The New International Encyclopædia/Mandeville, Bernard

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MANDEVILLE, măn'de-vĭl, Bernard (1670?-1733). Author of the Fable of the Bees, born in Dort (or Dordrecht), Holland, about 1670. In a thesis maintained at Leyden, March 23, 1689, and entitled “De Brutorum Operationibus,” he argued that brutes act automatically — a theory of Descartes and of the older theology. Having taken his degree in medicine at Leyden, he settled in London as a physician. Never gaining much practice, he received, it is said, a pension from Dutch merchants. He died in London, January 21, 1733. His famous book, a doggerel pamphlet, first appeared under the title The Grumbling Hives, or Knaves Turned Honest (1705). It was republished in 1714, with the title The Fable of the Bees, or Private Vices Public Benefits. A second edition with additions (1723) was presented as a nuisance by the grand jury of Middlesex. A second part appeared in 1728. Mandeville attempted to prove, perhaps with irony, that ‘private vices are public benefits:’ that waste, luxury, and profligacy are good things for a State. His audacious thesis led to a sharp controversy, in which Bishop Berkeley took a hand (Alciphron, 1732). Among Mandeville's other works are: Esop Dressed, or a Collection of Fables Writ in Familiar Verse (1704); Free Thoughts on Religion (1720); and An Enquiry Into the Causes of the Frequent Executions at Tyburn (1725).