Quotation by Philip Dormer Stanhope Chesterfield, 4th Earl

There is a certain jargon, which, in French, I should call un Persiflage d'Affaires, that a foreign Minister ought to be perfectly master of, and may be used very advantageously at great entertainments, in mixed companies, and in all occasions where he must speak, and should say nothing. Well turned and well spoken, it seems to mean something, though in truth it means nothing. It is a kind of political badinage, which prevents or removes a thousand difficulties, to which a foreign Minister is exposed in mixed conversations.
Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694–1773), British statesman, man of letters. letter, Jan. 15, 1753, Letters Written by the Late Right Honourable Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl, Earl of Chesterfield, to his Son, Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl, Esq, 5th ed., vol. IV, p. 305, London (1774).

One of the Maxims enclosed by Chesterfield with his letter of this date.
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