Front Page Titles (by Subject) 186.: Letter to Richard Cobden - The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics
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186.: Letter to Richard Cobden - 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 Richard Cobden
Paris, 17 August 1850
[vol. 1, p. 187]
My dear Cobden, as you know about my poor health, you will not have been surprised at my absence from the Congress in Frankfurt, especially since you will not have attributed it to a lack of zeal. Apart from the pleasure of being one of your colleagues in this noble enterprise, it would have been very pleasant for me to meet in Frankfurt friends that I rarely have the occasion to see and to meet a host of distinguished men from these two excellent races, the Anglo-Saxon and the Germanic. In a word, I have been deprived of this consolation like many others. For a long time now, mother nature has gradually been making me accustomed to all sorts of deprivations, as though to familiarize me with the final one which includes them all.
As I have had no news of you, for a time I did not know whether you were going to the Congress; since it did not occur to me that you could go from England to Frankfurt without going through Paris, and since I did not think either that you would pass through our capital city without letting me know, I concluded that you yourself had been prevented from doing so. I have been told that this is not so and I am happy for the Congress. Try to deal a mighty blow to this monster of war, an ogre that is almost as voracious when digesting as it is when eating, for I truly believe that arms cause almost as much harm to nations as war itself. What is more, they hinder good. For my part, I constantly return to what seems to me to be as clear as daylight: as long as disarmament prevents France from restructuring her finances, reforming her taxes, and satisfying the just hopes of the workers, she will continue to be a nation in convulsion . . . and God alone knows what the consequences will be.
A man whom I would have liked to see because of all the interest he has shown in me is M. Prince Smith, from Berlin. If he is at the Congress, please convey to him my great desire to meet him personally. How happy I would be, my dear Cobden, if you decided to pass through Paris and if you persuaded M. Prince Smith to accompany you on this excursion! But I do not dare to formulate such hopes. Good fortune does not seem to be made for me. For a long time now, I have been endeavoring to take advantage of good things when they come but not to expect them.
I consider that a short stay in Paris must be of interest to politicians and economists. Come and see the profound peace we are enjoying here, whatever the newspapers might say. Certainly, internal and external peace in the face of such a tumultuous past and such an uncertain future is a phenomenon that shows great progress in public common sense. Since France has survived this, it will survive a great many other difficulties.
Say what you like, the human mind is making progress, interests in the best sense of the word are prevailing, disagreements are less profound, and long-lasting harmony is establishing itself.