294.: mill to ricardo4[Reply to 292.—Answered by 296] - 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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mill to ricardo
[Reply to 292.—Answered by 296]
Westr. Decr. 18 1818
My dear Sir
I immediately transcribed that part of your letter which it was requisite to communicate to Brougham, and sent it to him; telling him, at the same time, that I coincided in all your remarks. And I had a conversation with him on the subject yesterday. He says you are perfectly right in the remarks on the interest, provided the paying at Pugets was in the original proposal, as well as the 6 pct., the first of which circumstances he had forgot, and is not now sure that the 6 pct. was not an inference of his own, rather than mentioned by them at first. However, he thinks under all the circumstances you ought either to have the Irish interest, or what you express yourself as if you would deem a compensation, the guarantee of a London Banker; and says you must have one or t’other. But as Sir H. P. will very soon be in town, he thinks it better to wait for him, as the subject can be gone through better in conversation than by writing.
With regard to the feeding of the children, or doing any thing whatsoever toward their maintenance, as I should have condemned it, in the same terms as you do, I should have been satisfied there was no use in your being applied to on the subject—but there was never any idea of the kind: so that your money and your endeavour may be freely bestowed. The question as to the utility, is the same as the question, whether the thing can be made general, and of this I have some doubts—but at any rate the experiment is not a costly one.
With regard to the Westminster election, about which I feel but little interest, I am by no means sure that your objection to Hobhouse will in the end be that of going too far in parliamentary reform. I wish I were sure that he would continue to go as far as you. Of you, as soon as your understanding is convinced, there is perfect certainty; because you are governed by a sense of duty. But, if he acts the shuffler, there is one comfort, he will be treated as such. But, the man whose grand ambition is to be well received in fashionable society, who has not elevation of mind to hold him up above that wretched atmosphere, cannot in the present state of our country have political virtue—the one is absolutely incompatible with the other. If ever you begin to aim at that bright reward of your virtues, I shall give up even you.
You excited my concupiscence by mentioning the translation with copious notes, of your book. I immediately sent to Murray, begging him to lend it me. He wrote word back, that he had sent to the French booksellers, but found there was not another copy in town, and that he had sent the first to you. Now therefore as soon as you are satisfied with your sight of it, I pray that you will lose no time in sending it to me. It may come with those M.S.S. you keep me longing for, to your great disgrace. By the bye, I am very happy that you are to send an answer to Torrens—for I am not satisfied with that of MacCulloch. I long to see what you are to send. I am glad to hear of another letter to Trower; these discussions which lead you to analyse the common place objections which have always been, and always may be, advanced against every step that is to be taken in favouring the progression of human nature, give you skill in the exercise, by practice, a little of which is all that you want. A very little time will make you more astonished at your own superiority over the set you will have got among, than you are now intimidated by the idea of your inferiority.—Mind, I do not dispense with the discourse you had ready for me, and did not send. You may, by Humes volunteered offer, send any thing under cover to him, that will not exceed two or three covers in one day; but you may at any rate send him two a day for any no. of days running. I have been able to work him into an approximation to a knowledge of your book—he is a convert to all the doctrines; but he does not yet always apply them correctly—however he is always open to instruction.
I congratulate you on your escape from your gig. Your horse has been too well fed, and too little worked, which is apt to be the case with your horses. I hope Miss Ricardo is recovering, whose complaint I understand is near a-kin to my own, and that you are enjoying yourself with Mr. Malthus. I should have enjoyed being with you. Say when I may expect you here. By the bye, have you ever read Turgots works? I have been at them lately. They will interest you highly. Did you ever read his life by Condorcet?