Front Page Titles (by Subject) 92.: Letter to Richard Cobden - 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:
92.: 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).
About Liberty Fund:
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
Letter to Richard Cobden
Paris, 26 February 1848
[vol. 1, p. 170]
My dear Cobden, I would give a great deal of money (if I had it) to have M. de Lamartine as our minister of foreign affairs for a moment. But I cannot reach him.
I wanted to go to London, but not without having seen him, since I need to submit to him the ideas I have to communicate to you.
England can do an immense amount of good without damaging herself in the slightest. She can replace France’s disastrous prejudices with a sincere affection. She has only to will this. For example, why does she not quite freely abandon her veiled opposition to our sad conquest of Algeria? Why does she not quite freely abandon the dangers arising from the right of inspection?202 Why does she allow the idea that she wishes to humiliate us to take root here? Why wait for events to poison these matters? What a magnificent spectacle it would be if England said: “When France has chosen a government, England will make haste to recognize it, and as proof of her friendship she will also recognize Algeria as French and renounce the right of inspection, of which she moreover acknowledges the ineffectualness and drawbacks!”
Tell me, my dear Cobden, what would such acts cost your country if they were freely carried out as I describe?
Over here, we cannot divest ourselves of the idea held by the French that the English covet Algeria. This is absurd, but this is how it appears.
We cannot efface from people’s minds that the right to inspect is part of your policy. This is also absurd, but this is how it appears.
In the name of peace and humanity, bring about these great measures! Let us carry out popular diplomatic policies and let us do it in good time.
Write to me. Tell me frankly if a journey to London with this in mind, under the auspices of M. de Lamartine, would have any chance of bringing about a result. I will show him your letter.
[202 ]As part of the British campaign against the slave trade, British vessels would inspect foreign ships on the high seas to see if they were carrying slaves.