Front Page Titles (by Subject) 13.: Letter to Félix Coudroy - The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics
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13.: Letter to Félix Coudroy - 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 Coudroy
Bordeaux, 9 April 1827
[vol. 1, p. 18]
My dear Félix, as I have not yet decided when I will be returning to Mugron, I want to break the monotony of my absence with the pleasure of writing to you and I will begin by giving you a few items of literary news.
First of all, I will tell you that MM Lamennais and Dunoyer (whose names are not habitually linked in this way) are still at the same point, that is to say, the former at his fourth volume and the latter at his first.15
In a newspaper entitled Revue encyclopédique, I read a few articles which I found interesting, including a very short study on the work of Comte16 (a study limited to a short expression of praise), considerations on insurance and in general on the applications of the calculation of probabilities, a speech by M. Charles Dupin on the influence of public education, and lastly an article by Dunoyer entitled “A Study of Popular Opinion,” to which the name of industrialism17 has been given.18 In this article, M. Dunoyer does not go back further than MM B. Constant and J. B. Say, whom he quotes as being the first political writers to have observed that the purpose of social activity is industry. To tell you the truth, these authors have not perceived the use that might be made of this observation. The latter has considered such industry only in the light of the production, distribution, and consumption of wealth and in his introduction he even defines politics as the science of theorganization of society, which seems to prove that, like eighteenth-century authors, he sees politics only as concerning the forms of government and not as the basis and purpose of society. As for M. B. Constant, after being the first to have proclaimed this truth, that the aim of society’s activity is to secure industry, he is so far from having made it the basis of his doctrine that his major work19 covers only forms of government, the checks and balances of political power, etc. etc. Dunoyer then moves on to an examination of Le Censeur européen, whose authors, once they had taken over the isolated observations of their predecessors, have made from them an entire corpus of doctrine which is discussed with care in this article. I cannot analyze an article for you that is itself just an analysis. I will tell you, however, that Dunoyer seems to me to have reformed a few of the opinions that were predominant in Le Censeur. For example, I think that he is now giving the word industry a more extended meaning than before, since he includes in this word any work that tends to improve our faculties; thus any useful and legitimate work counts as industry and any man who takes part in it, from the head of the government to an artisan, is a producer.20 From this it follows that Dunoyer continues to think as before that, in the same way that hunting peoples select their most skillful hunter to be their leader, and warlike peoples the most intrepid warrior, industrious peoples should also summon to the helm of public affairs those men who have most distinguished themselves in industry. However, he thinks that he has made a mistake in individually naming the branches of production from which the choice of rulers should be made and in particular, agriculture, commerce, manufacturing, and banking, for although these four sectors doubtless cover the majority of the huge circle of industry, they are not the only ones through which men hone their faculties by means of work and several others appear even more suited to training legislators, such as those of jurist and man of letters.
I have discovered a real treasure in a slim volume containing a mixture of moral and political writings by Franklin.21 I am so keen on this that I have started to use the same means as he to become as good and happy as he. However, there are some virtues that I will not even seek to acquire since they appear to be quite unattainable in my case. I will bring you this small work.
I have also come across by chance a very detailed article on beet sugar. Its authors have calculated that it would cost the manufacturer ninety centimes a pound, where cane sugar sells at one franc ten centimes. You can see that, assuming total success, it would leave not much of a margin. What is more, to devote oneself with pleasure to this type of work and perfect it, you would need a knowledge of chemistry, which unfortunately is totally foreign to me. Be that as it may, I was bold enough to write a letter to M. Clément. Lord only knows whether he will reply.
For the sum of three francs a month, I am attending a course in botany three times a week. We cannot learn much there, as you can see, but apart from passing the time, it is useful in putting me in touch with the people who are concerned with science.
This is just chatter; if it did not cost you so much to write, I would ask you to reciprocate by return.
[15 ]Possibly references to Lamennais, Essai sur l’indifférence en matière de religion; and Dunoyer, L’Industrie et la morale considérée dans leurs rapport avec la liberté.
[16 ]A reference to Comte, Traité de législation.
[17 ]See “Note on the Translation,” p. xvi-xvii.
[18 ]A reference to Dunoyer, “Esquisse historique des doctrines auxquelles on a donné le nom industrialisme.”
[19 ]Bastiat is referring to Constant’s Principes de politique; however, his most detailed discussion of economic matters is found in his Commentaire sur l’ouvrage de Filangieri.
[20 ]Bastiat and Dunoyer have used the term industrieux, which is translated here as “producer.” See also “Note on the Translation,” pp. xvi-xvii.
[21 ]Bastiat is probably referring to a French translation of a selection of Franklin’s writings, La Science du Bonhomme Richard.