Source:

Die philophischen schriften von Gottfried Wilheim Leibniz, vol. VII
C. I. Gerhardt (ed)
pp 565-566



Date: 6 February 1706

Translated from the French

Note - the portion of this text that is included in my Shorter Leibniz Texts is not included here.


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LEIBNIZ TO ELECTRESS SOPHIE


[G VII p565]

     I am delighted that my paper1 served as entertainment for some moments to Your Electoral Highness and to Madam;2 but I am also delighted that the Duke of Orléans3 approves it: not only because he is a distinguished prince, but because his insight matches his dignity. If the Sultan approved it, I would hardly be concerned.
     This is not a small matter either, as even the Duke of Burgundy4 and also Madam the Duchess of Maine5 understand such deep subjects. It is important to mankind that a prince such as this Duke, who is destined to govern one day a beautiful and large area, is instructed properly in the more solid and important truths regarding the sources of things.

[G VII p566]

     For these are the true foundations of natural theology and of all that can rightly be said about God and the soul. And knowledge of these principles, which make us think fittingly of the divine perfections, is able to give great depth to the beautiful feelings of well-born souls, which they carry with them to imitate the first intelligence in producing good through the power that is given to them.
     And one of the most important goods that distinguished persons can do for others is to spread the light, in favouring researches of the marvels of God, who shines in nature. This also contributes to virtue and health, the two most important goods of man.

.....





NOTES:

1. Leibniz is referring to his letter to Sophie of 31 October 1705, an English translation of which is available in Leibniz and the Two Sophies, ed. and trans. Lloyd Strickland (Toronto: CRRS, 2011), 340-343.
2. Elisabeth Charlotte, Duchess of Orléans.
3. Philippe II, Duke of Orléans (1674-1723), son of Elisabeth Charlotte, Duchess of Orléans.
4. Louis, Duke of Burgundy.
5. Anne-Louise-Bénédicte de Bourbon-Condé.


© Lloyd Strickland 2003