Bernard Mandeville (or Bernard de Mandeville) (baptised November 20 1670, died January 21 1733) was a Dutch physician, poet and social philosopher who settled in England. Most of his works, including his controversial satire The Fable of the Bees, were written in English.
The Fable of the Bees (1714)
Quotations are cited from the 1732 edition.
- They that examine into the Nature of Man, abstract from Art and Education, may observe, that what renders him a Sociable Animal, consists not in his desire of Company, Good-nature, Pity, Affability, and other Graces of a fair Outside; but that his vilest and most hateful Qualities are the most necessary Accomplishments to fit him for the largest, and, according to the World, the happiest and most flourishing Societies.
- If laying aside all worldly Greatness and Vain-Glory, I should be ask'd where I thought it was most probable that Men might enjoy true Happiness, I would prefer a small peaceable Society, in which Men, neither envy'd nor esteem'd by Neighbours, should be contented to live upon the Natural Product of the Spot they inhabit, to a vast Multitude abounding in Wealth and Power, that should always be conquering others by their Arms Abroad, and debauching themselves by Foreign Luxury at Home.
- Vast Numbers throng'd the fruitful Hive;
Yet those vast Numbers made 'em thrive;
Millions endeavouring to supply
Each other's Lust and Vanity.
- "The Grumbling Hive", line 31, p. 3
- They put off hearings wilfully,
To finger the refreshing fee.
- "The Grumbling Hive", line 65, p. 4
- Thus every Part was full of Vice,
Yet the whole Mass a Paradise;
Flatter'd in Peace, and fear'd in Wars,
They were th' Esteem of Foreigners,
And lavish of their Wealth and Lives,
The Balance of all other Hives.
- "The Grumbling Hive", line 155, p. 9
- The worst of all the Multitude
Did something for the Common Good.
- "The Grumbling Hive", line 167, p. 9
Employ'd a Million of the Poor,
And odious Pride a Million more;
Envy it self, and Vanity,
Were Ministers of Industry;
Their darling Folly, Fickleness,
In Diet, Furniture and Dress,
That strange ridic'lous Vice, was made
The very Wheel that turn'd the Trade.
- "The Grumbling Hive", line 180, p. 10
- Thus Vice nurs'd Ingenuity,
Which join'd with Time and Industry,
Had carry'd Life's Conveniences,
It's real Pleasures, Comforts, Ease,
To such a Height, the very Poor
Liv'd better than the Rich before.
- "The Grumbling Hive", line 197, p. 11
- Then leave Complaints: Fools only strive
To make a Great an Honest Hive.
T'enjoy the World's Conveniences,
Be fam'd in War, yet live in Ease,
Without great Vices, is a vain
Eutopia seated in the Brain.
- "The Moral", line 1, p. 23
- So Vice is beneficial found,
When it's by Justice lopt and bound;
Nay, where the People would be great,
As necessary to the State,
As Hunger is to make 'em eat.
Bare Virtue can't make Nations live
In Splendor; they, that would revive
A Golden Age, must be as free,
For Acorns, as for Honesty.
- "The Moral", line 17, p. 24
- The first Rudiments of Morality, broach'd by skilful Politicians, to render Men useful to each other as well as tractable, were chiefly contrived that the Ambitious might reap the more Benefit from, and govern vast Numbers of them with the greater Ease and Security.
- "An Enquiry into the Origin of Moral Virtue", p. 33
- It is visible then that it was not any Heathen Religion or other Idolatrous Superstition, that first put Man upon crossing his Appetites and subduing his dearest Inclinations, but the skilful Management of wary Politicians; and the nearer we search into human Nature, the more we shall be convinced, that the Moral Virtues are the Political Offspring which Flattery begot upon Pride.
- "An Enquiry into the Origin of Moral Virtue", p. 37
- 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 is spoke to every Day to hide her Leg, and rebuk'd in good Earnest if she shews it; while Little Master at the same Age is bid to take up his Coats, and piss like a Man.
- Remark C, p. 63
- 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 perform'd from that Motive.
- Remark C, p. 65
- People of Substance may Sin without being expos'd 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.
- Remark C, p. 66
- This laudable quality is commonly known by the name of Manners and Good-breeding, and consists in a Fashionable Habit, acquir'd by Precept and Example, of flattering the Pride and Selfishness of others, and concealing our own with Judgment and Dexterity.
- Remark C, p. 69
- If Courtezans 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?
- Remark H, p. 95
- What have the Aldermen, the Common-Council, or indeed all People of any Substance to do with the War, but to pay Taxes? The Hardships and Fatigues of War that are personally suffer'd, fall upon them that bear the Brunt of every Thing, the meanest Indigent Part of the Nation, the working slaving People.
- Remark L, p. 120
- I have often thought, if it was not for this Tyranny which Custom usurps over us, that Men of any tolerable Good-nature could never be reconcil'd to the killing of so many Animals for their daily Food, as long as the bountiful Earth so plentifully provides them with Varieties of vegetable Dainties.
- Remark P, p. 187
- But in such perfect Animals as Sheep and Oxen, in whom the Heart, the Brain and Nerves differ so little from ours, and in whom the Separation of the Spirits from the Blood, the Organs of Sense, and consequently Feeling it self, are the same as they are in Human Creatures; I can't imagine how a Man not hardened in Blood and Massacre, is able to see a violent Death, and the Pangs of it, without Concern. In answer to this, most People will think it sufficient to say, that all Things being allow'd to be made for the Service of Man, there can be no Cruelty in putting Creatures to the use they were design'd for; but I have heard Men make this Reply, whilst their Nature within them has reproach'd them with the Falshood of the Assertion.
- Remark P, pp. 187-8
- Some People are not to be persuaded to taste of any Creatures they have daily seen and been acquainted with, while they were alive; others extend their Scruple no further than to their own Poultry, and refuse to eat what they fed and took care of themselves; yet all of them will feed heartily and without Remorse on Beef, Mutton and Fowls when they are bought in the Market. In this Behaviour, methinks, there appears something like a Consciousness of Guilt, it looks as if they endeavor'd to save themselves from the Imputation of a Crime (which they know sticks somewhere) by removing the cause of it as far as they can from themselves; and I can discover in it some strong remains of Primitive Pity and Innocence, which all the arbitrary Power of Custom, and the violence of Luxury, have not yet been able to conquer.
- Remark P, pp. 188-9
- 'Tis only Man, mischievous Man, that can make Death a Sport. Nature taught your Stomach to crave nothing but Vegetables; but your violent Fondness to change, and greater Eagerness after Novelties, have prompted you to the Destruction of Animals without Justice or Necessity, perverted your Nature and warp'd your Appetites which way soever your Pride or Luxury have call'd them.
- Remark P, pp. 193-4
- One good Man may take another's Word, if they so agree, but a whole Nation ought never to trust to any Honesty, but what is built upon Necessity; for unhappy is the People, and their Constitution will be ever precarious, whose Welfare must depend upon the Virtues and Consciences of Ministers and Politicians.
- Remark Q, pp. 207-8
- 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.
- Remark R, p. 245
- 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 Cloke of Sociableness, and their Concern for the publick Good, they are in hopes of concealing their filthy Appetites and the Deformity of their Desires.
- Remark T, p. 262
- We seldom call any body lazy, but such as we reckon inferior to us, and of whom we expect some Service.
- Remark V, p. 267
- Pride and Vanity have built more Hospitals than all the Virtues together.
- "An Essay on Charity, and Charity-Schools", p. 294
- No Habit or Quality is more easily acquir'd than Hypocrisy, nor any thing sooner learn'd 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 no body comes into the World without them.
- "An Essay on Charity, and Charity-Schools", p. 319
- Knowledge both enlarges and multiplies our Desires, and the fewer things a Man wishes for, the more easily his Necessities may be supply'd.
- "An Essay on Charity, and Charity-Schools", p. 328
- There is no Intrinsick 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.
- "An Essay on Charity, and Charity-Schools", p. 345
- What a vast Traffick 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 which it is certain do infinitely more hurt than good to those that are addicted to them!
- "A Search into the Nature of Society", p. 415
- I flatter my self to have demonstrated that, neither the Friendly Qualities and kind Affections that are natural to Man, nor the real Virtues he is capable of acquiring by Reason and Self-Denial, are the Foundation of Society; but that what we call Evil in this World, Moral as well as Natural, is the grand Principle that makes us sociable Creatures, the solid Basis, the Life and Support of all Trades and Employments without Exception: That there we must look for the true Origin of all Arts and Sciences, and that the Moment Evil ceases, the Society must be spoiled, if not totally dissolved.
- "A Search into the Nature of Society", p. 428
- Private Vices by the dextrous Management of a skilful Politician may be turned into Publick Benefits.
- "A Search into the Nature of Society", p. 428
Quotes about Mandeville
- Mandeville examined not what human nature ought to be, but what it really is. In contrast, therefore, to the moralists that distinguish between a higher and a lower in our nature, attributing to the higher everything good and noble, while the lower ought to be persecuted and despised, Mandeville declares the fancied higher parts to be the region of vanity and imposture, while the renowned deeds of men, and the greatness of kingdoms, really arise from the passions usually reckoned base and sensual.
- Alexander Bain, Mental and Moral Science. A Compendium of Psychology and Ethics (1868), pp. 593-594
- If we bear in mind Smith's criticism of Hutcheson and Mandeville in adjoining chapters of the Moral Sentiments, and remember further that he must almost certainly have become acquainted with the Fable of the Bees when attending Hutcheson's lectures or soon afterwards, we can scarcely fail to suspect that it was Mandeville who first made him realise that "it is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest".
- Edwin Cannan, 'Editor's Introduction' to Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations, Volume I (1904; 1961), p. xlvi
- My pamphlet by some means falling into the hands of one Lyons, a surgeon, author of a book entitled "The Infallibility of Human Judgment," it occasioned an acquaintance between us; he took great notice of me, called on me often to converse on those subjects, carried me to the Horns, a pale alehouse in —— lane, Cheapside, and introduced me to Dr. Mandeville, author of the Fable of the Bees, who had a club there, of which he was the soul, being a most facetious, entertaining companion.
- Benjamin Franklin, Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. Vol. I (1839), p. 61
- Read Mandeville's Fable of the Bees, and his Enquiry into the Origin of Virtue. In the latter, he ascribes entirely to the policy of Lawgivers, the infusion of that controlling principle which results from the constitution of our nature; and nicknames its operation, Pride and Shame. With respect to his capital and offensive paradox, that private vices are public benefits, Mandeville's whole art consists, in denominating our passions by the appellation assigned to their vicious excess; and then proving them, under this denomination, useful to society. There is a lively force, and caustic though coarse wit, in his performance, which occasionally reminds one of Paine.
- Thomas Green, diary entry (30 August 1798), quoted in Thomas Green, Extracts from the Diary of a Lover of Literature (1810), pp. 96-97
- La doctrine économique d'Adam Smith, c'est la doctrine de Mandeville, exposée sous une forme non plus paradoxale et littéraire, mais rationnelle et scientifique.
- The economic doctrine of Adam Smith is the doctrine of Mandeville set out in a form which is no longer paradoxical and literary, but rational and scientific.
- Élie Halévy, La formation du radicalisme philosophique (Paris: F. Alcan, 1901-4) vol. 1, p. 162; Mary Morris (trans.) The Growth of Philosophic Radicalism (Clifton, N.J.: A. M. Kelley, 1972) p. 90
- That we do not know why we do what we do, and that the consequences of our decisions are often very different from what we imagine them to be, are the two foundations of that satire on the conceits of a rationalist age which was his initial aim... [T]he speculations to which that je d'esprit led him mark the definite breakthrough in modern thought of the twin ideas of evolution and of the spontaneous formation of an order... Though Mandeville may have contributed little to the answers of particular questions of social and economic theory, he did, by asking the right questions, show that there was an object for a theory in this field. Perhaps in no case did he precisely show how an order formed itself without design, but he made it abundantly clear that it did, and thereby raised the questions to which theoretical analysis, first in the social sciences and later in biology, could address itself.
- Friedrich Hayek, 'Dr Bernard Mandeville' (23 March 1966), in New Studies in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and the History of Ideas (1978), pp. 250-251
- I do not intend to pitch my claim on behalf of Mandeville higher than to say that he made Hume possible. It is indeed my estimate of Hume as perhaps the greatest of all modern students of mind and society which makes Mandeville appear to me so important. It is only in Hume's work that the significance of Mandeville's efforts becomes wholly clear, and it was through Hume that he exercised his most lasting influence. Yet to have given Hume some of his leading conceptions seems to me sufficient title for Mandeville to qualify as a master mind.
- Friedrich Hayek, 'Dr Bernard Mandeville' (23 March 1966), in New Studies in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and the History of Ideas (1978), p. 264
- How much Mandeville's contribution meant we recognise when we look at the further development of those conceptions which Hume was the first and greatest to take up and elaborate. This development includes...the great Scottish moral philosophers of the second half of the century, above all Adam Smith and Adam Ferguson, the latter of whom, with his phrase about the "results of human action but not of human design", has provided not only the best brief statement of Mandeville's central problem but also the best definition of the task of all social theory... [T]he tradition which Mandeville started includes Edmund Burke, and, largely through Burke, all those "historical schools" which, chiefly on the Continent, and through men like Herder and Savigny, made the idea of evolution a commonplace in the social sciences of the nineteenth century long before Darwin. And it was in this atmosphere of evolutionary thought in the study of society, where "Darwinians before Darwin" had long thought in terms of the prevailing of more effective habits and practices, that Charles Darwin at last applied the idea systemically to biological organisms. I do not, of course, mean to suggest that Mandeville had any direct influence on Darwin (though David Hume probably had). But it seems to me that in many respects Darwin is the culmination of a development which Mandeville more than any other single man has started.
- Friedrich Hayek, 'Dr Bernard Mandeville' (23 March 1966), in New Studies in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and the History of Ideas (1978), pp. 264-265
- Mandeville's essay [The Fable of the Bees] was a clever and cynical defence of licence and selfishness.
- William Ralph Inge, Studies of English Mystics. St Margaret's Lectures 1905 (1906), p. 129
- The fallacy of that book is, that Mandeville defines neither vices nor benefits. He reckons among vices everything that gives pleasure. He takes the narrowest system of morality, monastick morality, which holds pleasure itself to be a vice, such as eating salt with our fish, because it makes it taste better; and he reckons wealth as a publick benefit, which is by no means always true. Pleasure of itself is not a vice.
- I read Mandeville forty, or, I believe, fifty years ago. He did not puzzle me; he opened my views into real life very much.
- I send you some books, one very good book among them, the works of a Saint, and one very bad book, Fable of the Bees—one of those books which are condemned equally by the world and the Church; by the world because it is partly true, and by the Church because it is partly false, or vice versa—one of those books which delight in turning out the seamy side of society to the light. (Don't read it if you object to the coarseness of parts.)
- Benjamin Jowett, letter (28 May 1865), quoted in Evelyn Abbott and Lewis Campbell, The Life and Letters of Benjamin Jowett, M.A. Vol. I (1897), p. 411
- The attempt to interpret economics psychologically begins, according to most writers on the subject, with the writings of Adam Smith. Psychology, as we know it today, hardly existed at that time; and yet Mandeville, a still earlier writer, interpreted economic facts in terms of human motives approximating those described by modern psychologists far more closely than those discussed by Adam Smith and his immediate followers.
- Henry C. Link, 'Economic Motives', Management and Administration, Volume VI, Number 1 (July 1923), p. 111
- Mandeville was one of those who helped to give currency to the premise accepted by the primitivists: science, industry, the arts, luxury and trade are all born of pride. But from this premise he drew the opposite inference; since civilization, if not a good, is at least a necessary evil, "pride," which is its moving force, is a kind of useful folly.
- Arthur Oncken Lovejoy, ‘'Pride' in Eighteenth-Century Thought’, Modern Language Notes, Vol. 36, No. 1 (January 1921), p. 37
- Though licentious and in many respects objectionable, there are a great number of valuable remarks and of just and profound observations in this work [The Fable of the Bees], especially with reference to the improvement of arts and the increase of wealth. Mandeville, indeed, by way of establishing his leading doctrine, that "private vices are public benefits," has represented sundry passions and desires as vicious which do not deserve any such character. Thus, the desire to rise in the world, to enjoy an increased command over necessaries and luxuries, and to attain to distinction, is said by him to be a vice: but it would be more correct to call it a cardinal virtue. So long as it is pursued by fair and proper means, and without injury or prejudice to the rights and interests of others, it is worthy of every commendation; and is, in fact, the prolific source of wealth, science, and civilization. Luxury and ostentation is also one of the vices on which Mandeville lays the greatest stress, as contributing to national opulence. But luxury is a most ambiguous term, and it is very difficult to say when it is or is not censurable...
But however incorrect his classification of virtues and vices, and however lax his morality, his book contains a great many paragraphs that strikingly illustrate the progress of society, and may, therefore, be advantageously referred to by the political economist.
- John Ramsay McCulloch, The Literature of Political Economy (1845), p. 352
- If Shakspeare had written a book on the motives of human actions, it is by no means certain that it would have been a good one. It is extremely improbable that it would have contained half so much able reasoning on the subject as is to be found in the Fable of the Bees.
- Thomas Macaulay, 'Milton', The Edinburgh Review (August 1825), in Critical and Historical Essays, Contributed to The Edinburgh Review, Vol. I (1843), p. 7
- Mandeville, the buffoon and sophister of the alehouse.
- James Mackintosh, 'Dissertation on the Progress of Ethical Philosophy, chiefly during the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries', The Miscellaneous Works of The Right Honourable Sir James Mackintosh, Vol. I (1846), p. 70
- There is not a book in the English language which is less chargeable with the guilt of administering incentives to the appetites and tastes of the vulgar. Improper gratifications are never spoken of but in a way to make them odious, even when the paradox is maintained, that certain things called public benefits are promoted by them. The object rather is, to degrade the things denominated benefits, than to exalt the things which cause them; from the baseness of which, on the other hand, is inferred the baseness of the things which spring from them.
- James Mill, A Fragment on Mackintosh (1835), p. 59
- It [The Fable of the Bees] is a satire upon artificial society; and like other satires partakes of the nature of a caricature.
The end is to expose the mummery of the world, and the affectations of those who laid traps for praise by singing eulogiums on the dignity of human nature; to which end he shews, how much of fair appearance there is which is nothing but pretence; and how much of the fine things, and fine actions, on which we pride ourselves, are the result of qualities in us of which we are ashamed, and which we never cease to decry.
- James Mill, A Fragment on Mackintosh (1835), pp. 59-60
- The poem in itself was not much more than a clever jeu d'esprit, but the Remarks and the Inquiry into the Origin of Moral Virtue, which he published in defence of his thesis, are among the acutest psychological tracts of the age... The passions which produce the effect of virtue are those that spring from pride and the sense of power and the desire of luxury... Such a theory of the passions is a legitimate, if onesided, deduction from the naturalistic philosophy as it left the hands of Locke; the ethical conclusions, it will be observed, have a curious similarity with the later system of Nietzsche. The theory of Mandeville was too violently in opposition to the common sense of mankind to produce much direct influence, but it remained as a great scandal of letters.
- Paul Elmer More, The Drift of Romanticism: Shelburne Essays Eighth Series (1913), pp. 160-161
- The natural depravity of mankind and remains of original sin were so fixed in Mr. Johnson's opinion, that he was indeed a most acute observer of their effects; and used to say sometimes; half in jest half in earnest, that they were the remains of his old tutor Mandeville's instructions. As a book however, he took care always loudly to condemn the Fable of the Bees, but not without adding, "that it was the work of a thinking man."
- Hester Lynch Piozzi, Anecdotes of the Late Samuel Johnson, LL.D. During the Last Twenty Years of His Life (1786), p. 177
- Shaftesbury's book is full of fine declamation about the worth and excellence of men's reason and natural qualities, with an obvious intention to set these up against Revelation. It was against this system that Mandeville wrote his 'Fable of the Bees.' This book has anticipated the French writers in all their offensive representations of human nature, and it is remarkable that the severely religious parties have always had a sneaking kindness for Mandeville, at least, they hate the Shaftesbury school more, and for an obvious reason. If man's nature be as Shaftesbury represented it, religion is by no means necessary. Mandeville, on the contrary, shows man in his fallen state, and so points out the necessity of a Redeemer.
- Henry Crabb Robinson, quoted in F. C. Schlosser, History of the Eighteenth Century and of the Nineteenth till the Overthrow of the French Empire. With Particular Reference to Mental Cultivation and Progress, Vol. I, translated by D. Davison (1843), p. 51, n. *
- The wickedest cleverest book in the English language.
- Henry Crabb Robinson on The Fable of the Bees; Henry Crabb Robinson, Diary, Reminiscences, and Correspondence, Vol. I, ed. Thomas Sadler (1869), p. 392
- He can hardly be called a "moralist;" and though it is impossible to deny him a considerable share of philosophical penetration, his anti-moral paradoxes have not even apparent coherence. He is convinced that virtue (where it is more than a mere pretence) is purely artificial; but he is not quite certain whether it is a useless trammel of appetites and passions that are advantageous to society, or a device creditable to the politicians who introduced it by playing upon the "pride and vanity" of the "silly creature man." The view, however, to which he gave eccentric expression, that moral regulation is something alien to the natural man and imposed on him from without, seems to have been very current in the polite society of his time, as we learn both from Berkeley's Alciphron and from Butler's more famous sermons.
- Henry Sidgwick, Outlines of the History of Ethics for English Readers (1886), pp. 187-188
- It is the great fallacy of Dr. Mandeville's book to represent every passion as wholly vicious, which is so in any degree and in any direction. It is thus that he treats every thing as vanity which has any reference, either to what are, or to what ought to be the sentiments of others: and it is by means of this sophistry, that he establishes his favourite conclusion, that private vices are public benefits. If the love of magnificence, a taste for the elegant arts and improvements of human life, for whatever is agreeable in dress, furniture, or equipage, for architecture, statuary, painting, and music, is to be regarded as luxury, sensuality and ostentation, even in those whose situation allows, without any inconveniency, the indulgence of those passions, it is certain that luxury, sensuality, and ostentation are public benefits: since, without the qualities upon which he thinks proper to bestow such opprobrious names, the arts of refinement could never find encouragement, and must languish for want of employment. Some popular ascetic doctrines which had been current before his time, and which placed virtue in the entire extirpation and annihilation of all our passions, were the real foundation of this licentious system. It was easy for Dr. Mandeville to prove, first, that this entire conquest never actually took place among men; and, secondly, that if it was to take place universally, it would be pernicious to society, by putting an end to all industry and commerce, and in a manner to the whole business of human life. By the first of these propositions he seemed to prove that there was no real virtue, and that what pretended to be such, was a mere cheat and imposition upon mankind; and by the second, that private vices were public benefits, since without them no society could prosper or flourish.
- If there be no real distinction between virtue and vice—if the account given by Mandeville of the constitution of our nature be a just one—why do his reasonings render us dissatisfied with our own characters, or inspire us with a detestation and contempt for mankind? Why do we turn with pleasure from the dark and uncomfortable prospects which he presents to us, to the delightful and elevating views of human nature which are exhibited in those philosophical systems which he attempts to explode? It will be said, perhaps, that all this arises from pride or vanity. When we read Mandeville we are ashamed of the species to which we belong; while, on the contrary, our pride is gratified by those sublime but fallacious descriptions of disinterested virtue, with which the weakness or hypocrisy of some popular writers has flattered the moral enthusiasm of the multitude.
- Dugald Stewart, The Philosophy of the Active and Moral Powers of Man, Volume First (1828), pp. 226-227
- I looked over a celebrated book, "The Fable of the Bees." Till now I imagined there had never appeared in the world such a book as the works of Machiavel: but Dr. Mandeville goes far beyond it. The Italian only recommends a few vices, as useful to some particular men, and on some particular occasions: but the Englishman loves and cordially recommends vice of every kind; not only as useful now and then, but as absolutely necessary, at all times for all communities! Surely Voltaire would hardly have said so much! And even Mr. Sandiman could not have said more!
- John Wesley, journal entry (14 April 1756), quoted in The Works of the Rev. John Wesley, Volume III (1810), p. 235
Encyclopedic article on Bernard Mandeville on Wikipedia