Letter to Edmund Potter

Scope and Content

Letter sent from 82 Rue de l'Université, Paris, marked "private". Cobden thanks Potter for the copy of his tract. Cobden talks of the Anglo-French negotiations. He says the French government acts in "good faith" by soliciting the views of English manufacturers as to the comparative productive strength of the two countries: the only danger is of being "misled by their own protectionists". Cobden corrects Potter in his estimation of men in the French army and the size of the French navy, saying the British are spending many more millions on the military than the French ("and yet we console ourselves with the reflection that we are not a military people!") He says that contrary to popular opinion he believes the Emperor [Napoleon III] has the intention of maintaining peace with England. Cobden believes that there is a danger in British militarisation, especially regarding people's opinion. However, a "few years commercial intercourse made under the new treaty will make it more difficult to break the peace", if they are "allowed so long a period of grace".