Front Page Titles (by Subject) 528.: ricardo to maria edgeworth1 - The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 9 Letters 1821-1823
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528.: ricardo to maria edgeworth1 - 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 maria edgeworth1
London 26 May 1823
My Dear Miss Edgeworth
Your letter,2 which I received a few days ago, was a very kind one, and if I did not feel that I really had very good excuses to offer for not having written to you long ago, I should have felt reproved by your forbearance. You are a good and merciful judge, and from the commencement of our acquaintance have been inclined to interpret favorably every action of mine—I stand in great need of your indulgence, and pray you to continue on all occasions to extend it to me.
Your journey to Scotland has commenced under happy auspices as far as weather is concerned, and I have no doubt that the formidable 27th., on which day you are to cross the water, will be got over with little inconvenience. I have often suffered from sea sickness, and greatly commiserate those who are obliged to endure it.
Cousin Fanny was a kind hearted girl in insisting on giving up her place to her sister Sophy,1 —she will be sure to have her reward,—a kind act is never done without its being accompanied with gratification which more than repays for the sacrifice which it may require. I trust you, Harriett, and Sophy, are deriving the greatest possible degree of pleasure from your excursion, and that you will have a great intellectual treat in your visit to Sir W. Scott. I shall be very glad to have an account from yourself of this interesting visit.2 —
I admire alike the great unknown of the North, and the great known of other places, and think myself fortunate in having got into a situation which gives me an opportunity of witnessing the display of talents, and ingenuity, of the highest description in others, and which I can never hope to emulate. My pretensions are of the humblest kind, and I feel assured I owe every thing I enjoy to the forbearance and indulgence of those about me.—
Your restless nation gives us a great deal of trouble in Parliament. The best amongst us do not know how to manage you, nor what course to take to give you the blessings of peace, order, and good government. You have been so long subjected to misrule as hardly to be in a fit state to be reclaimed by common means. Coercion and severity have proved of little use, and I hope the system of indulgence, kindness, and conciliation will now be tried. If that system will not succeed I hope we shall get rid of you altogether;—we could do very well without you,—you are a great expence to us, and prevent us from making any great improvements in our own government, as all our time is taken up in attending to yours.—
You enquire after my family,—here follows a brief sketch of our domestic history. Mrs. Ricardo is not very well,—she is very subject to low spirits, and at the present moment does not regard the world and its affairs in so favorable a light as I could wish. Mrs. Osman Ricardo has been with us since Feby, and during great part of the time has been indisposed—she is now quite well though not so strong as before her illness.—Mr. and Mrs. Austin and their children have been our visitors for some time—the children are not very well, but Mrs. Austin is not only in good health but in excellent spirits. We all find her a chearful and delightful companion;—if she were not my own child I should be lavish in her praise. Mrs. Clutterbuck has not been in London this winter;—she has had much to bear in consequence of the alarming illness, first of her husband, then of her child. If she too were not my child I would tell you how admirably she behaved under her trials, as it is, I shall only say that they are at an end, and that she is now enjoying health, peace, and happiness in her new residence, to which she has lately removed. They have a delightful place1 near Chippenham, not many miles from Bowood.—Mary and Birtha and Osman, and Mortimer are quite well, and thus ends the family history.—No, unhappily it does not end here.
About six or seven weeks ago we had to deplore the death of a young and very amiable sister of mine,2 whom I believe you did not see when you were in London. She was married to a nephew of Mrs. Ricardo, Mr. Wilkinson. I saw her the day before her death in good health and in as good spirits as the prospect of her immediate confinement would allow her to be. The next day she gave birth to her fourth child and 3 hours after expired. This sad event has plunged a very large family into the greatest affliction. She was very dear to all her brothers and sisters.
[The remainder is wanting.]
[1 ]MS (in Ricardo’s hand) in R.P.—Extract in Economic Journal, Sept. 1907, p. 438.
[2 ]Maria Edgeworth’s letter is wanting.
[1 ]Maria Edgeworth was going to Scotland with her half-sisters Harriet and Sophy.
[2 ]For her account, in a letter to Mrs. Ruxton, 8 June 1823, see Life and Letters of Maria Edgeworth, 1894, vol. ii, p. 95 ff.
[1 ]Hardenhuish Park, in Wiltshire.
[2 ]Esther, died 10 April 1823.