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his tutor, to his morals, to his upright, straightforward behavior, to his honesty. “I don't speak of religion," writes his father, “I am not in a position to do so; the excellent Mr. Harte will do that.” We don't defend Chesterfield's faults, but we must speak for his virtues. Not one father in ten thousand in those days was so good, so tender, and so wise. His son grew up to marry a lady of whom his father knew nothing till a widow and two children came as suppliants, in that splendid room in Chesterfield House where the old earl sate in lonely greatness. He forgave the dead son's offence, and behaved most generously to the children, two boys, whom he educated.
Mrs. Eugenia Stanhope, the widow of the recipient of these letters, sold them, enhanced in value from the earl's literary reputation, for £1,500! an immense sum in those days. From the two quartos of large margin and printing, this compact volume is condensed. All that has been left out are lessons in Greek and Roman history, mythology, German history, and such matters as might be written to a child. Thence even, if a sentence occurs worth preserving, it has been picked out. Let us not forget that the Earl of Chesterfield—who writes much as did Mr. Thackeray in his letter to Brown the Younger-tells his son that he always frequented the company of his superiors; and his superiors he reckoned uot only by their rank. “Dr. Swift and Mr. Pope,” he says, “condescend to admit me into their company, and though they had no titles, and I was an earl, I always felt that I was obliged by their politeness, and was favored by being allowed to converse with them.” Are there many noblemen who would say so nowadays ? No, nor many Popes nor Swifts-nor, let us add, Chesterfields.
Mr. Stanhope has also been very much misrepresented. He has been called a cub, a bear, and an awkward lout. Actually, he was a learned, skilful diplomatist, for which profession, be it remembered, his father specially educated him. He was a manly, stout-built Englishman, not a dancing-master, and to lack grace was his only fault. Subjective and brilliant writers of history have polished Mr. Stanhope with a black-lead brush to suit their purposes, but these brilliant fellows are, as usual, false. James Boswell, the biographer, who knew him, says truly enough : “Mr. Stanhope's character has been unjustly represented as being diametrically opposite to what Lord Chesterfield wished him to be. He has been called dull, gross, and awkward ; but I knew him at Dresden when he was envoy to that court, and though he could not boast of the graces, he was in fact a sensible, civil, wellbehaved man.” Other persons, and more than one lady in these pages, speak much more highly than Boswell does of him.
But the chief defence of both father and son lies in the following pages. Higher morality is to be had, but is not read; this honest wordling will speak to the hearts of those who are already set upon the world, will guide them rightly according to his lights, will leave them at a higher stage, and will perhaps astonish them when they reflect that in outward result the teachings of this adroit and cunning courtier and man of the world, and of the too often despised preacher, are the same.
J. H. F.
CACH epoch has produced its treatise in
L tended for the formation of the polite man, the man of the world, the courtier, when men only lived for courts, and the accomplished gentleman. In these various treatises on knowledge of life and politeness, if opened after a lapse of ages, we at once see portions which are as antiquated as the cut and fashion of our forefather's coats; the model has evidently changed. But looking into it carefully as a whole, if the book has been written by a sensible man with a true knowledge of mankind, we shall find profit in studying these models which have been placed before preceding generations. The letters that Lord Chesterfield wrote to his son, and which contain a whole school of savoir vivre and worldly science, are interesting in this particular, that there has
* In this Essay, by the late M. Sainte-Beuve, nothing has been altered, although, in one or two places, even his critical acuteness seems to have missed its point,