Front Page Titles (by Subject) 49.: mill to ricardo1 - The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 6 Letters 1810-1815
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49.: mill to ricardo1 - David Ricardo, The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 6 Letters 1810-1815 
The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, ed. Piero Sraffa with the Collaboration of M.H. Dobb (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005). Vol. 6 Letters 1810-1815.
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First published by Cambridge University Press in 1951. Copyright 1951, 1952, 1955, 1973 by the Royal Economic Society. This edition of The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo is published by Liberty Fund, Inc., under license from the Royal Economic Society.
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mill to ricardo1
My dear Sir
I find on conversing with one or two persons, and particularly Mr. Bentham, that the impression conveyed bythe late paragraph of Mr. C. Johnstone, is, that you receiveda civil letter from him, and did not answer it; and Mr. Bentham said, that if he had known nothing of the two parties he should have condemned you, from what appeared on the face of the publication, and therefore it was his opinion that you should by a statement of all the facts set the matter right with the public.—I have thought it right to let you know that this is likely to be the common impression, and to add that I, too, now think, explanation may not be useless.
I would merely say, that in consequence of Mr. Cochrane Johnstones publication in the newspapers, I had thought it necessary to state, that on return home from a short absence I had found the following letter—inserting it—that in consequence I answered by the following, inserting it—that Mr. C. Johnstone returned the following—that in consequence an interview took place—and you may state the leading circumstances of the interview, or not, only if you do, paying particular attention to the mode of saying it.
Ever my Dear Sir Yours &.c.
Queen Square Monday Morning [18 April 1814]
[This letter refers to an incident in the investigation of the famous fraud on the Stock Exchange which was carried out on 21 Feb. 1814 by staging the arrival from France of a courier dressed as a staff officer and bringing the news of a great victory. The Omnium immediately rose 5½ points, only to fall back as soon as the hoax was exposed; in the meantime large profits had been made by, amongst others, Lord Cochrane, the radical member for Westminster, and his uncle A. Cochrane Johnstone (who had been the neighbour and tenant of Bentham at Queen Square Place; see Bentham’s Works, vol. x.p. 449). Ricardo, as a member of the Stock Exchange Committee for the Protection of Property against Fraud, was active in pressing forward the detection and later the prosecution of the conspirators (as it appears from the MS Minutes of the Stock Exchange Committee for General Purposes). While the investigation was in progress, Johnstone wrote to the Chairman of the Stock Exchange that one Macrae was willing to disclose the circumstances of the fraud for a reward of £10,000; his letter was considered at a meeting (reported in the Morning Chronicle of 14 April) when it was remarked that Macrae had not been induced to come forward till after the arrest, which had recently been effected, of Beranger, the chief actor in the fraud. Johnstone replied, in a letter to the Chronicle, pointing out that so far back as the 30 March he had written to ‘Mr. David Ricardo of Upper Brook-Street’ a letter (of which he enclosed a copy) asking to be received in order to give some information ‘which, if followed up with vigour by the Stock Exchange, may probably lead to the detection of those concerned in the late fraud’; the next day he communicated to Ricardo that the information could be obtained from Macrae; ‘from that period I have never been favoured with any communication from Mr Ricardo.’ These two letters of Johnstone were printed in the Morning Chronicle of 15 April 1814, and they form the ‘paragraph’ mentioned by Mill; no reply from Ricardo appeared.
At the trial before Lord Ellenborough, in June 1814, Lord Cochrane, A. Cochrane Johnstone and others were found guilty and severely sentenced. The conviction of Lord Cochrane was attributed by the Radicals to political vindictiveness, but a widely held opinion was that expressed by Joseph Hume in a letter to him in 1852: ‘I knew at the time the alleged offence was committed, Mr. Cochrane Johnstone, and my conviction at the time was, and still is, that you were the dupe of his cupidity, and suffered from his act. With David Ricardo, who was the prosecutor on the part of the Stock Exchange on that occasion, I have often conversed on the subject.’ (See The Autobiography of a Seaman, by the Earl of Dundonald [i.e. Lord Cochrane], London, 1860, vol. 11, p. 389; in a footnote the author mistakes Ricardo for the solicitor of the Stock Exchange.)]
[1 ]Addressed: ‘David Ricardo Esq. / Upper Brook Street / Grosvenor Square’. Postmark, 18 April 1814.—MS in R.P.