Manuscript held by G. W. Leibniz Bibliothek, Hanover
Shelfmark LH 34 Bl. 180

Date: May 1712

Translated from the French

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[LH 34 Bl. 180r]

May 1712

     The strength and meaning of terms depend on the received usage.
     When it is said that a man is polite, it is thought that this is praising him.
     There is no likelihood of saying that a polite man ought to be a rascal.
     Yet it is not impossible that he is, just as it is not impossible for an accomplished man to be mean and a beautiful woman to be shameless.
     A good exterior is always an advantage, although it is not always accompanied by a good interior.
     A good exterior means that one judges advantageously in advance the person who is endowed with it.
     And there is some reason1 to hope that the one who appears reasonable in manners will also be reasonable in something further.2

[LH 34 Bl. 180v]

     But I admit that this is only a slight clue, on which one is not permitted to base one’s trust.
     If there was even excess and affectation in3 manners,4 one could suspect either that the person is concerning himself with trifles or that he is trying to deceive.
     A reasonable man should try to be polite, but if he has any real talent he should make it known that he is not preoccupied by manners alone.5
     One can be polite without giving in to flattery and baseness.
     When a6 polite man is obliged to displease, he will displease7 less than another who is not polite.
     His refusals and objections will usually be accompanied by something to lessen the bitter taste. He will know how to gild the pill.


1. reason ǀ to believe that a good ǀ deleted. deleted.
2. more ǀ although one cannot ǀ deleted.
3. in ǀ the words ǀ deleted.
4. Reading "les manieres" in place of "les maniere".
5. alone. ǀ ¶ One should also avoid giving in to flattery and baseness ǀ deleted.
6. Reading "un" in place of "on".
7. displease ǀ as little as possible ǀ deleted.

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