Front Page Titles (by Subject) 106.: 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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106.: 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, 7 August 1848
[vol. 1, p. 178]
My dear Cobden, I have left the Assembly to reply in a few lines to your letter of the 5th. I hoped to see our ministers to discuss your communication with them, but they did not come. While we are waiting for further details, this is what I know.
For 1848, we are facing a deficit that is impossible to make good through taxes. The minister of finance took the decision to solve this through a loan and to organize the budget in 1849 so as to balance the income and expenditure without having to call upon credit once again. The intention is good; what is needed is to remain faithful to it.
With this in mind, he acknowledged that ordinary income could meet expenditure in 1849 only if this was reduced by a rather significant amount. He therefore declared to all his colleagues that they set about making a reduction to be shared among all the departments. The Ministry of the Navy was targeted for thirty million of the proposed reduction and, since this department has sections that it is impossible to touch, such as expenditure on colonies, convict prisons, living expenses, salaries, etc., it follows that the reduction will bear only on the production of new armaments.
This resolution is not immutable. It does not come from a determination to reduce our military forces. However, it is certain that the government and Assembly would be strongly encouraged to continue down this road if England offered to follow us, and above all to precede us to a reasonable extent. It is to this that I shall be drawing Bastide’s attention.
Right now, rumors about Italy are circulating which are likely to foil the good intentions of the minister of finance. I very much fear that peace in Europe cannot be maintained. Please God that at least our two countries walk in step!
Farewell, my dear Cobden; I will write to you shortly.