one. Such, I hope, will be your connection with Lord
Huntingdon. You will both come into parliament at the same time; and if
you have an equal share of abilities and application, you and he, with
other young people, with whom you will naturally associate, may form a
band which will be respected by any administration, and make a figure in
the public. The other sort of connections I call unequal ones; that is,
where the parts are all on one side, and the rank and fortune on the
other. Here, the advantage is all on one side; but that advantage must be
ably and artfully concealed. Complaisance, an engaging manner, and a
patient toleration of certain airs of superiority, must cement them. The
weaker party must be taken by the heart, his head giving no hold; and he
must be governed by being made to believe that he governs. These people,
skillfully led, give great weight to their leader. I have formerly
pointed out to you a couple that I take to be proper objects for your
skill; and you will meet with twenty more, for they are very rife.

The other person whom I recommended to you is a woman; not as a woman,
for that is not immediately my business; besides, I fear that she is
turned of fifty. It is Lady Hervey, whom I directed you to call upon at
Dijon, but who, to my great joy, because to your great advantage, passes
all this winter at Paris. She has been bred all her life at courts; of
which she has acquired all the easy good-breeding and politeness, without
the frivolousness. She has all the reading that a woman should have; and
more than any woman need have; for she understands Latin perfectly well,
though she wisely conceals it. As she will look upon you as her son, I
desire that you will look upon her as my delegate: trust, consult, and
apply to her without reserve. No woman ever had more than she has, 'le
ton de la parfaitement bonne compagnie, les manieres engageantes, et le
je ne sais quoi qui plait'. Desire her to reprove and correct any, and
every the least error and inaccuracy in your manners, air, address,
etc. No woman in Europe can do it so well; none will do it more
willingly, or in a more proper and obliging manner. In such a case she
will not put you out of countenance, by telling you of it in company; but
either intimate it by some sign, or wait for an opportunity when you are
alone together. She is also in the best French company, where she will
not only introduce but PUFF you, if I may use so low a word. And I can
assure you that it is no little help, in the 'beau monde', to be puffed
there by a fashionable woman. I send you the inclosed billet to carry
her, only as a certificate of the identity of your person, which I take
it for granted she could not know again.

You would be so much surprised to receive a whole letter from me without
any mention of the exterior ornaments necessary for a gentleman, as
manners, elocution, air, address, graces, etc., that, to comply with your
expectations, I will touch upon them; and tell you, that when you come to
England, I will show you some people, whom I do not now care to name,
raised to the highest stations singly by those exterior and adventitious
ornaments, whose parts would never have entitled them to the smallest
office in the excise. Are they then necessary, and worth acquiring, or
not? You will see many instances of this kind at Paris, particularly a
glaring one, of a person--[M. le Marechal de Richelieu]--raised to the
highest posts and dignities in France, as well as to be absolute
sovereign of the 'beau monde', simply by the graces of his person and
address; by woman's chit-chat, accompanied with important gestures; by an
imposing air and pleasing abord. Nay, by these helps, he even passes for
a wit, though he hath certainly no uncommon share of it. I will not name
him, because it would be very imprudent in you to do it. A young fellow,
at his first entrance into the 'beau monde', must not offend the king 'de
facto' there. It is very often more necessary to conceal contempt than
resentment, the former forgiven, but the latter sometimes forgot.

There is a small quarto book entitled, 'Histoire Chronologique de la
France', lately published by Le President Henault, a man of parts and
learning, with whom you will probably get acquainted at Paris. I desire
that it may always lie upon your table, for your recourse as often as you
read history. The chronology, though chiefly relative to the history of
France, is not singly confined to it; but the most interesting events of
all the rest of Europe are also inserted, and many of them adorned by
short, pretty, and just reflections. The new edition of 'Les Memoires de
Sully', in three quarto volumes, is also extremely well worth your
reading, as it will give you a clearer, and truer notion of one of the
most interesting periods of the French history, than you can yet have
formed from all the other books you may have read upon the subject. That
prince, I mean Henry the Fourth, had all the accomplishments and virtues
of a hero, and of a king, and almost of a man. The last are the most
rarely seen. May you possess them all! Adieu.

Pray make my compliments to Mr. Harte, and let him know that I have this
moment received his letter of the 12th, N. S., from Antibes. It requires
no immediate answer; I shall therefore delay mine till I have another
from him. Give him the inclosed, which I have received from Mr. Eliot.


LONDON, November 1, O. S. 1750

MY DEAR FRIEND: I hope that this letter will not find you still at
Montpelier, but rather be sent after you from thence to Paris, where, I
am persuaded, that Mr. Harte could find as good advice for his leg as at
Montpelier, if not better; but if he is of a different opinion, I am sure
you ought to stay there, as long as he desires.

While you are in France, I could wish that the hours you allot for
historical amusement should be entirely devoted to the history of France.
One always reads history to most advantage in that country to which it is
relative; not only books, but persons being ever at hand to solve doubts
and clear up difficulties. I do by no means advise you to throw away your
time in ransacking, like a dull antiquarian, the minute and unimportant
parts of remote and fabulous times. Let blockheads read what blockheads
wrote. And a general notion of the history of France, from the conquest
of that country by the Franks, to the reign of Louis the Eleventh, is
sufficient for use, consequently sufficient for you. There are, however,
in those remote times, some remarkable eras that deserve more particular
attention; I mean those in which some notable alterations happened in the
constitution and form of government. As, for example, in the settlement
of Clovis in Gaul, and the form of government which he then established;
for, by the way; that form of government differed in this particular from
all the other Gothic governments, that the people, neither collectively
nor by representatives, had any share in it. It was a mixture of monarchy
and aristocracy: and what were called the States General of France
consisted only of the nobility and clergy till the time of Philip le Bel,
in the very beginning of the fourteenth century, who first called the
people to those assemblies, by no means for the good of the people, who
were only amused by this pretended honor, but, in truth, to check the
nobility and clergy, and induce them to grant the money he wanted for his
profusion; this was a scheme of Enguerrand de Marigny, his minister, who
governed both him and his kingdom to such a degree as to, be called the
coadjutor and governor of the kingdom. Charles Martel laid aside these
assemblies, and governed by open force. Pepin restored them, and attached
them to him, and with them the nation; by which means he deposed
Childeric and mounted the throne. This is a second period worth your
attention. The third race of kings, which begins with Hugues Capet, is a
third period. A judicious reader of history will save himself a great
deal of time and trouble by attending with care only to those interesting
periods of history which furnish remarkable events, and make eras, and
going slightly over the common run of events. Some people read history
as others read the "Pilgrim's Progress"; giving equal attention to, and
indiscriminately loading their memories with, every part alike. But I
would have you read it in a different manner; take the shortest general
history you can find of every country; and mark down in that history the
most important periods, such as conquests, changes of kings, and
alterations of the form of government; and then have recourse to more
extensive histories or particular treatises, relative to those great
points. Consider them well, trace up their causes, and follow their
consequences. For instance, there is a most excellent, though very short
history of France, by Le Gendre. Read that with attention, and you will
know enough of the general history; but when you find there such
remarkable periods as are above mentioned, consult Mezeray, and other of
the best and minutest historians, as well as political treatises upon
those subjects. In later times, memoirs, from those of Philip de
Commines, down to the innumerble ones in the reign of Louis the
Fourteenth, have been of great use, and thrown great light upon
particular parts of history.

Conversation in France, if you have the address and dexterity to turn it
upon useful subjects, will exceedingly improve your historical knowledge;
for people there, however classically ignorant they may be, think it a
shame to be ignorant of the history of their own country: they read that,
if they read nothing else, and having often read nothing else, are proud
of having read that, and talk of it willingly; even the women are well
instructed in that sort of reading. I am far from meaning by this that
you should always be talking wisely in company, of books, history, and
matters of knowledge. There are many companies which you will, and ought
to keep, where such conversations would be misplaced and ill-timed; your
own good sense must distinguish the company and the time. You must trifle
only with triflers; and be serious only with the serious, but dance to
those who pipe. 'Cur in theatrum Cato severs venisti?' was justly said to
an old man: how much more so would it be to one of your age? From the
moment that you are dressed and go out, pocket all your knowledge with
your watch, and never pull it out in company unless desired: the
producing of the one unasked, implies that you are weary of the company;
and the producing of the other unrequired, will make the company weary of
you. Company is a republic too jealous of its liberties, to suffer a
dictator even for a quarter of an hour; and yet in that, as in republics,
there are some few who really govern; but then it is by seeming to
disclaim, instead of attempting to usurp the power; that is the occasion
in which manners, dexterity, address, and the undefinable 'je ne sais
quoi' triumph; if properly exerted, their conquest is sure, and the more
lasting for not being perceived. Remember, that this is not only your
first and greatest, but ought to be almost your only object, while you
are in France.

I know that many of your countrymen are apt to call the freedom and
vivacity of the French petulancy and illbreeding; but, should you think
so, I desire upon many accounts that you will not say so; I admit that it
may be so in some instances of 'petits maitres Etourdis', and in some
young people unbroken to the world; but I can assure you, that you will
find it much otherwise with people of a certain rank and age, upon whose
model you will do very well to form yourself. We call their steady
assurance, impudence why? Only because what we call modesty is awkward
bashfulness and 'mauvaise honte'. For my part, I see no impudence, but,
on the contrary, infinite utility and advantage in presenting one's self
with the same coolness and unconcern in any and every company. Till one
can do that, I am very sure that one can never present one's self well.
Whatever is done under concern and embarrassment, must be ill done, and,
till a man is absolutely easy and unconcerned in every company, he will
never be thought to have kept good company, nor be very welcome in it. A
steady assurance, with seeming modesty, is possibly the most useful
qualification that a man can have in every part of life. A man would
certainly make a very considerable fortune and figure in the world, whose
modesty and timidity should often, as bashfulness always does (put him in
the deplorable and lamentable situation of the pious AEneas, when
'obstupuit, steteruntque comae; et vox faucibus haesit!). Fortune (as
well as women)--

        "---------born to be controlled,
        Stoops to the forward and the bold."

Assurance and intrepidity, under the white banner of seeming modesty,
clear the way for merit, that would otherwise be discouraged by
difficulties in its journey; whereas barefaced impudence is the noisy and
blustering harbinger of a worthless and senseless usurper.

You will think that I shall never have done recommending to you these
exterior worldly accomplishments, and you will think right, for I never
shall; they are of too great consequence to you for me to be indifferent
or negligent about them: the shining part of your future figure and
fortune depends now wholly upon them. These are the acquisitions which
must give efficacy and success to those you have already made. To have it
said and believed that you are the most learned man in England, would be
no more than was said and believed of Dr. Bentley; but to have it said,
at the same time, that you are also the best-bred, most polite, and
agreeable man in the kingdom, would be such a happy composition of a
character as I never yet knew any one man deserve; and which I will
endeavor, as well as ardently wish, that you may. Absolute perfection is,
I well know, unattainable; but I know too, that a man of parts may be
unweariedly aiming at it, and arrive pretty near it. Try, labor,
persevere. Adieu.


LONDON, November 8, O. S. 1750

MY DEAR FRIEND: Before you get to Paris, where you will soon be left to
your own discretion, if you have any, it is necessary that we should
understand one another thoroughly; which is the most probable way of
preventing disputes. Money, the cause of much mischief in the world, is
the cause of most quarrels between fathers and sons; the former commonly
thinking that they cannot give too little, and the latter, that they
cannot have enough; both equally in the wrong. You must do me the justice
to acknowledge, that I have hitherto neither stinted nor grudged any
expense that could be of use or real pleasure to you; and I can assure
you, by the way, that you have traveled at a much more considerable
expense than I did myself; but I never so much as thought of that, while
Mr. Harte was at the head of your finances; being very sure that the sums
granted were scrupulously applied to the uses for which they were
intended. But the case will soon be altered, and you will be your own
receiver and treasurer. However, I promise you, that we will not quarrel
singly upon the quantum, which shall be cheerfully and freely granted:
the application and appropriation of it will be the material point, which
I am now going to clear up and finally settle with you. I will fix, or
even name, no settled allowance; though I well know in my own mind what
would be the proper one; but I will first try your draughts, by which I
can in a good degree judge of your conduct. This only I tell you in
general, that if the channels through which my money is to go are the
proper ones, the source shall not be scanty; but should it deviate into
dirty, muddy, and obscure ones (which by the bye, it cannot do for a week
without my knowing it); I give you fair and timely notice, that the
source will instantly be dry. Mr. Harte, in establishing you at Paris,
will point out to you those proper channels; he will leave you there upon
the foot of a man of fashion, and I will continue you upon the same; you
will have your coach, your valet de chambre, your own footman, and a
valet de place; which, by the way, is one servant more than I had. I
would have you very well dressed, by which I mean dressed as the
generality of people of fashion are; that is, not to be taken notice of,
for being either more or less fine than other people: it is by being well
dressed, not finely dressed, that a gentleman should be distinguished.
You must frequent 'les spectacles', which expense I shall willingly
supply. You must play 'a des petits jeux de commerce' in mixed companies;
that article is trifling; I shall pay it cheerfully. All the other
articles of pocket-money are very inconsiderable at Paris, in comparison
of what they are here, the silly custom of giving money wherever one
dines or sups, and the expensive importunity of subscriptions, not being
yet introduced there. Having thus reckoned up all the decent expenses of
a gentleman, which I will most readily defray, I come now to those which
I will neither bear nor supply. The first of these is gaming, of which,
though I have not the least reason to suspect you, I think it necessary
eventually to assure you, that no consideration in the world shall ever
make me pay your play debts; should you ever urge to me that your honor
is pawned, I should most immovably answer you, that it was your honor,
not mine, that was pawned; and that your creditor might e'en take the
pawn for the debt.

Low company, and low pleasures, are always much more costly than liberal
and elegant ones. The disgraceful riots of a tavern are much more
expensive, as well as dishonorable, than the sometimes pardonable
excesses in good company. I must absolutely hear of no tavern scrapes and

I come now to another and very material point; I mean women; and I will
not address myself to you upon this subject, either in a religious, a
moral, or a parental style. I will even lay aside my age, remember yours,
and speak to you as one man of pleasure, if he had parts too, would speak
to another. I will by no means pay for whores, and their never-failing
consequences, surgeons; nor will I, upon any account, keep singers,
dancers, actresses, and 'id genus omne'; and, independently of the
expense, I must tell you, that such connections would give me, and all
sensible people, the utmost contempt for your parts and address; a young
fellow must have as little sense as address, to venture, or more properly
to sacrifice, his health and ruin his fortune, with such sort of
creatures; in such a place as Paris especially, where gallantry is both
the profession and the practice of every woman of fashion. To speak
plainly, I will not forgive your understanding c--------s and p-------s;
nor will your constitution forgive them you. These distempers, as well as
their cures, fall nine times in ten upon the lungs. This argument, I am
sure, ought to have weight with you: for I protest to you, that if you
meet with any such accident, I would not give one year's purchase for
your life. Lastly, there is another sort of expense that I will not
allow, only because it is a silly one; I mean the fooling away your money
in baubles at toy shops. Have one handsome snuff-box (if you take snuff),
and one handsome sword; but then no more pretty and very useless things.

By what goes before, you will easily perceive that I mean to allow you
whatever is necessary, not only for the figure, but for the pleasures of
a gentleman, and not to supply the profusion of a rake. This, you must
confess, does not savor of either the severity or parsimony of old age. I
consider this agreement between us, as a subsidiary treaty on my part,
for services to be performed on yours. I promise you, that I will be as
punctual in the payment of the subsidies, as England has been during the
last war; but then I give you notice at the same time, that I require a
much more scrupulous execution of the treaty on your part, than we met
with on that of our allies; or else that payment will be stopped. I hope
all that I have now said was absolutely unnecessary, and that sentiments
more worthy and more noble than pecuniary ones, would of themselves have
pointed out to you the conduct I recommend; but, at all events, I
resolved to be once for all explicit with you, that, in the worst that
can happen, you may not plead ignorance, and complain that I had not
sufficiently explained to you my intentions.

Having mentioned the word rake, I must say a word or two more on that
subject, because young people too frequently, and always fatally, are apt
to mistake that character for that of a man of pleasure; whereas, there
are not in the world two characters more different. A rake is a
composition of all the lowest, most ignoble, degrading, and shameful
vices; they all conspire to disgrace his character, and to ruin his
fortune; while wine and the p-------s contend which shall soonest and
most effectually destroy his constitution. A dissolute, flagitious
footman, or porter, makes full as good a rake as a man of the first
quality. By the bye, let me tell you, that in the wildest part of my
youth, I never was a rake, but, on the contrary, always detested and
despised that character.

A man of pleasure, though not always so scrupulous as he should be, and
as one day he will wish he had been, refines at least his pleasures by
taste, accompanies them with decency, and enjoys them with dignity. Few
men can be men of pleasure, every man may be a rake. Remember that I
shall know everything you say or do at Paris, as exactly as if, by the
force of magic, I could follow you everywhere, like a sylph or a gnome,
invisible myself. Seneca says, very prettily, that one should ask nothing
of God, but what one should be willing that men should know; nor of men,
but what one should be willing that God should know. I advise you to say
and do nothing at Paris, but what you would be willing that I should
know. I hope, nay, I believe, that will be the case. Sense, I dare say,
you do not want; instruction, I am sure, you have never wanted:
experience you are daily gaining: all which together must inevitably (I
should think) make you both 'respectable et aimable', the perfection of a
human character. In that case nothing shall be wanting on my part, and
you shall solidly experience all the extent and tenderness of my
affection for you; but dread the reverse of both! Adieu!

P. S. When you get to Paris, after you have been to wait on Lord
Albemarle, go to see Mr. Yorke, whom I have particular reasons for
desiring that you should be well with, as I shall hereafter explain to
you. Let him know that my orders, and your own inclinations, conspired to
make you desire his friendship and protection.


MY DEAR FRIEND: I have sent you so many preparatory letters for Paris,
that this, which will meet you there, shall only be a summary of them

You have hitherto had more liberty than anybody of your age ever had; and
I must do you the justice to own, that you have made a better use of it
than most people of your age would have done; but then, though you had
not a jailer, you had a friend with you. At Paris, you will not only be
unconfined, but unassisted. Your own good sense must be your only guide:
I have great confidence in it, and am convinced that I shall receive just
such accounts of your conduct at Paris as I could wish; for I tell you
beforehand, that I shall be most minutely informed of all that you do,
and almost of all that you say there. Enjoy the pleasures of youth, you
cannot do better: but refine and dignify them like a man, of parts; let
them raise, and not sink; let them adorn and not vilify your character;
let them, in short, be the pleasures of a gentleman, and taken with your
equals at least, but rather with your superiors, and those chiefly

Inquire into the characters of the several Academicians, before you form
a connection with any of them; and be most upon your guard against those
who make the most court to you.

You cannot study much in the Academy; but you may study usefully there,
if you are an economist of your time, and bestow only upon good books
those quarters and halves of hours, which occur to everybody in the
course of almost every day; and which, at the year's end, amount to a
very considerable sum of time. Let Greek, without fail, share some part
of every day; I do not mean the Greek poets, the catches of Anacreon, or
the tender complaints of Theocritus, or even the porter-like language of
Homer's heroes; of whom all smatterers in Greek know a little, quote
often, and talk of always; but I mean Plato, Aristoteles, Demosthenes,
and Thucydides, whom none but adepts know. It is Greek that must
distinguish you in the learned world, Latin alone will not: and Greek
must be sought to be retained, for it never occurs like Latin. When you
read history or other books of amusement, let every language you are
master of have its turn, so that you may not only retain, but improve in
everyone. I also desire that you will converse in German and Italian,
with all the Germans and the Italians with whom you converse at all. This
will be a very agreeable and flattering thing to them, and a very useful
one to you.

Pray apply yourself diligently to your exercises; for though the doing
them well is not supremely meritorious, the doing them ill is illiberal,
vulgar, and ridiculous.

I recommend theatrical representations to you; which are excellent at
Paris. The tragedies of Corneille and Racine, and the comedies of
Moliere, well attended to, are admirable lessons, both for the heart and
the head. There is not, nor ever was, any theatre comparable to the
French. If the music of the French operas does not please your Italian
ear, the words of them, at least, are sense and poetry, which is much
more than I can, say of any Italian opera that I ever read or heard in my

I send you the inclosed letter of recommendation to Marquis Matignon,
which I would have you deliver to him as soon as you can; you will, I am
sure, feel the good effects of his warm friendship for me and Lord
Bolingbroke, who has also wrote to him upon your subject. By that, and by
the other letters which I have sent you, you will be at once so
thoroughly introduced into the best French company, that you must take
some pains if you will keep bad; but that is what I do not suspect you
of. You have, I am sure, too much right ambition to prefer low and
disgraceful company to that of your superiors, both in rank and age. Your
character, and consequently your fortune, absolutely depends upon the
company you keep, and the turn you take at Paris. I do not in the least
mean a grave turn; on the contrary, a gay, a sprightly, but, at the same
time, an elegant and liberal one.

Keep carefully out of all scrapes and quarrels. They lower a character
extremely; and are particularly dangerous in France; where a man is
dishonored by not resenting an affront, and utterly ruined by resenting
it. The young Frenchmen are hasty, giddy, and petulant; extremely
national, and 'avantageux'. Forbear from any national jokes or
reflections, which are always improper, and commonly unjust. The colder
northern nations generally look upon France as a whistling, singing,
dancing, frivolous nation; this notion is very far from being a true one,
though many 'Petits maitres' by their behavior seem to justify it; but
those very 'petits maltres', when mellowed by age and experience, very
often turn out very able men. The number of great generals and statesmen,
as well as excellent authors, that France has produced, is an undeniable
proof, that it is not that frivolous, unthinking, empty nation that
northern prejudices suppose it. Seem to like and approve of everything at
first, and I promise you that you will like and approve of many things

I expect that you will write to me constantly, once every week, which I
desire may be every Thursday; and that your letters may inform me of your
personal transactions: not of what you see, but of whom you see, and what
you do.

Be your own monitor, now that you will have no other. As to enunciation,
I must repeat it to you again and again, that there is no one thing so
necessary: all other talents, without that, are absolutely useless,
except in your own closet.

It sounds ridiculously to bid you study with your dancing-master; and yet
I do. The bodily-carriage and graces are of infinite consequence to
everybody, and more particularly to you.

Adieu for this time, my dear child. Yours tenderly.


LONDON, November 12, O. S. 1750

MY DEAR FRIEND: You will possibly think, that this letter turns upon
strange, little, trifling objects; and you will think right, if you
consider them separately; but if you take them aggregately, you will be
convinced that as parts, which conspire to form that whole, called the
exterior of a man of fashion, they are of importance. I shall not dwell
now upon these personal graces, that liberal air, and that engaging
address, which I have so often recommended to you; but descend still
lower, to your dress, cleanliness, and care of your person.

When you come to Paris, you may take care to be extremely well dressed;
that is, as the fashionable people are; this does by no means consist in
the finery, but in the taste, fitness, and manner of wearing your
clothes; a fine suit ill-made, and slatternly or stiffly worn, far from
adorning, only exposes the awkwardness of the wearer. Get the best French
tailor to make your clothes, whatever they are, in the fashion, and to
fit you: and then wear them, button them, or unbutton them, as the
genteelest people you see do. Let your man learn of the best friseur to
do your hair well, for that is a very material part of your dress. Take
care to have your stockings well gartered up, and your shoes well
buckled; for nothing gives a more slovenly air to a man than ill-dressed
legs. In your person you must be accurately clean; and your teeth, hands,
and nails, should be superlatively so; a dirty mouth has real ill
consequences to the owner, for it infallibly causes the decay, as well as
the intolerable pain of the teeth, and it is very offensive to his
acquaintance, for it will most inevitably stink. I insist, therefore,
that you wash your teeth the first thing you do every morning, with a
soft sponge and swarm water, for four or five minutes; and then wash your
mouth five or six times. Mouton, whom I desire you will send for upon
your arrival at Paris, will give you an opiate, and a liquor to be used
sometimes. Nothing looks more ordinary, vulgar, and illiberal, than dirty
hands, and ugly, uneven, and ragged nails: I do not suspect you of that
shocking, awkward trick, of biting yours; but that is not enough: you
must keep the ends of them smooth and clean, not tipped with black, as
the ordinary people's always are. The ends of your nails should be small
segments of circles, which, by a very little care in the cutting, they
are very easily brought to; every time that you wipe your hands, rub the
skin round your nails backward, that it may not grow up, and shorten your
nails too much. The cleanliness of the rest of your person, which, by the
way, will conduce greatly to your health, I refer from time to time to
the bagnio. My mentioning these particulars arises (I freely own) from
some suspicion that the hints are not unnecessary; for, when you were a
schoolboy, you were slovenly and dirty above your fellows. I must add
another caution, which is that upon no account whatever, you put your
fingers, as too many people are apt to do, in your nose or ears. It is
the most shocking, nasty, vulgar rudeness, that can be offered to
company; it disgusts one, it turns one's stomach; and, for my own part, I
would much rather know that a man's fingers were actually in his breech,
than see them in his nose. Wash your ears well every morning, and blow
your nose in your handkerchief whenever you have occasion; but, by the
way, without looking at it afterward. There should be in the least, as
well as in the greatest parts of a gentleman, 'les manieres nobles'.
Sense will teach you some, observation others; attend carefully to the
manners, the diction, the motions, of people of the first fashion, and
form your own upon them. On the other hand, observe a little those of the
vulgar, in order to avoid them: for though the things which they say or
do may be the same, the manner is always totally different: and in that,
and nothing else, consists the characteristic of a man of fashion. The
lowest peasant speaks, moves, dresses, eats, and drinks, as much as a man
of the first fashion, but does them all quite differently; so that by
doing and saying most things in a manner opposite to that of the vulgar,
you have a great chance of doing and saying them right. There are
gradations in awkwardness and vulgarism, as there are in everything else.
'Les manieres de robe', though not quite right, are still better than
'les manieres bourgeoises'; and these, though bad, are still better than
'les manieres de campagne'. But the language, the air, the dress, and the
manners of the court, are the only true standard 'des manieres nobles, et
d'un honnete homme. Ex pede Herculem' is an old and true saying, and very
applicable to our present subject; for a man of parts, who has been bred
at courts, and used to keep the best company, will distinguish himself,
and is to be known from the vulgar by every word, attitude, gesture, and
even look. I cannot leave these seeming 'minutiae', without repeating to
you the necessity of your carving well; which is an article, little as it
is, that is useful twice every day of one's life; and the doing it ill is
very troublesome to one's self, and very disagreeable, often ridiculous,
to others.

Having said all this, I cannot help reflecting, what a formal dull
fellow, or a cloistered pedant, would say, if they were to see this
letter: they would look upon it with the utmost contempt, and say that
surely a father might find much better topics for advice to a son. I
would admit it, if I had given you, or that you were capable of
receiving, no better; but if sufficient pains have been taken to form
your heart and improve your mind, and, as I hope, not without success, I
will tell those solid gentlemen, that all these trifling things, as they
think them, collectively, form that pleasing 'je ne sais quoi', that
ensemble, which they are utter strangers to both in themselves and
others. The word aimable is not known in their language, or the thing in
their manners. Great usage of the world, great attention, and a great
desire of pleasing, can alone give it; and it is no trifle. It is from
old people's looking upon these things as trifles, or not thinking of
them at all, that so many young people are so awkward and so ill-bred.
Their parents, often careless and unmindful of them, give them only the
common run of education, as school, university, and then traveling;
without examining, and very often without being able to judge, if they
did examine, what progress they make in any one of these stages. Then,
they carelessly comfort themselves, and say, that their sons will do like
other people's sons; and so they do, that is, commonly very ill. They
correct none of the childish nasty tricks, which they get at school; nor
the illiberal manners which they contract at the university; nor the
frivolous and superficial pertness, which is commonly all that they
acquire by their travels. As they do not tell them of these things,
nobody else can; so they go on in the practice of them, without ever
hearing, or knowing, that they are unbecoming, indecent, and shocking.
For, as I have often formerly observed to you, nobody but a father can
take the liberty to reprove a young fellow, grown up, for those kinds of
inaccuracies and improprieties of behavior. The most intimate friendship,
unassisted by the paternal superiority, will not authorize it. I may
truly say, therefore, that you are happy in having me for a sincere,
friendly, and quick-sighted monitor. Nothing will escape me: I shall pry
for your defects, in order to correct them, as curiously as I shall seek
for your perfections, in order to applaud and reward them, with this
difference only, that I shall publicly mention the latter, and never hint
at the former, but in a letter to, or a tete-d-tete with you. I will
never put you out of countenance before company; and I hope you will
never give me reason to be out of countenance for you, as any one of the
above-mentioned defects would make me. 'Praetor non, curat de minimis',
was a maxim in the Roman law; for causes only of a certain value were
tried by him but there were inferior jurisdictions, that took cognizance
of the smallest. Now I shall try you, not only as 'praetor' in the
greatest, but as 'censor' in lesser, and as the lowest magistrate in the
least cases.

I have this moment received Mr. Harte's letter of the 1st November, N.
S., by which I am very glad to find that he thinks of moving toward
Paris, the end of this month, which looks as if his leg were better;
besides, in my opinion, you both of you only lose time at Montpelier; he
would find better advice, and you better company, at Paris. In the
meantime, I hope you go into the best company there is at Montpelier; and
there always is some at the Intendant's, or the Commandant's. You will
have had full time to learn 'les petites chansons Languedociennes', which
are exceedingly pretty ones, both words and tunes. I remember, when I was
in those parts, I was surprised at the difference which I found between
the people on one side, and those on the other side of the Rhone. The
Provencaux were, in general, surly, ill-bred, ugly, and swarthy; the
Languedocians the very reverse: a cheerful, well-bred, handsome people.
Adieu! Yours most affectionately.

P. S. Upon reflection, I direct this letter to Paris; I think you must
have left Montpelier before it could arrive there.


LONDON, November 19, O. S. 1750

MY DEAR FRIEND: I was very glad to find by your letter of the 12th, N.
S., that you had informed yourself so well of the state of the French
marine at Toulon, and of the commerce at Marseilles; they are objects
that deserve the inquiry and attention of every man who intends to be
concerned in public affairs. The French are now wisely attentive to both;
their commerce is incredibly increased within these last thirty years;
they have beaten us out of great part of our Levant trade; their East
India trade has greatly affected ours; and, in the West Indies, their
Martinico establishment supplies, not only France itself, but the
greatest part of Europe, with sugars whereas our islands, as Jamaica,
Barbadoes, and the Leeward, have now no other market for theirs but
England. New France, or Canada, has also greatly lessened our fur and
skin trade. It is true (as you say) that we have no treaty of commerce
subsisting (I do not say WITH MARSEILLES) but with France. There was a
treaty of commerce made between England and France, immediately after the
treaty of Utrecht; but the whole treaty was conditional, and to depend
upon the parliament's enacting certain things which were stipulated in
two of the articles; the parliament, after a very famous debate, would
not do it; so the treaty fell to the ground: however, the outlines of
that treaty are, by mutual and tacit consent, the general rules of our
present commerce with France. It is true, too, that our commodities which
go to France, must go in our bottoms; the French having imitated in many
respects our famous Act of Navigation, as it is commonly called. This act
was made in the year 1652, in the parliament held by Oliver Cromwell. It
forbids all foreign ships to bring into England any merchandise or
commodities whatsoever, that were not of the growth and produce of that
country to which those ships belonged, under penalty of the forfeiture of
such ships. This act was particularly leveled at the Dutch, who were at
that time the carriers of almost all Europe, and got immensely by
freight. Upon this principle, of the advantages arising from freight,
there is a provision in the same act, that even the growth and produce of
our own colonies in America shall not be carried from thence to any other
country in Europe, without first touching in England; but this clause has
lately been repealed, in the instances of some perishable commodities,
such as rice, etc., which are allowed to be carried directly from our
American colonies to other countries. The act also provides, that
two-thirds, I think, of those who navigate the said ships shall be
British subjects. There is an excellent, and little book, written by the
famous Monsieur Huet Eveque d'Avranches, 'Sur le Commerce des Anciens',
which is very well worth your reading, and very soon read. It will give
you a clear notion of the rise and progress of commerce. There are many
other books, which take up the history of commerce where Monsieur
d'Avranches leaves it, and bring it down to these times. I advise you to
read some of them with care; commerce being a very essential part of
political knowledge in every country; but more particularly in that which
owes all its riches and power to it.

I come now to another part of your letter, which is the orthography, if I
may call bad spelling ORTHOGRAPHY. You spell induce, ENDUCE; and
grandeur, you spell grandURE; two faults of which few of my housemaids
would have been guilty. I must tell you that orthography, in the true
sense of the word, is so absolutely necessary for a man of letters; or a
gentleman, that one false spelling may fix ridicule upon him for the rest
of his life; and I know a man of quality, who never recovered the
ridicule of having spelled WHOLESOME without the w.

Reading with care will secure everybody from false spelling; for books
are always well spelled, according to the orthography of the times. Some
words are indeed doubtful, being spelled differently by different authors
of equal authority; but those are few; and in those cases every man has
his option, because he may plead his authority either way; but where
there is but one right way, as in the two words above mentioned, it is
unpardonable and ridiculous for a gentleman to miss it; even a woman of a
tolerable education would despise and laugh, at a lover, who should send
her an ill-spelled billet-doux. I fear and suspect, that you have taken
it into your head, in most cases, that the matter is all, and the manner
little or nothing. If you have, undeceive yourself, and be convinced
that, in everything, the manner is full as important as the matter. If
you speak the sense of an angel, in bad words and with a disagreeable
utterance, nobody will hear you twice, who can help it. If you write
epistles as well as Cicero, but in a very bad hand, and very ill-spelled,
whoever receives will laugh at them; and if you had the figure of Adonis,
with an awkward air and motions, it will disgust instead of pleasing.
Study manner, therefore, in everything, if you would be anything. My
principal inquiries of my friends at Paris, concerning you, will be
relative to your manner of doing whatever you do. I shall not inquire
whether you understand Demosthenes, Tacitus, or the 'Jus Publicum
Imperii'; but I shall inquire, whether your utterance is pleasing, your
style not only pure, but elegant, your manners noble and easy, your air
and address engaging in short, whether you are a gentleman, a man of
fashion, and fit to keep good company, or not; for, till I am satisfied
in these particulars, you and I must by no means meet; I could not
possibly stand it. It is in your power to become all this at Paris, if
you please. Consult with Lady Hervey and Madame Monconseil upon all these
matters; and they will speak to you, and advise you freely. Tell them,
that 'bisogna compatire ancora', that you are utterly new in the world;
that you are desirous to form yourself; that you beg they will reprove,
advise, and correct you; that you know that none can do it so well; and
that you will implicitly follow their directions. This, together with
your careful observation of the manners of the best company, will really
form you.

Abbe Guasco, a friend of mine, will come to you as soon as he knows of
your arrival at Paris; he is well received in the best companies there,
and will introduce you to them. He will be desirous to do you any service
he can; he is active and curious, and can give you information upon most
things. He is a sort of 'complaisant' of the President Montesquieu, to
whom you have a letter.

I imagine that this letter will not wait for you very long at Paris,
where I reckon you will be in about a fortnight. Adieu.


LONDON, December 24, 1750

DEAR FRIEND: At length you are become a Parisian, and consequently must
be addressed in French; you will also answer me in the same language,
that I may be able to judge of the degree in which you possess the
elegance, the delicacy, and the orthography of that language which is, in
a manner, become the universal one of Europe. I am assured that you speak
it well, but in that well there are gradations. He, who in the provinces
might be reckoned to speak correctly, would at Paris be looked upon as an
ancient Gaul. In that country of mode, even language is subservient to
fashion, which varies almost as often as their clothes.

at present too much in vogue at Paris. Know, observe, and occasionally
converse (if you please) according to those different styles; but do not
let your taste be infected by them. Wit, too, is there subservient to
fashion; and actually, at Paris, one must have wit, even in despite of
Minerva. Everybody runs after it; although if it does not come naturally
and of itself; it never can be overtaken. But, unfortunately for those
who pursue, they seize upon what they take for wit, and endeavor to pass
it for such upon others. This is, at best, the lot of Ixion, who embraced
a cloud instead of the goddess he pursued. Fine sentiments, which never
existed, false and unnatural thoughts, obscure and far-sought
expressions, not only unintelligible, but which it is even impossible to
decipher, or to guess at, are all the consequences of this error; and
two-thirds of the new French books which now appear are made up of those
ingredients. It is the new cookery of Parnassus, in which the still is
employed instead of the pot and the spit, and where quintessences and
extracts ate chiefly used. N. B. The Attic salt is proscribed.

You will now and then be obliged to eat of this new cookery, but do not
suffer your taste to be corrupted by it. And when you, in your turn, are
desirous of treating others, take the good old cookery of Lewis XIV.'s
reign for your rule. There were at that time admirable head cooks, such
as Corneille, Boileau, Racine, and La Fontaine. Whatever they prepared
was simple, wholesome, and solid. But laying aside all metaphors, do not
suffer yourself to be dazzled by false brilliancy, by unnatural
expressions, nor by those antitheses so much in fashion: as a protection
against such innovations, have a recourse to your own good sense, and to
the ancient authors. On the other hand, do not laugh at those who give
into such errors; you are as yet too young to act the critic, or to stand
forth a severe avenger of the violated rights of good sense. Content
yourself with not being perverted, but do not think of converting others;
let them quietly enjoy their errors in taste, as well as in religion.
Within the course of the last century and a half, taste in France has (as
well as that kingdom itself) undergone many vicissitudes. Under the reign
of I do not say Lewis XIII. but of Cardinal de Richelieu, good taste
first began to make its way. It was refined under that of Lewis XIV., a
great king, at least, if not a great man. Corneille was the restorer of
true taste, and the founder of the French theatre; although rather
inclined to the Italian 'Concetti' and the Spanish 'Agudeze'. Witness
those epigrams which he makes Chimene utter in the greatest excess of

Before his time, those kind of itinerant authors, called troubadours or
romanciers, were a species of madmen who attracted the admiration of
fools. Toward the end of Cardinal de Richelieu's reign, and the beginning
of Lewis XIV.'s, the Temple of Taste was established at the Hotel of
Rambouillet; but that taste was not judiciously refined this Temple of
Taste might more properly have been named a Laboratory of Wit, where good
sense was put to the torture, in order to extract from it the most
subtile essence. There it was that Voiture labored hard and incessantly
to create wit. At length, Boileau and Moliere fixed the standard of true
taste. In spite of the Scuderys, the Calprenedes, etc., they defeated and
put to flight ARTAMENES, JUBA, OROONDATES, and all those heroes of
romance, who were, notwithstanding (each of them), as good as a whole
Army. Those madmen then endeavored to obtain an asylum in libraries; this
they could not accomplish, but were under a necessity of taking shelter
in the chambers of some few ladies. I would have you read one volume of
"Cleopatra," and one of "Clelia"; it will otherwise be impossible for you
to form any idea of the extravagances they contain; but God keep you from
ever persevering to the twelfth.

During almost the whole reign of Lewis XIV., true taste remained in its
purity, until it received some hurt, although undesignedly, from a very
fine genius, I mean Monsieur de Fontenelle; who, with the greatest sense
and the most solid learning, sacrificed rather too much to the Graces,
whose most favorite child and pupil he was. Admired with reason, others
tried to imitate him; but, unfortunately for us, the author of the
"Pastorals," of the "History of Oracles," and of the "French Theatre,"
found fewer imitators than the Chevalier d'Her did mimics. He has since
been taken off by a thousand authors: but never really imitated by anyone
that I know of.

At this time, the seat of true taste in France seems to me not well
established. It exists, but torn by factions. There is one party of
petits maitres, one of half-learned women, another of insipid authors
whose works are 'verba et voces, et praeterea nihil'; and, in short, a
numerous and very fashionable party of writers, who, in a metaphysical
jumble, introduce their false and subtle reasonings upon the movements
and the sentiments of THE SOUL, THE HEART, and THE MIND.

Do not let yourself be overpowered by fashion, nor by particular sets of
people with whom you may be connected; but try all the different coins
before you receive any in payment. Let your own good sense and reason
judge of the value of each; and be persuaded, that NOTHING CAN BE
BEAUTIFUL UNLESS TRUE: whatever brilliancy is not the result of the
solidity and justness of a thought, it is but a false glare. The Italian
saying upon a diamond is equally just with regard to thoughts, 'Quanto
Piu sodezza, tanto piu splendore'.

All this ought not to hinder you from conforming externally to the modes
and tones of the different companies in which you may chance to be. With
the 'petits maitres' speak epigrams; false sentiments, with frivolous
women; and a mixture of all these together, with professed beaux esprits.
I would have you do so; for at your age you ought not to aim at changing
the tone of the company, but conform to it. Examine well, however; weigh
all maturely within yourself; and do not mistake the tinsel of Tasso for
the gold of Virgil.

You will find at Paris good authors, and circles distinguished by the
solidity of their reasoning. You will never hear TRIFLING, AFFECTED, and
far-sought conversations, at Madame de Monconseil's, nor at the hotels of
Matignon and Coigni, where she will introduce you. The President
Montesquieu will not speak to you in the epigrammatic style. His book,
the "Spirit of the Laws," written in the vulgar tongue, will equally
please and instruct you.

Frequent the theatre whenever Corneille, Racine, and Moliere's pieces are
played. They are according to nature and to truth. I do not mean by this
to give an exclusion to several admirable modern plays, particularly
"Cenie,"--[Imitated in English by Mr. Francis, in a play called
"Eugenia."]--replete with sentiments that are true, natural, and
applicable to one's self. If you choose to know the characters of people
now in fashion, read Crebillon the younger, and Marivaux's works. The
former is a most excellent painter; the latter has studied, and knows the
human heart, perhaps too well. Crebillon's 'Egaremens du Coeur et de
l'Esprit is an excellent work in its kind; it will be of infinite
amusement to you, and not totally useless. The Japanese history of
"Tanzar and Neadarne," by the same author, is an amiable extravagancy,
interspersed with the most just reflections. In short, provided you do
not mistake the objects of your attention, you will find matter at Paris
to form a good and true taste.

As I shall let you remain at Paris without any person to direct your
conduct, I flatter myself that you will not make a bad use of the
confidence I repose in you. I do not require that you should lead the
life of a Capuchin friar; quite the contrary: I recommend pleasures to
you; but I expect that they shall be the pleasures of a gentleman. Those
add brilliancy to a young man's character; but debauchery vilifies and
degrades it. I shall have very true and exact accounts of your conduct;
and, according to the informations I receive, shall be more, or less, or
not at all, yours. Adieu.

P. S. Do not omit writing to me once a-week; and let your answer to this
letter be in French. Connect yourself as much as possible with the
foreign ministers; which is properly traveling into different countries,
without going from one place. Speak Italian to all the Italians, and
German to all the Germans you meet, in order not to forget those two

I wish you, my dear friend, as many happy new years as you deserve, and
not one more. May you deserve a great number!

              LETTERS TO HIS SON

           By the EARL OF CHESTERFIELD

           on the Fine Art of becoming a

              MAN OF THE WORLD

                 and a



LONDON, January 8, O.S. 1751

MY DEAR FRIEND: By your letter of the 5th, N. S., I find that your
'debut' at Paris has been a good one; you are entered into good company,
and I dare say you will, not sink into bad. Frequent the houses where you
have been once invited, and have none of that shyness which makes most of
your countrymen strangers, where they might be intimate and domestic if
they pleased. Wherever you have a general invitation to sup when you
please, profit of it, with decency, and go every now and then. Lord
Albemarle will, I am sure, be extremely kind to you, but his house is
only a dinner house; and, as I am informed, frequented by no French
people. Should he happen to employ you in his bureau, which I much doubt,
you must write a better hand than your common one, or you will get no
credit by your manuscripts; for your hand is at present an illiberal one;
it is neither a hand of business nor of a gentleman, but the hand of a
school-boy writing his exercise, which he hopes will never be read.

Madame de Monconseil gives me a favorable account of you; and so do
Marquis de Matignon and Madame du Boccage; they all say that you desire
to please, and consequently promise me that you will; and they judge
right; for whoever really desires to please, and has (as you now have)
the means of learning how, certainly will please and that is the great
point of life; it makes all other things easy. Whenever you are with
Madame de Monconseil, Madame du Boccage, or other women of fashion, with
whom you are tolerably free, say frankly and naturally: "I know little of
the world; I am quite a novice in it; and although very desirous of
pleasing, I am at a loss for the means. Be so good, Madame, as to let me
into your secret of pleasing everybody. I shall owe my success to it, and
you will always have more than falls to your share." When, in consequence
of this request, they shall tell you of any little error, awkwardness, or
impropriety, you should not only feel, but express the warmest
acknowledgment. Though nature should suffer, and she will at first
hearing them, tell them, that you will look upon the most severe
criticisms as the greatest proof of their friendship. Madame du Boccage
tells me, particularly, to inform you: "I shall always, receive the honor
of his visits with pleasure; it is true, that at his age the pleasures of
conversation are cold; but I will endeavor to make him acquainted with
young people," etc.

Make use of this invitation, and as you live, in a manner, next door to
her, step in and out there frequently. Monsieur du Boccage will go with
you, he tells me, with great pleasure, to the plays, and point out to you
whatever deserves your knowing there. This is worth your acceptance too;
he has a very good taste. I have not yet heard from Lady Hervey upon your
subject; but as you inform me that you have already supped with her once,
I look upon you as adopted by her; consult her in all your little
matters; tell her any difficulties that may occur to you; ask her what
you should do or say in such or such cases; she has 'l'usage du monde en
perfection', and will help you to acquire it. Madame de Berkenrode 'est
paitrie de graces', and your quotation is very applicable to her. You may
be there, I dare say, as often as you please, and I would advise you to
sup there once a week.

You say, very justly, that as Mr. Harte is leaving you, you shall want
advice more than ever; you shall never want mine; and as you have already
had so much of it, I must rather repeat than add to what I have already
given you; but that I will do, and add to it occasionally, as
circumstances may require. At present I shall only remind you of your two
great objects, which you should always attend to; they are parliament and
foreign affairs. With regard to the former, you can do nothing while
abroad but attend carefully to the purity, correctness, and elegance of
your diction; the clearness and gracefulness of your utterance, in
whatever language you speak. As for the parliamentary knowledge, I will
take care of that when you come home. With regard to foreign affairs,
everything you do abroad may and ought to tend that way. Your reading
should be chiefly historical; I do not mean of remote, dark, and fabulous
history, still less of jimcrack natural history of fossils, minerals,
plants, etc., but I mean the useful, political, and constitutional
history of Europe, for these last three centuries and a half. The other
thing necessary for your foreign object, and not less necessary than
either ancient or modern knowledge, is a great knowledge of the world,
manners, politeness, address, and 'le ton de la bonne compagnie'. In that
view, keeping a great deal of good company, is the principal point to
which you are now to attend. It seems ridiculous to tell you, but it is
most certainly true, that your dancing-master is at this time the man in
all Europe of the greatest importance to you. You must dance well, in
order to sit, stand, and walk well; and you must do all these well in
order to please. What with your exercises, some reading, and a great deal
of company, your day is, I confess, extremely taken up; but the day, if
well employed, is long enough for everything; and I am sure you will not
slattern away one moment of it in inaction. At your age, people have
strong and active spirits, alacrity and vivacity in all they do; are
'impigri', indefatigable, and quick. The difference is, that a young
fellow of parts exerts all those happy dispositions in the pursuit of
proper objects; endeavors to excel in the solid, and in the showish parts
of life; whereas a silly puppy, or a dull rogue, throws away all his
youth and spirit upon trifles, where he is serious or upon disgraceful
vices, while he aims at pleasures. This I am sure will not be your case;
your good sense and your good conduct hitherto are your guarantees with
me for the future. Continue only at Paris as you have begun, and your
stay there will make you, what I have always wished you to be, as near
perfection as our nature permits.

Adieu, my dear; remember to write to me once a-week, not as to a father,
but, without reserve, as to a friend.


LONDON, January 14, O. S. 1751

MY DEAR FRIEND: Among the many good things Mr. Harte has told me of you,
two in particular gave me great pleasure. The first, that you are
exceedingly careful and jealous of the dignity of your character; that is
the sure and solid foundation upon which you must both stand and rise. A
man's moral character is a more delicate thing than a woman's reputation
of chastity. A slip or two may possibly be forgiven her, and her
character may be clarified by subsequent and continued good conduct: but
a man's moral character once tainted is irreparably destroyed. The second
was, that you had acquired a most correct and extensive knowledge of
foreign affairs, such as the history, the treaties, and the forms of
government of the several countries of Europe. This sort of knowledge,
little attended to here, will make you not only useful, but necessary, in
your future destination, and carry you very far. He added that you wanted
from hence some books relative to our laws and constitution, our
colonies, and our commerce; of which you know less than of those of any
other part of Europe. I will send you what short books I can find of that
sort, to give you a general notion of those things: but you cannot have
time to go into their depths at present--you cannot now engage with new
folios; you and I will refer the constitutional part of this country to
our meeting here, when we will enter seriously into it, and read the
necessary books together. In the meantime, go on in the course you are
in, of foreign matters; converse with ministers and others of every
country, watch the transactions of every court, and endeavor to trace
them up to their source. This, with your physics, your geometry, and your
exercises, will be all that you can possibly have time for at Paris; for
you must allow a great deal for company and pleasures: it is they that
must give you those manners, that address, that 'tournure' of the 'beau
monde', which will qualify you for your future destination. You must
first please, in order to get the confidence, and consequently the
secrets, of the courts and ministers for whom and with whom you

I will send you by the first opportunity a short book written by Lord
Bolingbroke, under the name of Sir John Oldcastle, containing remarks
upon the history of England; which will give you a clear general notion
of our constitution, and which will serve you, at the same time, like all
Lord Bolingbroke's works, for a model of eloquence and style. I will also
send you Sir Josiah Childe's little book upon trade, which may properly
be called the "Commercial Grammar." He lays down the true principles of
commerce, and his conclusions from them are generally very just.

Since you turn your thoughts a little toward trade and commerce, which I
am very glad you do, I will recommend a French book to you, which you
will easily get at Paris, and which I take to be the best book in the
world of that kind: I mean the 'Dictionnaire de Commerce de Savory', in
three volumes in folio; where you will find every one thing that relates
to trade, commerce, specie, exchange, etc., most clearly stated; and not
only relative to France, but to the whole world. You will easily suppose,
that I do not advise you to read such a book 'tout de suite'; but I only
mean that you should have it at hand, to have recourse to occasionally.

With this great stock of both useful and ornamental knowledge, which you
have already acquired, and which, by your application and industry, you
are daily increasing, you will lay such a solid foundation of future
figure and fortune, that if you complete it by all the accomplishments of
manners, graces, etc., I know nothing which you may not aim at, and in
time hope for. Your great point at present at Paris, to which all other
considerations must give way, is to become entirely a man of fashion: to
be well-bred without ceremony, easy without negligence, steady and
intrepid with modesty, genteel without affectation, insinuating without
meanness, cheerful without being noisy, frank without indiscretion, and
secret without mysteriousness; to know the proper time and place for
whatever you say or do, and to do it with an air of condition all this is
not so soon nor so easily learned as people imagine, but requires
observation and time. The world is an immense folio, which demands a
great deal of time and attention to be read and understood as it ought to
be; you have not yet read above four or five pages of it; and you will
have but barely time to dip now and then in other less important books.

Lord Albemarle has, I know, wrote {It is a pleasure for an ordinary
mortal to find Lord Chesterfield in gramatical error--and he did it again
in the last sentence of this paragraph--but this was 1751? D.W.} to a
friend of his here, that you do not frequent him so much as he expected
and desired; that he fears somebody or other has given you wrong
impressions of him; and that I may possibly think, from your being seldom
at his house, that he has been wanting in his attentions to you. I told
the person who told me this, that, on the contrary, you seemed, by your
letters to me, to be extremely pleased with Lord Albemarle's behavior to
you: but that you were obliged to give up dining abroad during your
course of experimental philosophy. I guessed the true reason, which I
believe was, that, as no French people frequent his house, you rather
chose to dine at other places, where you were likely to meet with better
company than your countrymen and you were in the right of it. However, I
would have you show no shyness to Lord Albemarle, but go to him, and dine
with him oftener than it may be you would wish, for the sake of having
him speak well of you here when he returns. He is a good deal in fashion
here, and his PUFFING you (to use an awkward expression) before you
return here, will be of great use to you afterward. People in general
take characters, as they do most things, upon trust, rather than be at
the trouble of examining them themselves; and the decisions of four or
five fashionable people, in every place, are final, more particularly
with regard to characters, which all can hear, and but few judge of. Do
not mention the least of this to any mortal; and take care that Lord
Albemarle do not suspect that you know anything of the matter.

Lord Huntingdon and Lord Stormount are, I hear, arrived at Paris; you
have, doubtless, seen them. Lord Stormount is well spoken of here;
however, in your connections, if you form any with them, show rather a
preference to Lord Huntingdon, for reasons which you will easily guess.

Mr. Harte goes this week to Cornwall, to take possession of his living;
he has been installed at Windsor; he will return here in about a month,
when your literary correspondence with him will be regularly carried on.
Your mutual concern at parting was a good sign for both.

I have this moment received good accounts of you from Paris. Go on 'vous
etes en bon train'. Adieu.


LONDON, January 21, O. S.. 1751

MY DEAR FRIEND: In all my letters from Paris, I have the pleasure of
finding, among many other good things, your docility mentioned with
emphasis; this is the sure way of improving in those things, which you
only want. It is true they are little, but it is as true too that they
are necessary things. As they are mere matters of usage and mode, it is
no disgrace for anybody of your age to be ignorant of them; and the most
compendious way of learning them is, fairly to avow your ignorance, and
to consult those who, from long usage and experience, know them best.
Good sense and good-nature suggest civility in general; but, in
good-breeding there are a thousand little delicacies, which are
established only by custom; and it is these little elegances of manners
which distinguish a courtier and a man of fashion from the vulgar. I am
assured by different people, that your air is already much improved; and
one of my correspondents makes you the true French compliment of saying,
'F'ose vous promettre qu'il sera bientot comme un de nos autres'. However
unbecoming this speech may be in the mouth of a Frenchman, I am very glad
that they think it applicable to you; for I would have you not only
adopt, but rival, the best manners and usages of the place you are at, be
they what they will; that is the versatility of manners which is so
useful in the course of the world. Choose your models well at Paris, and
then rival them in their own way. There are fashionable words, phrases,
and even gestures, at Paris, which are called 'du bon ton'; not to
mention 'certaines Petites politesses et attentions, qui ne sont rien en
elle-memes', which fashion has rendered necessary. Make yourself master
of all these things; and to such a degree, as to make the French say,
'qu'on diroit que c'est un Francois'; and when hereafter you shall be at
other courts, do the same thing there; and conform to the fashionable
manners and usage of the place; that is what the French themselves are
not apt to do; wherever they go, they retain their own manners, as
thinking them the best; but, granting them to be so, they are still in
the wrong not to conform to those of the place. One would desire to
please, wherever one is; and nothing is more innocently flattering than
an approbation, and an imitation of the people one converses with.

I hope your colleges with Marcel go on prosperously. In these ridiculous,
though, at the same time, really important lectures, pray attend, and
desire your professor also to attend, more particularly to the chapter of
the arms. It is they that decide of a man's being genteel or otherwise,
more than any other part of the body. A twist or stiffness in the wrist,
will make any man in Europe look awkward. The next thing to be attended
to is, your coming into a room, and presenting yourself to a company.
This gives the first impression; and the first impression is often a
lasting one. Therefore, pray desire Professor Marcel to make you come in
and go out of his room frequently, and in the supposition of different
companies being there; such as ministers, women, mixed companies, etc.
Those who present themselves well, have a certain dignity in their air,
which, without the least seeming mixture of pride, at once engages, and
is respected.

I should not so often repeat, nor so long dwell upon such trifles, with
anybody that had less solid and valuable knowledge than you have.
Frivolous people attend to those things, 'par preference'; they know
nothing else; my fear with you is, that, from knowing better things, you
should despise these too much, and think them of much less consequence
than they really are; for they are of a great deal, and more especially
to you.

Pleasing and governing women may, in time, be of great service to you.
They often please and govern others. 'A propos', are you in love with
Madame de Berkenrode still, or has some other taken her place in your
affections? I take it for granted, that 'qua to cumque domat Venus, non
erubescendis adurit ignibus. Un arrangement honnete sied bien a un galant
homme'. In that case I recommend to you the utmost discretion, and the
profoundest silence. Bragging of, hinting at, intimating, or even
affectedly disclaiming and denying such an arrangement will equally
discredit you among men and women. An unaffected silence upon that
subject is the only true medium.

In your commerce with women, and indeed with men too, 'une certaine
douceur' is particularly engaging; it is that which constitutes that
character which the French talk of so much, and so justly value, I mean
'l'aimable'. This 'douceur' is not so easily described as felt. It is the
compound result of different things; a complaisance, a flexibility, but
not a servility of manners; an air of softness in the countenance,
gesture, and expression, equally whether you concur or differ with the
person you converse with. Observe those carefully who have that 'douceur'
that charms you and others; and your own good sense will soon enable you
to discover the different ingredients of which it is composed. You must
be more particularly attentive to this 'douceur', whenever you are
obliged to refuse what is asked of you, or to say what in itself cannot
be very agreeable to those to whom you say it. It is then the necessary
gilding of a disagreeable pill. 'L'aimable' consists in a thousand of
these little things aggregately. It is the 'suaviter in modo', which I
have so often recommended to you. The respectable, Mr. Harte assures me,
you do not want, and I believe him. Study, then, carefully; and acquire
perfectly, the 'Aimable', and you will have everything.

Abbe Guasco, who is another of your panegyrists, writes me word that he
has taken you to dinner at Marquis de St. Germain's; where you will be
welcome as often as you please, and the oftener the better. Profit of
that, upon the principle of traveling in different countries, without
changing places. He says, too, that he will take you to the parliament,
when any remarkable cause is to be tried. That is very well; go through
the several chambers of the parliament, and see and hear what they are
doing; join practice and observation to your theoretical knowledge of
their rights and privileges. No Englishman has the least notion of them.

I need not recommend you to go to the bottom of the constitutional and
political knowledge of countries; for Mr. Harte tells me that you have a
peculiar turn that way, and have informed yourself most correctly of

I must now put some queries to you, as to a 'juris publici peritus',
which I am sure you can answer me, and which I own I cannot answer
myself; they are upon a subject now much talked of.

1st. Are there any particular forms requisite for the election of a King
of the Romans, different from those which are necessary for the election
of an Emperor?

2d. Is not a King of the Romans as legally elected by the votes of a
majority of the electors, as by two-thirds, or by the unanimity of the

3d. Is there any particular law or constitution of the empire, that
distinguishes, either in matter or in, form, the election of a King of
the Romans from that of an Emperor? And is not the golden bull of Charles
the Fourth equally the rule for both?

4th. Were there not, at a meeting of a certain number of the electors (I
have forgotten when), some rules and limitations agreed upon concerning
the election of a King of the Romans? And were those restrictions legal,
and did they obtain the force of law?

How happy am I, my dear child, that I can apply to you for knowledge, and
with a certainty of being rightly informed! It is knowledge, more than
quick, flashy parts, that makes a man of business. A man who is master of
his matter, twill, with inferior parts, be too hard in parliament, and
indeed anywhere else, for a man of-better parts, who knows his subject
but superficially: and if to his knowledge he joins eloquence and
elocution, he must necessarily soon be at the head of that assembly; but
without those two, no knowledge is sufficient.

Lord Huntingdon writes me word that he has seen you, and that you have
renewed your old school-acquaintance.

Tell me fairly your opinion of him, and of his friend Lord Stormount: and
also of the other English people of fashion you meet with. I promise you
inviolable secrecy on my part. You and I must now write to each other
--as friends, and without the least reserve; there will for the future be
a thousand-things in my letters, which I would not have any mortal living
but yourself see or know. Those you will easily distinguish, and neither
show nor repeat; and I will do the same by you.

To come to another subject (for I have a pleasure in talking over every
subject with you): How deep are you in Italian? Do you understand
Ariosto, Tasso, Boccaccio and Machiavelli? If you do, you know enough of
it and may know all the rest, by reading, when you have time. Little or
no business is written in Italian, except in Italy; and if you know
enough of it to understand the few Italian letters that may in time come
in your way, and to speak Italian tolerably to those very few Italians
who speak no French, give yourself no further trouble about that language
till you happen to have full leisure to perfect yourself in it. It is not
the same with regard to German; your speaking and writing it well, will
particularly distinguish you from every other man in England; and is,
moreover, of great use to anyone who is, as probably you will be,
employed in the Empire. Therefore, pray cultivate them sedulously, by
writing four or five lines of German every day, and by speaking it to
every German you meet with.

You have now got a footing in a great many good houses at Paris, in which
I advise you to make yourself domestic. This is to be done by a certain
easiness of carriage, and a decent familiarity. Not by way of putting
yourself upon the frivolous footing of being 'sans consequence', but by
doing in some degree, the honors of the house and table, calling yourself
'en badinant le galopin d'ici', saying to the masters or mistress, 'ceci
est de mon departement; je m'en charge; avouez, que je m'en acquitte a
merveille.' This sort of 'badinage' has something engaging and 'liant' in
it, and begets that decent familiarity, which it is both agreeable and
useful to establish in good houses and with people of fashion. Mere
formal visits, dinners, and suppers, upon formal invitations, are not the
thing; they add to no connection nor information; but it is the easy,
careless ingress and egress at all hours, that forms the pleasing and
profitable commerce of life.

The post is so negligent, that I lose some letters from Paris entirely,
and receive others much later than I should. To this I ascribe my having
received no letter from you for above a fortnight, which to my impatience
seems a long time. I expect to hear from you once a-week. Mr. Harte is
gone to Cornwall, and will be back in about three weeks. I have a packet
of books to send you by the first opportunity, which I believe will be
Mr. Yorke's return to Paris. The Greek books come from Mr. Harte, and
the English ones from your humble servant. Read Lord Bolingbroke's with
great attention, as well to the style as to the matter. I wish you could
form yourself such a style in every language. Style is the dress of
thoughts; and a well-dressed thought, like a well-dressed man, appears to
great advantage. Yours. Adieu.


LONDON, August 28, O. S. 1751

MY DEAR FRIEND: A bill for ninety pounds sterling was brought me the
other day, said to be drawn upon me by you: I scrupled paying it at
first, not upon account of the sum, but because you had sent me no letter
of advice, which is always done in those transactions; and still more,
because I did not perceive that you had signed it. The person who
presented it, desired me to look again, and that I should discover your
name at the bottom: accordingly I looked again, and, with the help of my
magnifying glass, did perceive that what I had first taken only for
somebody's mark, was, in truth, your name, written in the worst and
smallest hand I ever saw in my life.

However, I paid it at a venture; though I would almost rather lose the
money, than that such a signature should be yours. All gentlemen, and all
men of business, write their names always in the same way, that their
signature may be so well known as not to be easily counterfeited; and
they generally sign in rather larger character than their common hand;
whereas your name was in a less, and a worse, than your common writing.
This suggested to me the various accidents which may very probably happen
to you, while you write so ill. For instance, if you were to write in
such a character to the Secretary's office, your letter would immediately
be sent to the decipherer, as containing matters of the utmost secrecy,
not fit to be trusted to the common character. If you were to write so to
an antiquarian, he (knowing you to be a man of learning) would certainly
try it by the Runic, Celtic, or Sclavonian alphabet, never suspecting it
to be a modern character. And, if you were to send a 'poulet' to a fine
woman, in such a hand, she would think that it really came from the
'poulailler'; which, by the bye, is the etymology of the word 'poulet';
for Henry the Fourth of France used to send billets-doux to his
mistresses by his 'poulailler', under pretense of sending them chickens;
which gave the name of poulets to those short, but expressive
manuscripts. I have often told you that every man who has the use of his
eyes and of his hand, can write whatever hand he pleases; and it is plain
that you can, since you write both the Greek and German characters, which
you never learned of a writing-master, extremely well, though your common
hand, which you learned of a master, is an exceedingly bad and illiberal
one; equally unfit for business or common use. I do not desire that you
should write the labored, stiff character of a writing-master: a man of
business must write quick and well, and that depends simply upon use. I
would therefore advise you to get some very good writing-master at Paris,
and apply to it for a month only, which will be sufficient; for, upon my
word, the writing of a genteel plain hand of business is of much more
importance than you think. You will say, it may be, that when you write
so very ill, it is because you are in a hurry, to which I answer, Why are
you ever in a hurry? A man of sense may be in haste, but can never be in
a hurry, because he knows that whatever he does in a hurry, he must
necessarily do very ill. He may be in haste to dispatch an affair, but he
will care not to let that haste hinder his doing it well. Little minds
are in a hurry, when the object proves (as it commonly does) too big for
them; they run, they hare, they puzzle, confound, and perplex themselves:
they want to do everything at once, and never do it at all. But a man of
sense takes the time necessary for doing the thing he is about, well; and
his haste to dispatch a business only appears by the continuity of his
application to it: he pursues it with a cool steadiness, and finishes it
before he begins any other. I own your time is much taken up, and you
have a great many different things to do; but remember that you had much
better do half of them well and leave the other half undone, than do them
all indifferently. Moreover, the few seconds that are saved in the course
of the day, by writing ill instead of well, do not amount to an object of
time by any means equivalent to the disgrace or ridicule of writing the
scrawl of a common whore. Consider, that if your very bad writing could
furnish me with matter of ridicule, what will it not do to others who do
not view you in that partial light that I do? There was a pope, I think
it was Cardinal Chigi, who was justly ridiculed for his attention to
little things, and his inability in great ones: and therefore called
maximus in minimis, and minimus in maximis. Why? Because he attended to
little things when he had great ones to do. At this particular period of
your life, and at the place you are now in, you have only little things
to do; and you should make it habitual to you to do them well, that they
may require no attention from you when you have, as I hope you will have,
greater things to mind. Make a good handwriting familiar to you now, that
you may hereafter have nothing but your matter to think of, when you have
occasion to write to kings and ministers. Dance, dress, present yourself,
habitually well now, that you may have none of those little things to
think of hereafter, and which will be all necessary to be done well
occasionally, when you will have greater things to do.

As I am eternally thinking of everything that can be relative to you, one
thing has occurred to me, which I think necessary to mention to you, in
order to prevent the difficulties which it might otherwise lay you under;
it is this as you get more acquaintances at Paris, it will be impossible
for you to frequent your first acquaintances so much as you did, while
you had no others. As, for example, at your first 'debut', I suppose you
were chiefly at Madame Monconseil's, Lady Hervey's, and Madame du
Boccage's. Now, that you have got so many other houses, you cannot be at
theirs so often as you used; but pray take care not to give them the
least reason to think that you neglect, or despise them, for the sake of
new and more dignified and shining acquaintances; which would be
ungrateful and imprudent on your part, and never forgiven on theirs. Call
upon them often, though you do not stay with them so long as formerly;
tell them that you are sorry you are obliged to go away, but that you
have such and such engagements, with which good-breeding obliges you to
comply; and insinuate that you would rather stay with them. In short,
take care to make as many personal friends, and as few personal enemies,
as possible. I do not mean, by personal friends, intimate and
confidential friends, of which no man can hope to have half a dozen in
the whole course of his life; but I mean friends, in the common
acceptation of the word; that is, people who speak well of you, and who
would rather do you good than harm, consistently with their own interest,
and no further. Upon the whole, I recommend to you, again and again, 'les
Graces'. Adorned by them, you may, in a manner, do what you please; it
will be approved of; without them, your best qualities will lose half
their efficacy. Endeavor to be fashionable among the French, which will
soon make you fashionable here. Monsieur de Matignon already calls you
'le petit Francois'. If you can get that name generally at Paris, it will
put you 'a la mode'. Adieu, my dear child.


LONDON, February 4, O. S. 1751

MY DEAR FRIEND: The accounts which I receive of you from Paris grow every
day more and more satisfactory. Lord Albemarle has wrote a sort of
panegyric of you, which has been seen by many people here, and which will
be a very useful forerunner for you. Being in fashion is an important
point for anybody anywhere; but it would be a very great one for you to
be established in the fashion here before you return. Your business will
be half done by it, as I am sure you would not give people reason to
change their favorable presentiments of you. The good that is said of you
will not, I am convinced, make you a coxcomb; and, on the other hand, the
being thought still to want some little accomplishments, will, I am
persuaded, not mortify you, but only animate you to acquire them: I will,
therefore, give you both fairly, in the following extract of a letter
which I lately received from an impartial and discerning friend:--

"Permit me to assure you, Sir, that Mr. Stanhope will succeed. He has a
great fund of knowledge, and an uncommonly good memory, although he does
not make any parade of either the one or the other. He is desirous of
pleasing, and he will please. He has an expressive countenance; his
figure is elegant, although little. He has not the least awkwardness,
though he has not as yet acquired all-the graces requisite; which Marcel
and the ladies will soon give him. In short, he wants nothing but those
things, which, at his age, must unavoidably be wanting; I mean, a certain
turn and delicacy of manners, which are to be acquired only by time, and
in good company. Ready as he is, he will soon learn them; particularly as
he frequents such companies as are the most proper to give them."

By this extract, which I can assure you is a faithful one, you and I have
both of us the satisfaction of knowing how much you have, and how little
you want. Let what you have give you (if possible) rather more SEEMING
modesty, but at the same time more interior firmness and assurance; and
let what you want, which you see is very attainable, redouble your
attention and endeavors to acquire it. You have, in truth, but that one
thing to apply to and a very pleasing application it is, since it is
through pleasures you must arrive at it. Company, suppers, balls,
spectacles, which show you the models upon which you should form
yourself, and all the little usages, customs, and delicacies, which you
must adopt and make habitual to you, are now your only schools and
universities; in which young fellows and fine women will give you the
best lectures.

Monsieur du Boccage is another of your panegyrists; and he tells me that
Madame Boccage 'a pris avec vous le ton de mie et de bonne'; and that you
like it very well. You are in the right of it; it is the way of
improving; endeavor to be upon that footing with every woman you converse
with; excepting where there may be a tender point of connection; a point
which I have nothing to do with; but if such a one there is, I hope she
has not 'de mauvais ni de vilains bras', which I agree with you in
thinking a very disagreeable thing.

I have sent you, by the opportunity of Pollok the courier, who was once
my servant, two little parcels of Greek and English books; and shall send
you two more by Mr. Yorke: but I accompany them with this caution, that
as you have not much time to read, you should employ it in reading what
is the most necessary, and that is, indisputably modern historical,
geographical, chronological, and political knowledge; the present
constitution, maxims, force, riches, trade, commerce, characters,
parties, and cabals of the several courts of Europe. Many who are
reckoned good scholars, though they know pretty accurately the
governments of Athens and Rome, are totally ignorant of the constitution
of any one country now in Europe, even of their own. Read just Latin and
Greek enough to keep up your classical learning, which will be an
ornament to you while young, and a comfort to you when old. But the true
useful knowledge, and especially for you, is the modern knowledge above
mentioned. It is that must qualify you both for domestic and foreign
business, and it is to that, therefore, that you should principally
direct your attention; and I know, with great pleasure, that you do so. I
would not thus commend you to yourself, if I thought commendations would
have upon you those ill effects, which they frequently have upon weak
minds. I think you are much above being a vain coxcomb, overrating your
own merit, and insulting others with the superabundance of it. On the
contrary, I am convinced that the consciousness of merit makes a man of
sense more modest, though more firm. A man who displays his own merit is
a coxcomb, and a man who does not know it is a fool. A man of sense knows
it, exerts it, avails himself of it, but never boasts of it; and always
SEEMS rather to under than over value it, though in truth, he sets the
right value upon it. It is a very true maxim of La Bruyere's (an author
well worth your studying), 'qu'on ne vaut dans ce monde, que ce que l'on
veut valoir'. A man who is really diffident, timid, and bashful, be his
merit what it will, never can push himself in the world; his despondency
throws him into inaction; and the forward, the bustling, and the
petulant, will always get the better of him. The manner makes the whole
difference. What would be impudence in one manner, is only a proper and
decent assurance in another. A man of sense, and of knowledge in the
world, will assert his own rights, and pursue his own objects, as
steadily and intrepidly as the most impudent man living, and commonly
more so; but then he has art enough to give an outward air of modesty to
all he does. This engages and prevails, while the very same things shock
and fail, from the overbearing or impudent manner only of doing them. I
repeat my maxim, 'Suaviter in modo, sed fortiter in re'. Would you know
the characters, modes and manners of the latter end of the last age,
which are very like those of the present, read La Bruyere. But would you
know man, independently of modes, read La Rochefoucault, who, I am
afraid, paints him very exactly.

Give the inclosed to Abbe Guasco, of whom you make good use, to go about
with you, and see things. Between you and me, he has more knowledge than
parts. 'Mais un habile homme sait tirer parti de tout', and everybody is
good for something. President Montesquieu is, in every sense, a most
useful acquaintance. He has parts, joined to great reading and knowledge
of the world. 'Puisez dans cette source tant que vous pourrez'.

Adieu. May the Graces attend you! for without them 'ogni fatica e vana'.
If they do not come to you willingly, ravish them, and force them to
accompany you in all you think, all you say, and all you do.


LONDON, February 11, O. S. 1751

MY DEAR FRIEND: When you go to the play, which I hope you do often, for
it is a very instructive amusement, you must certainly have observed the
very different effects which the several parts have upon you, according
as they are well or ill acted. The very best tragedy of, Corneille's, if
well spoken and acted, interests, engages, agitates, and affects your
passions. Love, terror, and pity alternately possess you. But, if ill
spoken and acted, it would only excite your indignation or your laughter.
Why? It is still Corneille's; it is the same sense, the same matter,
whether well or ill acted. It is, then, merely the manner of speaking and
acting that makes this great difference in the effects. Apply this to
yourself, and conclude from it, that if you would either please in a
private company, or persuade in a public assembly, air, looks, gestures,
graces, enunciation, proper accents, just emphasis, and tuneful cadences,
are full as necessary as the matter itself. Let awkward, ungraceful,
inelegant, and dull fellows say what they will in behalf of their solid
matter and strong reasonings; and let them despise all those graces and
ornaments which engage the senses and captivate the heart; they will find
(though they will possibly wonder why) that their rough, unpolished
matter, and their unadorned, coarse, but strong arguments, will neither
please nor persuade; but, on the contrary, will tire out attention, and
excite disgust. We are so made, we love to be pleased better than to be
informed; information is, in a certain degree, mortifying, as it implies
our previous ignorance; it must be sweetened to be palatable.

To bring this directly to you: know that no man can make a figure in this
country, but by parliament. Your fate depends upon your success there as
a speaker; and, take my word for it, that success turns much more upon
manner than matter. Mr. Pitt and Mr. Murray the solicitor-general, uncle
to Lord Stormount, are, beyond comparison, the best speakers; why? only
because they are the best orators. They alone can inflame or quiet the
House; they alone are so attended to, in that numerous and noisy
assembly, that you might hear a pin fall while either of them is
speaking. Is it that their matter is better, or their arguments stronger,
than other people's? Does the House expect extraordinary informations
from them? Not, in the least: but the House expects pleasure from them,
and therefore attends; finds it, and therefore approves. Mr. Pitt,
particularly, has very little parliamentary knowledge; his matter is
generally flimsy, and his arguments often weak; but his eloquence is
superior, his action graceful, his enunciation just and harmonious; his
periods are well turned, and every word he makes use of is the very best,
and the most expressive, that can be used in that place. This, and not
his matter, made him Paymaster, in spite of both king and ministers. From
this draw the obvious conclusion. The same thing holds full as true in
conversation; where even trifles, elegantly expressed, well looked, and
accompanied with graceful action, will ever please, beyond all the
homespun, unadorned sense in the world. Reflect, on one side, how you
feel within yourself, while you are forced to suffer the tedious, muddy,
and ill-turned narration of some awkward fellow, even though the fact may
be interesting; and, on the other hand, with what pleasure you attend to
the relation of a much less interesting matter, when elegantly expressed,
genteelly turned, and gracefully delivered. By attending carefully to all
these agremens in your daily conversation, they will become habitual to
you, before you come into parliament; and you will have nothing then, to
do, but to raise them a little when you come there. I would wish you to
be so attentive to this object, that I, would not have you speak to your
footman, but in the very best words that the subject admits of, be the
language what it will. Think of your words, and of their arrangement,
before you speak; choose the most elegant, and place them in the best
order. Consult your own ear, to avoid cacophony, and, what is very near
as bad, monotony. Think also of your gesture and looks, when you are
speaking even upon the most trifling subjects. The same things,
differently expressed, looked, and delivered, cease to be the same
things. The most passionate lover in the world cannot make a stronger
declaration of love than the 'Bourgeois gentilhomme' does in this happy
form of words, 'Mourir d'amour me font belle Marquise vos beaux yeux'. I
defy anybody to say more; and yet I would advise nobody to say that, and
I would recommend to you rather to smother and conceal your passion
entirely than to reveal it in these words. Seriously, this holds in
everything, as well as in that ludicrous instance. The French, to do them
justice, attend very minutely to the purity, the correctness, and the
elegance of their style in conversation and in their letters. 'Bien
narrer' is an object of their study; and though they sometimes carry it
to affectation, they never sink into inelegance, which is much the worst
extreme of the two. Observe them, and form your French style upon theirs:
for elegance in one language will reproduce itself in all. I knew a young
man, who, being just elected a member of parliament, was laughed at for
being discovered, through the keyhole of his chamber-door, speaking to
himself in the glass, and forming his looks and gestures. I could not
join in that laugh; but, on the contrary, thought him much wiser than
those who laughed at him; for he knew the importance of those little
graces in a public assembly, and they did not. Your little person (which
I am told, by the way, is not ill turned), whether in a laced coat or a
blanket, is specifically the same; but yet, I believe, you choose to wear
the former, and you are in the right, for the sake of pleasing more. The
worst-bred man in Europe, if a lady let fall her fan, would certainly
take it up and give it her; the best-bred man in Europe could do no more.
The difference, however, would be considerable; the latter would please
by doing it gracefully; the former would be laughed at for doing it
awkwardly. I repeat it, and repeat it again, and shall never cease
repeating it to you: air, manners, graces, style, elegance, and all those
ornaments, must now be the only objects of your attention; it is now, or
never, that you must acquire them. Postpone, therefore, all other
considerations; make them now your serious study; you have not one moment
to lose. The solid and the ornamental united, are undoubtedly best; but
were I reduced to make an option, I should without hesitation choose the

I hope you assiduously frequent Marcell--[At that time the most
celebrated dancing-master at Paris.]--and carry graces from him; nobody
had more to spare than he had formerly. Have you learned to carve? for it
is ridiculous not to carve well. A man who tells you gravely that he
cannot carve, may as well tell you that he cannot blow his nose: it is
both as necessary, and as easy.

Make my compliments to Lord Huntingdon, whom I love and honor extremely,
as I dare say you do; I will write to him soon, though I believe he has
hardly time to read a letter; and my letters to those I love are, as you
know by experience, not very short ones: this is one proof of it, and
this would have been longer, if the paper had been so. Good night then,
my dear child.


LONDON, February 28, O. S. 1751.

MY DEAR FRIEND: This epigram in Martial--

       "Non amo te, Sabidi, nec possum dicere quare;
        Hoc tantum possum dicere, non amo te"--

        [OR: "I do not love thee Dr. Fell
        The reason why I cannot tell.
        But this I know and know full well:
        I do not love thee Dr. Fell."  D.W.]

has puzzled a great many people, who cannot conceive how it is possible
not to love anybody, and yet not to know the reason why. I think I
conceive Martial's meaning very clearly, though the nature of epigram,
which is to be short, would not allow him to explain it more fully; and I
take it to be this: O Sabidis, you are a very worthy deserving man; you
have a thousand good qualities, you have a great deal of learning; I
esteem, I respect, but for the soul of me I cannot love you, though I
cannot particularly say why. You are not aimable: you have not those
engaging manners, those pleasing attentions, those graces, and that
address, which are absolutely necessary to please, though impossible to
define. I cannot say it is this or that particular thing that hinders me
from loving you; it is the whole together; and upon the whole you are not

How often have I, in the course of my life, found myself in this
situation, with regard to many of my acquaintance, whom I have honored
and respected, without being able to love. I did not know why, because,
when one is young, one does not take the trouble, nor allow one's self
the time, to analyze one's sentiments and to trace them up to their
source. But subsequent observation and reflection have taught me why.
There is a man, whose moral character, deep learning, and superior parts,
I acknowledge, admire, and respect; but whom it is so impossible for me
to love, that I am almost in a fever whenever I am in his company. His
figure (without being deformed) seems made to disgrace or ridicule the
common structure of the human body. His legs and arms are never in the
position which, according to the situation of his body, they ought to be
in, but constantly employed in committing acts of hostility upon the
Graces. He throws anywhere, but down his throat, whatever he means to
drink, and only mangles what he means to carve. Inattentive to all the
regards of social life, he mistimes or misplaces everything. He disputes
with heat, and indiscriminately, mindless of the rank, character, and
situation of those with whom he disputes; absolutely ignorant of the
several gradations of familiarity or respect, he is exactly the same to
his superiors, his equals, and his inferiors; and therefore, by a
necessary consequence, absurd to two of the three. Is it possible to love
such a man? No. The utmost I can do for him, is to consider him as a
respectable Hottentot.--[This 'mot' was aimed at Dr. Johnson in
retaliation for his famous letter.]

I remember, that when I came from Cambridge, I had acquired, among the
pedants of that illiberal seminary, a sauciness of literature, a turn to
satire and contempt, and a strong tendency to argumentation and
contradiction. But I had been but a very little while in the world,
before I found that this would by no means do; and I immediately adopted
the opposite character; I concealed what learning I had; I applauded
often, without approving; and I yielded commonly without conviction.
'Suaviter in modo' was my law and my prophets; and if I pleased (between
you and me) it was much more owing to that, than to any superior
knowledge or merit of my own. Apropos, the word PLEASING puts one always
in mind of Lady Hervey; pray tell her, that I declare her responsible to
me for your pleasing; that I consider her as a pleasing Falstaff, who not
only pleases, herself, but is the cause of pleasing in others; that I
know she can make anything of anybody; and that, as your governess, if
she does not make you please, it must be only because she will not, and
not because she cannot. I hope you are 'dubois don't on en fait'; and if
so, she is so good a sculptor, that I am sure she can give you whatever
form she pleases. A versatility of manners is as necessary in social, as
a versatility of parts is in political life. One must often yield, in
order to prevail; one must humble one's self, to be exalted; one must,
like St. Paul, become all things to all men, to gain some; and, by the
way, men are taken by the same means, 'mutatis mutandis', that women are
gained--by gentleness, insinuation, and submission: and these lines of
Mr. Dryden will hold to a minister as well as to a mistress:

        "The prostrate lover, when he lowest lies,
        But stoops to conquer, and but kneels to rise."

In the course of the world, the qualifications of the chameleon are often
necessary; nay, they must be carried a little further, and exerted a
little sooner; for you should, to a certain degree, take the hue of
either the man or the woman that you want, and wish to be upon terms
with. 'A propos', have you yet found out at Paris, any friendly and
hospitable Madame de Lursay, 'qui veut bien se charger du soin de vous
eduquer'? And have you had any occasion of representing to her, 'qu'elle
faisoit donc des noeuds'? But I ask your pardon, Sir, for the abruptness
of the question, and acknowledge that I am meddling with matters that are
out of my department. However, in matters of less importance, I desire to
be 'de vos secrets le fidele depositaire'. Trust me with the general turn
and color of your amusements at Paris. Is it 'le fracas du grand monde,
comedies, bals, operas, cour,' etc.? Or is it 'des petites societes,
moins bruyantes, mais pas pour cela moins agreables'? Where are you the
most 'etabli'? Where are you 'le petit Stanhope? Voyez vous encore jour,
a quelque arrangement honnete? Have you made many acquaintances among the
young Frenchmen who ride at your Academy; and who are they? Send to me
this sort of chit-chat in your letters, which, by the bye, I wish you
would honor me with somewhat oftener. If you frequent any of the myriads
of polite Englishmen who infest Paris, who are they? Have you finished
with Abbe Nolet, and are you 'au fait' of all the properties and effects
of air? Were I inclined to quibble, I would say, that the effects of air,
at least, are best to be learned of Marcel. If you have quite done with
l'Abbes Nolet, ask my friend l'Abbe Sallier to recommend to you some
meagre philomath, to teach you a little geometry and astronomy; not
enough to absorb your attention and puzzle your intellects, but only
enough not to be grossly ignorant of either. I have of late been a sort
of 'astronome malgre moi', by bringing in last Monday into the House of
Lords a bill for reforming our present Calendar and taking the New Style.
Upon which occasion I was obliged to talk some astronomical jargon, of
which I did not understand one word, but got it by heart, and spoke it by
rote from a master. I wished that I had known a little more of it myself;
and so much I would have you know. But the great and necessary knowledge
of all is, to know, yourself and others: this knowledge requires great
attention and long experience; exert the former, and may you have the
latter! Adieu!

P. S. I have this moment received your letters of the 27th February, and
the 2d March, N. S. The seal shall be done as soon as possible. I am,
glad that you are employed in Lord Albemarle's bureau; it will teach you,
at least, the mechanical part of that business, such as folding,
entering, and docketing letters; for you must not imagine that you are
let into the 'fin fin' of the correspondence, nor indeed is it fit that
you should, at, your age. However, use yourself to secrecy as to the
letters you either read or write, that in time you may be trusted with
SECRET, VERY SECRET, SEPARATE, APART, etc. I am sorry that this business
interferes with your riding; I hope it is seldom; but I insist upon its
not interfering with your dancing-master, who is at this time the most
useful and necessary of all the masters you have or can have.


MY DEAR FRIEND: I mentioned to you, some time ago a sentence which I
would most earnestly wish you always to retain in your thoughts, and
observe in your conduct. It is 'suaviter in modo, fortiter in re'
[gentleness of manners, with firmness of mind D.W.]. I do not know any
one rule so unexceptionably useful and necessary in every part of life. I
shall therefore take it for my text to-day, and as old men love
preaching, and I have some right to preach to you, I here present you
with my sermon upon these words. To proceed, then, regularly and
PULPITICALLY, I will first show you, my beloved, the necessary connection
of the two members of my text 'suaviter in modo: fortiter in re'. In the
next place, I shall set forth the advantages and utility resulting from a
strict observance of the precept contained in my text; and conclude with
an application of the whole. The 'suaviter in modo' alone would
degenerate and sink into a mean, timid complaisance and passiveness, if
not supported and dignified by the 'fortiter in re', which would also run
into impetuosity and brutality, if not tempered and softened by the
'suaviter in modo': however, they are seldom united.

The warm, choleric man, with strong animal spirits, despises the
'suaviter in modo', and thinks to, carry all before him by the 'fortiter
in re'. He may, possibly, by great accident, now and then succeed, when
he has only weak and timid people to deal with; but his general fate will
be, to shock offend, be hated, and fail. On the other hand, the cunning,
crafty man thinks to gain all his ends by the 'suaviter in modo' only; HE
BECOMES ALL THINGS TO ALL MEN; he seems to have no opinion of his own,
and servilely adopts the present opinion of the present person; he
insinuates himself only into the esteem of fools, but is soon detected,
and surely despised by everybody else. The wise man (who differs as much
from the cunning, as from the choleric man) alone joins the 'suaviter in
modo' with the 'fortiter in re'. Now to the advantages arising from the
strict observance of this precept:

If you are in authority, and have a right to command, your commands
delivered 'suaviter in modo' will be willingly, cheerfully, and
consequently well obeyed; whereas, if given only 'fortiter', that is
brutally, they will rather, as Tacitus says, be interrupted than
executed. For my own part, if I bid my footman bring me a glass of wine,
in a rough insulting manner, I should expect that, in obeying me, he
would contrive to spill some of it upon me: and I am sure I should
deserve it. A cool, steady resolution should show that where you have a
right to command you will be obeyed; but at the same time, a gentleness
in the manner of enforcing that obedience should make it a cheerful one,
and soften as much as possible the mortifying consciousness of
inferiority. If you are to ask a favor, or even to solicit your due, you
must do it 'suaviter in modo', or you will give those who have a mind to
refuse you, either a pretense to do it, by resenting the manner; but, on
the other hand, you must, by a steady perseverance and decent
tenaciousness, show the 'fortiter in re'. The right motives are seldom
the true ones of men's actions, especially of kings, ministers, and
people in high stations; who often give to importunity and fear, what
they would refuse to justice or to merit. By the 'suaviter in modo'
engage their hearts, if you can; at least prevent the pretense of offense
but take care to show enough of the 'fortiter in re' to extort from their
love of ease, or their fear, what you might in vain hope for from their
justice or good-nature. People in high life are hardened to the wants and
distresses of mankind, as surgeons are to their bodily pains; they see
and hear of them all day long, and even of so many simulated ones, that
they do not know which are real, and which not. Other sentiments are
therefore to be applied to, than those of mere justice and humanity;
their favor must be captivated by the 'suaviter in modo'; their love of
ease disturbed by unwearied importunity, or their fears wrought upon by a
decent intimation of implacable, cool resentment; this is the true
'fortiter in re'. This precept is the only way I know in the world of
being loved without being despised, and feared without being hated. It
constitutes the dignity of character which every wise man must endeavor
to establish.

Now to apply what has been said, and so conclude.

If you find that you have a hastiness in your temper, which unguardedly
breaks out into indiscreet sallies, or rough expressions, to either your
superiors, your equals, or your inferiors, watch it narrowly, check it
carefully, and call the 'suaviter in modo' to your assistance: at the
first impulse of passion, be silent till you can be soft. Labor even to
get the command of your countenance so well, that those emotions may not
be read in it; a most unspeakable advantage in business! On the other
hand, let no complaisance, no gentleness of temper, no weak desire of
pleasing on your part,--no wheedling, coaxing, nor flattery, on other
people's,--make you recede one jot from any point that reason and
prudence have bid you pursue; but return to the charge, persist,
persevere, and you will find most things attainable that are possible. A
yielding, timid meekness is always abused and insulted by the unjust and
the unfeeling; but when sustained by the 'fortiter in re', is always
respected, commonly successful. In your friendships and connections, as
well as in your enmities, this rule is particularly useful; let your
firmness and vigor preserve and invite attachments to you; but, at the
same time, let your manner hinder the enemies of your friends and
dependents from becoming yours; let your enemies be disarmed by the
gentleness of your manner, but let them feel, at the same time, the
steadiness of your just resentment; for there is a great difference
between bearing malice, which is always ungenerous, and a resolute
self-defense, which is always prudent and justifiable. In negotiations
with foreign ministers, remember the 'fortiter in re'; give up no point,
accept of no expedient, till the utmost necessity reduces you to it, and
even then, dispute the ground inch by inch; but then, while you are
contending with the minister 'fortiter in re', remember to gain the man
by the 'suaviter in modo'. If you engage his heart, you have a fair
chance for imposing upon his understanding, and determining his will.
Tell him, in a frank, gallant manner, that your ministerial wrangles do
not lessen your personal regard for his merit; but that, on the contrary,
his zeal and ability in the service of his master, increase it; and that,
of all things, you desire to make a good friend of so good a servant. By
these means you may, and will very often be a gainer: you never can be a
loser. Some people cannot gain upon themselves to be easy and civil to
those who are either their rivals, competitors, or opposers, though,
independently of those accidental circumstances, they would like and
esteem them. They betray a shyness and an awkwardness in company with
them, and catch at any little thing to expose them; and so, from
temporary and only occasional opponents, make them their personal
enemies. This is exceedingly weak and detrimental, as indeed is all humor
in business; which can only be carried on successfully by, unadulterated
good policy and right reasoning. In such situations I would be more
particularly and 'noblement', civil, easy, and frank with the man whose
designs I traversed: this is commonly called generosity and magnanimity,
but is, in truth, good sense and policy. The manner is often as important
as the matter, sometimes more so; a favor may make an enemy, and an
injury may make a friend, according to the different manner in which they
are severally done. The countenance, the address, the words, the
enunciation, the Graces, add great efficacy to the 'suaviter in modo',
and great dignity to the 'fortiter in re', and consequently they deserve
the utmost attention.

From what has been said, I conclude with this observation, that
gentleness of manners, with firmness of mind, is a short, but full
description of human perfection on this side of religious and moral
duties. That you may be seriously convinced of this truth, and show it in
your life and conversation, is the most sincere and ardent wish of,


LONDON, March 11, O. S. 1751.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I received by the last post a letter from Abbe Guasco, in
which he joins his representations to those of Lord Albemarle, against
your remaining any longer in your very bad lodgings at the Academy; and,
as I do not find that any advantage can arise to you from being 'interne'
in an academy which is full as far from the riding-house and from all
your other masters, as your lodgings will probably be, I agree to your
removing to an 'hotel garni'; the Abbe will help you to find one, as I
desire him by the inclosed, which you will give him. I must, however,
annex one condition to your going into private lodgings, which is an
absolute exclusion of English breakfasts and suppers at them; the former
consume the whole morning, and the latter employ the evenings very ill,
in senseless toasting a l'Angloise in their infernal claret. You will be
sure to go to the riding-house as often as possible, that is, whenever
your new business at Lord Albemarle's does not hinder you. But, at all
events, I insist upon your never missing Marcel, who is at present of
more consequence to you than all the bureaux in Europe; for this is the
time for you to acquire 'tous ces petits riens', which, though in an
arithmetical account, added to one another 'ad infinitum', they would
amount to nothing, in the account of the world amount to a great and
important sum. 'Les agremens et les graces', without which you will never
be anything, are absolutely made up of all those 'riens', which are more
easily felt than described. By the way, you may take your lodgings for
one whole year certain, by which means you may get them much cheaper; for
though I intend to see you here in less than a year, it will be but for a
little time, and you will return to Paris again, where I intend you shall
stay till the end of April twelvemonth, 1752, at which time, provided you
have got all 'la politesse, les manieres, les attentions, et les graces
du beau monde', I shall place you in some business suitable to your

I have received, at last, your present of the cartoon, from Dominichino,
by Planchet. It is very finely done, it is pity that he did not take in
all the figures of the original. I will hang it up, where it shall be
your own again some time or other.

Mr. Harte is returned in perfect health from Cornwall, and has taken
possession of his prebendal house at Windsor, which is a very pretty one.
As I dare say you will always feel, I hope you will always express, the
strongest sentiments of gratitude and friendship for him. Write to him
frequently, and attend to the letters you receive from him. He shall be
with us at Blackheath, alias BABIOLE, all the time that I propose you
shall be there, which I believe will be the month of August next.

Having thus mentioned to you the probable time of our meeting, I will
prepare you a little for it. Hatred; jealousy, or envy, make, most people
attentive to discover the least defects of those they do not love; they
rejoice at every new discovery they make of that kind, and take care to
publish it. I thank God, I do not know what those three ungenerous
passions are, having never felt them in my own breast; but love has just
the same effect upon me, except that I conceal, instead of publishing,
the defeats which my attention makes me discover in those I love. I
curiously pry into them; I analyze them; and, wishing either to find them
perfect, or to make them so, nothing escapes me, and I soon discover
every the least gradation toward or from that perfection. You must
therefore expect the most critical 'examen' that ever anybody underwent.
I shall discover your least, as well as your greatest defects, and I
shall very freely tell you of them, 'Non quod odio habeam sed quod amem'.
But I shall tell them you 'tete-a-tete', and as MICIO not as DEMEA; and I
will tell them to nobody else. I think it but fair to inform you
beforehand, where I suspect that my criticisms are likely to fall; and
that is more upon the outward, than upon the inward man; I neither
suspect your heart nor your head; but to be plain with you, I have a
strange distrust of your air, your address, your manners, your
'tournure', and particularly of your ENUNCIATION and elegance of style.
These will be all put to the trial; for while you are with me, you must
do the honors of my house and table; the least inaccuracy or inelegance
will not escape me; as you will find by a LOOK at the time, and by a
remonstrance afterward when we are alone. You will see a great deal of
company of all sorts at BABIOLE, and particularly foreigners. Make,
therefore, in the meantime, all these exterior and ornamental
qualifications your peculiar care, and disappoint all my imaginary
schemes of criticism. Some authors have criticised their own works first,
in hopes of hindering others from doing it afterward: but then they do it
themselves with so much tenderness and partiality for their own
production, that not only the production itself, but the preventive
criticism is criticised. I am not one of those authors; but, on the
contrary, my severity increases with my fondness for my work; and if you
will but effectually correct all the faults I shall find, I will insure
you from all subsequent criticisms from other quarters.

Are you got a little into the interior, into the constitution of things
at Paris? Have you seen what you have seen thoroughly? For, by the way,
few people see what they see, or hear what they hear. For example, if you
go to les Invalides, do you content yourself with seeing the building,
the hall where three or four hundred cripples dine, and the galleries
where they lie? or do you inform yourself of the numbers, the conditions
of their admission, their allowance, the value and nature of the fund by
which the whole is supported? This latter I call seeing, the former is
only starting. Many people take the opportunity of 'les vacances', to go
and see the empty rooms where the several chambers of the parliament did
sit; which rooms are exceedingly like all other large rooms; when you go
there, let it be when they are full; see and hear what is doing in them;
learn their respective constitutions, jurisdictions, objects, and methods
of proceeding; hear some causes tried in every one of the different
chambers; 'Approfondissez les choses'.

I am glad to hear that you are so well at Marquis de St. Germain's,
--[At that time Ambassador from the King of Sardinia at the Court of
France.]--of whom I hear a very good character. How are you with the
other foreign ministers at Paris? Do you frequent the Dutch Ambassador or
Ambassadress? Have you any footing at the Nuncio's, or at the Imperial
and Spanish ambassadors? It is useful. Be more particular in your letters
to me, as to your manner of passing your time, and the company you keep.
Where do you dine and sup oftenest? whose house is most your home? Adieu.
'Les Graces, les Graces'.


LONDON, March 18, O. S. 1751.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I acquainted you in a former letter, that I had brought a
bill into the House of Lords for correcting and reforming our present
calendar, which is the Julian, and for adopting the Gregorian. I will now
give you a more particular account of that affair; from which reflections
will naturally occur to you that I hope may be useful, and which I fear
you have not made. It was notorious, that the Julian calendar was
erroneous, and had overcharged the solar year with eleven days. Pope
Gregory the Thirteenth corrected this error; his reformed calendar was
immediately received by all the Catholic powers of Europe, and afterward
adopted by all the Protestant ones, except Russia, Sweden, and England.
It was not, in my opinion, very honorable for England to remain, in a
gross and avowed error, especially in such company; the inconveniency of
it was likewise felt by all those who had foreign correspondences,
whether political or mercantile. I determined, therefore, to attempt the
reformation; I consulted the best lawyers and the most skillful
astronomers, and we cooked up a bill for that purpose. But then my
difficulty began: I was to bring in this bill, which was necessarily
composed of law jargon and astronomical calculations, to both which I am
an utter stranger. However, it was absolutely necessary to make the House
of Lords think that I knew something of the matter; and also to make them
believe that they knew something of it themselves, which they do not. For
my own part, I could just as soon have talked Celtic or Sclavonian to
them as astronomy, and they would have understood me full as well: so I
resolved to do better than speak to the purpose, and to please instead of
informing them. I gave them, therefore, only an historical account of
calendars, from the Egyptian down to the Gregorian, amusing them now and
then with little episodes; but I was particularly attentive to the choice
of my words, to the harmony and roundness of my periods, to my elocution,
to my action. This succeeded, and ever will succeed; they thought I
informed, because I pleased them; and many of them said that I had made
the whole very clear to them; when, God knows, I had not even attempted
it. Lord Macclesfield, who had the greatest share in forming the bill,
and who is one of the greatest mathematicians and astronomers in Europe,
spoke afterward with infinite knowledge, and all the clearness that so
intricate a matter would admit of: but as his words, his periods, and his
utterance, were not near so good as mine, the preference was most
unanimously, though most unjustly, given to me. This will ever be the
case; every numerous assembly is MOB, let the individuals who compose it
be what they will. Mere reason and good sense is never to be talked to a
mob; their passions, their sentiments, their senses, and their seeming
interests, are alone to be applied to. Understanding they have
collectively none, but they have ears and eyes, which must be flattered
and seduced; and this can only be done by eloquence, tuneful periods,
graceful action, and all the various parts of oratory.

When you come into the House of Commons, if you imagine that speaking
plain and unadorned sense and reason will do your business, you will find
yourself most grossly mistaken. As a speaker, you will be ranked only
according to your eloquence, and by no means according to your matter;
everybody knows the matter almost alike, but few can adorn it. I was
early convinced of the importance and powers of eloquence; and from that
moment I applied myself to it. I resolved not to utter one word, even in
common conversation, that should not be the most expressive and the most
elegant that the language could supply me with for that purpose; by which
means I have acquired such a certain degree of habitual eloquence, that I
must now really take some pains, if, I would express myself very
inelegantly. I want to inculcate this known truth into you, which, you
seem by no means to be convinced of yet, that ornaments are at present
your only objects. Your sole business now is to shine, not to weigh.
Weight without lustre is lead. You had better talk trifles elegantly to
the most trifling woman, than coarse in elegant sense to the most solid
man; you had better, return a dropped fan genteelly, than give a thousand
pounds awkwardly; and you had better refuse a favor gracefully, than to
grant it clumsily. Manner is all, in everything: it is by manner only
that you can please, and consequently rise. All your Greek will never
advance you from secretary to envoy, or from envoy to ambassador; but
your address, your manner, your air, if good, very probably may. Marcel
can be of much more use to you than Aristotle. I would, upon my word,
much rather that you had Lord Bolingbroke's style and eloquence in
speaking and writing, than all the learning of the Academy of Sciences,
the Royal Society, and the two Universities united.

Having mentioned Lord Bolingbroke's style, which is, undoubtedly,
infinitely superior to anybody's, I would have you read his works, which
you have, over and-over again, with particular attention to his style.
Transcribe, imitate, emulate it, if possible: that would be of real use
to you in the House of Commons, in negotiations, in conversation; with
that, you may justly hope to please, to persuade, to seduce, to impose;
and you will fail in those articles, in proportion as you fall short of
it. Upon the whole, lay aside, during your year's residence at Paris, all
thoughts of all that dull fellows call solid, and exert your utmost care
to acquire what people of fashion call shining. 'Prenez l'eclat et le
brillant d'un galant homme'.

Among the commonly called little things, to which you, do not attend,
your handwriting is one, which is indeed shamefully bad and illiberal; it
is neither the hand of a man of business, nor of a gentleman, but of a
truant school-boy; as soon, therefore, as you have done with Abbe Nolet,
pray get an excellent writing-master (since you think that you cannot
teach yourself to write what hand you please), and let him teach you to
write a genteel, legible, liberal hand, and quick; not the hand of a
procureur or a writing-master, but that sort of hand in which the first
'Commis' in foreign bureaus commonly write; for I tell you truly, that
were I Lord Albemarle, nothing should remain in my bureau written in your
present hand. From hand to arms the transition is natural; is the
carriage and motion of your arms so too? The motion of the arms is the
most material part of a man's air, especially in dancing; the feet are
not near so material. If a man dances well from the waist upward, wears
his hat well, and moves his head properly, he dances well. Do the women
say that you dress well? for that is necessary too for a young fellow.
Have you 'un gout vif', or a passion for anybody? I do not ask for whom:
an Iphigenia would both give you the desire, and teach you the means to

In a fortnight or three weeks you will see Sir Charles Hotham at Paris,
in his way to Toulouse, where he is to stay a year or two. Pray be very
civil to him, but do not carry him into company, except presenting him to
Lord Albemarle; for, as he is not to stay at Paris above a week, we do
not desire that he should taste of that dissipation: you may show him a
play and an opera. Adieu, my dear child.


LONDON, March 25, O. S. 1751.

MY DEAR FRIEND: What a happy period of your life is this? Pleasure is
now, and ought to be, your business. While you were younger, dry rules,
and unconnected words, were the unpleasant objects of your labors. When
you grow older, the anxiety, the vexations, the disappointments
inseparable from public business, will require the greatest share of your
time and attention; your pleasures may, indeed, conduce to your business,
and your business will quicken your pleasures; but still your time must,
at least, be divided: whereas now it is wholly your own, and cannot be so
well employed as in the pleasures of a gentleman. The world is now the
only book you want, and almost the only one you ought to read: that
necessary book can only be read in company, in public places, at meals,
and in 'ruelles'. You must be in the pleasures, in order to learn the
manners of good company. In premeditated, or in formal business, people
conceal, or at least endeavor to conceal, their characters: whereas
pleasures discover them, and the heart breaks out through the guard of
the understanding. Those are often propitious moments for skillful
negotiators to improve. In your destination particularly, the able
conduct of pleasures is of infinite use; to keep a good table, and to do
the honors of it gracefully, and 'sur le ton de la bonne compagnie', is
absolutely necessary for a foreign minister. There is a certain light
table chit-chat, useful to keep off improper and too serious subjects,
which is only to be learned in the pleasures of good company. In truth it
may be trifling; but, trifling as it is, a man of parts and experience of
the world will give an agreeable turn to it. 'L'art de badiner
agreablement' is by no means to be despised.

An engaging address, and turn to gallantry, is often of very great
service to foreign ministers. Women have, directly or indirectly; a good
deal to say in most courts. The late Lord Strafford governed, for a
considerable time, the Court of Berlin and made his own fortune, by being
well with Madame de Wartenberg, the first King of Prussia's mistress. I
could name many other instances of that kind. That sort of agreeable
'caquet de femmes', the necessary fore-runners of closer conferences, is
only to be got by frequenting women of the first fashion, 'et, qui
donnent le ton'. Let every other book then give way to this great and
necessary book, the world, of which there are so many various readings,
that it requires a great deal of time and attention to under stand it
well: contrary to all other books, you must not stay home, but go abroad
to read it; and when you seek it abroad, you will not find it in
booksellers' shops and stalls, but in courts, in hotels, at
entertainments, balls, assemblies, spectacles, etc. Put yourself upon the
footing of an easy, domestic, but polite familiarity and intimacy in the
several French houses to which you have been introduced: Cultivate them,
frequent them, and show a desire of becoming 'enfant de la maison'. Get
acquainted as much as you can with 'les gens de cour'; and observe,
carefully, how politely they can differ, and how civilly they can hate;
how easy and idle they can seem in the multiplicity of their business;
and how they can lay hold of the proper moments to carry it on, in the
midst of their pleasures. Courts, alone, teach versatility and
politeness; for there is no living there without them. Lord Albermarle
has, I hear, and am very glad of it, put you into the hands of Messieurs
de Bissy. Profit of that, and beg of them to let you attend them in all
the companies of Versailles and Paris. One of them, at least, will
naturally carry you to Madame de la Valiores, unless he is discarded by
this time, and Gelliot--[A famous opera-singer at Paris.]--retaken. Tell
them frankly, 'que vous cherchez a vous former, que vous etes en mains de
maitres, s'ils veulent bien s'en donner la peine'. Your profession has
this agreeable peculiarity in it, which is, that it is connected with,
and promoted by pleasures; and it is the only one in which a thorough
knowledge of the world, polite manners, and an engaging address, are
absolutely necessary. If a lawyer knows his law, a parson his divinity,
and a financier his calculations, each may make a figure and a fortune in
his profession, without great knowledge of the world, and without the
manners of gentlemen. But your profession throws you into all the
intrigues and cabals, as well as pleasures, of courts: in those windings
and labyrinths, a knowledge of the world, a discernment of characters, a
suppleness and versatility of mind, and an elegance of manners, must be
your clue; you must know how to soothe and lull the monsters that guard,
and how to address and gain the fair that keep, the golden fleece. These
are the arts and the accomplishments absolutely necessary for a foreign
minister; in which it must be owned, to our shame, that most other
nations outdo the English; and, 'caeteris paribus', a French minister
will get the better of an English one at any third court in Europe. The
French have something more 'liant', more insinuating and engaging in
their manner, than we have. An English minister shall have resided seven
years at a court, without having made any one personal connection there,
or without being intimate and domestic in any one house. He is always the
English minister, and never naturalized. He receives his orders, demands
an audience, writes an account of it to his Court, and his business is
done. A French minister, on the contrary, has not been six weeks at a
court without having, by a thousand little attentions, insinuated himself
into some degree of favor with the Prince, his wife, his mistress, his
favorite, and his minister. He has established himself upon a familiar
and domestic footing in a dozen of the best houses of the place, where he
has accustomed the people to be not only easy, but unguarded, before him;
he makes himself at home there, and they think him so. By these means he
knows the interior of those courts, and can almost write prophecies to
his own, from the knowledge he has of the characters, the humors, the
abilities, or the weaknesses of the actors. The Cardinal d'Ossat was
looked upon at Rome as an Italian, and not as a French cardinal; and
Monsieur d'Avaux, wherever he went, was never considered as a foreign
minister, but as a native, and a personal friend. Mere plain truth,
sense, and knowledge, will by no means do alone in courts; art and
ornaments must come to their assistance. Humors must be flattered; the
'mollia tempora' must be studied and known: confidence acquired by
seeming frankness, and profited of by silent skill. And, above all; you
must gain and engage the heart, to betray the understanding to you. 'Ha
tibi erunt artes'.

The death of the Prince of Wales, who was more beloved for his affability
and good-nature than esteemed for his steadiness and conduct, has given
concern to many, and apprehensions to all. The great difference of the
ages of the King and Prince George presents the prospect of a minority; a
disagreeable prospect for any nation! But it is to be hoped, and is most
probable, that the King, who is now perfectly recovered of his late
indisposition, may live to see his grandson of age. He is, seriously, a
most hopeful boy: gentle and good-natured, with good sound sense. This
event has made all sorts of people here historians, as well as
politicians. Our histories are rummaged for all the particular
circumstances of the six minorities we have had since the Conquest, viz,
those of Henry III., Edward III., Richard II., Henry VI., Edward V., and
Edward VI.; and the reasonings, the speculations, the conjectures, and
the predictions, you will easily imagine, must be innumerable and
endless, in this nation, where every porter is a consummate politician.
Dr. Swift says, very humorously, that "Every man knows that he
understands religion and politics, though he never learned them; but that
many people are conscious that they do not understand many other
sciences, from having never learned them." Adieu.


LONDON, April 7, O. S. 1751

MY DEAR FRIEND: Here you have, altogether, the pocketbooks, the
compasses, and the patterns. When your three Graces have made their
option, you need only send me, in a letter small pieces of the three
mohairs they fix upon. If I can find no way of sending them safely and
directly to Paris, I will contrive to have them left with Madame Morel,
at Calais, who, being Madame Monconseil's agent there, may find means of
furthering them to your three ladies, who all belong to your friend
Madame Monconseil. Two of the three, I am told, are handsome; Madame
Polignac, I can swear, is not so; but, however, as the world goes, two
out of three is a very good composition.

You will also find in the packet a compass ring set round with little
diamonds, which I advise you to make a present of to Abbe Guasco, who has
been useful to you, and will continue to be so; as it is a mere bauble,
you must add to the value of it by your manner of giving it him. Show it
him first, and, when he commends it, as probably he will, tell him that
it is at his service, 'et que comme il est toujours par vole et par
chemins, il est absolument necessaire qu'il ale une boussole'. All those
little gallantries depend entirely upon the manner of doing them; as, in
truth, what does not? The greatest favors may be done so awkwardly and
bunglingly as to offend; and disagreeable things may be done so agreeably
as almost to oblige. Endeavor to acquire this great secret; it exists, it
is to be found, and is worth a great deal more than the grand secret of
the alchemists would be if it were, as it is not, to be found. This is
only to be learned in courts, where clashing views, jarring opinions, and
cordial hatreds, are softened and kept within decent bounds by politeness
and manners. Frequent, observe, and learn courts. Are you free of that of
St. Cloud? Are you often at Versailles? Insinuate and wriggle yourself
into favor at those places. L'Abbe de la Ville, my old friend, will help
you at the latter; your three ladies may establish you in the former. The
good-breeding 'de la ville et de la cour' [of the city and of the court]
are different; but without deciding which is intrinsically the best, that
of the court is, without doubt, the most necessary for you, who are to
live, to grow, and to rise in courts. In two years' time, which will be
as soon as you are fit for it, I hope to be able to plant you in the soil
of a YOUNG COURT here: where, if you have all the address, the suppleness
and versatility of a good courtier, you will have a great chance of
thriving and flourishing. Young favor is easily acquired if the proper
means are employed; and, when acquired, it is warm, if not durable; and
the warm moments must be snatched and improved. 'Quitte pour ce qui en
pent arriver apres'. Do not mention this view of mine for you to any one
mortal; but learn to keep your own secrets, which, by the way, very few
people can do.

If your course of experimental philosophy with Abbe Nolot is over, I
would have you apply to Abbe Sallier, for a master to give you a general
notion of astronomy and geometry; of both of which you may know as much,
as I desire you should, in six months' time. I only desire that you
should have a clear notion of the present planetary system, and the
history of all the former systems. Fontenelle's 'Pluralites des Mondes'
will almost teach you all you need know upon that subject. As for
geometry, the seven first books of Euclid will be a sufficient portion of
it for you. It is right to have a general notion of those abstruse
sciences, so as not to appear quite ignorant of them, when they happen,
as sometimes they do, to be the topics of conversation; but a deep
knowledge of them requires too much time, and engrosses the mind too
much. I repeat it again and again to you, Let the great book of the world
be your principal study. 'Nocturna versate manu, versate diurna'; which
may be rendered thus in English: Turn Over MEN BY DAY, AND WOMEN BY
NIGHT. I mean only the best editions.

Whatever may be said at Paris of my speech upon the bill for the
reformation of the present calendar, or whatever applause it may have met
with here, the whole, I can assure you, is owing to the words and to the
delivery, but by no means to the matter; which, as I told you in a former
letter, I was not master of. I mention this again, to show you the
importance of well-chosen words, harmonious periods, and good delivery;
for, between you and me, Lord Macclefield's speech was, in truth, worth a
thousand of mine. It will soon be printed, and I will send it you. It is
very instructive. You say, that you wish to speak but half as well as I
did; you may easily speak full as well as ever I did, if you will but
give the same attention to the same objects that I did at your age, and
for many years afterward; I mean correctness, purity, and elegance of
style, harmony of periods, and gracefulness of delivery. Read over and
over again the third book of 'Cicero de Oratore', in which he
particularly treats of the ornamental parts of oratory; they are indeed
properly oratory, for all the rest depends only upon common sense, and
some knowledge of the subject you speak upon. But if you would please,
persuade, and prevail in speaking, it must be by the ornamental parts of
oratory. Make them therefore habitual to you; and resolve never to say
the most common things, even to your footman, but in the best words you
can find, and with the best utterance. This, with 'les manieres, la
tournure, et les usages du beau monde', are the only two things you want;
fortunately, they are both in your power; may you have them both! Adieu.


LONDON, April 15, O. S. 1751

MY DEAR FRIEND: What success with the graces, and in the accomplishments,
elegancies, and all those little nothings so indispensably necessary to
constitute an amiable man? Do you take them, do you make a progress in
them? The great secret is the art of pleasing; and that art is to be
attained by every man who has a good fund of common sense. If you are
pleased with any person, examine why; do as he does; and you will charm
others by the same things which please you in him. To be liked by women,
you must be esteemed by men; and to please men, you must be agreeable to
women. Vanity is unquestionably the ruling passion in women; and it is
much flattered by the attentions of a man who is generally esteemed by
men; when his merit has received the stamp of their approbation, women
make it current, that is to say, put him in fashion. On the other hand,
if a man has not received the last polish from women, he may be estimable
among men, but will never be amiable. The concurrence of the two sexes is
as necessary to the perfection of our being, as to the formation of it.
Go among women with the good qualities of your sex, and you will acquire
from them the softness and the graces of theirs. Men will then add
affection to the esteem which they before had for you. Women are the only
refiners of the merit of men; it is true, they cannot add weight, but
they polish and give lustre to it. 'A propos', I am assured, that Madame
de Blot, although she has no great regularity of features, is,
notwithstanding, excessively pretty; and that, for all that, she has as
yet been scrupulously constant to her husband, though she has now been
married above a year. Surely she does not reflect, that woman wants
polishing. I would have you polish one another reciprocally. Force,
assiduities, attentions, tender looks, and passionate declarations, on
your side will produce some irresolute wishes, at least, on hers; and
when even the slightest wishes arise, the rest will soon follow.

As I take you to be the greatest 'juris peritus' and politician of the
whole Germanic body, I suppose you will have read the King of Prussia's
letter to the Elector of Mayence, upon the election of a King of the
Romans; and on the other side, a memorial entitled, IMPARTIAL
THE ROMANS, etc. The first is extremely well written, but not grounded
upon the laws and customs of the empire. The second is very ill written
(at least in French), but well grounded. I fancy the author is some
German, who has taken into his head that he understands French. I am,
however, persuaded that the elegance and delicacy of the King of
Prussia's letter will prevail with two-thirds of the public, in spite of
the solidity and truth contained in the other piece. Such is the force of
an elegant and delicate style!

I wish you would be so good as to give me a more particular and
circumstantial account of the method of passing your time at Paris. For
instance, where it is that you dine every Friday, in company with that
amiable and respectable old man, Fontenelle? Which is the house where you
think yourself at home? For one always has such a one, where one is
better established, and more at ease than anywhere else. Who are the
young Frenchmen with whom you are most intimately connected? Do you
frequent the Dutch Ambassador's. Have you penetrated yet into Count
Caunitz's house? Has Monsieur de Pignatelli the honor of being one of
your humble servants? And has the Pope's nuncio included you in the
jubilee? Tell me also freely how you are with Lord Huntingdon: Do you see
him often? Do you connect yourself with him? Answer all these questions
circumstantially in your first letter.

I am told that Du Clos's book is not in vogue at Paris, and that it is
violently criticised: I suppose that is because one understands it; and
being intelligible is now no longer the fashion. I have a very great
respect for fashion, but a much greater for this book; which is, all at
once, true, solid, and bright. It contains even epigrams; what can one
wish for more?

Mr.------will, I suppose, have left Paris by this time for his residence
at Toulouse. I hope he will acquire manners there; I am sure he wants
them. He is awkward, he is silent, and has nothing agreeable in his
address,--most necessary qualifications to distinguish one's self in
business, as well as in the POLITE WORLD! In truth, these two things are
so connected, that a man cannot make a figure in business, who is not
qualified to shine in the great world; and to succeed perfectly in either
the one or the other, one must be in 'utrumque paratus'. May you be that,
my dear friend! and so we wish you a good night.

P. S. Lord and Lady Blessington, with their son Lord Mountjoy, will be at
Paris next week, in their way to the south of France; I send you a little
packet of books by them. Pray go wait upon them, as soon as you hear of
their arrival, and show them all the attentions you can.


LONDON, April 22, O. S. 1751

MY DEAR FRIEND: I apply to you now, as to the greatest virtuoso of this,
or perhaps any other age; one whose superior judgment and distinguishing
eye hindered the King of Poland from buying a bad picture at Venice, and
whose decisions in the realms of 'virtu' are final, and without appeal.
Now to the point. I have had a catalogue sent me, 'd'une Trente a
l'aimable de Tableaux des plus Grands Maitres, appartenans au Sieur
Araignon Aperen, valet de chambre de la Reine, sur le quai de la
Megisserie, au coin de Arche Marion'. There I observe two large pictures
of Titian, as described in the inclosed page of the catalogue, No. 18,
which I should be glad to purchase upon two conditions: the first is,
that they be undoubted originals of Titian, in good preservation; and the
other that they come cheap. To ascertain the first (but without
disparaging your skill), I wish you would get some undoubted connoisseurs
to examine them carefully: and if, upon such critical examination, they
should be unanimously allowed to be undisputed originals of Titian, and
well preserved, then comes the second point, the price: I will not go
above two hundred pounds sterling for the two together; but as much less
as you can get them for. I acknowledge that two hundred pounds seems to
be a very small sum for two undoubted Titians of that size; but, on the
other hand, as large Italian pictures are now out of fashion at Paris,
where fashion decides of everything, and as these pictures are too large
for common rooms, they may possibly come within the price above limited.
I leave the whole of this transaction (the price excepted, which I will
not exceed) to your consummate skill and prudence, with proper advice
joined to them. Should you happen to buy them for that price, carry them
to your own lodgings, and get a frame made to the second, which I observe
has none, exactly the same with the other frame, and have the old one new
gilt; and then get them carefully packed up, and sent me by Rouen.

I hear much of your conversing with 'les beaux esprits' at Paris: I am
very glad of it; it gives a degree of reputation, especially at Paris;
and their conversation is generally instructive, though sometimes
affected. It must be owned, that the polite conversation of the men and
women of fashion at Paris, though not always very deep, is much less
futile and frivolous than ours here. It turns at least upon some subject,
something of taste, some point of history, criticism, and even
philosophy; which, though probably not quite so solid as Mr. Locke's, is,
however, better, and more becoming rational beings, than our frivolous
dissertations upon the weather, or upon whist. Monsieur du Clos observes,
and I think very justly, 'qu'il y a a present en France une fermentation
universelle de la raison qui tend a se developper'. Whereas, I am sorry
to say, that here that fermentation seems to have been over some years
ago, the spirit evaporated, and only the dregs left. Moreover, 'les beaux
esprits' at Paris are commonly well-bred, which ours very frequently are
not; with the former your manners will be formed; with the latter, wit
must generally be compounded for at the expense of manners. Are you
acquainted with Marivaux, who has certainly studied, and is well
acquainted with the heart; but who refines so much upon its 'plis et
replis', and describes them so affectedly, that he often is
unintelligible to his readers, and sometimes so, I dare say, to himself?
Do you know 'Crebillon le fils'? He is a fine painter and a pleasing
writer; his characters are admirable and his reflections just. Frequent
these people, and be glad, but not proud of frequenting them: never boast
of it, as a proof of your own merit, nor insult, in a manner, other
companies by telling them affectedly what you, Montesquieu and Fontenelle
were talking of the other day; as I have known many people do here, with
regard to Pope and Swift, who had never been twice in company with
either; nor carry into other companies the 'ton' of those meetings of
'beaux esprits'. Talk literature, taste, philosophy, etc., with them, 'a
la bonne heure'; but then, with the same ease, and more 'enjouement',
talk 'pom-pons, moires', etc., with Madame de Blot, if she requires it.
Almost every subject in the world has its proper time and place; in which
no one is above or below discussion. The point is, to talk well upon the
subject you talk upon; and the most trifling, frivolous subjects will
still give a man of parts an opportunity of showing them. 'L'usage du
grand monde' can alone teach that. That was the distinguishing
characteristic of Alcibiades, and a happy one it was, that he could
occasionally, and with so much ease, adopt the most different, and even
the most opposite habits and manners, that each seemed natural to him.
Prepare yourself for the great world, as the 'athletae' used to do for
their exercises: oil (if I may use that expression) your mind and your
manners, to give them the necessary suppleness and flexibility; strength
alone will not do, as young people are too apt to think.

How do your exercises go on? Can you manage a pretty vigorous 'sauteur'
between the pillars? Are you got into stirrups yet? 'Faites-vous assaut
aux armes? But, above all, what does Marcel say of you? Is he satisfied?
Pray be more particular in your accounts of yourself, for though I have
frequent accounts of you from others, I desire to have your own too.
Adieu. Yours, truly and friendly.


LONDON, May 2, O. S. 1751

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 believe 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
myself upon your being so near that point at which I so anxiously 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 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 inconvenience 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 importance. 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 aggregately, 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 'petite riens dans les manieres, 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
considering 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 by treating the same
subject so often, I cannot help recommending to you again the utmost
attention to your air and address. Apply yourself now to Marcel's
lectures, as diligently 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 companies; to loll genteelly, and with good
manners, in those companies where you are authorized to be free, and to
sit up respectfully 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 motions of your hands
and arms be easy and graceful; for the genteelness 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 reading? 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

I have this moment paid your draft of L89 75s.; 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
indolently say that they cannot do, what is in everybody's power to do,
if it be but in their will. Adieu.


LONDON, May 6, O. S. 1751.

MY DEAR FRIEND: The best authors are always the severest critics of their
own works; they revise, correct, 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 therefore a severe critic. I
examine narrowly into the least inaccuracy or inelegance, in order to
correct, not to expose them, and that the work may be perfect at last.
You are, 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
acknowledged 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." This is extremely well, and I rejoice at it: one little
circumstance only may, and I hope will, be altered for the better. Take
pains to undeceive those who thought that 'petit ton un peu delcide 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 diffidence of your own opinion, and deference to other people'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 myself." Such
mitigating, engaging 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 decide 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 better be really rough and hard, with the
appearance of gentleness 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 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 reckoned 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 appearances 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 criminal or blamable
simulation, if not used with an ill intention. 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 captivating 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 doucereux', 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 affectedly. 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
dispute 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
distinguished by that character, 'cette douceur de moeurs et de
manieres', 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 compliment to you, I take it to be the only thing you
now want: nothing will sooner give it you than a real passion, 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. Besides 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 n'est pas le
bois don't 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. How go you on with the amiable little Blot? Does she
listen to your Battering tale? Are you numbered among the list of her
admirers? Is Madame------your Madame de Lursay? Does she sometimes knot,
and are you her Meilcour? They say she has softness, sense, and engaging
manners; in such an apprenticeship much may be learned.--[This whole
passage, and several others, allude to Crebillon's 'Egaremens du Coeur et
de l'Esprit', a sentimental novel written about that time, and then much
in vogue at Paris.]

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 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.


LONDON, May 10, O. S. 1751.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I received yesterday, at the same time, your letters of
the 4th and 11th, 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 caricatures. Now for your own commissions,
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, l'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 friendships, 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.

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. 'Il 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 address: go on, my dear
child, and never think that you are come to a sufficient degree of
perfection; 'Nil actum reputans, 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
knowledge of characters, the brillant dun '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 otherwise engaged. On 'lui doit des
politesses, on fait l'eloge de ses charmes, et il n'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 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
yourself 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.


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 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
accomplishments 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? Ambition
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 exercise, 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 commendations of
you, says, "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."

This I should not be so much 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
inattention 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 elegance and delicacy of expression may be acquired
by whoever 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
accomplishments which are the indispensably necessary steps to that
figure and fortune, which I so earnestly wish you may one day make in the

I hope you do not neglect your exercises of riding, fencing, 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 propose 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
advantageous to you. She will expect to meet with all the good-breeding
and delicacy that she brings; and as she is past the glare and 'eclat' of
youth, may be the more willing to listen to your story, if you tell it
well. For an attachment, 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 'l'un n'emplche pas l'autre'. Adieu. Remember 'la
douceur et les graces'.


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 attentions. If he
is not immediately and totally repulsed, he continues to advance. After
certain steps success is infallible; and none but very silly fellows can
then either doubt, or not attempt it. Is it the respectable character of
Madame de la Valiere 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 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 person. 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 delicacy. 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 regard for her; but that it derives from
sentiments of a much more tender nature: that you made not this
declaration 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 confusion to the little usage you have
of the world, particularly 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 gallantly. 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 fashion, that alone can give you 'l'usage du
monde, et les manieres aisees'. 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 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 thousand parts, many of them of 'les infiniment petits quoi
qu'infiniment necessaires'.

I shall never have done upon this subject which is indispensably
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 'poli'. Get them at any rate: sacrifice hecatombs of
books to them: seek for them in company, and renounce your closet till
you have got them. I never received the letter you refer to, if ever you
wrote it. Adieu, et bon soir, Monseigneur.


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 manners, and to bring you as near perfection
as the imperfection 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 interruptedly and by snatches. It is now time,
and you are of 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 practice.

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 Bruyere 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 operations
of the mind, the sentiments of the heart, the influence of the passions;
and so far they are of previous use: but without subsequent practice,
experience, and observation, 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 d'une Mere d'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 regard to those upon whom you depend,
the chief merit is to 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 knowledge 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 IMPORTANT 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 ingredient is, undoubtedly, 'la douceur dans le
manieres': nothing will give you this more than keeping company with your
superiors. Madame Lambert tells her son, Let your connections 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 establish 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 undressed 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 unhappy those who know little
enough of the world to judge by outward appearances. Courts are the best
keys to characters; there every passion is busy, every art exerted, every
character analyzed; jealousy, ever watchful, not only discovers, but
exposes, the mysteries of the trade, so that even bystanders 'y
apprennent a deviner'. There too the great art 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 simulation, and dissimulation of
courts; those invectives are always 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 deformity, 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
manieres', 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 commonly 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 degree 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 inculcate 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 conclusion 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.

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 unedifying and unbecoming
company for a man of fashion!

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


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

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. 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 advantageous 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 engage 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';--[The Marichal de Richelieu.]--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

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
that I eventually sacrifice my sentiments to yours, and this in a very
uncommon object of paternal complaisance. Provided always, and be it
understood (as they say in acts of Parliament), that 'quae 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 dismiss 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 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 supply 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.


GREENWICH, June 13, O. S. 1751.

MY DEAR FRIEND: 'Les bienseances'--[This single word implies decorum,
good-breeding, and propriety]--are a most necessary 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

Were you to converse with a king, you ought to be as easy and
unembarrassed as with your own valet de chambre; but yet, every look,
word and action, should imply the utmost 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 impropriety. 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 absurd, 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, indeed, not extremely well-bred in any other. The great difficulty
in those cases, though a very surmountable one by attention 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 'bienseance'. 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.--[Never to mention a rope in the family of a man who
has been hanged]--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 'bienseant' 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 easychair. These are
negligences and freedoms 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 attention to, and a scrupulous observation
of 'les bienseances': whatever one ought to do, is to be done with ease
and unconcern; 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 regard. 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 insinuate 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 'bienseance'; 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 'marechale' 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
former, and mere 'badinage, zeste meme d'un peu de polissonerie', is
pardonable with the latter.

Another important point of 'les bienseances', seldom enough attended to,
is, not to run your own present humor and disposition indiscriminately
against everybody, but to observe, 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',--[a ballad]--or cut a caper, to la
Marechale de Coigny, the Pope's nuncio, or Abbe 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 bienseances', 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
bienseances', and they should seldom seem to assert, and always use some
softening mitigating expression; such as, 's'il m'est permis de le dire,
je croirais plutot, si j'ose m'expliquer', which soften the manner,
without giving up or even weakening the thing. People of more age and
experience expect, and are entitled to, that degree of deference.

There is a 'bienseance' 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 Graces should attend, in order to complete
them; the Graces enable us to do, genteelly and pleasingly, what 'les
bienseances' require to be done at all. The latter are an obligation 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 unblemished 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, especially in
everything relative to 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 acquire, 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 attentively for
yourself as I consider it for you. Labor on your part to realize it, as I
will on mine to assist, and enable you to do it. 'Nullum numen abest, si
sit prudentia'.

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.


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 reminding 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 inquiries and observations should be the political interior of
things; the forms of government, laws, regulations, customs, trade,
manufactures, etc., of the several nations of Europe. This knowledge is
much better acquired by conversation 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 always 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 otherwise 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 parliament 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 company without some),
ask them military questions, inquire into their methods of discipline,
quartering, and clothing their men; inform yourself of their pay, their
perquisites, 'lours montres, lours 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 informations, take minutes of them in writing.

The regulations of trade and commerce in France are excellent, as appears
but too plainly for us, by the great increase 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, Barbadoes, and the Leeward
Islands. Get, therefore, what informations 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

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 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

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 number, 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 considerable people; and sometimes 'sur le bon chere', the
magnificence 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 DARE SAY MR. STANHOPE

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 enjoyed the best employments under the tyrannical reigns of
three or four of the very worst emperors, by saying that it was not
'propter aliquam 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 18th N. S. You will have had some time
ago my final answers concerning the pictures; and, by my last, an account
that the mohairs were gone to Madame Morel, at Calais, with the proper

I am sorry that your two sons-in-law [?? D.W.], 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 Versailles and St. Cloud, for three or
four days at a time. You know the Abbe de la Ville, who will present you
to others, so that you will soon be 'faufile' 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, 'sup des riens', 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.


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 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 external 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 attention. He may, very probably,
make a figure in the republic of letters, but he had ten thousand times
better make a figure as a man of the world and of business in the
republic of the United Provinces, which, take my word for it, he never

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 pedant; 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
convinced 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 virilis' of the
Romans, instead 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 desire to please (the mixed result of good-nature and a vanity
by no means blamable), and was sensible that I had nothing but the
desire. I therefore resolved, if possible, to acquire 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 imitated them
as well as I could; if I heard that one man was reckoned remarkably
genteel, I carefully watched his 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
addressed myself, though 'de tres 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 universally 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 attentive 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 station 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 fashion 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
happened to mention your dress (for, to say the truth, it was the only
thing of which I thought him a competent judge) 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. 'Suaviter 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 manners, that
air and address, which I have so often recommended to you; and from
thence draw this obvious conclusion, 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 examine 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.


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 'Canonicat', 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 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
entries' 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 Abbe writes me word that you were gone to Compiegne: 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 'manege'; 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, Thucydides, 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 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
gentleman. 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 weaknesses 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 Beneficiis, 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 to stile

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 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.


GREENWICH, July 8, O. S. 1751.

MY DEAR FRIEND: The last mail brought me your letter 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 even ask, as a favor, to be the carrier of a letter from him to his
father, the Chancellor. 'A propos' of your coming 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 20th of August, N. S.; in consequence of which you will be
at Calais some time on the Sunday following, 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 extremely 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 receive 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

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 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 cannot help it; it
will be an ease to our friend Madame Montconseil, 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
presents; you and I not wanting 'les petits presens pour entretenir

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 company 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 custom, 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 interesting, 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 carelessness.

I believe Mr. Hayes thinks that you have slighted him a little of late,
since you have got into so much other company. I do not by any means
blame you for not frequenting 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 accomplishments.
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 ornaments; 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 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'.


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
commonly 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 affection. 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 wholesome, 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 nobody 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 admonitions
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 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 cannot possibly tell each other of certain little
weaknesses; awkwardnesses, and blindnesses of self-love; to authorize
that unreserved freedom, the relation between us is absolutely 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 fashion, 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 meagre, 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 his father, which, thank God,
I am not. As fathers commonly 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,
attentions, 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 communicate 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, acquaintances, 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 returning to them; and do it in a manner that they may
think you in earnest, that is 'avec onction et une espece
d'attendrissement'. All people say, pretty near the same things upon
those occasions; it is the manner only that makes the difference; and
that difference is great. Avoid, however, as much as you can, charging
yourself with commissions, 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


LONDON, December 19, O. S. 1751--[Note the date, which indicates that the
sojourn with the author has ended.]

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 excluding 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 discovering
whether it is possible that any one man can mistake 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 relations. 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 'euoovca' 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
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 scattered with a sparing and skillful
hand; they must fit their place exactly. They must decently adorn without
encumbering, 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.

Cardinal d'Ossat's letters are the true letters of business; those of
Monsieur d'Avaux are excellent; Sir William Temple's are very pleasing,
but, I fear, too affected. Carefully avoid all Greek or Latin quotations;
and bring no precedents from the VIRTUOUS SPARTANS, THE POLITE ATHENIANS,
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 handwriting
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 directing 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 displease; 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 requires no conjuration nor supernatural talents, as people
unacquainted 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 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 sciollo', and the 'pensieri
stretti', are necessary. Adieu.


LONDON, December 30, O. S. 1751

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 consists 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 Tournelle', 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  2. Toulouse
3. Grenoble  4. Bourdeaux  5. Dijon  6. Rouen  7. Aix en Provence
8. Rennes en Bretagne  9. Pau en Navarre  10. Metz  11. Dole en Franche
Comte  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
particular objects of the several chambres, and the businesses of the
respective members, as, 'les Presidens, les Presidens a Mortier' (these
last so called from their black velvet caps laced with gold), 'les
Maitres tres des Requetes, les Greffiers, le Procureur General, les
Avocats Generaux, 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 kingdom. The edicts of the Crown, especially those
for levying money on the subjects, ought to be registered in parliament;
I do not say to have their effect, for the Crown would take good care of
that; but to have a decent appearance, 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 themselves, 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 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 Commons, 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 etats'), 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
'etats', 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.

              LETTERS TO HIS SON

           By the EARL OF CHESTERFIELD

           on the Fine Art of becoming a

              MAN OF THE WORLD

                 and a



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, 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 themselves 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
Conclave 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

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 constitutional particulars of the kingdom and
government of France. For instance, when you hear people mention le
Chancelier, or 'le Garde de Sceaux', 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 employments, 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 'Vingtieme', 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 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 'a 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, a Raoul, a 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 1,600 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 principles 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 unalienably to the next male heir, which preserves
those families. In France, I believe, descents vary in different

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 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 wormeaten
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; 'l'Etat de la
France, l'Almanach Royal', and twenty other such superficial books, will
furnish you with a thousand more. 'Approfondissez.'

How often, and how justly, have I since regretted negligences 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 illbred 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 1st 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 'These 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 yourself what the Sorbonne is by whom founded, and for
what puraoses.

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 company only that you can learn what will be much
more useful to you than either Italian or German; I mean 'la politesse,
les manieres et les graces, without which, as I told you long ago, and I
told you true, 'ogni fatica a vana'. Adieu.

Pray make my compliments to Lady Brown.


LONDON, January 6, O. S. 1752.

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 'a portee' 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 unintelligible points are debated with passion,
though they can never be determined by reason. Logical subtilties set
common sense at defiance; and mystical refinements disfigure 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 degree of regard, or rather submission, which the Sovereign 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 mention, are a return for the valuation of
'les biens 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 R. 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 century 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, during which he read the lives of the Saints. Consciousness
of guilt, a fiery temper, and a wild imagination, the common 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 declare
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
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, Laynes, 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 convicted 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 consciences and the councils of all
the Catholic princes in Europe; they almost governed China in the reign
of Cangghi; and they are now actually in possession of the Paraguay in
America, pretending, but paying no obedience to the Crown of Spain. As a
collective body they are detested, 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 general 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 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 pleasing, 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 per il martirio, se bisogna'.

Inform yourself minutely of everything concerning this extraordinary
establishment; go into their houses, get acquainted 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 acquainted
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
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; vepres, 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 husband. 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
pronai votre tendresse, vos soins, 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 plaisir a Paris'. Adieu, child.


LONDON, January 23, O. S. 1752.

MY DEAR FRIEND: Have you seen the new tragedy of Varon,--[Written by the
Vicomte de Grave; and at that time the general topic of conversation at
Paris.]--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,
infallibly stop short of everything either pleasing or instructive.

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 regulations one might hope to see a play in which one
should not be lulled to sleep by the length of a monotonical declamation,
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 absurdity, 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

Tragedy must be something bigger than life, or it would not affect us. In
nature the most violent passions are silent; 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 harmmonious 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 allow
rhymes in comedy, unless they were put into the mouth, and came out of
the mouth of a mad poet. But it is impossible to deceive one's self
enough (nor is it the least necessary in comedy) to suppose a dull rogue
of an usurer cheating, or 'gross Jean' blundering in the finest rhymes in
the world.

As for Operas, they are essentially too absurd and extravagant 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, 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 remittance 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 compromise 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'Argenson'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.


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 consider things in the worst light, to show your skill, at
the expense of your pleasure; I view them in the best, that I 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 Manceau, 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 concerning her 'etat'; 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 represented 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 prudence 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
necessarily 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 particularly 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 ridicule. 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 confess, is too much neglected and
too often bad: but, upon the whole, I read the play with pleasure.

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 comedies. 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 ceremony of creating the
Prince de Conde 'Chevalier de l' Ordre'; and I do not doubt but that upon
this occasion you informed yourself thoroughly of the institution and
rules of that order. If you did, you were certainly told it was
instituted 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, Countess 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 together; 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 officers 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 'L'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 cudendae monetae',
borrow ten shillings worth of gold to coin a ducat. However, 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
inquire about them, do not seem to laugh.

I thank you for le Mandement de Monseigneur l'Archeveyue; it is very well
drawn, and becoming an archbishop. But pray do not lose sight of a much
more important object, 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 cote des maniires', and that she looks upon you to
be 'plus qu'a moitie 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 immediately 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 consequence, 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 Monsieur de Melfort, and
I believe, 'pas sans raison', having had obligations to him; 'mais il