Persian Letters/Letter 140
Rica to Usbek
The Parliament of Paris has just been banished to a little town called Pontoise.1 The Council ordered it to register or approve a declaration dishonouring to it; and it registered it in a manner which dishonoured the Council.
Other parliaments of the kingdom are threatened with similar treatment.
These assemblies are always detested; they approach kings only to tell them disagreeable truths, and while a crowd of courtiers are never done representing to them that the people are quite happy under their rule, the parliaments come giving the lie to flattery, and carrying to the foot of the throne the tearful complaints committed to them.
When it is necessary to bear it into the presence of princes, truth, my dear Usbek, is a heavy burden! It ought therefore to be remembered that those who do so are constrained to it, and that they never would have made up their minds to a course so disagreeable and distressing for those who undertake it, if they were not compelled by their duty, their respect, and even by their affection.
Paris, the 21st of the first moon of Gemmadi, 1720.