Persian Letters/Letter 85
Rica to * * *
YESTERDAY I was at the Hotel des Invalides: if I were a king I would rather have founded that establishment than have gained three battles. Throughout it the hand of a great monarch appears. I think it is worthier of respect than any other institution in the world.
What a sight to see assembled within the same walls all those who have suffered for their country, who lived only to defend it; and who, high-hearted as ever, but lacking their old vigour, complain only of their inability to sacrifice themselves again!
What could be worthier of admiration than the sight of these disabled warriors in their retirement, observing a discipline as strict as if they were constrained by the presence of an enemy, seeking their last satisfaction in that semblance of war, and dividing their thoughts and emotions between the duties of religion and those of their profession.
I would have the names of those who die for their country preserved in the temples, and inscribed in registers which should be the fountain-head of glory and honour.
Paris, the 15th of the first moon of Gemmadi, 1715.