Front Page Titles (by Subject) 101.: 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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101.: 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, 9 June 1848
[vol. 1, p. 82]
My dear Félix, it has indeed been a very long time since I wrote to you; you must forgive me as I do not know which way to turn. This is how I live; I get up at six o’clock, dress, shave, have breakfast, and scan the newspapers, which takes me up to seven or half past seven. Around nine o’clock I have to leave, as the session of the finance committee217 to which I belong starts at ten. This lasts up to one o’clock and then the public session begins and lasts until seven. I return home for dinner, and it is very rare that after dinner there is not a meeting of subcommissions responsible for special matters.
The only time at my disposal is therefore between eight and nine in the morning, and this is also when visitors arrive. All of this means that not only do I have no time for my correspondence but I cannot study anything just at the time when, now that I am in contact with the practical side of matters, I realize that I have everything to learn.
For this reason, I am profoundly disgusted with this job and what is happening is not conducive to raising my spirits. The Assembly218 is certainly excellent from the point of view of its intentions; it has plenty of goodwill and wants to do good, but it cannot, first of all because it has no knowledge of the principles and secondly because there is no initiative anywhere. The executive commission is totally self-effacing; no one knows whether the members composing it agree with one another, because they emerge from their inertia only to express the most strangely incoherent of views. It is useless for the Chamber to express repeatedly its confidence in order to encourage them to act; it would appear that they have taken the decision to leave us to our own devices. Imagine what an assembly of nine hundred people responsible for debating and acting is like and add to this a huge hall in which one cannot be heard. For having wanted to say a few words today,219 I have left with a cold, which is why I am not going out and can write.
But other symptoms are much more terrifying. The dominant notion, the one that has permeated every class of society, is that the state is responsible for providing a living for everyone. This has caused a general rush in which the workers have finally become involved. They are blamed, feared; and what do they do? What every class up to now has done. The workers have a better case; they say, “Give us bread in exchange for work.” Monopolists were and still are more demanding. But where will this lead us in the end? I dread to think.
Naturally the finance committee is resisting this, as its mission makes it thrifty and economical; it has therefore already become unpopular. “You are standing up for capital!” We are being killed by this word, since you ought to know that here “capital” is seen as a devouring monster.
Far from being dead, Duprat is not ill.
“The people you are killing off are in quite good health.”
In the riots of the 15th,220 I was neither struck nor threatened; I would even add that I did not feel the slightest emotion, except for the moment I thought that a public gallery was about to collapse under the feet of the seditionists. Blood would have flowed in the hall and then. . . .
Farewell, my dear Félix.
[217 ]Bastiat was vice president of the finance committee of the Constituent Assembly. On 9 May the Assembly elected the five members of an executive commission, a sort of joint presidency, above the ministers. General Cavaignac was nominated minister of war on 17 May.
[218 ]Constituent Assembly.
[219 ]On 8 June a proposition was made to raise by 5 percent the export subsidy of woollen cloth. The following day, Bastiat argued against the proposal.
[220 ]A demonstration had been organized on 15 May in order to support Poland, but it degenerated into a revolt against the government elected by the Assembly. The rioters invaded the Assembly, proclaimed its dissolution, and “formed” a revolutionary government. They were dispersed the same evening, and their leaders were arrested.