239.: ricardo to trower1[Reply to 235] - 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 trower
[Reply to 235]
Gatcomb Park 10 Decr. 1817
My dear Trower
You make your excuses with so good a grace, that I could not be angry with you if I would, but what perhaps more certainly determines me to shew charity to you, is the necessity I am under of frequently throwing myself on the charitable judgement of others—I shew mercy, that I may receive it.—
We have here, equally with every other part of the country, mourned over the untimely fate of our late princess, and are equally sensible of the great national loss we have sustained. All the Princes of the Royal Blood probably now expect to wield the sceptre in their turn, but the probability is that in this expectation they will be disappointed. It is a singular circumstance that with so many children our old King should not have one grand-child. A writer in the Morning Chronicle whose letter I had not time to read ascribes this to the Royal Marriage Act, and I think the remark well founded. Marriage would be a different thing to all of us, if our partners were selected for us, and were necessarily strangers to our sympathies. I know that there are some good state reasons to be advanced in its defence yet I cannot help thinking that it would be wise not to prevent the younger branches of the family from marrying subjects, either with a view to their own happiness and respectability or to the interests of the country. Our Princes have certainly not refrained from marriage from a consideration of Malthus’ prudential check, and from a fear of producing a redundant Royal population. If they had they would now be actuated by different motives and we might expect that the great demand for Royal infants would be followed by so ample a supply as to occasion a glut.
I have read the report of the Committee of the House of Commons on the Poor Laws with much satisfaction—I am glad to see sound principles promulgated from that quarter, though I should have been still more pleased if they had insisted more strongly on an efficient remedy. On this part of the subject they shew too much hesitation—recommend measures, and then qualify or abandon them. The whole country is feeling the inconvenience of the present system, and will I hope be brought to understand the origin of the evil. All the principal Reviews write well on this subject. In the last number of the British there is a very good review of the Commons’ report, which is worth your reading. In the same number there is also a review of my book, in which in every page I am charged with ignorance and absurdity. Yet it is not done in an ungentmanly way, and I have the pleasure to have my friend Malthus associated with me in the censure of having made the subject of rent, which was well explained by Adam Smith, and is perfectly clear, obscure and unintelligible. The writer does not in fact see the important part of the subject—he has read but not studied it. He has kindly left unattacked those points which were most assailable, and has fastened on those which are incontrovertible. My style and arrangement are fortunately for me not mentioned.—A writer in a Scotch paper called the Scotsman has written a short Essay in my vindication, and has I think done it ably, for he has expressed my opinions in much clearer language than I could do it myself. To compensate me also for the censure of the Reviewer I have been made acquainted with Lord Grenville’s opinion of my book, which is favourable beyond my expectations. When I go to London I am, at his Lordship’s desire, to be introduced to him. For Lord Grenville’s judgement on matters of Political Economy I have always had the highest respect.
We have established a Savings Bank in this neighbourhood in the formation of which I have been very active. I was the only one practically acquainted with such Institutions and therefore my services have been much more highly appreciated than they deserved. We give a half penny per month for every 13/-. In six weeks we have received about £1100 which may be said to be tolerably successful, but we understand that a strong prejudice exists among the manufacturing classes against us. They think that we have some sinister object—that we wish to keep wages down. Time and good temper will overcome this feeling and convince the prejudiced how that the rich have no other personal object in view excepting the interest which every man must feel in good government,—and in the general prosperity. The success of these Banks would be great if the enormous abuses of the Poor Laws were corrected.
Several other banks have been opened since ours within 15 miles of us, but every where the same prejudice operates against them.
Mill’s book waits only for the index to be published. He has from the remarks I have heard him make given me a great desire to read and study it.
Malthus has a volume ready which I am also anxious to see, because he expressed in it his views on the subjects on which I have lately written, and which I know differ materially from mine.
I shall be in London in Jany., and shall not return again here. I hope soon to meet you. To secure a meeting I ought to kill an East India director, a contested election will follow, and then you will infallibly be brought to town. I am annoyed by the prospect of being Sheriff of our county this next year. Of the 3 named Coll. Berkeley, son of the late Earl is first and I second. The Coll. it is said is about to try again for the peerage and therefore it is probable that I may be chosen.
Mrs. Ricardo and my daughter join with me in kind regards to Mrs. Trower, to whom and to you I wish all manner of good.
Very truly Yours