Front Page Titles (by Subject) 163.: Letter to Mme Cheuvreux - The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics
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163.: Letter to Mme Cheuvreux - 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 Mme Cheuvreux
Paris, March 1850
[Lettres d’un habitant des Landes, p. 59]
How can you hope to get better? Your cold is the prey of all those whom it pleases to make you speak in spite of it, and the number of these is great.
From Saturday up to yesterday morning, I have had just one coughing fit. It lasted twelve hours. I cannot understand how the fragile envelopes of breathing and thought do not burst under these violent and prolonged shocks. At least I have nothing to reproach myself for; I am meekly obeying my doctor. I have been kept in these last two days, but I will have to go to M. Say’s house this evening to join my coreligionists.313 It will be an effort. You would not believe how vividly my indisposition has brought out in me my old solitary and provincial inclinations. A peaceful room full of sunlight, a pen, a few books, a close friend,314 and warm affection; this is all I needed to live. Do I need more to die? This little was what I had in my village, and when the time comes in a great many years I will no longer find it.
I am sending Mlle Louise a few verses on women, which I liked. They are, however, by a poet who is an economist since he has been nicknamed the free trade rhymer.315 If I had the strength I would do a free translation of this piece in thirty pages of prose; this would do well in Guillaumin’s journal. Your sweet little tease (I do not forget that she possesses the art of teasing to a high degree, not only without wounding but almost caressing) does not greatly believe in poetry of production and she is perfectly right. It is what I ought to have called Social Poetry, which henceforth, I hope, will no longer take for the subject of its songs the destructive qualities of man, the exploits of war, carnage, the violation of divine laws, and the degradation of moral dignity, but the good and evil in real life, the conflicts of thought, all forms of intellectual, productive, political, and religious combinations and affinities, and all the feelings that raise, improve, and glorify the human race. In this new epic, women will occupy a place worthy of them and not the one given to them in the ancient Iliad genre. Was their role really to be included in the booty?
In the initial phases of humanity, when force was the dominant social principle, the action of woman was wiped out. She had been successively beast of burden, slave, servant, and mere instrument of pleasure. When the principle of force gave way to that of public opinion and customs, she recovered her right to equality, influence, and power, and this is what the last line of the small item of verse I am sending Mlle Louise expresses very well.
You see how dangerous and indiscreet the letters of poor recluses are. Please forgive me this chatter; all I ask for in reply is reassurance as to the health of your daughter.
[313 ]The economists living in Paris met for a dinner once a month.
[314 ]Félix Coudroy.
[315 ]Ebenezer Elliot.