Front Page Titles (by Subject) 41.: 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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41.: 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
18 . . .83
[vol. 1, p. 59]
I left Dunoyer’s this morning at one o’clock. The guests were those I mentioned, plus M. de Tracy.84 Political economy was scarcely touched upon; these people dabble in it as amateurs. However, during dinner free trade was discussed a little. M. X said that the English were putting on an act. I did not think it appropriate to challenge this term, but I was very tempted to ask him if he believed in the principle of freedom or not. For in the end, if he believed in it, why did he not want the English to believe in it too? Because it is in their interest? I remembered your argument: if people formed a temperance society, should we denigrate it on the grounds that it is in people’s interest to be temperate? If I write a sophism on this subject, I will slip this refutation into it. After dinner, I was drawn into a game of whist: a wasted evening. The entire editorial staff of the journal was there: Wolowski, Villermé, Blaise, Monjean, etc., etc. . . . another disappointment, I fear. Z—— is crazy about agriculture, and about protectionism. Truly, I am getting a close view of things and feel that I might do good and pay my debt to the human race.
Let us return to the journal. No one asked me for a definite commitment; now I will wait. I am discussing it with my aunt; I need to see what she thinks. She would certainly let me follow my inclination if she saw a financial future in it and, humanly speaking, she would be right; she cannot comprehend the extent of the position I could be taking. If she speaks to you about it, let me know the effect that my letter has. For my part, I will tell you about the effect my League will produce. Will anyone read it? I doubt it. We are snowed under with reading matter here. If I told you that, except for Dunoyer and Say, none of my colleagues has read Comte! You already know that —— has not read Malthus. At dinner, Tracy said that the extreme poverty in Ireland85 proved Malthus’s doctrine wrong! I have heard it said to someone that there was some good in the Treatise on Legislation86 and above all in the Treatise on Property.87 Poor Comte! Say told me his sad story; persecution and his probity killed him.
You will, of course, not breathe a word on what I have told you about the management of the journal. You will appreciate that this news would cause an unfortunate stir.
I think that I have told you that the publisher of the League is also going to publish the Sophisms. This will be a small, low-cost book, but the title is not attractive. I am looking for another; please help me. The small book by Mathieu de Dombasle was entitled “A Shaft of Common Sense,” etc.
As I cannot cover all the sophisms in one small volume, if it sells well, I will write another.88 It would be a good thing if, for your part, you dealt with a few. I would alternate them with mine and that would enable you at least to make the acquaintance of my colleagues and you could then, if you wanted, have yourself published at no cost, which is not a simple matter.
Farewell, my dear Félix; write to me.
[83 ]No month given.
[84 ]Antoine Destutt de Tracy.
[85 ]Ireland had 5.2 million inhabitants in 1801, 8.2 million in 1841—an increase of 58 percent in forty years, in spite of two million emigrants. The misery was due not to an excessive population increase but to the fact that an Ireland living mainly on potatoes found one-third of the harvest destroyed by blight in 1845 and the entire harvest destroyed in 1846.
[86 ]Comte, Traité de législation.
[87 ]Comte, Traité de la propriété.
[88 ]Economic Sophisms.