Front Page Titles (by Subject) 174.: 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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174.: 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
Les Eaux-Bonnes, 15 June 1850
[Lettres d’un habitant des Landes, p. 85]
My dear Mme Cheuvreux,
Having arrived yesterday evening in Les Eaux-Bonnes, I went this morning to the post office. Reason told me there would be nothing there, but I had the feeling there would be something; in fact, reason was wrong as often happens, in spite of its name.
Thus, thanks to your goodness, I feel a fundamental joy that had deserted me, and our delightful valley will lose nothing by my looking upon it in this light.
On Thursday I went to Pau at around seven o’clock. I was in the rue du Collège where I think I have identified the house where you lived. How joyful and impressive this view of Pau is; light clouds hid the mountain and you could enjoy the foreground only: the Gave, Gélos, Bizanos,333 and the slopes and villas of Jurançon.
If the star under which I was born had created me a poet instead of making me a cold economist, I would send you verses, as there was in me a little of Lamartine; have not you and your Louise distributed a great many smiles over this landscape and does it not appear to have kept the memory of these? But poetry enjoys a degree of license forbidden to prose.
In Les Eaux-Bonnes, I have taken a room at the junction of three roads, which is well ventilated and full of sunlight and with an admirable view. The first night, I slept for twelve hours to the murmur of the Valentin.334 When I arose I already felt in a better mood when I received the wonderful surprise of your letter. I took it with me on my morning walk and now I feel better in both mind and body than I have felt for a long time. This should be a warning to my friends; you should never take too much notice of the lamentations of a man under stress.
Mesdames, you scold me for having been unfaithful to my beloved Harmonies, but have they not set me a bad example? What evidence have they given me of their affection? For the last six months the only word they have addressed to me has been through the good offices of M. Paillottet; seriously, I can see that this book, if ever it is to be useful, will have its use only in the far distant future, and perhaps even this assessment is just a refuge for my amour propre. As the opportunity has arisen to write a small pamphlet335 that is more topical, I have taken it and have a second in my head: I would like to paint the moral state of the French nation as I see it; analyze and dissect the highly varied elements which make up our two major political movements, socialism and reaction; distinguish what is justifiable and reasonable in them from what is false, exaggerated, selfish, and reckless; and end it with a solution or view of what should be done or rather undone.
The elections will not take place until 1854; let us not look so far into the future. I know in what state of mind the electors nominated me and I have never strayed from this path. They have changed and that is their right. However, I am persuaded that they have been wrong to change. It had been agreed that the republican form of government, a form that I could personally live without if necessary, would be tried honestly, and perhaps this would not have stood up to the test, however sincere. In this case it would naturally have fallen under the weight of public opinion: instead of this, people are trying to overthrow it by means of plots, lies, injustice, organized and calculated terror, and discredit. They are preventing it from working and imputing to it things for which it is not responsible, and in doing this they are acting contrary to agreements without having anything to replace it.
Would it not be singular if, after so many projects and hesitations, you quite simply returned to La Jonchère? This countryside has been somewhat denigrated; ask the gardener for her opinion. When all is said and done, you have spent a good summer there. I will go to see you as often as possible as M. Piscatore wishes to let me have Le Butard again.
Your next letter will tell me what has been decided. Do you know that, from this point of view, your letters are fearful? The previous one never lets me guess what the following will say; four days in Fontainebleau are all well and good, but I am afraid that you will end up writing to me from Rome or Spa.
Mlle Louise will have returned in time to enjoy the young cousins from whom she is unfortunately growing apart; why therefore does she not want to make sure of a closer, more direct, and permanent happiness in this connection? She must sometimes ask herself this simple question: what would my father and mother do if they did not have me?
In bidding you farewell, it is with great joy that I think this is not a farewell from a far distance or a farewell for several months; I will be in Paris when the holiday is over.
Your respectful and devoted friend,
[333 ]The Gave de Pau River, running through Pau; Gélos, a small town in the vicinity of Pau; Bizanos, a small town in the vicinity of Pau.
[334 ]A mountain brook flowing through Les Eaux-Bonnes.
[335 ]The Law, written in Mugron a few days earlier.