Persian Letters, Volume 1

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Garland Pub., 1901 - Philosophy - 297 pages
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User Review  - stillatim - LibraryThing

The nice thing about reading early 'novels' is that they so often have nothing in common with a typical contemporary novel. That's definitely the case for PL, of which only the first dozen and the ... Read full review

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User Review  - AlanWPowers - LibraryThing

A remarkable book. Its topics read as if written in 2010: Persian/ "Iranian" Islam trying to convert Armenian Christians and Zoroastrians because of the new Shah's edict. Hence, all the Armenians fled ... Read full review

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Page 68 - He has evidently a high opinion of Oriental policy, for he has been heard to say that of all the governments in the world that of the Turks and that of our august sultan pleased him the best. I have studied his character, and have discovered contradictions in it which I find impossible to harmonize ; for example, he has a minister who is only eighteen, and a mistress who is...
Page 69 - ... confer a small pension on an officer who has run two leagues from the enemy, and a lucrative government on one who had run four. He is magnificent in all things, but particularly in his buildings. There are more statues in the gardens of his palace than there are citizens in a great city. His bodyguard is as numerous as that of the sovereign before whom all other monarchs lie prostrate ; his armies are as large, his resources as great, and his finances as inexhaustible. PARIS, the 7th of the...
Page 46 - The king of France is the most powerful prince in Europe. He has no gold mines, like his neighbour the king of Spain, but he has greater riches, because he draws them from an inexhaustible mine — the vanity of his subjects.
Page 70 - Such authority was established by law among the Egyptians in honor of Isis, and among the Babylonians in honor of Semiramis. It was said of the Romans that they commanded all nations, but obeyed their wives. I...
Page 183 - Europe has been governed for ten centuries by laws which were not made for it? If the French had been conquered, it would not be difficult to understand, but they are the conquerors. They have abandoned the old laws made by their first kings in the general assemblies of the...
Page 146 - ... manner of handling the graver : — " There never was in the seraglio of the Grand Turk a sultaness so proud of her beauty as the oldest and ugliest Spanish rascal who sits with folded arms at his door in a Mexican town is of the olive whiteness of his complexion. A man of such consequence, a creature so perfect, would not work for all the treasures of the world, and could never make up his mind to compromise the honor and dignity of his skin by vile and mechanical industry. . . . But although...
Page 220 - Lett. 121. Since the devastation of America, the Spaniards, who have taken the place of the ancient inhabitants, have not been able to repeople it; on the contrary, the destroyers are destroying themselves, and are being consumed every day.
Page 32 - ... yourself — the world took advantage of my ingenuousness and inexperience ; my good feelings were the cause of my ruin, and then, by degrees, I became as callous and as hardened as the world itself. My dear fellow, I thought all affection, all sentiment, dried up within me, but it is not the case. You have made me feel that I have still a heart, and that I can love you. But this is all romance, and not fitted for the present time. It is now five o'clock, let us be on the ground early — it...
Page 92 - Moscow and the last of his possessions in the Chinese frontiers is two thousand leagues. He is the absolute master of the property and lives of his subjects, who are all slaves, with the exception of four families. The lieutenant of the prophets, the King of Kings, whose footstool is the heavens, does not exercise a more formidable sway. Any one acquainted with the horrible climate of Muscovy would never imagine that to be exiled from it was a very severe penalty ; still, whenever a great man is...
Page 7 - LETTER I Usbek to his friend Rustan, at Ispahan We stayed only one day at Com. After we had made our devotions at the tomb of the virgin who gave birth to twelve prophets...

About the author (1901)

Charles de Secondat, Baron de la Brede et de Montesquieu, French philosopher and political theorist, is viewed variously as the most important precursor of sociology, as the father of modern historical research, and as the first modern political scientist. In The Persian Letters (1721), which was an immediate publishing success, he depicted France as seen by two imaginary Persians and thus demonstrated the possibility for objectivity that he demonstrated 27 years later in The Spirit of the Laws (1748), his masterpiece. On the surface, The Spirit is a treatise on law, but it also describes every domain affecting human behavior and raises questions of philosophical judgment about the merits of various kinds of legislation. It describes three types of government and their principles: Virtue is the principle of republics; honor, of monarchies; and fear, of despotism. With these "ideal types" as starting points, he proceeded to analyze legislation and the state in great detail. He made comparison the central method of his political science and thus directed the focus of inquiry from Europe to all societies in the world. His direct influence on the social sciences has been profound.

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