`My object is to have you fit to live; which, if you are not, I do not
desire that you should live at all.' So wrote Lord Chesterfield in one of
the most celebrated and controversial correspondences between a father and
son. Chesterfield wrote almost daily to his natural son, Philip, from 1737
onwards, providing him with instruction in etiquette and the worldly arts.
Praised in their day as a complete manual of education, and despised by
Samuel Johnson for teaching `the morals of a whore and the manners of a
dancing-master', these letters reflect the political craft of a leading
statesman and the urbane wit of a man who associated with Pope, Addison,
and Swift. The letters reveal Chesterfield's political cynicism and his
belief that his country had `always been goverened by the only two or three
people, out of two or three millions, totally incapable of governing', as
well as his views on good breeding. Not originally intended for
publication, this entertaining correspondence illuminates fascinating
aspects of eighteenth-century life and manners. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over
100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of
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Lord Chesterfield, David Roberts—Lord Chesterfield's Letters