Notes: Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman, 1746-47 (Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope)

  • Go through the world with your eyes and ears open and mouth mostly shut. When new or stale gossip is brought to you, never let on that you know it already, nor that it really interests you.

  • Speaking and Writing, clearly, correctly, and with ease and grace, are certainly to be acquired, by reading the best authors with care, and by attention to the best living models.

  • A man is fit for neither business nor pleasure, who either cannot, or does not, command and direct his attention to the present object, and, in some degree, banish for that time all other objects from his thoughts.

  • There was nothing so easy; for that it was only doing one thing at a time, and never putting off anything till to-morrow that could be done to-day.

  • propos’ of letter-writing, the best models that you can form yourself upon are, Cicero, Cardinal d’Ossat, Madame Sevigne, and Comte Bussy Rebutin. Cicero’s Epistles to Atticus, and to his familiar friends, are the best examples that you can imitate, in the friendly and the familiar style. The simplicity and the clearness of Cardinal d’Ossat’s letters show how letters of business ought to be written;

  • At Vienna men always make courtesies, instead of bows, to the emperor; in France nobody bows at all to the king, nor kisses his hand; but in Spain and England, bows are made, and hands are kissed.

  • TELL ME WHO YOU LIVE WITH AND I WILL TELL YOU WHO YOU ARE.

  • Complaisance and attention of others to your humors, your tastes, or your weaknesses, depend upon it the same complaisance and attention, on your part to theirs, will equally please them.

  • It shows me that you observe and inquire as you go, which is the true end of traveling.

  • But those who observe, and inquire into the situations, the strength, the weakness, the trade, the manufactures, the government, and constitution of every place they go to; who frequent the best companies, and attend to their several manners and characters; those alone travel with advantage; and as they set out wise, return wiser.

  • let nothing pass till you are sure that you understand it thoroughly; and accustom yourself to write down the capital points of what you learn.

Cheers!

One thought on “Notes: Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman, 1746-47 (Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope)

  1. Pingback: Books I’ve Read

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