193.: ricardo to mill1[Reply to 192.—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 192.—Answered by 195]
Widcomb, Bath 2 Decr. 1816—
My dear Sir
I did not receive your kind letter dated the 18th. ult. till friday evening, which I suppose was partly owing to its being directed to Gatcomb. It arrived here four days before I returned from London, to which place I told you I was going, for a short time, in my last.
I can have no reason to doubt your sincerity, and therefore I am not a little gratified with the opinion you have given of my MS. I hope you will not think I have fallen off in the papers which you have now before you,—the subject is perhaps more difficult, and it had not previously engaged so much of my thoughts as the former. How very encouraging your letter is! You really give me hopes that my ardent wish will be attained, that I may produce something which will fairly entitle me to be considered as an improver of the science.—I shall pursue my work with increased energy, and I hope with more confidence than has hitherto accompanied my exertions. In reading Adam Smith, again, I find many opinions to question, all I believe founded on his original error respecting value. He is particularly faulty in the chapter on bounties, and is also I think wrong in some points respecting colonies, and the interest of the mother country. Would you advise me to notice every thing in his book which I think wrong? and if so would you incorporate the discussion in that part of my book where similar questions are treated, or would you refer to the appendix and let it appear there separate from the other part? Give me your advice too about noticing Say and Buchanan. In giving quotations from Say, should they be in English or in French? Buchanan amidst some important errors has some very judicious comments on Adam Smith’s text; if I notice him at all it is right I should point out the merit of those remarks. You perceive that I have no hesitation in applying to you in all my difficulties. You must not however think that because I say nothing of the trouble and time the examining and reading my MS must take you, that I am the less sensible of your kindness. If I am successful in my undertaking it will be to you mainly that my success will be owing, for without your encouragement I do not think that I should have proceeded, and it is to you that I look for assistance of the utmost importance to me—the arranging the different parts, and curtailing what may be superfluous.
The event, which we in our domestic circle have been so long looking forward to with interest, has at length occurred —Mrs. Clutterbuck has made me a grandfather. She was brought to bed on wednesday last of a girl, during my absence in London. I am happy to say that she and the child are both doing well, and I hope we may now fully confide in her safety. Mrs. Ricardo’s anxiety being thus removed, we are going home to Gatcomb this morning so that when you write to me by the post you will direct accordingly.
As I think I told you before I arrived here on friday. I left London on wednesday evening, and after taking two of my nieces to Gatcomb, proceeded here. Immediately on my arrival I found an important dispatch had followed me, containing an earnest invitation to become a candidate for the representation of Worcester, vacant by the death of Mr. Robarts. The writer, who was introduced to my notice by a gentleman I knew, and who appears to be well acquainted with the politics of Worcester, and to be quite au-fait in electioneering skill, expresses the utmost confidence of success, as Lord Deerhurst though having some interest, had a very bad character, and no money. He assured me too that a very moderate sum would accomplish the business. A bill had been printed, and no doubt sent to Worcester, requesting the worthy electors not to promise their votes to Lord Deerhurst as an “Untitled commercial gentleman of established worth and integrity, and of well-known constitutional principles—An enemy to sinecures and other abuses, would speedily offer himself to their notice”. I was requested to return an answer by return of post. Thus like Candid the most peaceable man in the world who was hurried into the commission of two murders in about as many minutes, was I, nearly as peaceable a man, to be hurried into all the horrors of a contested election. My decision was as prompt as the occasion required, and I respectfully declined the offer which was made to me.
Have you any idea yet when you shall be in London?
Very truly Yrs.