Front Page Titles (by Subject) 45.: Letter to Mr. Paulton - The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics
Return to Title Page for The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
45.: Letter to Mr. Paulton - 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).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Letter to Mr. Paulton
Paris, 29 July 1845
[vol. 7, p 374]
My dear sir, as I told you, I am sending you four copies of my translation which I ask you to forward to the editors of the Times, the Morning Chronicle, etc., etc. I would consider myself happy if the English press gave a favorable welcome to a work I consider useful. This would compensate me for the indifference with which it has been received in France. All those to whom I have given it continue to show surprise at the serious facts revealed in it, but no one is buying it, and this is not surprising since no one knows the subject with which it deals. Our newspapers, moreover, appear to have decided to bury the question under a veil of silence. It will cost me dear to have attempted to open my country’s eyes, but what is worse is not having succeeded.92
When I arrived here, I found a letter from Sir Robert Peel. As he wrote it before having read the book, he did not have to give his opinion on it. He also avoided quoting its title (Cobden and the League). If that is through diplomacy, the latter must be a deep-seated habit of your prime minister for him to use it on such an insignificant occasion. This is a copy of his note.
Whitehall, 24 July
Sir Robert Peel presents his compliments to M. Bastiat, and is most obliged to M. Bastiat’s attention in transmitting for the acceptance of Sir Robert Peel a copy of his recent publication. Sir Robert hopes to be enabled to profit by it, when he shall have leisure from the present severe pressure of parliamentary business.93
This letter is unsigned. I would be curious to know if it is written in Sir Robert’s own handwriting.
I found other letters, including two of not inconsiderable importance. One was from M. Passy,94 a peer of France and an ex-minister of trade. He gives his unalloyed approval of the principles contained alike in the introduction and in your work.
The other letter is from M. de Langsdorf, our chargé d’affaires in the Grand Duchy of Baden. He tells me that he has read the book with enthusiasm and learned for the first time what is happening in England. At the moment, there is a meeting in Karlsruhe of officers from all of the Zollverein95 who are determined to plug the tiniest loophole through which foreign trade might come to infiltrate the great national market. What he tells me about this supports Mr. Cobden’s idea of having the history of the League translated into German, together with a selection of your speeches. Could not England, which has had the Bible translated into three or four hundred languages, also have this excellent course of practical political economy translated at least into German and Spanish?96 I know the reasons which prevent you from seeking to act on the foreign scene at present. But simple translations would prepare people’s minds without your being liable to accusations of making propaganda.
If, later, the League is able to acquire a few copies of my translation without difficulty, I think this is the most useful purpose to which it might be put. This would be to take the same number of towns in order of their commercial importance and send a copy to each, addressed to the literary circle or chamber of commerce.
I will not attempt, sir, to convey to you all my gratitude for the fraternal welcome I received in your midst. I want only to have the opportunity of demonstrating it by my acts, and it would make me happy to meet members of the League in France. I have already paid two visits to Mr. Taylor without being able to meet him.
I forgot to tell you that, since the letter from M. de Langsdorf is confidential and comes from a man in the public eye, it must be clearly understood that his name cannot be quoted in any journal.97
I assure you, my dear sir, of my sincere friendship. Please remember me to all our comrades in work and hope.
[92 ]See “Anglomania, Anglophobia,” p. 320.
[93 ]In English in the original.
[94 ]Hyppolite Passy.
[95 ]The German Zollverein (or customs union) was created in 1833 and based on the low Prussian tariff.
[96 ]A Spanish translation of Cobden and the League appeared quickly: Cobden y la Liga: La agitación inglesa en favor de la libertad de comercio, translated by Elias Bautista y Muñoz (Madrid: Grabado de Don Baltasar González, 1847).
[97 ](Paillottet’s note) I think that I should have no scruple in revealing the name of M. de Langsdorf publicly now. What criticism could he encounter now for secret sympathies expressed in favor of free trade nineteen years ago?