255.: ricardo to trower2[Reply to 254] - 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 254]
London 22 March 1818
My dear Trower
I thank you for your congratulations on the occasion of the high honours which I have attained. The hour is fast approaching when I shall have to appear before the Judges, arrayed in the masquerade suit which I have been obliged to provide. The Assizes for our County commence on the 1st April. I hope I shall sustain my high office with becoming dignity—the difficulty is much increased by my being so much a stranger in the county, never having been present on any public occasion whatever. From this moment however I may date my public life; as the ice once broken, I shall not fail to meet my neighbours 2 or 3 times a year at Gloucester.
The expence of the office in our county does not exceed £450, so that on that score I shall be better off than you. You may depend on having all the advantage which my experience can give you in the way of instruction previous to your election.
The perusal of the article in the British Review, has called forth much too favourable a criticism from you on my book. I am well aware of its great deficiencies which I much fear I shall not be able to remedy in a new edition, if it should be called for. Your suggestion of a copious chapter of clear and concise definitions would be of great use, but it requires a degree of precision and accuracy beyond what I could furnish. My scotch friend continues every now and then to allude to my work with the greatest respect, and in an interview which I lately had with Lord Grenville I received from him the most flattering testimony of his favourable opinion of my endeavours to throw additional light on the science of Political Economy. Praise from Lord Grenville on this subject is particularly gratifying to me, because he has given many proofs of his persevering attention to it, and on all great discussions, of the correctness of his opinions.—
Birkbeck’s account of his expedition to the back settlements of America is highly interesting—I hope he will from time to time furnish us with an account of the progress of the little colony which he will soon have about him. His success will not fail to induce many from Europe to follow his example, and there is some reason to fear that the artificial state of things in England in consequence of our enormous debt will co-operate with the natural advantages of a new and fertile country to attract capital to a place where profits are so high that with moderate industry a certain provision may be made for a family. I am told that many individuals with an aggregate capital of £100,000 are preparing to follow Mr. Birkbeck to the Illinois Country.—
It is not expected that the dissolution of Parliament will take place before Octr.. It is said that no attempt will be made to increase taxation, so that our nominal sinking fund of 15 millions, will be really reduced to 3 millions. Mr. Vansittart had a ridiculous project I hear of creating a new circulating medium and legal tender, called stock notes, which were to be advanced, without any limit, on stock, at the rate of £50 for every £100 stock. If such a plan had been carried into execution it was possible that our money might have been increased to 400 millions. I am told that he has now abandoned it, and indeed it is difficult to believe that he ever entertained so ridiculous a project, tho’ my authority for the fact is no less than that of Mr. Tierney.
If I could, without much trouble, get into the New Parliament I would. I should neither be Whig nor Tory but should be anxiously desirous of promoting every measure which should give us a chance of good government. This I think [will] never be obtained without a reform in Parliament. I do not go so far as Mr. Bentham, I regret that his book is so full of invective against those from whom he differs, yet I am convinced by his arguments. There is no class in the community whose interests are so clearly on the side of good government as the people,—all other classes may have private interests opposed to those of the people. The great problem then is to obtain security that the representatives shall be chosen by the unbiassed good sense of the people. The suffrage must be extensive to secure the voters against corrupt influence and the voting must be by ballot for the same reason. There must be an intimate union between representatives and their constituents in order to destroy the dependence of the former on the executive government. The elections should not be less than triennial. Mr. Burke has said that the people may err but it can never be from design. The ability of representatives when their interests are opposed to those of their constituents is a great evil because it can only be employed in promoting objects which are mischievous to the latter. If the suffrage is not universal there can be no danger of anarchy. A man with a very small property can have no wish for confusion if he be actuated by those motives which have always been found to influence mankind. I have only partially read the memoirs of the Bishop of Landaff and like much what I have read. He was a reformer and saw pretty clearly the evils of our present representation but I doubt whether he as clearly saw the remedy.
I am glad to hear that we shall soon see you in London. Mrs. Ricardo joins with me in kind remembrances to Mrs. Trower. Believe me
Ever most truly Yrs.