S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.
[Charles de Secondat, Baron de la Brède et de Montesquieu; a French author; born near Bordeaux, Jan. 18, 1689; president of the Parliament of Bordeaux, 1716; admitted to the Academy, 1728; published The Spirit of Laws, 1748; died in Paris, February, 1755.]
He has too much wit to understand me (Il a trop desprit pour mentendre).
A paradox à la française, said of Voltaire and The Spirit of Laws (LEsprit des Lois), where the pun is upon the word esprit.
When a tedious speaker cried to Montesquieu during a debate, I will bet my head that you are wrong,I accept it, was the answer: the smallest trifle has its value among friends.
Being asked on his death-bed if he were conscious of the greatness of God; Yes, and of the littleness of man, he replied (Oui, et combien les hommes sont petits).MARTIN: History of France, XV. Bk. 95. Queen Sophia Charlotte of Prussia, the grandmother of Frederick the Great, once wrote: Leibnitz talked to me of the infinitely little, mon Dieu! as if I did not know enough of that!CARLYLE: Frederick the Great, I. 4. Leibnitz said of his philosophical discussions with her, that she always wanted to know the why of the why; and on her deathbed she said she was going to satisfy herself on many points on which Leibnitz could tell her nothing. Luther would have called her eagerness as a pupil dangerous: That same why has done a great deal of harm. It was the cause of Adams destruction.