Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER I.: To Father Cerati * of the Congregation of the Orators of Saint Philip at Rome. - Complete Works, vol. 4 Familiar Letters; Miscellaneous Pieces; The Temple of Gnidus; A Defence of the Spirit of Laws
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LETTER I.: To Father Cerati * of the Congregation of the Orators of Saint Philip at Rome. - Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, Complete Works, vol. 4 Familiar Letters; Miscellaneous Pieces; The Temple of Gnidus; A Defence of the Spirit of Laws 
The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans, 1777), 4 vols. Vol. 4.
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To Father Cerati* of the Congregation of the Orators of Saint Philip at Rome.
I HAD the honour of writing to you by the last post, my reverend father; and now write to you again by this. I take a pleasure in doing every thing that may recal to your memory, a friendship which is to me so dear. I add to what I wrote to you concerning a certain affair . . . .† that if M. de Fouquet exacts more than the sum I seemed to fix you upon giving, you may enlarge it, and give more, and do in regard to every other condition, what may not appear obviously unreasonable. I know the Chevalier Lambert, a famous banker here, who tells me that there is a correspondence between him and Belloni. I shall forward immediately through his hands, whatever sum you may have agreed upon; for M. Fouquet’s will seems to me to be so whiffling and indeterminate, as to induce me to think that it is not worth while to proceed to any contract, until his fixed resolution be previously known* .
I am now in a country that but very little resembles that rest of Europe. We have not as yet been informed of the contents of the treaty with Spain. It is taken for granted that it has made no change in the quadruple alliance, excepting that the six thousand men which are to go into Italy to pay their court to Don Carlos, must consist of Spanish, but not of neutral troops.
There fly about here every day, as you must have heard, all forts of indecent and licentious printed papers. About a fortnight or three weeks ago I was extremely irritated at one, declaring that my Lord Cardinal of Rohan had caused to be brought from Germany, with great care and expence for the use of the people of his diocese, a machine, so constructed, that one might play at dice withal, shake them and throw them without receiving any impressive direction from the hand of a gamester, who before this invention might glide them out smoothly, or volly them off impetuously, just as he pleased, or occasion suited, by the energy of a most illicit knack, which established a fraudulent practice in what had been invented merely for a recreation of the mind. I own to you I am of opinion that so ridiculous a pleasantry could be started by none other but by an heretic or jansenist.
If there should appear in Italy any new printed work worthy of being read, pray do not keep it a secret from me. I have the honour to be with every degree of tenderness and friendship.
London, Dec. 21, 1729.
[* ]M. Cerati was descended from a noble family in Parma. John Gaston, the last Grand Duke of Tuscany, had appointed him of the order of St. Stephen, and Proveditor to the university of Pisa. M. de Montesquieu, in his tour through Italy, became acquainted with him at Cardinal de Polignac’s.
[† ]A jesuit returned from China with M. Mezzabarba. This missionary had protested against the Chinese rites, and spoke to the Pope according to his conscience. Some time after the said declaration he observed to his Holiness, that the air of the college did not agree with him: whereupon Benedict XIII. made him a bishop, in partibus, and assigned to him an apartment in the Propaganda. M. de Montesquieu became very intimate with him at the Cardinal de Polignac’s, and entered since into a treaty with him in favour of Abbé Duval his secretary, for the resignation of a benefice in Britany, which this prelate had obtained from the court of Rome.
[* ]The frequent difficulties, one after the other, which M. Fouquet contrived relative to the pension, or the sum of money to be stipulated for it, made M. de Montesquieu declare, “It is easy to see that gentleman has not as yet shaken off the old dust.”