Front Page Titles (by Subject) 208.: Letter from Prosper Paillottet to Mme Cheuvreux 384 - The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics
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208.: Letter from Prosper Paillottet to Mme Cheuvreux 384 - 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 from Prosper Paillottet to Mme Cheuvreux384
Rome, 22 December 1850
[Lettres d’un habitant des Landes, p. 135]
I am settling a personal debt and carrying out the wishes of our friend in giving you news of him. You had few illusions when you left him, and yet you could not have imagined that his strength would have declined so rapidly. This decline is very noticeable since my arrival here. The poor invalid is aware of it and is pleased within himself, as though it were a favor from heaven to shorten his suffering.
At first he protested in word and gesture at what he called my folly. M. de Monclar and I had difficulty persuading him that this was the right thing to do. However, I soon realized that my presence was a consolation and I am infinitely grateful to you, madam, for having made it possible to give him this. “Since you have made this long journey, I am very glad that you are here,” he said to me on the third day. Besides, he never fails to ask me when I leave: “At what time will I see you tomorrow?”
This is how M. de Monclar, whose agreement I naturally sought, and I have divided his days. M. de Monclar visits him in the morning and leaves when I arrive, at half past eleven. I keep him company up to five o’clock in the afternoon, and after supper M. de Monclar returns.
It is an extremely painful spectacle that I am witnessing, but I would be very sorry, both through affection and duty, if I were not there. Death is almost always the third person present in our talks. Both he and I refrain from mentioning his name; he in order not to upset me and I in order not to give him the example of breaking down and weeping when he is such an example of courage. He is dying in fact just as I have always thought he ought to die, staring death in the face with total resignation.
The subjects we discuss are absent friends, among whom you and yours have the pride of place, followed by his beloved science, political economy, for which he has done so much and for which he would have wanted to do still more. I have no need to tell you that these discussions are very short and that I put my ear close to his lips from time to time. The few sentences he pronounces are received by me with a religious respect.
Yesterday, we went on an outing that enchanted him. Leaving by the Popolo gate, we went to the ponte Molle and returned through the Angelica gate. The sites we saw were bathed in fine sunshine. He repeatedly said to me, “What a delightful outing! How successful we have been!” The serenity of the sky had entered his soul. He was expressing a final farewell to the splendors of nature, which had so often aroused his enthusiasm.
Since the 20th, he has made his confession. “I want,” he told me, “to die in the religion of my forefathers. I have always loved it, even though I have not followed its external practices.”
I am limiting myself to these few details and perhaps I should even apologize for sending them to you, when you are in the throes of the most legitimate affliction caused by the most cruel of losses.
I missed meeting you in Leghorn by a whisker, since it appears that we were there on the same day, as I later found out. Anyway, I was glad that this encounter did not take place, since you still had a shred of hope, which I would have found it difficult to remove from you.
Please convey, madam, my affectionate sentiments to M. Cheuvreux and I assure you and Mlle Louise of my homage and respectful devotion.
[384 ]Although this letter is not by Bastiat, it is included because it is an essential piece for an understanding of his last days.