Historical Letters: Lord Chesterfield
After posting a quote by Lord Chesterfield I went searching for a letter of his and found this gem at The Project Gutenberg. I confess I am humored by his paternal care: The inequality of the town of Lausanne seems to be very convenient in this cold weather; because going up hill and down will keep you warm. And read through till the end. Is the last line meant to encourage or to warn?
LONDON, December 2, O.S. 1746.
DEAR BOY: I have not, in my present situation,—[His Lordship was, in the year 1746, appointed one of his Majesty’s secretaries of state.]—time to write to you, either so much or so often as I used, while I was in a place of much more leisure and profit; but my affection for you must not be judged of by the number of my letters; and, though the one lessens, the other, I assure you, does not.
I have just now received your letter of the 25th past, N. S., and, by the former post, one from Mr. Harte; with both which I am very well pleased: with Mr. Harte’s, for the good account which he gives me of you; with yours, for the good account which you gave me of what I desired to be informed of. Pray continue to give me further information of the form of government of the country you are now in; which I hope you will know most minutely before you leave it. The inequality of the town of Lausanne seems to be very convenient in this cold weather; because going up hill and down will keep you warm. You say there is a good deal of good company; pray, are you got into it? Have you made acquaintances, and with whom? Let me know some of their names. Do you learn German yet, to read, write, and speak it?
Yesterday, I saw a letter from Monsieur Bochat to a friend of mine; which gave me the greatest pleasure that I have felt this great while; because it gives so very good an account of you. Among other things which Monsieur Bochat says to your advantage, he mentions the tender uneasiness and concern that you showed during my illness, for which (though I will say that you owe it to me) I am obliged to you: sentiments of gratitude not being universal, nor even common. As your affection for me can only proceed from your experience and conviction of my fondness for you (for to talk of natural affection is talking nonsense), the only return I desire is, what it is chiefly your interest to make me; I mean your invariable practice of virtue, and your indefatigable pursuit of knowledge. Adieu! and be persuaded that I shall love you extremely, while you deserve it; but not one moment longer.