Fiction > Montesquieu > Persian Letters
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Montesquieu (1689–1755).  Persian Letters.  1901.
 
Letter CXXXIX
Rica to the Same
 
HERE is an example of conjugal affection, wonderful in any woman, but much more so in a queen. The Queen of Sweden, 1 having quite made up her mind that the prince, 2 her husband, should share the government with her, in order to overcome all difficulties, sent to the Assembly a declaration resigning the regency, provided they elected him.  1
  Some sixty years ago or more another queen, called Christina, abdicated the throne in order to devote herself entirely to philosophy. I know not which of these two examples one ought to admire most.  2
  Although I entirely approve of every one maintaining himself firmly in the station in which nature has placed him, and although I cannot praise the weakness of those who, feeling themselves inferior to their position, leave it by what is little short of desertion, yet I am much struck with the magnanimity of these two princesses, which enabled the mind of the one and the heart of the other to rise superior to their fortunes. Christina aspired to knowledge at an age when others think only of enjoyment; and the other wished to enjoy her power only that she might place her entire happiness in the hands of her noble husband.

  PARIS, the 27th of the moon of Maharram, 1720.
  3
 
Note 1. Ulrica-Eleonora, sister of Charles XII., elected Queen of Sweden by the people. [back]
Note 2. Frederic of Hesse-Cassel. [back]
 
 
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