ricardo to mill
[Reply to 282.—Answered by 289]
Gatcomb Park 23 Novr. 1818
My dear Sir
The few lines you wrote to me, were very encouraging, and will induce me to continue writing, in the hope of smoothing and overcoming the difficulties which now beset my path. I send you another of my wise discourses, which I beg you to read at your leisure, and return it to me with the rest when we meet in London. Do not give yourself the trouble to write on the subject of my faults and omissions— I know that your time is very valuable to you, and you will have plenty of opportunities when I am in London to talk over with me all these matters.—
Mr. Murray is in a great hurry to print a second edition of my book, and I have been busily at work in reading it over very attentively twice, within these few days. I am afraid to make many alterations in it. With such an unskilful hand, the risk would be great that I should not improve it.—I have however ventured to divide the first chapter, on value, into five sections, the titles of which are inclosed, and I have to ask again of your friendship, to say to the bearer of this letter, or rather to write on a piece of paper, that he may shew it to Murray, whose messenger he is, whether you would suppress this plan of dividing the chapter into sections altogether,—if so the printer had better copy the old edition verbatim. But if you approve of the division into sections, then correct the Titles of them, or substitute any others which you may think more proper. At the end of each section I have concluded by a summary of the doctrine which I wished to prove, as for example “It appears then by this section that notwithstanding the accumulation of capital, commodities would not necessarily vary in relative value from a rise in wages, unless it was accompanied by increased facility or difficulty in the production of one or more of them.”—
I have mentioned Torrens twice with approbation, but on looking over his book I find so much that is wrong in it that I cannot bestow general praise on him, I commend him only for an able illustration of a particular principle, or for having maintained in a particular case a correct opinion.
I have been a little puzzled what to do respecting MCullock I have not time to consult him respecting the passages he would have modified or omitted, and on looking over the book I see no opinion which I do not continue to hold. To shew him however my wish of attending to his suggestions I have altered the conclusion of page 329 and have said “a minister is induced to have recourse to more direct taxes, such as income and property taxes neglecting the golden maxim of M. Say that [‘]the very best of all plans of finance is to spend little, and the best of all taxes is that which is least in amount.[’]” Will this do? or should I write to MCullock?
I have been looking carefully at the passage which displeased Mr. Ensor, and as I have doubts whether my opinion was correct I have altered it, by referring the evils to which some poor countries are subject to bad government, insecurity of property, and a want of education in all classes. I have not mentioned Ireland, but have spoken generally. I hope that I shall disarm him of any future censure.
On the whole I have, I hope, rather improved the book. The examination to which I have again subjected it is so far satisfactory in its result that I do not find any opinion which I wish to retract—I am more and more confirmed in the truth of the general doctrines.
The account you give me of your health gives me much concern. After breathing such a variety of airs in the most healthful parts of the country, you have no right to be ill, and if your indisposition should be still unremoved I request you to come to us. Our air is excellent and few invalids come to us without deriving great benefit from it.—
Mrs. Ricardo returns in a day or two. The physician does not speak doubtingly of Fanny’s complaint but talks confidently of her recovery. My objection to her choice is not on account of the circumstances of the party, they are I believe respectable, and are of inferior consideration, but Mr. Edwd. Austin, whom you know, is 16 years older than her,—he is moreover in very bad health and has been so for 2 or 3 years, the consequences in my opinion of a very dissipated life, so that in constitution he is much older than in years. Besides this, I abominate the companions with whom he has constantly associated. He has long been the friend of Coll. Berkeley, and a very frequent inmate of Berkeley Castle. In this part of the country the fame of this latter gentleman is very notorious. He appears to delight in ruining the peace of mind of young women, as well single as married—he has very lately seduced a young woman who was before much respected at Cheltenham, and who is the mother of 2 children. Her husband has discovered the affair and her happiness in all probability is blasted for ever.
In this circle I have little fear that Fanny will be introduced, but a man who can countenance such conduct by continuing an intimacy with the perpetrator of it, and whose enjoyments consist chiefly in hunting, is not the protector and companion that I would select or approve for my child.—To do him justice however his temper is good, and I know of no stain on his own moral character. He may make a good husband, and all may be well, but the place where his business will require him to reside is not to my mind. There is scarcely any society at Wotton which can be called desirable;—none which can give any stimulus to the employment of the mind.—
Mrs. Osman Ricardo was very much pleased with your message. I have intimated to her that she must correspond with you direct for I will not be made the vehicle to convey your gallant speeches.
If I am not very much mistaken there was a postscript in my letter to inform you that my sister Rachel had taken possession of your books on the promise of conveying them safely to your house. I hope she has fulfilled this engagement.—
I have sent a message to Mr. Hicks by his son on the subject of the information which Mr. Hume would like to have. It will I apprehend be only necessary for him to particularize the Agricultural and the manufacturing parishes in Gloucestershire, and then by a reference to a thick book published by order of the House of Commons the information can be obtained. That book I have, and if Mr. Hume has it not I can lend it to him. I believe it is in the open closet in my dressing room in Brook Street and by sending any body who could select it from others may be got there.—
With respect to Mr. Koe I fear that I cannot be of service to him in the way you request first because I fear that my recommendation to my solicitors in favour of any conveyancer would not go far, and secondly that as far as it will go it must be exerted in favour of young Basevi who begins business in the ensuing month on his own account. His father is naturally very anxious for his success, and he is the oldest and I believe one of the sincerest attached friends to me that I have. Adieu
On looking over the paper which I was going to send you, I am so discontented with it that I cannot send it.