The Letter to Dion, Mandeville's last publication, was, in form, a reply to Bishop Berkeley's Alciphron: or, the Minute Philosopher. In Alciphron, a series of dialogues directed against "free thinkers" in general, Dion is the presiding host and Alciphron and Lysicles are the expositors of objectionable doctrines. Mandeville's Fable of the Bees is attacked in the Second Dialogue, where Lysicles expounds some Mandevillian views but is theologically an atheist, politically a revolutionary, and socially a leveler. In the Letter to Dion, however, Mandeville assumes that Berkeley is charging him with all of these views, and accuses Berkeley of unfairness and misrepresentation.
Neither Alciphron nor the Letter to Dion caused much of a stir. The Letter never had a second edition, and is now exceedingly scarce. The significance of the Letter would be minor if it were confined to its role in the exchange between Berkeley and Mandeville. Berkeley had more sinners in mind than Mandeville, and Mandeville more critics than Berkeley. Berkeley, however, mere than any other critic seems to have gotten under Mandeville's skin, perhaps because Berkeley alone made effective use against him of his own weapons of satire and ridicule.
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