276.: trower to ricardo1[Reply to 272.—Answered by 279] - 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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trower to ricardo
[Reply to 272.—Answered by 279]
October 18. 1818. Unsted Wood
My Dear Ricardo
This is the Country Gentlemens Season of dissipation, when shooting parties, and other schemes of idleness, occupy too large a portion of our time. Although a very indifferent sportsman I occasionally engage in these active exercises, and have lately been waging war (though not very destructive,) against peaceful Partridges and Pheasants! You, I believe, will not have this sin to answer for; but do not plume yourself too much on this account, for, as the receiver of stolen goods is considered as bad as the thief, I flatter myself you will not fare much better, than I shall—No doubt you have been partaking largely of other mens plunder!
I was sorry to hear by your last kind letter of the ill health of one of your brothers, and hope, that his recovery has been long since completed. Your absence during the Assizes was unfortunate, as you would naturally wish to have fully discharged all the duties of your office; which are now I believe, practically though not really concluded; excepting, indeed, your attendance at the approaching Quarter Sessions.—I was surprised to find Mr. McCullock the Author of the Review, not being aware, that he added the study of Political Economy to his other numerous acquirements—He is generally considered a very able man. How happen’d it, that Major Torrens declined the undertaking?—I was pleased in conversation, the other day, with some men, addicted to Political Economy, to hear your book spoken of as now becoming a Text Book on the subject.—“Magna est veritas et praevalebit” and no doubt, ere long, the important truths you have exhibited to the public will be properly appretiated.—
I wish your political opinions were equally in unison with my own; but they appear to be much more at variance than I was aware of.—You say, you have “no objection” to a mixed Government! What! have you any doubt that that is the form of Government, (when properly administered,) best calculated to promote the happiness and prosperity of the people? Can there be any question on this point? Are you tremblingly alive to the evils of Monarchy, and do you shut your eyes against the dangers of democracy? If you are in favor of a Republic there is an end of the question. But, if you agree, that the principles of our mixed Government are to be preserved; then, the dangers to which it is exposed from the too great preponderance of either of the three powers of which it is composed must be equally kept in view.—My firm persuasion is that that balance of the Constitution, which is essential to its wholesome operation, and even its existence, is most in danger from the popular part of the Constitution; from that force, which you truly say is irresistible, and which, if not regulated and restrained, must eventually destroy our Constitution. In fact my fear is, that the House of Commons should really become too popular—for, should such be the case, there is no sufficient power in the other branches of the Constitution to control it. I prefer therefore, that the public opinion should occasionally, and upon sufficient emergencies operate from without, than constantly predominate within. You ask, whether Instead of having this check for the people out of Parliament, would it not be better to have it constitutionally exerted within it. I answer, that it would not be instead; and that the two powers acting constantly within and without, would set at nought the other branches of the Constitution, and presently precipitate us into a Democracy.— No doubt, many reforms are necessary, many obvious improvements require to be put in practice, and those you have mentioned in the law are some of the most glaring, and the most necessary. But, I should prefer gradually obtaining these great ends by means which I could calculate and control, rather than by a force, which when let loose would be incalculable in its objects, and irresistible in its effects. My paper forces me to cut short my remarks upon this most interesting and important subject. This Country is greatly blessed in its capabilities and resources, both mental and physical. Let there be but peace abroad, and wisdom at home, and I feel satisfied, that a glorious career awaits us. Pray make our united kind regards to Mrs. Ricardo and family, and believe me My Dear Ricardo
Your very affectionate friend