The Essays of Montaigne — Volume 10
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The Essays of Montaigne — Volume 10


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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Essays of Montaigne, Volume 10 by Michel de MontaigneThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it,give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online atwww.gutenberg.netTitle: The Essays of Montaigne, Volume 10Author: Michel de MontaigneRelease Date: September 17, 2006 [EBook #3590]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE ESSAYS OF MONTAIGNE, VOLUME 10 ***Produced by David WidgerESSAYS OF MICHEL DE MONTAIGNETranslated by Charles CottonEdited by William Carew Hazilitt1877CONTENTS OF VOLUME 10.VII. Of recompenses of honour.VIII. Of the affection of fathers to their children.IX. Of the arms of the Parthians.X. Of books.XI. Of cruelty.CHAPTER VIIOF RECOMPENSES OF HONOURThey who write the life of Augustus Caesar,—[Suetonius, Life of Augustus, c. 25.]—observe this in his military discipline,that he was wonderfully liberal of gifts to men of merit, but that as to the true recompenses of honour he was as sparing;yet he himself had been gratified by his uncle with all the military recompenses before he had ever been in the field. Itwas a pretty invention, and received into most governments of the world, to institute certain vain and in themselvesvalueless distinctions to honour and recompense virtue, such as the crowns of laurel, oak, and myrtle, the particularfashion ...



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TMhoen tParigojneec,t  VGoultuemneb e1r0g  bEyB oMoickh oefl  dTeh eM Eosnstaaiygsn eofThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere atno cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under theterms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.netTitle: The Essays of Montaigne, Volume 10Author: Michel de MontaigneRelease Date: September 17, 2006 [EBook #3590]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERGEBOOK THE ESSAYS OF MONTAIGNE,VOLUME 10 ***Produced by David Widger
EDSE SMAOYNS TOAIF GMNIECHELTranslated by Charles CottonEdited by William Carew Hazilitt7781CONTENTS OF VOLUME 10.VII. Of recompenses of honour.VIII. Of the affection of fathers to their children.IX. Of the arms of the Parthians.X. Of books.XI. Of cruelty.CHAPTER VIIOF RECOMPENSES OF HONOURThey who write the life of Augustus Caesar,—[Suetonius, Life of Augustus, c. 25.]—observe thisin his military discipline, that he was wonderfullyliberal of gifts to men of merit, but that as to thetrue recompenses of honour he was as sparing;
yet he himself had been gratified by his uncle withall the military recompenses before he had everbeen in the field. It was a pretty invention, andreceived into most governments of the world, toinstitute certain vain and in themselves valuelessdistinctions to honour and recompense virtue, suchas the crowns of laurel, oak, and myrtle, theparticular fashion of some garment, the privilege toride in a coach in the city, or at night with a torch,some peculiar place assigned in public assemblies,the prerogative of certain additional names andtitles, certain distinctions in the bearing of coats ofarms, and the like, the use of which, according tothe several humours of nations, has been variouslyreceived, and yet continues.We in France, as also several of our neighbours,have orders of knighthood that are instituted onlyfor this end. And 'tis, in earnest, a very good andprofitable custom to find out an acknowledgmentfor the worth of rare and excellent men, and tosatisfy them with rewards that are not at allchargeable either to prince or people. And thatwhich has always been found by ancientexperience, and which we have heretoforeobserved among ourselves, that men of qualityhave ever been more jealous of such recompensesthan of those wherein there was gain and profit, isnot without very good ground and reason. If withthe reward, which ought to be simply arecompense of honour, they should mix othercommodities and add riches, this mixture, insteadof procuring an increase of estimation, woulddebase and abate it. The Order of St. Michael,
which has been so long in repute amongst us, hadno greater commodity than that it had nocommunication with any other commodity, whichproduced this effect, that formerly there was nooffice or title whatever to which the gentrypretended with so great desire and affection asthey did to that; no quality that carried with it morerespect and grandeur, valour and worth morewillingly embracing and with greater ambitionaspiring to a recompense purely its own, andrather glorious than profitable. For, in truth, othergifts have not so great a dignity of usage, byreason they are laid out upon all sorts ofoccasions; with money a man pays the wages of aservant, the diligence of a courier, dancing,vaulting, speaking, and the meanest offices wereceive; nay, and reward vice with it too, asflattery, treachery, and pimping; and therefore 'tisno wonder if virtue less desires and less willinglyreceives this common sort of payment, than thatwhich is proper and peculiar to her, throughoutgenerous and noble. Augustus had reason to bemore sparing of this than the other, insomuch thathonour is a privilege which derives its principalessence from rarity; and so virtue itself:"Cui malus est nemo, quis bonus esse potest?"["To whom no one is ill who can be good?"-Martial,xii. 82.]We do not intend it for a commendation when wesay that such a one is careful in the education ofhis children, by reason it is a common act, how just
and well done soever; no more than we commenda great tree, where the whole forest is the same. Ido not think that any citizen of Sparta glorifiedhimself much upon his valour, it being the universalvirtue of the whole nation; and as little upon hisfidelity and contempt of riches. There is norecompense becomes virtue, how great soever,that is once passed into a custom; and I know notwithal whether we can ever call it great, beingcommon.Seeing, then, that these remunerations of honourhave no other value and estimation but only this,that few people enjoy them, 'tis but to be liberal ofthem to bring them down to nothing. And thoughthere should be now more men found than informer times worthy of our order, the estimation ofit nevertheless should not be abated, nor thehonour made cheap; and it may easily happen thatmore may merit it; for there is no virtue that soeasily spreads as that of military valour. There isanother virtue, true, perfect, and philosophical, ofwhich I do not speak, and only make use of theword in our common acceptation, much greaterthan this and more full, which is a force andassurance of the soul, equally despising all sorts ofadverse accidents, equable, uniform, and constant,of which ours is no more than one little ray. Use,education, example, and custom can do all in all tothe establishment of that whereof I am speaking,and with great facility render it common, as by theexperience of our civil wars is manifest enough;and whoever could at this time unite us all, Catholicand Huguenot, into one body, and set us upon
some brave common enterprise, we should againmake our ancient military reputation flourish. It ismost certain that in times past the recompense ofthis order had not only a regard to valour, but hada further prospect; it never was the reward of avaliant soldier but of a great captain; the science ofobeying was not reputed worthy of so honourable aguerdon. There was therein a more universalmilitary expertness required, and thatcomprehended the most and the greatest qualitiesof a military man:"Neque enim eaedem militares et imperatorix artessunt,"     ["For the arts of soldiery and generalship arenot the same."     —Livy, xxv. 19.]as also, besides, a condition suitable to such adignity. But, I say, though more men were worthythan formerly, yet ought it not to be more liberallydistributed, and it were better to fall short in notgiving it at all to whom it should be due, than forever to lose, as we have lately done, the fruit of soprofitable an invention. No man of spirit will deignto advantage himself with what is in common withmany; and such of the present time as have leastmerited this recompense themselves make thegreater show of disdaining it, in order thereby to beranked with those to whom so much wrong hasbeen done by the unworthy conferring anddebasing the distinction which was their particularright.
Now, to expect that in obliterating and abolishingthis, suddenly to create and bring into credit a likeinstitution, is not a proper attempt for so licentiousand so sick a time as this wherein we now are; andit will fall out that the last will from its birth incur thesame inconveniences that have ruined the other.—[Montaigne refers to the Order of the Saint-Esprit,instituted by Henry III. in 1578.]—The rules fordispensing this new order had need to beextremely clipt and bound under great restrictions,to give it authority; and this tumultuous season isincapable of such a curb: besides that, before thiscan be brought into repute, 'tis necessary that thememory of the first, and of the contempt into whichit is fallen, be buried in oblivion.This place might naturally enough admit of somediscourse upon the consideration of valour, and thedifference of this virtue from others; but, Plutarchhaving so often handled this subject, I should givemyself an unnecessary trouble to repeat what hehas said. But this is worth considering: that ournation places valour, vaillance, in the highestdegree of virtue, as its very word evidences, beingderived from valeur, and that, according to ouruse, when we say a man of high worth a goodman, in our court style—'tis to say a valiant man,after the Roman way; for the general appellation ofvirtue with them takes etymology from vis, force.The proper, sole, and essential profession of, theFrench noblesse is that of arms: and 'tis likely thatthe first virtue that discovered itself amongst menand has given to some advantage over others, wasthat by which the strongest and most valiant have
mastered the weaker, and acquired a particularauthority and reputation, whence came to it thatdignified appellation; or else, that these nations,being very warlike, gave the pre-eminence to thatof the virtues which was most familiar to them; justas our passion and the feverish solicitude we haveof the chastity of women occasions that to say, agood woman, a woman of worth, a woman ofhonour and virtue, signifies merely a chastewoman as if, to oblige them to that one duty, wewere indifferent as to all the rest, and gave themthe reins in all other faults whatever to compoundfor that one of incontinence.
CHAPTER VIIIOF THE AFFECTION OF FATHERS TO THEIRCHILDRENTo Madame D'Estissac.MADAM, if the strangeness and novelty of mysubject, which are wont to give value to things, donot save me, I shall never come off with honourfrom this foolish attempt: but 'tis so fantastic, andcarries a face so unlike the common use, that this,peradventure, may make it pass. 'Tis a melancholichumour, and consequently a humour very much anenemy to my natural complexion, engendered bythe pensiveness of the solitude into which for someyears past I have retired myself, that first put intomy head this idle fancy of writing. Wherein, findingmyself totally unprovided and empty of othermatter, I presented myself to myself for argumentand subject. 'Tis the only book in the world of itskind, and of a wild and extravagant design. Thereis nothing worth remark in this affair but thatextravagancy: for in a subject so vain and frivolous,the best workman in the world could not have givenit a form fit to recommend it to any manner ofesteem.Now, madam, having to draw my own picture tothe life, I had omitted one important feature, had Inot therein represented the honour I have ever had
for you and your merits; which I have purposelychosen to say in the beginning of this chapter, byreason that amongst the many other excellentqualities you are mistress of, that of the tenderlove you have manifested to your children, isseated in one of the highest places. Whoeverknows at what age Monsieur D'Estissac, yourhusband, left you a widow, the great andhonourable matches that have since been offeredto you, as many as to any lady of your condition inFrance, the constancy and steadiness wherewith,for so many years, you have sustained so manysharp difficulties, the burden and conduct of affairs,which have persecuted you in every corner of thekingdom, and are not yet weary of tormenting you,and the happy direction you have given to allthese, by your sole prudence or good fortune, willeasily conclude with me that we have not so vividan example as yours of maternal affection in ourtimes. I praise God, madam, that it has been sowell employed; for the great hopes MonsieurD'Estissac, your son, gives of himself, rendersufficient assurance that when he comes of ageyou will reap from him all the obedience andgratitude of a very good man. But, forasmuch asby reason of his tender years, he has not beencapable of taking notice of those offices ofextremest value he has in so great numberreceived from you, I will, if these papers shall oneday happen to fall into his hands, when I shallneither have mouth nor speech left to deliver it tohim, that he shall receive from me a true accountof those things, which shall be more effectuallymanifested to him by their own effects, by which he