Paris, May 29,1840
To M. J.-B. Proudhon
Vol. 1, pg 215
My dear cousin, your last letter caused me extreme pleasure, despite the fine mockeries that you threw to my full hands; I know how to bear wonderfully the jokes, I fear only the anger of persons. Mock me as much as you would like, and provided none of it be reproachful, it does me no wrong.
I am neither a holy simonien, nor fouriériste, nor babouviste, nor of any business or reformist congregation. I believe only that as in economy, politics, and even in morals, and as in chemistry and in astronomy, the last coming is always the one who knows the most. The largest minds are therefore not necessarily the most knowledgeable, and such that, born of our time, he would have astounded the Aristotles and the Cicérons, if he had been their contemporary, would have died in obscurity. We do not have worth because we learn, we have worth because we do. Now, my cousin, you must laugh again, with that which I know, and that is not a big thing, I intend to take a step further than those of my predecessors; I admit to it, but that will be, or I will be lost to it. I do not work to do a trade; to work to live, I prefer the workshop to the feather. Now, it has been settled henceforth that my studies will never bring me a penny, at least I do not hope for it. It is sad! You would say; no, my cousin, it is natural.
I have been putting the finishing touches on a manuscript that I intend to print in Paris in a little. I am longing for this affair to soon be finished, because the details of impression and revision always take a lot of time, and because I do not want to have done nothing but this study alone in my year. I hope, my cousin, to kiss you before long, being strongly determined to attend the scientific congress that will take place in Besançon next September, and to take advantage of this time to do an inventory check of my printing press.
I do a diabolical work and that even frightens me myself; I will go out of this place shining as an angel, or burned as a devil; pray to God for me.
Bonjour, my cousin