227.: mill to ricardo2[Reply to 223.—Answered by 229] - 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 223.—Answered by 229]
Ford Abbey Augt. 24th. 1817
My Dear Sir
I have deferred writing in hopes of being able to send you a long letter; but if I wait for time to do that, it seems to me, that I may wait long enough. You shall, therefore, get a few hurried lines for the present; and something better, when it pleases God.
In the first place, many thanks for your good wishes. If I had all the good things you would like to see me have, I should be pretty well off. Oh, yes—I should like vastly well, to have a purse as full as yours. But yet the difference between a very moderate supply, and that weight of fortune which would enable me to produce important effects, I should not value very much. Give me £20,000 a year, and I will shew you a parliament radically reformed, in one half of 20 years. In the absence of this, all I want is, such a provision, as would exempt me from all the vexation of thinking about the subject, and from the necessity of turning my pen from subjects of great importance, which would bring no money, to write on subjects of no importance at all, because the money is wanted. This, I confess, annoys me oftener than perhaps it ought.
Nothing more true, than what you have experienced—that home is the source of the sweetest sensations. Even here, though I have all my family about me, and though by consenting to come here, I am conferring an obligation, not receiving it, yet I am less happy than at home, and could enjoy the country more in a very poor cottage of my own.
I can well conceive you received a warm reception; for I know how well you are beloved by all who belong to you. And yours is a family that seem to have the knack of loving one another. I am very happy to hear that you have been so lucky in a residence for Mr. Osman, and I am truly sorry that I have not had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of a person so amiable and deserving as I hear on all hands is the partner of whom he has had the wisdom to make choice, but hope one time or another to meet with his pardon and hers, for allowing a quantity of things to keep me from waiting upon them, till, lo! they were gone.
Two of my three volumes are printed, and nearly 100 pages of the last. But Col. Wilks, who was resident in Mysore, and had peculiar advantages in regard to materials, has written a history of that country, of which two volumes have just come out. They put me under the necessity of a very careful comparison of what I have said with what he has said upon the same ground—and the facts which he has added to those got from my former authorities, have even made me write several passages, a-fresh. This, with the speed at which my printers go, has kept me very closely engaged. And now the Editor of the Encyclop. Brit. is pressing me for an article on Colonies.
I have no news whatsoever. We expect the Romillys here toward the end of September. Place has been here for a fortnight. He has become a huge favourite with Mr. Bentham. He has indeed laid him under no small obligations by managing for him very well some business which before was managed very ill. And this was the only mode of rewarding him. He is studying your book, with great care. And declares that he is getting conviction, in spite of himself, in every point as he goes along. He is a very surprising man.
You are not to take this specimen of me in maintaining our correspondence, as the pattern you are to follow, but rather as an example you are to shun. The fact is, I am truly desirous of knowing what occupation you are setting about. Your mind is capable of too much—and mind I say so without the smallest intention to flatter you, and wish I could have found words importing blame rather than praise, to have said the same thing with—to let it lie idle—therefore you must hold it a religious duty to work—to work hard and perseveringly—If I had a cottage within a couple of miles of you, how I would keep you to it! However, in the mean time, let me know what you are doing or thinking to do—because I may be able to give you good advice.
I am glad you are likely to become the master of the ground in Leicester Square—because on reasonable terms it is a desirable property, come of the school what may.