Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XXXVIII: To the Abbé Count de Guasco. - Complete Works, vol. 4 Familiar Letters; Miscellaneous Pieces; The Temple of Gnidus; A Defence of the Spirit of Laws
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LETTER XXXVIII: To the Abbé Count de Guasco. - 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 the Abbé Count de Guasco.
IT is a great happiness my dear Abbé to have a well formed mind; but it is also a degree of prudence to never let it be the dupe of another man’s cunning. The intendant may say what he pleases, but he can never justify the having broken his word to the academy, and having led its members into an error through his false promises. I am not at all surprized, that, become conscious of the wrong he had done to the corps, he labours so strenuously to exculpate himself. But you Sir, who have been an eye witness of the whole transaction, are not to suffer yourself to be imposed upon by excuses that intrinsically are of as little value as his promises. For my part, I am too well satisfied in giving up to him his friendship, to desire any more of it. For of what avail is the friendship of a man in place, who is always actuated by diffidence: and can think nothing right but what falls in with hls own system; who knows not how to do the least favour, or to render any essential service. Let me be far removed from the occasion of asking him any, either for myself, or others. And by that desireable situation I shall be delivered from many importunities.
Dulcis inexpertis cultura potentis amici: Expertus metui.
It is prudent to shun every woman, who is nothing but a coquette, because she practically deceives by giving false hopes. These are my last words upon the subject. I flatter myself that the Duchess coincides with my reason: for which the affair of her freehold will go on neither better nor worse.
I am flatteringly pleased with Abbé Oliva’s* friendly remembrance of me. I frequently call to mind, and with a refined satisfaction, the delightful moments I enjoyed in the literary society set on foot by this learned Italian, who nobly soars above all the prejudices of his country, and which rendezvous no other motive but the despotic and turbulent spirit of father Tournemine could have made me to decline frequenting, where there was so much improvement to be met, and that I could have profited by. The dissolution of those little private academies where every article is debated with a due spirit of freedom, proves a great loss to men of letters; and I assure you that you have reason to lament that of father Desmoletz being proscribed† . I insist upon your writing to me, before you leave Turin, and demand another letter from you on your arrival there. Adieu.
Paris, December 5, 1750.
[* ]Librarian of Cardinal de Rohan, at the Hotel de Soubize, where he used to assemble, one day in every week, several learned gentlemen to conveise on literary subjects. M. de Montesquieu on his first arrival at Paris, used to frequent that society: but on finding that father Tournemine would fain reign arbitrary master there, and force every other person’s opinion to strike to his: the young auditor withdrew himself from it by degrees, and did not keep his reason a secret. At which the Jesuit’s pride was so stung that he left no stone unturned to prejudice Cardinal de Fleury against the author of the Petsian Letters, M. de Montesquieu has been often heard to say, that in order to revenge himself on this troublesome man, he never took any other method but to ask of those who were near and talking to him—Who is this father Tournemine, I have never heard of him? This fretted the Jesuit, who was passionately fond of same.
[† ]There was to the amount of several excellent literary volumes, read in that society, and collected by its institutor father Desmoletz, librarian of the oratorians; in whose department the several authors used to assemble. The Jesuits, ever declared enemies to the Oratorians, having misrepresented in odious colours, mere literary assemblies, as most dangerous meetings, on account of the theological disputes carried on there; they were supprest; and to the very great detriment of making farther advances in literature.