Bernard de Mandeville was born in 1670 in Dort, Holland. He was educated in Leyden, where lie received a Doctor of Medicine degree, and for some reason he then settled in London. He was apparently a rather coarse and conceited fellow, not noted for impressing people with his charm and good manners. He supposedly knew Benjamin Franklin. In 1705 he published a poem called The Grumbling Hive, or, Knaves turned Honest. It was not very long, but for some reason it caught on immediately, and by 1714 it had been republished, together with preface, notes, explanatory essays, and some dialogues, now under the title The Fable of the Bees, or Private Vices Public Benefits. A second edition appeared in 1723, and as of 1755, there had been nine editions. The poem and its essays became the target of heated and very partisan debate, and among those who criticized Mandeville, aside from Berkeley, were John Dennis, William Law, Frances Hutcheson and John Brown.


Moral Philosophy Lower Class Selfish Conduct Sense Appetite Future Pleasure 
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  1. 1.
    Remarks on a Book entitled The Fable of the Bees, by John Dennis, London (1724), pp. 104–105 (RFB)Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Hervey, Lord John, Some Remarks on the Minute Philosopher, London (1732) pp. 42–43 (HR)Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Some Remarks on the Minute Philosopher by an anonymous Author, in RFB. This is probably a reprint of Hervey’s attack, though in this event the publishing date of RFB could not have been changed by the printer in its later editions, because Alciphron was not published until 1736, p. 34Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    The Fable of the Bees, or Private Vices, Public Benefits, by Bernard de Mandeville, London (1714), p. 245. (FB)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1969

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  • Paul J. Olscamp

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