mill to ricardo
[Reply to 270.—Answered by 274]
College Bagshot 23d. Septr. 1818
My Dear Sir
I have a letter from Brougham this morning, which contains the following words—
“I have arranged all about Ricardo—Pray let him know how much I regretted not seeing him—But Sir H. Parnell came to town on purpose, and we settled every thing as he (R) could wish—The titles will take some little time—but all is sure. I should write to him, but have lost his address.”
This letter to me is sent from Oxford, where he had got on his way to Westmoreland, and will be back in 3 weeks.
I now reckon that I may congratulate myself on seeing you in Hon. House, where I am sure you will do as much honour to my prognostications, as you have done by your book: where, if you live and keep your strength, the cause of good government, the first of all causes for poor human nature, will owe enough to your exertions to hand down your name with honour to the latest posterity. You need not laugh. That is a subject on which I reckon myself one of the best of judges. Nor are you to imagine that I am paying you a very high compliment. There are two things which contribute mightily to reduce it: The first is, the very moderate qualifications of those among whom you are to work, few of whom it will be difficult to excell; and the second is, that the cause itself is now, by the progress of the human mind, brought into such a situation, that very moderate exertions will produce great results, that every operation will tell, because it falls in with the current in which things are running of their own accord. This, therefore, is the course which all high ambition, even selfish ambition, would take into, in the present state of the human mind. No high and permanent reputation, will ever again be acquired by merely fighting up the pretensions of one aristocratical party, against another. There will be no great character, hereafter, for any thing else than great service to the cause of causes, the cause of good government. What then are the things which must go to the composition of good government, and how the proper combination of these things is best to be attained in this country; these are the grand points which you are to familiarize to your mind; and then there will be no fear about the language in which your thoughts will spontaneously clothe themselves. Let those discourses, therefore, which we have so often talked about, be written without delay. And do not stay, in the first instance, to be very nice and punctilious about any thing; run the matter off while the vein is open. I would, if I were you, set down in the first place, on a separate piece of paper, in a distinct proposition or propositions, the subject which I meant to handle, and then under it I would state the different points which I meant to take up, as well my own propositions as the answers to them. I would pass and repass these in my mind; to see as far as I could recollect, if they contained every thing, and if I had them in the best possible order; that is, the order in which that is taken first which needs nothing of what follows to explain it, and which serves to explain what follows; that is taken second which is explained by what precedes, and is serviceable for explaining what follows, without needing what follows for explaining itself. This is the plain rule of utility, which will always guide you right, and in which there is no mystery. After this, I would sit down to write, and expand. When the writing is done, you should talk over the subject to yourself. I mean not harangue, but as you would talk about it in conversation at your own table; talk audibly, however, walking about in your room. This will practice your memory, and will also practice you in finding words at the moment to express your thoughts. After this you shall talk the various subjects over to me, when we have again an opportunity of being together: and after this you may have perfect confidence in yourself. One thing more, however; you must write your discourses, with the purpose of sending them to me. Depend upon it, this will be a stimulus, not without its use. I will be the representative of an audience, of a public; and even if you had in your eye a person whom you respect much less than you do me, it would be a motive both to bestow the labour more regularly, as it should be; and to increase the force of your attention. Therefore no apologies, and no excuses will be listened to.
I have left myself no room either to speak, or to enquire about family matters. It was a great relief to have such favourable accounts as you gave me of Mr. Moses. I found my incumbrances here enjoying themselves highly. It is an admirable place for walking, all dry sand, and well made roads in every direction. The weather too has all along been and continues delightful. I often think of Gatcomb, and all its inmates and neighbours. It is a great pleasure to me to be now properly acquainted with it, and its doings. I hope Mrs. Ricardo has still some friendship for me, though I fear she reckons me amongst the immoderate, as she calls them, by which she means all those who think on the other side from her. But she has so much both of good meaning and good acting about her, that I am resolved to be a friend of hers whether she will or not. I beg to present my best respects to Mr. Osman and lady, for whom I hope you carried from Brook Street, the Nouvelle Heloise, and which I hope she does not think so immoral a book as either Tom Jones, or Gil Blas.
Ever truly yours
I shall be here probably a fortnight or three weeks more, after which I must pay a visit of 8 or 10 days to Hume, either at Bognor or Worthing, and then I am in London for good. Did you read in the Morning Chron. the Aberdeen Memorial, against the decision about their magistracy. Hume had sent it to me, and has been corresponding with me about it. I may now congratulate him upon having you for a co-adjutor in bringing it forward. I have been endeavouring to fill him with matter. And Brougham promises me that he will be a captain in the field. This is a point that must be agitated, and will bring on the questions of reform very early. I fear the influence of the ladies with some people. They are not for parly. reform, because it is not fashionable: It, and its advocates, are not spoken well of in high circles. But ladies like only that which is spoken well of in high circles. And we know well why it is spoken ill of in high circles: Excise officers are not popular in circles of smugglers.
N.B. Brougham wishes an account from as many places as possible (and mentions Gatcomb) of the proportion of persons, receiving Parish relief, who can read and write. Ascertain this in as many parishes as you can. You are at liberty to use his name. I shall do what I can, both here and in Devonshire. You may get from Mr. Austins parish, and Mr. Hickeses, and Mr. Escots, and Mr. Clutterbuck might get from some parishes. Brougham reckons it a capital point.