245.: mill to ricardo1[Reply to 242.—Answered by 246] - 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 242.—Answered by 246]
My Dear Sir
I must confess that your letter gave me uncommon pleasure, notwithstanding the extravagance of the praise, and notwithstanding the allowance which I know ought to be made for the partiality with which you regard me, and all that I do. I am quite sure that you never speak, except as you think. And I shall need to be supported by the good opinion of such men as you. For you will see by and bye how I shall be treated by the men and the creatures of party, and by all those who aim at being the great ones of this world, upon whose craft I have endeavoured to let in some light more than ordinary. You will see how I shall be treated by some of my own friends and yours; and it will amuse you to contemplate the awkward shifts they will be put to, between the necessity they may think themselves under to speak somewhat in praise, and the real hearty inclination to backbite, and under-value. You will see more of this than I shall, because there will be less reason to disguise before you. And I hope you will note it carefully, as an instructive specimen of the moral temperament engendered by the present vicious state of our social institutions; and the motion to be dishonest and wicked which they create. And I shall beg you to note it carefully not only for your own sake, but for mine, to let me know all the particulars of it which present themselves before you. From what I have said, you may judge of the sort of impression which it will make upon me.
But why do I trouble you with this stuff, in such a hurry after receiving your flattery? Why, truly, in the first place, to give vent to a little of the satisfaction which I feel, that those points of knowledge which I chiefly wished my book to communicate, are exactly those points which you describe it as likely to be successful in communicating. This is the first of the reasons for so much haste. The next is, to urge you to lose no time to repeat your dose of flattery. The second volume is a very different kind of a subject; and I am hardly less impatient to know what you think of the manner in which that has been treated. I calculate, that at the pace at which you seem to have been reading, you will, by the time this reaches you, be nearly done with the reading of the second volume. This, therefore, is to intreat that as soon as you are, you will sit down and tell me what you think of it. You must not however, because I have told how much I like your praise, be the less faithful in telling me wherein you think there is any thing to blame.
On the subject of legislation I have no doubt that we shall now understand one another. Doubtless, the laws which are adapted to an improved state of society, would not be adapted to a state of society much behind. But it will not be difficult when we have a standard of excellence, to determine what is to be done, in all cases. The ends are there, in the first place, known—they are clear and definite. What you have after that to determine is the choice of the means, and under glorious helps for directing the judgement. But we shall have plenty of time to talk of all those matters, when we meet in London. You will not be there much before us; for we shall be before the end of January; and I shall have a little more time for conversation, I hope, than I had last year.
Yes, we must talk about Berkeleys theory; and Reid’s and Stewart’s conclusions upon it. You will observe that where I praise the ingenuity and refinement of the reasonings of Berkeley, I do not express concurrence in his opinions.
I have not seen the British Review. But Place writes to me—“I have read a review of Ricardo and Say in the last No. &.c. It is a wretched performance. The author is utterly incapable of reasoning, and, being ignorant himself, he throws the words ignorance, and nonsense, and folly, at Ricardo”. &.c.
Did I ever tell you that Place is not only a convert to your book, but an enthusiast for it? I have told him my doubts, whether he understands the whole—but I have not had an opportunity by conversation of ascertaining. You are with him one of the heroes in mind.
I dare say you have a nice parcel of those that belong to you, all about you, at this social time, and doing all that depends upon you to make them all happy. I should like to thrust my nose in among you, and enjoy a little of it along with you. Present my best compliments to all, and my kind regards and remembrance to all that know me.
I shall say no more, till I get your next letter, than that I am, my Dear Sir
Ever most truly yours
Ford Abbey 27th. Decr. 1817