Front Page Titles (by Subject) 105.: Letter to Mr. Schwabe - 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:
105.: Letter to Mr. Schwabe - 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:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Letter to Mr. Schwabe
Paris, 1 July 1848
[vol. 7, p. 423]
My dear Sir,
I thank you for the affectionate interest that made you think of me on the occasion of the terrible events which have afflicted this capital city. Thank heaven the cause of order and civilization won the day. Our excellent friends MM Say and Anisson were in the country, the first in Versailles and the second in Normandy. Their sons took part in the combat and came through with honor and unscathed.
It was false socialist ideas that caused our brothers to take up arms. It also has to be said that deprivation was a major contributor, but deprivation itself can be attributed to the same cause since, from the time we wished to make fraternity a legal obligation, capital no longer dares to show its face.
This is a very good time to preach the truth. During the entire time of the troubles, I have been able to consult widely with the National Guard, trying to show that each person should call upon his own forces to provide his means of existence and expect the state to provide only justice and security. I assure you that, for the first time, this doctrine was well received and a few friends gave me the means of expounding it in public, which I will be starting to do on Monday.
You will perhaps ask me why I am not fulfilling this mission within the National Assembly, whose rostrum echoes widely. This is because the hall is so huge and the audience so impatient that any demonstration is impossible.
This is very unfortunate, since I believe that there has never been in any country an assembly with better intentions, that is more democratic, a more sincere advocate of good, and more devoted. It is an honor to universal suffrage, but it has to be said that it shares the dominant preconceived ideas.
If you glance at the map of Paris, you will see that the insurrection has been graver than you appear to think. When it broke out, Paris had troops of no more than eight thousand men which, in accordance with good tactics, had to be kept together, since their number was insufficient to carry out operations. For this reason, the riot quickly overcame the suburbs and in a matter of two hours later would have overrun our street. From another direction, it was attacking the Town Hall and through the Gros-Caillou224 was threatening the National Assembly to the extent that we also were reduced to erecting barricades. However, after two days, reinforcements reached us from the provinces.
You ask me whether this insurrection will be the last. I dare to hope so. We now have a government with determination and unity. The Chamber is imbued with a spirit of order and justice, but not vengeance. Today, our greatest enemy is deprivation and the lack of work. If the government reestablishes security, business will regenerate and this will be our salvation.
You should not doubt, my dear sir, the enthusiasm with which I would accept your and Mrs. Schwabe’s kind invitation, if I could. Two weeks spent with you in discussion, walks, music making, and playing with your lovely children would be true happiness for me. However, it very much appears that I will have to refuse myself this pleasure. I very much fear that our session will last a long time. You may be sure at least that, if I am able to get away, I will not fail to do so.
[224 ]An area of Paris, then semiagricultural, near the Invalides.