It consists of brief notes - generally very exact and sometimes ironical - which go as far as the year 1522.
In spite of Prince Andrew's disagreeable, ironical tone, in spite of the contempt with which Rostov, from his fighting army point of view, regarded all these little adjutants on the staff of whom the newcomer was evidently one, Rostov felt confused, blushed, and became silent.
His activity and fearlessness in attacking those in power during this eventful year were remarkable, and an ironical petition was circulated in Westminster Hall and the London streets complaining of his indefatigable scribbling.
Mandeville's ironical paradoxes are interesting mainly as a criticism of the "amiable" idealism of Shaftesbury, and in comparison with the serious egoistic systems of Hobbes and Helvetius.
The ironical submission with which it opened, and the assumed indetermination with which it closed, were hardly intended to mask the vigorous assertion of Copernican principles which formed its substance.