Front Page Titles (by Subject) The Cause of Bastiat's Untimely Death - Collected Works of Bastiat. Vol. 2: The Law, The State, and Other Political Writings, 1843-1850
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The Cause of Bastiat’s Untimely Death - Frédéric Bastiat, Collected Works of Bastiat. Vol. 2: The Law, The State, and Other Political Writings, 1843-1850 
The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 2: The Law, The State, and Other Political Writings, 1843-1850, Jacques de Guenin, General Editor. Translated from the French by Jane Willems and Michel Willems, with an introduction by Pascal Salin. Annotations and Glossaries by Jacques de Guenin, Jean-Claude Paul-Dejean, and David M. Hart. Translation Editor Dennis O’Keeffe. Academic Editor, David M. Hart (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2012).
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The Cause of Bastiat’s Untimely Death
It is not entirely clear what killed Bastiat on Christmas Eve 1850 in Rome. Originally Bastiat had been sent to Pisa by his doctor because of the “better air” there compared with the damp of Paris. We know that Bastiat suffered from a throat condition of some kind and that he lost his ability to speak (a considerable handicap for an elected politician). It was not uncommon for people in his era to die ahead of their time because of serious ailments like tuberculosis (or consumption), but it is also possible that he suffered from throat cancer. According to the minutes of a meeting of the Société d’économie politique, we are given some pieces of information about his condition.30
Bastiat had been an enthusiastic member of the Société d’économie politique, and as the minutes of the society’s meetings show, he attended regularly. His last attendance was the meeting of 10 September 1850, when he came to say farewell to his colleagues before leaving to spend the winter in Italy on his doctor’s advice. He and his colleagues must have known that this was the last time they would see each other, as Bastiat had been ill for some time; he had been getting worse as he struggled to finish the second part of the Economic Harmonies, and indeed he passed away on 24 December later that year. The following comments in the minutes suggest that Bastiat’s illness might have been cancer of the throat and not consumption:
M. Frédéric Bastiat, representative of the people, came to this meeting in order to say farewell to the members of the society. Accepting the wise advice of his doctor Andral, M. Bastiat was going to spend the winter in Pisa in order to improve his health which had changed because of the Paris climate and his excessive work load: at this moment he was suffering from a persistent sore throat [mal de gorge persistant], which has caused him to completely lose his voice. We hope that the brilliant author of the Sophisms and the Economic Harmonies, enjoying the better Italian climate, will be able to soon finish the second volume of the latter work, which is already well advanced.
[30. ]“Séance du septembre 1850.”