Front Page Titles (by Subject) V: To Monsieur, Monsieur de Mesmes, Seigneur de Roissy and Malassize, Privy Councillor to the King. - Life and Letters of Montaigne with Notes and Index, vol. 10
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V: To Monsieur, Monsieur de Mesmes, Seigneur de Roissy and Malassize, Privy Councillor to the King. - Michel de Montaigne, Life and Letters of Montaigne with Notes and Index, vol. 10 
Life and Letters of Montaigne with Notes and Index, vol. 10, trans. Charles Cotton, revised by William Carew Hazlett (New York: Edwin C. Hill, 1910).
Part of: Essays of Montaigne, in 10 vols.
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To Monsieur, Monsieur de Mesmes, Seigneur de Roissy and Malassize, Privy Councillor to the King.
Monsieur,—It is one of the most notable follies which men commit, to employ the strength of their understanding in overturning and destroying common received opinions, and which afford us satisfaction and content. For where everything beneath heaven employs the means and utensils, which Nature has placed in our hands (as indeed it is customary) for the advancement and commodity of its being, these, in order to appear of a more sprightly and enlightened wit, which accepts not anything that has not been tried and balanced a thousand times with the most subtle reasoning, sacrifice their peace of mind to doubt, uneasiness, and feverish excitement. It is not without reason that childhood and simplicity have been recommended by holy writ itself. For my part, I prefer to be more at my ease and less clever: more content and less wide in my range. This is the reason, Monsieur, why, although persons of an ingenious turn laugh at our care as to what will happen after our own time, as, for instance, to our souls, which, lodged elsewhere, will lose all consciousness of what goes on here below, yet I consider it to be a great consolation for the frailty and brevity of this life, to reflect that there is the power of prolonging it by reputation and renown; and I embrace very readily such a pleasant and favorable notion innate in our being, without inquiring too curiously either the how or why. Insomuch that having loved beyond everything else M. de la Boetie, the greatest man, in my judgment, of our age, I should think myself very negligent of my duty if I failed, to the extent of my power, to prevent so rich a name as his, and a memory so deserving of remembrance, from disappearing and being lost; and if I did not essay by these means to resuscitate it and make it live again. I believe that he something feels this, and that my services affect and rejoice him. In truth, he lodges with me so vividly and so wholly that I am loth to believe him committed to the gross earth, or altogether severed from communication with us. Therefore, Monsieur, since every new knowledge which I afford of him and his name is so much added to his second being, and, moreover, since his name is ennobled and honored by the place which receives it, it falls to me not only to extend it as widely as I can, but to confide it to the keeping of persons of honor and virtue, among whom you hold such a rank, that, to afford you the opportunity of receiving this new guest, and giving him good entertainment, I decided on presenting to you this little work, not for any service you are likely to derive from it, being well aware that to deal with Plutarch and his companions you have nought to do save as an interpreter; but it is possible that Madame de Roissy, perceiving in it the order of her household and of your happy accord represented to the life, will be very pleased to find her own natural inclination to have not only reached but surpassed the imaginations of the wisest philosophers, regarding the duties and laws of wedlock. And, at all events, it will be always an honor to me, to be able to do anything which shall be for the pleasure of you and yours, on account of the obligation under which I lie to serve you.
Monsieur, I pray God to grant you a very long and happy life. From Montaigne, this 30th April 1570. Your humble servant,
MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE.