"When honor here meets with anything noble in our actions, it is either a judge that approves them, or a sophister by whom they are excused.
"It allows of gallantry, when united with the idea of sensible affection, or with that of conquest; this is the reason why we never meet with so strict a purity of morals in monarchies as in republican governments.
"It allows of cunning and craft, when joined with the notion of greatness of soul or importance of affairs; as, for instance, in politics, with whose finenesses it is far from being offended.
"It does not forbid adulation, but when separate from the idea of a large fortune, and connected only with the sense of our mean condition.
"With regard to morals, I have observed, that the education of monarchies ought to admit of a certain frankness and open carriage. Truth, therefore, in conversation, is here a necessary point. But is it for the sake of truth. By no means. Truth is requisite only, because a person habituated to veracity has an air of boldness and freedom. And, indeed, a man of this stamp seems to lay a stress only on the things themselves, not on the manner in which they are received.
"Hence it is, that in proportion as this kind of frankness is commended, that of the common people is despised, which has nothing but truth and simplicity for its object.
"In fine, the education of monarchies requires a certain politeness of behavior. Man, a sociable animal, is formed to please in society; and a person that would break through the rules of decency, so as to shock those he conversed with, would lose the public esteem, and become incapable of doing any good.
"But politeness, generally speaking, does not derive its original from so pure a source. It arises from a desire of distinguishing ourselves. It is pride that renders us polite; we are flattered with being taken notice of for a behavior that shows we are not of a mean condition, and that we have not been bred up with those who in all ages are considered as the scum of the people.
Reminder: Arrow keys left and right (← →) to turn pages forward and backward, up and down (↑ ↓) to scroll up and down, Enter key: return to the list