Front Page Titles (by Subject) 165.: Letter to Mme Cheuvreux - The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics
Return to Title Page for The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
165.: 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).
About Liberty Fund:
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
Letter to Mme Cheuvreux
Paris, Friday, April 1850
[Lettres d’un habitant des Landes, p. 62]
Very dear Mme Cheuvreux,
Please forgive this address, which has escaped in a moment of effusion. We who suffer, like children, need indulgence, since the weaker the body, the more the spirit grows soft and it seems as though life, at its final as at its initial sunset, instills in the heart the need to seek attachments everywhere. These involuntary expressions of tenderness are the effect of all moments of decline, the end of the day, the end of the year, the basilica half-days, etc., etc. I experienced this yesterday in the shadowy alleys of the Tuileries. However, you must not become alarmed at this elegiac effusion. I am not at all Millevoie, and the leaves that have scarcely opened are not about to fall. In short, I am not worse, on the contrary, but only weaker and I can scarcely retreat in the face of an order that I take a holiday. What is in prospect is a solitude that is even more solitary; in the past I liked it, I knew how to people it with reading, work of a whimsical sort, and political dreams with interludes of cello playing. Temporarily, all these old friends have deserted me, even the faithful companion of isolation, meditation. This is not because my thought is slumbering, it has never been so active; at every instant it is grasping new harmonies317 and it seems as though the book of humanity is opening before it. However, this is just one more torment since I cannot continue to transcribe the pages of this mysterious book onto a more palpable book published by Guillaumin. I am therefore chasing away these dear phantoms and, like the grumpy drum major who said, “I am handing in my resignation, let the government do what it can,” I too am resigning as an economist and let posterity get on with it if it can.
There it is, this is a lamentation to explain my tactlessness. It is said of misfortunes that they never come singly and this is truer still for actions lacking tact. How many words have I used to justify a single one which you would have pardoned without all these comments, since you would not hold it against me if, in this spate of idleness, my thoughts fly to the Hôtel Saint-Georges, where everyone is always so good to me. This dear house! It is now full of extremely serious preoccupations.318 The future of your Louise is perhaps being decided and consequently yours and that of M. Cheuvreux. The idea that so much peace, union, and happiness will be put to the test of a decisive revolution is truly frightening. But take courage, you have so many favorable opportunities!
Truly, my letters exceed by a hundred cubits those of M. B——. I beg you, madam, to accept my apologies for this. The most valid of these is that I scarcely dare to appear at your house this evening; is it not very selfish to seek distraction at a place to which you can bring only inopportune coughing fits? Of course, I do not say this about my friends; that would be ungrateful. But is society standing shoulder to shoulder with your benevolence?
Farewell, madam, I am your