Fiction > Montesquieu > Persian Letters
Montesquieu (1689–1755).  Persian Letters.  1901.
Letter XCII
Usbek to Rustan, at Ispahan
THERE 1 has appeared here a person who burlesques the part of Persian ambassador, and insolently makes sport of the two greatest kings in the world. He bears to the French monarch presents which ours would not offer to a king of Irimetta or of Georgia; and by his wretched avarice, he has disgraced the majesty of two empires.  1
  He has brought ridicule upon himself before a people who pretend to be the most polished in Europe; and he has caused it to be said in the west that the king of kings reigns over none but savages.  2
  He has received honors which he would apparently have been glad to decline; and, as if the court of French had had the grandeur of the court of Persia more at heart than he, it forced him to appear with dignity before a people who scorn him.  3
  Say nothing of this at Ispahan: spare the head of an unhappy wretch. I would not have our ministers punish him for their own imprudence, and for the unworthy choice which they made. 2

  PARIS, the last day of the second moon of Gemmadi, 1715.
Note 1. The fourth letter added in 1754. [back]
Note 2. The business agent of a Persian provincial minister, in order to defray the expenses of a visit to France, pretended to be an ambassador. He was allowed to play the part for the king’s amusement. [back]

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