149.: ricardo to mill1[Reply to 145.—Answered by 151] - 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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ricardo to mill
[Reply to 145.—Answered by 151]
[Gatcomb Park, 30 Dec. 1815]
My dear Sir
A passage in Mr. Percevals correspondence with the Bank, which I had overlooked when I last wrote, and which has been since pointed out to me, gives such a limited character to the agreement that he entered into with the Bank, that I have now no scruple in recommending its being annulled—so that I have been again at work on the MS. I have added to various parts of it and it now waits for your friendly eye, and I hope unfriendly, or rather unbiassed, judgement, to decide whether it shall be sent to the printers. If it is published it is material that it should appear about the 1st. of feby., (the meeting of Parliament), and I conclude from your last letter that you will be in London time enough to allow of its being printed by that day. If you think you shall not I can send it to you in a parcel from London where I shall be again the week after next,—about the 9th. Jany. You will perhaps oblige me with a line here before I quit home.
I am obliged to you for suggesting to me what might have been said in favour of laying this agreement aside, if it had all the character of durability which I at first attached to it. There are in fact two agreements with the Bank, one which expires next year, and refers to the deposits only; the other regards the management of the debt. The latter, tho’ prodigal, is not sufficiently so to justify its being cancelled on the plea of being an improvident and shameful bargain—the former has I think much more of that character. When you see the MS you will be so good as to tell me what you think of the short argument I have used on this point, and will perhaps suggest some little addition to that part of the subject.—
I am much pleased with the idea of having a task set me on which to write, and I would immediately begin on the one which you have given me if my mind was not rather anxious about the MS. Whilst it is with me I am incessantly looking it over to see whether my powers can do any thing more for it. I have seen so much of it that I sometimes fear I rather mar than mend. As soon as I get rid of it I will begin on the proposition which you require to be proved.
I know I shall be soon stopped by the word price, and then I must apply to you for advice and assistance. Before my readers can understand the proof I mean to offer, they must understand the theory of currency and of price. They must know that the prices of commodities are affected two ways one by the alteration in the relative value of money, which affects all commodities nearly at the same time,—the other by an alteration in the value of the particular commodity, and which affects the value of no other thing, excepting it ent[er] into its composition.—This invariability of the value of the precious metals, but from particular causes relating to themselves only, such as supply and demand, is the sheet anchor on which all my propositions are built; for those who maintain that an alteration in the value of corn will alter the value of all other things, independently of its effects on the value of the raw material of which they are made, do in fact deny this doctrine of the cause of the variation in the value of gold and silver. You shall find me a tractable and I hope an industrious pupil.
I had already before I received your letter begun to practise the right of secluding myself of a morning. Some of my brothers have been staying here but they have seldom seen me after breakfast till dinner. I am persuaded that I shall not get on with any work if I suffer my mornings to be broken in upon.—
My sister Mrs. Porter relapsed again and was nearly as bad as ever, when at the wish of her friends she placed herself under the care of Mr. Scott a surgeon and apothecary at Bromley in Kent of whose success in disorders of the skin we had heard much said. She has been there 2 or 3 weeks and her progress to recovery appears miraculous. All her wraps are thrown off—opium is discontinued—she can walk 3 or 4 miles a day—every part of her body is healed except the inside of her hands,—and they are mending every day— her nails are growing and she has rejoiced us here at Gatcomb by a letter in her own hand writing. You may judge how happy she is, and how happy that charming girl Esther is— who is still her constant companion. We are all delighted.