Front Page Titles (by Subject) 17.: Letter to Félix Coudroy 26 - The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics
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17.: Letter to Félix Coudroy 26 - 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 Coudroy26
Bayonne, 4 August 1830
[vol. 1, p. 21]
My dear Félix, I am so over the moon I can scarcely hold my pen. It is not a question here of a slave revolt, the slaves indulging in greater excesses, if that is possible, than their oppressors. It is enlightened men who are rich and prudent who are sacrificing their interests and their lives to establishing order and its inseparable companion, freedom. Let people tell us after this that riches weaken courage, that enlightenment leads to disorganization, etc., etc. I wish you could see Bayonne. Young people are carrying out all forms of service in the most perfect order; they are receiving and sending out letters, mounting guard, and are acting as local, administrative, and military authorities all at once. Everyone is working together, townsmen, magistrates, lawyers, and soldiers. It is an admirable spectacle for anyone who is capable of seeing it, and if I used to be only half committed to the Scottish persuasion,27 I would be doubly so today.
A provisional government28 has been set up in Paris, made up of MM Laffitte, Audry-Puiraveau,29 Casimir Périer, Odier, Lobeau, Gérard, Schonen, Mauguin, and La Fayette as the commander of the National Guard, which is more than forty thousand men. These people could make themselves dictators; you will see that they will do nothing to enrage those who have no belief in either good sense or virtue.
I will not go into detail on the misfortunes which the terrible Praetorian guards, known as royal guards, have inflicted on Paris. Sixteen regiments of these men, greedy for power, roamed the streets, cutting the throats of men, children, and old men. It is said that two thousand students lost their lives there. Bayonne is mourning the loss of several of its sons; on the other hand, the gendarmerie, the Swiss mercenaries, and bodyguards were crushed the next day. This time, the regular infantry, far from remaining neutral, fought vigorously for the nation. However, we still have to mourn the loss of twenty thousand brothers who died to secure liberty30 and benefits for us which they will never enjoy. I heard the hope for these frightful massacres expressed in our circle;31 the person who expressed it must feel satisfied.
The nation was led by a crowd of deputies and peers of France, including generals Sémélé, Gérard, La Fayette, Lobeau, etc., etc. Despotism had entrusted its cause to Marmont, who, it is said, has been killed.
The École polytechnique has suffered greatly and fought bravely.
At last, calm has been restored and there is no longer a single soldier in Paris; this great town, following three consecutive days and nights of massacres and horror, is governing itself and governing France, as if it were in the hands of statesmen. . . .
It is fair to proclaim that the regular troops supported the national will everywhere. Here, a hundred and forty-nine officers met to deliberate. One hundred and forty-eight swore that they would break their swords and tear off their epaulettes rather than massacre a people just because they do not wish to be oppressed. In Bordeaux and Rennes, their conduct was the same, which reconciles me somewhat to the law of recruitment.
The National Guard is being organized everywhere and three major advantages are expected. The first is to prevent disorder, the second to maintain what we have just acquired, and the third to show other nations that while we do not wish to conquer others, we are ourselves impregnable.
Some believe that to satisfy the desires of those who consider that France can exist only as a monarchy the crown will be offered to the duc d’Orléans.32
For my part, my dear Félix, I was pleasantly disappointed; I came looking for danger, I wanted to conquer with my fellow men or die with them, but I found only laughing faces and, instead of the roar of cannon, I heard only outbursts of joy. The population of Bayonne is admirable for its calm, energy, patriotism, and unanimity, but I think I have already told you that.
Bordeaux has not been so fortunate. There were a few excesses. M. Curzay seized the letters of office.33 On the 29th or 30th, of the four young men who were sent to claim them back as a sacred property, one was run through by his sword and he wounded another. The two others threw him to the crowd, who would have massacred him had the constitutionalists not pleaded for him.
Farewell, I am tired of writing and must be forgetting many things. It is midnight and for the last week I have not slept a wink. At least today, we can indulge ourselves in sleep.
There is talk of a movement of four Spanish regiments on our border. They will be well received.
[26 ]The following letters of 4 and 5 August, to Félix Coudroy, describe the repercussions in Bayonne of the “three glorious days” (27, 28, 29 July 1830). On 26 July 1830, Jules Armand Polignac (prince de Polignac), prime minister of Charles X, promulgated four ordinances modifying the electoral law and restricting freedom. During the three following days, about fifty thousand people defeated the regular troops led by Marshall Marmont. Charles X abdicated and fled to England. Louis-Philippe, duc d’Orléans, was appointed king by the parliament. Bayonne had learned of the “three glorious days” by 3 August.
[27 ](Paillottet’s note) In Bastiat’s thought, political economy and politics were inseparable. Here he is linking liberal ideas with the teachings of Adam Smith, the illustrious professor at Glasgow University.
[28 ]Bastiat is mistaken here. There was no provisional government but a municipal commission of five people, appointed to keep the peace in Paris.
[29 ]Audry de Puyravault.
[30 ](Paillottet’s note) Bastiat exaggerates the losses; in fact, seven hundred troops and two thousand insurgents were killed.
[31 ]He is talking about the circle in Mugron.
[33 ]M. Curzay, a senior official, intercepted the mail to keep the Bordeaux people ignorant of what was going on in Paris.