Front Page Titles (by Subject) 202.: 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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202.: 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
Pisa, 29 October 1850
[Lettres d’un habitant des Landes, p. 127]
Dear Mme Cheuvreux,
How difficult your journey from Florence to Rome must have been!372 In spite of that philosophical strength with which you encounter setbacks, in spite of the good humor that each one of you will have brought to the company, it is not possible for you not to have suffered from such terrible weather, traveling on potholed roads and in a region with no resources. My imagination scarcely dares follow you in this odyssey; all M. Sturler’s forecasts rise up before it. However, how I bless the happy inspiration that made you take the sea route in Marseilles on the 19th! Two days later, the crossing became dangerous as the Mediterranean became rough enough to disrupt all the services, and when the boat that followed you arrived in Genoa, it was not able to reach Leghorn. It abandoned the journey at La Spezzia, where it put its passengers ashore. You escaped these perils, thank heaven, and this idea comforts me a little in the face of your current deprivations which, fortunately, will end this evening. The sight of the Eternal City makes you forget everything. I am counting on arriving in this Eternal City on Saturday, 2 November. I will leave Leghorn by the state mail boat (tempo permettendo) and you will understand why I will not be stopping in Civitavecchia.
Dear madam, let us not talk about my health; this is a sonata which I will have ample time to deafen you with in Rome. When I think that you have come to provide your husband and especially your daughter with pleasures and amusements, I have some remorse in leaping into your midst like some killjoy, since I am fully aware that for a long time I have been turning to Victor Hugo and his “Last Days of a Condemned Man,” which is not much fun for my friends. I still find Victor Hugo’s hero very fortunate, since he could at least think and speak; he was in the same situation as Socrates, so why did he not have the same attitude to things?
This small book that I asked you for shows us this Athenian philosopher, condemned to death, speaking about his soul and future. Socrates, however, was a pagan and reduced to creating for himself uncertain hopes through a process of reason. A condemned man who is a Christian does not have to go down this road. Revelation spares him this, and his point of departure is precisely this hope, become a certainty, which was a conclusion for Socrates. This is why Victor Hugo’s condemned man is just a coward. Is it not better to have in front of one a single month of strength and health, one month of vigor in body and soul with hemlock at the end, rather than one or two years of decline, increasing weakness and distaste, during which every link breaks and nature no longer appears to do other than detach one from earthly existence? In fact, however, it is for God to ordain and for us to be resigned.
I really think that I am a little better; I have been able to spend quite long sessions with M. Mure and in addition I have received a great many visits.
Paillottet has written to me. He is always the same person, good, obliging, devoted, and, what is more, unaffected, which is rather rare in Paris. My family has also given me news of itself.
Farewell, dear Mme Cheuvreux, till Saturday or Sunday. In the meantime, please assure M. Cheuvreux and your daughter of my wholehearted friendship, not forgetting the captain, and please express my compliments and respects to M. Edouard and Mme Bertin.
[372 ]After having spent two days with him in Pisa, Bastiat’s friends went to Rome to wait for him.