Montesquieu

Usbek to Ibben in Smyrna


I have recei­ved a let­ter from your nephew Rhedi : he informs me that he is lea­ving Smyrna in order to see Italy ; that the sole aim of his jour­ney is to acquire lear­ning, and the­reby make him­self more wor­thy of you. I congra­tu­late you on having a nephew who will some day be the com­fort of your old age.

Rica is wri­ting you a long let­ter ; he has told me he spoke to you much about this coun­try. Thanks to his lively mind he grasps eve­ry­thing qui­ckly. I who think more slowly am not in a posi­tion to tell you any­thing.1

You are the sub­ject of our most affec­tio­nate conver­sa­tions. We can­not say enough about the fine wel­come you gave us in Smyrna and the ser­vi­ces which your friend­ship ren­ders us every day. May you, gene­rous Ibben, find friends eve­ryw­here as gra­te­ful and fai­th­ful as we are !

May we meet again soon, and expe­rience again the happy days that pass so agreea­bly bet­ween two friends ! Adieu.

Paris this 4th day of the moon of Rebiab II, 1712

On the age difference between Usbek and Rica, see letter 25. Rica’s “lively spirit” and “natural gaiety” will again be evoked in letter 46.