Voltaire

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Voltaire

SKU:6024918

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Letter signed

CHF7,400.00

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Letter signed, two pages (both sides) - additionally addressed on the reverse of a conjoined sheet, 7 x 9 inch, Colmar, 12.04.1754 *, in French, to `Reverend Father` (priest of Menoux) - Voltaire demands that a Jesuit ** should be blamed as the cause of a very unpleasant scandal and writes about his state of health, signed in black ink "Voltaire", attractively mounted (removable) for fine display with a portrait picture of Voltaire (altogether 16,5 x 11,75 inch), with light foxing, intersecting letter folds with scattered small tears to the edges, and a small area of paper loss at the edge of the conjoined address sheet - in fine to good condition. "Toute cette affaire, mon cher et révérend Pére, m`affliger autant que vous. Non seulement la ville de Paris, mais l`Europe est inondées de nos prétendues lettres. Il n`est que trop certain, je vous le dis entre nous, que le Jésuite de qui je m`étais plaint à vous avec confiance, et j`ose dire avec douceur, n`a eu ni vôtre discrétion, ni vôtre sagesse, ni vôtre bonté. Il doit se reprocher d`être cause d`un éclat très-désagréable. Vous ne sauriez croire combien de lettres anonimes, combien de mémoires j`ai reçu à cette occasion. Il ne vient pas aux brouillons que cette petite affaire si simple, si innocente en elle même, si peu faite pour être connue, ne produise des querelles attachées aux querelles de parti. Je jette tout au feu; je ne réponds à ceux qui m`écrivent, autre chose si non que les lettres sont supposées; que j`ai pour vous la plus tendre vénération, et que vous m`honorez de vôtre amitié. Je me renferme dans les soins qu`éxigent mes maladies, dans la solitude, et dans le travail qui fait ma concolation. J´éprouverais une consolation plus flatteuse et plus chère, si je pouvais avoir l`honneur de / vous voir aux eaux. J`ose encore éspérer que j`aurai la force d`y aller. Vôtre conversation, et vôtre amitié me feraient certainement plus de bien que toutes les eaux minérales du monde. Je vous y apporterais les annales de l`Empire, mais j`ai bien peur que cet ouvrage ne soit un peu sec, et fort eloigné de l`éloquence avec la quelle vous avez parlé de la maniére d`écrire l`Histoire. Mille compliments, je vous en souplie, au révérend Pére Lesley; comptez que je serai toute ma vie avec les sentiments les plus inaltérables, et du meilleur de mon coeur. Mon revérénd Pére - votre très humble et très - obléissant serviteur - Voltaire" Translated (in parts): "All this affair, my dear and reverend Father, is a troublesome to me as it is to you. Not only the city of Paris, but the whole Europe has been flooded with letters allegedly written by us. It is very clear, and I say to you confidentially, that the Jesuit whom I complained about to you, privately, and I would even say in mild terms, did not show your discretion, nor your wisdom and goodness. He should be blamed for being the cause of a very unpleasant scandal. You wouldn`t believe how many anonymous letters, how many memoranda I`ve received on this subject. ... I burned all the letters, I do not respond to those who write to me anything else that the letters are fakes, and that I respect you and your friendship. I am cloistered dedicated to the care that my illnesses require, in my loneliness, and in my work which is my release. ... Your conversation and friendship would for sure make me feel better than all the mineral waters medical treatments of the world. I will bring for you the annals of the Empire, although I fear that this work is quite empty and far from the eloquence you used to describe the way to write about History. A thousand compliments, I beseech you, to Reverend Father Lesley; consider that I will be all my life with the most unalterable feelings, and the best of my heart. ... " * Voltaire began to issue his `Essai sur les mœurs et l'esprit des nations` (`Essay on the Manners and Spirit of Nations`) in 1754. The `Essai` is a work of Enlightenment philosophy as much as of history. It urges the active rejection of superstition and fable and their replacement by knowledge based on reason. Voltaire was reacting against Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet's Speech of Universal History, which had presented Judeo-Christian nations as the most advanced. ** Probably Claude-Adrien Nonnotte (1711-1793), a French Jesuit controversialist, best known for his writings against Voltaire. When Voltaire began to issue his `Essai sur les moeurs et l'esprit des nations` (1754), which the Catholic Church considered an attack on Christianity, Nonnotte published, anonymously, the `Examen critique ou Réfutation du livre des moeurs`; and when Voltaire finished his publication (1758), Nonnotte revised his book, which he published at Avignon (2 vols., 1762). He dealt with what he saw as historical and doctrinal errors contained in Voltaire's work.

Additional Information

SKU 6024918
Profession French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher
Year of birth 1694
year of death 1778
Size in inch (1 inch = 2.5 cm) 7 x 9 (altogether 16,5 x 11,75 x inch)
Condition fine to good
Type of Autograph letters
Expert comment Exceptional letter with interesting content!