180.: mill to ricardo1[Reply to 177.—Answered by 185] - 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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mill to ricardo
[Reply to 177.—Answered by 185]
Ford Abbey Octr. 6th. 1816
My dear Sir
I have not been without hopes that I should see the parcel you promised me in your last, before I wrote to you again. Surely it has not taken all this time to copy what you had prepared. By the bye, on this subject of copying, let me give you an advice. You know you have dubbed me your master, so I am entitled to give advice, sans façons. Now it is such a pity that any portion of your time should be wasted in the mere drudgery of copying, that you should always get a person, at any cost, to do your copying. I am obliged to copy for myself woefully, because I cannot afford to pay for it; but most assuredly, if I were you, I never should copy a page.
Had you only pointed out the order in which you thought the papers should be read, I could have been well contented, had you sent them to me, as they were. I might have saved you some useless labour. What I want to see, in the first place, is—all the ideas, which you think necessary for the elucidation of the subject, down upon paper—no matter in what order—no matter how imperfectly in regard to expression. I warrant you, we shall find the proper order for them, by degrees, and the proper expressions too. We shall find what has too little said about, and what has too much. And shall in the end make such a thing as we wish to have.
In regard to your delicacy (which is so great) about giving me trouble, let me say a word once for all. You do not doubt that I have a good deal of friendship for you, and I do not doubt that you have a good deal for me. But know that I have a great deal for you, and wish you to have a great deal for me. It follows, of course, if there is any occasion, on which I can be of any service to you, that the trouble is greatly overpaid by the pleasure. But not to lay too much stress upon this ground, lest I begin to be sentimental, I must make a bit of a confession, that I should have a pleasure in reading such papers as yours on political economy, if so it were that I hated the author as much as I like him. So your conscience may be perfectly quiet on this score. I shall be on the look-out every day, as soon, as this has had time to summon you, for the fruit of your labours. When you do send the parcel, however, you had better write to me by post; because, if left at Ilminster, with which we have no regular communication, I may not get it for some time, unless I send for it.
When you wrote to me last, you were just setting out upon a bit of a tour, which was to extend as far as Worcester. I hope it was agreeable—it must have been so, as far as the temper of those who composed the party could make it—and I wished I had been one, notwithstanding the motives I have to be industrious. My hopes of being able to visit you this year have all vanished. Our project of visiting Brougham was defeated by his absence. I had a letter from him not many days ago, dated at Milan, where he was enjoying himself greatly with the Italian literati; to whom (would you think it?) he is hugely recommended by his religious and political opinions. He was reading the Italian poets, two or three hours a day, with Monte, the most celebrated poet and man of letters in Italy; and was soon to be joined by Dumont, who was to go with him to Florence. Could I have got away, I should have found infinite pleasure in spending, however, a week with you at Gatcomb; but Koe upon whom I counted to relieve me here, has been uncertain in his motions, and I could not prevail upon Mr. B. to part with me. I must content myself now with looking to another year.
Our weather has been for some time mild, or rather warm; but from the continued rains, and want of sun, I think it impossible we can have any thing but a defective crop. And as wages, at least country wages, have fallen very low, the quantity of misery for the next year will be exceedingly great. You and I, however, have always agreed, that no such loss of capital can have been sustained in this country since the last years of activity, as to have much impaired the funds for the maintenance of labour; and that we had no occasion to anticipate a permanent depression of the national industry. This year, however, will still fall heavy upon the landlords, who are the most powerful, and the most noisy party in the state; and I should not wonder if we had very absurd propositions well supported in parliament about the national debt. Cobbett, I see, is labouring the doctrine, that it is not the debt of the nation, as the nation, not being represented, did not contract it; that it is the debt only of the oligarchs who composed the parliament. This doctrine will do no harm in parliament. But the doctrine that the fundholders are drawing the rents of gentlemens estates, is one well calculated to receive attention.
Though a good deal interrupted by jobwork, of which I have always my hands a great deal too full, I am making tolerable progress in revising my poor history ; and hope I may at last get into the printers hands about the time I return to town. It will be a motley kind of a production, having been written at such distant times, and with so many interruptions. But I am pleased with the quantity of instruction it will convey; though I am more than doubtful as to the entertaining qualities, by which alone reputation is acquired.
I beg the acceptance of my best respects by all who care for me at Gatcomb, and around it. And am always
My Dear Sir Very faithfully Yours
Should you have any disposition to purchase Ford Abbey, if it were to be sold? The rents are about £1,400 a year, besides a wood, which produces about £100 a year more.