Front Page Titles (by Subject) 107.: 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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107.: 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, 18 August 1848
[vol. 1, p. 179]
My dear Cobden, I have received your letter and the fine speech by Mr. Molesworth. If I had enough time at my disposal I would have translated it for Le Journal des économistes. But I do not have the time and, what is more, the strength. This is slipping away from me and I must admit that I am now seized with the obsession of all writers. I would like to devote the little health left to me, first of all to set out the true principles of political economy as I see them, and then to show their links with all the other moral sciences. This is still my chimera of Economic Harmonies. If this work had been completed I think that it would draw to our cause a host of fine minds whose hearts are being drawn to socialism. Unfortunately, in order for a book to survive and be read, it has to be short, clear, accurate, and as full of feeling as of ideas, all at the same time. This means that it must not contain a single word that has not been weighed. It has to be formed drop by drop like crystal, and in silence and obscurity, also like crystal. This makes me sigh greatly for my beloved Landes and Pyrenees.
It has not yet seemed the right time to make overtures to Cavaignac on the subject of your letter.225 The time seems to me badly chosen. We must wait until the situation in Italy is clearer. Nothing would be more unpopular now than a reduction of the army. All the parties would unite in condemning it, the politicians because of the state of Europe and owners and traders because of demagogic passion. The French army is a model of devotion and discipline. For the moment, it is our anchor of salvation. Its most popular leaders are in power and would not accept anything that would alienate the affection felt for it.
As for the navy, it is not likely that France will enter into negotiations on the subject of proportional reduction. England would need to go further and I very much fear that it is not prepared for this. I would at least like to know what we might hope to obtain.
The spirit of the public on this side of the Channel makes negotiations of this kind extremely difficult, especially with England alone. We must endeavor to expand it to include all the powers.
This is why I have not dared to compromise success by asking Cavaignac for an ad hoc audience. I will endeavor to sound out his ideas from time to time and will let you know.
It is impossible to set oneself a nobler aim. I was pleased to see that La Presse is going down this road. I will try to get the Débats226 to join in as well. The difficulty, however, will be in involving the popular journals, although I have not lost all hope of this.
Farewell, I must leave you now.
[225 ](Paillottet’s note) This refers to a simultaneous reduction of armaments by France and England.
[226 ]Le Journal des débats.