Stanhope, Philip Dormer (DNB00)
STANHOPE, PHILIP DORMER, fourth Earl of Chesterfield (1694–1773), politician, wit, and letter-writer, was son of Philip Stanhope, third earl of Chesterfield, by his wife Elizabeth, daughter (by his second marriage) of George Savile, marquis of Halifax [q. v.] Philip Stanhope, second earl of Chesterfield [q. v.], was his grandfather. Of his four brothers, two enjoyed much popularity in the world of fashion, viz.: William (1702–1772), who was created K.B. on 27 May 1725, and was M.P. for Lostwithiel for a few months in 1727, and for Buckinghamshire from that year until his death; and John (1705–1748), who was M.P. for Nottingham from 1727 and for Derby from 1736 till his death, and was a lord of the admiralty for the last ten months of his life.
Born in London on 22 Sept. 1694, and baptised at St. James's, Piccadilly, on 9 Oct., Stanhope was educated privately. His father neglected him, but his maternal grandmother, the Marchioness of Halifax, actively interested herself in his early education. A French tutor named Jonneau perfected him in French in youth, and he spoke and wrote it with ease and correctness before he was eighteen. At that age he proceeded to Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he developed, according to his own account, a pedantic veneration for the Latin classics, and was attracted by the mathematical lectures of the blind professor, Nicholas Saunderson [q. v.] In 1714 he left the university 'an absolute pedant' after a stay of little more than a year; but a tour in Flanders followed immediately, and transmuted him into a man of the world, whose interests were to outward appearances wholly divided between gallantry and gaming. But he found time for study, and developed an ambition to become an orator. His rank and connections secured for him a ready welcome in the best society at The Hague. At Antwerp he was the guest of the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, and his ease of manner especially ingratiated him with the duchess. The death of Queen Anne brought his tour, which was planned to extend to Italy, to an abrupt conclusion. His kinsman, General James Stanhope, afterwards first earl Stanhope [q. v.], offered to introduce him to the new king, and a political career was thus opened to him under promising auspices.
In 1715 he was appointed gentleman of the bedchamber to the king's son, George, prince of Wales, and in the same year he entered the House of Commons as whig member for St. Germans, Cornwall. Some weeks were yet needed before he attained his legal majority. His political views embodied from the first much genuinely liberal sentiment, and he was never a staunch partisan. He supported, however, with exuberant energy the efforts of the whigs, who predominated in the new parliament, to push their advantage over their tory rivals. In his maiden speech, which he delivered on 5 Aug. in the debate on the articles of impeachment against the Duke of Ormonde, he denounced as traitors all the promoters of the peace of Utrecht. A member of the opposition privately warned him that if he voted in accordance with his speech the lawfulness of his election, owing to his being under age, would be called in question. Thereupon Stanhope discreetly retired to Paris. French manners and morals alike appealed to him and he proved an apt pupil in the school of the fashionable demi-monde of the French capital.
Settling within a year or two again in London, he found his chances of preferment hampered by the quarrel between the prince his master, and the king. With characteristic caution he took a middle course, and, while maintaining good relations with the prince avoided all show of hostility to the king. But it was obviously prudent for him to limit his political activity, and he spent his enforced leisure in the congenial society of men of letters or of fashion. With Pope he formed a close intimacy, and through Arbuthnot he came to know something of Swift. He cultivated, too, the acquaintance of Prince George's mistress, Henrietta Howard, afterwards countess of Suffolk, who was an accredited patroness of men of letters, and long maintained a lively correspondence with her. But her favour was a perilous possession. Although it helped Stanhope to maintain good relations with the court, it exposed him to the hostility of the Princess of Wales (afterwards Queen Caroline), who was an unrelenting foe. But Stanhope's tact stood him in good stead. He was elected for Lostwithiel in 1722, and in the king's interest supported a motion for augmenting the army by an addition of four thousand men. He was rewarded for his complaisance by his appointment on 26 May 1723 to the post of captain of the gentlemen-pensioners in succession to Lord Townshend. On presenting himself to his constituents for reelection he was defeated, and he did not sit in the House of Commons again. In the summer of 1725 his father's illness recalled him to the family seat of Bretby, where the rustic seclusion excited his spleen and whetted his appetite for active political work. The development of the political situation was not much to his taste. Sir Robert Walpole and Stanhope were constitutionally antipathetic, and the complete supremacy which Walpole maintained in parliament and the king's counsels from the date of his accession to power in 1721 roused Stanhope's ridicule and disgust. An open breach was not desired by Walpole. But when, in the spring of 1725, the minister offered Stanhope the ribbon of the newly revived order of the Bath, it was contemptuously rejected. Stanhope was displeased, too, with his brother William for accepting it; and in some satirical lines on the accidental loss of the badge by one of the new knights, Sir William Morgan of Tredegar, he laughed at the distinction as 'one of the toys Bob gave his boys.' Walpole resented the insult, and in May 1725 Stanhope ceased to be captain of the gentlemen-pensioners.
On 27 Jan. 1726 his father died, and he took his seat in the House of Lords. Although he cynically talked of the upper chamber as a hospital for incurables, he lost no time in manifesting a resolve to play on that platform an active part in the opposition to Walpole. His relations with the Prince of Wales, combined with his wit and eloquence—always carefully premeditated—gave him at once a commanding position. After the king's death, on 11 June 1727, he moved the address of condolence, congratulation, and thanks in reply to the speech of George II on his accession to the throne. He was confirmed in his post of lord of the bedchamber, and on 26 Feb. 1728 George II nominated him a privy councillor. But Walpole strongly deprecated the bestowal of any high office. The king insisted that something more must be done for him, and Walpole reluctantly offered him the English embassy at the Hague. It was accepted with alacrity. Chesterfield set out on 23 April 1728, and arrived on 5 May. His brother John went with him as secretary; and Richard Chenevix (1698-1779) (afterwards bishop of Waterford) was his chaplain. While attending to his official duties, and studying the constitution of the Dutch republic, he ingratiated himself with its ministers by magnificent hospitalities. At the same time he did not neglect his pleasures. 'He courted the good opinion of the Dutch people,' wrote Horace Walpole, 'by losing immense sums at play.' The intimacy he formed with a beautiful young lady named Mile, du Bouchet had a marked influence on his life. By her he became in 1732 the father of the son whose education and progress subsequently became his main interest. He kept Mrs. Howard regularly informed of his diversions, and he well maintained himself in the king's favour.
Early in 1730 Chesterfield opened negotiations for the marriage of William, prince of Orange, with Anne, princess royal of England, which reached a successful issue. At the end of May Boerhaave, the great physician of Leyden, attended him for a fever. He corresponded with Lord Townshend, who was involved in differences with Walpole, and canvassed the possibility of becoming Townshend's colleague as secretary of state. On 18 May 1730 he was elected a knight of the Garter, and on 18 June he came home to be installed at Windsor. Next day the staff of the lord steward of the household was given him. Walpole's magnanimity in waiving objections temporarily overcame Chesterfield's dislike. 'Lord Chesterfield,' says Lord Hervey, 'made the warmest professions to Sir Robert Walpole, acknowledging that his attachment this winter to Lord Townshend gave him no right to expect this favour, and saying, "I had lost the game, but you have taken my cards into your hand and recovered it."'The duties of the office were mainly honorary, and Chesterfield returned to The Hague, where George II visited him in August. In October Chesterfield was again in England on leave of absence. Early next year Chesterfield was busily occupied in delicate negotiations which were needed to preserve the peace of Europe. George II was willing to join Spain and Holland in guaranteeing the pragmatic sanction, if by so doing he could prevent the emperor from disturbing the balance of European ,power. The States delayed their adhesion, and taught Chesterfield a lesson, he says, in the Christian virtues of patience, forbearance, and long-suffering. But at length, on 16 March 1731, Chesterfield signed at The Hague, with the pensionary and Count Zinzendorf, the second treaty of Vienna (Coxe, Memoirs of Walpole, i. 346). Later in the year a persistant fever compelled him to apply for leave of absence. His ill-health rendered him reluctant to resume his post at The Hague, and on 26 Feb. 1732 he was formally relieved of it.
To parliament he now redirected his energies. His distrust and dislike of Walpole rapidly revived. But on 6 March 1733, in the debate on the mutiny bill, he warmly supported the government's proposal to maintain the standing army at the number of seventeen or eighteen thousand men. The unpopularity of Walpole's excise scheme, however, drew Chesterfield into the hue and cry against the minister. His three brothers voted against the bill in the House of Commons, and on 11 April Walpole, owing to the threatening decline of his majority, abandoned it before a second reading. Walpole's temper was roused. He held Chesterfield responsible for many defections in the lower house, and the king made no resistance to his proposal that Chesterfield should be dismissed from the office of lord steward. Doubtless the queen, who regarded Chesterfield with growing abhorrence as the confidant of the king's mistress, Lady Howard, silenced the king's scruples. On 13 April the dismissal was effected. Chesterfield's composure was seriously disturbed. In a letter (now lost) he protested to the king against the indignity. No reply was sent. Thenceforth Chesterfield absented himself from court, and his friendly relations with the king came to an end. Relieved of official responsibility, he vented his pique in anonymous contri- butions to the newspapers, and early in 1734 three amusing essays in 'Fog's Journal' entitled respectively 'An Army in Waxwork' (17 Jan.), 'An Essay upon Ears' (24 Jan.), and 'An Essay upon Eyes' (10 April), caused Walpole and his friends much discomfort.
On 5 Sept. 1733 Chesterfield gave further offence to the king by marrying Petronilla Melusina von der Schulenburg, the natural daughter of George I by his ' Maypole' mistress, Countess Ehrengard Melusina von der Schulenburg, duchess of Kendal [q. v.] Born in 1693, Chesterfield's bride, who was forty years old and his senior by a year, had been created Countess of Walsingham in her own right in 1722. Walpole says she had been secretly married in youth; but when Chesterfield made her acquaintance she was living with her mother, the Duchess of Kendal, in Grosvenor Square, in the house adjoining his own. In a pecuniary sense the match was desirable. The lady's portion was said to be a sum of 50,000l., with 3,000l. per annum payable out of the civil list revenue in Ireland during her life (Hist. Reg.) At the same time her expectations from her mother were great. The marriage was in fact solely a political and financial arrangement. For many years after the ceremony husband and wife continued to reside next door to each other. Chesterfield seems to have celebrated the union by taking into his keeping a new mistress, Lady Frances or Fanny Shirley (1702-1778), 'a great beauty,' with whom he long maintained relations. To her he addressed much sportive verse. His friend Pope wrote poems to her, and Sir Charles Hanbury-Williams commemorated her relations with Chesterfield in his poem 'Isabella' (cf. Pope, Works, ed. Courthope and Elwin, iv. 462). At the same time he frequently visited his wife at the house of her mother, and 'played away all his credit' there. In December 1737 he and the countess visited Bath together. According to Horace Walpole, the countess made him 'a most exemplary wife, and he rewarded her very ungratefully.' His neglect of her was obvious and indefensible, but she does not appear to have resented it. All she expected from him was an outward show of respect, and his considerate references to her in his correspondence indicate that he did not disappoint her in that regard (Ernst, pp. 80-82). He lost no opportunity of protecting their joint pecuniary interests. When the duchess, his mother-in-law, died on 10 May 1743, George II is said to have destroyed her will to prevent Lady Chesterfield from benefiting by the dispositions of the late king in his mistress's favour (cf. Walpole, Correspondence, ed. Cunningham, vii. 141). It was believed that 40,000l. had been bequeathed to the duchess by George I, and had never been paid her. Chesterfield insisted that that sum should now be made over to his wife. Resistance was threatened, and an action was begun against the crown under Chesterfield's direction; but finally Chesterfield agreed to stay proceedings on receiving payment of 20,000l.
Elsewhere Chesterfield gave the king and Walpole as little quarter. Through the session of 1734 he supported the bill protecting military officers from deprivation of their commissions otherwise than by a court-martial or an address from both houses of parliament (13 Feb.) On 28 March he vigorously denounced a message from the king which requested parliament to give him authority to augment the naval and military forces during the parliamentary recess. In society and in the journals he made his foes (even the king and queen) feel the full force of his satiric faculty, and Walpole involuntarily offered him during the session of 1737 a singularly apt opportunity for its display. In view of the frequency of attacks in the theatres on the government, Walpole introduced a bill compelling theatrical managers to submit all plays for license to the lord chamberlain fourteen days before they were to be represented on the stage (10 Geo. II, cap. 28). When the bill was introduced into the lords, Chesterfield riddled its claim to justice or common-sense. He argued that ridicule was the natural prerogative of the theatre, and that the bill was an encroachment not merely upon liberty, but upon property, 'wit being the property of those who have it.' The speech was fully reported in 'Parliamentary History' (x. 319 sq.); an abstract appeared in 'Common Sense' (4 June 1737), and it was published as a pamphlet in 1749. Although the bill became law, Chesterfield's speech excited even the admiration of antagonists. Hervey describes it as one of the most lively and ingenious speeches that he ever heard in parliament, 'full of wit of the genteelest satire, and in the most polished classical style that the Petronius of any time ever wrote. It was extremely studied, seemingly easy, well delivered, and universally admired.' Chesterfield's unqualified assertion of the right of literary satire to immunity from police regulations roused grateful enthusiasm in the republic of letters. Pope gracefully complimented him in the 'Dunciad' (bk. 4, v. 43-4). Smollett wrote: 'The speech will ever endear his character to all the friends of genius and literature to all those who are warmed with zeal for the liberties of their country.'
The death, on 20 Nov. 1737, of Queen Caroline, on whom Chesterfield penned a vindictive epitaph, removed a serious obstacle to his political advancement. It weakened Walpole's influence at court, and the minister's resistance of the popular cry for war with Spain during 1738 stirred all Chesterfield's energies in opposition. During the session of 1739 few speakers enunciated more bellicose sentiments. 'Let us,' he said on 31 May,'for once speak the sense of the nation, and let us regain by our arms what we have lost by our councils.' Walpole declared war with Spain in obedience to the clamour. But the ill-success of the naval operations with which it opened gave Chesterfield and his friends new ground of attack. On 13 Feb. 1741 he signed the protest in favour of Carteret's unsuccessful motion for the removal of Sir Robert Walpole from the king's councils. But, despairing of making immediately any effective impression on Walpole's position, he afterwards set out on a seven months' visit to the continent.
There is little reason to doubt that the ostensible reason of his tour anxiety on account of his health was the true one. His parliamentary efforts had brought him into line with Lord Bolingbroke's following, but Horace Walpole's suggestion that he was despatched to Avignon by the enemies of the minister to obtain Jacobite support 'for Sir Robert's destruction' is unsupported. His first stopping place was Brussels, where he spent a few days with Voltaire, who read to him portions of his tragedy 'Mahomet.' After drinking the waters at Spa he passed to Paris. There Cardinal Fleury showed him 'uncommon distinctions.' He was eagerly welcomed in fashionable salons, and spent much time with men of letters, especially with Crebillon fils, with Fontenelle and Montesquieu, whom he thenceforth reckoned among his closest friends. Later, in September, he went south, and passed three days with Lord Bolingbroke, whose literary style had long excited his warmest admiration; but, according to Chesterfield's own account, they talked nothing but metaphysics. Chesterfield returned home in November 1741, and at once resumed the war on Walpole. Within a few months his triumph was assured. On 11 Feb. 1742 Walpole resigned office, and was called up to the House of Lords as the Earl of Orford.
Chesterfield's share of responsibility for Walpole's fall was very large. But his cynical temper discounted any enthusiasm for himself on the part of those with whom he had been acting, and with Pulteney and Carteret, two of his chief allies in the strife, he was wholly out of sympathy. The king was ill-disposed to him. The new ministry, of which Spencer Compton, earl of Wilmington, was the nominal head, was controlled by Carteret, whose Hanoverian leanings were repudiated by Chesterfield. Consequently he was not invited to join the government. He professed satisfaction, and urged the new government to press their advantage over Walpole to the uttermost. When Walpole took his seat in the House of Lords, Chesterfield somewhat sardonically wished him joy, but at the same time supported the bill indemnifying witnesses who should give evidence before the committee of secrecy that had been appointed to inquire into Sir Robert Walpole's conduct in office. The bill was thrown out by the upper house.
Thenceforth Chesterfield declared himself to be 'still in opposition.' In November 1742, when he attended the king's levée, he had 'a long laughing conversation' with Orford, who was not sorry that his successors in office should feel the sting of Chesterfield's tongue. At the opening of the next session (1743) Chesterfield opposed the address to the crown. On 1 Feb. he denounced with fiery sarcasm the government's proposal to take Hanoverian troops into British pay, and talked of 'the dirty mercenary schemes of pretended patriots and avowed profligates.' He expressed himself even more bitingly in the newspapers. On 5 Feb. 1743 there appeared a new periodical, called 'Old England, or the Constitutional Journal.' To the first and third numbers Chesterfield contributed letters signed ' Geffery Broadbottom,' and effectively complained that, though the men were changed, the measures remained the same. A popular anonymous pamphlet, 'The Case of the Hanover Forces in the Pay of Great Britain examined,' which passed through three editions in 1743, was attributed to the joint pens of Chesterfield and Edmund Waller. An answer by Sir Robert Walpole's eldest brother called forth from Chesterfield and his colleague two further tracts, 'A Vindication' and 'A Further Vindication' of their position. A sequel, 'The Interest of Hanover steadily pursued since the A[ccession] ... by Broad-bottom,' was assigned to Chesterfield alone. On 15 Feb. Chesterfield attacked Carteret's 'gin' bill, which altered the duties on spirituous liquors and imposed licenses on the retailers. He argued that the proposed changes would encourage drunkenness (the report in the 'Gentleman's Magazine' for November was contributed by Johnson, who claimed to have invented it). Ten bishops joined Chesterfield in the same lobby, 'and made him fear,' he said, 'he was on the wrong side of the question. He was unaccustomed to divide with so many lawn sleeves.' But the opposition was in a minority, and the bills were carried.
On the death of Wilmington, in July 1743, Henry Pelham became prime minister; but Carteret remained in the ministry, and Chesterfield pursued him with much the same rancour as he had pursued Walpole. In the House of Lords he was now the acknowledged leader of the opposition, and played much the same role there that Pitt was playing in the House of Commons. In January 1744 he supported the proposal to discontinue the pay to the Hanoverian troops. 'The crown of three kingdoms,' he said, 'was shrivelled beneath an electoral cap.' To one outside observer Chesterfield's strenuous hostility to George II and his government had given unalloyed satisfaction. The Dowager Duchess of Marlborough had watched with enthusiasm the action of Chesterfield in the lords and Pitt in the commons, and when she died, on 17 Oct. 1744, she left Chesterfield a legacy of 20,000l. 'out of the great regard she had for his merit, and the infinite obligations she received from him on account of his opposition to the ministry.' Pitt, on the same ground, received 10,000l.
In the autumn of 1744 long-pending dissensions in the cabinet came to a head. Pelham and the Duke of Newcastle resolved to drive Carteret from office, and approached Chesterfield with a view to his co-operation. Although Carteret had the king's full confidence, he felt it useless to resist the combined attack, and on 24 Nov. 1744 he resigned the seals. His friends followed his example. Thereupon, in accordance with Chesterfield's known views, a new administration was formed of members drawn from both the whig and tory parties. It was at once christened, after the pseudonym that he had invented, the ' Broad-bottom administration.' Pelham retained his place as prime minister, and the king was reluctantly compelled to confer on Chesterfield the high office of lord-lieutenant of Ireland. Before he took up that post the government resolved to send him on an important diplomatic mission to The Hague, where his name was still favourably remembered. The king was with difficulty 'brought to give him a parting audience.' It did not last forty-five seconds. 'You have received your instructions, my lord,' was all that was said. Chesterfield's appointment bore date 12 Jan. 1745. His instructions were to induce the Dutch to join in the war of the Austrian succession, and to determine the number of troops they would supply. The French envoy, the Abbé de la Ville, was at The Hague before Chesterfield; but Chesterfield, while treating him with the utmost ease and politeness, successfully completed the negotiations in his country's interest. Their course can be traced in detail in Chesterfield's correspondence with the Duke of Newcastle and Lord Harrington, the secretary of state, now in the British Museum (Ernst, pp. 219-39). Chesterfield returned home at the end of May, prepared to inaugurate his reign in Ireland.
Chesterfield arrived in Dublin in July, and, although his viceroyalty lasted only eight months, it proved him to be a tactful and enlightened statesman. His character had affinity to that of the Irish people, and he viewed them sympathetically. When he arrived the Scottish rebellion of 1745 was imminent; but while urging on the government in London the most rigorous measures of repression in England and Scotland, and neglecting no precaution to stay the possible spread of the contagion to Ireland, he was not surprised by panic into one needless act of coercion. With happy ridicule he discouraged the rumours of popish risings. Ireland, he said, had much more to fear from her poverty than her popery, and Miss Ambrose, the reigning beauty in Dublin society, to whom he addressed some witty flattery in verse, was the only dangerous papist he knew of [see Palmer, Eleanor, Lady]. He firmly refused to follow the precedent of 1715, when all the catholic chapels were closed during the Jacobite outbreak, and to his prudent counsels must be attributed Ireland's tranquillity at a time when England and Scotland were torn by civil war (Lecky, Hist, of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, i. 460-1). The main objects of his government were to raise the material prosperity of the country and to distribute public patronage in the public interest. 'He wished,' he wrote, 'to be remembered by the name of the Irish lord-lieutenant.' With the landlords he disavowed all sympathy, and ridiculed their improvidence and extravagant consumption of claret. He declared that 'the poor people in Ireland' were worse used than negroes by their lords and masters, 'and their deputies of deputies of deputies.' He sought to relieve public distress by undertaking public works. The planting of Phœnix Park was one of his projects.
On 23 April 1746 he left Ireland on leave of absence, and a long illness prevented his return. He had not entirely recovered in September. But the ministry stood in need of his active help, and the king was growing better disposed towards him. Chesterfield's position compelled him outwardly to support the court, and in February 1746 a caricaturist represented him along with Pitt as receiving a reprimand for his complaisance from the mouth of the Duchess of Marlborough, who reproached him with her gift of 20,000l. The king gave conspicuous proof of his reviving confidence by sanctioning an exchange of offices between Chesterfield and William Stanhope, first earl of Harrington [q. v.], who was vacating the post of secretary of state for the northern department. While lamenting the transference from an easy to a laborious employment, Chesterfield resigned the lord-lieutenancy of Ireland to Harrington, and entered on the duties of secretary of state on 29 Oct. 1746.
The good terms which had hitherto subsisted between Chesterfield and the Duke of Newcastle did not long survive his acceptance of the new office. The duke was almost as jealous as Walpole of brilliant colleagues, and a difference of opinion during 1747 on foreign policy led to a breach between Chesterfield and himself. Chesterfield was anxious to bring the continental war to a close, but his efforts were frustrated by the duke's secret correspondence in an opposite sense with Lord Sandwich, plenipotentiary at The Hague. Reports of Chesterfield's retirement were soon abroad. On 26 Jan. 1748 he wrote to his friend Solomon Dayrolles [q. v.], 'I can no longer continue in a post in which it is well known that I am but a commis, and in which I have not been able to do any one service to any one man, though ever so meritorious, lest I should be supposed to have any power, and my colleague not the whole.' He meant, he added, 'no sullen retirement from the world, but would indulge his ease and preserve his character.' His colleagues entreated him to hold on (cf. Bedford Correspondence, 1846, i. 206; Marchmont Papers, i. 262). But, ignoring their appeals, he resigned the seals in February 1748. The king parted with him reluctantly. A dukedom was offered him and was declined, but on his own initiative George II made his brother John a commissioner of the admiralty. His views of the policy of the government were set forth with some asperity in 'An Apology for a late Resignation, in a Letter from an English Gentleman to his Friend at The Hague.' The pamphlet reached a fourth edition before the end of the year (1748). According to Walpole, the tract was by Lord Marchmont writing in concert with Chesterfield. Chesterfield protested to Dayrolles, then at The Hague, that he could not so much as guess at the author; but his ignorance was perhaps assumed to anticipate inspection of the letter at the post office. There is little doubt that it was written under his inspiration. A war of pamphlets followed, in which Chesterfield was severely handled by the partisans of the Pelhams (cf. 'An Answer from a Gentleman at The Hague ... in regard to a late Resignation;' 'The Resignation Discussed;' 'An impartial Review of two Pamphlets lately published: one intituled An Apology for a late Resignation, the other The Resignation Discussed;' and 'An Apologetical Discourse for a late celebrated Apology, shewing the real end and design of that treatise. Written by the real author of the Apology,' all 1748).
With his resignation of the secretaryship of state Chesterfield's official life came to an end. He had done, he said, with 'the hurry and plague of business, either in or out of court.' Thenceforth he rarely appeared in the political arena, and held severely aloof from party strife. But as a serene spectator he maintained a lively interest in politics, and retained much personal influence in political circles. In December 1750, according to Horace Walpole, he was offered the presidency of the council. He declined it on the score of deafness, but early next year he disinterestedly intervened in the business of parliament with marked effect. At the instance of George Parker, second earl of Macclesfield [q. v.],the virtual author of the change, he convinced himself of the need of a reformation of the calendar. Despite an appeal from the Duke of Newcastle not to stir matters that had long been quiet, he brought a bill on the subject into the House of Lords (20 Feb. 1751). He spoke by rote some astronomical jargon of which he admitted he did not understand a word, although he felt proud of its harmonious periods. On 18 March he moved the second reading, and Macclesfield explained its objects. The bill, which passed through both houses without opposition, was received in the country with a roar of disapproval. But the popular hostility was directed chiefly against Macclesfield and his family. George II continued to treat Chesterfield with consideration, and in May 1755 consulted him on the allowance to be made his grandson, Prince George, the heir-apparent. On 10 Dec. 1755 he made his last speech in the House of Lords. In accordance with the views of foreign policy he had long held, he denounced the maintenance of subsidy treaties with Prussia and Hesse-Cassel by which England's interests were, in his opinion, subordinated to those of Hanover. He spoke for nearly an hour; but the effort exhausted him, and as soon as his speech ended he left the house, never to address it again.
During the ministerial crisis of 1757 Chesterfield was called on to play a congenial part behind the scenes. The king was pronouncedly hostile to Pitt, whose presence in the ministry was inevitable. Newcastle refused to serve with Pitt, and the formation of a government that would be tolerated by the king consequently seemed impossible. Chesterfield's good offices were enlisted in bringing about a compromise. Lord Bute, at the suggestion of the court, privately invited him to overcome Newcastle's objections to take office with Pitt. The difficult task needed all Chesterfield's tact. With neither Pitt nor Newcastle had he been of late on cordial terms, but on 29 June, largely owing to his power of persuasion, the difficulties were surmounted, and Newcastle became nominal prime minister, with Pitt as the leading spirit of the government (cf. Walpole, George II, ii. 224; Newcastle Papers, Addit. MS. 32871). This proved Chesterfield's final incursion into practical politics, but he still corresponded with Newcastle and others on political topics. Subsequently from the vantage-ground of his retirement he viewed with all Chatham's disgust the government's attempts to tax the American colonies. He hotly condemned England's appeal to coercion. 'For my part,' he sagaciously wrote in 1765, 'I never saw a froward child mended by whipping, and I would not have the mother-country become a stepmother.'
But from the date of his resignation of office in 1748 till his death twenty-five years later, politics was the smallest of Chesterfield's interests. The same night on which he gave up his seals he resumed his practice long interrupted by political preoccupations of gambling at White's Club in St. James's Street, of which he and his brother William were for many years prominent members, and where his witticisms were long remembered. But he soon abandoned play; and when, about 1755, he learned that George Selwyn gave him at the club the nickname of Joe Miller he ceased to attend. In 1770 he directed his name to be struck off. His chief recreations were less exceptionable. 'My horse, my books, and my friends will divide my time pretty equally,' he told Dayrolles, when he withdrew from political office. He desired to enjoy 'the only real comforts in the latter end of life quiet, liberty, and health.' All the happiness that wealth could bring him lay at his disposal. He spent time and money in building Chesterfield House in South Audley Street, Mayfair, which was completed in 1749 from the plans of Isaac Ware [cf. Walpole, Letters, ii. 279). The pillars for the hall and staircase were purchased from the Duke of Chandos's mansion at Canons, and much attention was bestowed on the garden. An interesting print of the imposing exterior in Palladian style from a drawing by Eyre was published in 1750 (cf. reproduction in Chesterfield, Letters to his Godson, 1890, ed. Carnarvon). The house is still standing, and is the residence of Lord Burton, although the streets known as Chesterfield Street and Chesterfield Gardens have been built over parts of the garden and the site of the out-buildings (cf. Wheatley and Cunningham's London). The gallery of pictures at Chesterfield House, Chesterfield wrote to Dayrolles on 4 Nov. 1748, was nearly complete; only two or three great masters were unrepresented. The death of his brother John in December 1748 meanwhile increased his resources. He received under the will 30,000l. for life and a villa at Blackheath. There, too, he built a gallery, and the fine garden, where melons and pineapples throve, inspired him with a 'furor hortensis.' Attacks of rheumatic gout rendered visits to Bath, Spa, and like resorts often necessary. In May 1752 a fall from his horse in Hyde Park temporarily crippled him. But his most serious trouble was increasing deafness. After trying every manner of remedy, he wrote on 16 Nov. 1753 to Dayrolles that cure was out of the question. The disability gradually withdrew him from society, but he bore his isolation cheerfully. 'He did not lose the power of hearing,' he wrote, 'till after he had very nearly lost the desire of it,' and he found consolation in increased devotion to literature. He wrote much on literary and social topics in the 'World' newspaper. He penned a pungent series of 'characters ' of his contemporaries which was published posthumously. Walpole believed that he made some progress with some 'Memoirs of his own Time,' but burnt his notes 'a little before his death, being offended at Sir John Dalrymple's history, and saying he would leave no materials for aspersing great names.' He maintained close relations by correspondence with friends in France, including Voltaire, and leaders of intellectual society in Paris like Madame du Monconseil and Madame du Bocage. In August 1755 he was elected, much to his gratification, a member of the Academy of Inscriptions at Paris. But reading in his own library was his most satisfying resource. On 22 Nov. 1757 he wrote: 'I read with more pleasure than ever, perhaps because it is the only pleasure I have left. . . . Solid folios are the people of business with whom I converse in the morning. Quartos, not quarts—pardon the quibble—are the easier mixed company with whom I sit after dinner, and I pass my evenings in the light and often frivolous chit-chat of small octavos and duodecimos.'
Patronage of literature, another of Chesterfield's diversions, involved him in greater embarrassments. The bricklayer-poet, Henry Jones (1721-1770) [q. v.], who welcomed him with a poem to Ireland in 1745, was a typical protege. In 1748 Chesterfield invited him to London; interested himself in the collection of subscriptions for a volume of his poems; induced Colley Cibber to procure the production of Jones's 'Earl of Essex' at Covent Garden Theatre; aided Cibber in a thorough revision of the play, with a view to making its success a certainty; and finally, having rendered the poor man intolerably vain and self-indulgent, cast him off on finding him borrowing money of one of his servants. But genuine kindly sentiment underlay his relations with men of letters (cf. James Hammond, Love Elegies, 1743, with Chesterfield's preface). He corresponded on equal terms with George Faulkner (1699 ?-1775) [q.v.], the Dublin bookseller; and the discredit which he incurred in the character of a patron at Dr. Johnson's vigorous hand seems ill deserved. In 1747 Johnson, at the suggestion of the publisher Dodsley, addressed to Chesterfield the prospectus of his 'Dictionary.' Apparently Chesterfield, who was secretary of state at the time, and had long been 'the butt of dedications,' made no acknowledgment beyond sending Johnson 10l. When the ' Dictionary' was on the eve of publication Chesterfield contributed anonymously to the 'World' two anticipatory eulogies (28 Nov. and 5 Dec. 1754). The story that Dr. Johnson had previously called upon Chesterfield, and had been kept waiting in the ante-chamber while Cibber was admitted without delay, was long current, but was denied by Johnson himself. Johnson had expected encouragement from Chesterfield while the heavy work was in progress, and resented conventional compliments when the labour was successfully accomplished. On 7 Feb. 1755 he addressed to the earl the famous letter in which, while expressing his resentment, he made a manly stand in behalf of literary independence. Chesterfield characteristically affected indifference to the rebuke. When Dodsley called on him soon afterwards, Johnson's epistle lay upon his table, 'where anybody might see it. He read it to me,' wrote Dodsley; 'said this man has great powers, pointed out the severest passages, and observed how well they were expressed.' Johnson, he added, would be always more than Avelcome, and had he ever been denied admission, it was solely due to the ignorance of a servant. Chesterfield bore Johnson no malice, and there is little ground for identifying Johnson with the 'respectable Hottentot' described by Chesterfield in his 'Letters' (iii. 129). Chesterfield doubtless there aimed at George, first lord Lyttelton [q. v.]
Literature never wholly absorbed Chesterfield. Throughout the concluding half of his life his most serious interest was the education and the advancement in life of his natural son Philip. When the boy was barely five (in 1737) Chesterfield opened a correspondence with him, which he continued with scrupulous regularity so long as his son lived. At first he sent him elaborate essays, often both in French and English, on classical history, mythology, and composition. He never, when in office, allowed the business of state to delay the almost daily task. When he was free from political cares, and the boy had become a youth, he forwarded to him carefully considered instruction in all branches of learning on a scheme devised to make his pupil a reputable man of the world. Chesterfield wished him, he wrote (Letters, i. 108), 'as near perfection as possible. Never were so much pains taken for anybody's education, and never had anybody so many opportunities for knowledge and improvement.' Michael Maittaire [q. v.] was young Philip's Latin tutor in his early years, and Maittaire was succeeded in 1745 by Walter Harte [q. v.], who accompanied him and another youth, Edward Eliot (afterwards Lord Eliot) [q. v.], on an extended foreign tour through Holland, Germany, and Switzerland, winding up in Paris in 1751. Although Philip developed into a good-natured and sensible man, he was by nature incapable of assimilating any graces of manner. But Chesterfield's genuine affection rendered him tolerant of all defects. From August to November 1751 the young man stayed with his father, who expressed satisfaction with the extent of his knowledge and goodness of his heart. He believed that a further sojourn in Paris was all that was needed to give his deportment the polish it lacked. Chesterfield exerted all his influence to secure for the youth a promising start in the career of diplomacy which he had designed for him. Already, in 1751, he induced Lord Albemarle to give him some employment at the embassy in Paris. In the spring of 1752, when Philip left Paris for Hanover, Chesterfield wrote (15 May) to the Duke of Newcastle, secretary of state then in attendance on the king, begging, in the young man's behalf, a post as secretary of legation, even without salary. The duke was 'excessively kind and friendly,' and promised the residency at Venice. But when, in October 1752, Philip was Dayrolles's guest at Brussels, and it was arranged that he should be presented at court to Prince Charles of Lorraine, a difficulty was urged on the score of his illegitimacy. To Chesterfield's chagrin, this for a time proved a genuine bar. In the spring of 1753 Philip came to London to attend the levées, and Chesterfield's reminder to Newcastle of the promise of the post at Venice was met with the rebuff that the king objected on the ground of his birth (30 June). Some compensation was found in his election to parliament for Liskeard by the influence of his friends the Eliots in April 1754. Next year, under his father's careful coaching, he made his maiden speech on the address to the throne, but he was too shy to repeat the experience. In September 1756 he was appointed resident at Hamburg. He performed the duties of his office adequately. In February 1761 he was re-elected M.P. for St. Germans, but resigned the seat in 1765 at the earnest request of the patron, Edward Eliot, who compensated him with a money payment. Meanwhile, in June 1763, he was sent as envoy to the diet at Ratisbon, and early in 1764 he resigned his post at Hamburg to become resident minister at Dresden. He still maintained his close relations both epistolary and personal with his father, whose anxiety for his success was as keen as ever. But at the end of 1768 the long intercourse was closed by death. Philip had for some years suffered in health. In November 1768 he obtained leave of absence from Dresden to visit Avignon. On 16 Nov. he died there. Severely as Chesterfield must in any case have felt the blow, his sufferings were aggravated by the circumstance that the communication which brought the sad tidings revealed the fact that young Stanhope had been long secretly married, and had left on his father's hands a widow (Eugenia) and two sons. For nearly twenty years had Chesterfield plied his son with all the sagacious worldly wisdom that his own experience suggested respecting the affairs of gallantry and the dubious relations with the opposite sex which became a man of fashion. Very galling was the irony of the revelation that Philip had furtively taken refuge from the perils of polite intrigue in matrimony of no brilliant type. Chesterfield bore the shock with exemplary coolness. Despite the secret marriage with an unattractive woman of undistinguished position, the memory of his dead son remained dear to him, and he gave proofs of the strength of his parental affection by sending his grandchildren to a good school and corresponding on amiable terms with the widow.
Happily for Chesterfield's peace of mind, he had already made himself responsible for the education of another young kinsman, also named Philip Stanhope—his godson, distant cousin, and the presumptive heir to the earldom (see ad fin.) In 1759, when this boy was four, Chesterfield told the father that he intended to treat him as a grandson. Between 28 July 1761 and 19 June 1770, while the youth was passing from his sixth to his fifteenth year, Chesterfield addressed to him a series of affectionate letters—236 are extant—in which he offered him, in much the same manner as he had written to his natural son, all the counsels likely, in his opinion, to insure his fitness for the dignities that awaited him.
Ill-health occasionally disturbed Chesterfield's equanimity during his last ten years, when, in his own words, 'he was hobbling on to his journey's end.' But his native gaiety of temperament was only at times overcast. When asked in his dying days how his friend and contemporary Lord Tyrawley did, he remarked, 'Tyrawley and I have been dead these two years, but we do not choose to have it known.' In the autumn of 1772 he completely broke down. At the end of September he left Blackheath for London so as to be near his favourite physician, Dr. Warren. During the next six months life gradually left him, and he died at Chesterfield House on 24 March 1773 in his seventy-ninth year. Within half an hour of the end his friend Dayrolles visited the sick chamber, and the earl's dying words were 'Give Dayrolles a chair.' His good breeding, remarked the physician in attendance, only quitted him with his life. His remains were removed to Audley Street chapel, and thence to Shelford for burial. His widow, with whom he had long been on merely formal terms, died on 16 Sept. 1778.
In Chesterfield's will, dated 4 June 1772, and proved April 1773, he admitted that he had had an uncommon share of the pompous follies of this life, and deprecated a pompous funeral. The expenses were not to exceed 100l., and he was to be buried in the next burying-place to where he died. He devised practically all his property to his godson Philip, and offered him characteristic warnings. He was by 'no means [to] go into Italy ... the foul sink of illiberal manners and vices.' He was to forfeit 5l. to the dean and chapter of Westminster if he ever was concerned in the keeping of any racehorse or pack of hounds, or visited Newmarket while the races were in progress there, or lost in any one day 500l. by gambling or betting. For Mile, du Bouchet, the mother of his son, who survived him, he had already made ample provision, but he left her 500l. 'as a small reparation for the injury I did her.' To such of his servants as had lived with him for five years or upwards he left two years' full wages, remarking that he regarded them as 'unfortunate friends, my equals by nature and my inferiors only by the difference of our fortunes.' One of Chesterfield's executors was his literary protegé, Matthew Maty [q. v.], who wrote his biography.
Chesterfield incurred the dislike of three of the most influential writers of his day—Dr. Johnson, Horace Walpole, and Lord Hervey (Queen Caroline's friend). Their hostile estimates have injured his posthumous reputation, and inspired Dickens's ruthless caricature of him as Sir John Chester in 'Barnaby Rudge.' Chesterfield's achievements betray a brilliance of intellectual gifts and graces which discourages in the critic any desire to exaggerate his deficiency in moral principle. In matter and manner—in delicate raillery and in refinement of gesture—his speeches in parliament were admitted to be admirable by his foes. Horace Walpole declared on 15 Dec. 1743 that the finest speech he ever listened to was one from Chesterfield. Lord Hervey expressed himself to similar effect, although he entered the caveat: 'As Lord Chesterfield never could, or at least never did, speak, but prepared, and from dissertations he had written down in his closet and got by heart, he never made any figure in a reply, nor was his manner of speaking like debating, but declaiming' (Hervey, ii. 341). His pointed enunciation of wise political principles made him a liberalising influence in English politics. Of his political sagacity his prophecy of the coming French revolution is a familiar example. On 15 April 1752 he wrote that he noticed a tendency in France 'to what we call here revolution principles.' At the end of 1753, after describing the condition of French society, he added: ' All the symptoms which I have ever met with in history previous to great changes and revolutions in government now exist and daily increase in France ' (Chesterfield, Letters, ii. 318, 319). Sainte-Beuve notes that Chesterfield's insight into French character has rarely been surpassed, and that he summarised the whole spirit of French political history when he told Montesquieu, 'Your parliaments can make barricades, but can never erect barriers' ('Vos parlements pourront bien faire encore des barricades, mais ils ne feront jamais de barriere,' Suard in Biographie Universelle). His apophthegms on English politics were no less to the purpose. 'If the people of England wish,' he said, 'to prevent the Pretender from obtaining the crown, they should make him elector of Hanover, for they would never fetch another king from there.' Johnson's censure of Chesterfield, that he thought him 'a lord among wits,' whereas he discovered him to be 'a wit among lords,' has no better warrant than his sneer in regard to Chesterfield's letters to his son, that 'they teach the morals of a whore and the manners of a dancing-master.'
Chesterfield embodied in rare completeness the characteristics of a shrewd man of the world of one who had 'been behind the scenes both of pleasure and business.' He avowed no rule of conduct outside the urbane conventions of polite society. The town alone had charm for him; the country and country pursuits were graceless superfluities. He argued that the real business of life was the subordination of natural instincts to those external refinements of manner which were recognised as good breeding in the capitals of civilised Europe, and especially in the Parisian salons. But the practice of his philosophy did not demand the repression of all individual tastes, as his confessed dislike of music, the opera, and fashionable field-sports abundantly proves. Chesterfield's worldliness was in point of fact tempered by native common-sense, by genuine parental affections, and by keen appreciation of, and capacity for, literature. Even in his unedifying treatment of the relations of the sexes his solemn warnings against acts which forfeit self-respect or provoke scandal destroyed most of the deleterious effect of the cynical principles on which he took his stand. Nowhere did Chesterfield inculcate an inconsiderate gratification of selfish desires. Very sternly did he rebuke pride of birth or insolence in the treatment of servants and dependents. His habitual text was the necessity from prudential motives of self-control and of respect for the feeling of others. As a writer he reached the highest levels of grace and perspicuity, and as a connoisseur of literature he was nearly always admirable. His critical taste was seen to best advantage in his notices of classical writers.
Despite the 'exquisitely elegant' manner which even Johnson detected in Chesterfield, his personal appearance was not attractive. In youth he was known from his short stature as 'the little Lord Stanhope.' ' He was a stunted giant,' wrote Lord Hervey, doubtless with some spiteful exaggeration; 'he had a person as disagreeable as it was possible for a human being to be without being deformed, and a broad rough-featured ugly face with black teeth and a head big enough for a Polyphemus.'
Portraits of Chesterfield are numerous. The most interesting from an artistic point of view is that by Gainsborough, which was painted in 1769, and was presented by Chesterfield to the second Earl Stanhope, whose descendant's property it remains at Chevening. It represents him wearing the star and ribbon of the Garter. The expression is cynical. It has often been engraved by Edward Bell, by Chambers, and by W. Greatbach, and others. A second painting, in the robes of a K.G., by William Hoare, R.A., now in the National Portrait Gallery, London, has also been frequently engraved by Andrew Miller in 1746, by R. Houston, J. K. Sherwin, J. Brooks, and others. A third by Allan Ramsay, also in the National Portrait Gallery, was engraved by J. K. Sherwin in 1777. A fourth painting, by T. Uwins, was engraved by H. R. Cooke. A fifth portrait, by Thomas Hudson, belongs to the Duke of Fife. Bartolozzi executed an engraving ad viirum. There is a caricature by Ryall in which Diogenes shows Chesterfield 'as an honest man.' A pencil sketch by T. Worlidge of Chesterfield seated at a table with his friend, Richard Lumley, third earl of Scarborough, is reproduced in Chesterfield's 'Letters to his Godson' (1890, ed. Carnarvon). A bust by Joseph Wilton [q.v.], bequeathed by Sir Thomas Robinson [q. v.], stands in the entrance-hall of the British Museum.
In his lifetime Chesterfield authorised the publication of only the few political tracts and the contributions to the periodical press, chiefly in 'Common Sense,' 1737-9, and the 'World,' 1753-6, which have been already mentioned. But unauthorised collections of his witticisms in prose and verse were made before his death in 'The New Foundling Hospital for Wit,' London, 1768-71, 6 pts. (3rd edit. 1771), and in 'The Humours of the Times,' 1771. Most of these reappeared in 'Lord Chesterfield's Witticisms' (with unauthentic 'memoirs of his lordship'), 12mo, London, 1773; and in 'Wit à-la-mode, or, Lord Chesterfield's Witticisms,' 12mo, London, 1778.
Chesterfield's 'Letters' to his natural son were prepared for publication by the son's widow within a year of Chesterfield's death. She sold them to Dodsley for 1,500l. The earl's surviving representatives vainly endeavoured to stop the publication by applying for an injunction. The title ran: 'Letters written by the Earl of Chesterfield to his Son, Philip Stanhope, together with several other pieces on various subjects, published by Mrs. Eugenia Stanhope,' 2 vols. 4to, London, 1774. The work attained immediate popularity. A fifth edition in four volumes (8vo) appeared within a year. An independent Dublin reprint of 1776 embodied some important additions. Dodsley issued a 'Supplement' in 1787, and the original version reached its eleventh edition in 1800. A French translation in five volumes (12mo) was issued at Paris in 1775, and a German translation by J. G. Gellius in six volumes (8vo) at Leipzig, 1774-6. An American reprint in two 16mo volumes appeared at Newbury-Port, Boston, in 1779.
Severe criticisms of Chesterfield's worldliness, of his relations with Johnson or of his opinions on the sexual relations, were issued by William Crawford and Thomas Hunter (both in 1776); by Antoine Leonard Thomas, in defence of Fénelon, in both French and English, London, 1777; and by Ann Berkeley in conjunction with Sir Adam Gordon, 2 vols. 1791. More sportive attacks figured in 'A Dialogue [in verse] between the Earl of C——d and Mr. Garrick in the Elysian Shades,' 4to, London, 1785 (in praise of Dr. Johnson and condemnatory of Chesterfield); and in 'Chesterfield Travestie, or the School for Modern Manners,' 16mo, London, 1808 (3rd edit. 12mo, London, 1811).
A collection of other portions of Chesterfield's correspondence, with authentic memoirs, some of his speeches, and contributions to the press, was prepared for publication by Maty, but his death intervened, and Maty's son-in-law, J. O. Justamond, finally issued in 2 vols. in 1777 Chesterfield's 'Miscellaneous Works, consisting of Letters to his Friends, never before printed, and various other articles. To which are prefixed Memoirs of his Life,' 2 vols. 4to, London, 1777; another edit. 3 vols. 8vo, Dublin, 1777. In the same year there also appeared 'Letters from Lord Chesterfield to Alderman G. Faulkner [of Dublin], Dr. Madden, Mr. Sexton, &c. Being a supplement to his Lordship's Letters,' 4to, London, 1777; and 'Characters of Eminent Personages of his own time [George I, Queen Caroline, Sir Robert Walpole. Mr. Pulteney, Lord Hardwicke, Mr. Fox, and Mr. Pitt], written by the late Earl of Chesterfield, and never before published,' 8vo, London, 1777; 2nd edit, same year. The Faulkner letters with he 'characters . . . contrasted with characters of the same great personages by other respectable writers' reappeared together in a separate volume next year. 'B. W. of the Inner Temple' added a third volume to Maty's 'Miscellaneous Works' in the same year, which included his political pamphlets and poems. All the 'Miscellaneous Works' reappeared in 4 vols. in 1779.
A further collection of correspondence, 'Letters written by the Earl of Chesterfield to A. C. Stanhope, Esq., relative to the Education of his Lordship's Godson Philip, the late Earl,' appeared in London in 1817, 12mo.
Lord Mahon collected such authentic letters and other literary pieces as were accessible to him (including many previously unpublished) in 5 vols. (1845-53). Another collection of like scope was edited by John Bradshaw (3 vols.) in 1892.
Fourteen of Chesterfield's letters to his godson were surreptitiously printed in the 'Edinburgh Magazine and Review' in February, March, April, and May 1774. They were copied into the Dublin edition of the 'Letters' to the earl's natural son in 1776, and were there erroneously stated to have been addressed to the latter. They reappeared in B. W.'s third volume of Maty's 'Miscellaneous Works,' 1778 (pp. 1-32), and were printed separately, under the title of 'The Art of Pleasing,' in 1783 (4th edit, same year). The originals remained at Bretby undisturbed, with more than two hundred other letters addressed to the godson, until 1890. In that year the whole series was first edited for publication by Lord Carnarvon as 'Chesterfield's Letters to his Godson.'
There remains a further mass of unpublished correspondence, chiefly on political topics, among the Newcastle papers in the British Museum. Extracts are given in Mr. Ernst's 'Life' (1893). Others of Lord Chesterfield's letters to Edward Eliot, the friend of his natural son, are among Lord St. Germans's manuscripts at Port Eliot, Cornwall (Hist. MSS. Comm. 1st Rep. i. 41).
Extracts and abridgments of Chesterfield's works, chiefly of the 'Letters' to his son, were numerous from the first. They often bore fanciful titles, such as 'The Principles of Politeness,' 1775 (often reprinted about 1830 as 'The New Chesterfield'); 'The Fine Gentleman's Etiquette' (1776); 'Some Advices on Men and Manners' (1776); 'The Elements of a Polite Education, by George Gregory, D.D.' (1800); and 'Encyclopaedia of Manners and Etiquette' (1850). A useful selection, with an admirable critical essay by C. A. Sainte-Beuve, appeared, with the title of 'Letters and Maxims,' in the 'Bayard Series.' The latest selections in English are: 'The Wit and Wisdom of the Earl of Chesterfield: being Selections from his Miscellaneous Writings in prose and verse,' edited, with notes, by W. Ernst Browning, London, 1875, 8vo; and 'Lord Chesterfield's Worldly Wisdom: Selections from his Letters and Characters. Edited by G. Birkbeck Hill,' Oxford, 1891, 8vo. A Dutch selection appeared at Amsterdam in 1786. A German epitome was entitled 'Quintessenz der Lebensweizheit und Weltkunst,' Stuttgart, 1885, and a Spanish epitome ('cuarta edicion') was issued at Caracas, 1841, 16mo.
The 'Economy of Human Life,' by Robert Dodsley [q.v.], was attributed to Chesterfield in Italian translations by L. Guidelli (4th edit, 12mo, Naples, 1780), and by A. G. Cairoli (8vo, Milan, 1816); in a Portuguese translation (8vo, Porto, 1777); and in a Spanish translation by M. de Junco y Pimentèl (8vo, Madrid, 1755).
Chesterfield's godson and successor, Philip Stanhope, fifth Earl of Chesterfield (1755-1815), baptised on 28 Nov. 1755, was only surviving son of Arthur Charles Stanhope (d. 1770) of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, by his second wife, Margaret, daughter and coheiress of Charles Headlam of Kirby Hall, Yorkshire (his father was son of Dr. Michael Stanhope, a great-grandson of Philip Stanhope, first earl of Chesterfield [q.v.] His godfather directed his education from the age of four, and took a promising view of his abilities. His tutors were not selected with much wisdom. When about six he went to 'Mr. Robert's boarding house in Marylebone.' At eleven he became the pupil of the adventurous Dr. William Dodd [q.v.] at Whitton, near Isleworth. Dodd attracted him, and he subsequently proved a generous patron to his tutor; but that worthless schemer forged Chesterfield's name in 1777 to a bond for 4,200l., and, on being prosecuted, was convicted and hanged. Another of Chesterfield's early tutors was a hack-writer, Cuthbert Shaw [q.v.] He came into a little property on his father's death in March 1770, and soon set off on a foreign tour. He was studying at Leipzig when his godfather died in 1773, and he inherited the earldom and the late earl's large fortune. He had then developed characteristics diametrically opposed to those which his godfather had hoped to implant in him. If he might be credited with a fair measure of shrewdness and affability, his tastes and manners were unaffectedly bucolic. 'How would that quintessence of high ton the late Lord Chesterfield,' wrote Madame d'Arblay, 'blush to behold his successor, who, with much share of humour and good humour, also has as little good breeding as any man I ever met with!' (Diary, v. 92). At court he attracted the favourable notice of George III, and afterwards spent much time with the king at Weymouth. His wealth alone and his personal relations with the king account for the occasional bestowal upon him of political office. He was appointed ambassador extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Madrid on 1 Jan. 1784, and was admitted to the privy council on 7 Jan. But he never went to Madrid, and resigned the nominal post in 1787 (Cornwallis Correspondence, i. 434). On Pitt's nomination he was master of the mint from 21 Sept. 1789 to 20 Jan. 1790, joint postmaster-general from 12 March 1790, and master of the horse from 14 Feb. 1798 to 21 July 1804. On 17 Jan. 1805 he was made K.G. He lived in London in some magnificence during the season, and had a French cook, Vincent la Chapelle, who dedicated to him two manuals of cookery. But the country chiefly attracted him. He was an enthusiast for hunting, and delighted in superintending the operations of his farms. But he showed his normal lack of taste in pulling down the old mansion of Bretby and erecting in its place a modern residence from Wyatt's plans. He died at Bretby on 29 Aug. 1815. Three interesting portraits are at Bretby, and are reproduced in Lord Carnarvon's 'Letters of the Fourth Earl to his Godson,' 1890. One by John Russell (1745-1806) [q. v.], painted in 1769, when the earl was fourteen, represents him in fancy dress; the second by Gainsborough an admirable picture portrays him in hunting dress with a dog; in the third, by T. Weaver, he figures in a group which consists of his son (afterwards the sixth earl), his agent, and a fine heifer. Another portrait, by Sir William Beechey, was engraved by J. R. Smith (cf. Bourke, Hist. of White's, ii. 46). The fifth earl was twice married: first, on 16 Sept. 1777, to Anne, daughter of Thomas Thistlethwaite, D.D., of Norman Court; and secondly, on 2 May 1799, to Henrietta, third daughter of Thomas Thynne, first marquis of Bath [q. v.] He was succeeded as sixth Earl of Chesterfield by his son George Augustus Frederick (1805-1866); the marriage of the latter's only daughter, Evelyn (d. 1875), with Henry Howard Molyneux Herbert, fourth earl of Carnarvon [q. v.], brought the Bretby property on the death of her mother in 1885 into the possession of their son, the fifth and present Earl of Carnarvon. On the death of the sixth earl's only son, George Philip Cecil Arthur, seventh earl, unmarried, on 1 Dec. 1871, the earldom passed in succession to two collateral heirs, George Philip Stanhope, eighth earl (1822-1883), and Henry E. C. S. Stanhope, ninth earl (1821-1887). The latter's son is the tenth and present earl.
[The main authority is Maty's Memoirs prefixed to Miscellaneous Works, vol. i. 1777. Some interesting marginal notes by Horace Walpole were printed privately in the Miscellanies of the Philobiblon Society, vol. x., 1866. A catchpenny ‘Life’ (1774, 2 vols. 12mo) and three collections of anecdotes by Samuel Jackson Pratt [q. v.], published between 1777 and 1800, are of no authenticity. The Memoirs prefixed to Lord Mahon's edition of Chesterfield's Works (5 vols. 1845–53), and to Lord Carnarvon's edition of the Letters to his godson, are of value. Some further information appears in Abraham Hayward's short biography (vol. xvii. of the Travellers' Library), London, 1854, 8vo. But the fullest biography is Mr. William Ernst-Browning's Memoirs … with letters, now first published from the Newcastle Papers (London, 1893, 8vo). Other sources, apart from Chesterfield's voluminous correspondence enumerated above, are Horace Walpole's Memoirs of the Last Ten Years of George II, and his Letters, ed. Cunningham; Suffolk Correspondence, 1824; Papers of the Earl of Marchmont, 1831; Memoirs of George II, by Lord Hervey, ed. Croker, 1884; Pope's Works, ed. Elwin and Courthope; Ballantyne's Life of Carteret; Jesse's George Selwyn and his Contemporaries; Boswell's Life of Johnson, ed. Hill; Bedford Correspondence, 1846, ed. Lord John Russell, vol. iii. p. lxxxii; Colley Cibber's Apology; Lord Mahon's History of England; W. P. Courtney's Parliamentary Representation of Cornwall; Bourke's History of White's Club. A foolish endeavour to place the Letters of Junius to the credit of Lord Chesterfield was made by William Cramp in several pamphlets—The Author of Junius discovered in … Lord Chesterfield, 1821; Junius and his Works compared with the Character and Writings of Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, 1851; Fac-simile Autograph Letters of Junius, Lord Chesterfield, and Mrs. C. Dayrolles, 1851. Cramp's theory was that Chesterfield wrote them and Dayrolles's wife copied them. But Junius's first letter is dated January 1769, when Chesterfield was in his seventy-fifth year, and his state of health and habit of mind had, as his letters show, long withdrawn him from politics (cf. Dilke's Papers of a Critic, 1875, ii. 140–54).]