Montesquieu

Rica to ***


Yesterday I went to the Invalides1 ; I would as soon have crea­ted this ins­ti­tu­tion, if I were the prince, as to have won three bat­tles. Everywhere in it one finds the hand of a great monarch. I think it is the most res­pec­ta­ble place on earth.

What a spec­ta­cle to see gathe­red in a sin­gle place all these vic­tims of the home­land, who live only to defend it ; and who, fee­ling in them­sel­ves the same heart, and not the same strength, pro­test only their power­less­ness to sacri­fice them­sel­ves for it again !

What is there more admi­ra­ble than to see these crip­pled war­riors in this retreat obser­ving a dis­ci­pline as strict as if they were requi­red to observe it by the pre­sence of an enemy ; seek their final satis­fac­tion in this image of war ; and divi­ding their hearts and minds bet­ween the duties of reli­gion and those of the mili­tary art ?

I would like the names of those who die for the home­land to be writ­ten and pre­ser­ved in the tem­ples in regis­ters that would be like the foun­tain­head of glory and nobi­lity.

Paris this 15th day of the moon of Gemmadi I, 1715

The construction of a home for infirm veterans was prescribed by Louis XIV and carried out between 1670 and 1706, with exception of the dome. The institution was admired because the wounded would no longer be reduced to wandering and begging.