Front Page Titles (by Subject) 155.: 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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155.: 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, 13 December 1849
[vol. 1, p. 100]
My dear Félix, it is sad that our correspondence has slowed down so much. Do not conclude from this, I beg you, that my long-standing friendship for you is cooling; on the contrary, it seems that time and distance, those two great poets, lend charm to the memory of our walks and conversations. I miss Mugron, its philosophical calm and fruitful leisure hours on many occasions. Here, life is worn out with our doing nothing, or at least producing nothing.
Yesterday I spoke during the debate on wines and spirits. As I rarely take the rostrum, I wanted to put forward our ideas. With a bit of perseverance, we will make them triumph. They must have been deemed worthy of examination, as the entire Assembly listened to them in silence, without anyone being able to attribute this rare phenomenon to talent or to the reputation of the speaker. But what is appalling is that these efforts are wasted as far as the public is concerned, because of the poor condition of the journals. Each cloaks me in its own ideas. If they limited themselves to disfiguring or ridiculing my thought, I would accept my lot, but they attribute to me the very heresies that I am combating. What am I to do? Incidentally, I enclose Le Moniteur; enjoy yourself making comparisons.
I did not say all I wanted to say, nor in the way I wished to say it. Our southern volubility is an oratorical plague. When a sentence has been finished, we think of how the sentence should have been phrased. However, with the help of gestures, intonation, and action, we make ourselves understood by our audience. But this discourse written in shorthand is just slovenly and I myself cannot bear to read it.
We are really overworked301 here, as the English say. These long sessions, office meetings, and commissions weigh you down and do no good. They constitute ten wasted hours, which waste the rest of the day, since (at least for weak heads) they are enough to remove the faculty of work. This being so, when will I be able to write my second volume, on which I am relying far more for publicity than on the first? I do not know whether La Voix du peuple is available in Mugron. Socialism is today enclosed in a formula, free credit. It describes itself thus: I am this or I am nothing. For this reason, it is on these grounds that I have attacked it in a series of letters to which Proudhon is replying.302 I think they have done a great deal of good in removing the illusions of a great many misguided followers. But here is something that will astonish you: the bourgeoisie is so blind, so intense, and so confident in its natural strength that it considers it correct not to support me. My letters are in La Voix du peuple and this is enough for them to be despised by these people, as though they might do good elsewhere. Well! When it is a question of reconverting the workers, is it not better to tell the truth in the journal that they read?
On Tuesday, I will be starting my lectures to the young people in the schools. As you can see, there is no shortage of work and, just to make life simple, I am undergoing a treatment for my chest that takes up two hours of my day every day. It is true that it is making me feel very well indeed.
I am talking only about myself, my dear Félix. Please follow this example and tell me a lot about yourself. If you wanted to follow my advice, I would strongly commit you to doing something useful, like producing a series of small pamphlets, for example. They take a long time to penetrate the masses but they end up doing their work.
[301 ]In English in the original.
[302 ]OC, vol. 5, pp. 94-335, “Gratuité du crédit.”