196.: ricardo to mill2[Reply to 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 195]
Gatcomb Park 20 Decr. 1816
My dear Sir
Your letter, and my papers, have safely come to hand, and I have again the satisfaction to know that you, my preceptor, are pleased with my performance, and are convinced by my arguments. I hope I shall be equally successful with the public, and that you will aid me in making such an arrangement, as will be most likely to make an impression upon those, whose minds are not so well prepared as yours, for the consideration of such subjects.
I now send you some observations on Adam Smith’s work, which I fear you will think only a repetition of what I have before stated. If you should condemn it in toto, I can bear it without any disappointment, for there is already so much to the credit side of the account, that I am quite fortified against any small deduction. What you now receive will probably close my matter, unless in looking over Say’s book, which I have not yet done, I may find any thing suggested to my mind which I have hitherto overlooked. The assistance which I shall receive from you cannot probably be given till we meet in London. I expect there will be much to take out, and as for the division into chapters, and sections, I am greatly afraid that I shall be unequal to it. You have however taught me to believe that perseverance will overcome very formidable obstacles, and I am determined that there shall be no want of exertion on my part. I am afraid that you will find the present papers more illegible than any of the former, but you know the drudgery of copying, and I was unwilling to take that trouble till I had heard your opinion of them.
It will, I think, be easier to me, to publish only those parts of the science which have particularly engaged my attention, and if my efforts should be favourably received, it may afford me a future agreeable task to take a view of the whole science.
I shall probably be in London about the 9th. of January, and we shall most likely meet there early in feby. I will do what I can without you, and shall be quite prepared to wait till you are quite at leisure for the assistance which you will give me. I am fully aware of the great inroads I have lately made on your time, and I cannot help fearing that I have prevented you from expediting your own work as much as you otherwise would have done. I beg you however to remember that I shall not in the least suffer from delay,—my views will be as new six months hence as they are now, and therefore I hope that you will entirely put the consideration of my papers aside if they at any time interfere with your more important objects. I am glad to find that you have gone over the first vol. of your history; I hope it will immediately go to the press, and that you may be rewarded, in every way, for your persevering exertions.
In your letter to me you have given a good specimen of your powers in narration, by depicting so feelingly the misfortunes, and merits, of Mrs. Savile. Sir Benjn. Hobhouse is known to me, and as I have always found him very friendly when we have met, I thought I should best serve the cause you have at heart, by writing to him myself, and after putting him in possession of the statement you gave me, in your own able manner, to add the expression of my hopes and wishes. You will probably wish to know his answer, and I shall therefore dispatch it to you as soon as I receive it. It may however be [delayed] some days, as I shall leave home to day [on a visi]t of two days to Sylla, and then another two days to Henrietta, to take my leave of them before I leave the country. I shall return here on tuesday.
I thank you for your congratulations on Mrs. Clutterbuck’s safety. I am happy to tell you that she is quite well and has the delight of seeing her infant thrive daily.—
I do not readily fall in with your suggestions respecting a seat in Parliament; I fear I should be mere lumber there. From the trials which I have already made I am sure I should never be able to deliver my sentiments on any subject in debate, and I cannot perceive in what other way I could be in the least useful. If my book succeeds, as you promise me, perhaps my ambition may be awakened, and I may aspire to rank with senators, but at present I have the greatest awe for the distinguished persons who figure in St. Stephens. If you are indeed right in your prognostications—if I am really to be the author of a book of merit, I shall bow to your superior discernment. Let me however first be convinced that you are not a partial judge, and do not view my performance through the medium of a too friendly bias.
Ever truly Yrs.
I shall forward the papers I mentioned by Saturday’s, or Sunday’s coach from Bath.