Front Page Titles (by Subject) 11.: Letter to Félix Coudroy 9 - The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics
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11.: Letter to Félix Coudroy 9 - Frédéric Bastiat, The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics 
The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics, translated from the French by Jane and Michel Willems, with an introduction by Jacques de Guenin and Jean-Claude Paul-Dejean. Annotations and Glossaries by Jacques de Guenin, Jean-Claude Paul-Dejean, and David M. Hart. Translation editor Dennis O’Keeffe (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2011).
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Letter to Félix Coudroy9
Bayonne, 15 December 1824
[vol. 1, p. 14]
I note with pleasure that you are fervently studying English, my dear Félix. As soon as you have overcome the initial difficulties, you will find in this language a font of resources because of the great number of works it possesses. Apply yourself above all to translation and fill your storehouse with words and the rest will follow. At school I had a notebook and folded the pages in two; on one side I wrote all the English words I did not know and on the other the corresponding French ones. This method enabled me to stamp the words more effectively in my head. When you have finished Paul et Virginie,10 I will send you some other things; in the meantime I will note here a few lines of Pope to see if you can translate them. I must confess that I doubt this, since it was a long time before I reached this stage.
I am not surprised that studying is so attractive to you. I would also like it a lot if other uncertainties did not torment me. I am still like a bird on the branch, since I do not want to do anything to displease my parents, but as long as this continues I will be setting aside any ambitious projects and will continue with solitary study.
I should not be afraid that study will not be enough to quench my ardor, since I will stop at nothing less than acquiring knowledge of politics, history, geography, mathematics, mechanics, natural history, botany, four or five languages, etc., etc.
I must tell you that, since my grandfather became subject to attacks of fever, his mind is disturbed and consequently he does not want to see any member of his family go too far away. I know that I would worry him considerably if I went to Paris, and this being the case I can see that I will abandon the idea since the last thing in the world I wish to do is to cause him pain. I am fully aware that this sacrifice is not that of a fleeting pleasure but one affecting the usefulness of my entire life, but in the end I am determined to make it to avoid hurting my grandfather. On the other hand, I do not, just for a few business reasons, wish to continue the type of life I live here, and consequently I am going to suggest to my grandfather that I settle permanently in Mugron. There again I fear a snag, that people will want me to take over part of the administration of the estate, which means that I will find in Mugron all of the disadvantages of Bayonne. I am not at all suited to sharing administration. I want to do it all or none of it. I am too gentle to dominate and too vain to be dominated. But in the end I will lay down my conditions. If I go to Mugron, it will be to concentrate only on my studies. I will drag along as many books as I can, and I do not doubt that after a little time I will come to take a great deal of pleasure in this type of life.
[9 ](Paillottet’s note) It is with M. Coudroy that, through twenty years of study and conversation, Bastiat prepared himself for the brilliant and all too short role of the last six years of his life. When he sent him Economic Harmonies from Paris, Bastiat wrote on the flyleaf of the volume, “My dear Félix, I cannot say that this book is a gift from the author; it is as much yours as mine.” This message is fine praise. See the biographical introduction. [OC, vol. 1, p. lx, “Notice sur la vie et les écrits de Frédéric Bastiat.”]
[10 ]The tragic story of two children raised in the wild, published in 1787 by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre (1737-1814).
[11 ]This excerpt is in English in the original. From Alexander Pope’s “An Essay on Man,” Epistle 1 (1733).