Bernard Mandeville
Quotations


What a vast traffic is drove, what a variety of labour is performed in the world to the maintenance of thousands of families that altogether depend on two silly if not odious customs; the taking of snuff and smoking of tobacco; both of which it is certain do infinitely more hurt than good to those that are addicted to them!

The multitude will hardly believe the excessive force of education, and in the difference of modesty between men and women, ascribe that to nature, which is altogether owing to early instruction: Miss is scarce three years old, but she’s spoke to every day to hide her leg, and rebuked in good earnest if she shews it; whilst little Master at the same age is bid to take up his coats, and piss like a man.

The only thing of weight that can be said against modern honour is that it is directly opposite to religion. The one bids you bear injuries with patience, the other tells you if you don’t resent them, you are not fit to live.

No habit or quality is more easily acquired than hypocrisy, nor any thing sooner learned than to deny the sentiments of our hearts and the principle we act from: but the seeds of every passion are innate to us, and nobody comes into the world without them.

We seldom call anybody lazy, but such as we reckon inferior to us, and of whom we expect some service.

Because impudence is a vice, it does not follow that modesty is a virtue; it is built upon shame, a passion in our nature, and may be either good or bad according to the actions performed from that motive.

There is no intrinsic worth in money but what is alterable with the times, and whether a guinea goes for twenty pounds or for a shilling, it is . . . the labour of the poor and not the high and low value that is set on gold or silver, which all the comforts of life must arise from.

If courtesans and strumpets were to be prosecuted with as much rigour as some silly people would have it, what locks or bars would be sufficient to preserve the honour of our wives and daughters?

Ashamed of the many frailties they feel within, all men endeavour to hide themselves, their ugly nakedness, from each other, and wrapping up the true motives of their hearts in the specious cloak of sociableness, and their concern for the public good, they are in hopes of concealing their filthy appetites and the deformity of their desires.

People of substance may sin without being exposed for their stolen pleasure; but servants and the poorer sort of women have seldom an opportunity of concealing a big belly, or at least the consequences of it.

There are many examples of women that have excelled in learning, and even in war, but this is no reason we should bring ‘em all up to Latin and Greek or else military discipline, instead of needle-work and housewifry.



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