Quotation by Philip Dormer Stanhope Chesterfield, 4th Earl

It is commonly said, and more particularly by Lord Shaftesbury, that ridicule is the best test of truth; for that it will not stick where it is not just. I deny it. A truth learned in a certain light, and attacked in certain words, by men of wit and humour, may, and often doth, become ridiculous, at least so far, that the truth is only remembered and repeated for the sake of the ridicule.
Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694–1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Feb. 6, 1752, first published (1774). The Letters of the Earl of Chesterfield to His Son, vol. 2, no. 270, ed. Charles Strachey (1901).

Lord Shaftesbury wrote: "How comes it to pass, then, that we appear such cowards in reasoning, and are so afraid to stand the test of ridicule?" (A Letter Concerning Enthusiasm, sct. 2, 1708).
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