Schönbrunn, September 14, 1766
Monsieur mon cher fils
[ . . . ] I cannot pass over in silence what you write about Ayasase. Since I have known him, I have never found him so full of amour propre or so malicious as to harm anyone out of self-love. I know him to be serious, stiff, but upright and zealous, no intrigant. Why, then, wish to see him in a bad light and to condemn him out of hand? I greatly fear that through having a generally bad opinion of people you will lose even the small number of honest men by mixing and confounding them with the others. It is a most essential point, for a man of good intentions will not suffer himself to be suspected and confused with others; he will rather remove himself, if he can, or he will serve with less zeal. The great moving force is confidence; if that is absent, everything is absent.
The same with the San Remo affair. I must confess to you that the terms in which the German note was drawn up were such that I found it hard to believe that you could think like that, and find satisfaction in mortifying others and publicly humiliating them. I must tell you that is the exact opposite of what I have done all my life. I have preferred to get people to do what I wanted by kind words, to persuade them rather than force them. This has served me well. I hope you may find as many resources as I have in your States and your servants. [ . . . ]
[Maria Theresa now goes into some small personal details of the way in which Joseph had personally wounded certain ministers, and goes on:]