325.: mill to ricardo4[Reply to 323.—Answered by 329] - David Ricardo, The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 8 Letters 1819-June 1821 
The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, ed. Piero Sraffa with the Collaboration of M.H. Dobb (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005). Vol. 8 Letters 1819-1821.
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mill to ricardo
[Reply to 323.—Answered by 329]
East India House 11th. Septr. 1819
My Dear Sir
A parcel will be sent to you on monday, containing Price on the Sinking fund, Sinclairs Hist. of the Rev. and such other books as may appear to be useful to you.
I have no doubt that the history of the Sinking Fund, up to the date of the Book, and other common-place matter, was given pretty fully in the Encyclop. —Of all this, accordingly, I should in your place give very little, and I have no doubt that for such facts as you need employ, you may trust the article in Rees with safety. Your grand business should be to explain the nature and operation of a sinking fund; and to discuss the questions of policy connected with it. As far as Hamilton, or any other body, has gone before you, in saying what is necessary to be said, you have nothing to do, but to say it after them, telling that you do so; and either taking their words, or your own, as you think best suits the occasion. An article in an Encyclopedia, should be to a certain degree didactic, and also elementary—as being to be consulted by the ignorant as well as the knowing; but the matter that has been often explained, may be passed over very shortly, to leave more space for that which is less commonly known. As for space, you should take much or little, just as the matter requires. Put down every thing which you think it will be instructive to put down—there is no fear of its being too long. When you have made your list of the points which you think the article ought to embrace, it will not require you much time to send them to me. They may suggest some things which you have overlooked. At present I have the subject so little in my head, that I can say nothing hardly about topics. The mode in which a sinking fund, when real, operates to pay debts, is one—the mode in which a sinking fund, when no longer real, may be made to appear real, is another—and a third is (what you have not been anticipated in by any body) the utter absurdity of trusting a government like ours with a sinking fund at all. The last topic is original, and if worked in your best manner will be striking—I know not that you will find any thing to say that is quite new, on any other part of the subject—though to point out as clearly as possible the delusion which was long carried on under the cloak of the sinking fund, will be highly useful, and you will be able to put it into new lights.
I return you many thanks for the reports you have given me of your parliamentary reform discussions. I edify by them very much. Your test of a man who is really, and not pretendedly a reformer, namely, the allowing an effectual majority of bona fide representatives to the people, is excellent. I am mightily pleased with your making a convert of the old Whig lady. As for the concessions of Whishaw, they are good for nothing—he is a confirmed party man, and will retract them all tomorrow. I would undertake to make a convert to any thing that would be reform Mr. Canning himself sooner than a confirmed Whig, who politically speaking (I am far from meaning personally) is decidedly the most vicious creature we have amongst us. —I wish you would procure me a sight of that pamphlet of Mackintosh—I have often heard of it, but never been able to see it.
Remember me kindly to Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and to all of your own family (and that emphatically) who are near you.