Correspondence in translation project: Voltaire

from select letters of voltaire, translated by theodore besterman

Here, as a sample of the translation project, is the earliest Voltaire letter known to have survived: a 10 year old Voltaire and his 19 year old brother write to their second cousin (the niece of their paternal grandfather).


Madam and very honoured cousin,

My father has kindly ordered me to be his secretary at this new year and to convey to you the humble respects of our family, with the wishes and prayers we make for your prosperity, health, happiness and contentment, which you no doubt extend also to us. He begs you, madam and dear cousin, always to believe him a good kinsman and never to desist from the affection you owe his family; and I, the secretary, conclude by declaring myself and Zozo to be

Your very humble and respectful cousins

Zozo
Arouet

— Armand Arouet and Voltaire to Françoise Baillif Du Pont,
Monday, 29 December 1704;
EE letter ID: voltfrEE5000013a2c


original french letter, from the correspondence of voltaire

Madame et très honorée cousine,

Mon papa m'a fait cette grâce de me comander d'estre son secrettaire ce premier d'année, et vous tesmoigner les humbles respects de nostre maison, avec les veux et prières que nous faisons pour vostre prospérité, santé, bonheur et satisfacion, qui ne sont en doutte de vostre costé eu égard à nous. Il vous suplie, madame ma cousine, le croire toujours bon parent et ne vous despartir de l'affecion que vous devez à sa famille, et moy, le secrettaire, je finiray en me disant, et Zozo,

Vos très humbles et respectueux cousins,

Zozo
Arouet

— Armand Arouet and Voltaire to Françoise Baillif Du Pont,
Monday, 29 December 1704;
EE letter ID: voltfrVF0850001a1c

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