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CHESTERFIELD—CHESTERTON G. K.

“Tyrawley and I have been dead these two years, but we don’t choose to have it known”—is the best description possible of his humour and condition during the latter part of this period of decline. To the deafness was added blindness, but his memory and his fine manners only left him with life; his last words (“Give Dayrolles a chair”) prove that he had neither forgotten his friend nor the way to receive him. He died on the 24th of March 1773.

Chesterfield was selfish, calculating and contemptuous; he was not naturally generous, and he practised dissimulation till it became part of his nature. In spite of his brilliant talents and of the admirable training he received, his life, on the whole, cannot be pronounced a success. His anxiety and the pains he took to become an orator have been already noticed, and Horace Walpole, who had heard all the great orators, preferred a speech of Chesterfield’s to any other; yet the earl’s eloquence is not to be compared with that of Pitt. Samuel Johnson, who was not perhaps the best judge in the world, pronounced his manners to have been “exquisitely elegant”; yet as a courtier he was utterly worsted by Robert Walpole, whose manners were anything but refined, and even by Newcastle. He desired to be known as a protector of letters and literary men; and his want of heart or head over the Dictionary dedication, though explained and excused by Croker, none the less inspired the famous change in a famous line—“Toil, envy, want, the patron, and the jail.” His published writings have had with posterity a very indifferent success; his literary reputation rests on a volume of letters never designed to appear in print. The son for whom he worked so hard and thought so deeply failed especially where his father had most desired he should succeed.

As a politician and statesman, Chesterfield’s fame rests on his short but brilliant administration of Ireland. As an author he was a clever essayist and epigrammatist. But he stands or falls by the Letters to his Son, first published by Stanhope’s widow in 1774, and the Letters to his Godson (1890). The Letters are brilliantly written—full of elegant wisdom, of keen wit, of admirable portrait-painting, of exquisite observation and deduction. Against the charge of an undue insistence on the external graces of manner Chesterfield has been adequately defended by Lord Stanhope (History, iii. 34). Against the often iterated accusation of immorality, it should be remembered that the Letters reflected the morality of the age, and that their author only systematized and reduced to writing the principles of conduct by which, deliberately or unconsciously, the best and the worst of his contemporaries were governed.

The earldom of Chesterfield passed at his death to his godson, already mentioned, as 5th earl, and so to the latter’s son and grandson. On the death of the latter unmarried in 1871, it passed in succession to two collateral heirs, the 8th and 9th earls, and so in 1887 to the latter’s son as 10th earl.

See Chesterfield’s Miscellaneous Works (London, 1777, 2 vols. 4to); Letters to his Son, &c., edited by Lord Mahon (London, 1845–1853, 5 vols.); and Letters to his Godson (1890) (edited by the earl of Carnarvon). There are also editions of the first series of letters by J. Bradshaw (3 vols., 1892) and Mr C. Strachey (2 vols., 1901). In 1893 a biography, including numerous letters first published from the Newcastle Papers, was issued by Mr W. Ernst; and in 1907 appeared an elaborate Life by W. H. Craig.  (A. D.) 


CHESTERFIELD, a market town and municipal borough in the Chesterfield parliamentary division of Derbyshire, England, 24 m. N. by E. of Derby, on the Midland and the Great Central railways. Pop. (1891) 22,009; (1901) 27,185. It lies at the junction of two streams, the Rother and Hipper, in a populous industrial district. It is irregularly built, with narrow streets, but has a spacious market-place. The church of St Mary and All Saints is a large and beautiful cruciform building principally of the Decorated period. Its central tower carries a remarkable twisted spire of wood covered with lead, 230 ft. high; the distortion has evidently taken place through the use of unseasoned timber and consequent warping of the woodwork. The church, which contains numerous interesting monuments, possesses also the unusual feature of an apsidal Decorated chapel. There is an example of flamboyant tracery in one of the windows. Among public buildings, the Stephenson memorial hall (1879), containing a free library, art and science class-rooms, a theatre and the rooms of the Chesterfield Institute, commemorates George Stephenson, the engineer, who resided at Tapton House, close to Chesterfield, in his later life; he died here in 1848, and was buried in Trinity church. Chesterfield grammar school was founded in 1574. The industries of the town include manufactures of cotton, silk, earthenware, machinery and tobacco, with brass and iron founding; while slate and stone are quarried, and there are coal, iron and lead mines in the neighbourhood. The town is governed by a mayor, 6 aldermen and 18 councillors. Area, 1216 acres. In the immediate neighbourhood of Chesterfield on the west is the urban district of Brampton and Walton (pop. 2698), to the south-east is Hasland (7427), and to the north-east Brimington (4569).

In spite of the Roman origin suggested by its name, so few remains have been found here that it is doubtful whether Chesterfield was a Roman station. Chesterfield (Cestrefeld) owes its present name to the Saxons. It is mentioned in Domesday only as a bailiwick of Newbold belonging to the king, and granted to William Peverell. In 1204 John gave the manor to William Bruere and granted to the town all the privileges of a free borough which were enjoyed by Nottingham and Derby; but before this it seems to have had prescriptive borough rights. Later charters were granted by various sovereigns, and it was incorporated by Elizabeth in 1598 under the style of a mayor, 6 brethren and 12 capital burgesses. This charter was confirmed by Charles II. (1662), and the town was so governed till the Municipal Act 1835 appointed a mayor, 3 aldermen and 12 councillors. In 1204 John granted two weekly markets, on Tuesday and Saturday, and an annual fair of eight days at the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Sept. 14). This fair, which is still held, and another on Palm Tuesday, are mentioned in the Quo Warranto roll of 1330. The Tuesday market has long been discontinued. That Chesterfield was early a thriving centre is shown by the charter of John Lord Wake, lord of the manor, granting a gild merchant to the town. In 1266 the town was the scene of a battle between the royal forces and the barons, when Robert de Ferrers, earl of Derby, was taken prisoner. In 1586 there was a terrible visitation of the plague; and the parliamentarian forces were overthrown here in the Civil War. With the development of cotton and silk industries the town has increased enormously, and is now second in importance only to Derby among the towns of the county. There is no record that it ever returned representatives to parliament.

See Stephen Glover, History and Gazetteer of the County of Derby (Derby, 1831–1833); J. Pym Yeatman, Records of the Borough of Chesterfield (Chesterfield and Sheffield, 1884); Thomas Ford, History of Chesterfield (London, 1839).


CHESTER-LE-STREET, a town in the Chester-le-Street parliamentary division of Durham, England, near the river Wear, 6 m. N. of the city of Durham on the North-Eastern railway. Pop. (1901) 11,753. The parish church of St Mary and St Cuthbert is an interesting building, formerly collegiate, with a tower 156 ft. high, and a remarkable series of monumental tombs of the Lumley family, collected here from Durham cathedral and various ruined monasteries, and in some cases remade. About 1 m. along the river is Lumley Castle, the seat of the earl of Scarborough, and about 2 m. north lies Lambton Castle, the residence of the earl of Durham, built in 1797 on the site of the old House of Harraton. Collieries and iron-works employ the industrial population. Chester-le-Street is a place of considerable antiquity. It lies on a branch of the Roman north road, on which it was a station, but the name is not known. Under the name of Cunecastre it was made the seat of a bishop in 882, and continued to be the head of the diocese till the Danish invasion of 995. During that time the church was the repository of the shrine of St Cuthbert, which was then removed to Durham.


CHESTERTON, GILBERT KEITH (1874–  ), English journalist and author, who came of a family of estate-agents, was born in London on the 29th of May 1874. He was educated