448.: mill to ricardo1[Reply to 441.—Answered by 449] - David Ricardo, The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 9 Letters 1821-1823 
The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, ed. Piero Sraffa with the Collaboration of M.H. Dobb (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005). Vol. 9 Letters 1821-1823.
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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 441.—Answered by 449]
E.I. House 23d. August 1821
My Dear Sir
I have had my hands so full during the last month, that I have only now found time to answer your kind letter; at least I have always found an excuse to myself for deferring it till now. My family have been at Marlow; and going backwards and forwards, to spend as much time with them as I could, has much broken in upon any liesure I might have had.
And now that I have taken pen in hand, I know not that I have any thing to say, except that I wish much to have a letter from you, to hear how every body fares, that is at, or connected with Gatcomb. I heard something of you, in a minutes’ conversation the other day with Mr. Tooke, who seems to have been highly delighted with his excursion—was at Bromesbarrow, down the Wye, &.c. I envied him while he told me.
For me, beside my official occupations, I have been chiefly engrossed with my article Liberty of the Press, which after all does not please me. I was too much hurried for it; and Napier having omitted to give me any information, as to his wish for quantity, I exceeded what he had left room for, and was obliged to spoil the thing more by curtailment.
I hear that the great men of Whiggery are very much alarmed at the success of the mob, in resisting the constituted authorities, on the day of the queens funeral. The folly of the ministers, they say, is very great; the barefaced obstructions of the jury, in conducting their inquiry, are very bad; but nothing like the calamity of the people thinking that they may in time successfully resist the organs of misrule. I met Douglas Kinnaird yesterday at a great dinner given by the court of Directors, who told me Hume is quite downcast, that he had seen him the day before; that Hume said, despotism was in his opinion unavoidable; that the aristocracy were almost to a man the friends of it in their heart; that the people were to a great degree indifferent; and that it was perfectly useless for a few individuals to torment themselves by vain efforts.—What do you say to all this? Are you in the hopeful way of despondency too?—I laughed, and Kinnaird asked me what I thought. If Hume, I said, had been looking to the aristocracy for aid against the progress of misrule, he ought to have despaired from the beginning. The despotism was theirs; and it was not likely they would be soon dissatisfied with it. That with the people, however, the case was different. True, they were as yet impotent, from knowing imperfectly what they want, and the means they possess of commanding it—that this ignorance was however fast passing away—and the passing events were powerfully contributing to enlighten them. It is very curious that almost every body you meet with—whig and tory—agree in declaring their opinion of one thing—that a great struggle between the two orders, the rich and the poor, is in this country commenced—and that the people must in the end prevail;—and yet that the class of the rich act as if they were perfectly sure of the contrary—for if the people must gain the victory, but are made to suffer intensely in the gaining of it, what can these people mean who would enrage the victors to the utmost? The old adage seems to be true; that when God wants to destroy a set of men, he first makes them mad. The aristocracy might at least imitate the Spanish Don, on his death bed, who, when his confessor was telling him what the Devil would do to him, if he did not first make his peace with God, said, “I hope, my lord the Devil will not be so cruel.” Upon being upbraided by the priest for talking of the devil so respectfully, he replied, that as it was doubtful into what hands he might fall, good words would at any rate do no harm.—But enough of the aristocracy who will be, what they are, and always have been.
I desire exceedingly to know what you have been about, and what you are still to be about—in short, your history, past, present, and to come; as much of it as I know not, and you do. I have given you mine, all of it that is worth giving. I was much delighted with the country about Marlow, and enjoyed as much of it as I could; and had I got done with my article a week sooner, I would have proposed to make a run over, and spend it with you. John has been at home for some weeks: very much grown; looking almost a man; in other respects not much different from what he went. He has got the French language—but almost forgot his own—and is nearly as shy and awkward as before. His love of study, however, remains; and he shews tractability and good sense. If he do not make what the French call an aimable man, I have no doubt he will make what the English call an amiable and a useful one.
I have been for several days suffering severely with the tooth-ache—and at this moment the pain is so great that I can hardly see the paper—and therefore good bye