120.: trower to ricardo1[Answered by 136] - 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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trower to ricardo
[Answered by 136]
Unsted Wood—Godalming— 21. September 1815——
When I cast my eye on the date of your letter I feel ashamed it has remained so long unanswered. The fact is I have had friends staying with me for some time past, and that circumstance always unsettles our regular habits. My wife’s confinement too has contributed to the dissipation of my time. She has added a little girl to our family, and I am happy to say they are both quite well.
I am rejoiced to find, that the subject of Political Economy still occupies your thoughts, and should regret exceedingly if it were to give way to the humbler pursuits of farming, and planting. These do well enough to fill a vacant space, but have no pretensions to obtrude where weightier thoughts inhabit.—
Devoting, as you have done, so large a portion of your leisure hours, to this your favorite subject, it would be unpardonable with the encreased opportunity you now enjoy not to collect, condense, combine, and embody the substance of your former meditations. The difficulty of composing you speak of is common to all young authors, and is to be surmounted only by practice habit, and labor.—It has been felt, encountered and surmounted by an Addison and a Gibbon, and so it may be by a Ricardo—
I am desirous of knowing the remedy you have in view to obviate the evils arising from the too sudden fluctuations in the amount of the circulating medium. The Bank already possess the means if they knew how to use them rightly. That they have fattened too much at the expence of the public I admit, and that they should disgorge I heartily approve. But, I confess, I should view with great distrust and alarm so powerful an engine as the Bank direct placed in the hands of Government. The temptation to abuse it would be strong and constant, and the means easy—In the hands of the Bank this machine may be worked improperly nay mischievously, from ignorance, but there is little fear that it should be so from dishonesty.
What think you of the last number of the Edinburgh Review. I was highly amused in hearing the circumstance which occasioned its late appearance. It contained a long and labored article written by Sr. James Mackintosh, abusing the confederacy against France most unmercifully, prognosticating the utter ruin and disgrace of the Allies, and the triumph of Bonaparte. This was ready printed, when lo! the accounts of the victory of Waterloo arrived; and it became necessary to suppress this article, and reprint the edition!
So much for these pseudo northern prophets from Brougham to Mackintosh—This rejected Edition will form a rare article in the libraries of Vertuosi!
I admire your ingenious defence of Bonaparte. “A man’s glory cannot be effaced by his subsequent faults.” With submission, I apprehend there is some sophistry in this. Every individual action considered by itself, must stand or fall upon its own merit, without any reference to circumstances not necessarily connected with it. But a man’s character, his reputation, his renown, must be estimated upon a reference to the whole of his conduct. It is not a single action, which constitutes a man either virtuous or vicious. It is the habit the practice of a man’s life, which must stamp his character. We must cast up the account of his good and bad qualities and strike the balance. None are so base as not to evince some momentary moments of virtue; and none, I fear, so good as not to discover, on some occasions, slight stains of vice—How then will Bonaparte stand the test of this strict account—So far from not doing him justice, it appears to me that the world are disposed to favor him too highly. There is a sort of splendor that accompanies his exploits which dazzles our eyes and renders us blind to his deformities —Talent, great talent, he undoubtedly possesses, and that is the divinity principally worshipped in this age of intellect. I greatly doubt therefore whether the advocates of Bonaparte will successfully appeal from the present times to posterity.
Pray make our united regards to Mrs. Ricardo and family, and believe me
Yours very sincerely,
Vegitation with us is rapidly disappearing, and if the dry weather continues much longer we shall be burnt to a cinder.