Usbek to his friend Ibben in Smyrna
The laws are ferocious in Europe against people who kill themselves. They are made to die, so to speak, a second time : they are dragged ignobly through the streets, they are stigmatized, and their property is confiscated.
It seems to me, Ibben, that these laws are quite unjust. When I am overwhelmed with grief, with misery, with scorn, why do they want to prevent me from putting an end to my sufferings, and cruelly deprive me of a remedy which is in my hands ?
Why do they want me to work for a society which I consent no longer to be part of ; that I keep despite myself a convention that was made without me ? Society is based on a mutual advantage ; but when it becomes onerous to me, who prevents me from renouncing it ?  Life has been given to me as a favor ; I can therefore give it back when it no longer is one : the cause ceases, the effect must also cease.
Does the prince want me to be his subject when I do not receive the advantages of subjection ? Can my fellow citizens require this evil division of their utility and my despair ? Does God, unlike all benefactors, mean to condemn me to receiving benefits that crush me ?
I am obliged to follow the laws when I live under the laws ; but when I no longer do, can they still bind me ? 
But, they will say, you disturb the order of Providence.  God has united your soul with your body, and you separate them ; you therefore are opposing his designs, and resisting him.
What does that mean ? Am I disturbing the order of Providence when I change the modifications of matter, and make a square of a ball which the first laws of movement, which is to say the laws of creation and conservation, had made round ? Doubtless not : I merely make use of a right that has been given me, and in that sense I may trouble all of nature all I wish without anyone being able to say that I am opposing Providence.
When my soul is separated from my body, will there be less order and less arrangement on earth ? Do you believe that that new combination is less perfect and less dependent on the general laws ; that the world has lost something thereby, and that the works of God are less grand, or rather less immense ?
Do you believe that when my body has become a stalk of grain, a worm, or grass, it is changed into a work of nature less worthy of her, and that my soul detached from everything terrestrial about it is become less sublime ?
All these ideas, my dear Ibben, have no other source than our arrogance ; we do not sense our pettiness, and despite all we want to be counted in creation, figure in it, and be an important object in it. We imagine that the disappearance of a being as perfect as us would degrade all of nature, and we do not conceive that one man more or less in the world – nay, all men together, a hundred million earths like ours,  are but a subtle, inchoate atom that God perceives only because of the immensity of his knowledge. 
Paris this 15th day of the moon of Saphar 1715
|Supplementary Letter III of the 1758 edition would be placed here|