Supplementary Letter III

, par Stewart

Ibben to Usbek in Paris [1]

My dear Usbek, it seems to me that, for a true Muslin, misfortunes are less punishments than threats. They are very precious days that incline us to expiate offenses. It is times of prosperities that should be shortened. What purpose does all this impatience serve, except to make us aware that we would like to be happy independently of the one who gives felicities, because he is felicity itself ? [2]

If a being is composed of two beings, [3] and the necessity of preserving their union is more a sign of submission to the creator’s commands, it could be made a religious law. If that necessity of preserving the union is a better warrant of the act of men, it could be made a civil law.

Smyrna, this last day of the moon of Saphar 1715 [4]


[1First published in edition D, 1758.

[2True happiness is not of this world, according to both Christian and Muslim theology ; felicity is precisely the term which in the religious vocabulary referred to eternal bliss.

[3Body and soul.

[4An unusual chronological mistake : this reply to letter 74 from Paris is written from Smyrna a mere fortnight later.