Front Page Titles (by Subject) 512.: ricardo to trower1 - The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 9 Letters 1821-1823
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512.: ricardo to trower1 - 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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ricardo to trower1
Bromesberrow Place Ledbury 14 Decr. 1822
My Dear Trower
Your letter of the 11th. July2 did not reach me till sunday last, on which day I arrived in Brook Street from Dover. I left London for the Continent very early on the 12th. July, and proceeded by the Steam Packet from the Tower-Stairs to Calais: this voyage was performed in about 13 or 14 hours. I was accompanied in my tour by Mrs. Ricardo, my two youngest daughters, Miss Lancey (the governess) Mrs. Ricardo’s female servant, and a courier. As I could not comply with your request contained in the letter of the 11th, mentioned above, to give you an account of the journey I intended to make, I will, now that it is over, lay before you the route we followed. From Calais we went to the principal towns in the Netherlands; then to Holland, where we visited Rotterdam, The Hague, Amsterdam, Sardam, Utrecht, &c. &c. From Holland we followed, in an opposite direction, the course of the Rhine, and saw all the beautiful country on the banks of that noble river. We halted for a day or two at Coblentz and Frankfort. From Frankfort we went to Heidelberg, Carlsruhe, Baden, &c. &c., and entered Switzerland at Bale. From Bale our course was to Schaffhausen, Zurich, Wallenstadt, Zug, Art, Lucerne, Meyringhen, Interlachen, Grindlewald, Lauterbrun, Berne, Lausanne, Geneva, and Chamouny. From Chamouny we returned to Geneva, and from thence went to M.t. St. Bernard, Martigny, Bryg, and then across the Simplon, to Como. From Como we proceeded to Milan, Verona, Venice, Bologna, and Florence. Florence was the extreme point of my tour. We then went to Leghorn, Pisa, Genoa and Turin. From Turin we crossed Mount Cenis, made the best of our way, through Lyons, to Paris. At Paris I stayed 3 weeks, arrived in London on the 8th. of this month, and here on the 12th. I have given you a hasty sketch of the countries through which we have passed and shall only add that we met with scarcely any difficulty worth mentioning; were all very much pleased with the beauties of nature and of art which we have seen; and have been uniformly in good health.
At Geneva I was most hospitably received by my old friend Dumont, who is universally esteemed and respected by his countrymen—he accompanied us to Chamouny, and was adventurous enough to go up the Montanvert with me and my girls. At Coppet, which is near Geneva, I found the Duke de Broglie, whose acquaintance I had had the pleasure of making last autumn in London.1 I do not know whether I ever mentioned him to you—he is married to Madme de Stael’s daughter. He and the Baron de Stael, his brother in law, paid rather a long visit in England, and employed their time in seeing every thing worthy of notice. They are both clever men, but the Duke is particularly so. Political Economy is his favorite study, and I am happy to say that he is one of the best defenders of those principles which I think the correct ones I ever met with. I knew this before I went abroad, but at Coppet I had an opportunity of hearing him to great advantage, for on the day that I dined with him there, M Sismondi, who has published a work on Political Economy, and whose views are quite opposed to mine, was on a visit at the Duke’s house. M. Sismondi advanced his peculiar opinions, which were combated by the Duke and me—but the difficult part of the contest fell chiefly on the Duke, who defended our common principles so well that it appeared to me Monsr Sismondi had no chance with him. Mons. S. indeed once or twice confessed he could not answer the points objected to him, but he would never agree that they could not be answered. Mr. Dumont, and Madme. de Broglie, sat by as umpires, but they only interfered to see fair play. Madme. is a very pleasing lady—she on this occasion as well as on a subsequent one, for I met them again at Paris, left a very pleasing impression of herself on my mind. Notwithstanding my difference with Mons. Sismondi, on the doctrines of Political Economy, I am a great admirer of his talents, and I was very favorably impressed by his manners—I did not expect from what I had seen of his controversial writings to find him so candid and agreeable. M. Sismondi’s1 takes enlarged views, and is sincerely desirous of establishing principles which he conceives to be2 most conducive to the happiness of mankind. He holds that the great cause of the misery of the bulk of the people in all countries3 is the unequal distribution of property, which tends to brutalize and degrade the lower classes. The way to elevate man, to prevent him from making inconsiderate marriages, is to give him property, and an interest in the general welfare;—thus far we should pretty well agree, but when he contends that the abundance of production caused by machinery, and by other means, is the cause of the unequal distribution of property, and that the end he has in view cannot be accomplished while this abundant production continues, he, I think, entirely misconceives the subject, and does not succeed in shewing the connection of his premises with his conclusion.1
At Paris I saw M. Say several times, but never found him much inclined to talk on the points of difference between us. I believe M. Say finds it difficult to converse on these subjects; his ideas do not flow in a sufficiently rapid course for conversation.2 Speaking to the Duke de Broglie of M Say he observed that he did not appear to him to have the least notion of the doctrines of the New School,—that his notes in the French translation of my book shewed clearly that he did not know what the subject in dispute was. In France very little is understood about Political Economy, altho’ they have some good writers on that subject. M. Garnier, the translator of Adam Smith, had completed an additional volume of notes for a new edition of Smith’s work when he died. This new edition has just been published,1 and I had an opportunity while in Paris, of seeing the additional volume, and of reading the lengthened remarks which he makes on my opinions. M Garnier is in every instance opposed to me when I attack his favorite author, but I am sure that the observations of the D de Broglie on Mr. Say’s knowledge of my principles are equally applicable to M. Garnier. M. Say’s brother, Louis Say, has written a thick volume of criticism on Adam Smith’s, Malthus’, his brother’s, and my doctrines;—he quarrels with all our opinions, but shews pretty evidently that he knows very little about them.2 M. Ganilh, a deputy, has also made remarks on my work, but I have not seen them—the Duke gave me no encouragement to read them.3 At Geneva the 1st number of a review has been lately published, with the names of the writers of the different articles signed to them. There is an article, on two houses being better than one, by M. Rossi—another on law, by Dumont, one on Polit. Econ., by Sismondi, and several others. The Duke de Broglie told me that he had half promised to write an article on my book—if he does, I shall be eager to see it.4 Besides the gentlemen I have mentioned I met some very clever men, but had too little time to improve my very slight acquaintance with them.
In all the countries through which I travelled the people appeared to be enjoying ease and plenty. Provisions are everywhere uncommonly cheap, and nothing prevents those fine countries from making a most rapid progress in wealth and population, but the unsettled state of the governments. Nobody seems to think that the present order of things will continue long on its present footing, which damps all enterprise and speculation that requires a few years to reap the fruits from them.
When I go to town I will make some inquiry after your papers,1 I ought to have done it before I left England, but my time was so taken up that I never thought of it.—I wish you had expanded the subject into a pamphlet—it is not too late now, and I hope you will undertake it.
We shall I suppose have an active session of Parliament;—the continued distress of the agricultural class will make the country gentlemen clamorous for some measures to relieve them. They do not see that no relief can be afforded them, but at the expence of the other classes of the community—they must either withhold a part of the dividend of the stockholder, or pay a fewer number of pounds than that which they have contracted to pay, to their mortgagees and other creditors. I do not wonder that a depreciation of the currency is a popular measure with landed gentlemen for it at once enables them to effect these two darling objects. Many of them conscientiously believe that there would be no injustice in it, and here I am at issue with them. In this county they are very favorable to an income tax, because, they say, it would reach the Stockholder, as if the stockholder was now exempted from his just share of the taxes. They talk of calling a county meeting at Hereford, where some such measure is to be recommended as a fit object for a petition to Parliament—if I am here I shall attend it, and shall be induced perhaps to try to prove the insufficiency of the proposed remedy.1
I have not yet read O’Meara’s book2 —I do not wonder at its having been read with great interest.
I hope Mrs. Trower and your family are well, pray make Mrs. Ricardo’s and my kind regards to her——
Ever My dear Trower Yrs. truly
[1 ]Addressed: ‘Hutches Trower Esqr / Unsted Wood / Godalming / Surry’, and franked ‘Ledbury December Fifteen’.
[2 ]Trower’s letter is missing.
[1 ]In his memoirs, the Duc de Broglie places his first meeting with Ricardo in March-April 1822. He was then in London, and he received a note from Miss Edge-worth, ‘elle ne m’invitait pas, elle me sommait de me trouver le lendemain à deux heures chez M. Ricardo, où j’étais attendu’. Malthus was of the party and they had a long discussion: ‘il va sans dire, pour ceux qui me connaissent tant soit peu, que j’étais, de tous points, avec M. Ricardo’. Although he adds, ‘j’aurai occasion de revenir sur mes rapports avec M. Ricardo’, no more is to be found in the published memoirs; see Souvenirs 1785–1870 du feu Duc de Broglie, Paris, 1886, vol. ii, pp. 236–7. Cp. above, p. 230.
[1 ]‘views’ is del. here.
[2 ]Replaces ‘which are’.
[3 ]‘in all countries’ is ins.
[1 ]Sismondi gives some account of his discussion with Ricardo at Geneva in an article ‘Sur la balance des consommations avec les productions’, in Revue Encyclopédique, May 1824, p. 266: ‘M. Ricardo, dont la mort récente a profondement affligé non pas seulement sa famille et ses amis, mais tous ceux qu’il a éclairés par ses lumières, tous ceux qu’il a échauffés par ses nobles sentimens, s’arrêta quelques jours à Genève dans les dernières années de sa vie. Nous discutâmes ensemble, à deux ou trois reprises, cette question fondamentale sur laquelle nous étions en opposition. Il apporta à son examen l’urbanité, la bonne foi, l’amour de la verité qui le distinguaient, et une clartéà laquelle ses disciples eux-mêmes ne se seraient pas attendus, accoutumés qu’ils étaient aux efforts d’abstraction qu’il exigeait d’eux dans le cabinet’. (The article was reprinted in Sismondi’s Nouveaux principes d’économie politique, 2nd ed., Paris, 1827, vol. ii, p. 408 ff.; cp. his études sur l’économie politique, Paris, 1837, vol. i, p. 81 ff.)
[2 ]Say wrote of himself: ‘Je n’ai presque jamais été content de ma conversation. Ma seconde pensée est en général meilleure que la première, et malheureusement c’est toujours celle-ci qui se produit dans la conversation.’ (Œuvres Diverses, p. xv.) Cp. above, VI, 161.
[1 ]In 6 vols.—Germain Garnier had died in 1821.
[2 ]Considérations sur l’industrie et la législation, sous le rapport de leur influence sur la richesse des états, et examen critique des principaux ouvrages qui ont paru sur l’économie politique, par Louis Say (de Nantes), Paris, Aillaud, 1822.
[3 ]Ch. Ganilh, Des systèmes d’économie politique, de la valeur comparative de leur doctrines, et de celle qui parait la plus favorable aux progrès de la richesse. Seconde édition, Avec de nombreuses additions relatives aux controverses récentes de MM. Malthus, Buchanan, Ricardo, sur les points les plus importants de l’économie politique, 2 vols., Paris, Treuttel et Wuürtz, 1821.
[4 ]Annales de législation et d’économie politique, No. 1, Nov. 1822. Rossi on ‘Assemblée législative—Division en deux chambres’; Sismondi reviews John Barton’s pamphlets on labour; Dumont ‘Des présomptions anté-judiciaires’. After a second number the Annales were discontinued and the Duc de Broglie’s article never appeared.
[1 ]Probably Trower’s letter on currency, cp. above, p. 201.
[1 ]Cp. below, p. 266.
[2 ]Napoleon in Exile; or A Voice from St. Helena. The Opinions and Reflections of Napoleon on the most important events of his Life and Government, in his own words, by B. E. O’Meara, London, Simpkin and Marshall, 1822.