177.: ricardo to mill1[Reply to 175.—Answered by 180] - 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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ricardo to mill
[Reply to 175.—Answered by 180]
Gatcomb Park. Minchinhampton 8th. Sepr. 1816
My dear Sir
Since I received your kind letter I have been in London for about a week, which has been one of the causes why I have so long delayed answering it. Writing, I at least find, is something different from talking on paper. I can with some confidence maintain my opinion against my adversaries in conversation, because I know they are more intent on the matter than on the manner. Besides by a look, a remark, a sign, you know in conversation what the point of difference is, and all your efforts are directed to that point. In writing you address both those who know little, and those who know much. Every thing must be admitted, or proved, and it is difficult to know whether you will not be very obscure or very tiresome. On this subject however I mean to say no more, for I will not expose myself to the chance of your mistaking my motives. I shall proceed in my work with all due diligence, and after hastily copying what is now dispersed in various directions, I shall send it to you. In its present form I scarcely understand it myself, and I am sure you could make nothing of it. I shall not be careful to omit the repetition of the same thought, perhaps in various places, because as my fault is that of brevity and it may sometimes be proper to repeat the idea in another form, if it should be superfluous you can easily scratch your pen across it. Even when I shall have copied my dispersed papers it will be imposing a severe task on you to read them,—but you are absolute, and it is my business to obey you. They shall therefore be copied and sent, and you will then be convinced that however tractable the dispositions of your pupils may be there is a vast difference in directing the energies and talents of a young mind whose habits are not formed, and an old one whose pursuits have been in no way favourable to the object you wish to attain.
Ralph, Samson, Abigail and Esther have been here sometime. I left them here whilst I went to London. We are all going for a few days to Malvern, and from thence to Worcester, where we shall take different directions, they towards their home, I towards mine. They appear very much to have enjoyed their tour, and Esther has not been the least chearful of the party.
She as well as her brothers and sister desire to be kindly remembered to you. Ralph is very much pleased that the cuttings of his elder have struck root.—Mr. and Mrs. Samuda have also been our visitors for about a week,—they leave us to day.—
The continuance of the cold and wet weather does not afford us a very good prospect for the harvest, and I am very much afraid that the poor will have much to suffer during the next winter. I cannot however relinquish my hope that they will not long continue without work. The actual capital of the country,—the funds for the maintenance of labour cannot have been much impaired in consequence of the change from war to peace, and it appears to me that a sufficient time has elapsed to make that new distribution of employments which our altered circumstances have made necessary. The duration of the intervals between marked changes are often much longer than is generally supposed. It proceeds from the opposition which is naturally given to such change. Thus a reduction in the amount of the circulating medium should speedily operate on prices, but the resistance which is offered—the unwillingness that every man feels to sell his goods at a reduced price, induces him to borrow at a high interest and to have recourse to other shifts to postpone the necessity of selling. The effect is however certain at last, but the duration of the resistance depends on the degree of information, or the strength of the prejudices of those who offer it, and therefore it cannot be the subject of any thing like accurate calculation.
I hope you will soon be inclined to direct your footsteps towards this country. You shall devote as much of your time when here as you please to work, but I suspect that you have not more virtue than other folks, and are no more able to resist the temptations of fine weather and good humored companions than those who habitually have more idle habits. I am happy to hear that Mrs. Mill is quite recovered, pray make my kind compliments to her and accept yourself the best wishes of all the inhabitants of Gatcomb.