London, South Kensington
1 June 2009
DIDEROT, Denis (1713-1784). Autograph letter signed to an unidentified correspondent [Monsieur d'Hornoy?], n.p., 'ce jeudi, je ne scais quel jour du mois d'aoust, le lendemain de la vierge' [i.e. 16 August] 1781, 2 pages, 8vo.
Advising him of a development in a court case -- 'cette miserable affaire' -- a procedural ploy adopted by the plaintiffs whose plea and witness statements were not registered with the clerk of the court, and speculating on their reasons. The defendant is Diderot's grocer. 'Je n'ai dans cette affaire d'autre interêt que l'amour de la justice. Je serois vraiment affligé, s'il arrivoit que le foible fut opprimé'. A reference to the anger which Voltaire might have felt ('je suis sur qu'un assignation auroit aussi facilement derangé la tête de Voltaire que la mienne') suggests that the letter was intended for the latter's great-nephew, Alexandre de Dompierre d'Hornoy whom Diderot mentioned in an earlier letter.
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