Philip Dormer Stanhope Chesterfield, fourth earl of, born in London, Sept. 22, 1694, died March 24, 1773. He. was educated at Cambridge, and early entered public life, having been elected to the house of commons before he was of age. By the death of his father he became an earl in 1726, and in the following year was sworn a privy councillor, and in 1728 was sent ambassador to Holland, where he remained four years. He was sent as ambassador a second time to Holland in 1745, but returned in a few weeks, to assume the viceroy-alty of Ireland, where he distinguished himself by a firm and enlightened administration. George II. recalled him from Ireland in April, 1740, and appointed him principal secretary of state. He retired from official life in 1748, hut still continued to give attention to public affairs until incurable deafness caused him to pass into private life. In 1751 he introduced into parliament, together with the earl of Macclesfield, the bill for the reformation of the calendar, in favor of which he made an elaborate and convincing speech. He was remarkable for sparkling wit, elegant manners, solid talents, and attention to business.
Besides his fame as a diplomatist and a statesman, he has a reputation as the author of a remarkable series of letters on a large range of social, philosophical, literary, and political topics, written to his son, and published after his death by that son's widow. Their moral tone is low, their chief object being to inculcate a refined selfishness, but they contain many valuable suggestions on manners. A collection of his letters to other individuals, and of his speeches and miscellaneous writings, has been published, full of wit, knowledge of the world, and tersely expressed views of the public men of Europe. The best editions of Lord Chesterfield's letters and miscellanies are by Lord Mahon (London, 1845 and 1853).