Every man is not ambitious, or covetous, or passionate; but every man has pride enough in his composition to feel and resent the least slight and contempt. Remember, therefore, most carefully to conceal your contempt, however just, wherever you would not make an implacable enemy. Men are much more unwilling to have their weaknesses and their imperfections known than their crimes; and if you hint to a man that you think him silly, ignorant, or even ill bred, or awkward, he will hate you more and longer than if you tell him plainly that you think him a rogue.
Lord Chesterfield: Letters to his Son, Sept. 5, 1748.
There is no action in the behaviour of one man towards another of which human nature is more impatient than of contempt; it being an undervaluing of a man upon a belief of his utter uselessness and inability, and a spiteful endeavour to engage the rest of the world in the same slight esteem of him.
Nothing can be a reasonable ground of despising a man but some fault chargeable upon him; and nothing can be a fault that is not naturally in a mans power to prevent: otherwise it is a mans unhappiness, his mischance or calamity, but not his fault.