Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XXVII.: To Mr. Cerati. - Complete Works, vol. 4 Familiar Letters; Miscellaneous Pieces; The Temple of Gnidus; A Defence of the Spirit of Laws
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LETTER XXVII.: To Mr. Cerati. - 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 Mr. Cerati.
I HAVE received, Sir, not only with pleasure, but with infinite joy, your favour thro’ the channel of Prince de Craon; but as in the letter there is no mention made of your health, and that you write nevertheless, I naturally conclude it to be good, an advantage in which I am so much interested. Mr. Gendron* is not dead; and I hope you will see him again at Paris, walking in his garden, with his little cane, and not breaking out into any expressions of admiration, either in behalf of the Jesuits or physicians. But to speak seriously, it is a happiness for society, that so excellent a man is still alive. What a loss should you and I have in his death.—He always begins a conversation with me in those words, “have you received any news from M. Cerati?”
Abbé de Guasco is returned from his tour of Languedoc, or Provence.—You have known him a virtuous man; but like Solomon and David, he too is lost. The Prince of Wurtemburg has informed me, that there are twenty-one ladies enrolled upon his list. He says, indeed, it is better that number should be ascribed to him than but one; and perhaps he is in the right. But in the midst of his vagrant gallantries, he fails not to carry off premiums at the academy; he obtained the one of last year; and has lately succeeded in winning that of the present. In about a fortnight I must quit Paris, and spend four or five months at my provincial dwelling. I shall take Abbé de Guasco with me to la Brede, that he may perform due penance there, for the late irregularities of his life. Madam Geofrin’s house is frequented by the best company, she is very desirous that you and I should encrease the number.—You will oblige me much, by paying my respectful compliments and court to the prince de Craon, and assure him that I should deem it one of the most brilliant incidents of my life, could I have the happiness of being for some time near him. In the interim, I have the honour of paying my court to one of an exalted character, and nearly of a similar stamp, I mean the prince de Beauvais. Believe me he has the proper stuff in him, and the materials requisite for constituting a great man. I plume myself on forming a just and precious judgment of those who are destined to run the career of glory, nor have I been much mistaken.
In regard of my work, I will let you into the secret. It is actually printing in a foreign country; this fact I continue to tell you in great secrecy. There will be two volumes in quarto, of which one is printed, but will not be published until the other is ready. Immediately on the fixed time for publication, I will send you a set, as an homage due to you from my estate. I have almost exhausted myself for three months past, in endeavouring to finish a short tract, I mean to add to them, and that will form a book, on the origin and revolution of our civil laws in France.—Although the reading of it would not take up more than three hours time; yet, I assure you, I have been obliged to work so hard upon this interesting matter, that it has made my hairs become white. In order that my work were complete in all points, it would be necessary that I should give two additional books on the feudal laws. I think I have made some elucidating discoveries upon a topic the most obscure in literary researches, but which nevertheless affords a more magnificent subject. If I can be left quiet for three months, I think I may be able to put a finishing hand to these two desirable books, if not, my work must go forth without them.
The favour that your friend M. de Hein does me often, to come and pass the morning with me, is not of the most obliging nature, because it proves prejudicial to my work, both by the badness of the corrupt French which he speaks, and the irksome prolixity of his details. He has been just now with me, to know if I had received any news from you. He takes up my time unmercifully in complaining of an old malady which he has long laboured under, to wit, a difficulty of making urine; and says, that M. le Dran has not been able as yet to cure him. With le Dran he seems to be as little satisfied as with the Stadtholder.—Pray let me always have some share in your friendship, nor ever absolutely consign to oblivion, a man who loves and honours you.
Paris, March 28, 1748.
[* ]He had been physician to the late regent, and was the best oculist at that time in France. He retired to Auteuil, and chose to reside in the house of Boileau, his former friend, at whose decease he purchased it. In allusion to these two possessors, M. de Montesquieu, as he was walking one day with M. Gendron made a couplet, which he jokingly said, ought to be placed over the grand entrance door, the meaning is.—“In this abode, Apollo always ready to come to our assistance, quits the art of rhiming, to practice that of curing.”