20 July, 2006

Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield. (1694–1773)

Who's he?, I hear you say. Philip Dormer Stanhope was a statesman (ambassador to the Hague, lord lieutenant of Ireland) and author. Many memorable quotes come from Stanhope's letters to his illegitimate son, (also named Philip Stanhope), published in 1774, designed "for the education of a young man". [Sadly his son died young].

On this day in 1749 he wrote "Idleness is only the refuge of weak minds".

Here is a selection of more of his witticisms from various sources...

"Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well". (my mother's favourite)
Letter, March 10, 1746.

"I knew once a very covetous, sordid fellow, who used to say, 'Take care of the pence, for the pounds will take care of themselves.'”
Letter, Nov. 6, 1747.

"Chapter of accidents"
Letter, Feb. 16, 1753.

"I assisted at the birth of that most significant word 'flirtation', which dropped from the most beautiful mouth in the world".
The World. No. 101.

"Every woman is infallibly to be gained by every sort of flattery, and every man by one sort or other"

"Religion is by no means a proper subject of conversation in a mixed company.”

“Advice is seldom welcome; and those who want it the most always want it the least.”

"Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination: never put off till to-morrow what you can do to-day. "
- Letters to his Son

For more on the earl, see this link to the Project Gutenburg site, where you can read the letters to his son.

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