Montesquieu

Usbek to the prin­ci­pal eunuch in the sera­glio in Isfahan


Receive by this let­ter a power without limits over the entire sera­glio. Command with as much autho­rity as myself ; may fear and ter­ror go with you. Hasten from apart­ment to apart­ment bea­ring punish­ments and chas­ti­se­ments ; may eve­ryone live in cons­ter­na­tion, may eve­ryone melt into tears before you. Interrogate the entire sera­glio : begin with the sla­ves ; spare not my love, let eve­ryone undergo your fear­some tri­bu­nal. Bright to light the most hid­den secrets ; purify this defi­led place, and res­tore the­rein the bani­shed vir­tue, for from this moment I place on your head the sligh­test faults com­mit­ted. I sus­pect Zelis of being the per­son to whom the let­ter you inter­cep­ted was inten­ded : exa­mine this with the eyes of a lynx.

*** this 11th day of the moon of Zilhagé 17181

Beginning in February 1718, Usbek thus knows that the situation in the seraglio is in all probability irreversible ; which does not keep him from writing numerous letters subsequently (108 to 119), until he receives letter 142 from Narsit in December 1718.