385.: mill to ricardo2[Answered by 386] - 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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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
[Answered by 386]
East India House 23d. Septr 1820
My Dear Sir
I am now going to write to you about a subject of very great importance; and I am very strongly persuaded that you can have no good objection to the proposition which I am going to make to you. I have mentioned to you before now with something of the air of a jest, but with not a little of the reality of earnest, my wish that you were an East India Director. In conversation just now with Mr. Mc.Culloch, when he was lamenting to me the prospect created by the present race of aspirants, and telling me what some even of the leading directors themselves thought of it, I seized the opportunity which I have been on the watch for, and said, I wish that Ricardo could be prevailed upon to offer himself. He started up, even from his chair, and said, “Oh God, if Ricardo could be prevailed upon, he might come in next April! The Court of Directors would jump at him. He would have all their support. If he would undergo the canvas, I would lay my life that he comes in.”
This you will observe is said by a man who knows more about the field than any other man living; and who is one of the men of the soundest judgement that I have ever known. I consider then the fact that you would come in with ease, if you chose it, as out of dispute—and that being the case I am quite sure that you ought not to hesitate. It would put you in a situation in which your means of doing good to your fellow creatures would be prodigious; it would increase your dignity and importance in a very high degree; and the occupation which it would afford would add to your happiness—for to your mind, which has so long been intensely employed, one of the principal inconveniences of your present situation is, that it affords not objects of immediate interest to employ it—and hence your occasional feelings that life is but a stale possession, and that at 60 years it would be sufficiently long. On your own account, therefore, on account of the millions of your fellow creatures over whose happiness and misery you would be invested with so much power, on account of your family to whose dignity and advantage it would redound in so many ways, and on my account, whose welfare I am sure is a matter of no small importance to you, I hope you will give the subject not only a most serious but a favourable consideration.
I write in a great hurry, and shall content myself with barely opening the proposition. If you write to me with any encouragement, Mc.Culloch will instantly proceed to sound, and to give you the necessary information. And he is a man in whom you may implicitly confide. He is as discerning and judicious as he is honourable; and I know no man who surpasses him in either. This is written with his concurrence and by his advice.
Most truly Yours