Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman, 1750 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 121 pages of information about Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman, 1750.
is awkward bashfulness and ‘mauvaise honte’.  For my part, I see no impudence, but, on the contrary, infinite utility and advantage in presenting one’s self with the same coolness and unconcern in any and every company.  Till one can do that, I am very sure that one can never present one’s self well.  Whatever is done under concern and embarrassment, must be ill done, and, till a man is absolutely easy and unconcerned in every company, he will never be thought to have kept good company, nor be very welcome in it.  A steady assurance, with seeming modesty, is possibly the most useful qualification that a man can have in every part of life.  A man would certainly make a very considerable fortune and figure in the world, whose modesty and timidity should often, as bashfulness always does (put him in the deplorable and lamentable situation of the pious AEneas, when ’obstupuit, steteruntque comae; et vox faucibus haesit!).  Fortune (as well as women)—­

“---------born to be controlled,
Stoops to the forward and the bold.”

Assurance and intrepidity, under the white banner of seeming modesty, clear the way for merit, that would otherwise be discouraged by difficulties in its journey; whereas barefaced impudence is the noisy and blustering harbinger of a worthless and senseless usurper.

You will think that I shall never have done recommending to you these exterior worldly accomplishments, and you will think right, for I never shall; they are of too great consequence to you for me to be indifferent or negligent about them:  the shining part of your future figure and fortune depends now wholly upon them.  These are the acquisitions which must give efficacy and success to those you have already made.  To have it said and believed that you are the most learned man in England, would be no more than was said and believed of Dr. Bentley; but to have it said, at the same time, that you are also the best-bred, most polite, and agreeable man in the kingdom, would be such a happy composition of a character as I never yet knew any one man deserve; and which I will endeavor, as well as ardently wish, that you may.  Absolute perfection is, I well know, unattainable; but I know too, that a man of parts may be unweariedly aiming at it, and arrive pretty near it.  Try, labor, persevere.  Adieu.


London, November 8, O. S. 1750

My dear friend:  Before you get to Paris, where you will soon be left to your own discretion, if you have any, it is necessary that we should understand one another thoroughly; which is the most probable way of preventing disputes.  Money, the cause of much mischief in the world, is the cause of most quarrels between fathers and sons; the former commonly thinking that they cannot give too little, and the latter, that they cannot have enough; both equally in the wrong.  You must do me the justice to acknowledge, that I have hitherto

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Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman, 1750 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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