Front Page Titles (by Subject) 37.: 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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37.: 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
Paris, May 1845
[vol. 1, p. 50]
My dear Félix, I am sure that you are waiting to hear from me. I, too, have a lot to tell you but I must be brief. Although at the end of each day it transpires that I have done nothing, I am always busy. In Paris, the way things are, until you are in the swing of things you need half a day to put fifteen minutes to good use.
I was given a good welcome by M. Guillaumin, who is the first economist I have seen. He told me that he would give a dinner, followed by a reception, to put me in contact with the men of our school; as a result I have not gone to see any of these people. This dinner was held yesterday. I was on the right of the host, clear proof that the dinner was in my honor, and Dunoyer was on his left. Next to Mme Guillaumin were MM Passy and Say. MM Dussard and Reybaud were also there. Béranger had been invited but he had other engagements. In the evening a crowd of other economists arrived: MM Renouard, Daire, Monjean, Garnier, etc., etc. Between you and me, my friend, I can tell you that I felt a keen satisfaction. There were none of these people who had not read, reread, and perfectly understood my three articles. I could write for a thousand years in La Chalosse, La Sentinelle, or Le Mémorial73 without finding a genuine reader, except for you. Here, one is read, studied, and understood. I am sure of this since all or nearly all of them went into the greatest detail, which shows that politeness was not the only reason for this welcome; the only one I found a little cold was M. X. To tell you of the kindnesses I was covered with and the hope that appeared to be based on my cooperation is to make you understand that I was ashamed of my role. My friend, I am perfectly convinced today that, although our isolation has prevented us from equipping our minds sufficiently, it has, at least when it comes to particular questions, given them a strength and accuracy which many more educated and gifted men perhaps do not possess.
What gave me the most pleasure, because it proved that I have really been read with care, is that the last article, entitled “Sophism,”74 was ranked above the others. This is the one in fact in which the principles are examined in the greatest depth, and I was expecting it not to have been tackled. Dunoyer asked me to write an article on his work, to be included in the Débats.75 He was kind enough to say that he thought me eminently suited to making his work appreciated. Alas! I can already see that I will not be able to maintain the far too lofty status which these kind men have accorded me.
After dinner, we discussed dueling. I gave a brief summary of your brochure. Tomorrow we are having another corporate dinner at Véfour; I will take it there and, as it is not long, I hope it will be read. If you could rewrite it, or at least modify it, I believe it might be included in the journal, but the rules prevent it from being quoted verbatim. Incidentally, Le Journal des économistes is not as lowly rated as I feared. It has five or six hundred subscribers and is gaining authority every day.
Repeating the conversation to you would carry me too far. What a world, my friend, and it can well be said “You live only in Paris and just vegetate elsewhere!” In spite of this, I already hanker after our walks and intimate conversations. I lack paper; farewell, dear Félix. Your friend.
P.S. I was mistaken. A dinner, even if it is with economists, is not an opportune occasion for reading a brochure. I gave yours to M. Dunoyer and will not know what he thinks for a few days. You will find in the 27 March issue of Le Moniteur, which should be in the library in my room, the indictment of dueling by Dupin.76 Perhaps that will give you an opportunity to lengthen your brochure. I spent this evening with Y. He gave me the most cordial welcome and we discussed everything, even religion. I thought he was weak on this subject, since he respects it without believing in it.
It was only today that I went to pay my respects to M. Lamartine. I did not enter, as he was leaving for Argenteuil, but with his usual courtesy, he sent me a message to say that he wanted us to talk without constraint and gave me an appointment for tomorrow. How well will I do?
During our dinner, or more accurately after it, a major question was bandied about: “on intellectual property.” A Belgian, M. Jobard, expressed new ideas which will astonish you. I am longing to discuss all this with you. The fact is, in spite of my successes of the moment, I feel that I am no longer disposed to be entertained in this manner. This is water off a duck’s back, and all things considered, life in the provinces might be made more pleasant than it is here if one just had a taste for studying and the arts.
Farewell, my dear Félix, until later. Write to me from time to time and keep busy on your work on dueling. Since the court has reverted to its strange legal posture, it is worth doing.
[73 ]Newspapers from, respectively, the Landes, Bayonne, and the Pyrenees, which published articles by Bastiat. For the latter, see the glossary of subjects: Le Mémorial bordelais.
[74 ]Economic Sophisms.
[75 ]Le Journal des débats. Bastiat is referring to a review he wrote in that journal, “Sur l’ouvrage de M. Dunoyer. De la liberté du travail.” (OC, vol. 1, p. 428, “Sur un livre de M. Dunoyer.”)
[76 ]The attorney general, Charles Dupin, modified the French legislation concerning dueling in order to reduce the number of fatalities. The law was in effect from 1837 to 1839. See also “Reflection on the Question of Dueling,” note 3, pp. 309-10.