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“Lord Chesterfield’s Letters, Sentences and Maxims, Consisting of Selections From His Works”, by Alfred Howard, Tenth American Edition; Philadelphia :  Porter & Coates, pp. 8-9.



“Manners Make the Man”



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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Read another anecdote told about Lord Chesterfield, Jest CLXII, in the popular Jest Book by Mark Lemon, on this site.

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