Front Page Titles (by Subject) 125.: Letter to Bernard Domenger - The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics
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125.: Letter to Bernard Domenger - 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 Bernard Domenger
Paris, 3 February 1849
[vol. 7, p. 388]
I am going to deal with the Le Peyrat farm244 and the canal. For this reason, I will postpone speaking about this to you to another time.
My bad state of health coincides with the harsh exigencies of work. Since I hold, or think I do, a general view of the world of finance, I expounded it to my office colleagues. This was successful, since they almost unanimously nominated me to the budget commission. I wanted to perform the same demonstration again before this commission but, on the pretext of saving time, it forbade a general debate. It was thus necessary to discuss the details from the outset, which prevented an overall view being achieved. What would be your opinion of such a procedure in the face of a hopeless financial situation, which could be saved only by a great theory if one were to be presented? For this reason, I felt it necessary to appeal to the Assembly and the general public by means of a brochure245 on which I have been working yesterday and this morning.
I do not hide from myself that this is unlikely to succeed. Great assemblies lack initiative. Opinions are too wide ranging and nothing of worth can be achieved if the cabinet is inert. Ours is systematically inert: I sincerely believe that it is a public disaster. The current government might do some good. I have several friends in it, and I know that they are capable. Unfortunately, it came to power with the preconceived idea that it would not have the support of the Assembly and that it would have to maneuver in order to have it dismissed. I am absolutely sure that it is mistaken, and in any case was it not its duty to try? If it had come to the chamber to say, “The election on 10 December has put an end to the revolutionary period; now let us work together for the good of the people and administrative and financial reform,” the chamber would have followed it enthusiastically, as it is passionately in favor of good and needs only to be guided. Instead of that, the government started by sulking. It presumed there would be disagreement, based on the sympathy shown by the Assembly to Cavaignac. But there is one thing that the Assembly prizes a thousand times above Cavaignac and that is the will of the people, as shown by universal suffrage. To show its absolute submission, it would have given its support to the head of the executive authority. How much good would have come of this! Instead of taking this course, the government retrenched itself in inertia and teasing. It proposes either nothing or else things that are unacceptable. Its tactic is to extend the stagnation of business through inertia, in the certainty that the nation will attack the Assembly for this. The country has lost a magnificent opportunity to move forward which it will not recover, since I very much fear that other storms are lying in wait for the next Assembly.
[244 ]A candidate for the experimental farm mentioned in Letter 127.
[245 ]OC, vol. 5, p. 407, “Paix et liberté ou le budget républicain.”