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´╗┐Title: Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman, 1751
Author: Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of, 1694-1773
Language: English
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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



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.


A favor may make an enemy, and an injury may make a friend
Affectation of business
Applauded often, without approving
At the first impulse of passion, be silent till you can be soft
Avoid cacophony, and, what is very near as bad, monotony
Be silent till you can be soft
Being intelligible is now no longer the fashion
Better refuse a favor gracefully, than to grant it clumsily
Business must be well, not affectedly dressed
Business now is to shine, not to weigh
But stoops to conquer, and but kneels to rise
Cease to love when you cease to be agreeable
Chit-chat, useful to keep off improper and too serious subjects
Committing acts of hostility upon the Graces
Concealed what learning I had
Consciousness of merit makes a man of sense more modest
Disagreeable things may be done so agreeably as almost to oblige
Disputes with heat
Dr Fell
Easy without negligence
Elegance in one language will reproduce itself in all
Every man knows that he understands religion and politics
Every numerous assembly is MOB
Everybody is good for something
Expresses himself with more fire than elegance
Frank without indiscretion
Full-bottomed wigs were contrived for his humpback
Gentleness of manners, with firmness of mind
German, who has taken into his head that he understands French
Grow wiser when it is too late
Habitual eloquence
Hand of a school-boy
Hardened to the wants and distresses of mankind
Have you learned to carve?
If free from the guilt, be free from the suspicion, too
Inclined to be fat, but I hope you will decline it
Indolently say that they cannot do
Information implies our previous ignorance; it must be sweetened
Information is, in a certain degree, mortifying
Insinuates himself only into the esteem of fools
It is a real inconvenience to anybody to be fat
Know, yourself and others
Knowing how much you have, and how little you want
Last beautiful varnish, which raises the colors
Learn to keep your own secrets
Loved without being despised, and feared without being hated
Man of sense may be in haste, but can never be in a hurry
Mangles what he means to carve
Mazarin and Lewis the Fourteenth riveted the shackles
Meditation and reflection
Mere reason and good sense is never to be talked to a mob
Mistimes or misplaces everything
Mitigating, engaging words do by no means weaken your argument
MOB: Understanding they have collectively none
Often necessary, not to manifest all one feels
One must often yield, in order to prevail
Only because she will not, and not because she cannot
Our frivolous dissertations upon the weather, or upon whist
Outward air of modesty to all he does
Richelieu came and shackled the nation
Rochefoucault, who, I am afraid, paints man very exactly
See what you see, and to hear what you hear
Seems to have no opinion of his own
Seldom a misfortune to be childless
She has uncommon, sense and knowledge for a woman
Speaking to himself in the glass
Style is the dress of thoughts
Success turns much more upon manner than matter
Take characters, as they do most things, upon trust
They thought I informed, because I pleased them
Unaffected silence upon that subject is the only true medium
Unintelligible to his readers, and sometimes to himself
Use palliatives when you contradict
We love to be pleased better than to be informed
Woman like her, who has always pleased, and often been pleased
Women are the only refiners of the merit of men
Yielded commonly without conviction

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