Front Page Titles (by Subject) 196.: Letter to Bernard Domenger - The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics
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196.: Letter to Bernard Domenger - 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 Bernard Domenger
Pisa, 8 October 1850
[vol. 7, p. 408]
Who would have told us on the last occasion, when I had the pleasure of seeing you, that my first letter would be dated in Italy? I have come here strictly on doctor’s orders. In fact, I have no doubt that if there is still time for my throat to be helped by anything, it will be by the pure, warm air of Pisa. Unfortunately, this is just one aspect of the question. The finest climate in the world cannot alter the fact that, when you cannot talk, write, read, or work, it is very sad to be alone in a foreign country. This makes me miss Mugron and I think that I would prefer to shiver in Chalosse than be warm in Tuscany. I am experiencing all sorts of disappointments here. For example, it would be easy for me to have contact with all the distinguished men in this country. This is because, as political economy is included in the study of law, this science is cultivated by almost all educated men. Do you want a singular proof of this? In Turin, although the principal language spoken is Italian, more copies of my Harmonies (in the French edition)364 have been sold than in Marseilles, Bordeaux, Lyons, Rouen, and Lille combined, and this is true of all works on economics. You see, my dear friend, in what a state of illusion we live in France when we think we are in the vanguard of intellectual civilization. This being so, I was able to gain access to all the leading figures and eminent people and was perfectly placed to study this country in depth. Unfortunately, my constant preoccupation is to see nobody and to avoid people I know. What is more, close friends are going to come to see me from Paris; they will be visiting Florence and Rome as genuine connoisseurs, as they appreciate the arts and know a great deal about them. In any other circumstances or with any other illness this would be such a pleasant event! But dumbness is an abyss that isolates you, and I will be obliged to flee them. Oh, I assure you that I am learning patience very well.
Let us talk of Mesdames X. I have always noticed that customary devotion does nothing to change the way men act and I very much doubt that there is more probity, gentleness, or mutual respect and consideration among our highly devout populations in the south than among the indifferent populations in the north. Young and amiable people will attend the bloody sacrifice of their Redeemer every day and will promise Him a great deal more than simple equity, and every evening they will deck altars to Our Lady with flowers. At every instant they will repeat: deliver us from evil, lead us not into temptation, thou shalt not take away or keep what belongs to another, etc., etc., and then when the opportunity occurs, they take as much as they can from their father’s inheritance at the expense of their brothers, just as the sinners do. Why not? Are they not quits with an act of contrition and a firm purpose of amendment? They do good work; they give a half farthing to the poor and thus gain absolution. So what do they have to fear? What do they have to reproach themselves for, since they have succeeded in making accomplices of the ministry of God and God Himself?
I seem to think that Mme D—— had the notion of spending Holy Week in Rome. If she carried out this plan, I would perhaps make my devotions in her company; her presence and consequently yours would be very pleasant for me, at least if I succeeded in articulating a few words. Otherwise, considering only myself, I would rather you stayed where you are, since knowing that you were close to me and being reduced to avoiding you would be just one extra torture.
[364 ](Paillottet’s note) Two months later, I encountered in Leghorn the counterfeit Belgian edition, which was selling well.