Front Page Titles (by Subject) 68.: Letter to Richard Cobden - The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics
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68.: Letter to Richard Cobden - 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 Richard Cobden
Paris, 23 September 1846
[vol. 1, p. 138]
Although I have not a great deal to tell you, my dear friend, I do not want to let any more time go by without writing to you.
We are still in the same situation, with a great deal of trouble bringing an organization to birth. I hope, nevertheless, that next month will be more productive. First of all, we will have a headquarters. That is a good start; it is the embodiment153 of the League. Next, several leading men154 are returning from the country, among whom is the excellent M. Anisson, whom I have been missing.
In the meantime, we are preparing for a second meeting on the 29th. This is perhaps a little dangerous, since a fiasco in France tends to be deadly. I am offering to speak at it and I will reread your lesson on eloquence several times between now and then. Could I obtain this from a better source? I assure you that I will have at least two precious, although negative, qualities in the absence of others, simplicity and brevity. I will not try to make people laugh or cry, but to elucidate a difficult point of economic science.
There is one point on which I do not agree with you, that is, on public speaking. I think it is the most powerful instrument of propagation. Is it nothing to have several thousand listeners who understand you much better than if they were reading you? Afterward, the next day, everyone wants to know what you said and the truth goes on its way.
You know that Marseilles has issued its pronunciamento; the people there are already richer than we. I hope they will help us, at least in founding the journal.
Brussels has just formed its association. And what is surprising, the association has just published the first issue of its journal. Alas! The Belgians probably do not have a law on stamps and another on surety.155
I am impatient to know whether you have visited our marvelous Pyrenees. The mayor of Bordeaux wrote to tell me that my desolate Landes appeared to you to be the land of lizards and salamanders.156 And yet deep affection can transform this frightful desert into an earthly paradise! But I hope that our Pyrenees will have reconciled you to the south of France. What a shame that all the provinces that surround Pau, the Juranson, the Béarn, the Tursan, the Armagnac, and the Chalosse cannot carry out trade that would be so natural with England!157
Let us return to the subject of associations. One is being formed of protectionists. This is the best thing that could have happened to us, as we really need a stimulus. It is said that another is being formed in favor of free trade in raw materials and the protection of factories. That one, at least, does not pretend to be based on a principle and take account of justice. It thus considers itself to be eminently practical. It is clear that it cannot stand alone and that it will be absorbed by us.
[153 ]In English in the original.
[154 ]In English in the original.
[155 ]Before the postal reform of 1848, the price of mail depended on distance and was paid by the recipient. The surety was a deposit that the editor of a periodical had to make to provide for any future fine.
[156 ]After the dissolution of the League, Cobden undertook a tour around Europe, traveling to France, Spain, Italy, Prussia, and Russia. From Bordeaux, he went to Spain through the Landes and the Pyrenees.
[157 ]All these areas, which produced wines and spirits, were handicapped by difficult communications with Bayonne and tariffs.