Front Page Titles (by Subject) 94.: 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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94.: 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
Paris, 29 February 1848
[vol. 1, p. 80]
My dear Félix, in spite of the shabby and ridiculous conditions you have been given, I will wholeheartedly congratulate you if you reach a settlement. We are getting old; a little peace and tranquillity in our later years is the happy condition to which we should lay claim.
Since, dear friend, I cannot give you either consolation or advice on this sad outcome, you will not be surprised if I immediately tell you about the major events which have just occurred.
The February revolution has certainly been more heroic than that of July.205 There is nothing so admirable as the courage, order, calm, and moderation of the people of Paris. But what will the results be? For the last ten years, false doctrines that were much in fashion nurtured the illusions of the working classes. They are now convinced that the state is obliged to provide bread, work, and education to all. The provisional government has made a solemn promise to do so; it will therefore be obliged to increase taxes to endeavor to keep this promise, and in spite of this it will not keep it. I have no need to tell you what kind of future lies ahead of us.
There is one possible recourse, which is to combat the error itself, but this task is so unpopular that it cannot be carried out safely; I am, nevertheless, determined to devote myself to this if the country sends me to the National Assembly.
It is clear that all these promises will succeed in ruining the provinces to satisfy the population of Paris, since the government will never undertake to feed all the sharecroppers, workers, and craftsmen in the départements and, above all, in the countryside. If our country understands the situation, I say frankly that she will elect me; if not, I will carry out my duty with greater safety as a simple writer.
The scramble for office has started, and several of my friends are very powerfully placed. Some of them ought to understand that my special studies may be useful, but I do not hear them mentioned. As for me, I will set foot in the town hall only as an interested spectator; I will gaze on the greasy pole but not climb it. Poor people! How much disillusionment is in store for them! It would have been so simple and so just to ease their burden by decreasing taxes; they want to achieve this through the plentiful bounty of the state and they cannot see that the whole mechanism consists in taking away ten to give it back eight, not to mention the true freedom that will be destroyed in the operation!
I have tried to get these ideas out into the street through a short-lived journal206 which was produced in response to the situation; would you believe that the printing workers themselves discuss and disapprove of the enterprise? They call it counterrevolutionary.
How, oh how can we combat a school which has strength on its side and which promises perfect happiness to everyone?
My friend, if someone said to me, “You will have your idea accepted today but tomorrow you will die in obscurity,” I would agree to it without hesitation, but striving without good fortune and without even being listened to is a thankless task!
What is more, as order and confidence are the supreme aims at present, so we must refrain from any criticism and support the provisional government at all cost, making allowances even for its errors. This is a duty that obliges me to make an infinite number of allowances.
Farewell, the elections will take place shortly, and we will see what happens then. In the meantime, let me know if you come across any attitudes favorable to me.
[205 ]The revolution of February 1848 brought an end to the July Monarchy, which in turn had come to power by revolution in 1830.
[206 ]Jacques Bonhomme.