- All religions must be tolerated and the sole concern of officials is to ensure that one denomination does not interfere with another, for here everyone can seek salvation in the manner that seems best to him.
scribbled in the margin of an official reply to an enquiry from the General Directory on the civic rights of Roman Catholics, June 1740; T. C. W. Blanning Culture of Power (2002) ch. 6
- Rascals, would you live for ever?
to hesitant Guards at Kolin, 18 June 1757; attributed
- Drive out prejudices through the door, and they will return through the window.
letter to Voltaire, 19 March 1771
- My people and I have come to an agreement which satisfies us both. They are to say what they please, and I am to do what I please.
his interpretation of benevolent despotism