Front Page Titles (by Subject) 220.: ricardo to mill1 - The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 7 Letters 1816-1818
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220.: ricardo to mill1 - 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 mill1
Carlsruhe 2d. July 1817
My dear Sir
Here we are at the most distant point of our journey, after having seen an abundance of capital towns, beautiful pictures, splendid palaces, and magnificent cathedrals. We have also been delighted with some of the finest prospects in nature, have clambered hills—looked at the stratification of rocks—examined the craters of extinct volcanoes, and have swum on the rapid stream of the Rhine. If I could but acquire the language of the initiated, I should pass for a great traveller on my return, and might speak of the works of Rubens, Vandyk and Teniers in a way to give an impression that I was a first rate judge of the beauties displayed by those eminent artists. Without however making any pretensions I have had great pleasure in seeing the chef d’oeuvres of the Flemish school, but I cannot repress my astonishment at the immense number of pictures which are shewn on the continent as those of Rubens particularly. Making every allowance for the assistance which he may have had, it appears incredible that he could have given the finishing touches only to the pictures which bear his name.
We are not inactive travellers. We rise generally at six and are never in bed till 11. We take very little time at our meals, and are incessantly walking, or travelling. We are very much delayed by the dilatoriness of the German Post, which being a monopoly, is of course very much mismanaged, and I suspect great advantages are taken of our ignorance. French is of no use to us excepting at the Inns—neither Post masters, Postillions nor Barrier keepers know one word of the language. This morning we were detained one hour in changing horses, and we seldom lose less than half an hour when this operation is necessary. Our treatment at the Inns is on the whole very good, though my stomach does not readily reconcile itself to their dishes, nor to the Rhenish Wine which is sold under the name of the best old Hock.
You have often heard of the beauties of Heidelberg, and of the charming scenery by which the ruins of the old Chateau is surrounded. They have not, I think, been in the least exaggerated. We passed the greater part of yesterday in wandering about the hills and gardens in its neighbourhood, and there is not a spot which we did not find highly interesting. It was one of the loveliest days that I ever beheld, neither too warm nor too cold, and I do not think that it was possible to enjoy the combined beauties of nature in greater perfection. Having now gone through all the most delightful country we shall make the best of our way to Paris, at which place we shall arrive several days later than we originally intended, and yet, as I told you before, we have been active citizens.
It is delightful, and consolatory, to see the corn-fields, and vineyards, looking every where so well. The rye which is an essential part of the food of the poor on the continent is carrying in all directions, and the wheat and barley crops have every appearance of being abundant. In Flanders our pleasure was very much damped by witnessing the extreme distress of the starving wretched looking people with which every street was filled. Their petitions for relief were clamorous and importunate, and we never stirred without having a dozen of these beggars constantly at our heels. Bread is universally 3 times as high in price as it was 2 years ago, and great complaints are made of the stagnation of trade, and the want of employment. As we left Flanders the appearances of distress diminished. At Frankfort, a town with which I was particularly pleased, there was no greater portion of beggars than might be expected in a populous city, and the same observation is true of Coblentz, Mayence &ca. &ca..—I have literally only seen the country, and have had no opportunity of making myself acquainted with many things of which I should like to have been informed—but our’s is much too rapid a course to enable me to know much of the inhabitants and their customs, particularly here, where even good French is not understood by one in a hundred thousand, and where my bad French is almost unintelligible to a much less proportion. I do not know whether you expected a letter from me, but I should not have had an easy conscience if I had not written one. If my power equalled my wishes it should have been an entertaining one, but I now fear that you will find it terribly dull.
I hope that your printing goes on rapidly and that I shall find you ready to accompany me to Gatcomb the latter end of this month.
We have been this evening walking in the gardens of the Grand Duke, after doing him the honour of inspecting his palace and furniture. An immense treasure must have been expended by this family, here, at Manheim and Baden, in building, furnishing and decorating palaces. They are very splendid but one cannot help regretting that the labour of the people was not more usefully directed as however indulgent we may be to luxury it appears here disproportioned to the resources of the state. My companion1 has been sometime in bed and it is now time that I should follow his example. With the greatest regard I am
My dear Sir Very truly Yrs.
May I request you to give my kind regards to Mrs. Mill and to John.
[1 ]Addressed: ‘James Mill Esqr. / Queen Square / Westminster / London’.—MS in Mill-Ricardo papers.
[1 ]Ralph Ricardo.