Front Page Titles (by Subject) 68.: mill to ricardo1 - The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 6 Letters 1810-1815
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68.: 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
Ford Abbey Novr. 24th. 1814
My dear Sir
Your kind letter2 gave me a great deal of pleasure. In truth it is not easy to avoid being pleased at finding that one stands pretty high in the opinion of those whom one loves and esteems. But I will come to the business part of this letter before I say one word more about any thing else.— Mons. Say, the author of the excellent book with which you are well acquainted, entitled Economie Politique, is in this island. It would be a thousand pities that you and he should not see one another. I have therefore been endeavouring to plan a meeting between you. He is known to a friend of mine.3 But at present he is in Scotland, gone to see Dugald Stuart and the other philosophers of that region. I have written, however, to my friend, to endeavour to prevail upon him when he returns (that will be the beginning of next month) to pay you a visit at Gatcomb Park.4 I am persuaded the meeting with a man so eminent in your favourite science would be highly agreeable to you; and if he has half the love for political economy which the author of his book must of necessity have, he must be delighted to have had an opportunity of conversing with you. But this is not the whole of the project. There is something in it also for myself. On mentioning to Mr. Bentham my project of bringing together you and Mons. Say, he started an idea which is perfection itself. If you can prevail upon M. Say, said he, to go to Mr. Ricardos, perhaps we may prevail upon both Mr. Ricardo and Mr. Say to come here. I am persuaded you will not think much of the journey. It is little more than 50 miles hither from Bath; and if Mr. Say should here leave you to go to London, the Bath and Exeter Stage passes at a few miles distance every day, so that you can return any way that you chuse. It would be a high treat to me to see you here, and to see you along with Say. To him I have no doubt it will be an object to meet with Mr. Bentham; and I am sure you will be gratified to be made acquainted with him. Both he and I have set our hearts upon the project, and will be much disappointed, if it should not succeed.1
As for your kind importunity to make a circuit by you on our return home, the resolution is taken to remain here as long, I suppose, as you mean to stay at Gatcomb Park. We shall be here till after Xtmass, that is, till the first week in January at the earliest. It follows that I must postpone the gratification of my curiosity till another season.
Mr. Hume came to your gate with the intention of paying you a visit—but was informed at the Lodge that you and Mrs. Ricardo had that morning set off for London—and therefore he did not call. Gatcomb Park he wrote to me, is a large, elegant, modern built house, standing in a hollow, like Cricket Lodge, the seat of Lord Bridport, in this neighbourhood; I have therefore, a very exact idea of your situation. He gives a formidable idea of the steepness of your roads. I understand, he says, that Gatcomb estate is a very good purchase. I am very glad to hear it. I shall, however, be very well pleased when I hear that you have less of it in your own farming hand. You will but lose money by that. I have some friends who have so much pleasure in losing money by farming, that it would be a pity to blame them for a little extravagance on a favourite mistress; but as you have no such concupiscence, it is loss without a return to you.
When you was in London, did you hear any political economy news, that was worth the repeating? What says the bullion market? It seems to be intimated pretty distinctly by the ministers, that the Bank restriction is to be continued. Is any body meditating any thing to excite the attention of the public to the subject, and make, or at least try to make them think as they ought? What is to be done in regard to the corn-importing law? Will the prohibition gentry push their project anew, and if they do, will they succeed? What is Mr. Malthus doing with his notes on Adam Smith? I see Buchannans book is out.1 Have you seen any thing of it?
I know not that I shall have any thing to say to the ladies this time—because they will have nothing to say to me. Oh they are modest—they don’t like to shew themselves. As if ladies like them were ever afraid of shewing every thing that is about them to the men. Oh, no—I see how it is. They do not think poor me worth the shewing any thing to. The mischief of it is, too, that I do not see any means I have to make them repent of their sauciness. In revenge, I would avoid liking them, if I could. Adieu—Believe me
[1 ]Addressed: ‘David Ricardo Esq. / Gatcomb Park / Mincing Hampton / Gloucester Shire’
[2 ]Ricardo’s letter is wanting.
[3 ]Francis Place.
[4 ]Mill had written to Place on the same day (24 November) suggesting that Say should be ‘prevailed upon to pay Mr. Ricardo a visit (though at the distance of Gloucester shire) as the man the most profoundly versant both in the theory and practice of political economy’. He added ‘But I have another treat for him, and, if he be a man whose [? who has a] passion for science, the highest treat he can meet with in this country— and that is a sight of Mr. Bentham who is by far undoubtedly the first philosopher in existence. If he will pay Mr. Ricardo a visit— who will treat him like a lord— I shall be able I think to prevail upon Mr. R. to accompany him hither where Mr. Bentham will be glad or rather extremely desirous to see them both, and where they may stay one or two, or as many days as they please.’ (MS in British Museum, Add. 35,152, fol. 110; quoted by Halévy, La Formation du Radicalisme philosophique, 1901, vol. 11, p. 349.)
[1 ]Ricardo’s reply is quoted in a letter of Mill to Place, dated Ford Abbey, 4 Dec. 1814: ‘I have a letter from Mr. Ricardo, which begins—“My Dear Sir—The meeting which you have projected between M. Say and myself cannot but be delightful to me. I should like much to have the opinions of so eminent a man on several points which I consider as yet unsettled. I hope your friend will be able to prevail on him to visit me at Gatcomb—I will do every thing I can to make it agreeable to him.” He also further promises he will accompany him here. I write therefore at present to enable you to assureM. Say that both Mr. Bentham and Mr. Ricardo are extremely desirous of having an opportunity of seeing him and will be highly delighted to receive him in their houses—to beg also that you will use all your endeavors to prevail upon him to come and prepare Mr. Godwin to join his influence to yours.’ (MS copy in British Museum, Add. 35,152, fol. 117; see William Godwin’s letter of 7 Oct. 1814 introducing Say to Place, ib., fol.95.) On the visit to Ford Abbey, see below, p. 161.
[1 ]Wealth of Nations, ‘With Notes, and an additional Volume, by David Buchanan’, 4 vols., Edinburgh, Oliphant, 1814. On his own projected edition of the Wealth of Nations Malthus had written to Francis Horner on 10 Nov. 1813: ‘I have lately seen the advertisement of the new Edition of Adam Smith. It is to be sure precisely upon the same plan as that which I had projected, and if it is done tolerably well the author must anticipate me in some points. Under these circumstances I am not sure whether it may not be necessary for me to change my plan and to publish only a volume of essays instead of a new edition of Smith. I suppose I had better however wait to see what sort of work it is, before I finally make my determination. The circumstance on the whole is rather unfortunate.’ This change of plan was confirmed a year later, as it appears from a letter of Whishaw to Horner, dated Lincoln’s Inn, 28 Oct. 1814: ‘Malthus is very well, and was here a few days ago. He seems to have relinquished his plan of editing Adam Smith (in consequence of being forestalled by Buchanan); and seems disposed to publish a volume or two of essays on distinct branches of political economy.’ (MSS in the possession of Lady Langman.) It is curious that as late as in January 1815 Ricardo still expected that Malthus would publish his Notes; see below, p. 169. Malthus’s Notes were never published and the MS has not been found. The Inverarity MS in the Marshall Library at Cambridge (which Dr Bonar, in Economic Journal, 1929, p. 210, has supposed to contain these Notes) is merely a series of questions on the Wealth of Nations set by Malthus to his pupils at Haileybury.—A letter from Malthus dated 3 Sept. 1812 on the proposed edition, which was ‘to consist of foot notes where only short remarks were required, with an additional volume of longer notes and dissertations,—to be finished in about two years’, is given in The Publishing Firm of Cadell and Davies, Select Correspondence and Accounts, 1793– 1836, ed. by T. Besterman, Oxford, 1938, p. 163–4. (I owe this reference to Professor Jacob Viner.)