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6: ricardo to wilkinson1 - David Ricardo, The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 10 Biographical Miscellany 
The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, ed. Piero Sraffa with the Collaboration of M.H. Dobb (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005). Vol. 10 Biographical Miscellany.
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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 wilkinson1
Upper Brook Street 31 March 1815
In justice to Frank,2 William3 and myself it is necessary that you should be made acquainted with all that has passed between us, relative to William’s quitting me, as Priscilla’s letter to William might otherwise make an impression on your mind to the disadvantage of some or all of us. Much as I am sometimes surprised at Priscilla’s warmth and energy on trifling occasions, on the present occasion I have been more than usually puzzled to account for her thinking it necessary either to feel strongly or to interfere in a business which I tell her is wholly out of her department. Since I have had it in contemplation to leave business, or to carry it on in a very limited way, I have been thinking of some arrangement about William. He has had little to do for me for some months and if I carried my intention into execution he would have still less to occupy his time at the Stock Exchge. I intended to have told him that he should remain with me till he was of age, and then with a little assistance of Stock in trade he must endeavor as other young men do, to get his livelihood and push his own fortunes. Frank knew my intention, and observed a day or two ago, that William appeared to him to be so timid that he had great doubts whether he could do any thing in the way of business for himself yet,—but if I meant to part with him he might have all the advantages which I proposed and a sure resource of about £80 pr. Annm. besides. He said that he had a number of small commissions which brought in about £160 and William should have half if he liked to take all the trouble which they occasioned. He observed too that he could have no particular personal motive for this proposal as he could easily get a young man to give him the necessary assistance at that, or at a less salary, but he proposed it for William because he might keep it or relinquish it accordingly as he found himself equal to carrying on a little business for himself, and which he might do at the same time that he assisted him.
As a friend of William, considering this arrangement as something better than what I had myself in contemplation for him;—as it was something in addition to it, I readily agreed and accordingly spoke to William on the subject (not he to me) and recommended him if he liked the proposal made by Frank to accede to it. He said all that was necessary about leaving me unprovided, and rejected the idea of receiving a salary from me, even for a year, if he was not doing any thing for me, and wished to alter that part of the arrangement, but it was finally settled as Frank and I had agreed.
Now it appears to me that we have all three behaved very civilly to each other:—I am sure we all three thought so.—Priscilla, however, persuades herself that Frank has imposed upon me and made me consent to an arrangement which is not agreeable to me, and has worked herself up to write, unknown to me at the time, to William. She has told me the substance of her letter, and of her consent that you should see it. I write therefore to give you a true statement of the case, that you may not be induced from any other considerations than those of William’s interest to withhold your consent from the above arrangement.
I cannot see it in any other light but as one which may be of use and cannot be of detriment to him.
[1 ]Addressed: ‘J. H. Wilkinson Esq’. Not passed through the post.
[2 ]Ricardo’s brother Francis.
[3 ]William Arthur, son of J. H. Wilkinson, had been Ricardo’s clerk on the Stock Exchange since 1811; he was now twenty years old.