Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XLVII.: To the Same, at Verona. - Complete Works, vol. 4 Familiar Letters; Miscellaneous Pieces; The Temple of Gnidus; A Defence of the Spirit of Laws
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LETTER XLVII.: To the Same, at Verona. - 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 Same, at Verona.
MY dear Sir, your titles encrease so fast, and to such a number, that I doubt if I can remember them.—Let me see—Count de Claviéres, Canon of Tournay, Knight of an Imperial Cross† , Member of the Academy of Inscriptions, Fellow of the Royal Societies of London, Berlin, and of so many others, even down to the humble Academy of Bourdeaux—you deserve all these honours and still greater.
I am glad you have succeeded in the negociation for your chapter. It is a happiness for them to possess such a man as you, and they were right in deputing you to the court to transact their business, instead of detaining you at home to sing and drink; for I am certain that you negotiate as well as you sing badly and drink but poorly. I am sorry, however, for the miscarriage of that affair which regards you personally. You are not the only loser in consequence; but then you have your liberty, and let me tell you, that is no small article. This strict adherence to the court etiquette can produce no compensation for the loss incurred thereby—I strongly surmise there are other latent reasons besides that of the etiquette, and which the example of other courts might have encouraged to dispense with on the present occasion. When certain persons have rooted themselves about the throne of majesty, they never fail in studying reasons for the removal of able men, whom they should dread as too clear-sighted inspectors of their conduct. Moreover, you are not a bel esprit from the country of Liege, or of Luxemburg— as to the rest, I put my fingers on my lips.
Your letter has been delivered to me at la Brede where I now am. Like a complete rustic, I walk about from morning to night; and make many out of door fine improvements.
You are then set out for enchanting Italy. I suppose the gallery of Florence will detain you for a long time; independently of which, that city in my time, was a charming place to reside in; and what proved one of the most agreeable sights to me there, was to see the first minister of the Grand Duke seated before his door on a little wooden chair, in a short tight coat, with a straw hat on his head. Happy country said I to myself, where the first minister lives in so very simple a manner; and so totally disengaged from all the perplexing intrigues of a court life.
You will see the Marchioness de Feroni there, and Abbé Nicolini; mention me to them: embrace as a proxy for me the noble Cerati at Pisa. As for Turin, you know who are the objects of my esteem there, namely our Grand Prior, the Marquisses de Breil, and de Saint Germain. If any lucky occasion should offer itself, present my very dutiful respect to his most serene highness. If you write to the Count de Cobetuzel, at Bruxelles, I pray you to thank him for me, and to tell him how much I feel myself honoured with his favourable judgment in what concerns me. When there shall be ministers of state like him, then there may be hopes that the taste for literature will be revived in the Austrian states, and then you will hear no more of those groundless and erroneous propositions, at which you have been so much scandalized* .
I believe I shall be in Paris at the time when you will come thither. I propose writing to the dutchess of d’Aiguillon to let her know how mortified you are at her having forgotten you. But my dear Abbé, the ladies do not remember all the knights who declare themselves their admirers without their having atchieved any exploits of knight errantry. I should be glad to have you eight days at la Brede, after your return from Rome; there would we talk of delicate Italy, and the stronger Germany.
Behold Voltaire unhous’d, and seeming not to know where he may rest his head* , ut eadem tellus quæ modo victori defuerat, deesset ad sepulturam. Sound sense is a better implement to work with than brilliancy of wit.
You will be so good as to pay my court to the duke of Nivernois, when you shall see him in Rome. I do not think that you want any particular letter of recommendation to him; you are his brother academician; he knows you; however, if you should think one necessary, let me know it. Adieu.
La Brede, September 28, 1753.
[† ]The empress had just granted (through the solicitation of Abbé de Guasco) a cross of distinction bearing on it the imperial eagle, with the cypher of the name of Maria Theresa, to the chapter of Tournay, the most ancient of the low countries, and into which no person can be admitted without giving proofs of nobility. Her majesty had also fixed the requisite number of the nobility to be proved for admission into the class of nobles, and ordered a prohibition against any person’s entering into the class of Graduates, without having gone through a regular course of study during five years in the university of Lorraine.
[* ]The first was on the occasion of a work he had published, concerning which a nobleman observed to him, it was not becoming a man of family to own himself an author. The second was from a military gentleman of the highest rank, who said to the Abbé’s brother, when speaking of an assiduity in the lecture of books, that he professionally made books; and books added he, are but of little use in war: I have never read any, and yet I have been promoted to the first rank of military preferment.
[* ]This alludes to his departure from Berlin, and the disgraceful adventure at Frankfort.