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PAGE 2

Letter On Du Halde’s History Of China
by [?]

The prince, at the christening of his first son, had appointed a noble duke to stand as proxy for the father of the princess, without regard to the claim of a marquis, (heir apparent to a higher title,) to whom, as lord of the bedchamber, then in waiting, that honour properly belonged. –The marquis was wholly unacquainted with the affair, till he heard, at dinner, the duke’s health drunk, by the name of the prince he was that evening to represent. This he took an opportunity, after dinner, of inquiring the reason of, and was informed, by the prince’s treasurer, of his highness’s intention. The marquis immediately declared, that he thought his right invaded, and his honour injured, which he could not bear without requiring satisfaction from the usurper of his privileges; nor would he longer serve a prince who paid no regard to his lawful pretensions. The treasurer could not deny that the marquis’s claim was incontestable, and, by his permission, acquainted the prince with his resolution. The prince, thereupon, sending for the marquis, demanded, with a resentful and imperious air, how he could dispute his commands, and by what authority he presumed to control him in the management of his own family, and the christening of his own son. The marquis answered, that he did not encroach upon the prince’s right, but only defended his own: that he thought his honour concerned, and, as he was a young man, would not enter the world with the loss of his reputation. The prince, exasperated to a very high degree, repeated his commands; but the marquis, with a spirit and firmness not to be depressed or shaken, persisted in his determination to assert his claim, and concluded with declaring that he would do himself the justice that was denied him; and that not the prince himself should trample on his character. He was then ordered to withdraw, and the duke coming to him, assured him, that the honour was offered him unasked; that when he accepted it, he was not informed of his lordship’s claim, and that now he very willingly resigned it. The marquis very gracefully acknowledged the civility of the duke’s expressions, and declared himself satisfied with his grace’s conduct; but thought it inconsistent with his honour to accept the representation as a cession of the duke, or on any other terms than as his own acknowledged right. The prince, being informed of the whole conversation, and having, upon inquiry, found all the precedents on the marquis’s side, thought it below his dignity to persist in an errour, and, restoring the marquis to his right upon his own conditions, continued him in his favour, believing that he might safely trust his affairs in the hands of a man, who had so nice a sense of honour, and so much spirit to assert it.