292.: ricardo to mill3[Reply to 291.—Answered by 294] - 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 mill
[Reply to 291.—Answered by 294]
Gatcomb Park 12 Decr. 1818
My dear Sir
You will have been surprised that your last letter should have remained so long unanswered, but you will acquit me of blame when I tell you that I have been on a visit to Mrs. Ricardo at Cheltenham since monday, and have only reached home this afternoon.
With respect to Mr. Brougham’s messages, you will not think me wrong for making such observations on them as occur to me. The agreement that Mr. Brougham made with Lord P., or his agent, was in August last, and it was then stipulated that I should receive 6 pct. int., payable half yearly, at Messrs. Pugets in London. Now why should any alteration be made in these terms? If any thing had occurred to make the bargain advantageous to the other party I should not have complained, but should have scrupulously fulfilled the conditions. Why should not they do the same? Why after nearly 4 months should a new condition be thought of —a fall in the interest from 6 to 5 pct.? It is not meant I presume that the interest will be guaranteed by any London banker—that indeed would be a stipulation to compensate for the more disadvantageous terms to which I am expected to acquiesce—but I apprehend that nothing more is now proposed than what was proposed before, that the interest should be payable at a Banker’s in London. If this be as I suppose I can see no reason why the original terms should be altered, nevertheless if you and Mr. Brougham think otherwise I must yield my opinion, but why £250– pr. Annm. more than before should now all at once be demanded when an express agreement has been made it is for Lord P. or Sir H. Parnell to explain. I am quite sure that you will think I am doing no more than right in expressing my candid opinion on this or on any other matter on which you may write to me.—
Now for the other message with which Mr. Brougham charged you. If it is part of the plan of the establishment which he proposes, to feed as well as to take care of and educate the children of three years of age, and upwards, belonging to the poor, I see the most serious objections to the plan, and I should be exceedingly inconsistent if I gave my countenance to it. I have invariably objected to the poor laws, and to every system which should give encouragement to an excess of population. If you are to feed, clothe, and educate all the children of the poor, you will be giving a great stimulus to a principle already too active. To such a scheme I cannot be friendly. But if it is proposed to take care of, or only to educate the children that are to be admitted into this institution, my objection is of no value, and in that case I will willingly contribute my £50–. Here again I have need of your indulgence for the honest declaration of my opinion.
I hope that my brother Moses may be right in his opinion of your case. I shall be very angry with both of you if I do not find you strong and hearty on my return to London.
I cannot join so heartily as I would wish to do in sympathy with Hobhouse, on occasion of the Westminster canvas, because he advocates the cause of Universal Suffrage. I really believe that the reformers have done injury by going so far in their demands. If their views had been more moderate they would have had great additional support, and would equally have secured the substance for which they are contending.—
I have written very little lately. You are so encouraging that I have every motive for persevering in my endeavours to overcome the obstacles which frighten me. I have written an answer to Torrens paper in the Edinburgh Magazine in defence of my doctrine of value. I will send it to you when I have an opportunity, as also another letter which I have written to Trower in defence of the opinions I gave in my former letter, in reply to his observations.
Malthus will be here in a day or two, I wish you could have met him. He will be here I fear quite alone for Warburton who was to have come at the same time has written to say that he is prevented coming, and Mrs. Ricardo, and every one of my family, are from home. Even Osman and his wife are absent.
Murray writes to me that he has received a copy of a translation of my book into French, with copious notes —he would have sent it to me, but he thought I should receive a copy through the means of Say. I fear that Say is not quite friendly towards me, but I am sure that he is not just if he is otherwise.
I told you that I only got home from Cheltenham this afternoon—it is well that I have got home without a broken limb, for my gig horse, after coming 15 out of 18 miles as quiet as possible, commenced kicking without any apparent cause, and so violently, that I thought it prudent to jump out of the gig, which I did without receiving the slightest injury; but my poor horse after kicking the shafts from the gig, and wounding himself very severely with the iron, or the fragment of the shaft attached to it, fell, and before we could disengage him from his harness, we were obliged to let him go. He soon disengaged himself from his incumbrances, and galloped away. He was so much hurt that I feared that he would never be fit for work again. The farrier however thinks he will come about. I shall never drive him again.
As you requested I shall enclose this letter to Mr. Hume.
Very truly Yrs.