|Montesquieu (16891755). Persian Letters. 1901.|
|Mirza to his friend Usbek, at Erzeroum|
|YOU alone could recompense me for the absence of Rica, and it is only Rica who could console me for yours. We miss you, Usbek; you were the very life of our circle. How hard it is to break away from those attachments in which both the heart and the mind are engaged!|| 1|
| We have great debates here; our talk turns principally on morality. We disputed yesterday whether true happiness consists in pleasure and sensual gratification, or in the practice of virtue.|| 2|
| I have heard you often affirm that men were made to be virtuous, and that justice is as indispensable to existence as life itself. I beg you to explain to me what you mean by this.|| 3|
| I have spoken of this to the mollahs, 1 but they exasperate me with their quotations from the Koran; for I do not consult them as a true believer, but as a man, a citizen, and the father of a family. Farewell.|
ISPAHAN, the last day of the moon of Saphar, 1711.
|Note 1. Montesquieu spells it Mollaks. In Persia the mollah is a devotee; in Turkey, a judge. [back]|