Front Page Titles (by Subject) 74.: 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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74.: 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, 20 December 1846
[vol. 1, p. 148]
My dear friend, I had lost track of you for a while and am glad to know that you are in France, in the most delightful country on earth, if it had common sense. Ah! My friend, I was expecting our opponents to exploit blind popular passions against us, including the hatred of foreigners. But I did not think that they would succeed so well. They have once more bribed the press and the word is out to treat us as traitors and agents of Pitt171and Coburg. Would you believe that, in my own region, this calumny has made inroads? I have had letters from Mugron to say that people dare to speak of me only within the family, so fiercely has public opinion been aroused against our enterprise. On the 29th of this month, I am due to speak in the Montesquieu Hall172 and I plan to refer to this delicate subject and develop the idea that “the English oligarchy has borne down hard upon the world, and it is this that explains the universal distrust with which anything that is done across the Channel is met. But there is a country on which it has borne down harder upon than on any other and that is England itself. This is why there is in England a class that stands up to the oligarchy and is gradually stripping it of its dangerous privileges. This is the class that has in succession achieved Catholic emancipation, electoral reform, the abolition of slavery, and free trade, and that is on the point of achieving the liberation of the colonies. It is therefore working in our direction, and it is absurd to envelop it in the same hatred that we should be reserving for the domineering classes in all countries.”
That is the text. I think I will be able to dress it up sufficiently to have it accepted.173
How much I would have to tell you, my dear friend, but I do not have enough time. I am sending you the first four issues of our journal. I have marked what I have written. I was constrained, under pain of having the enterprise fail, to mention my name and now I can no longer accept the responsibility for everything that is said in it. This is going to lead to a crisis, because I need to be able to produce the journal in the way I want or else someone else must give it his signature.
Of all the sacrifices I have made to the cause, this is the greatest. Carrying on the fight in my own way was more suited to my character, sometimes writing serious and lengthy articles and at others going to Lyons or Marseilles, in short being guided by my native sensibility. Here I am, on the contrary, chained to daily polemics. However, in our country, that is the scope of usefulness.
You have no need of an introduction to M. Rossi; your reputation will open all doors to you. However, since you want one, I will send you a letter from M. Chevalier or from someone else.
Now, I believe that our efforts should be directed to the distribution of our journal, Le Libre échange. Rest assured that, as soon as we are free of the inevitable tensions accompanying a launch, this journal will be produced with a good spirit and may give considerable service, provided that it is read. Devote yourself, therefore, during your travels, to finding subscribers to it and ensure that the borders of Italy are not closed to it. Underline that it does not attack any political institution or religious belief. Italy is the country which provided the most subscribers to Le Journal des économistes. It should provide even more to Libre échange, which will appear every week and cost only twelve francs. That is not all. I think you ought to write to London or Manchester, because, after all, the cry174 against England does not prevent us from finding subscribers there. Subscriptions are a matter of life and death for us. My dear Cobden, after having directed the movement in England from such a height, please do not disdain the humble mission of a subscription broker.
I am truly ashamed to send you this letter written in fits and starts and not really knowing what I am saying. I will find the time to write to you in more relaxed fashion, either tonight or tomorrow night.
[171 ]William Pitt the Younger.
[172 ]At the fourth meeting of the Association pour la liberté des échanges.
[173 ]This speech was never made.
[174 ]In English in the original.