188.: ricardo to mill1[Reply to 186 & 187.—Answered by 195] - 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 186 & 187.—Answered by 195]
Widcomb House Bath 17 Novr. 1816
My dear Sir
I have sent you by the Coach, which leaves this place this morning, the papers which I have filled since I last wrote to you,—they are in the same rough state as the others, but I was desirous before you returned the first parcel that you should see these, that you might have at once under your view the whole of the principles which I hold to be correct against the great authorities which are opposed to me. On the subject of taxation you will perceive that I have altered, I hope corrected, some of the views which I had heretofore taken. I hope I shall be able to convince you of the general correctness of my principles. I have dwelt very little on the effect of those taxes on which there can be no difference of opinion, and have not mentioned many which have been ably handled by Adam Smith. His language is so clear, and his explanations so satisfactory, that I feel a reluctance to weaken the effect of it by using my words instead of his, and always feel a propensity to quote him without a word of comment. You will I hope now give me credit for having fulfilled my promise. I have actually put on paper nearly all I have to say, and if I were to do more I should be only doing badly what has already been admirably well done. I am ready however to follow any course you shall recommend, and to supply any deficiencies in my power. It must be your task to curtail.—I have an anxious desire to produce something worth publishing, but that I unaffectedly fear will not be in my power. I should however be contented if with your suggestions and corrections I could make the MS clear, so that I said every thing necessary to elucidate my opinions, and to give a consistent theory, even if it should never meet the public eye.
It is my intention to read Adam Smith once more, to take notes of all passages which very much favor, or are directly opposed to my peculiar opinions, and shall afterwards submit to you the propriety of inserting them in the proper places of my MS. In reading Adam Smith my attention may be called to other points which I may think it important to notice. After reading Smith I mean to read Say again,—but as he is a living author, and a friend, I should feel some delicacy in making my objections publicly and strongly to his opinions, which I should not feel with Adam Smith.
I have sent the parcel from York House, and the man has faithfully promised that it shall be immediately forwarded to the Red Lion at Chard, to which place you will be so good as to send for it. I hope you will have no reserve with me but will give me your candid opinion of my performance; be assured that however unfavourable that opinion may be I can bear it, and notwithstanding all that has been said of the self complacency of authors, if I know any thing of myself, your discouragement to publish would be only a confirmation of my own opinion, and therefore my sympathy would run with it.
Mrs. Ricardo and I have been here a week, and I know not how much longer we shall be detained. Mrs. Ricardo’s errand is to be the first to welcome our first grandchild into this troublesome world, and we are in hourly expectation of the little stranger. I could have wished to remain at Gatcomb till the anxious time was past, but Mrs. Ricardo considers my presence as the greatest comfort to her, and she has so often told me so that I at last begin to believe her; I am therefore in quiet possession of a snug dressing room with Adam Smith and Say on my table, and pass my time with very few more interruptions than I should meet at Gatcomb.
The absence of Horner is indeed a great loss. I meet with no one who does not lament his illness. Whatever he has undertaken he has done well, and has always avoided the error into which I think Brougham is apt to fall, he never goes beyond the mark, he never endeavors to prove too much. Mr. Whishaw who corresponds with Mr. Smith our neighbour mentions Horner in every letter. I am glad to hear that he bore his journey to Paris without being much fatigued, and that Dr. Baillie has good hopes of his recovery.
I am sorry that the distresses still continue. The short crop this year was most unfortunate, it aggravated all our former ills. I am sorry to see a disposition to inflame the minds of the lower orders by persuading them that legislation can afford them any relief. The country has a right to insist, and I hope will insist, on the most rigid economy in every branch of the public expenditure, but when this is yielded nothing further can be done for us. With kind compliments to Mrs. Mill and Mr. Bentham I am My dear Sir
Ever truly yours