Gustave de Molinari, Les Soirées de la rue Saint-Lazare: entretiens
sur les lois économiques et défense de la propriété (Evenings on Saint
Lazarus Street: Discussions on Economic Laws and the Defence of Property)
[A Draft of Liberty Fund's new translation]
[May 17, 2012]
[SUMMARY: Attacks made on internal property. – Industries
monopolised or subsidised by the State. – Production of money. – The
nature and uses of money. – Why a country could not use up all its
Communication routes. – Managed expensively and badly by the state.
– Carrying letters. – Postmasters. – That government intervention
in production is always harmful. – Subsidies and privileges for theatres. – Public
libraries. – Subsidies to religion. –
Monopoly of teaching. – Its dire results.]
Title Page of the original 1849 edition
The photo of Molinari (1819-1912) which accompanied
his obituary in the Journal des économistes
Related Links in the Library:
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Molinari's book Les Soirées de la rue Saint-Lazare; entretiens sur les
lois économiques et défense de la propriété. (Paris: Guillaumin, 1849)
is being translated by Liberty Fund. The translation was done by Dennis O'Keeffe
and it is being edited by David M. Hart. The critical apparatus of foontnotes
and glossary entries, and introduction are being provided by David Hart.
We welcome feedback from Molinari scholars to ensure that this edition will
be a great one and thus befitting Molinari in his centennial year.
page has a detailed Table of Contents and links to other Chapters.
The Eighth Evening
SUMMARY: Attacks made on internal property. – Industries monopolised
or subsidised by the State. – Production of money. – The nature
and uses of money. – Why a country could not use up all its currency. –
Communication routes. – Managed expensively and badly by the state.
– Carrying letters. – Postmasters. – That government intervention
in production is always harmful. – Subsidies and privileges for theatres. – Public
libraries. – Subsidies to religion. –
Monopoly of teaching. – Its dire results.
It is not just external property which is attacked; people also attack the
property of man in his person, in his faculties, in his powers: internal property. 
There is an attack on internal property when man is forbidden to use his faculties
as seems right to him, when he is told:
“You will not work in such and such an industry or, if you do, you will
be subject to certain constraints; you will be required to observe certain
regulations. The natural right you possess to use your faculties in the way
most useful to you and yours will be diminished or regulated. -- By what
right? -- By virtue of the superior rights of society.”
“But what if I do not put my [p207] abilities to any harmful use ? ”
“Society is convinced that you could not work freely in some industries
without harming it.”
“But what if society is wrong? What if in using my abilities in this or
that branch of production I do not cause society any harm? ”
“In that case so much the worse for you. Society cannot be wrong. ”
In deceiving itself thus, however, does not society inflict upon itself some
damage? Rules which hinder the activity of the producer, do they not result
inevitably, for certain, in the diminution of output through the raising of
product prices? If one industry is burdened with rules, harassed while other
industries remain unencumbered, will not people turn to these others by preference?
Otherwise, if we are prepared to operate in the highly regulated activity,
will we not pass on to the consumers some part of the burden of harassment
Let us leave to one side the regimes in which all production is regulated,
even more so, those in which no worker is allowed to use his abilities freely,
in which labor is still enslaved. Thank God these monstrosities are beginning
to be rare. Let us consider only those bastard regimes where certain industries
are free, others regulated, and yet others are monopolised by the state.
Such is the deplorable regime which obtains today in France.
Are you claiming that the government hurts society by regulating certain branches
of production, and by managing certain industries itself.
That is what I am claiming.
All regulation, as well as all monopoly, leads to an increase, direct or indirect,
in costs of production, and therefore to a fall in production.
Government produces more expensively and less well than individuals; in the
first place because by managing several industries, it fails to recognize,
if not in the details at least at the level of higher management, the economic
principle of the division of labor; in the second place because by itself assuming
either directly or indirectly the monopoly of an industry, if fails to recognize
the economic principle of free competition
In the event, therefore, the government produces money, builds roads and railways,
and provides education more expensively and at a lower quality than individuals
Without any doubt.
Money like any other commodity.
Is not the minting of coin a prerogative of sovereignty?
No more so than the manufacture of nails or of buttons for gaiters. Why should
the manufacture of money be [p209] the prerogative of sovereignty? What is
money? An instrument with the aid of which the exchange of value takes place….
There are also direct exchanges. A host of paper exchanges takes place too.
There are very few direct exchanges, and there will be fewer and fewer to
the extent that the division of labor grows increasingly. A man who passes
his life making a tenth part of a pin could not directly exchange his product
for the things he needs. He
is obliged to barter first of all against some intermediate merchandise, which
can easily be exchanged with other things. This intermediate merchandise must
be durable, easy to divide and to transport. Various metals -- gold, silver,
copper -- in different degree possess these qualities. This is why we have
made from them instruments of exchange, money.
As for paper, it can also serve as money but on condition that it represents
real value, value already created, value made concrete in an existing object,
available and capable of serving as money.
This is what the supporters of paper money unfortunately do not understand.
But you yourself give me the impression of not having a proper idea of what
money is, when you tell me that the production of this vehicle of exchange
is a prerogative of sovereignty. It is not because a sovereign [p210] has marked
a piece of gold or silver with his effigy that the coin has value, it is because
it contains a certain quantity of labor. Whether it be made or marked by a
government or individual, matters little. No I am mistaken! Individuals would
make it better and cheaper. They would also take care to supply the market
with that variety of monies which the needs of circulation demand. Moreover,
if from the very start, money had been made by individuals, forgery would have
How can you know that?
The forgeries formerly committed by the very people who had the exclusive
right to repress all types of plunder and fraud, itself inevitably went unpunished. To
which one must add that the public had no way of avoiding it, since the monarchs
claimed for themselves the exclusive right to mint money.
If the manufacture of monies had remained open, individuals would have undertaken
it as people will undertake any industry which will yield a profit.
Can the manufacture of money yield a profit?
As with any other manufacture. In France the government charges three francs
for the minting of a kilogram of silver, and nine in the case of gold. This
virtually covers the costs of producing [p211] the money. In England minting
Ah! Can you find me an individual who is prepared to work for nothing then?
Please be wary of terms like gratis ,free, gratuity. Nothing which
requires labor is free; the point being that there are different ways of remunerating
this labor. In France the users of money pay directly for its production; in
England taxpayers pay the production costs indirectly in the form of taxes.
Which of these two ways of remunerating labor is the more economic and the
more equitable? It is obviously the former. In France the production of money
costs a certain sum annually, shall we say a million? Individuals who have
the ingots transformed into coinage reimburse this million directly. If minting
were free as in England the costs of production would be paid by taxpayers.
The collection of tax revenues, however, is not free; in France it is never
less than thirteen per cent of the principal. So if our minting were free,
it would cost not a million but one million, one hundred and thirty thousand
So much for the economics of things being free.
Now let us look for the justice of “free” production. Who has to pay for a
product? He who consumes it, is that not true? Who must, in consequence, carry
[p212] the costs of making that money? Those who use that money.
But everybody uses it.
The difference being that certain individuals, the richest people, use it
a lot; others, the poorest, use it very little. When minting is paid for directly,
it is paid for by the users of money in proportion to that use; when it is
paid indirectly, when it is free, it is paid for by everybody, by small consumers
as by large, often by the former more than by the latter. That depends on the
basis of the taxation. Is that fair?
If the government mints for free, the costs of money production are raised
to their maximum; if it has itself reimbursed directly for minting, it produces
it, all the same, more expensively than private production would, because the
production of money is not its speciality.
If minting had remained free, it would in all probability have been carried
out by the great goldsmiths companies. Under this arrangement, with consumers
able to refuse money made by forgers, and, what is more, to inflict on them
exemplary punishment, forgery would have been extremely rare.
In combining, however, to render the supply of money lower than the demand
and for it, would not your free manufacturers [p213] have realized enormous
profits at the expense of the public?
No. First of all because one can, if need be, use ingots in place of money;
next because free competition does not take long to smash even the strongest
equilibrium between supply and demand comes to be broken, prices soon yield
a return which the competition seeks to share in. In this case people start
to produce outside the cartel, until the market price falls again to the level
of the production costs.
Ah! It is always the same law.
Always. And this law explains also why a country’s money could never be exhausted.
When the needs arising from circulation come to exceed the supply of money,
the price of metals rises progressively. In this event people no longer export
ingots; they find it on the contrary advantageous to import them up to the
point when equilibrium is re-established.
What you have said demolishes one of the big arguments used by protectionists.
I have another objection. If the production of monies were free, would it
be possible to have a single currency? Would not each producer supply a distinctive
money? We would no longer know where we were.
There are thousands of producers of calicoes, and yet [p214] there is only
a small number of types of calico. In Manchester, twenty or thirty manufacturers
weave lengths of identical quality and size. It would be the same with money;
the only coins struck would be those which the public found convenient and
advantageous to use. If all the nations wanted to use the same currency we
would arrive quite naturally at a single one. If they preferred different monies
and measures, suitable to their ways and their particular needs, why I ask
you would people take it into their heads to impose a single currency?
You could well be right and I understand up to a certain point, that one might
abandon the production of monies to private industry. The producers can in
fact develop competition for themselves in such a way as to render the development
of a monopoly impossible. Is the same true however for all the industries of
which the government has taken over? For example are not communication routes
There are no natural monopolies. How could the builders and operators of communication
routes achieve profits from monopoly? By raising the price of transportation
above its production costs. But as soon as the market price exceeds production
costs, competition is irresistibly drawn in…
In this case would they not build two or three parallel routes from one point
to another? [p215]
That would not be necessary. Competition in the means of communication, notably
improved roads, railways and canals, etc., happens across a very wide range.
Let the Le Havre to Strasbourg railway put up its fares, for example, and immediately
the movement of travelers and goods to the centre of Europe will shift in favor
of Antwerp or Amsterdam. For intermediate points, there is competition from
canals, rivers, almost parallel sections of rail, or ordinary roads, competition
which becomes more active in the face of attempts at monopoly…provided, of
course, that the competition remains free.
Provided this condition obtains, present transport prices can never exceed
the costs of production for very long.
Well I think you will certainly agree with me, that individuals build and
run roadways better and cheaper than governments. Would you compare the roads
in England with those in France?
This is an incontestable fact. Is it not essential, however, that traffic
remains free and at no charge for the user?
Have we not examined in depth already the mystery of things which are free?
Have you forgotten that no good whatsoever
– money, teaching, transport – could be provided free by the government,
unless it were paid for by the taxpayers? Have you forgotten that in this case
the good’s costs, over and above its ordinary production costs, include the
further costs [p216] of collecting the tax? So if our roads were not free,
they would be financed by those who use them, to the degree to which they use
them, and the roads would be cheaper.
What is true of the great highways is no less true of little roads. These
petty governments we call départements and communes, build roads at their own
cost without, however, having central government approval. These roads, voted
for by majorities on the councils of the communes and departments, are built
and used at the cost of all taxpayers. Under the monarchical regime, when rich
taxpayers alone had places on the councils of the communes, the departments,
or the central state, the poor peasants were obliged to contribute a large
part of the work decreed…to whose profit? I leave you to think about it. The
corvées of the Ancien Régime had reappeared under the benign guise of ‘compulsory
contributions in kind’. 
The only way to put an end to this scandalous iniquity is to hand over roads,
great and small, to private industry, as well as all forms of transport.
Without making an exception of letter delivery?
Without making an exception of letter delivery.
Oh, come on!
The post has not always been in government hands. [p217] Before the 1789 Revolution,
the letter post had been contracted out to individual companies (or “farmers”). In
1788 this lease brought in twelve million to the State. As you well know, however,
the tariff on the letters was very high. The big farmers knew with regard to
this, how to bribe the administrators in charge of working out and regulating
the tariffs. They
flourished under this system but the public were paying handsomely for their
What had to be done to remedy the manifest abuses of this system of leasing?
Quite simply the remedy was to hand over the post to free competition. Under
this new regime, the movement of letters would have promptly fallen to the
lowest possible price. The preferred choice was to leave the post in the hands
of the state. The public gained nothing from this, indeed the contrary! The
post remained very expensive and became much less reliable. As you know very
well, the abuse of trust and also general unreliability, have multiplied frightfully
in the postal service.
That is all too true.
For a long time, moreover, the government claimed the right to infringe the
confidentiality of correspondence. It is not long since the Cabinet Noir was
suppressed, and some people claim it still exists. The worst of it is that we do not
have the power to remove ourselves from these risks, and these insults to the
public. It is strictly forbidden for individuals to handle the post. Illegal
letter delivery is subject to severe penalties. [p218]
That is the advantage of communism for you....If the post were free you would
be able to hold the carriers involved to account, both for the violation of
your correspondence, and for stealing from you. Given the government’s communist
monopoly, none of this is practicable. You are at the mercy of the administrators.
At least it has ended up with their giving us postal reform. 
Yes, but postal reform has destroyed one abuse only to replace it with another.
In England, reform has for several years caused a considerable deficit in the
receipts. The tariff had been so reduced that half the charge of the postal
service was falling on the taxpayers. The service was half free. Now is it
not fair that the cost of correspondence should be met by the correspondents?
Why should some poor uneducated peasant who neither writes nor receives letters
throughout his life, contribute to paying for the carriage of the heavy missives
from Monsieur Turcaret or the love-letters of his neighbor Mr. Lovelace? Is there a communism more iniquitous
and odious than that?
Shall I talk about the privileges enjoyed by mounted postmen? In past times,
the postmasters set up by Louis XI, enjoyed a monopoly in passenger transport. Little
by little they were obliged to share this monopoly [p219] with the royal parcel
service, and finally to leave a space for free enterprise. Given their insistent
demands, however, the new entrepreneurs were obliged to pay the masters of
the coaching inns, whose horses they did not use, an indemnity of twenty five
centimes per delivery and for each horse in harness (law of the fifteenth ventôse
in year XIII). The
overall indemnity had risen to a figure of six million (francs) per year. But
the railways have considerably reduced that windfall. The consequence was loud
complaints from the postmasters. They wanted to force the railway companies
also, to pay them subsidies. The companies resisted. The question is on-going.
It has to be said in defense of the postmasters, that regulations dating from
the reign of Louis XI, oblige them to have available teams of horses in places
where these teams are perfectly pointless. But is it not absurd to pay pensions
to one industry which no longer functions, at the expense of another which
does? Is it not at once absurd and grotesque to constrain entrepreneurs in
the coach business to
supply a rent to the idle horses of the postmasters?
It is indeed absurd and grotesque. But if the government, the départements
and the communes ceased completely their intervention in the transport industry
in the construction of roads, canals, bridges and streets, if they stopped
setting up communications between diverse parts of the country and seeing to
it that established communications are maintained, would individuals take on
the burden of this indispensible work? [p220]
Do you believe that a stone thrown up into the air will end up falling?
That is a law of physics!
Well it is in virtue of the same physical law that all useful things, roads,
bridges, canals, bread, meat etc get produced as soon as society needs them.
When a useful thing is demanded , the production of that thing tends naturally
to operate with an intensity of movement equal in intensity of movement to
that of a falling stone.
When a useful thing is demanded without being produced yet, the ideal price,
the price which would be put on it if it were produced, grows in geometric
progression while the demand grows in arithmetic progression. A moment comes
when this price rises high enough to surmount all current obstacles and when
production begins to operate.
This being so, the government could not interfere with any aspect of production
without causing damage to society.
If it produces something later than private individuals would have done ,
it harms society by depriving it of the thing in question during the interval.
If it produces it at the same time as private individuals, its intervention
is still harmful, because it will produce at a higher price than private individuals.
Last of all, if it produces it earlier, society is nonetheless harmed…You
are protesting. I am going to prove it to you.
What does one produce with? With present labor and past labor or capital.
How does an individual starting a new industry secure for himself labor and
capital? By going to look for workers and capital in those places where the
services of these agents of production are least useful and where consequently
they are paid the lowest.
When the demand for a new product is weaker than that for established ones,
when producing it one would not recover the costs incurred, individuals will
carefully abstain from production. They begin production only from the time
when they are sure of covering their costs.
When government gets ahead of them, is it going to find the labor and capital
it needs? It finds them where the individual producers themselves would have
got them, from the society itself. But by beginning production before the costs
can yet have been covered, or even before the ordinary profits of this new
industry have reached the level of those of existing industries, does not the
government divert capital and labor from more useful employment than it is
giving them? Does it not impoverish rather than enrich society?
The government has undertaken, too early, for example, certain stretches of
canal which cross deserts. The labor and capital it has devoted to the building
of these canals, still unfinished after a quarter of a century, were certainly
better engaged where it found them. On the other hand it began building the
telegraphs, for which it had reserved the monopoly or licence for itself, too
late [p222] and then it did not build enough of them. We have only two or three
electric telegraph lines and they are still for the exclusive use of the government
and railways. In the United States, where this industry is under free enterprise,
the electric telegraph is everywhere and serves everybody.
I agree with these observations as applied to industries of a purely material
nature; but you are pretty well bound to agree, I would think, that the government
must be concerned in some degree with the intellectual and moral development
of society. Does it not have the right, indeed the duty, to impose a salutary
direction on the arts and on literature, as well as on education, and to be
of some service to religion? Can it abandon these noble branches of production,
to all the winds of private speculation?
Without doubt it would have this right and would be held to the fulfilling
of this duty, if its intervention, in this area of the domain of production,
were not always and necessarily as harmful here as in the rest.
Are we speaking of the fine arts? The government gives pensions to some men
of letters and pays subsidies to some theatres. I think I have proved to you that
writers could easily do without the miserable pension allocated to them, if
their property rights were fully recognized and respected.
The grants to the theaters are among the most blatant and scandalous abuses
of our day.
It has been proven times many that the Théâtre-Français and the Opéra could
not survive without subsidies. Do you wish, by any chance, to do away with
the Théâtre-Français and the Opéra?
Notice first of all what profound injustice hides under this regime of subsidies.
Each year the state spends more than two million to maintain two or three Parisian
theaters. These theaters are precisely the ones frequented by the richest element
of the Parisian bourgeoisie. Who pays these two million? All taxpayers do,
including the poor peasant of Lower Brittany, who in his entire life has never
set foot in, and never will, the auditorium of a theater, unlike members of
the wealthy audience of the Opéra Orchestra. Is this justice? Is it fair to
make a poor ploughman, who passes his day stooped over the handle of his plough,
contribute to the dainty pleasures of the rich Parisian bourgeoisie?
It is just exploitation.
Once again, however, would you prefer that there were no Opéra and no Théâtre-Français?
What about our nation’s glory!
When Louis XIV crushed the people with taxes in order to build his cold and
lamentable Château at Versailles; when
he reduced the wretched country folk to living on grasses, to help pay for
the sumptuous expenditures of his court, did he not also invoke the glory of
France? Glory! In what do you think it consists?
In the great things which a people is able to accomplish.
Nothing is greater or more splendid than justice. If an age should dawn when
the many cease to be plundered for the sake of the few, and justice comes to
be the sovereign law of society, that will be the greatest of the centuries.
I do not believe, however, that the theater needs subsidies. On the contrary,
I think theaters are harmed by subsidies. Subsidized theaters are the ones
which most mismanage their business. Why? I will tell you.
First of all you should note that they are robbed of part of their subsidy
in various ways. A subsidized theater is required to grant free entry to ministers,
to influential representatives of government, to a host of political figures,
high and low. So the subsidy works, in the first place, to secure free access
to the pleasures of theater-going to a crowd of people…
Who are absolutely in a position to pay their own way.
Much more so, for certain, than those who do pay for them. In the second place,
the subsidies serve to enrich the most unscrupulous directors. If a theater
has a deficit of fifty thousand francs, the director asks for a subsidy of
a hundred thousand. They give it to him. He closes his deficit, gives up his
subsidy and goes off to enjoy the monies the State has provided for him.
Subsidized theaters are constantly in [p225] debt. Is this in spite of the
subsidy or because of it? Judge for yourselves.
A firm under free enterprise, a firm obliged to cover all its costs itself,
achieves prodigious efforts to attain this end. It improves the quality of
its product, it lowers its price and comes up every day with some new way of
attracting purchasers. For the firm, this is a question of life or death. A
firm enjoying special treatment and subsidies does not make these efforts.
Assured of receiving a living, even when its clients may have deserted it completely,
even when its annual deficit may be as high as its total costs, it tends, naturally,
to please itself with regard to the public. If Tortoni received
a government subsidy for selling his ice-creams, would he take as much trouble
to make sure his trade went well? Would not his ice-creams become detestable,
like certain theater pieces put on at a certain theater, and would not the
public, which loves good ice-creams, desert his establishment en masse? You
can easily see what a subsidy given to the ice-cream industry would have succeeded
There are, however, worse things than subsidies. There are privileges. In
France the theater industry is not open to all. It is not just anyone who is
allowed to open a theater, nor even any comparable institution. Recently, when
the cafés lyriques (musical cafés) became popular, the privileged theaters
were very put out. The Directors collectively petitioned for the suppression
of this rival industry. The minister refused to comply with their petition,
but he forbade the musical cafés: first, to put on any [p226] plays and secondly
to feature their singers in theater costumes. Is not such a ban worthy of the
I have to confess it is ludicrous.
This is what happened in 1849 and it happened to the wittiest nation on earth.
The directors, however, are not especially guilty. They are bowing to imperatives
created by their privileges.
The regime of privilege is by its very nature precarious. All such privileges
are temporary. Now the first condition of all economic production, is clear
and inviolable ownership. In any industry there are general costs whose repayment
calls for a long time-period. Examples include the building, improvement and
embellishment of premises. If these costs are spread across a long period of
production they become almost unnoticeable. When, on the contrary, they are
concentrated into a short period of time, they raise the cost of the expenditure
significantly. When the tenure is short-term, people tend to run up as few
costs as possible. Few halls are worse constructed and maintained than Parisian
theater auditoria. The costs of embellishing them nevertheless are a heavy
charge on their directors’ budgets.
Furthermore, like any industry, theaters have their good and bad seasons.
Under free enterprise proper, there is less work in the bad season than in
the good, so that production is not undertaken at a loss. Theaters are forced
to work the whole year round, whether they make [p227] profits or not. This
is an explicit condition of their privileged status.
What an unimaginable absurdity!
Their costs of production therefore increase by the whole sum of what they
are obliged to lose in a bad season. Add to this the very high taxes levied
in favor of welfare establishments and you will give yourself an idea of the
excessively high price charged for shows. You
will also understand why the directors pursued their competitors so relentlessly.
If the theater industry was free, the costs of building and maintaining the
auditoria could be spread across an indefinite period. Production could also
be geared to the demands of consumers. There would be lots of plays in a good
season and a few in a bad one. The costs of production would then fall to the
lowest possible level, and the competition would take care of aligning market
price s with the costs of production. The lowering of prices would increase
consumption and therefore production. There would be more theaters, more actors,
Would not art be coarsened thereby and thus diminished in worth?
I am convinced, on the contrary, that art would become more noble and broadened
in its appeal. Every time production is developed it improves. People say today
that dramatic art is languishing and demeaned. Put your trust in freedom to
pick it up and reinvigorate it.
What is true for theaters is also true for libraries, museums, exhibitions
What? You would like the State to cease opening its libraries to the public
free of charge?
I am of the view that public libraries should be closed in the interests of
Oh! That is too extreme a paradox. I will protest to the bitter end.
Protest by all means but listen. The State owns a certain number of libraries.  The
government opens some of them to the public, free of charge. It does not open
all of them, please note. Some libraries are only pretexts for employing librarians.
The annual expenses entailed by the management of public libraries, including
in this the maintenance of buildings, add up to more than a million. This
means that all taxpayers have to contribute, so that certain individuals can
go and study or read, for nothing, at the National Library, the Mazarin Library
and elsewhere. If public libraries were run by private individuals, we [p229]
would first of all save the whole cost of collecting these taxes. The users
of books would pay a smaller sum than the one paid today by the nation.
Yes, but they would pay something, while today they pay nothing. And is it
not a false economy to skimp on learning?
You are right that it is a false economy. I would ask you, however, to have
a good look at how the million which taxpayers make a present of every year
to book enthusiasts, is used. Look at private establishments in France, and
if you can find a single one whose administration is as bad as that of the
National Library, for example, one in which wealth is as badly used and the
public as badly served, I will say you have won the case.
Service at the National Library is certainly deplorably organized. There is
not a single manufacturing firm in France that does not do its stocktaking
every year. The Library has not yet managed to complete its own one. Its catalogue,
begun many years ago, is still not finished. One could, however, administer
this great national institution better.
I do not think so. As long as it remains locked into the vast communism of
the State, the National Library cannot be administered any better.
In reality, then, the communist management of the public libraries [p230]
has the result of keeping most of the treasures of learning away from the public.
Put this capital in the hands of private industry and you will see to what
good use the latter will be able to put it. The riches of science come to us
slowly and intractably today. You will see how swift and easy our access to
them will become. We will no longer wait long hours and often long days, in
vain, for a book or manuscript. Service will be immediate. Private industry
does not make people wait.
Would science lose out in all this?
Is not a compromise possible? Could not the present libraries get by alongside
private enterprise libraries?
This is the mixed regime we have today. On
the one hand we have public libraries, whose vast resources remain more or
less unproductive; on the other hand there are expensive and badly supplied
If the free libraries did not exist, the reading rooms would be on a bigger
scale; all the precious output of science and literature would accumulate in
them in a useful fashion; each category of knowledge would soon acquire a specialist
library, in which those who undertake research would lack for nothing; and
where the wealth of scientific and literary publications would on completion
be put immediately at the disposal of the public. At the same time, free competition
would oblige these establishments to lower their prices to the lowest possible
All the same, poor students and needy scholars would have plenty to complain
of under this regime.
Library and reading room expenses are the smallest element in the costs of
an education. As for poor scholars, they generally work for booksellers who
take account of their research costs. A part of these costs falls on taxpayers
today. Would it not be fairer if they were exclusively charged to purchasers
of books? Moreover, the latter would not lose out thereby, since the books
would become more substantial if the business of research became easier.
I was therefore not engaging in paradox at all when I said that we should
close the public libraries in the interests of the spreading of knowledge.
Maintaining free libraries is communism; and whether the issue is science or
industry, communism is barbarous.
This detestable communism is also to be found in the domains of education
Attack the universities as much as you like, but for pity’s sake respect religion.
Religion is our mainstay.
It is in the real interest of religion that the State should stop subsidizing
Is it fair that a man who does not practice any of the religions recognized
by the State, should be required, nevertheless, to provide them with a payment?
Is it fair that one should pay for something [p232] which one does not use?
Does not all religious morality condemn an abuse and plunder of this kind?
Such plunder and abuse, however, are committed every day in France, for the
benefit of recognized religions. So much the worse for taxpayers who follow
religions that the State does not recognize! 
Do you think this flagrant iniquity is beneficial to religion?
Do you also not think that these faiths would be better administered if the
State did not subsidize them? Do you not think the services of religion would
be distributed with more intelligence and zeal if the State did not guarantee
churchmen a stipend, come what may? Besides,
experience has already pronounced on the matter. Nowhere are religious services
better managed than in the United States, where the different faiths receive
no subsidies. Many enlightened churchmen believe that the same arrangements
would give France the same results.
This experiment should be carried out.
The present management of education is more defective still than that of religion.
The nation allots an annual sum of seventeen millions to an organization which
distributes education in the name of the State, and which deals high-handedly
with rival enterprises.
Under the Ancien Regime, education was, [p233] like all other industries,
in the hands of certain privileged corporations. The Revolution destroyed these
privileges. Unfortunately the Constituent Assembly and the Convention hastened
to decree the establishment of State schools, schools run at the expense of
the State, of the départements or communes. Napoleon extended and radicalized
this communist notion in founding the University.
Grafted as it was onto the traditions of the Ancien Régime, and nurtured under
the jealous eye of despotism, the University dispensed in the nineteenth century,
the education of the fifteenth or sixteenth centuries. It set about teaching
dead languages as people had taught them in those times, without suspecting
in the least that what might be useful in the sixteenth century might well
not be so in the nineteenth.
Why is that?
I can accept that the ancient languages were generally taught at the time
of the Renaissance. Nations which had scarcely emerged from the darkness of
the Middle Ages, had barely developed science and literature as yet. To equip
themselves with knowledge, ideas and images, they had to draw on the vast store
of antiquity, whose riches had just come to light. The indispensable tool for
the assimilation of these intellectual riches was language. One could not learn
what the Ancients knew, without a knowledge of Greek and Latin.
In the nineteenth century the situation has changed. All the ideas, all the
knowledge of antiquity have passed into the modern languages. We can learn
everything the ancients knew without knowing the ancient languages.[p234] Modern
languages are a universal key which opens up both past and present. The dead
languages resemble today those ancient and impressive machines that get put
in the Conservatory of Arts and Crafts, but which are no longer used in manufacturing.
I am well aware that people have claimed knowledge of the dead languages to
be essential for learning living ones. If this were so, however, would we not
be obliged to learn half a dozen ancient languages in order to know French,
for God knows how many elements went into the formation of our language? A
whole lifetime would not be enough. Moreover, how many college pedants write
fluently in Latin, and cannot spell in French? Voltaire was certainly weaker
in Latin than the Jesuit Patouillet or Father Nonotte.  The dead languages are tools which
pointlessly clutter up the brain and often obliterate it.
What do you mean?
I mean that by teaching Greek and Latin to children, we are prematurely communicating
to them the ideas, beliefs and passions of two nations, without doubt very
civilized for the era they lived in, but who would today be regarded as barbarians.
This is true above all of their moral outlook. By submitting today’s children
to a regime of Greek and Latin, one is filling their minds with the prejudices
and vices of a civilization scarcely beyond its earliest stages, instead of
communicating to them (p235) the knowledge and the moral outlook of an advanced
civilization; we are turning them into rather immoral little barbarians…
If education had enjoyed the benefit of freedom instead of passing from the
detestable regime of privilege to the still more detestable communist monopoly,
it would have rejected long ago this ancient tool kit of dead languages, just
as industries in free competition rid themselves of old machinery. We would
teach children what is useful or is harmful to them; we would stop teaching
them what is useless or harmful to them. Latin and Greek would be relegated
to the brains of those museum pieces we call polyglots.
I agree with you that there are considerable reforms to be done in University
management. It was odious for example to oblige those institutions which were
rivals to the University to pay it an annual contribution; it was scarcely
less so to prevent these establishments from opening without special authorization,
and to impose on them inspection by the University’s agents. Would it not be
good, however, to allow the existence, alongside individual institutions which
are henceforth totally private, of the institutions of the State and the communes?
Would not this salutary competition serve the progress of education admirably?
This regime would scarcely be preferable to the present one. Let me give my
Educational establishments belonging to the State and to the communes do not
cover their costs and are not [p236] required so to do. The Treasury and the
communal budgets take care of their deficits. The tax payers, those who have
no children as well as those who do have, provide part of the costs of this
communist education. Now I ask you, can private enterprise compete on a regular
basis with these half-free establishments? This half-free condition is, in
truth, often very costly, perhaps because of the poor quality of the teaching,
perhaps because of the high level of total costs. Have not the establishments
of the State and the communes the wherewithal to lower their prices indefinitely?
Has it not even been mooted that education be made entirely free? In reality
this would make it as expensive as it could possibly be, but this outcome would
at the same time make all competition impossible. If the State generously undertook
the supplying of cloth at half-price or free, who would consider continuing
with the making of cloth? Could cloth production under free enterprise ever
assume any really large scale, given the presence of a competitor handing over
its goods for nothing?
Liberty in education will remain the purest illusion until the State, the
départements and the communes cease completely and absolutely to meddle in
Could not the State and Commune Schools manage their costs as well as those
of private production?
Let them try! Let us abolish the budget for State education. Let us make the
University and communes establishments [p237] cover all their costs and you
will soon be astonished.
Will you not at least agree with me that the State should retain the overseeing
of educational establishments?
I do not see any difficulty there. I think, however, that State surveillance
would rapidly become pointless under a regime of true liberty.
What prevents State establishments today from improving in quality and price
terms alike, is the precarious existence that the unequal competition from
the University imposes on them. Freedom would give them stability. Teaching
in these circumstances would become organized on an immense scale, in the same
way as any industry whose future is guaranteed will organize and develop itself.
The directors of the institutions, with their interest in making known the
progress achieved in their establishments, would open their doors to the public.
Fathers would be able to judge for themselves the quality of the diet, material,
intellectual and moral, being given to their children. Keeping a watch on what
was happening in this way, would be just as good as or better than being observed
by University inspectors.
This advertising of state education would please me well enough; but I ask
you once more do you think private industry could meet all the needs of education?
Put your trust as to that in the law of supply and demand. As soon as some
educational need made itself truly felt [p238] it would be in someone’s interest
to satisfy it. Under this regime, the production of education, which the trammels
of the regulatory system have confined within limits that are too narrow, would
not be long in reaching workable proportions. Teaching would be better and
cheaper, and therefore more extensive. The poor would no longer contribute
to the paying of educational costs for the rich man’s child, the single man
would no longer be taxed to the benefit of the married one. Production would
be more abundant, and distribution fairer. What more could you ask for?
 [See the earlier discussion on intellectual property (artistic and literary
property) in Soirée no. 2.]
 The orthodox view of money held by the political economists was expressed
by Michel Chevalier in the entry on "Monnaie” in the DEP, vol. 2, pp. 200-219, where he stated that money was either gold
or silver of a defined weight and purity which was issued by a state mint
or other government regulated body. Molinari here adopts the opposing view
of his friend and colleague Charles Coquelin (1803-1852) who, in a series
of articles and a book called Du
crédit et des banques (1848), defended the view that private banks should be allowed to
competitively issue their own currency which could be redeemed for gold
upon demand. The irony is that when Coquelin reviewed Molinari's book Les Soirées in
the JDE he criticized Molinari for making it appear to be the orthodox Economist
opinion that security services could be provided privately and competitively
in Soirée 11 when in fact this wasn't the case. In this chapter Molinari
is again appearing to make it appear that the orthodox Economist view was
that of free banking and competitive currency issue, but in this case it
is Coquelin's and Molinari's view not the mainstream economists' position.
Coquelin was one of the friends who joined Molinari and Bastiat in founding
the revolutionary newspaper Jacques
Bonhomme in June 1848 and he was appointed the editor of the massive 2 volume DEP which
appeared in 1852, the year of his death at the age of 49. Molinari wrote
his obituary for the JDE which
was republished in Courcelle Seneuil's revised and annotated 2nd (1859)
and 3rd (1876) editions of the Coquelin's book. [See Coquelin, "Banque”
in DEP, vol. 1, pp. 107-45; Du
crédit et des banques (Paris: Guillaumin, 1848;
2nd ed. 1859; 3rd edition 1876); Molinari, "Charles Coquelin,” in JDE, Sept-Dec 1852, T. 33, pp. 167-76.
 Molinari is referring to Adam Smith’s famous story of the pin factory
which he used to illustrate the benefits of the division of labour in expanding
output. J.B. Say thought a better example was provided by the more complex
operation of manufacturing playing cards ("les cartes à jouer").
His son Horace Say summarizes Smith's and Say's arguments but chastises
them for not taking their analysis further to include all the other parties
which had to cooperate to get the metal to the pin factory before the production
of pins could begin. [See, Adam Smith, An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes
of the Wealth of Nations, Vol. I ed. R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner,
vol. II of the Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam
Smith (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1981). Chapter: [I.i] CHAPTER I: Of
the Division of Labour. </title/220/217385/2312783>;
J.B. Say, Cours
complet d'économie politique pratique. Ouvrage destiné à mettre sous les
yeux des hommes d'état, des propriétaires fonciers et des capitalistes,
des savants, des agriculteurs, des manufacturiers, des négociants, et en
général de tous les citoyens l'économie des sociétés, Volume
1. 2nd ed. Horace Say (Paris:Guillaumin, 1840). 3rd ed. 1852. vol. 1 CHAPITRE
XV. De la Division du travail, pp. 165-166; Horace Say, "Division
du travail” in DEP, vol. 1, pp. 567-69.]
 In the article "Papier-monnaie” in the DEP, vol. 2, pp. 316-23, Courcelle Seneuil makes a distinction between
"papier-monnaie” (paper money) and "monnaie de papier” (money in
paper form). The former is the creation of a political power, is imposed
on users through legal tender laws, and is fraudulent; the latter is a product
of voluntary contracts between banks and their customers, and are promises
to pay gold or silver upon demand.
 Molinari is hinting at the famous line from Juvenal's Satires "sed
quis custodiet ipsos custodes” (but who guards the guards themselves?).
This same question was raised by one of Molinari's late 19th century followers,
Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923) in the very same context. In a discussion of
the Italian government officials who regulated the banks which issued currency
he asks "sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” Given the banking crisis
that had engulfed Italy in 1898, Pareto concludes that "The Argus
(Panoptes) of fable was not able to guard very well the chastity of the
priestess Io. The Argus of the government has not been able to guard the
honesty of the money issuing banks any better …” Closer to Molinari's own
time the son-in-law of Nicolas de Condorcet (1743-1794), the Irish-Frenchman
Arthur Condorcet O'Connor (1763-1852), wrote a three volume work on "the
evils of monopoly” (1849) in which he argued that banking services could
be provided "infinitely better” privately and that when they were
provided by governments or
"privileged factions” the problem of the "guarding the guardian”
emerged: "It is a question of discovering the "quis custodiet ipsos
custodes", who is it who can prevent the shepherd and his dogs devouring
the sheep?” [See Vilfredo Pareto, La
Liberté économique et les événements d'Italie (Lausanne:
F. Rouge, 1898), pp. 89-90; Arthur Condorcet O'Connor, Le Monopole cause
de tous les maux (Paris: Didot, 1849-50), 3 vols.
Vol.1, pp. 221-25. See also the glossary entries on
"Condorcet O'Connor” and "Pareto".]
 Molinari is making a play on words which in the French are “gratis, gratuit,
 Molinari uses the word “coalition” here which we have prreviously translated
 The Economists were divided into four camps on the issue of the private
provision of public goods such as roads and bridges. Adam Smith had argued
that the principle of "user pays” should prevail in most cases and
that the government should only step in when no individual or firm would
undertake the work privately. J.B. Say, on the other hand, thought that
the state should play a bigger role because the benefits to individuals
might be small but when diffused over the entire economy would add up to
a considerable sum. A third school (e.g. J. Dupuit, Chief Engineer of the
Bridges and Highways department) thought that Smith's idea of user pays
could be taken even further as technology now made it possible for private
firms to make money providing the means of transport (such as engines)
as long as the state provided some of the basic infrastructure such as
roads. Molinari comprised the fourth group which thought that every aspect
of transport could and should be provided privately and competitively.
[See, Adam Smith, An
Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Vol.
I and II, ed. R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner, vol. II of the Glasgow
Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith (Indianapolis:
Liberty Fund, 1981). Chapter: [V.i.d] And, first, of those which are necessary
for facilitating Commerce in general. </title/200/217500/2316404>.
J.B. Say, Cours
complet d'économie politique pratique; ouvrage destiné à mettre sous les
yeux des hommes d'état, des propriétaires fonciers et les capitalistes,
des savans, des agriculteurs, des manufacturiers, des négocians, et en
général de tous les citoyens, l'économie des sociétés. Seconde édition
entièrement revue par l'auteur, publiée sur les manuscrits qu'il a laisées
et augmentée de notes par Horace Say, son fils (Paris: Guillaumin, 1840). Vol. II, Pat 7, chap. XXIII
"Dépense des routes,” pp. 306-7. Jules Dupuit, De l'influence des
péages sur l'utilité des voies de communication (Paris: Guillaumin et Cie., 1849); articles in DEP, vol. 2: "Péages” (Tolls), pp. 339-44; "Routes et chemins”
(Highways and Roads), pp. 555-60; "Voies de communication” (Communication
Routes), pp. 846-54.]
 Ambroise Clément in his article on "Monopole” in DEP, vol. 2, pp. 219-25, laments the fact that because transportation
is so controlled and regulated by the central government in France there
has been very little innovation by French engineers and businessmen over
the past 50 years. Most of the technological innovation in such things
as the macadamization of road surfaces, railway locomotives, suspension
bridges, and steam ships has taken place in the freer economies of Great
Britain and America:
"The result of this regime is that the spirit of enterprise is completely
discouraged (in this area of activity), and that nothing or almost nothing
is accomplished outside of the impetus of the corps of engineers, an impetus
which for reasons we have already indicated in the article "Fonctionnaries”
(Pubic Servants), is incomparably less powerful and less fertile than that
of free industry” (p. 224).
the old regime the most hated of the taxes imposed on the peasantry were
the forced labour obligations or "corvées” which required local farmers
to work a certain number of days every year (8) for their local lord or
on various local and national road works. These were repealed and reinstated
repeatedly over a period of about 60 years beginning with Turgot's ordinances
of March 1776. Forced labour obligations were reintroduced by Napoleon
in 1802 under a new name "prestations” and were limited to work on
local not national roads. They were abolished again in 1818 only to be
reintroduced in 1824 (2 days per year) and increased to 3 days per year
in 1836 with the further refinement of some individuals being able to buy
their way of service for a money payment. [See, Courcelle Seneuil, "Prestations,”
in DEP, vol. 2, pp. 428-30. Courcelle Seneuil described them as
"vicious” and "like the old debris from feudal times, like the
last vestige of barbarism and of the forced communal organization of labour".]
 Alexis Belloc, a deputy bureau chief in the Ministry of Post and Telegraph,
has a detailed history of the French Post Office which contains most of
the legislation concerning its operation. In 1672 the postal service was
"farmed out" to private interests which returned 1,200,00 livres
to the state. By 1788 this amount had risen to 12 million. [See, Alexis Belloc, Les Postes
françaises. Recherches historiques sur leur origine, leur développement,
leur législation (Paris: Firman-Didot, 1886). See
"C.S." "Postes" in DEP, vol. 2, pp. 421-24.]
 The word Molinari uses is “affermé” or farmed out, which is a reference
to how many activities of the state under the Ancien Régime were handled
by being “contracted out” to privileged private interests. For a fixed
annual sum, the state would permit the “farmers” to charge what they could
get for services and keep the difference as profit. The most notorious
example were the “tax farmers” (fermiers généraux) who collected taxes
on behalf of the state. Necker states that in 1786 the cost to the state
of raising certain direct taxes was about 6% of the total collected 209
million livres); the tax farmers who raised the rest took a cut of 22%
. The chemist Lavoisier was a successful tax farmer and for this he was
executed during the Revolution, such was the animosity felt towards this
group. [See, Gustave du Puynode, “Fermiers généraux,” DEP, vol. 1, pp. 766-67.]
 Molinari uses a couple of colourful expressions to describe the system
of state corruption. Here he uses the expression “distribuer à propos des
pots-de-vins” (handing out bottles of wine) with regard to the postal farmers;
on another occasion he quotes Saint-Amant on corruption in the French law
courts, where “Lady Justice set her palace on fire by eating too much spice”
- ‘spice’ being a term for bribes.
 “Cabinet Noir” (the Black Room) was the name given in France to the office
where the letters of suspected persons were opened and read by public officials
before being forwarded to their destination. The practice of opening
suspect letters was begun by Louis XI (1423-1483) who founded the government
postal service and Cardinal Richelieu regularized this practice by setting
up the "cabinet noirs.” During the Revolution (August 1790) the Constituent
Assembly declared the inviolability of the mail but this was overturned
by Napoleon and then reinstated by Charles X during the Restoration.
 According to the Budget of 1849 the Post Office brought in a total 49.9
million francs to the French government and the operating costs were 34
million francs. [See Appendix on the Budgets of 1848 and 1849.]
 Before the 1848 Revolution users paid a rate which varied according to
the distance the letter was carried. Tariff reform occurred first in Britain
with the introduction of the flat rate "penny post” in 1842 under
the guidance of the reformer Rowland Hill and this was followed in France
with the the decree of 24 August, 1848 which imposed a flat rate of 20
centimes. In 1847 the government Post Office carried 125 million letters;
in 1849 when the stamp rate was fixed at 20 centimes 136 million letters
were carried; and in 1852 with the rate at 25 centimes 168 million letters
were carried. There was an explosive growth in mail carried in Britain
during this period. In 1842, the year of the reform, 208 million letters
were carried; by 1851 some 360 million letters were being carried. [See "C.S." "Postes" in DEP, vol. 2, p. 423.]
 Robert Lovelace was the heir to an earldom who pursued the young Clarissa
Harlowe in Samuel Richardson's novel Clarissa,
or The History of a Young Lady (1748). Before abducting
her, Lovelace writes many love letters to her trying to persuade her to
elope with him. Monsieur Turcaret is a successful financier and married
man who has fallen in love with a widowed aristocrat in a play written
by Alain-René Lesage (1668-1747), Turcaret
ou le Financier (1709). It is interesting to note that in both works the stories
hinge around nouveau riche individuals who wish to break into aristocratic
 The Royal Post was established by Louis XI (1423-1483) by an edict of
1464 for his exclusive use only. Any other unauthorized use of the post
was punished by death and post masters were authorized to read the mail
in order to ensure that it was not "contrary to service to the King".
Louis also created 230 "maistres de postes" (post masters) also
"Chevaucheurs" (relay post riders) who kept sufficient horses at
each stage to carry the royal mail from one station to the next. The only
competition in mail carrying at this time came from the University which
had a license to carry messages on official university business. [See, Belloc, Les Postes
françaises, pp. 16-23ff.]
 The law of 15 Ventôse an XIII (6 March 1805) is summarized and discussed
by Belloc, pp. 389-91. Violators of this law were subject to a fine of
500 francs. In spite of these subsidies and anti-competitive measures the
post masters and relay post riders went into economic decline as travelers
and mail services avoided traveling on the main roads and went on side
roads instead in order to avoid having to pay the official post masters.
 “Entrepreneurs de diligences”. [See the glossary entry
"Entrepreneur” and the different kinds of entrepreneurs Molinari discusses.]
The “droit du 10e sur les places” (travelers seat tax) was another economic
distortion government policy caused. When traveling by road coach companies
had to pay 1/10 of the cost of the ticket as a tax to the government to help
defray the cost of road maintenance. When railways began to enter service
in 1838 they too had to pay the seat tax but it was calculated in a way which
favoured the rail companies. This resulted in a subsidy to the rail companies
as it cost 25 centimes per 100 kilometres per rail customer in tax but the
same distance traveled by road cost 1 franc in tax. Furthermore, road coaches
had to pay their own capital costs while the railroads enjoyed considerable
government subsidies in their capital costs. The travellers seat tax raised
8.8 million francs in 1847. [See, J. Dupuit, “Routes et chemins,” DEP, vol. 2, pp. 555-60.]
- See the 6th Conversation.
 France had a well developed system of optical telegraphy, the Chappe
telegraph, which had emerged in the late 18th century for the use of the
French government and military. The American Samuel Morse invented the
electric telegraph in 1832 thus making all previous optical systems redundant.
The first electric telegraph in France sent messages from Paris to Rouen
in 1845 but was still reserved for the exclusive use of the government.
In March 1851 the use of the electric telegraph was opened up to the public
for the first time. Also in that year the first submarine cable was laid
between England and France.
 Molinari must have been a great fan of the theatre. He wrote a very angry
and sarcastic article on "Théâtres” in DEP, vol. 2, pp. 731-33 in which he denounced the censorship and regulation
of the theatre industry as "tyrannical” and the regulators as
"the most fanatical partisans of the principle of authority.”
He also wrote three articles for the JDE: "L'industrie des théâtres, à props de la cries actuelle,” JDE, 15 Mai 1849, T. XXIV, pp. 12-29; "La liberté des théâtres,
à props de demux nouveaux projects de lois soumis au Conseil d'État,” 15
Nov. 1849, pp. 342-51; "L'enquête sue les théâtres,” 15 Mai 1850, T.
XXVI, pp. 130-44. He was responding to an official inquiry into the state
of the industry: Enquête
et documents officiels sur les théâtres. Conseil
d'Etat. Commission chargée de préparer la loi sur les théâtres (Impr. nationale,
 The Comédie-Français (also known as the Théâtre-Français) was founded
in 1680 by Louis XIV. He also founded the Opéra de Paris in 1669. The privileges
enjoyed by these two bodies were abolished during the Revolution (the law
of 13 January 1791) and was replaced by what Molinari calls "la liberté
des théâtres” which saw a proliferation of theatre companies in Paris.
This experiment in freedom came to an end in 1806 when Napoleon reintroduced
censorship and limited the number of theatre companies to 8. Another decree
issued by Napoleon in 1812 (when he was busy marching on Moscow) created
the charter which still governed the operation of the Comédie-Français
when Molinari was writing.
 Here the Socialist uses the French word “exploitation” rather than “spoliation”
which has been used in the rest of the book.
 The Palace of Verseilles was constructed between the 1660s and 1700 at
a cost of over 100 million Livres.
 Some statistics about theaters were published in the JDE from the Enquête
et documents officiels sur les théâtres (1849).
The article is unsigned but is probably by Molinari. It lists the following:
21 theaters in Paris and the expiration date of their government privileges;
the amount of caution money directors had to pay the state (the Opéra and
Théâtre-François both paid 250,000 F), the annual total amount of government
subsidies (1849 - 1,284,000 F), the number of theaters which have gone
bankrupt between 1806 and 1849 (57 - with 11 since the february 1848 Revolution),
and the number of seats each theatre had (the Opéra seated 1,811 and the
Théâtre-François seated 1,560). In the Budget for 1848 an amount of 2,614,950
was set aside for expenditure of “Beaux Arts” (Fine Arts). [See, "Documents
extraits de l'enquête sur les théâtres", JDE July
1850, T. XXVI, pp. 409-12; and the Appendix on the Budgets for 1848 and
 The Café Tortoni was a famous café in Paris which was founded in 1798
and closed in 1898. It was known for its “glace napolitaine” ice-cream
and was frequented by artists like Édouard Monet and politicians like Adolphe
- In the departéments and in the Paris suburbs, on the other hand, the
directors of plays levy a duty of a fifth of gross takings on the performances
of circus entertainers, conjurers, etc. These pleasures of the poor man
are taxed to the advantage of the rich man. There is what the (July)
monarchy has done for us.
 The Bibiothèque Nationale de France began as the royal library of Charles
V (1364-1380). It later became known as the Bibliothèque nationale de la
République francaise. Its collection of digitized books, known as Gallica,
was crucial in researching this translation of Molinari’s book. The Mazarin
Library (Bibliothèque Mazarine) is the oldest pubic library in France and
is based upon the large personal collection of Cardinal Mazarin (1602-1661).
gives the figure of "more than a million". In the 1848 Budget
the following amounts were set aside for funding the libraries. These seem
to be operating costs and not building costs and there may be other libraries
which are part of the University, the Institute, various museums, and other
scientific societies, the expenses of which are not listed separately in
the budget figures: the Bibliothèque royal (renamed the Bibliothèque nationale
during the Second Republic after 1848) F. 283,600 (ordinary expenses) and
F. 105,000 (extraordinary expenses) for a total of F. 388,600; and for
public libraries such as the Mazarin F. 170,223. Thus funding for libraries
totaled F. 558,823 out of a total budget for "Sciences and Letters”
of F. 1,854,477. The combined total of expenditure in the Ministry of Public
Instruction (which included funding for the University, and Science and
Letters) was F 18,038,033. [See the Appendix on the 1848 and 1849 Budgets.]
 Molinari uses the rather strong expression “le régime bâtard” which might
also be translated as “bastard,” “hybrid,” or “mongrel” regime. We have
translated it as “mixed” regime.
- There are four recognized religions, namely: Roman Catholicism, Protestantism
(Augsburg Confession), Lutheranism and Judaism. In the 1848 Budget
a total of 39.6 million Francs was set aside for expenditure by the state
on religion. Of this 38 million went to the Catholic Church, 1.3 million
went to Protestant churches, and 122,883 went to Jewish groups. [See the
Appendix on the 1848 and 1849 Budgets.]
 Cherbuliez argued that the Catholic Church was in the business of
"la production religieuse" (the production of religion) and that
it was "un seul entrepreneur" (a single entrepreneur) or a monopolist
supplier which had the protection of the state. He wanted to see this monopoly
supplier of religious services exposed to "le régime de la libre concurrence" (the
regime of free competition) which would do for the supply and consumption
of religion what it would also do the the supply and consumption of grain
and manufactured goods. [ See, A.-E. Cherbuliez, Cultes religieuse," DEP, vol.
1, pp. 534-39. Quote on p. 536 and 538.]
 Molinari distinguished between what he called "the French system" of
religion, where the state intervenes by recognizing and funding certain
religious denominations, and "the American system", where no
denomination is favoured or subsidized and where "la liberté des cultes" (the
liberty of religion) prevails. [See, "La liberté de l'intervention
gopuvernmentale en matière des cultes. - Système français et système américain" which
was first published in Économiste belge,
1 June 1857 and reprinted in Questions
d'économique politique et de droit public (1861),
vol. 1 pp. 351-61.]
 The Ministry of Public Eduction and Religion had a budget of 62.8 million
Francs in 1849, of which 21.7 million went to Public Education. The University
received 17.9 million and this is what Molinari has in mind here. It oversaw
the running of the public schools (see note below). [See the Appendix of
the Budgets for 1848 and 1849.]
 The French educational system was placed under the administrative control
of the national University by a series of decrees issued by Napoleon in
May 1806 and March 1808. These granted the University the power to set
the number of schools, the level at which private schools were taxed, the
curriculum for entry into professional schools (the Baccalaureate examination),
pay rates for teachers and inspectors, and so on. Important revisions to
the law were the Guizot Law of 1833 and the Falloux Law of 1850. Battles
were fought in the 1830s and 1840s over the right of Catholic schools to
operate independently of the state and the right to establish additional
private schools, the so-called struggle for "liberty of education".
The Guizot Law required every commune to set up an elementary school for
boys, created a corps of school inspectors, and set a minimum salary for
teachers. It did not make attendance compulsory (this was enacted in 1882
by Jules Ferry). The Falloux Law of 1850 permitted a considerable expansion
of Catholic schools and created a two tier system of state funded government
schools run by the communes, departments or the central government, and
private "free” schools". [See, Patrick J. Harrigan, "Pubic
Instruction,” in Historical Dictionary
of France from the 1815 Restoration to the Second Empire. Vol. 2 M-Z, ed. Edgar Leon Newman and Robert Lawrence Simpson (New
York: Greenwood Press, 1887), pp. 841-847.
 It was central to Bastiat’s theory of education that children not be
taught the dead languages of Greek and Latin because he thought the texts
which the students were required to study embodied the moral values of
slave owners, warriors, and plunders. He favoured the study of modern languages,
music, and business studies.
 The Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers was founded by the Abbé Grégoire
in 1794 in order to improve training for those who wished to work in French
industry and manufacturing. It had a museum of scientific and technical
equipment, a library, and ran courses to train engineers and technicians.
[See, de Sauvigny, Historical
Dictionary of France, vol. 1, p. 245.]
 Patouillet was an eighteenth century Jesuit scholar who attacked the
work of the Benedictine historian Charles Clémencet on the grounds of its
alleged Jansenism. Claude-Adrien Nonnotte (1711-1793) was a Jesuit priest
who attacked the work of Voltaire, especially Les
erreurs de Voltaire (1762).