Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER LXIV.: From the Dutchess of Aiguillon, to Abbé de Guasco. - Complete Works, vol. 4 Familiar Letters; Miscellaneous Pieces; The Temple of Gnidus; A Defence of the Spirit of Laws
Return to Title Page for Complete Works, vol. 4 Familiar Letters; Miscellaneous Pieces; The Temple of Gnidus; A Defence of the Spirit of Laws
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
LETTER LXIV.: From the Dutchess of Aiguillon, to Abbé 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.
About Liberty Fund:
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
From the Dutchess of Aiguillon, to Abbé de Guasco.
I HAVE not courage enough, Sir, to relate to you the malady, and much less the death of M. de Montesquieu. Neither the assistance of physicians, nor tender care of friends could save so valuable a man. I judge of your affliction by my own, “Quis desiderio sit pudor tam Cari capitis”—The anxiety of the public during his malady, the universal regret of all ranks of people, his majesty’s declaration that the loss of such a man was irreparable* , refiect great honour on his memory, but afford no consolation to his friends. Heaven, how I feel for the fatal event! The impression of such an affecting spectacle, and the deep-felt grief in consequence, can be effaced only by the help of time—But the loss of a man, like him, to society, must be for ever lamented by all those who had the happiness of knowing his merit. I did not quit him till he became quite senseless† , and that was about eighteen hours before his death; Madam du Preé was equally attentive to a dying friend. The Chevalier de Jaucour* did not leave him till the very last moment, just as he expired. I am, most worthy Abbé, your devoted servant, &c.
De Pontchartain, February, 17, 1755.
[* ]Besides this declaration, the King of France dispatched one of his lords from court to bring him news of the President’s situation.
[† ]This friendly assistance contributed towards procuring him some ease in his incurable distemper, and the public may perhaps be hereafter obliged to it, for the recovery of some literary treasures from the pen of so illustrious a writer, which probably it must otherwise be for ever deprived of. It was discovered one day, that while the dutchess of Aiguillon was gone home to dine, Father Routh, a Jesuit, a native of Ireland, and confessor to the sick, came unsummoned. On finding the President alone with his secretary, he made the latter quit the room, and locked himself in with the patient. The Dutchess of Aiguillon who returned immediately after dinner, on seeing the secretary in the antichamber, asked what was the meaning of his being there. He replied, “That Father Routh had ordered him to withdraw, having as he said something to say to the President in private.” Alarmed at this, the Dutchess approaching softly towards the door of the chamber, heard M. de Montesquieu speaking with some emotion; she immediately knocked at, and the Jesuit opened the door; to whom she rebukingly said, “Why thus torment a dying man? Then the President added, “Here, madam, is Father Routh, who wants me to deliver up to him the key of my bureau, that be may carry off my papers.” The Dutchess reproached him severely for such ill-timed and brutal behaviour—All the excuse he offered, was, that he must obey the order of his superiors. However, he was sent off with contempt, and without obtaining his errand.
[* ]This gentleman, a very intimate friend of M. de Montesquieu, had applied very closely to the medical art, which he practised merely through a liking for that study, and to serve his friends. He has furnished more articles to the Encyclopedy, than any other author.