176.: trower to ricardo2[Reply to 171] - David Ricardo, The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 7 Letters 1816-1818 
The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, ed. Piero Sraffa with the Collaboration of M.H. Dobb (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005). Vol. 7 Letters 1816-1818.
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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
[Reply to 171]
Unsted Wood—August 20—1816.
When I look at the date of your last kind letter I feel some degree of shame at having suffered it to remain so long unanswered. I am not disposed to admit, even in my own case, that any adequate excuse can be given for the neglect of a good correspondent; but, perhaps, I may venture to state, in palliation of the offence, that I was occupied last week by the Assizes at Guildford, in discharging the duties of a grand juror. Although the Kalender was heavy, there were not many crimes of an aggravated nature—Lord Cochrane’s trial excited most interest, of which you will find a full account in the papers. —He was really mad enough to think, the jury would acquit him; as it was they went further than they were justified in going—Who called upon them to give an opinion whether his previous punishment had been more than adequate? And a recommendation to mercy founded upon an unauthorised opinion cannot be entitled to attention.—
I hope you are not so idle as I am, for I find I make little or no progress in my studies. I have not yet opened Wayland’s Book, although I am very anxious to see his view of the subject. I intend to take that opportunity of going thoroughly into Malthus’s system; for I confess, that hitherto I have felt great repugnance to the artificial checks to population he suggests. I fear the remedy would be worse than the disease—I would sooner trust to the effects of public Schools and Provident Institutions to bring about the reformation we require.
I have had a long letter from Elwin on the subject of the clause in Roses Bill relating to the great question of extending Parish Relief to Depositors. He says as the original sin of its invention is mine, I am bound to foster my own begettings. I lament to find strong objections are entertained against it by the Lawyers, as I am satisfied, that the sanctioning of that measure is essential to the success of Provident Insts. No poor man in his senses will have anything to do with them, unless it be so provided. I merely wish a declaratory clause to be introduced stating, that a Depositor, as such, should not necessarily be excluded from parish relief; and leaving the discretion as to its application to particular cases, (where alone it ought to be) with the Magistrates—This question cannot be evaded. It will arise, it must be decided. And it is much wiser for the Legislature to decide it generally, than to leave it to the capricious and contradictory opinions of individuals. I am satisfied too, that there will be but few cases requiring such relief. Those whose prudent habits lead them to lay by, from time to time, a portion of their earnings are not likely to become burthensome on the parish. But unforseen accidents, or misfortunes, may drive a man to that necessity, and whenever so circumstanced he ought to share the assistance of his parish in common with his neighbors. Relief is not denied to a man having a cow, or a pig, or a cabbage garden. Why then should those who thus employ their savings be preferred to him who lays it out in a Provident Inst. But, even admitting the cases to be different, still I say it is worth while to favor the Depositor, in order to induce the poor generally to adopt those habits of prudence and economy from which we hope to derive the most important cons[equen]ces. Do avail yourself of every opportunity of impressing p[ublic] men with the importance of encouraging these Ins[titutions] that we may strengthen ourselves for the hour of [need] which I fear will accompany the ensuing Session[. If the] clause is lost, farewell to Provident Instistuti[ons.]
I am very much obliged to you for the kind wish you ex[press] that we should visit Gatcomb. It would give us great pleasure to do so, but the cares of a Nursery render it necessary for us to consider ourselves pretty much as fixtures. Indeed I often lament we are removed so great a distance from each other, as I doubt not we should make excellent neighbors. I should be sorry too not to think, that at some future period we may have an opportunity of peeping at Gatcomb, and of making you welcome at our small dwelling—
Adieu my Dear Ricardo. Mrs. Trower unites with me in kind regards to Mrs. Ricardo and family and I remain
Yrs very affectionately